FAMILY TIME Deputy Alan Dillon speaks about his summer plans.
As reported in last week’s Mayo News, we sat down with Mayo’s four TDs in Leinster House ahead of the political summer recess, which started on Thursday, July 14. After the serious questions, we had time to ask them about their plans for the summer ahead and what they are looking forward to most as they return home to their local constituencies.
"It is a demanding job"
Fine Gael TD Alan Dillon is glad to be getting some time out. “I am looking forward to getting back down into the constituency and go to some events and certainly spend some time with my family and friends because it is a demanding job,” he said. The Ballintubber native and first-time TD is now in the role a full two years and, as he revealed in last week’s Mayo News, he’s found the time ‘challenging’, with the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis.
“It does take a lot of time in terms of your commitments and I am looking forward to relaxing, unwinding and recharging the batteries,” he added.
"I really can’t wait to get out and about"
It was a definitive answer from Ballina’s Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary, who’s anticipating a sociable summer back home in Mayo.
“I am actually looking forward to get out and about again, looking forward to get down home to enjoy the festivals and seeing people again,” he said. Before Calleary heads back to Leinster House from summer recess, he is hoping to take in a few Ballina Stephanites games in the Mayo club championship.
“Club championship will be kicking off in August and seen as we have no All-Ireland this year I am looking forward to that … and I am looking forward to get a break at some stage as well… but I really can’t wait to get out and about, to enjoy a great summer in Mayo and hopefully we get a good bit of decent weather as well.”
"I have a huge backlog"
Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh was equally as excited at the prospect of summer gatherings. “I am looking forward to get back to Mayo. I am really looking forward to the festivals and meeting groups of people again,” she said.
The Deputy also spoke about the ‘backlog’ that she is facing into this summer.
“I mean I have a huge backlog that I am working towards all of the time, so there are meetings that I need to have, that have been put on hold in Mayo because we have been up here [in the Dáil] and involved in legislation and all of that, trying to drive things forward, so it really and honestly it is going to take me the whole of the summer to just clear the backlog and to catch up.
“We have been ordered to have a two-week complete break from politics, that was the order from (Sinn Féin President) Mary Lou McDonnell, so I am hoping to have two weeks with the family, but that would be the size of it.”
"The talk-shop might be closed but we will be working away"
Taking some ‘time out’ is not the way Westport TD Michael Ring rolls. Now in his 28th year as a Deputy he says he is going to be ‘very busy’ during his summer break.
“We might be leaving [Leinster House for the summer] but the workshop is open at home, and that is the office – and we are always very busy. The talk-shop [The Dáil] might be closed but we will be working away. I will back here [Leinster House] again next week, as I will be on a committee for agriculture,” said Ring.
When asked about a holiday to recharge, Deputy Ring says he will be taking a short break. “So, I am taking my holidays; I close my office every year for the first two weeks of August and I will be doing the same this year.
“I am taking a week’s holiday this year. I am not one that goes for the sun, but I am going this year.”