Thursday, April 1, 2010

Forty Minute Ministerial Warning

Forty minutes notice - that is all that Wexford TD Sean Connick got in advance of Taoiseach Brian Cowen nominating him as a Junior Minister at the Department of Agriculture last week.

Speculation was rife in the weeks leading up to the reshuffle that Connick would be given the nod - but the 46-year-old New Ross man refused to think anything of it.

“I am part of the Brat Pack - all of the new lads that came in in 2007 such as Thomas Byrne, Niall Collins, Michael McGrath and Chris Andrews. There is a whole crew of really good young guys who have come in there who have great potential,” a modest Sean said.

By the time last Tuesday morning came, Connick had given up any hope of promotion to the Junior bench - but then came the call.

“I was sitting in my office and fielding some of the calls when I got a call from the Taoiseach’s office. Lourde had gone out to meet a constituent. I got a little piece of note paper and wrote ‘Lourde, gone to the Taoiseach’s office xxx’ and put it on the computer screen.”

“I got into the lift and (Senator) Geraldine Feeney was in the lift. She fixed my collar and said ‘if you are going over to the Taoiseach’s office, you need to be looking right’.”

“The Taoieach brought me into his own office - the first time I was ever in it - he shook hands with me and got a chair and sat in front of me away from the desk.”

“The first thing he said to me was: ‘how much weight have you lost now Sean? (referring to Sean’s successful participation in the RTE series Operation Transformation).

“I told him I was down about two stone. It was surreal. He explained the difficulties in both the country over the past 18 months and the difficult decisions that the Government had to take. He told me I had been working well and a position had arisen and he was wondering if I would consider taking on a job for him in terms of a junior ministry at the Department of Agriculture.”

“Needless to say, I said absolutely.”

He said the appointment was very emotional for him as it had been a great personal journey for him.

“When I had my accident 33 years ago this year, people would have thought what will become of Sean now because I was very badly injured.”

“But I went back to school and had some really great friends and family support and they have been brilliant with me throughout my life.”

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