It’s Dail smiles for the post-election gathering as new TDs take their seats

by Gary Ibbotson

This past Thursday, 48 newly elected TDs arrived at Leinster House as the 33rd Dail convened for the first time.

Overall, Sinn Fein has the largest number of new representatives, with 17 TDs, while the Green Party added nine TDs to its ranks.

Fianna Fail returned eight new seats, Fine Gael five, and the Social Democrats four, with Labour only adding one new TD.

Four new Independents also won Dail seats.

Sinn Fein’s nationwide ascendance was not echoed in Dublin, however, with Paul Donnelly the only new TD for the party in the county, winning a seat in Dublin West.

On the contrary, five of the Green Party’s nine new seats came from Dublin, with Patrick Costello (Dublin South Central), Francis Noel Duffy (Dublin South West), Neasa Hourigan (Dublin Central), Ossian Smyth (Dun Laoghaire) and Roderic O’Gorman (Dublin West) all winning seats.

Meeting at noon, the 33rd Dail began with the clerk calling out the names of all TDs returned from each constituency, before reading out the names of the nominees for Ceann Comhairle.

Only two representatives – Fianna Fail’s Sean O Fearghail, and Independent TD Denis Naughten – ran for the position, with Deputy O Fearghail winning the secret ballot, retaining the position he originally won in 2016.

Immediately after the Ceann Comhairle was elected, the nominations for the position of Taoiseach were called out.

Fine Gael, as the sitting government, was the first party to nominate a leader, with incumbent Taoiseach Leo Varadkar failing to be re-elected.

Deputy Varadkar received 36 votes in favour, but 107 against, with 16 abstentions.

The Dail also voted against Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin’s bid to become Taoiseach, as 41 voted in favour, 97 against, and 19 abstained.

Sinn Fein’s leader, Mary Lou McDonald, received the most votes out of all the candidates, receiving 45 votes in favour, 84 against and 29 abstentions.

However, with no Taoiseach being elected, the Ceann Comhairle suspended the house until Thursday, March 5.

Deputy Varadkar will continue in the role of Taoiseach in a caretaker capacity.

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