Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part LII: Matthew McDermott

(M. McDermott)

Matthew McDermott is 23 Years Old and works for the Social Democratic and Labour Party. He studied at Queen’s University, Belfast and is currently Parliamentary Assistant to Alex Attwood MLA for West Belfast, where Matthew grew up and still lives.

Further, Matthew is also the SDLP’s youngest political representative serving on Lisburn City Council since 2007, when at 21 years old he was the youngest public representative in Ireland.

Matthew has a four-year-old son also called Matthew who attends an Integrated Primary School; something Matthew Senior is very supportive and encouraging of, seeing integrated education as essential to the future stability of Northern Ireland.

Politically his interests lie in Human Rights with an emphasis on young people, Policing and Justice, North South Development and Sustainability. His blog is No Gloss - Just Matt!

What made you decide to start blogging?

Two reasons really. First, I wanted to connect with people more and secondly, I wanted to experiment and move my technological skills base beyond letter typing and sending and receiving emails. Blogging served both aims. I’m also on twitter and a few other ‘social networking sites’.

What is your best blogging experience?

Don’t think I’ve had a best blogging experience yet, my blog is relatively new – although, one story, about the NI Education Minister glorifying the IRA in a secondary school on official Ministerial business in my constituency did pick up a bit of media attention – moreover my criticism of her resulted in me receiving threats so it could simultaneously be described as my best (in terms of interest) and worst (in terms of consequences), to date.

And your worst?

See above.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

Again the blog is relatively new, and it’s difficult to judge, but in anycase I like to leave a decision like that up to the readers.

Favourite blogs?




These are some of the blogs that come to mind – although there are too many to mention.

What inspired you to go into politics?

A desire to provide a better standard and quality of life for my son, and his generation.

To help move Ireland, particularly the north, out of it’s innate narrow political parameters of religious and ethnic politics to a more global and tolerant environment. In a nutshell!

What is it like working for an MLA?

It’s time consuming, busy and hard. It takes real commitment, loyalty and determination. You need to be able to think on your feet, make decisions quickly, under pressure and deal with the consequences.

But it’s also very worthwhile and enjoyable.

What is it like to be just about the token political blogger in the SDLP?

I’m not, quite a few SDLP elected representatives and members have blogs. The most high profile of which is perhaps Alban Maguinness’s European Election Blog. www.maguinnessisgoodforyou.eu

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?

I’d like to visit each state in the
U.S. – I’ve been to Boston in Massachusetts and Washington D.C., but I’d like to experience all of America (Stephen Fry in America was fantastic)

Anywhere in South America.

China, Japan, Cambodia, India…….

There are literally too many places I haven’t visited and would like to, and hopefully will one day.

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?

Washington D.C. and Brussels to name two. Anyone who is in any way political can’t help loving those two cities. Both are vibrant hubs of political activity.

Also Malta….

Who, excluding the present Prime Minister, do you regard as the best British Prime Minister, and who in your eyes has been the best SDLP leader?

Clement Attlee – Welfare State.

The SDLP is a young Party and has only ever had three leaders to date, Gerry Fitt, John Hume and currently Mark Durkan. John Hume led the Party through it’s hardest and darkest years, not only did he give so much to this party but he is one of the few people I would say to have ever dedicated their life to Ireland and making it better.

Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration ?

John Hume.

Favourite Bond movie?

I’m sadly not a great fan of old movies and prefer modern ones. I do however genuinely admire anyone who gets enjoyment from older features because I can’t, so for me it’s Die Another Day.

Favorite Doctor Who?

Don’t like it!!

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

Chocolate (Always)

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour.

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?


Favourite national newspaper?

The Irish Times

What would you say your hobbies were?

Reading, Running, Boxing (training not participating) and Politics

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

Favourate songs at the Minute:

Kings of Leon: I want you

Kanye West: Jesus Walks

MGMT: Time to Pretend

Favourate Books (4?)

‘1984’ George Orwell

‘Irish Freedom, The History of Irish Nationalism’ Richard English

‘Gunsmoke and Mirrors’ Henry McDonald

‘Paisley,’ Ed Malony.

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