Doyle in the eye of a storm

 

MONDAY MORNING up in GAA headquarters and we are talking Mick Wallace and stilettos. Aindreas Doyle and Eamonn Fennell, the Wexford and Dublin footballers, are on site. We all should be focusing on Sunday’s Leinster semi-final but this pair have chosen far too interesting career paths to be discussing sport.

Doyle has the “enviable job” of parliamentary secretary for the embattled independent TD.

“Busy two weeks, yeah, but interesting as well,” said Doyle of Wallace’s recent admission to knowingly making a false VAT declaration to the revenue. “It was difficult, emotional at times, but a great experience for me and great to be around that really.”

The pair first came into contact when Doyle played soccer for Wexford Youths, who Wallace managed. The public relations graduate, also armed with a Masters in Public Affairs and Political Communication, saw an opportunity to work in Dáil Éireann last year.

“Once Mick declared his candidacy I contacted him and said I would be interested in helping out. That’s how I ended up working for him.” What does a parliamentary secretary actually do? “It’s just dealing with the media,” Doyle explains. “Mick is very different from a lot of politicians because he attracts media for loads of different aspects of his life.

“My side of things would be dealing with people in Wexford. I suppose because I am from Wexford that is the connection, I know the area, I know the people. I deal with a lot of stuff that’s going on down there. There are different aspects; the social media, websites. That sort of stuff. It’s an interesting job.”

Despite being embroiled in the eye of a political storm, the 25-year-old’s preparations to face the All-Ireland champions have not been disrupted.

“It is nearly a help. There is so much stuff on the work front you don’t think about it as much. It will probably be more difficult if it was your first or second year as so much more is going through your head. You are kept going all the time because my degree is PR, even though that wasn’t my role, I just want to make that clear, and because it wasn’t my role, I could take a step back from it.

“Things were changing every hour. The whole situation, I could probably talk about it for a couple of hours, but it was such a fractious situation, it was just really interesting to be involved in it.

“There were people threatening to fight me at times, loads of crazy stuff coming in. Sometimes I find with the media they expect you to do their job for them.

“It is obviously different in sport. It’s almost as if it’s my job to make Mick talk to the Daily Mail or the Independent or whatever it is. . . . .”

The pandemonium is expected to calm this week. “It’s dying down a little bit. Some of the papers are still dragging it out. We have only five weeks now until the summer recess. I think it has taken a lot of heat off the Government for the last few weeks.”

Doyle’s current journey across the Irish political landscape is completely dependent on Wallace surviving the current scandal.

“Oh, I literally have the worst contract in the world. If he goes I go, that day, that minute.”

Earlier yesterday morning Fennell, the Dublin midfielder, told us about his equally unique method of earning a living.

“The company is called Trix N Trax. I’m after making a flat shoe that rolls up into a little ball and comes with a draw string bag so girls [when out for a night] can put their high heels in as well.

“This is my target audience,” he adds as the semi-circle of grown men burst into laughter. “Three companies – Essence, Bourgeois and Baptista – are all backing me and they are all making compact stuff to help me out with my company.” As a DJ with Phantom FM, Fennell already spends plenty of time gigging in Dublin pubs and nightclubs, but that is not what sparked the light-bulb in his head.

“This idea just came around from a girl I know who slipped in a nightclub and broke her ankle and there was nothing there for her. She sued the nightclub and got a fortune. So I’m helping the nightclubs out and helping the girls out! It’s all my own money. I have the other companies backing me but it’s my thing, they are coming into my company.”

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