Wednesday 11 December 2019

‘I used to think I was curvaceous, but I’m obese’ – new junior health minister

*Corcoran Kennedy says people over use word ‘bullying’,
*Somebody thought the world would be a better place without me

Minister of State for Health Promotion: Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Photo: Tom Burke
Minister of State for Health Promotion: Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A new junior health minister has revealed that she used think she was “curvaceous” but now realises that she is actually obese.

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, who has responsibility for health promotion, also told the Dáil  yesterday evening of death threats she received during the General Election.

During a debate on the formation of a new strategy for the health service, the Offaly TD said people have to take “positive steps” to make sure they improve their own well-being.

She described it as a “sad fact” that one in four children are obese and more than half of adults are overweight.

And she revealed: “It’s something that I’m going to have to look into my heart about. I used to think I was curvaceous but now I’m told I’m actually obese so I better do something about it.”

As part of her new portfolio Ms Corcoran Kennedy said she will be encourage people eat better food and cut down on alcohol and tobacco.

The first-time minister then addressed a Dáil debate on mental health and told about how she sometimes feels down.

“We all experience anxiety. We all experience depression of one type of another. Some days you might be down and that’s normal enough. But if you can’t get back up that’s when you might be going into trouble,” she said.

And she warned that the word ‘bullying’ is losing its impact because some people are using it in a “facetious” way.

“The word ‘bully’ for me has very strong implications, whether it’s in the schoolyard or the workplace or whatever.

“But if that word is just thrown around and becomes something commonplace, then there isn’t the emphasis on it that there should be, and the recognition of how wrong it is and that there is action that needs to be taken,” she said.

Ms Corcoran Kennedy went on to describe how she finds social media “very, very challenging”.

“The level of negativity and vilification and viciousness that is tossed at public representatives as if we are figures of stone. As if we do not feel the same as everybody else. As if we don’t have a family the same as everybody else,” she said.

“During the election I gave up looking at it altogether. My life was actually threatened on social media.

“I don’t believe that the person who threatened me had any intention of carrying anything out but at the same time it wasn’t a very nice thing to think that there was a man somewhere in the country that thought the world would be a better place without me in it.

“And that he would be prepared to do time if I was removed from the world.”

She added: “That’s actually just a horrible thing to take in as a public representative and as a citizen of this country.

“It’s entirely wrong that that type of behavior from adults is tolerated because we wouldn’t tolerate it from children in the playground.”

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