News Ian O'Doherty

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Ian O'Doherty: If Kenny wants to help the locals, he should become a counsellor

Ian O'Doherty

Published 12/02/2014 | 02:30

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Kenneth Egan
Kenneth Egan with Minister for Children and youth affairs, Francis Fitzgerald, TD

SO the aspiring Politician Formerly Known As Kenny has rarely voted. In fairness to the former boxer, Kenneth Egan – as he now prefers to be known – remains a popular figure in the hearts of many Irish people who applauded him throughout his career in the ring but who truly rooted for him in his well-publicised struggles with booze and his personal demons.

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But for Kenneth to aspire to be a politician when he admits, to the point of boasting, that he rarely bothered to cast a vote himself is a classic example of a well-meaning celebrity allowing himself to be used as a plant by a cynical party machine that simply wants to put their party logo under an easily recognisable, high-profile face.

Egan's reasons for not voting stem from a combination of apathy and his hectic international boxing schedule and seem valid – if you're a rather disillusioned, disenfranchised person living in Clondalkin.

But they become laughable and insulting when coming from someone who is ultimately asking the electorate to make more of an effort in the booth than he ever did.

He seems, almost accidentally, to have become the voice of a generation of alienated, working-class young men who lack confidence in the system. And what's infuriating about his rapid descent into car-crash campaigning is that alienated, working-class young men are the most ignored and reviled demographic in our country. Nobody really speaks for them, they speak at them. But since when did ignorance and apathy become selling points?

Somewhere in Clondalkin, there are plenty of people the same age who have voted, who do care and who feel that they have a stake in this society. But any of them who may have fancied standing in a local election will be forgiven for being disgusted. Because what is the point in playing an active role in your community if that is lost in the media glare of a famous face who openly boasts of having no previous interest in politics?

Kenneth Egan has a lot to say, particularly when it comes to the issue of depression, suicidal thoughts and joyless substance abuse.

And we should listen to him.

But before the ink on his new flyers is even dry, he's proving that he would be doing more valuable work if he worked as a local counsellor, rather than a local councillor.

Irish Independent

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