EU deal tops agenda as Doyle starts second term
POLL TOPPER Andrew Doyle started his second term of office last Wednesday and although he obviously wasn't experiencing the sense of wonder and awe that Wicklow's three new TDs must surely have been feeling, he said it was a special day.
And on reflection there is probably a tendency for people to overlook the more experienced members of the Dáil in favour of the ‘newbies' on the first day believing that it is very much a case of same job, different day.
But for Andrew Doyle and indeed for many of the returning Fine Gael and Labour TDs, last Wednesday was a very significant milestone. For many it was the first time they got to sit their bums on the seats on Government benches having languished for many years in the Opposition benches.
‘ This is a great day and some of the stalwarts never thought they would see this day come to pass. To see Fine Gael being the largest party in Government is slightly surreal. But there is quite a job of work to be done and it is quite clear we will have a robust Opposition. In Enda Kenny's opening speech he set out his stall that there is a long road ahead of use and one of the most refreshing things is that he made clear that he will be keeping the people informed and he will be truthful. He will be keeping the people briefed as to the state of the nation and that's important.
‘It will be important for people to see if we measure up and it is clear, despite what some Independent's said in their opening speeches, that Enda Kenny outlined that this new Government is about change. Changing the way we do business and changing the way we do things.
‘ There are certain things that need to be done - things like getting people back to work. Other things like dealing with financial institutions will be harder. We also need to make sure that when we challenge the EU about the IMF/EU deal that they can see how a new arrangement will benefit not only Ireland but Europe. ‘It is in nobody's benefit for us to default.' Wearing a purple tie Andrew confessed he had put little thought into his wardrobe for the first sitting. However, he was wearing a new suit. ‘I had to get a new one because I had destroyed a couple of them over the campaign. I just picked out an old tie because it matched a shirt I had.'
Andrew was joined in Dáil Eireann by his 80-year-old mother Maureen who also attended the morning's interdenominational service in St. Anne's Church, Dawson Street, for the incoming members of the 31st Dail. The service was also attended by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.
Andrew said his mother had also been at the opening day of the 30th Dáil - the first one which Andrew was elected to and undoubtedly found last Wednesday an equally proud moment.
His father, Bernard, (89) didn't make the trip to Dublin but no doubt was glued to the day's proceedings on the television.
Andrew's three brothers and some close family friends also rotated the security passes to allow everyone who had travelled up with him to take in some of the pomp and ceremony .
s a sitting TD, Andrew has his own office in Leinster House although he suspects he will be in for a move. ‘I like the office I am in at the moment. There is a water cooler outside and it is in a good location but I think under the new arrangements Fine Gael will be moving to the five-storey building in Leinster House so I will probably be moving.'
A small price to pay for his role in this historic moment of Fine Gael history.
Andrew Doyle and mum Maureen on the first day of the 31st Dáil in Leinster House.