BABY BABY BLUE BLUE
ESTHER HAYDEN REPORTS ON HARRIS’ FIRST DAY AT DAIL
BABY OF THE DAIL, Simon Harris, is aware he is the butt of many jokes because of his age but it is like water of a duck's back. He said that everyone needs an angle and if his is his youth well so be it.
‘I have seen lots of jokes on twitter and that about my age. There was one about Enda Kenny going to the Phoenix Park to collect his seal of office from the President and someone wondered if he was going to drop me off to visit the zoo!'
However, as every older sibling knows there are some great advantages to being the baby and Simon has his first taste of that on Wednesday when he had the opportunity to nominate his party leader, Enda Kenny, for Taoiseach.
‘He (Enda) rang me last night in person and said it was a long tradition of his to have the youngest member to do the nomination and I was happy to oblige. It was emotional and I was extremely nervous until I stood up to do it and then something just came over me.
‘I never imagined that nominating Enda Kenny for Taoiseach would be my maiden speech. I always thought my maiden speech would be on something totally obscure late at night with only one or two people in the chamber', he laughed. ‘ But the first motion I proposed in the Dail was passed!'
Simon said that not only was it a party honour to nominate his leader as Taoiseach it was a personal honour as well. ‘I really like Enda Kenny and I think there is an honesty and a decency to him.'
Having worked as a parliamentary assistant for former Senator and now Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, Simon has been around the hallowed colliders of Leinster House for the last number of years but said walking in the gates as a deputy was a fantastic feeling.
‘It was great walking in today. Obviously I have been in and out since my election and of course I worked here but to take a seat in Wicklow and to come here in my own right is fantastic. I knew the physical layout but now I need to know about the workings of the Dáil.
‘ Walking in the gates brings back the memories of why I am here and the mandate I received from the people. I am not here for myself but representing the people of Wicklow and East Carlow.'
Wearing his ‘ lucky election tie' Simon was joined in Dail Eireann by his parents Mary and Bart and siblings Adam and Gemma. He said it was a great comfort to have them there and indeed when he stood to make his maiden speech ‘I could see Adam in my direct eye line which was great.'
His girlfriend, Gorey nurse Caoimhe Wade, was unfortunately out of the country due to a long standing family commitment and missed his first day although she was keeping in constant contact by text throughout the day.