Cuddles and kisses for 'best gran'
A PENSIONER has credited Charlie Haughey with helping her clinch the title of Grandparent of the Year.
Pauline O'Regan (70), from Wilton in Cork, doesn't drive so the free travel scheme for seniors initiated by the late Taoiseach is her lifeline to her six grandchildren, ranging in age from two to 13, who live in Maynooth, Co Kildare.
She said that without the free travel pass to travel the 550-kilometre round trip, she would not be able to visit them regularly.
She beat out 1,000 other entrants for the coveted title thanks to a poem that her grand-daughter Emelia Deane (10) penned about her.
"For a person that lives far apart she shares so much in my heart, she's always there no matter what, Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, the lot. Winner or no winner, she's a winner to me, she's the best gran that I'll ever see," she had written.
Dermot Kirwan, spokesman for Friends of the Elderly, which hosted the competition, said: "Pauline is a wonderful grandmother and her grandaughter Emelia's winning nomination shows that we don't have to live close to our grandparents to have a close and loving relationship with them."
Mrs O'Regan said she was delighted to be chosen Ireland's top grandparent this year.