1. Who have you worked with that has most inspired you in your career, and how?
During my career in farming and politics, I would have to say my father. At the age of 17, I began working alongside him on the farm and learned about good judgement and reflecting before making a decision, which I believe, is important in any line of work. He was also very much part of the community and I learned a lot about local issues and community engagement from him, something that served me well in later years.
2. How would you describe your political/leadership style in three words?
Keeping it real!
By that, I mean I am positive but pragmatic and believe the best solutions are found in realism rather than idealism. I also like to think I am a unifier and try to bring people together to find compromise, which is extremely important in my role as a member of the European Parliament.
3. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
I have ran 10 marathons. The most interesting one was London but my most memorable was probably my second run in Dublin where I set a personal best of 3 hours 33 seconds. It was just five days after my late father was laid to rest so it was dedicated to him. I am determined to do an 11th marathon and look forward to training properly again, if I ever find the time.
4. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
It’s no surprise that I enjoy fitness and sport so when I do find time, I relax by supporting my local football club Dundalk FC and going for a run or a cycle. I am also lucky to live very close to a beach so an early morning stroll to clear the head is a must - rain, hail or shine.
5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
I recently read ‘An Unsung Hero’ by Michael Smith, which tells the fascinating story of Irish explorer Tom Crean. The biography documents his three major Antarctic expeditions and his heroic acts in some grueling conditions. It’s story of endurance, courage and extraordinary achievement.