not a member? click here to sign up
I life less ordinary
In the final months of his battle with cancer, TONY GREGORY sat down with Hot Press to discuss his life and career. Knowing it would be his final interview he was in a reflective frame of mind.
Jason O'Toole, 23 Jan 2009
Do you really think so?
I don’t know! I mean, after 26 years you do start to say, ‘Have I wasted my life at this?’ Politics is a constant thing where you’re involved almost 24 hours a day, literally, and you tend not to be involved in anything else. There are times when you look back and you forget the worthwhile moments and you say, ‘What the...?’ You know? But having said that, we are discussing this retrospectively. Ah, I don’t like concentrating on regrets. So, I’ll leave all the comments to the historians about whether my role was worthwhile or not.
It appears that politics was all consuming for you. You didn’t get married or have children. Do you regret that now?
It’s one of my big regrets, but I wouldn’t blame that on politics. I think that’s the result of one’s life experience. Politics was a contributory factor, in that you’re facing constant elections and are concentrating on other things, but it wouldn’t be true to say that because of politics I isolated myself from any sort of family life. Things just didn’t work out.
When you say “things just didn’t work out”, do you mean unrequited love?
There was a certain amount of unrequited love going way back, but I got over that a long time ago. That was in my early 20s. I met my long lost love through the UCD Republican Club. She was a student in UCD too. She was from the southside. But I won’t go into that with you! You can’t use that as the reason – it just didn’t work out. It’s as simple as that. But one of the regrets I would have as a person is that I don’t have a family. There was a time – a year or two ago – I would have said, ‘Listen, I’m not dead yet! It could still happen!’ But I couldn’t say that now...
During your last interview with Hot Press back in the mid-’80s you said that you don’t have great faith in God. I got the impression that you didn’t want to declare yourself as agnostic simply because you didn’t want to offend your older constituents, many of whom would’ve been very religious.