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John Giles Has Nailed His Colours To The Mast In The Irish General Election

Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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For a long time, Johnny Giles was comfortably the most apolitical figure on the RTE panel.

Their beloved anchor Billo was a scion of the PR industry and was a close advisor to Garret Fitzgerald and Fine Gael in the 1980s.

His amigo on the panel has made his presence felt in numerous election campaigns down the years. Currently an avowed supporter of Sinn Féin, Eamon has previously functioned as a speechwriter for Garret's FG in 1982. In 1992, he got himself sued by Democratic Left leader Prionsias De Rossa, after making various libellous claims in an article demanding that the main parties leave them out of any coalition. And in 2007, he said he was voting for John Gormley and implored folk to dump Bertie Ahern and Fianna Fáil on the Late Late Show.

Gilesy, by contrast, appeared to have little interest. Speaking on Claire Byrne and Daithí O'Sé's daytime programme, 'The Daily Show' (d'you remember that?), Giles said he thought politicians were a 'breed apart' and the activity 'brought out the worst in human beings.'


Less ideologically well travelled than Eamon, Giles has nonetheless intervened in this campaign. He has endorsed Labour's Aodhan O'Riordan in Dublin Bay North.

Today, as reported by the Irish Times, Giles attended an event, ostensibly to promote the benefits of youth football, but which, in reality, was a set-piece in support of O'Riordan's re-election.

He first came to admire to O'Riordan when he was a headmaster in Sheriff Street and says he still likes him in spite of his new status as a politician.


Well I’m supporting Aodhán.

It goes back to when Aodhán was headmaster in Sheriff Street and he wasn’t involved in politics at that time.

I think he did a great job in Sheriff Street, a working-class area. I liked him and I didn’t know he was going to go into politics. But I still like him...

I think Aodhán works [with] fathers who maybe left home and whatever relationship they have with their children, soccer brings them back together again. It’s a very, very social way of doing it.

To those who know the background, his backing of O'Riordan is not a huge surprise.

In 2006, O'Riordan, then on Dublin City Council, was instrumental in erecting a plaque to Giles in his birthplace in Ormonde Square in Dublin City Centre.


Read more: Sinn Féin's Candidate In Mayo Is Making Very Ambitious 'Promises'


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