Rugby star captains new team in quest for healthy Ireland
FORMER rugby star Keith Wood led out a new team, most of whom he had never met before, in a bid to get the nation to end their bad habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
The former Ireland rugby captain, who also played for Munster, was yesterday flanked by Health Minister James Reilly and World Health Organisation director general Dr Margaret Chan.
He is now the chairman of a 38-member Healthy Ireland Council, made up of a cross-section of well-known figures, whose job is to bring the message of healthy living to communities.
The group will also work with various government departments to make it easier for people to adopt behaviours that will reduce their risk of preventable illness.
Speaking after the inaugural meeting of the group, he denied it will be a talking shop and insisted that they spoke about how they will work as a group, bringing their shared experience to the objective of making the country healthier.
"We did not set out an agenda, but we have been given an impressive framework. The 'how' of all of this is the issue and it is the same issue all over the world."
The team is guided by the aims of the "Healthy Ireland" policy document, launched last year with the objective of having every government department contributing in ways such as making it easier to take exercise.
Everyone on the council is giving their time for free.
Other members include Ruth Scott, broadcaster on RTE 2FM Radio; Paul Sweeney, chief economist, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions; and Kealan Thompson, a psychology student in Dublin City University, among others.