Health Scan: Dominic Hannigan, Labour TD, Meath East


Do you think you have a healthy lifestyle?
I try to be as healthy as possible but there’s room for

The lifestyle of a politician is extremely unhealthy, particularly when the Dáil is in session, because you’re sitting on your arse from 9am to 10pm. You’re not really allowed to leave the House because there could be a vote. Although there is a gym, very few TDs use it. There is a bit of comfort-eating as well whereas outside term time, you have an opportunity to do a lot of walking around delivering leaflets.

How often do you exercise?
I go for long walks, for about three hours, at least once a week. It’s a mix of hill-walking and street-walking – basically just get out there and get the heart rate up.

Since the Dáil recess, I’ve walked for about three or four hours a day and have lost about half a stone in three weeks.

Do you get your five a day?
I’d eat between three and four. I’d have a banana every evening and at least one apple and one orange a day. In the office, I’d always keep fruit. I’m not a chocolate head.

Do you worry?
Not at my age. Stuff happens and I get over it. I wouldn’t be a worrier.

What do you do to relax?
I enjoy being outdoors, walking in particular. I get away for a week cycling in Europe every year. There are some great cycling routes around Europe. Last year, I cycled from Bratislava to Budapest.

What’s your unhealthiest habit?
It’s eating late after leaving the Dáil, stopping off and buying some crap because you haven’t had a chance to eat during the day. That’s the worst thing.

I don’t want to name any names but look around the chamber and towards June every year you’ll see the pounds on people. They come back in September looking a lot better.

Dominic Hannigan is a Labour Party TD for Meath East