TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has spoken candidly about his family, and dealing with the loss of Ruairí and Léana, two of his five children.
On RTÉ’s The Meaning of Life, Mr Martin spoke with Joe Duffy and reflected on how life has shaped his opinions, values, and beliefs.
He told Duffy about the impact of losing his children. “I can still remember the phonecall in the early hours of the morning from Mary to say Ruairí’s being taken to the hospital and I don’t think he’s going to make it… it’s hard you know, all your certainties are gone in life,” Mr Martin said.
“But Mary has a great philosophy of how each person would deal with grief and trauma differently and, I think, by and large, that has stood to us. We allow that space for each person in the family to deal with it differently,” he said.
Mr Martin also spoke about how his local sports club, Nemo Rangers, was an “oasis” for himself and his family during “terrible traumatic times”, and a place where the community saw him as “not the minister or the taoiseach… just Micheál”.
He discusses the motivation and principles that help him face the storms of political life.
Speaking about what sustained him through an onslaught of political crises during the early days of his leadership of Fianna Fáil, soon after the death of his daughter, he said: “Some of it was instinct to keep going... but, also, you can’t leave in the middle of a crisis... I think you’ve got to try and fix it and work to do the best you can in relation to it. I think there’s an obligation.”
The interview is the first in a new series of The Meaning of Life, which will air on Sundays at 10.30pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player.
In his third season at the helm, presenter Duffy interviews eight public figures.
Other guests this season include Cáit O’Riordan, musician and former bass player with the Pogues; Paul McKenna, self-help author and hypnotist; Liz Nugent, crime fiction writer; Alastair Campbell, journalist, mental-health campaigner, and former British prime minister Tony Blair’s ‘spin doctor’; Valerie Mulcahy, Cork’s 10-time All-Ireland ladies’ football player; Joan Freeman, former senator, presidential candidate, and founder of Pieta House; and comedian, actor, and writer Ardal O’Hanlon.