A ROUSING rendition of ‘When the Saints Go Marching in’ erupted in Nemo Rangers GAA club when Thomas Gould was deemed elected on the first count in Cork North Central this week last year.
“It’s not too often a St Vincent’s man comes out to Nemo and comes away with a victory,” he told The Echo at the time.
Now, looking back on the day, he said: “I found it really humbling, especially after coming so close in the 2019 by-election. We were very hopeful we would retain the seat but to top the poll the way we did really shows how people were feeling at the time.”
Mr Gould said the biggest derailment Covid has had on his year is that he never got an opportunity to thank everyone who came out to vote for him. However, he has been fighting for the northside in Leinster House.
“Virtually every week, whenever I have the opportunity to speak in the Dáil Chamber, I use it to highlight how overlooked Cork North Central has been.
"Anyone who’s been following me will, I think, see that I have stood by my commitment to be a strong voice for Cork North Central.”
As a first time TD, Mr Gould said it hasn’t been what he expected: “I expected to have more time in the Dáil chamber to debate issues and to challenge the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, and the ministers but because of the Covid-19 restrictions our speaking times have been limited.
“I really wanted to come up here and take the system head-on. Saying that, I do love being a TD. For years I campaigned hard on the ground, I finally have an opportunity to bring these campaigns to the highest level and I relish the challenge.
“It’s busier than I ever expected but in a way that’s great because it means people are coming to me and asking for my help and I will always help in any way I can.”
One of the issues Mr Gould has highlighted in the past year is housing: “There is a huge cohort of people locked out of the housing market – they earn too much for social housing but not enough for traditional mortgages.
“The housing crisis appears to be getting worse not better and is a bigger issue now than before the election.”
He also highlighted his work on legislation on dual diagnosis - when somebody has a mental health and addiction issue – and said he was “proud to stand with Debenhams workers and work on campaigns locally such as the continued closure of Southdoc Blackpool and preventing the closure of Mount Cara House.”