Kieran Walsh

Shane Ross was in Waterford this week at the Book Centre promoting his book on Mary Lou
McDonald, whom he profiled in the first major biography on the Sinn Fein leader.
He told the Munster Express that in his Dail period, and as a Minister he had a good relationship with
the Sinn Fein Leader and also with Sinn Fein TD for Waterford, David Cullinane.
He spoke well of David Cullinane, whom he sees as one of the Big Five in Sinn Fein. He believes he
would be a strong candidate for a Ministry and is impressed with him as a spokesperson for health.
He supported him on the drink driving bill and on the appointment of judges. Shane thought the
German rule of a separate education and training of judges is a good one and not the current Irish
system, where peers have a say and political influence plays a part.
He was willing to talk to him on the book but on later reflection declined as did other Sinn Fein TDs
in this biography that was written on Mary Lou, but she did not contribute to it. He says the book is
both critical and praiseworthy as he tries to let readers know more about her.
Shane felt that given her strength as a political leader, people will be curious about her given her
role in the future and discover about her life and back ground. She was a fellow PHD candidate like
John Halligan joined him in the Book Centre for the book signing. They were ministers together in
the last minority Fine Gael Government.
He praised John for his courage in politics and willingness to take on the Establishment.
He was closest to him in the independent group of TDs like Finian McGrath that supported the
minority Fine Gael Government. He was most loyal and articulate and he wished he would go back
to the Dail. He was not scared of vested interests in the pursuit of the greater good.
He hounded him on the subject of Waterford Airport and getting funding when he was tourism
Minister to get the runway expansion.
He said the civil service were not supportive of Waterford expansion and he met the board a number
of times.
He does see a future at Waterford and welcomed the new Comer brothers investment but more
detail is needed.
The option of air cargo routes is also good.
He believes that Dublin Airport is a monopoly and needs competition with another airport in Dublin
as Ryanair suggested and expansion in Waterford. A 9 million fund of public money plus 6 million
from investors was on the table.

It would help in expanding tourism in this underdeveloped region, which has much to offer for
business jobs and tourism, where the airport at Waterford can play a lead role. Covid did effect
plans at Waterford when they were in Government.
He was also supportive of SETU and money spent on education is well spent. The youth have had a
hard time since Covid and need more support.
He spent a year working on the book and went to Northern Ireland and other places and met
Republicans and ex IRA army council to add to his sources for the book and explain some of the
success of Sinn Fein, who are the number one party in the opinion polls.
He praised Bertie Ahern too for his peace process work and states that unionists trust him and that
he would be a great appointment as a special envoy to solve the protocol issue for Ireland. He knows
more about the issue than anyone and noted that he spoke in New Ross recently having met EU
Commission on the subject and Marcus Sekovic, who is the vice president.
He now writes weekly for the Sunday Independent and worked on the book 24/7 for the past year,
print production is in excess of 10,000 so much book signing to do yet.

Pictured at the Book Centre for the launch of Shane Ross new Book, Mary Lou McDonald, A Republican Riddle are, John Halligan, Shane Ross and Kieran Walsh, Editor & MD, The Munster Express.