Hair flying as Limerick politicians go head to head

Aine Fitzgerald


Aine Fitzgerald

Senator James Heffernan getting stuck into shaving Cllr Eddie Ryan's head, while hairdresser Eileen Hanley gives Patrick English a tidy trim; watching on are Billy Casey, Galtee View Bar, Dan Gallahue, chairman Drive to Survive and hairdresser Moire Clifford
THERE may have been no robust political debate but there was still hair flying in all directions when two local politicians went head to head on Easter Sunday.

THERE may have been no robust political debate but there was still hair flying in all directions when two local politicians went head to head on Easter Sunday.

As part of a novel fundraiser, Senator James Heffernan and Cllr Eddie Ryan took turns at cutting off each other’s locks at the Galtee View Lounge in Anglesboro.

The charity endeavour formed part of the ongoing Drive to Survive campaign to raise funds for hospice care.

“I done the job on Eddie Ryan and he more than repaid the compliment,” smiled Senator Heffernan this week, sporting his new blade zero hairstyle.

“I had been invited up to Anglesboro as a guest barber but I had a funny feeling it was going to go a bit further. But look, it was all for a good cause. There was a good bit of money raised on the night.”

The last time the Kilfinane man had his head shaved was around the 1990 World Cup.

“It was a savage, hot summer,” he recalled.

So what did his wife Ciara think when he came home without any hair on his head on Sunday night.

“I don’t think she was too impressed. She was giving out to me saying that we had a couple of weddings coming up and she wanted me to have some cover. I have threatened to get a Michael Healy-Rae style hat. I find it very, very cold,” he laughed.

While Senator Heffernan had an inkling that something was up, Galbally’s Cllr Eddie Ryan claims he was caught completely off guard on the night in question.

“I wasn’t planning on getting it done. I had called into Dan Casey’s Bar in Kilbehenny for another event in aid of Milford Hospice and then we went on to Anglesboro.

“They said they were looking for a celebrity to cut Paddy English’s hair so I was chosen,” he explained.

“After that they were saying ‘what would ye give for Eddie to have his head shaved by James Heffernan?’.They all started to hand in fivers and tenners and it started from there. I gave him a 0 cut and he gave me a 1.”

Dan Gallahue, chairman of the Drive to Survive campaign also went under the razor for the good cause.

“There were five or six of them at my hair at different stages and they left me with absolutely nothing,” he said.

In all, 15 people from the area had either their heads shaved, their hair cut, their legs waxed or had colour added to their hair in aid of the campaign , and raised a total of €1,511.13.

“We had two hair stylists helping out - Moire Clifford from Mitchelstown and Eileen Hanley from Charleville. There was a full house,” Dan explained.

Funds raised from all the activities across the weekend will exceed €3,000.

“We also had the egg and bunny search in Combawn Wood on Saturday and bingo on the Friday,” Dan added.

This Thursday night, the Anglesboro drama group perform the hilarious comedy, A Wake In The West, in the local community hall with all proceeds from the night going towards the Drive to Survive campaign. The performance will start at 8.30pm.

On April 26, a table quiz will be held in O’Connell’s Bar in Galbally, also for the Drive to Survive Campaign.

The main fundraising event for the Drive to Survive campaign will take place from August 9 to 15 when two Model T pick-up trucks will be driven around 26 counties covering a total of 1,013 miles.

Already over €30,000 has been raised through the ongoing charity endeavour.

“The contribution provided by hospice care in Ireland is invaluable to the patient and family members affected by this disease,” said Dan Gallahue.

“It is a cause that is close to the hearts of the people of Ireland and everyone is ready and eager to do their bit to assist in providing additional funds for this great cause.

“In our own very small way hope we can make a worthwhile contribution to the wonderful service provided to patients and their families.”

The Drive to Survive campaign was established in 2012 by a group of local volunteers to honour the memory and the lifetime achievements of Dan’s late father - John Gallahue from Ballylanders, a much admired poet, singer and politician who served as a councillor and cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council.