Monday 23 April 2018

Minister Alan Kelly: 'My family lost absolutely everything in a house fire... My parents have one photograph from their wedding'

Environment Minister Alan Kelly
Environment Minister Alan Kelly
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Minister Alan Kelly has revealed that his parents lost their family home and life possessions in a devastating fire around 40 years ago.

The Deputy leader of the Labour Party, from Portroe in North Tipperary, said the devastating fire was a “formative experience” for his family.

Mr Kelly (39) told RTE Radio’s Sean O’Rourke: “I was just about to enter this Earth. My parents were actually at a Labour Party dinner dance for John Ryan and they came home [to the fire].”

“They lost absolutely everything... My parents have one photograph from their wedding left.”

“Literally with the help of neighbours and friends, [we] built our house.”

The Minister of Environment, Community & Local Government added: “It certainly shaped our family’s life and we always value the things we have and we work hard, because these things do shape your life.”

Mr Kelly said his parents had to work hard to provide the means for their children to get an education. He added that he has always been committed to the Labour Party after witnessing Dick Spring and his contemporaries speak when he was a child.

Mr Kelly, who has responsibility for Irish Water, insisted today that investing in Ireland’s water infrastructure is the right thing to do. He said Irish Water has now seen a 65pc compliance rate among the Irish public.

“The Government needs investment from a water infrastructure point of view. [Years ago] putting money into water, it wasn’t the sexy thing to do. It wasn’t the thing that was up there in.”

But he said: “The green island has to be protected.”

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