David Quinn: TDs, make it your mission to challenge the consensus
THIS column is addressed first and foremost to the 76 Fine Gaels TDs who will be taking up their seats in the new Dail next week, especially the new TDs.
As they already know, their main task in the Dail will be to vote for whatever the government decides. The over-use of the whip in Irish politics means their personal influence on policy will be minimal.
However, a handful of them will have an opportunity to shape policy over time, but only if they have well-worked-out ideas and know how to defend them in their constituencies, in the media, in the parliamentary party, in the Dail chamber and in the committee rooms.