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5 minutes with Eamon Gilmore

The Tánaiste opens up about lunch with Enda Kenny, iPads, and why he doesn’t read newspapers any more.

Eamon Gilmore speaking to TheJournal.ie today
Eamon Gilmore speaking to TheJournal.ie today
Image: Stephen Kilkenny

EAMON GILMORE HAS “never worked as hard” in his life since he took office as the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affars in March.

In an interview with TheJournal.ie at our offices in Dublin today, Gilmore opened up about life in government, having inherited the worst economic crisis in the country’s history, and admitted there were many challenges but that he relished such opportunities.

Gilmore also spoke about his personal relationship with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and what he does to unwind among other things.

Gilmore on…his relationship with the Taoiseach

We’re in touch everyday, we work very closely together. We do occasionally (go to lunch).

Most of the communication that we have is dropping in and out of each other’s offices, talking on the phone and obviously talking at formal meetings that we have. We’ll probably talk a couple of times during the day about various issues.

Gilmore on…his technology

I have a Blackberry and I have an iPad. I do actually have TheJournal.ie app. I don’t use them (Facebook and Twitter) personally.

I think one of the difficulties that I have is time. Most of the time the main thing that I use the iPad for, and it’s mainly the one I use, is just getting my own emails, work related emails and messages.

Gilmore on…getting his news

(I use the iPad) for reading that I need to do in connection with the work that I do. Very often I’m directed to particular articles in the Financial Times.

I don’t read newspapers anymore, I tend to be told there’s an article in whatever and that I should go and read it so I go and collect it.

Gilmore on…unwinding

Well I mean family first of all. I have a home life and that’s obviously very important to me. I do a lot of walking. I’m fortunate to live in Shankill which is beside the sea which is great so I spend a lot of time along the seafront and then up the hills.

Then there’s my family home which is in Galway, I spend some time there with a big extended family and a lot of friends.

Gilmore on…the best thing about being in power

The challenge. I don’t think any incoming government has inherited the kind of scale of the economic crisis that we’ve inherited. I mean you couldn’t make it up. The banks in serious trouble, the state having a huge deficit, already in an EU/IMF programme, (and) the country’s reputation very badly damaged over the last number of years.

But that’s the challenge, the challenge is to turn that around. I think we’re succeeding. We did the 100 days a week ago and now 110 days in and I can confidently say that the country is in a better place today then it was on the day that we tookover and every single day we have to work to improve that.

Gilmore on…the worst thing about being in power

The worst thing about being in government is the time. It’s just the amount of hours that we have to put into it. Personally, it’s really really hard work.

I mean I’ve always been somebody that likes hard work, I think I have a very strong work ethic. (But) I can safely say, I have never in my life worked as hard as I have in the last four months, and I think it’s going to continue like that for the next four and a half years, for the entire duration of government.

But the objective is , the prize is, that we get the country out of recession. That we get it out of the EU/IMF programme, that we get people back to work.

I think we’re succeeding, we’re succeeding incrementally. There’s not going to be a great big bang success but incremently we’re going to turn it around and get it out of recession.

Read: Tánaiste expects a bailout interest rate cut this year >

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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