Newly elected TD Joe O’Brien says he is ready to hit the ground running as he goes to work for the people of Dublin Fingal.
The Skerries-based Green Party representative, who was elected to Fingal County Council in May’s local elections, topped the poll in Friday’s by election to take the seat vacated by Clare Daly.
Deputy O’Brien said he felt “honoured and privileged” to be taking a seat in Dail Eireann and he pledged to waste no time working for those who voted for him.
He said: “I’m very committed to injecting a bit of urgency into a couple of issues. Primary among them for me is the housing situation.
“We have 4,000 children homeless at the moment and the language around it is the language of normality now, it’s not the language of emergency or urgency.
“I’d like to light a fire under that issue.”
Deputy O’Brien also said he’d like to bring “a bit of sincerity” to the climate action debate rather than the “waffle and spin” that currently surrounds it.
He joined the Oireachtas on Tuesday where he voted on a late-night, no-confidence motion against under-fire Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, which had the potential to trigger a general election.
Speaking ahead of the vote, he said: “We need something different to happen, and we need to do justice to the 4,000 children who are homeless.
“I couldn’t think of a better reason to go back to the polls than the 4,000 kids who are homeless this Christmas.”
Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) congratulated Deputy O’Brien but lamented the fact that Swords is now without a sitting TD in Dail Eireann.
He said: “Dublin Fingal is now represented by three TDs from Skerries, two from Malahide, and none from Swords, the largest town.
“I don’t think that is sustainable in General Election 2020 as, whilst people vote for a combination of reasons, issues, party and geography, you’d have to think that the town of Swords will elect at least one TD out of five, if not two.
“I will once again be asking Fianna Fail HQ to add my name to the Fianna Fail general election ticket.”
Earlier this year, FF’s national executive put forward sitting TD Darragh O’Brien from Malahide and Donabate-based Senator Lorraine-Clifford Lee, who came second in Friday’s by election, to contest the next general election.