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The Mayor Necessities
Andrew Montague is coming to the end of his one-year term as Lord Mayor of Dublin. In a refreshingly candid interview, the Labour councillor talks about God, love, addiction, the Dublin Bike scheme which he initiated – and why we should have an elected Lord Mayor for the city.
Olaf Tyaransen, 27 Jun 2012
As we speak, he has just four weeks left as Lord Mayor…
OLAF TYARANSEN: What’s your earliest memory
I remember watching my brothers going to school before I was going to school. And I’ve strong memories of being in school in what we called ‘low babies’ and ‘high babies’. I had a fantastic teacher for the first couple of years, Mrs. O’Shaughnessy. We grew up in Santry, and we went to school in Larkhill and then St. Aidan’s on Collins Avenue.
I believe that you’ve just turned 11.
(Laughs) I was actually born on leap year’s day in 1968, so I’m 44 going on 12. Actually, it was a leap year this year so I invited all leap year children into the Mansion House and we had a big party here on February 29. That was a bit of craic.
You come from a large family?
Yeah, I have five brothers. I’m in the middle, I’ve one brother, Pat, who’s seven years older than me, and the youngest, Peter, is seven years younger than me.
What did your father do?
My dad was a publisher’s agent so he would have represented all the companies like Longmans or AMC Black or Unwin, and sold their books in Ireland. The house was always packed full of books – and still is from top to bottom. My parents are both very fit and well and active.
Was it a religious upbringing?
Yeah, both my parents would have been very strongly Catholic, and still are. But not necessarily in a dogmatic kind of way. They were involved and active – thinking people.
Did it rub off on you?
I wouldn’t be religious. I don’t believe in God. But I do respect the values of Jesus: forgiveness, for example, is a really powerful idea, a really important idea. And also loving one another and also loving the least of your brethren so that we’re all, even the lowliest people, equal. Those values are really strong and probably helped guide me. But I don’t believe in the afterlife. I stopped believing in God when I was about 16 or 17, and it’s been pretty much like that ever since.
Do you think Cardinal Brady should have resigned?