Thursday 29 September 2016

'Typical first day look' - TD Stephen Donnelly cringes as he recalls first-day Dáil blunder

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 30/01/2016 | 15:16

TD Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Tom Burke
TD Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Tom Burke

It's fair to say that most people find the first day of a new job a little bit daunting.

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Spare a thought then for Stephen Donnelly TD, who committed a classic first-day blunder as he made his way to Leinster House for his first day as a newly elected member of the 31st Dáil, back in 2011.

"After the three day count in my constituency of  Wicklow I was just exhausted.

"I remember saying to Susan, my wife, that I had better go into the Dáil and get cracking.

"When you're not a member of a political party there's nobody ringing you, telling you when to show up," he told Independent.ie.

Mr Donnelly said that on that fateful first day in his new job he travelled into town by DART, and after alighting at Pearse Station excitedly made his way towards the Dáil.

New Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O'Connor takes a wrong turn at Leinster House driving on to the plinth
New Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O'Connor takes a wrong turn at Leinster House driving on to the plinth

"As I neared what I thought was the Dáil I spotted two gardaí, young fellows, tall men, standing outside.

"So I said to them : 'Stephen Donnelly reporting for duty'.

"To their credit the two lads didn't even crack a smile, their eyes may have moved slightly but that was it," he said.

The Social Democrat party member recalled the warm and flattering greeting he received from the two gardaí:

"Well Deputy, congratulations, it's a great honour."

Their response to his request to be admitted to the building was equally hilarious:

"Now Deputy you absolutely could head in here but this is the Museum of Natural History and what you'll be looking for is the Dáil," a garda explained.

The Wicklow TD cringed as he recalled what a 'newbie' he must have looked at the time.

"I was literally standing there with my lunchbox and my school bag, it was such a typical first day look," he said.

Mr Donnelly should take comfort in the fact that his 'newbie' error doesn't come close to 'plinth-gate', which saw the newly elected Mary Mitchell O'Connor (FG) accidentally drive her car down a series of concrete steps outside the Dáil after mistaking them for a ramp.

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