Taoiseach surprised by tribute as he marks 38 years in the Dail
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny marks 38 years in the Dail today having seen some dramatic changes to Irish society within his almost four decades in politics.
In 1975, the former primary school teacher was elected to the Dail following a by-election brought about by the death of his father Henry Kenny.
At just 24, Enda Kenny was elected on the first count with 52pc of the vote, making him the youngest member of the 20th Dail.
While re-opening the Value Centre in his hometown of Castlebar yesterday, Mr Kenny was surprised with a memento to mark the occasion.
The Taoiseach was presented with a Mayo jersey with the number 38 emblazoned and framed copies of the Irish Independent and the 'Irish Times' from the day he was elected.
Leo Crawford, Group Chief Executive of BWG Group, led applause from the crowd as he told them that the Taoiseach was first elected to the Dail 38 years ago this week.
"You may not know but this is a special anniversary this week for you. The fact is that 38 years ago this week the Taoiseach was first elected to the Dail," he explained.
Mr Moane went on to describe some of the changes that have occurred in that time, not least cigarette advertisements on the front page of national newspapers.
"We have copies of the Irish Independent and 'Irish Times' from that day and things have changed a little since then. Our retailers will appreciate this, I saw on the front page, advertisements for cigarettes. John Player cigarettes were selling a pack of 20 for 39p and Dunhill for 44p.
"And also on the front of the Irish Independent, there's a photograph of some of the Kenny family going to the count in Castlebar and at that stage, believe it or not Taoiseach, I think there was a 75pc turnout, so democracy prevailed very strongly in 1975," he added.