A DATE WITH the reigning All-Ireland champions would generally consume the thoughts of Gaelic footballers but matters off the pitch have been competing for Aindreas Doyle’s focus of late.
In his sporting life the 25 year-old is part of the Wexford squad aiming to topple Dublin in next Sunday’s Leinster semi-final.
In his working life he serves as parliamentary assistant to Mick Wallace, the Independent TD who has been embroiled in controversy over his tax affairs of late.
Suffice to say it has been an interesting few weeks.
“I’ve the enviable job of working for Mick Wallace. That’s my gig. It’s been difficult and emotional over the last few weeks but a great experience for me. It’s actually been enjoyable. You are kept going all the time. My degree is in PR, even though that wasn’t my role. I just want to make that clear. Because it wasn’t my role, I could take a step back from it.
“Things were changing every hour as it was such a fractious situation. There were people threatening to fight me at times, loads of crazy stuff coming in. But it’s good in my line of work to be seen at the coalface. It was just really interesting to be involved in it.”
Dealing with a tidal wave of media enquiries in recent weeks has kept Doyle, who has a PR degree and a masters in public affairs and political communication, on his toes.
“The first morning I came into work, I think it was a Friday morning, there was 35 phone messages. The next day was 27, then it went to 15, then 10, then something else happens and it goes back to 40. It was just constant messages or emails from journalists wanting to speak to Mick. He wasn’t doing a whole lot of media. Sometimes I find with the media they expect you to do their job for them.
“It’s almost as if it’s my job to make Mick talk to the Daily Mail or the Independent or whatever it is. It’s dying down a little bit now but some of the papers are still dragging it out. I think it has taken a lot of heat off the government for the last few weeks. We have only five weeks now until the summer recess.”
The origins of Doyle’s appointment can be traced back to his teenage days as a player with Wexford Youths, the soccer club in the South-East that Wallace has been heavily immersed in.
“I would have played soccer with Mick. I met him first when I was 15, I would have played Wexford youths and underage and then made the decision to concentrate on the Gaelic football when I went to college. I wasn’t that good. He wanted the best team he could get to go out and play so he asked me a few times to go back but I wasn’t going to go any further with soccer. It was an easier choice for me to go and play football. It is the sport I enjoy most anyway.
“Once Mick declared his candidacy for the Dáil, I contacted him and said I would be interested in helping out. That’s how I ended up working for him. It’s just dealing with the media. Mick is very different from a lot of politicians because he attracts media for loads of different aspects of his life. We deal an awful lot with the media.”
And rather than complicate his preparations for next Sunday’s showdown in Croke Park, Doyle is glad of the distraction.
“Stuff like that is nearly a help. There is so much stuff on the work front you don’t think about the football as much. It would probably be more difficult if it was your first or second year as so much more is going through your head. It’s nine to five but Mick is very good if I have to get off work for training. My side of things would be dealing with people in Wexford as well because I am from there. I know the area and the people. There are different aspects as well with the social media and websites. It’s an interesting job.”
An interesting position yet one that is precarious too. Doyle does not need to be reminded of the speculation surrounding Wallace’s political future yet he is not perturbed by it.
“I literally have the worst contract in the world. If he goes I go, that day, that minute. Well, I have so many media contacts, I’ll be ringing them, ‘give us a bit of work.’ Ah no, I’m optimistic enough. I wouldn’t stress out too much. I’d hope to get work somewhere else and pick up work in the meantime. But it’s grand, it’s not something that’s affecting me.”