INTERVIEW

My Tipperary Life with Jason Kennedy

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Jason Kennedy

My Tipperary Life with Jason Kennedy

Borrisokane native Jason Kennedy is an award winning journalist and a former recipient of the Simon Cumbers Award. Now based in Dublin, he works with Concern as a media relations officer

What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend in Tipperary?

I've moved away from Tipperary when I was 19 for college and I try to get home to Borrisokane as often as I can, which can be tricky. Whenever I get home, I make sure to see my nephews Ben and Finn and my niece Ayla, who I don't see as often as I would like.

The next time I get home, I'm sure Ben (10) will be taller than me, which I'm not looking forward to.
I always enjoy a sit down with all the local newspapers. I left journalism two years ago, but since I now work in media relations, I still consider myself a bit of a news fanatic.

My family home is just outside Borrisokane, so it's the perfect place to go to relax and get away from Dublin and there’s always lots to be done.

Who has made the greatest contribution to Tipperary in your lifetime - and why?

I was very inspired by the people of Borrisokane when they stood up to anti-immigrant protesters late last year and welcomed asylum seekers with kindness and respect. I'm always proud to be from Borris, but that was a particularly good day. I was particularly impressed with solicitor Michael Collins contribution when he called for compassion and kindness.

Today, it's also important to celebrate all the essential workers going to work to make sure that both country and county are well served and that those that are sick are in good hands and that those who are worried are comforted. I think it's also vital that Tipperary employers of all essential workers are making sure they are kept safe and well.

What's your first Tipperary memory?

I have very vague memories of mini-St Patrick's Day parades in Aglish, where I went to national school.

We were all kitted out in our rough-and-ready costumes. There were also the school's Christmas concerts, the most memorable was Snow White and the Eight Dwarves.

The teacher had to add an extra recruit, since four-year-old me got a wobbly chin at not being cast. I couldn't forget Tommy Dunne and Liam McCarthy making a special visit to the school not long after the Premier's 2001 All-Ireland victory.

What's your favourite part of the county - and why?

Terryglass is such a gem. I always enjoy going for a walk around the pier with the family dogs on a sunny day when it's nice and busy. Not to mention the top-class restaurants and bars only a walk away.

I have great memories of taking part in the village Arts Festival during the summer as a child and the brilliant fireworks display that would close it all off.

What do you think gives Tipperary its unique identity?

Tipperary people really do have a wicked sort of humour that will get you in trouble with other people. I also appreciate that everyone knows everyone else's business. I think that's where I got my nosiness from, which certainly benefitted me well in my career.

Is there anywhere else in the world where "well" is an appropriate replacement for "hello". I've had lots of Dubs give me confused looks when they hear me say that one over the phone.

Do you have a favourite local writer or author?

I have been very lucky to work with a lot of very talented writers over the years. Jason O'Brien is a fantastic foreign affairs writer and breaks down complex international issues to make them more accessible to casual readers and I've enjoyed Fionnan Sheahan's political writing long before I worked with him.

What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?

Like virtually everywhere else in the world, Tipperary is being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. It's hard to be away from family during something like this, especially when there's no end in sight. There are lots of brilliant local business around the county, so, hopefully, they will be well-supported by communities when normality ensues.

If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Tipperary, what would it be?

I would like to see more female politicians from Tipp in Dáil Éireann. There have been very few in recent decades and none in the last few years.