Belfast Telegraph

Michael puts us in picture over GAA selfie

Postie's pride over his snap with Foster and O'Neill

By Suzanne Breen

A steward at the GAA's Ulster Final attended by Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill has revealed how he ended up in a selfie with the two politicians at the match.

Michael Gallagher, from Glenfin, Co Donegal, told the Belfast Telegraph that he had wanted to take a photograph to mark the historic first visit by a unionist leader to Ulster GAA's biggest day last month.

But when Mr Gallagher took out his camera, he realised its batteries had died.

He explained his problem to Mrs Foster and Mrs O'Neill and they offered to help him. The Sinn Fein vice-president said she would take a photo for Mr Gallagher on her mobile phone.

"That's the story behind the photograph of Arlene, Michelle and me standing between them in my red baseball cap at Clones," he said.

The retired postman follows politics avidly.

"I take as great an interest in current affairs as I do in sport, and I was so pleased when I was told that Arlene Foster was there at the match," he said.

"I'm a great admirer of people like her who make a gesture of reconciliation.

"I climbed up the steps to where she was sitting to shake her hand.

"I told her she was very welcome at Clones and I was delighted to meet her. Michelle O'Neill was sitting just above her and I thought it would be great to get a photo of the two of them.

"Arlene said: 'Of course, no problem'. I nearly always carry a wee camera in my pocket in case something special happens during the day."

Mr Gallagher said the DUP leader and the Sinn Fein vice-president couldn't have been more helpful when he discovered his camera batteries had died.

"Michelle immediately offered to take a picture for me on her phone," Mr Gallagher said.

"She took the selfie of Arlene, herself and me standing in between them. It's great seeing the politicians you know from the television in person.

"They were both lovely to talk to.

"I was a postman for 48 years and I don't care about anybody's politics or religion.

"I delivered mail to both communities in Donegal and everybody was the same to me. Life's too short to be arguing."

Mr Gallagher is a well-known amateur weather forecaster.

He studies the behaviour of animals and plants to help make his predictions.

The Evening Herald has described him as "one of the country's more unusual forecasters".

Last night he predicted to the Belfast Telegraph that the DUP and Sinn Fein would reach a deal and form a new power-sharing Executive sooner than most people believed.

"I don't think it's too long away," he claimed.

"I watched Arlene and Michelle and they are relaxed in each other's company. There's not much between them.

"I predict that things will settle down in Northern Ireland and that the sun will be shining politically soon."

Belfast Telegraph

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