Irish News

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Critics of boxer's entry into politics are 'snobs', says Children's Minister

Published 16/03/2014|02:30

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Kenny Egan
Kenny Egan

CHILDREN'S Minister Frances Fitzgerald has hit back at the "snobs" who are criticising former Olympic boxer Kenneth Egan for entering politics. Mr Egan's entry into the local elections race for Fine Gael has raised eyebrows, due to his lack of political knowledge and experience.

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In an interview, with the Sunday Independent's John Drennan, Ms Fitzgerald claims the criticism of the move was "driven by snobbery rather than fact".

In the wake of the boxer's self-confessed difficulties with sexual and drug addiction issues, there was surprise at the decision of Mr Egan to run and of Fine Gael to select him.

"He is a man who has been through the wars, as you mention. He has had to deal with many of the issues young people face. He has confronted his demons and is ready to put his experiences to use," she said.

"We should also recall that Mr Egan was an Olympic athlete. Are we to disregard all of the character and talent [required] to reach that level of success? I'm very impressed with his discipline, even if he lost it for a period," she added.

Ms Fitzgerald also dismissed criticism of Mr Egan's self-confessed lack of knowledge of Fine Gael party policies.

"I have no problem at all with him saying he doesn't know all of our policies. I don't know all of our policies myself," she said. (Full interview in Analysis, Page 19)

RACKHOUSE PILFER COME TO WHELAN'S

RACKHOUSE Pilfer, whose new album, Love and Havoc is just out, are set to play Whelan's in Dublin on March 21.

They have made a name for themselves by playing with the likes of Imelda May, Paul Brady, and Mundy as well as sharing the stage with Kila, Brian Kennedy, Jack L, Fiachna O Braonain and Eleanor McEvoy. While in Nashville, the group were also invited to guest with an all-star band which included Jeff Hanna (lead singer with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Fred Eltringham (drummer with Sheryl Crow), Mike Bub (Bass player, Steve Earle Band and Del McCoury Band), legendary guitarist Guthrie Trapp and John Carter-Cash, son of Johnny Cash and Raelyn Nelson, granddaughter of Willie Nelson.

Harold Bradley, now 88 years old, who played guitar on many hit records with Elvis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Jerry Lee Lewis, among others, features on two tracks on the band's new album.

THE CURRAGH MUTINY – A LEGAL VIEW

DID officers behind the Curragh Mutiny actually break the law? This and other military and legal issues will be debated by scholars and legal experts at a special conference organised by Trinity College Dublin to be held in Ceannt Officers Mess, Curragh Camp in Co Kildare, on Friday, March 21 to mark the centenary of the Curragh Mutiny.

The Curragh Mutiny of March 20, 1914 took place in the Curragh Camp, then the main base for the British Army in Ireland.

The crisis hinged on how to deal with Unionist opposition to the Home Rule Bill, which was shortly to come into law, with many officers threatening to resign rather than obey orders to engage in military action against the Ulster Volunteers.

The matter was resolved through a humiliating climbdown by the British cabinet, which claimed that there had been a misunderstanding and that there had never been any intention to use armed force to confront Ulster Unionist resistance to Home Rule.

The conference will also feature a legal debate on the crucial legal and constitutional aspects of the crisis presided over by a panel of senior judges from Ireland and Britain, including the former Chief Justice Ronan Keane.

Sunday Independent

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