New Faces in the Dáil
BARRY ANDREWS(Fianna Fail, Dun Laoghaire) - The son of the former Minister for Foreign Affairs David Andrews, he has inherited the family seat. A barrister by trade, he has built a formidable base in the constituency but will need to prove himself if he has his sights set on high office.
TONY DEMPSEY(Fianna Fail, Wexford) - A retired secondary school teacher and manager of the Wexford hurling team, he took a seat at his colleague Hugh Byrne's expense in Wexford. There will be much interest in how Tony Dempsey manages the transition from county hurling manager to politician.
TOM McELLISTRIM(Fianna Fáil, Kerry North) - With most pundits tipping Fianna Fáil to lose their seat in Kerry North, McEllistrom a secondary school teacher pulled off one of the performances of the election after fighting a bizarre campaign. Notoriously media shy, McEllistrom’s grandfather and father held the Dáil seat between 1923 and 1987.
FERGUS O'DOWD(Fine Gael, Louth) - After defeat in the battle for the last seat in the Louth constituency in 1997, the brother of Irish American journalist Niall O'Dowd had something to cheer about on a grim day for Fine Gael. The Louth County Councillor inherited the seat from Brendan McGahon.
DAMIEN ENGLISH(Fine Gael, Meath) - Damien English's victory was one of the brightest spots of a bleak election for his party, offering them some hope for the future. A rising star of Fine Gael, there will be considerable interest in how he can help the party reinvent itself nationally and win back voters. He will do well to draw from the experience of his colleague in Meath, the former Taoiseach John Bruton.
MARTIN FERRIS(Sinn Féin, Kerry North) - Having come through arguably the most intense constituency campaign ever seen in an Irish election, Martin Ferris will be the focus of intense media scrutiny. The softly spoken candidate proved a wily election campaigner. Now he must prove equally effective in the Dáil where opponents will be anxious to trip him up. His uneasy relationship with the Gardaí will be watched closely.
SEÁN CROWE(Sinn Féin, Dublin South West) - There was an air of inevitability about Seán Crowe's elevation to TD following impressive performances in the 1999 local government and European Parliament elections. Crowe has been "the face of Sinn Féin" in Dublin and has acquired quite a reputation as a hard-working councillor. As a TD, he will seek to vigorously carve out a firm place for the party on the left.
MICHAEL McDOWELL(Progressive Democrats, Dublin South East) - The seesaw career of one of Ireland's most combative politicians continues. Had he lost, the former Attorney General is back to the role he loves best and will not hesitate in criticising Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin from the Dáil benches.
NIALL BLANEY(Independent, Donegal North East): The Blaney dynasty in Irish politics continues, with the 28-year-old becoming the standard bearer for Independent Fianna Fáil in Co Donegal. Regarded as an articulate and talented young politician, he steps into the legendary shoes of his uncle Neil and his father, Harry who has retired but will have to make the seat his own if the Blaneys are to continue to work their magic in the county.
MARIAN HARKIN(Independent, Sligo-Leitrim) - After missing out on a European Parliament seat to Dana in the 1999 elections, Marian Harkin finally gets the chance to perform on the national stage. A powerful advocate of western development, she was regarded as a shoo-in for the seat and can be expected to provide a strident voice for her constituency in the Dáil.