Meet your 52 new TDs: lawyers, teachers, a techno DJ
Meet your new TDs. They’re teachers, barristers, business people and political party apparatchiks. Oh and there’s a Reserve Defence Forces second lieutenant and a former techno DJ.
In all, there are 52 new faces in Leinster House. There are also another seven who previously served as TDs and are returning after an absence.
The teachers include Fianna Fáil’s Niamh Smyth and Sinn Féin’s Carol Nolan. Dublin Bay South’s Jim O’Callaghan is one of the barristers in the mix while his party colleague Lisa Chambers is also in the legal profession – when she’s not taking part in military exercises with the RDF. She says she’s not allowed continue now that she’s a TD. “It’s a pity but you can’t keep everything going,” she said. She nominates Micheál Martin as Taoiseach today.
Across the aisle, Fine Gael’s Noel Rock has the honour of nominating Enda Kenny. While he formerly worked for Hillary Clinton, he’s one of the backroom political workers on the list.
Fine Gael’s Tom Neville began his career as a teacher, but has tried a few other jobs. He has a masters in music technology. “I was a DJ... I did some work for a local community radio station... I used to do techno and dance music, house music.” Returning faces include Eamon Ryan, Green leader, and Seán Haughey of Fianna Fáil – a member of perhaps the most famous political dynasty. Also back are his colleagues Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher, Eamonn Scanlon, Darragh O’Brien and John Curran. Fine Gael’s Michael D’Arcy returns after a stint in the Seanad. They’re an eclectic bunch.
Sinn Féin, Carlow-Kilkenny
Kathleen Funchion, a mother of two, previously worked at Siptu as a workers’ rights advocate. A former Kilkenny Borough councillor, she came third in the 2015 by-election teeing her up to win a seat. She is separated from her husband, fellow new TD David Cullinane. She featured on a local radio contest where she handled a boa constrictor snake.
Fianna Fáil, Cavan-Monaghan
An art teacher, Niamh Smyth also has a qualification in dance education and served as Arts Education Officer on the Cavan-Monaghan Education and Training Board. She was elected to Cavan County Council in 2009. Her family is steeped in Fianna Fáil history. Her grand-uncle Paddy Smith was a TD between 1923 and 1977.
Dr Michael Harty
Dr Michael Harty was the GP in the Co Clare village of Kilmihil for more than 30 years. He fought the election under the ‘No Doctor, No Village’ banner, arguing that rural GPs are finding it increasingly difficult to make sufficient income and communities are being left without basic healthcare as a result.
Fianna Fáil, Cork East
The son of former Fianna Fáil TD Ned O’Keeffe, Kevin (51) was first co-opted onto Cork County Council in 1997 and won re-election on four occasions since. A famer and businessman, he also worked in insurance and sought election to the Dáil in 2011 after his father retired. He failed to get elected then – but took the third seat this time.
Sinn Féin, Cork East
Pat Buckley was selected to run after the decision by sitting TD Sandra McLellan to controversially not contest the election. He volunteers at the Let’s Get Together Foundation, a suicide prevention organisation he co-founded. He has previously spoken openly of his regret at his drink-driving conviction for a 2013 incident.
AAA-PBP, Cork North-Central
Mick Barry grew up in Dublin but moved to Cork in the early 1990s. A former Labour member, he was expelled in 1989 for membership of the far-left group Militant Tendency. He was elected as a councillor in Cork in 2002 and was once jailed for his role in the anti-bin charges campaign. He is a leading anti-water charges activist.
Fianna Fáil, Cork North-West
Father-of-four Aindrias Moynihan worked as an engineer before going into politics and also has a qualification in marketing and management. A gaeilgeoir, he was co-opted on to Cork County Council in 2003 to replace his father Donal Moynihan TD, and kept the seat in three subsequent elections.
Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire
Sinn Féin, Cork South-Central
A UCC law graduate, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (27) worked as a political advisor to Sinn Féin Oireachtas members after leaving university. He was elected to Cork County Council in 2014 and is a scout leader as well as being involved in St Finbarr’s Hurling and Football Club. He took part in the development of Sinn Féin’s housing and Irish language policies.
Independent, Cork South-West
Farmer Michael Collins caused a shock in the Fine Gael heartland of Cork South-West when he took a seat last month. The father-of-three lives outside the village of Schull. He has been heavily involved in voluntary organisations in the area including the Tidy Towns and the West Cork Community Alliance, which campaigned against the closure of Garda stations.
Fianna Fáil, Cork South-West
Former post office worker and special needs assistant Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony (48) is a mother of two. She grew up in a politically active household and was involved in Fianna Fáil campaigns from an early age. She was first elected to Bandon Town Council in 2004 and took a county council seat in 2014. She is the first woman TD to be elected in Cork South-West.
Sinn Féin, Dublin Bay North
Coolock woman Denise Mitchell was first elected to Dublin City Council in the Beaumont-Donaghmede ward in 2014. Previously active in the party, she canvassed for local councillor Larry O’Toole. She has been involved in the anti-water charges campaign and is an opponent of cutbacks in the health service – particularly in Beaumont Hospital.
Fianna Fáil, Dublin Bay South
Barrister Jim O’Callaghan (48) represented Ireland in rugby at under-21 level. He was first elected as a councillor in 2009 and served on Dublin City Council’s joint policing committee. The graduate of Kings Inns was appointed legal adviser to the Fianna Fáil frontbench in 2011. He is the brother of RTÉ broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan.
Fine Gael, Dublin Bay South
A businesswoman and mother-of-three, Kate O’Connell (36) runs two pharmacies in Dublin. She was a surprise winner in the constituency where former Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton lost her seat. She helped save a man’s life last November when he had a heart attack while driving near her pharmacy in Rathgar.
Sinn Féin, Dublin Fingal
Trade union organiser Louise O’Reilly was a first-time candidate. A Dublin GAA fan, the mother-of-one took the final seat in the constituency where Fine Gael minister Dr James Reilly lost out. Abolishing water charges and tackling the homeless crisis are among her priorities. She lives in Crumlin but says she plans to move to Fingal.
Eoin Ó Broin
Sinn Féin, Dublin Mid-West
Eoin Ó Broin is a former Belfast City councillor and is the partner of Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan. Educated for a time in Blackrock College, he did A levels in Britain. He was co-opted onto South Dublin County Council in 2013 and subsequently kept the seat in 2014. He has worked with homeless agency Focus Ireland.
AAA-PBP, Dublin Mid-West
Gino Kenny is likely to join the ranks of TDs who have eschewed wearing suits, saying that the only time he wears one is at a wedding. Full name Eugene, Gino is a nickname that has stuck since his youth. First elected as a councillor in 2009, he has supported striking workers and worked to provide services for young horse owners in Clondalkin.
Fine Gael, Dublin North-West
Noel Rock interned for Hillary Clinton, before working for the European People’s Party in Brussels and later as an assistant to Fine Gael Oireachtas members. He won a city council seat in 2014 and is the first TD from his party elected in Dublin North-West since 1992. He will nominate Enda Kenny as Taoiseach in the Dáil today.
Fine Gael, Dublin-Rathdown
Solicitor Josepha Madigan won her seat in a constituency that saw Alan Shatter lose out. Elected a councillor in 2014, she faced controversy over distributing a leaflet opposing a halting site. She later said she is not anti-Travellers, arguing the project did not make economic sense. She is the author of raunchy novel ‘Negligent Behaviour’.
Green Party, Dublin-Rathdown
Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin worked for 15 years as a teacher of music and English in Dundrum. The mother of three was elected to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in 2014. She attracted strong transfers to win her seat. She is married to Cllr Francis Duffy, a Green Party representative on South Dublin County Council.
AAA-PBP, Dublin South-Central
Bríd Smith was first elected to Dublin City Council in 2009 but her website says she has “devoted her whole adult life to the struggle for workers’ rights, women’s rights and the rights of all the people against the elites”. She has been involved in anti-apartheid, anti-war and anti-Water Charges campaigns.
Fianna Fáil, Dublin South-West
John Lahart began his career as a teacher before training as a psychotherapist. He was elected to South Dublin County Council in 1999 and worked as an adviser to Fianna Fáil TD Tom Kitt between 2000 and 2007. He got the second most votes in the constituency and takes back one of the two seats his party lost in Dublin South-West in 2011.
Fine Gael, Dublin South-West
One-time head of Young Fine Gael in the early 1990s, Colm Brophy (49) has run an events management business for 20 years. He was a member of South Dublin County Council beginning in 2008. Templeogue-based, he regained the Fine Gael seat lost in the by-election that came about after Brian Hayes was elected to Europe.
Independent, Dublin South-West
Originally from Washington State, Katherine Zappone has lived in Ireland for decades and is the founder of An Cosán education centre. A leading campaigner in the marriage referendum, Ms Zappone married Dr Ann Louise Gilligan on Irish soil this year. They previously tied the knot in Canada. She was appointed to the Seanad in 2011.
Fianna Fáil, Dublin West
The youngest TD in the Dáil, Jack Chambers (25) had a social media baptism of fire, getting abuse over his age, his pro-life views and his hairstyle. He says he doesn’t track what’s said online and is getting on with the job. Inspired to enter politics by the late Brian Lenihan, medical student Mr Chambers regained the former finance minister’s old seat for Fianna Fáil.
Fine Gael, Dún Laoghaire
Maria Bailey (40) beat her former teacher – Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Hanafin – to a seat in the Dáil. A former Aer Lingus customer service representative, Ms Bailey is a mother of two. From Killiney, she was elected to Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in 2004, the same year as her father John.
Independent Alliance, Galway East
Seán Canney, a chartered quantity surveyor who has lectured at GMIT, is one of the members of the Independent Alliance gathered together by Shane Ross. He was elected to Galway County Council in 2004 and served a term as mayor of the county. He is a member of Corofin GAA club and the Belclare/Sylane Community Council.
Fianna Fáil, Galway East
Anne Rabbitte (45) caused an upset when she won a seat over sitting Fianna Fáil TD Colm Keaveney. Her husband sadly passed away five years ago and she has three children between the ages of 10 and 14. She worked full-time as a financial adviser with Bank of Ireland. She was first elected to Galway County Council in 2014.
Independent, Galway West
A former Labour councillor, Catherine Connolly left the party when it decided not to run a second candidate alongside Michael D Higgins in the 2007 election. A practising barrister, she previously worked as a clinical psychologist. Frequently seen cycling around Galway, she works to promote the city as a bilingual capital.
Fine Gael, Galway West
Hildegarde Naughton was appointed to the Seanad in 2013 by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to replace Martin McAleese. An enthusiastic singer, the primary school teacher previously starred in a local production of ‘My Fair Lady’. First elected to Galway City Council in 2009, she served a term as mayor of the city.
Son of the late Independent TD Jackie Healy-Rae, Danny (61) is the brother of fellow TD Michael and the latest in the Kilgarvan dynasty to enter Leinster House. The plant-hire company owner is being replaced on Kerry County Council by his daughter Maura, while his son Johnny is already a councillor. The dynasty’s future looks secure.
Fianna Fáil, Kerry
John Brassil (52) worked as an engineer for 10 years before training as a pharmacist and opening his own business in Ballyheigue. He was first elected to Kerry County Council in 1999 and was re-elected on each occasion since. A father of three, he served as Cathaoirleach in 2014. His own father Noel was a councillor between 1974 and 1999.
Fianna Fáil, Kildare North
James Lawless (39) studied maths and finance in Trinity College and later trained as a barrister. A father of two, he lives in Sallins and he has most recently worked as head of compliance at Vhi Healthcare. First elected to Kildare County Council in 2014, he’s a GAA fan and likes taking part in 5k and 10k runs in the county.
Fianna Fáil, Kildare North
Originally from Leitrim, Frank O’Rourke (48) has lived in Kildare for more than two decades. The father of one worked as head of operations for Irish Tar and Bitumen Suppliers. He lives in Celbridge, was co-opted on to the county council in 2011 and elected in 2014. He is a keen dancer and has taken part in recent ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ charity events.
Fianna Fáil, Kildare South
Former school teacher Fiona O’Loughlin (52) lives in Newbridge. She has been involved in the Special Olympics organisation since the preparations for the 2003 games in Ireland when she headed the host town programme. Later she liaised with the EU for the organisation. She has been a councillor since 1999 and served as mayor of the county.
Sinn Féin, Limerick City
First elected as a councillor in 2009, Maurice Quinlivan was a travel agent before entering politics. He has worked with groups dealing with drug abuse. He came to national prominence in 2010 after then-minister Willie O’Dea made a false claim that he was linked to an alleged brothel. Mr O’Dea later apologised and paid damages after a court case.
Fine Gael, Limerick County
Son of departing TD Dan Neville, the new deputy’s previous occupations include DJ, radio presenter and businessman. Tom (40) began his career as a secondary school teacher and also lived in Australia for three years where he worked in recruitment and media. He was a councillor in two stints – 2003 to 2009 and from 2014 onwards.
Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran
Ind Alliance, Longford-Westmeath
Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran (48) got his nickname from a childhood football pitch altercation where he was defending a teammate. Once a Fianna Fáil councillor, the taximan ran as an Independent in 2011. Known for his work during floods in Athlone, he was endorsed by Irish rugby star and neighbour Robbie Henshaw during the 2016 campaign.
Fine Gael, Longford-Westmeath
A commerce graduate from NUI Galway, Peter Burke (33) is a chartered accountant. The Mullingar man was first elected to Westmeath County Council in 2009. He failed to win a seat in the 2011 General Election but got the second highest vote this time around. A horse-racing fan, Mr Burke is also involved in two local GAA clubs.
Fianna Fáil, Louth
Father-of-two Declan Breathnach worked as a teacher and later became principal of a national school in Clogherhead. From Dundalk, he has been a long-time councillor on Louth County Council and served as Cathaoirleach twice. He is a lifelong community activist who has been involved in the Tidy Towns and tourism promotion.
Sinn Féin, Louth
From Drogheda, Imelda Munster worked in an optician’s shop before entering politics. She was first elected to Louth County Council in 2004. The mother of two was party leader Gerry Adams’ running-mate as the party took two seats. She is opposed to water charges and is critical of the effects of austerity on families in her home town.
Fianna Fáil, Mayo
Barrister Lisa Chambers (29) ran in the 2011 General Election but did not win a seat. A councillor in Castlebar, she was among the first to criticise Taoiseach Enda Kenny for his ‘whingers’ remark during the election. She has been a member of the Reserve Defence Forces for 13 years and will nominate Micheál Martin as Taoiseach today.
Fianna Fáil, Meath West
A one-time sports journalist, Deputy Cassells (37) topped the poll in the constituency after more than a decade knocking on the door at Leinster House. He first ran in a 2005 by-election, having been elected as a Navan town councillor at the age of 21. A nephew of Meath All-Ireland winner Joe Cassells, he is involved in his local Navan O’Mahony’s GAA club.
Sinn Féin, Offaly
Irish language activist Carol Nolan is a primary school teacher who served as the principal of a Gaelscoil. The mother of two was elected to Offaly County Council in the Birr ward in 2014. She is the chairperson of the Kinnitty Community Playgroup and secretary of the Tidy Towns committee in Cadamstown.
Fianna Fáil, Roscommon-Galway
Eugene Murphy (57) has a history of political success, winning every election he stood for since he was first elected to Roscommon County Council in 1985. The long-time Fianna Fáil member and father-of-two is perhaps best known as a presenter and producer with Shannonside/Northern Sound radio. He also holds a diploma in horticulture.
Fianna Fáil, Sligo-Leitrim
Marc MacSharry (42) is the son of former finance minister and European Commissioner Ray MacSharry, who earned the nickname ‘Mac the Knife’ for his austerity budgets under Charle Haughey in the late 1980s. Marc failed to win a Dáil seat in 2011 but won election again to the Seanad. His father was active during his campaign.
Sinn Féin, Sligo-Leitrim
Martin Kenny (46) worked as a mushroom grower before being co-opted onto Leitrim County Council in 2003. He succeeds former Sinn Féin TD Michael Colreavy in the redrawn constituency. The father of four, who lives in Aughavas, Leitrim, was also a member of the party’s Ard Chomhairle.
Fianna Fáil, Tipperary
Jackie Cahill (53) is a former president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association, National Dairy Council chairman and a member of Bord Bia. He has been a councillor in Tipperary since 2014. He has an interest in greyhound racing, owns several race hounds and is on the committee of Thurles Greyhound Stadium.
Fianna Fáil, Waterford
Mary Butler (49) became the first female Fianna Fáil TD elected since 2007 when she got her Dáil seat on the first count. The mother of three continued to work part-time in a jeweller’s shop in Waterford city after first being elected to the city and county council there in 2014. The Portlaw woman is part of her local Tidy Towns committee.
Sinn Féin, Waterford
David Cullinane served as a Waterford City councillor and later in the Seanad. He campaigned for an increase in the minimum wage in his role as spokesman for workers’ rights and political reform. He has been involved in the campaign to expand services at Waterford Hospital. He is separated from his wife, fellow new Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion.
Fianna Fáil, Wexford
James Browne (40) was first elected to Enniscorthy Town Council in 2009. He now follows his father John’s footsteps into the Dáil, where he held a seat for 33 years. The former Marshalstown GAA player is a barrister and has worked in the hotel industry. He previously worked in factories in Germany and on construction sites in Chicago.
Sinn Féin, Wicklow
Father-of-five John Brady was first elected to Bray Town Council in 2004. He is well known in the county for his work on local issues. In 2014 he took a High Court action against Wicklow County Council aimed at preventing the eviction of his family from their home in a row over an attic conversion that Bray Town Council claimed posed a fire risk.
Fianna Fáil, Wicklow
Hotelier Pat Casey (54) has been a councillor since 2004 – first as an Independent and later joining Fianna Fáil. He is a nephew of Bishop Eamon Casey, who was at the centre of controversy when it emerged that he had fathered a child. Owner of the Glendalough Hotel, Mr Casey’s business employs more than 70 people.
Additional reporting: Barry Lennon