Thursday 22 March 2018

Coffee and a Biscuit - Dáil hopeful Senator James Heffernan brings pup to work

Senator James Heffernan with his dog Biscuit
Senator James Heffernan with his dog Biscuit
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

One Dáil hopeful has put a new spin on “coffee and a biscuit” after he smuggled his new puppy into Leinster House.

Senator James Heffernan, who is vying to take a seat for the Social Democrats, brought his dog, Biscuit, into the home of Dáil Éireann as he waited for clampers to release his vehicle.

On Monday morning, the Limerick candidate was left out in the cold when he returned to Leinster House to find his car had been clamped.

As he waited for the parking officers to turn up he decided to smuggle the Jack Russell rescue pup into the building  by concealing him inside his jacket.

Mr Heffernan admitted he didn’t know if he was breaking  rules but said there were no problems on the day.

“There was nobody objecting to a tiny little puppy going around the place. He was welcomed by all and sundry in fact,” he told the Herald.

Senator James Heffernan with his dog Biscuit
Senator James Heffernan with his dog Biscuit

“A lot of the staff wanted to take him home and take him away for me.”

Biscuit – who was rescued by the Limerick Animal Welfare group – did raise some eyebrows in Leinster House though it was not a sitting day.

Mr Heffernan said there were some “House of Lords-types” who seemed startled to see a dog in the home of the Irish parliament.

“There was a delegation of the British-Irish parliamentary party and it was unusual for them… I was caught short at the time.

Senator James Heffernan's clamped car
Senator James Heffernan's clamped car

“They saw me with a North Face jacket, a hoodie, a pair of jeans and a little Jack Russell peering out from under my coat, I think they were wondering ‘what kind of a parliament is this Irish parliament?,” he said.

On top of his trip to Leinster House, Biscuit has also been helping his new owner out on the campaign trail as Mr Heffernan canvassed a voter who had adopted the puppy’s sister from the same charity.

Though his morning may have been brightened up by having a pleasant coffee in Leinster House with his pet, the matter of his clamp was a slightly sorer subject.

“The machine wouldn’t let me pay ahead on Sunday night…when I came up to move my car there was that horrible little yellow triangle. I got a bit of a sinking feeling when I saw it,” he said. 

Despite being “fit to puke” when he saw his car, Mr Heffernan paid his €80 fine and has put the matter behind him.

“A lot of people have been having the craic with me now, going around checking I have my car parked in the right place,” he said.

“It hasn’t taken the wheels of my campaign at all,” he joked.

The ex-Labour Senator said that he hopes the bizarre incident will show that he and others running for his party are “real people”.


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