Being a twin brings ‘a great sense of strength’ - Taoiseach

Study shows twins are on the rise and Micheál Martin can vouch for the benefits

Taoiseach Micheál Martin did not always do his homework. That is to say, his twin brother Padraig did some of it for him. And Micheál did some for Padraig. It is the simple reality of labour economics and it is not cheating if you have a twin, right?

"When I went to secondary school I was kind of good at the English and he was good at the maths," the Taoiseach explained in a part interview, part confessional on RTÉ's Home School Hub on Thursday morning.

“He’d go off and get the sums done with other pupils and I’d do the English; I’d write his essay and my essay and he’d have the sums sorted... we helped each other out.”

A new global study published on Friday shows that more human twins are being born than ever before. While it may mean double-trouble for parents, there is an advantage for the children involved, as the Taoiseach observed.


“It’s a great sense of strength being a twin.”

Mr Martin has previously spoken of the "very strong friendship" he and his brother have. "I was the extrovert. He'd kind of back me up physically," the Taoiseach previously told The Irish Times.

Padraig, also known as Paudie, also supported his brother through years of canvassing on doorsteps though he didn't have the same success at the polls. In 2009 he missed out on a seat on Cork County Council amid controversy over Fianna Fáil's candidate selection policy for Carrigaline.

In Thursday’s made-for-children interview, Mr Martin spoke about growing up in Cork, breaking a front tooth playing rugby on the street and how he finds bringing his dog Setanta on walks helps to lighten the mood of passers-by.

He also described how lack of confidence was a predominant issue in youth, something he said he tried to address when he worked as a teacher.

“I remember my first television interview, I was afraid: would I do alright?” he recalled.

“People believe they can’t do things. They actually can but they are afraid they can’t. We all have that.”

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times