PARENTS of TDs are currently fretting over how to keep their kids entertained and out of trouble during their long summer break from the Dail.
The eight-week break from July to September has long been a source of headaches for families, with many having to turn to expensive summer camps to keep the ministers and TDs from getting restless.
“Our Leo just kept going on and on ‘Mam I’m bored, I’m bored Mam’, on and on” said Philomena Varadkar, mother of the Minister for Health.
“So I drop him off in a Cúl camp every morning, so that I can get the messages done. He loves it, he’s out enjoying himself and keeping active. And it’s good to know he’s safe, instead of out misbehaving. Last year he was out playing with some of the rowdier boys on the estate, and he came back with a broken collar bone. Wouldn’t tell me how he got it. ‘I fell, Mam’ is all he’d say”.
With both parents in many households working 9-to-5 jobs, the tricky issue of childcare can rear it’s head during the Summer months.
Michael Burton, father of Tánaiste Joan Burton, is fortunate enough to have someone to mind his daughter during the break.
“My Mam (Joan’s granny) is still alive, so we send Joan up to stay with her in the country”, said Mr. Burton.
“Mam loves having her, and it’s good for Joan to get out into the countryside, get a bit of fresh air. Mam does have her giving a hand on the farm, you’d just want to see it. She’s getting to the age now where she likes to act up for her friends, so I’d say this is the last year she’ll want to go stay with her gran. You try to keep them innocent for as long as you can, but they grow up so fast”.
Although normally a time for fun and holidays, many TDs are using the summer to brush up on their studies, Minister for the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh attending back-to-back Gaeltacht courses in Donegal, and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan getting grinds in business studies.
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