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The Mayor Necessities
Andrew Montague is coming to the end of his one-year term as Lord Mayor of Dublin. In a refreshingly candid interview, the Labour councillor talks about God, love, addiction, the Dublin Bike scheme which he initiated – and why we should have an elected Lord Mayor for the city.
Olaf Tyaransen, 27 Jun 2012
Are you a vegetarian?
So you care for animals, but you still eat them?
Yeah… (laughs). I would prefer to eat animals that would at least have had some kind of decent life. Thankfully in Ireland our cattle and our sheep are reared outdoors in a pretty good environment. I’m not totally au fait with how pigs are reared at the moment. When I was working in Ireland to me they were battery pigs essentially, and so I would have avoided pork.
After you retired as a vet, you moved into website design.
My second choice after veterinary had always been computer science and I was really lucky that way back in 1980, before there was Windows, my maths teacher taught us computer programming.
He taught you Basic?
Yeah, Basic. I hadn’t touched computers since school. It was all database and spreadsheets and word documents, and I really enjoyed all that stuff. I dropped into a few website design courses and was blown away by the possibilities. When I learned how easy it was to build a website, I just thought it was a new medium – it was like radio being discovered, and I was so excited about it all. So I set up a website design company.
Was it successful?
I was able to make a living out of it. But not long after I started it up, I got into politics. So they kind of worked well together because it’s very flexible. If somebody wants a website they want it by next month, you know. It’s not by five o’clock tomorrow, and so if I have a constituency meeting or if I’ve to go and meet a residents’ association you can work around it. I wouldn’t have been making big money out of either. Together it was very nice. Since about 2008, I’ve been 90% politics and only a small amount of the web.
When did you first become involved in politics?
I suppose I got the interest from my family, from my parents, and from my older brother. Current affairs was always on the TV. My dad was from the North – so Northern Ireland current affairs featured a lot. When I first got interested in politics, there were three parties. Even as a teenager, I perceived Fianna Fáil as being corrupt. It was obvious...