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The Floating Voter: 'Some of the comments on social media were mortifying, but the family think it's fantastic'


Richard Bruton’s abs were compared to those of Russian premier Vladimir Putin and 007 actor Daniel Craig.

Richard Bruton’s abs were compared to those of Russian premier Vladimir Putin and 007 actor Daniel Craig.

Richard Bruton’s abs were compared to those of Russian premier Vladimir Putin and 007 actor Daniel Craig.

Fine Gael parliamentary party chairman Richard Bruton said he felt mortified, rather than objectified, by reaction to his topless appearance in a promotional video for tourism in north Dublin.

Mr Bruton (67) became a social media sensation when images of his toned physique featured in a promotional video for staycations.

"I didn't dream that it would go viral," the former minister told Independent.ie's 'Floating Voter' podcast. "It's not something I'm used to, that sort of attention. It was all a bit of fun. I wouldn't take it seriously and it doesn't upset me in any way. The family think it's fantastic."

Mr Bruton said some of the online comments were "mortifying" and he was "delighted" the Dáil recess came on Thursday night so he could avoid the jibes of his TD colleagues.

"I was delighted with the recess last night and delighted to wear a mask so I could slink around the corridors of the Convention Centre and not be noticed," he said.

He said the secret to staying fit in your sixties is regular exercise and a good diet. Mr Bruton said he does not obsess about his diet but doesn't eat sweets. "It's a nice outlet to release yourself if you're under pressure, but I would be a moderate drinker," he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Bruton hit out at the "hysterical" and "attack dog" Dáil debates which he says are being instigated by Opposition TDs.

He said the Government was right to give more Dáil speaking time to Coalition TDs who struggled to secure debating slots during the last administration. "That relentless diatribe in the Dáil isn't good for the sort of politics I believe in, which is evidence-based policy making and exchanging genuine views," he added.

Mr Bruton said the change will mean backbench government TDs will have more opportunities to speak on legislation, which were not afforded to them in the last Dáil. "It still leaves the Opposition with the vast majority of the time, it doesn't restrict the amount of time the different parties get; but it gives a chance for 69 of us, and I am one of them, to speak about issues of the day."

Separately, Mr Bruton, who just completed a review of Fine Gael's 2020 General Election campaign, said the party's "core weakness" is its failure to connect with sections of the public while in government.

He said he will be "holding ministers' feet to the fire" to ensure they introduce changes which will show how effective Fine Gael can be in government. "As a party I don't think we have been effective at either promoting what we've done or in connecting with people to show them what we are doing is solving problems that people experience," he said.

"I will be expecting metrics from our ministers and from the organisation so we can genuinely look and see if we are changing or are we still remaining the same. Unless there is that prodding, someone holding people's feet to the fire, as they say... that has to be a part of the change and I will be determined that toes will be held to the fire," he said.

Irish Independent