Sunday 24 September 2017

Simon (24) continues proud FG tradition of Young Turks

Wicklow Fine Gael candidates Andrew Doyle, Billy Timmins and Simon Harris listen as the results are called out at the count in Greystones, Co Wicklow
Wicklow Fine Gael candidates Andrew Doyle, Billy Timmins and Simon Harris listen as the results are called out at the count in Greystones, Co Wicklow

Aine Kerr

THE baby-faced eager beaver Simon Harris will now help shrink the average age of the once grey-haired Dail, should he finally be elected after a recount in his Wicklow constituency.

A number of 21-year-olds and 23-year-olds went to battle with their party elders but the Wicklow 24-year-old looks likely to emerge with the title of 'Youngest TD in the 31st Dail' -- a platform which Fine Gael has long been able to boast of.

Lucinda Creighton was the 30th Dail's youngest TD, while Damien English held the title in the 29th Dail.

The youngest ever TD in the Dail was minister-turned-broadcaster Ivan Yates who won his first election at the age of 21.

In the Wicklow den of some 20 hopefuls, Mr Harris's age was raised by his opponents, he claimed. "But I think people saw an older vintage was going to be there anyway and it would be beneficial to have a variety," he said.

The new Wicklow TD, who has no political family, is unusual in that many of the young candidates elected through the decades such as Mary Coughlan, Enda Kenny and Brian Cowen were all part of political dynasties and summoned to political life to keep the "family seat".

The country's youngest candidate, the Socialist Party's Cian Prendiville, obtained 721 votes, while the second youngest candidate, the Green Party's Darcy Lonergan, won just 530 votes.

The high-profile Independent candidate, 23-year-old Dylan Haskins, polled 1,383 first-preference votes.

Irish Independent

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