When Daniel met the President

He may be a proud Fine Gael supporter, but Portlaoise senior citizen Daniel Kerry was so delighted by the election of Labour politician Michael D Higgins as President of Ireland, that he wrote a warm letter of congratulations.

He may be a proud Fine Gael supporter, but Portlaoise senior citizen Daniel Kerry was so delighted by the election of Labour politician Michael D Higgins as President of Ireland, that he wrote a warm letter of congratulations.

In return he received an invitation to meet the president.

Late last year, accompanied by his daughters Brenda and Maura, Mr Kerry aged 96 took the trip up to Aras an Uachtaráin. It made it three-in-a-row, as he had previously met Presidents Mary Robinson and Mary MacAleese.

Brenda said her dad was delighted with his visit, though he wished there had been time for a longer chat with the President.

“He was so happy, and we were so pleased for him,” she said.

He has packed much into his busy life, being a former chairman of Portlaoise Credit Union, a grassroots member of Fine Gael, a GAA referee and a peace commissioner.

“He believes you have to live life to the full, he is in good form, and has a great memory,” his daughter says.

Born on Leap year day, February 29 in 1916, Mr Kerry will turn 97 soon, but has celebrated only 23 real birthdays.

“He is determined to make it to the 100,” smiles Brenda.