Profile: Stephen Donnelly (SD)
Wicklow: First TD elected of five
Stephen Donnelly TD, with Social Democrat candidates, Aisling O Neill, and Glenna Lynch. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Polltopper Stephen Donnelly was a surprise winner in the 2011 election. He decided to stand for the Dáil as an Independent after he learned that the EU-ECB-IMF had taken control of Ireland’s finances in November 2010, he said. And when he arrived at Leinster House he went into the National Museum, mistakenly thinking it was the home of the Dáil. But by the time the 2016 election campaign took off he had built something of a national profile, and had made his mark on the Dáil. His assured performance on the RTÉ leaders’ debate increased his popularity. Now 40, he is married with two young children. He has a degree in mechanical engineering from UCD, and has spent time at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and the Kennedy School of Government, as well as senior jobs in global consultancy. His mother was a teacher in Ballinteer, south Dublin, and he worked in the family business, Hickey Fabrics. He withdrew from the banking inquiry committee in summer 2014 in a row over government insistence on keeping a majority. Last July he and fellow Independents Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall launched the Social Democrats.