Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Leaders hail poet's charity efforts

Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson have hailed budding poet Michael O'Donoghue
Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson have hailed budding poet Michael O'Donoghue

A budding poet who has raised thousands of pounds for charity has been praised by the First and Deputy First Ministers.

Michael O'Donoghue presented his poetry collection In Black and White to the politicians at Parliament Buildings.

The 23-year-old, from Londonderry, who has Down's syndrome, revealed he had even compared notes with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

The young poet met Mr McGuinness and First Minister Peter Robinson at Stormont, where they discussed his writing.

Mr McGuinness said: "I am an admirer of Michael's work and we have swapped poems in the past, so today it is a great honour for me to receive this, his first book of published poetry.

"As everyone knows, I am a great fan of the Irish poets like Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon and, for me, Michael O'Donoghue has joined that list."

Mr O'Donoghue has raised £3,000 from the sale of his book, which he donated to three charities: Foyle Hospice, North West Roma Association and North West Down's Syndrome Trust.

Mr Robinson said: "Michael is a real inspiration to us all. Not only has he had his work published, he has donated £3,000 from the sale of the book to three local charities. I wish him every success with the book and am sure he will make a great success at whatever he turns his hand to next."

Mr O'Donoghue volunteers two days a week in the Housing Executive.

It was through his work at the organisation that its chairman, Brian Rowntree, heard of his poetry writing and helped him with the publication of the book.

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