US President Barack Obama’s eighth cousin Henry Healy became a casualty of the economic downturn yesterday after losing his job of seven years.
The Co Offaly native was thrust onto the world stage in 2007, when American genealogist Megan Smolenyak discovered President Obama’s Irish ancestral home in Moneygall and his connection to Mr Healy.
Since then, Mr Healy has had countless official and media engagements, visited the White House, and played host to the President and First Lady during their historic Irish visit on May 23, 2011.
Despite losing his job as a bookkeeper at a plumbing firm, Mr Healy was thankful for the seven years of employment at the company. He described his former employer as “a brilliant boss” and said he considered himself “very fortunate” to have remained working in the construction sector for so long.
While employed at the company, Mr Healy said he wasafforded a great deal of flexibility to attend various events and engagements: “I couldn’t say a bad thing about them,” he said.
Mr Healy has revealed an interest in becoming a secondary school teacher. In March, he began a part-time college course studying for a professional diploma in education.
Should a job opportunity arise in the meantime, Mr Healy said he would gladly accept. “I’m on the lookout straight away. My college course is two years long so I will need something,” he said.
Although the loss of a job is difficult, Mr Healy said: “That’s just the way things are today. There’s plenty of people out there in the same boat.”
The Fianna Fáil member was quick to rule out a career in politics. “We have fine representation down here,” he said, insisting he would not have the thick skin required for the job.
A number of people have offered their commiserations on the job loss, Mr Healy said. “The thing is to keep positive. Hopefully it won’t be for too long.”
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