Athlete Eamonn Coghlan joins the ranks of Fine Gael
ATHLETE-turned-politician Senator Eamonn Coghlan has joined Fine Gael as he bids to force fitness on to the school curriculum.
The sub four-minute miler, who has been promoting the Points for Life initiative, said he applied to make the switch as part of the campaign.
"You can run a race as an unattached athlete or you can run a race as part of the team," he said.
Mr Coghlan said he has watched carefully the approach taken by Fine Gael in Government and said he believes Fine Gael is a winning team where he can get support for his plan.
"Having listened to many debates, I now wish to walk and ultimately run on that path towards re-establishing a bright and positive future for all of the people," he said.
The Senator's Points for Life initiative was introduced in the Seanad last year to huge support after getting counterparts on their feet for a few minutes training.
It aims to make physical fitness for children and young people a core part of their lives and the school curriculum, including bringing in exercise programmes for 15 minutes every day.
Mr Coghlan has said that even though there has been a new physical education curriculum at primary level since 1999, it is not fully implemented in 65pc of schools.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny appointed Mr Coghlan as an independent Senator last year.
"Eamonn has always represented his country with pride. Now he has chosen to represent Fine Gael and I am sure that he will do so with distinction," he said.
"Eamonn made his mark as a world champion athlete and helped raise the spirits of the Irish people over the course of a fantastic career.
"Since his retirement he has continued to show the energy and commitment that personifies him, raising funds for the Children's Medical Research Foundation, and impacting hugely on the lives of many people."
Senator Coghlan was one of the world's top middle distance runners in the 1980s. He was World 5,000m champion in 1983, took part in three Olympic Games and is the only person to have ever run a sub-four minute mile at the age of 40 or older.