My Kildare Life interview with James Lawless

Sarah Peppard talks to the local politician

Sarah Peppard

Reporter:

Sarah Peppard

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editor@leinsterleader.ie

My Kildare Life interview with James Lawless

TD James Lawless

WHAT'S YOUR FIRST KILDARE MEMORY?

I spent a part of my honeymoon in Kildare! Ailish and I had just bought our first house in Sallins, though we weren’t living here yet, and we had some paperwork to take care of, so we combined business and pleasure and spent a night in Naas at the end of that trip. Once the legalities were looked after we went to see a movie in the old Dara cinema and had a drink in what was then Todds on Main Street, now a boutique. Not a bad first date night in the town!

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT KILDARE?

What I love about Kildare is that you are so close to Dublin yet you are in the country.

We have some wonderful places and people here. I enjoy walking and running and between

the woods, the Grand Canal and the parks we have so many great spaces.

I would often run at Naas Parkrun on Saturday mornings and when I did Clane Get Fit the last few years we used to run in Donadea woods at 8am every weekend.

Like all Kildare folk, I love racing too and we are spoilt here with Naas, Punchestown and the Curragh racecourses all on our doorstep. Our girls have grown up being into horses and it was one of my proudest moments when the two Lawless sisters, Caoimhe and Niamh, rode out together at Coilog in the school colours of the St Mary’s Naas equestrian team.

WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL DAY SPENT IN KILDARE?

There’s nothing quite like a day’s racing at Punchestown in festival week.

Last New Year’s Eve the whole family went on a hike around Glending woods in Blessington

for the afternoon with our two terriers in tow. We decamped to the Kilteel Inn for refreshments after and a well earned pint of Guinness. Simple pleasures are hard to beat.

Another favourite was when we took the BargeTrip cruise down the canal last summer.

I am really looking forward to the Canal Greenway coming onstream.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE KILDARE RESTAURANT?

It depends on the day or the occasion. In my job I am on the move constantly so I often grab

food on the go. For breakfast / lunch or a pot of tea you won’t go wrong with Café Grange in Sallins, Swans on the Green or Yums Yums in Naas or the Anteaque Café in Clane.

For an evening meal out I really like Lock13 in Sallins – Barry has done such a job with the gastro pub and microbrewery next door and he even knows now which table to keep for me!

Two Cooks across the canal is great for a special occasion and in Naas Bouchon is a super spot, with the added attraction of Kavanaghs downstairs or McCormacks nearby for afterwards.

I also like to cook at home and am working on a vegetable garden at the moment. This year’s experiment was wildflowers which seems to have gone well so there’s hope for next year.

HOW ARE YOU ENJOYING YOUR TIME AS TD?

It’s exceedingly busy but also endlessly varied so it is very interesting and rewarding.

At policy level I have had some successes with my legislation on social media being considered by fourteen other countries now as part of the international committee on disinformation.

I have a particular focus on science and technology at national level and would like to see our universities far better funded. I am also a strong advocate for Climate Action and represent the party on this issue frequently.

I visited refugee camps in Africa two years ago and the experience will stay with me forever.

I advocate for the county continuously for more schools, trains, roads and services including Gardaí and HSE, and have made some progress along the way.