He was previously a Senator from 2000 until he was elected TD in 2002, representing the constituency of South Kildare. He has held his seat in each subsequent general election since 2002. On January 21, O Fearghail will lead the centenary commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first public sitting of Dail Eireann in a special sitting of both houses of the Oireachtas in the Mansion House.
What’s the best advice you ever got about money?
Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. This was advice given to us as children by our late mother, Bridie.
What’s the most important lesson about money which your career as a politician has taught you?
That revenue is essential in order to provide quality public services, and that there should be no correlation between availability of funds and electoral success.
What’s the most expensive thing about being a parent?
Third-level education is the most expensive, but the most valuable and worthwhile expense.
What’s your favourite Irish saying about money?
Gheibheann pingin pingin eile. (One penny gains another.)
What’s your favourite Irish coin or note?
The €50 note – because I lived many years before I handled one.
What’s the most expensive country you ever visited?
The United Arab Emirates. It cost €30 for a chicken sandwich!
Apart from property, what’s the most expensive thing you have ever bought?
What was your worst job?
Selling life insurance in the early 1990s.
I disliked the cynical and orchestrated nature of the effort.
What was your biggest financial mistake?
Buying a property for use as a constituency office at the height of the market in 2003.
What was your best financial killing?
I’ve never had a financial killing but in 1970, at 10 years of age, I inherited the family farm from my grandfather.
Are you better off than your parents?
Financially, I most definitely am, but I don’t think that I am any happier.
If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?
I’d give a generous donation to Trocaire, an amount to each of my immediate family members, and take a lengthy cruise with my wife.
What do you think has changed most about the day-to-day finances of Irish people over the last 100 years?
While pressures on people have increased, personal income has increased significantly.
iTunes or Spotify?
What was the last thing you bought online?
Would you buy property now?
Yes. I’d buy land – because I have a farming background.
Do you ever haggle?
Yes. The best deal I got haggling was over a leather jacket while on holiday in Turkey 25 years ago.
What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?
VHI, our car, and my mobile phone.
Sunday Indo Business