Friday 31 October 2014

You old romantic!: Our new Tanaiste is 'a massive Jane Austen fan'

And her favourite is Jane Austen

Published 05/07/2014 | 13:59

The new Tanaiste is a fan of classic romance novels, saying she’s a huge fan of Jane Austen.

But Joan Burton, Ireland's new Tanaiste and newly elected leader of the Labour Party, said that she doesn’t get much time to read with her hectic schedule.

However, she said today in an interview on RTE that she doesn’t get much time to read anymore but when she does, she enjoys reading Jane Austen.

“I’ve been a Jane Austen fan forever and I always watch all of the Jane Austen movies, whether it’s Jane Austen in Bollywood or whatever. I love reading but I just don’t get the chance to do it anymore.”

Yesterday, the West Dublin TD won the Labour Party leadership securing 77.5 percent of the vote.

She was then appointed Tanaiste by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Speaking to RTE Radio One today she joked that had her life been different she could have been a Hillary Clinton figure in the US.

Before she was adopted, Ms Bruton was due to go to America.

“I could have been involved in US politics."

“I didn’t come to the Burtons until I was two and a half. I subsequently found out that I was supposed to go to America."

Ms Burton was born in Co Carlow to an unmarried woman in 1949 and was taken to Temple Hill Mother and Baby Home in Blackrock three months later.

She stayed there until she was fostered by Birdie and John Burton when she was two and a half years old.

“They put it that if you weren’t strong enough you couldn’t go to a foster home because social workers could come and take you away. I was a reluctant eater.”

Ms Burton said she was privileged to be the first female leader of the Labour Party.

“I have a photo in my office of all the woman who have been public representatives for the Labour party and I have it in a predominant place to say we’ve come this far. In the Labour party, you come as part of a movement."

“The first woman TD was Maureen O’Carroll, mother of Brendan. I never knew her but one of her grandsons’ was researching her history a few years ago and showed me some of the stuff and it’s absolutely fascinating."

“Any advance of a woman is an advance for woman everywhere.”

She said one of her main priorities in office was to get people back to work.

“We’ve a shortage of social housing, particularly in our big cities. We’ve about 80,000 construction workers on the register. If we can get an investment program into housing and put a lot of those people back into work that’s going to be the biggest stimulus.

“Actually getting people back to work is the secret of cutting public costs.”

Unlike Pat Rabbitte, who recently said that he has no plans to leave politics as he’s not very good at gardening, Ms Burton says she would be happy to continuously garden.

“Unlike Pat, I’m happy to continuously garden. I just think gardening’s wonderful for all people and Gerry, Pats wife is a great gardener so he’s probably a bit more knowledgeable than he’s letting on.”

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