It’s a new Dáil, it’s a new day...


LAST WED­NES­DAY 76 newly elected deputies en­tered the Dáil for their first of­fi­cial day of work.

For the 166 deputies sitting in the 31st Dáil they had to ne­go­ti­ate their way past pro­tes­tors and pho­tog­ra­phers out­side the gates of Le­in­ster House be­fore they even got to work, one gang was wel­come, one not so much.

The restau­rant and cater­ing work­ers took a novel ap­proach to their protest so much so that it didn't even look like a protest. In­stead of shout­ing or chant­ing they gave the deputies ‘a power break­fast for their first day in power'.

But just like there is no such thing as a free lunch there is no such thing as a free brekkie ei­ther and if you got a tasty treat you also got a leaflet call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to pro­tect the ‘ min­i­mum wages and con­di­tions' of restau­rant work­ers.

Once in­side the hal­lowed grounds of Le­in­ster House there was a sur­real sense of oc­ca­sion. The day had all the hall­marks of a wed­ding com­plete with em­bar­rass­ing un­cle ( hello Michael Healy Rae) and for the first part of the morn­ing all eyes were on the gate to check out the style.

Many fam­ily mem­bers decked out in their Sun­day best or in a more ad­ven­tur­ous few their Satur­day night glitz which, in the cold light of day, was per­haps a se­quin too far.

A flash of pink sent the me­dia pack into a frenzy think­ing it was ar­rival of Wex­ford's Mick Wal­lace but alas they were left want­ing when Mary Lou McDon­ald waltzed in wear­ing a rather fetch- ing pink mac. They were not dis­ap­pointed a sec­ond time and close to noon Wal­lace walked through the gates of Le­in­ster House alone wear­ing a deep pink shirt, open at the neck, and a blue dan­gly ear­ring, his nod to the wave of Fine Gael blue per­haps?

But it seems not as one witty by­stander quipped ‘ you can bor­row my tie' to which Mick quickly re­torted ‘ I'm not into blue!'

In the Cham­ber there was lit­tle ev­i­dence of the red of Labour ex­cept from Wick­low's Anne Fer­ris who had a new frock for the oc­ca­sion and from an­other Labour TD, pos­si­bly Kath­leen Lynch.

Evel knievel Mary Mitchell O'Con­nor donned the blue of Fine Gael wear­ing a blue and white stripped en­sem­ble while Michelle Mul­herin of Mayo sported an eye catch­ing pur­ple num­ber with a slate grey jacket.

There was a nod to Catholic Ire­land too with sev­eral peo­ple sport­ing pen­i­ten­tial ashes on their fore­heads and in the Dail Cham­ber there were ref­er­ences to Ash Wed­nes­day too.

Mick Wal­lace, TD.

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