It’s a case of fifth time lucky for Annie Hoey, who will finally marry her fiancé within a fortnight .
he Labour Party senator has endured a series of setbacks, predominantly caused by the pandemic, which has resulted in her and her partner Dan postponing their nuptials four times.
And despite being in a boot after she tore ligaments in her leg, leading to a last-minute wedding dress change, the couple have decided “enough is enough” and will be wed on July 16 at the civil registry in Cork.
“There are just 23 people coming, our immediate family. But all of our favourite people will be there,” she says. “It had been very trying to plan it during coronavirus, it was very stressful, having to keep changing it. But you have to be zen about weddings anyway.
“I have perspective. I have friends who’ve had Covid, friends who have lost family members and of course so many people lost their lives. Student nurses weren’t paid and so many people have lost their businesses or not been able to open them. So I definitely took stock of all that.
“This is about bringing our families and loved ones together. At no point have we felt we’re the only ones going through this and it’s minor compared to what others have endured. Time is precious so we decided to go for it.”
The bride-to-be had planned to have her reception in Boyne Hill House in her native Meath. For now that remains postponed, but the couple hope to have a party there for their wider family and friends when restrictions ease.
Right now, she is just looking forward to her small wedding in 12 days’ time: “It’s become about the little things and because it’s smaller than planned, there’s been little personal touches we’ve been able to incorporate. But it does feel like I’ve been planning it for eternity. And now I’ve had a last-minute outfit change because of an injury.”
The senator tore ligaments in her right leg just before the May bank holiday. “I’m determined to get into a smaller boot before the wedding, it’s going to be blue. So it’ll be my something blue.
“It’s not ideal to be hobbling about the place, but with the new dress it won’t be too obvious I hope. I decided to change the dress because I don’t want my banjaxed leg to be the main focus. It is healing fine.
“One thing it has stopped me from doing is go out and canvas for Ivana [Bacik, the Labour Party’s Dublin Bay South by-election candidate] as much as I’d like to.”
Ms Hoey was elected to Seanad Éireann through the agricultural panel in March last year, just as the pandemic was turning life upside down. She is spokesperson on further and higher education, research, innovation and science.
“It’s been a very unusual time but it’s been great. No-one is my family has ever been involved in politics before,” she says.
Raising awareness about how eating disorders can develop in young people and how the internet plays a key role is something the 32-year-old is focused on tackling: “I even noticed when I was looking up wedding stuff, how I would later get ads popping up: ‘Drink this tea and lose 10lb.’
“I found myself clicking on the links sometimes even though I have a pretty healthy body image.
“There is work being done, but there’s a lot more needed to be done to help protect young people and I intend to be doing more, to put interventions in place. There’s a plethora of issues.
“I think a lot of us would know someone who has had anorexia. I grew up in the heroin chic generation, that image was being pushed by media and magazines.”
Of the shock decision to keep much of the hospitality sector closed due to the threat of the Covid Delta variant, she says: “I would not like to be in that decision-making room.
“I understand the frustrations of businesses who have suffered so much and I have enormous sympathy for them. There is a risk we could end up in lockdown number four. I’m not sure people have it in them to endure that again.”