| 3.9°C Dublin

Roscommon-South Leitrim: 'Ming' pledges to cut salary by 50pc as Dail quest pays off

NEW Independent TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan finally succeeded in his 14-year quest to get into the Dail.

The 39-year-old, most famous for his campaign to legalise cannabis, had described himself as an outsider whose election in Roscommon-South Leitrim would inspire others to go forward in future.

"If I can make it into Dail Eireann, I'll have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with the equivalent of two grand pianos strapped to my back, because I'll have done it by being honest with people," he said.

Mr Flanagan beat off a strong challenge from Labour and Fianna Fail to top the poll in the three-seater constituency.

The second and third seats went to Fine Gael's Frank Feighan and Denis Naughten on the sixth count.

In a move that will not endear him to his new colleagues in Leinster House, Mr Flanagan instantly declared that he would take a 50pc pay cut in his €92,000 TD's salary. And he called on all new TDs to do likewise, saying the country couldn't afford the salaries currently paid to Dail members.

Mr Flanagan is mayor of Roscommon and will now have to resign his council seat after a strong volume of transfers from Labour's John Kelly saw him jump ahead of the sitting Fine Gael TDs in the constituency.

For the first time since 1927, Fianna Fail will not have a representative in Roscommon.

Mr Flanagan has started studying for a diploma in economics taught by David McWilliams.

"If you're going to talk about economics, you have to learn the language," he said

Irish Independent Supplement