Thursday 23 November 2017

I don't want sympathy but I've been getting a lot of it

People have been asking me what exactly it is that I'm supposed to have done, writes Willie O'Dea

A WEEK really is a long time in politics. Just over a week ago I was the Minister for Defence, a position I enjoyed immensely and a duty I performed with pride. With all that has been said about me by my detractors since I resigned from the Cabinet, I am glad to see that not one of them has taken issue with my role in charge of the Defence Forces.

Right now, the last thing I am looking for is sympathy, but of late I have been getting a lot of it and I have to say I cannot help but be thankful to the people who have shown me this kindness. I walk down the street in Limerick and the recurring theme is sadness that their local deputy is no longer at the Cabinet table and personal sympathy to me.

It might sound strange to say it after so many years in the public life, but I can't help being a bit self-conscious these days, especially back up in Dublin. You feel that people are looking at you and nodding to one another as you pass. And, of course, some of them have stopped me for a chat. They have been invariably polite and kind, but the recurring question seems to be: "Willie, what exactly was it that you are supposed to have done?"

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