independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

You'd never know, I could be the Irish Obama

IN many respects, the Ireland that I knew more than a decade ago has changed from one that was invariably closed, in one sense of the word, to a rapidly growing multicultural society with its attendant challenges and expectations.

The Opening Power to Diversity Scheme, which primarily seeks to introduce immigrants to Irish political culture, could not have been initiated at a better time. As it is often said, the greatness of a nation is best demonstrated in how it treats its vulnerable and strangers.

My internship with Deputy Michael Moynihan, TD for Cork North-West and Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is a little over two months through.

As I pace through the corridors of Leinster House in search of political knowledge and experience on the basis that the art of politics is the noblest passion of the ruling mind, I have grown to appreciate the sacrifices and tenacity of purpose that characterises a typical Irish politician.

As a TD and spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, I have often been privy to Deputy Moynihan's tiresome and almost marathon involvements and engagements in numerous meetings, research and debates on burning national issues; so much so that I am tempted to wonder whether Irish politicians have life at all.

On a regular day, I am expected to attend to queries directed at Deputy Moynihan, conduct research on topical issues, be present in the Dail chamber to take notes on the day's proceedings, attend relevant committee meetings - one of which I had the privilege of meeting the EU Commissioner for Energy, Gunther Oettinger.

I was invited by Deputy Moynihan to attend the 55th Annual Sean Moylan commemoration in a small town called Kiskeam, Co. Cork. The respect paid to this Irish Civil War hero, turned politician, testifies that it does not matter what we think of politics in Ireland and elsewhere - It shall and will always remain a force for the good of humankind.

People of all political stripes, sons and daughters from all walks of life braved the biting weather to convene at Kiskeam in celebration of the life of this illustrious son. For a man that Eamon De Valera aptly described as "Soul of integrity", I will forever cherish paying homage at his graveside.

With these newfound experiences in my political tool kit and with almost four months left of my internship, who knows, the Opening Power to Diversity Scheme could herald the beginning of the emergence of Ireland's Obama!

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