Belfast Telegraph

That's politics: Ex-government minister Danny Kennedy signs on the dole

Previous trip to benefits office was as minister for Danny Kennedy

By Jonathan Bell

Former MLA and government minister Danny Kennedy has talked about how he has had to sign on the dole, after losing his seat at the March Assembly election.

Mr Kennedy is still a senior member of the UUP and was involved in politics for 36 years before the axe fell on his time at Stormont.

He spoke to Q Radio about the first time he had to sign on for Job Seekers Allowances at Newry Jobs and benefits offices when he had previously been at the office as the minister for employment and learning.

"That's life and that's politics," he told Kevin McAllister on the Q Cafe.

Mr Kennedy said he was not looking for sympathy and that he realised there were many  people who had been in his position for much longer than he had. He said he was fortunate to have been in "well-paid" employment since leaving school.

The 58-year-old said he had no job offers and employment opportunities had been few and far between but he had been actively pursing work.

"While I did not waste my time at school I didn't apply myself so my qualifications are not that lengthly and often employers are looking for something outside those experiences.

"So it is difficult to re-invent yourself."

He added: "When you are in politics you understand it can be a blood sport. You can never take anything for granted.

"But when political defeat comes, there is a jolt with it - there is no question of that. When you win you find out about other people, when you lose you find out about yourself."

He said he had not made any decision on returning to the ballot paper but felt there were issues where he still had a contribution to give.

"There is life after politics, there are benefits, I want to be positive, this is a new chapter," he said.

Listen to the full interview here.

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