Saturday, October 20, 2007


Presentation Night at the Dunboyne Castle Hotel

Dunboyne College has gone from strength to strength. This year 140 students graduated from the college and there are now over 180 students enrolled for next year. I attended the presentation ceremony on Monday night in the Dunboyne Castle Hotel. Myself and John Fanning, Chairman of the VEC, presented the award to the students. Afterwards I got a chance to talk to a few of them. It was inspirational to hear how some people had made huge efforts to go back into the education system to try to better their lives and the lives of their families.

The Incinerator outside Duleek got permission to be extended on Tuesday. I spoke about it on Newstalk on Lunchtime and then in the evening on Drivetime on RTE 1. It was a nightmare getting to the studio in Leinster House. I was leaving a meeting in Santry and it took me an hour to get to Merrion Square. I ended up dumping my car on a meter on Mount Street and running the last 10 minutes into the Leinster House studio. I had just about recovered my breath when the interview started.

Wednesday was a busy day for me in the chamber. I had to take the Order of Business at the start of the proceedings - I raised the subject of literacy in Ireland. Then I had to give a ten minute speech on the National Drugs Strategy followed by a speech on Crime (these are both my areas of responsibility within the Seanad). I've put a link to them all here

I also learned a lesson in house rules. I was sitting in a meeting prior to the crime debate and I knew that I would be speaking after Senator Phil Prendergast. I kept my eye on the debate proceedings (which are shown on the TV screen in the meeting room). When Phil started I made my excuses and left the meeting, leaving my jacket on the chair. Of course, there was no way the Seanad usher was going to let me into the Chamber without a jacket (I must have missed that rule when I read the Standing Orders), so I had to run back for the jacket. When I finally got into the Chamber it was too late for that slot, so I had to wait for another slot (about 50 minutes later). It's like sitting on the runway at Heathrow while other planes take off before you.

On Thursday I took the Order of Business again, and I brought up the issue of pension payments. I also had to give a speech on Trade and the IDA.

I got accosted by a member of the public on Friday as I was leaving Leinster House. A few of the Meath East members were up for a meeting about Ashbourne and as we left the Kildare Street Gate we were laughing about something. A total stranger came up to us and started haranguing us saying "how can you be so happy when the country is in such as mess". From now on I'm going to go around with a frown on my face, and only smile when I get back to Meath.

And smiling I was on Friday as the Drogs won the Eircom league for the first time. As someone who stood on the terraces since the mid-70's it was quite an emotional occasion. We were 1 -0 up from midway through the first half, and a win would seal the title. When Cork equalised in the second half it looked like we might have to wait until next week. So, when Bates scored with a cracker with just a few minutes left the place went wild. I have never seen such an outburst of pure exhilaration. It was better than the reaction to Fabio's goal at Landsdowne Road in the FAI cup final. We knew the title had finally come to Drogheda.

Eircom league winners, Oct 07
Myself and Ged Nash on the hallowed turf

I made it in to the Mansion House on Saturday for a Seminar on the Right to Read campaign. Cllr Aodhan O'Riordan put it all together and is running an excellent campaign to try and improve literacy in the country.

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