Monday 24 July 2017

'I don't care what people say about me, I will deliver jobs' - Mitchell O'Connor

The determined minister hits back at her detractors and tells Maeve Sheehan that criticism is water off a duck's back

Tough-talking: Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O'Connor Photo: David Conachy
Tough-talking: Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O'Connor Photo: David Conachy

A curious thing happens as Mary Mitchell O'Connor talks at length about the importance of job creation. She had been explaining one of her Budget "wins" - a share option scheme for small businesses. "I hate saying I secured, but we secured it. We pushed for it here in this department." Isn't "I" all part of politics though? "Do you know, for me, it's not. It's not Mary Mitchell O'Connor, it's jobs."

I could have sworn her eyes welled up with tears at this point. But she insists: "No, I'm not emotional. I just think jobs are so important, you know as I go around the country, as we announce jobs, and they transform people's lives..."

"And I'm not emotional, " she chides, like the school teacher that she is, and then bursts out laughing. "You have to have empathy. It's not all about 'inputs' and 'outputs'. And Mary Mitchell O'Connor isn't a woman that talks about 'inputs' and 'outputs'. Jobs are really important to me."

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