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Liz's struggle as mum and minister

FORMER minister Liz O'Donnell says mixing politics with raising her children was the biggest challenge of her career.

The former deputy leader of Progressive Democrats was TD for 15 years until 2007, but with two young children to rear, she admits she struggled.

The 56-year-old started young and has more time on her hands now that Laura (27) and Robert (25) lead their own lives.

"My children are all grown-up, but ironically I would be much more able to fill the role of a minister now.

"When I was a minister, my children were very young and it was challenging."

The former politician enjoyed a colourful time in the Dail until her retirement.

Her most memorable legacies include her involvement with the North peace process negotiations, which she said was a "huge privilege to be involved with".

Despite being approached about putting pen to paper, she has ruled out penning an autobiography in the near future, but will do one eventually.


"I was approached to do a memoir before, but at the time I thought I was too young or kind of not ready yet.

"But I think that now I'm finding my voice through writing; it's coming easier to me to have a different voice to a political voice," said Ms O'Donnell.

"I've a good story to tell. I've had an interesting life in politics, and my five years as a minister was very rewarding and a great privilege."

And Ms O'Donnell says persuading young women into politics is very important as she herself had to be persuaded into the career.

"That might seem strange now, because I had a very successful career in politics over 15 years, but when I was first approached by Mary Harney I was very reticent and my first reaction was, 'I couldn't do that'."

She admits she found it scary to be seen as a role model at first.

"I think you have to take on that persona as a role model when you are an elected public representative for as long as I was."