Just Born: Ruadhan Oistin Gearoid McKay
He is just seven weeks old, but little Ruadhan Oistin Gearoid McKay’s father has high hopes for his first-born. Already thoughts are turning to his education and, if all goes according to plan, one day Ruadhan will be hurling for Antrim in the saffron shirt.
But, then again, his dad is North Antrim MLA Daithi McKay, Sinn Fein’s education spokesman and a diehard Antrim fan.
Ruadhan weighed into the world at 6lb 8oz on January 20 at Altnagelvin Hospital, six days before his due date. Recalling that special day, Daithi said: “I was present at his birth and was the first person to hold him.
“This little, red, old man was screaming his head off and, when he was placed in my arms, he immediately calmed down. He must have recognised my voice.”
In spite of working in the demanding world of politics, Daithi says nothing can prepare you for fatherhood.
“You hear people talking about it, but you can’t really grasp it until it happens to you. It has been fantastic,” he said.
“He is a real wee character. It really changes your priorities in life.
“Already, at this stage, you are thinking about what school he will go to and what education he will get.
“You have to start thinking about those things from a personal perspective.”
Juggling fatherhood and his political responsibilities has left Daithi “burning the candles at both ends”, but he makes sure Ruadhan, who is “a mummy’s boy at the minute”, gets plenty of attention.
Plans are also afoot to take the new arrival to the corridors of power.
“We will be bringing him up to Stormont to show him off and introduce him to everyone,” said Daithi.
“Anyone who has seen photos of him thinks he is a really cute baby. He looks more like me at this stage, but there are bits of both of us in him — he has big feet like his dad.”
Reflecting both his parents’ origins, a special football shirt — half-Antrim, half-Tyrone — was made for Ruadhan, sporting his name, birthday and weight.
“It’s half-Tyrone and half-Antrim, but he will be an Antrim hurler,” said dad.