Hayes leaves Great and Good in the dark for Newgrange 'mystical event'


AND AFTER that, here’s a refreshing blast of openness and transparency to restore a little faith in the political system.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance Brian Hayes, who is charge of the OPW, gets to decide who can go inside the passage tomb at Newgrange for the Winter Solstice. This year, it’s on December 21st.

He was lucky enough himself to welcome the dawn there last year. Just 24 people are allowed into the chamber to experience the special light at sunrise.

“People would give anything for a golden ticket to view this mystical event. The only chance they have is if they win one in the annual lottery. But when I went there last year, I discovered that when you took out the VIPs and the political hangers-on, only three out of the 24 were members of the public,” he says. “I’m changing this. There’s no VIPs or hangers-on allowed this December.”

Half of the people who will attend were selected last week. Twelve lucky names were drawn from more than 30,000 people who applied for a ticket. The remainder will be the six winners of a schools art competition for 10- to 13-year-olds, along with their guardians. “I suppose if a child from Dublin South West wins it’ll be seen a stroke” says Hayes. “But I won’t be part of the judging panel and, rest assured, I’ll have all the documentation to back up the final decision.”

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