Father of 14, Billy raises E5,000

AT 69 years of age, Cllr Billy Ireland was recently the oldest person to attempt and complete a parachute jump for charity at Kilkenny Airfield.

AT 69 years of age, Cllr Billy Ireland was recently the oldest person to attempt and complete a parachute jump for charity at Kilkenny Airfield.

The father of 14 received a soft landing after the 20,000m ft plunge and on the way down he did four somersaults. But then again, Cllr Ireland from Danesfort is a rare breed - A politician who never speaks ill of his opponents and who works behind the scenes, rarely seeking the limelight. He has been elected to Kilkenny County Council from four different electoral areas and has never lost an election.

His jump raised €5,000 in aid of suicide prevention and awareness and a number of his 18 grandchildren were there to see him do it.

The Fine Gael man who had to first undergo a medical and received a clean “Bill” of health from local GP, Dr Seathrun O’Casaide, really enjoyed the experience and can’t wait to do it again. “Once we were up in the air the nerves went and the views were fantastic,” he said.