A BUSY SCHEDULE FOR HEATHER
It’s a busy week for local Fine Gael T.D. and Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys. When this reporter met her in Castleblayney on Monday morning, she had been on the road since 8.30am, leaving her home in Aghabog to start work at her constituency office in Monaghan by 9am. Her first public engagement was at the Íontas Centre, where she was the guest speaker at an event organised by Blayney Blades to celebrate International Women’s Day. In her speech she mentioned how important an influence her mother Emily had been and how two of her secondary school teachers had encouraged her to enter politics. She stayed for two hours, networking with a large group of women and passing on the welcome news that funding a network of 17 women’s groups throughout the country had been secured. Instead of taking lunch at the Centre, the Minister stayed in Castleblayney to meet a constituent before returning to her office in Monaghan around 1:45pm. She just had time for a small snack from a nearby café before heading off to Beech Hill College in Monaghan, where a woodwork room had been refurbished and equipment upgraded with the aid of a grant. She took the opportunity to speak to the principal and teachers as well as some of the students. After an hour at the College she returned once again to the Mall Road office at 3:30pm to carry out constituency work for three hours. By 7pm she was back home, taking the opportunity to do some packing for an official trip she is making to England this week. She is flying to London on Wednesday night and will be the main guest at a number of functions over the St Patrick’s weekend. On Friday evening the Irish ambassador Dan Mulhall hosts a reception at the Irish embassy and there will be a formal dinner to attend on Saturday night. On Sunday the Minister will join fellow Monaghan native Barry McGuigan at the head of the St Patrick’s Day parade in the British capital.
The Minister’s third public engagement on Monday was at Magheracloone Community centre (near Carrickmacross), where she attended the AGM of the local Fine Gael branch. It was the first time in recent memory that a government Minister had been present. Over a welcome cup of tea at the end of the meeting, Heather Humphreys explained that the following day (Tuesday) her diary would be taken up with a Cabinet meeting in the afternoon and a meeting of the 1916 Commemoration committee (which is one of her responsibilities) that evening. Wednesday would see her answering questions in the Dáil.
So after putting in a fourteen hour shift on Monday, it was time (10:30pm) for the Minister to return home. She told me she normally tried to keep Sundays free as a family day, a time she could enjoy with her husband Eric and their two daughters. She certainly has a busy schedule.
Tonight (Thursday) the Minister is in London, attending an Enterprise Ireland St Patrick’s Day reception at Trinity House (the body responsible for lighthouses). It is an opportunity to network with business people, many of them Irish, and to encourage investment in Ireland. This photo was posted on her twitter account @HHumphreysFG: