Saturday 22 November 2014

Egan blames hectic sporting schedule for failure to vote

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 12/02/2014 | 02:30

Kenneth Egan, with (left to right), Leo Varadkar, Eamonn Coghlan, and Dublin mayor Oisin Quin

FINE Gael local election candidate Kenneth Egan has admitted that he has only voted "once or twice" in his life – but he blamed his hectic sporting career.

The Olympic boxer claimed that young people in particular fail to vote because they view politicians as "bad news and gangsters".

Mr Egan yesterday spoke about the mixed reaction he has received since declaring as a Fine Gael candidate ahead of May's elections.

And he admitted that had no interest in politics whatsoever when he was a full-time boxer and rarely ever voted.

"I voted once or twice, in my sporting career, as I was doing so much travelling. I didn't know what was going on in the political world. So I don't vote, I am not telling lies, I told you that from the start I'm going to be honest, " he said.

GANGSTERS

"A lot of people don't vote, from 18- to 26-year-olds, because they see all politicians as bad news and gangsters, and I am going to try and change that in my local area," he added.

Mr Egan said he had been at the receiving end of negative messages on Twitter since he was unveiled as a Fine Gael candidate, with some users telling him that he "hasn't a clue about politics".

But the 32-year-old insisted that it would not be "the end of the world" if he failed to win a seat in the May elections.

"All I can do is my best, knock on the doors and canvass. If I don't get the seat, I don't get the seat, it's not the end of the world. But it's something I have an interest in – helping in the local area.

"I am getting some positive and negative (feedback) but sure that's alright. I've a hard neck. They're just saying I haven't a clue about politics, you know the usual stuff. Which is true like I didn't come into this saying I know everything about politics."

Mr Egan was speaking at the launch of the St Patrick's Day 5km road race at the Mansion House in Dublin alongside Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, Senator Eamonn Coghlan, and Dublin's Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn.

Mr Egan was unveiled as a Fine Gael candidate in the Clondalkin Ward for the upcoming local elections, along with councillor Emer Higgins, earlier this week.

He appeared to row back on his hopes of running in the general election and said his sole focus was winning a seat on South Dublin County Council.

Speaking at an event in Dublin, Mr Egan dismissed suggestions by his former manager Ken Bogle that Fine Gael was using him to secure a council seat.

Mr Bogle has strong Fianna Fail roots and is a former advisor to Bertie Ahern.

Mr Egan said he believed Mr Bogle was unhappy that he had chosen to run for Fine Gael.

"I'm a big boy now, he (Ken Bogle) has been great over the years.

"We've worked well over the last 10, 12 years. I hope we'll keep the relationship going.

"His background is Fianna Fail, I've after going with Fine Gael so that's probably after ruffled up his feathers but that's the end of it."

Irish Independent

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