Thursday, June 18, 2009

Politicians take to the hills - for charity1

TDs and Senators are preparing to dig their walking shoes out of the
wardrobe and hit the beat again - all in the name of charity and not

This Sunday sees the second annual Oireachtas Hill Walk taking place
in Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s back yard - the Slieve Bloom Mountains in
Co Offaly.

This year’s charity of choice is the Irish Heart Foundation and our
energetic TDs and Senators will be hoping to top the €6,000 they
raised last year for Autism Ireland.

Ringleader-in-chief of the Oireachtas crew is none other than
multi-All-Ireland-medal-winning Jimmy Deenihan - still one of the
fittest men in Leinster House.

Jimmy has become the fitness tzar in Leinster House, organising
soccer, GAA and hurling matches among Oireachtas members.

Joining Jimmy this year on his mountain walk will be Senator Fidelma
Healy-Eames, Senator Ivana Bacik and Deputies Ciaran Cuffe, Chris
Andrews and Liz McManus.

And it won’t be an easy afternoon out for our politicians - they will
be professionally guided along a 15 km trek!

Tzar Deenihan said the money raised through this walk will be ploughed
into the Irish Heart Foundation’s CPR programme for schools.

“A walk through the Slieve Bloom mountains is relatively easy. It
wouldn’t be as hard as the MacGillycuddy Reeks. It will be an
all-party exercise - there are representatives from all parties both
in the Dail and the Seanad taking part,” he said

As the sponsored trek will take place in Brian Cowen’s backyard, he
has been asked to officiate at the starting of the walk but a busy
schedule on the day may prevent him from actually taking part in the

Speaking of his fellow politicians, Tzar Deenihan said their fitness
levels are ‘reasonably good’ but he said he would like to see more of
them using the Oireachtas gym to fine tune their fitness.

“TDs and Senators, because of their heavy schedules, find it hard to
find the time to use the gym. The gym has basic equipment but enough
for good cardio training and weight training,” he said.

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