New mayor starts off on the right foot with walking group
POLITICS is a walk in the park for a newly elected mayor.
School principal Sean O hArgain, the new mayor of Kilkenny city, is stepping out with his constituents on Saturday mornings.
The Labour councillor shed a stone-and-a-half and ran three marathons after he decided to get fit for health reasons.
Now he wants to motivate his community to follow suit. Mr O hArgain has been leading walks around Kilkenny city.
The Kerry native, who settled in Kilkenny where he is married with two children, started his new term as mayor with a walk two weeks ago.
Now his entourage, which includes all ages, shapes and sizes, is increasing as word of mouth spreads.
Mr O hArgain rides his bicycle to work everyday, setting an example for his pupils at Gaelscoil Osrai. He also packs the mayoral chain in his rucksack when he cycles to official functions.
"I put on quite a lot of weight, like most men in their 30s, when I stopped playing teams sports.
"The kids were young and I was busy so I took my foot off the pedal. When I hit 40, I decided I wanted to do something for myself," he explained.
There is a history of heart disease in his family -- and it forced him to change his lifestyle. "My brother-in-law dropped dead suddenly coming out of an All-Ireland final," he said, before adding that he started running in 2007.
Mr O hArgain connected with Kilkenny group Fit For Life and dropped the weight.
"To put it bluntly, men have a shorter life expectancy than women do, we have to take control over it, it's very important."