- 08 Apr 01
They are a hunted species, forced to live out their lives in covert(s) under constant threat from marauding hounds and their society masters. You’d imagine that a fox would know something about what it feels like to be gay in ’90s Ireland but not johnny fox, the independent TD for Wicklow. Here, he unleashes an unrestrained attack on homosexuality, the practice of which he believes should never have been decriminalised in this country. For good measure, he also has a go at the government’s ‘liberal agenda’, the European Community, Bord Fáilte and the standard of refereeing at GAA football matches. Interview: Liam Fay. Pics: Cathal Dawson
“The Foxes are the hunted species,” says Johnny Fox. “The family coat of arms is that we’re rather cute. We’re inclined to stay ahead of the pack and see the attacks coming from various different quarters. Sometimes, it’s nice to sit up on the bank and let the hounds go by.”
Johnny Fox is not related to Tom Foxe, the other independent TD, the one from Longford/Roscommon. He is, he declares, “only related through drink” to Johnny Fox’s Pub in Glencullen. He has never even heard of the Thin Lizzy album, Johnny The Fox.
What Johnny Fox undeniably is, however, is both an independent TD for Wicklow and a uniquely Irish patchwork of curious contradictions. A forty-six year old farmer and member of the Church of Ireland, from just outside Bray, Fox has spent fifteen years in politics, thirteen of them as a Fianna Fáil representative. Indeed, for most of his life, his intense loyalty to The Party was only surpassed marginally by his legendary devotion to Gaelic football and rugby.