Tuesday 12 December 2017

Nulty dreamt of being TD – now he's a recluse

OUT ON HIS OWN: Patrick Nulty is afraid to leave his home. Photo: Mark Condren
OUT ON HIS OWN: Patrick Nulty is afraid to leave his home. Photo: Mark Condren
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

SOMETIMES you can't help but back the underdog. It's ingrained in our psyche – that sense of support for the person or team who is likely to finish second best.

Patrick Nulty has spent most of his life playing the role of the underdog, but it never appeared to faze him.

He has been forced to live with permanent scars which he sustained when he was just two weeks old during a fire at his grandmother's home in Dublin.

The incident also left Nulty with a hoarseness in his voice as a result of severe smoke inhalation.

When I first met Patrick Nulty at an event in Galway eight years ago, we openly discussed his injuries.

He told me that they had been the subject of bullying in school and at times had damaged his self-esteem.

But despite the obvious challenges posed by the injuries, Nulty insisted that they would not define him.

In fact, they appeared to drive him on in his pursuit of a career in Irish politics.

Patrick Nulty displayed all the signs of a man who entered politics for the right reasons. He cared deeply about helping those on the breadline.

He was determined to fight for people who could not fight for themselves. Without doubt, it is these qualities that are needed more than ever within the walls of Leinster House.

When the news broke last Saturday that Patrick Nulty had resigned his Dail seat, even his closest friends were in disbelief.

The subsequent revelations of lewd and highly inappropriate text messages have devastated those close to Nulty, particularly his parents.

One source close to Nulty told the Sunday Independent that he is now effectively a recluse who is afraid to leave his home because of the shame of being seen.

"He's crushed, a broken man," the friend said.

But it is the impact that his actions have had on his family that is proving particularly difficult for the 31-year-old.

Not even the best lawyer in the world could successfully defend the actions of Nulty. He abused the trust of his constituents – the very people whom he entered politics to represent.

But unlike some individuals who have previously held office, Nulty is not corrupt. He is not a fraudster.

And, as it appears, he did not break the law.

While Nulty immediately apologised for any hurt and distress he caused as a result of his actions, nobody is hurting more than him. For he has now lost the very thing that he had dreamt of since he was a teenager – the job of being a TD.

Sunday Independent

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