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Hectic day with work and then canvassing for this pregnant mum


Kathleen Funchion pictured getting ready for the day with her son
Emmet, aged three

Kathleen Funchion pictured getting ready for the day with her son Emmet, aged three

Kathleen Funchion pictured getting ready for the day with her son Emmet, aged three

A THREE-year-old son, a husband running for election in a neighbouring county -- and being five months pregnant has not put one woman off going for the Dail.

Kathleen Funchion (31) is determined to make her mark in politics while enjoying a normal, albeit hectic, family life.

The young Kilkenny mother is running as a Sinn Fein candidate for Carlow-Kilkenny.

She is already a sitting councillor and has the experience of running for election in 2007, when she missed out on a seat.

Yesterday, Kathleen's alarm went off at 7.45am. But before she set off to her day job with SIPTU, she had to get her little boy up and dressed.

"I had to wake Emmet. He had an ear infection last week so he's sleeping right through now, his times are a bit off. But he finished his antibiotics and he's much better today."

She brought Emmet, who will turn four on election day, to playschool in Kilkenny before setting off on a commute to the SIPTU office in Wexford to do a day's work.

"My dad Phil and mum, Kathleen, are brilliant. Sometimes they have Emmet in the morning and bring him to playschool in the afternoon. They're great, I'd be lost without them," she said.

Kathleen's parents are proud of their daughter's achievements and were the first to ring her after they watched her performance on TV3's 'Tonight With Vincent Browne' last week.

"They're very supportive but now and then they worry and my mother, more so, would say, 'Are you mad?' She's always telling me to mind myself and be careful not to overdo things."

Kathleen works four days a week as an official with SIPTU and she saves Friday to spend time with her son.

Kathleen is married to Waterford Sinn Fein councillor David Cullinane, who is also running.

"It is crazy at the moment, but you get through it. When I'm tired, everything gets on top of me -- but then I feel great when I have a good canvass and get feedback."

At the moment, Kathleen hasn't been able to sit down with her family at normal meal times and she either eats at her parents' house, or has something on the run.

"We usually have dinner as a family, but just with the campaign I'm out canvassing straight after work at the moment. I'm starving the whole time now with being pregnant so I have to watch what I eat, it's too easy to be getting take-aways."

The Sinn Fein councillor said there is "huge anger" on the doorsteps, with some people saying they will not vote at all.

"That's a sad situation, but I'm glad people are more politically aware and more tuned in than in the last election."

Kathleen first ran for the Dail when she was just 27. But, at the time, the country was a very different place. Then, the issues worrying the public were anti-social behaviour and house prices.

"Now it's jobs, jobs, jobs and the economy."

Kathleen and her team canvassed all over Kilkenny last night before she attended a carers meeting in the city. She finally made it home after 10pm and collapsed into bed.

Usually Kathleen likes to "switch off" in the evening and prefers to spend time with her son and watch cartoons instead of serious political programmes.

"I have to catch up the laundry too, so it's a chance to forget about serious political issues for an hour or two, otherwise it would take over your whole life."

Irish Independent