Coveney ‘nearly lost’ his family

The minister told 'The Saturday Night Show': 'If I was to lose my seat at the next general election, I'd be OK with that quite frankly. But if I were to lose my family, that would be a life-changing moment for me in terms of failure.'

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has admitted that he nearly lost his family at points in his career due to work commitments.

In a frank interview on RTÉ’s The Saturday Night Show, Mr Coveney admitted that there were times he feared he may lose his family due to spending “too much emotional time immersed in your job”.

“If I was to lose my seat at the next general election, which could happen, I’d be OK with that quite frankly. I’d move into another career. I’d be equally as enthusiastic and positive and focused and energised but if I were to lose my family, that would be a life-changing moment for me in terms of failure. That has nearly happened to me at points in my career.”

The Cork-based minister said he was away from home for most of the week and that he didn’t get to see his three daughters as much as he would like due to a heavy schedule of work commitments.

“The reality is that I am away for probably four nights a week every week and when I am at home, I am at functions for at least two of those three nights. So I am one of these unusual fathers who hopes that my children won’t sleep at night so that I can see them when I come back,” he said.

Mr Coveney said he did not want to “play the wounded soldier” and was very passionate about his job, but felt it was important that people put their work and family life into perspective.

“I think people need to get a reality-check at times in terms of getting perspective because you need a home base and a platform to operate from as a person in life, and your career and the success of your career is often a springboard from that,” he said.

Mr Coveney also admitted that he “came from nowhere into politics” and that his surname got him elected in the by-election caused by the tragic death of his father Hugh in 1998.

“I wasn’t particularly well known in Cork because I would have been in school outside of Cork and I would have spent most of my college life outside of Cork as well. So it’s very unusual in a city like Cork, which is very tightly knit in terms of networks for somebody to get elected who hasn’t really grown up in Cork schools and developed a career there.”

“I probably got elected on the back of a sympathy vote if I’m honest.

“But since then, I have had multiple elections and managed to stay in public life and now I am lucky enough to be in government and able to actually get things done rather than just talking about it.”


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