Sunday 17 November 2019

Future holds few fears for President's husband

Majella O'Sullivan

Margaret Brady (right) and Teresa O'Neill with President Mary McAleese, who was a guest of the Virginia Show Committee in Co Cavan yesterday. Left: Dr Martin McAleese (left) with Tom O'Mahony of Active Retirement Ireland at its AGM in Killarney, Co Kerry, yesterday. Lorraine Teevan/Eamonn Keogh

HIS tenure in Aras an Uachtarain is coming to an end, but Dr Martin McAleese has no intention of growing roses in Co Roscommon just yet.

Dr McAleese said he didn't have any concrete plans for when his wife Mary's two terms as president come to an end.

But he has changed direction in his life a few times already and has no fear of doing it again.

"Age is catching up on me like everybody else but I have no fear of change and I think it's exciting and there's a certain buzz about the uncertainty of it," he said.

"I don't know what I'll be doing this time next year, but I know it will be something, and the fact that I don't know is what I find exciting."

Dr McAleese encouraged older men to become active in their communities and to realise they still had a lot to contribute at the Active Retirement Ireland AGM in Killarney yesterday.

He also championed the GAA's social initiative targeted at older men, of which President Mary McAleese is a patron.

"The whole question of ageism is very close to my heart and to Mary's heart. We all get to (a) point in our life when we start worrying about the next bit, but I think being active and being involved puts that age way, way down the line."

Dr McAleese said he was also concerned about the increase in the number of suicides among older men.

"That's a real concern and we have to address that and I presume a lot of it comes from isolation and loneliness."

He added: "The GAA social inclusion can have a huge impact on life in this country and the GAA is in pole position with its place in the community to address that and I feel proud to be part of that."

Irish Independent

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