Overnight success for Whip -- after 25 years
Published 24/03/2010 | 05:00
PAT Carey missed out on his his trip to Texas for St Patrick's Day earlier this month due to the demanding nature of his job as Government Chief Whip.
He missed his flight as he tried to ensure the Government had enough votes to get its Finance Bill through the Dail.
But the fluent Irish speaker's appointment yesterday as Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister will more than make up for missing out on the sights of Houston.
Although the promotion of the Dublin-based TD will be seen as a victory for the capital, he actually hails from Castlemaine in Co Kerry, but spent most of his career as a teacher in Dublin. As he puts it, he is now an "overnight success after 25 years in politics".
Mr Carey's journey began when he was elected to Dublin City Council in 1985. He served there until the abolition of the dual mandate in 2001. Mr Carey (62) made the step up to national politics in 1997, when he won a seat in Dublin North East.
He was tipped to be under pressure in Dublin North West at the last general election, but he comfortably beat off the challenge from Sinn Fein councillor Dessie Ellis. He got promoted to the junior ministerial ranks by then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and threw himself into the drugs strategy portfolio, helping to bring forward the first awareness campaign about the dangers of cocaine.
A loyal and articulate defender of Fianna Fail, Mr Carey was always available to put the party's case forward on radio and television shows, even when no other member would.