not a member? click here to sign up
Each man in his time plys many parts
If, as The Bard had it, all the world’s a stage, then Green Paul Gogarty is a better actor than most. He’s been a New Romantic, a busker, a journalist and an editor before being elected to the Dáil. But even that is only half of it. In a remarkably open interview, he talks about the price of being in government with Fianna Fáil, his multiple identities on web fora, rumours that he was gay, the issue of depression – and the true story of his adoption.
Jason O'Toole, 27 Feb 2009
Are there any good looking female TDs in the Dail?
There’s not much choice in the female department, is there? It would be unfair to say TD ‘X’ is more attractive than ‘Y’! I’ll tell you who’s handsome – pretty – in her own way: Beverly Flynn has a certain nobility about the way she carries herself. And Mary Coughlan now! She has a very flirty way about her. I’d flirt with anyone! Even if I am married I’ll flirt with people! I have to say I actually find Mary O’Rourke to be quite engaging. Your last interview with Mary O’Rourke mentioned orgasms! I think politics is a replacement for orgasms for some people! I don’t mean her now – but some people get off on politics. The hottest thing about the Dail is the hot air that’s generated! It’s not naturally a profession that ‘looks’ benefited!
So, have you ever got hit on in the Dail?
Since I got into government, I’ve had a lot of Fianna Fail people getting a bit close for comfort! Putting their arm around you; patting you on the back. I’m kind of wondering what they’re looking for, but nobody has ever come on to me in the Dail, unfortunately! I’m still waiting (laughs)!
On a more serious note, I understand you were adopted. How old were you when you found out?
I always knew I was adopted. From the very start. I used to boast about being adopted. But then I had this teacher in fifth class and he said, ‘Is there anybody adopted in this class? I pity anybody who’s adopted!’ And I didn’t say anything. That was kind of hugely embarrassing. I was a bit mortified for a couple of years then. It was horrible. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I was saying it openly again. It’s not widely known; I don’t hide it, but at the same time I don’t want to make a song and dance about it. I don’t want to downplay the importance of my adopted parents and my adopted family.
How old were you before finally meeting your birth-mother?
When I was just turning 30, my mother Mary said, ‘Maybe you should meet your birth-mother because you might regret it if you don’t!’ I kind of felt I’d be betraying my parents if I did it. But I just kind of decided, ‘Well, fuck it – I’ll do that’. And it turns out that they were looking for me since I was 21. So, I found my birth-mother happened to be living only down the road, in Palmerstown. It was kind of funny because I met my birth-mother just before the local elections. My three younger sisters were living at home at the time and my birth-mother told them she had something to tell them. One of them twigged it and said: ‘Do we have a brother we don’t know about?’ They must have seen a photograph of me in the house, or something like that. And she said, ‘Yeah!’ – and she pointed to the election poster and said, ‘That’s him up there (laughs)!’ So, just before I got elected to the Council I met my birth family.