John Browne leaves Dail after 34 years, but politics still to the fore
JOHN Browne left the Dail for the last time after 34 years as a deputy last week, but that doesn't mean he's stepped back from politics, although he is planning to ride a Harley Davidson trike on Route 66 next year.
Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin paid fulsome praise to Deputy Browne for his service following the dissolution of the Dáil last Wednesday.
'Deputy John Browne was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1982 and on every occasion since then. He served as a Minister of State in four different departments in four separate governments,' said Mr Martin.
'He drew on his close connection to the people of Wexford to bring a great humanity to the policies he promoted. I particularly remember his role as a restrained but incredibly effective advocate of the interests of children with special educational needs.
'His dedication to public service should be an example to us all. He always acted in the best interest of the people in Wexford and his enthusiasm for his job never waned. Politics and public service is in his blood and that always shone through.
'I want to thank him for his service to the people of Wexford and the Fianna Fáil party and wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.'
John Browne fought eight elections and headed the poll in five of them and was one of only a handful of TDs, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who have had such a long political career.
John described his departure from the Dail as the end of an era.
'In a couple of years time they will be saying where is her now?' he said. 'After 34 years it was an emotional day.'
John said that while he may have ended his Dail career, he was working with his son James 'as part of the campaign to get him elected'.
'I have been canvassing for the past six weeks and have another three to go and if James gets elected I will be doing a bit for him after the elections,' said John.
'I also think I will play some golf and do some GAA with the Rapparees and volunteer work, perhaps building houses in Nepal or something like that.. and I have a lifelong ambition to ride Route 66 on a Harley-Davidson, a three wheeler that is and that's planned for 2017,' John told this newspaper.
'Considering the way I drive, I don't think there's anyone who will come with me,' he said.
'But there will be loads for me to do here. Mrs Browne had lots of jobs for me, painting and decorating and recycling and going to bottle banks, things I've never done before.'
Asked how he saw the election outcome, John said he thought Fianna Fail will get a seat, as will Fine Gael, Labour's Brendan Howlin and Independent Mick Wallace, with a sprint for the last seat between one of the Independents and Sinn Fain's Johnny Mythen.
'It's going to be an interesting three weeks,' he said.