Consider the following:

Biffo and Dermot Ahern were solicitors.

Micheál Martin, Mary Harney, Mary Hanafin and Noel Dempsey were secondary school teachers.

Mary Coughlan was a social worker.

Brian Lenihan was a lecturer and qualified barrister.

Willie O’Dea was a qualified barrister and accountant.

Batt O’Keeffe was a lecturer.

Brendan Smith was a political handler.

Éamon Ó Cuív was a Co-op manager.

Martin Cullen was a wine salesman.

John Gormley ‘ran an academy of European languages’, and Eamon Ryan set up a bike shop.

That means that out of the fifteen members of the cabinet, only the Greens have actual entrepreneurial experience.

In fairness to Ó Cuiv and Cullen, at least they worked in the private sector. Most of the rest worked only in the public sector (mostly as teachers) although lawyers are caught in a grey space between the public and private sector, depending on the nature of their practice.

Some became TDs quite young, and so only worked in ‘real jobs’ for a year or three before entering politics fulltime. Coughlan was 21, barely out of college. Biffo and Harney were 24. Several come from political dynasties.

Ever wondered what these people know of the real world?

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.


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