Sons and daughters to perpetuate some famous Dail dynasties


Some famous dynasties will continue to influence the future of the nation, with the election of new deputies to the still warm Dáil seats vacated by their parents.

Fiona O'Malley takes up the reins from her father, PD founder Des, who was first elected to the Dáil in 1968. Des O'Malley is the nephew of the late Donogh O'Malley, a Fianna Fáil deputy from 1954-1968.

Niall Blaney keeps his famous family moniker alive after taking a seat in Donegal North East. Niall perpetuates a line begun by Neil Blaney, a deputy from 1927-1938, and 1943-1948, and continued by Harry Blaney, elected in 1996 and Neil T. Blaney, 1948-1996. Simon Coveney has taken the baton from father, Hugh, who was a deputy from 1981-1987 and 1994 until his recent death.

Other young guns maintaining the bloodlines include Denis Naughten in Longford-Roscommon, the son of Liam, a former senator and Leas-Chathaoirleach and deputy from 1982-1989.

Mary Hanafin continues to carry the torch for father Des in DúLaoghaire; Beverley Cooper-Flynn takes on her father's mantle in Mayo and in the same constituency, Enda Kenny keeps father Henry's name alive. Seán Haughey, elected in Dublin North Central maintains his beleaguered family name.

Conor and Brian Lenihan are keeping their father's memory alive in Dublin South West and Dublin West respectively.

However, Mildred Fox, daughter of the late Johnny Fox, had to sweat out a recount in her Wicklow constituency with Labour's Nicky Kelly before retaining her seat. Of the 166 deputies elected to the 29th Dáil, 38 are related to former or current deputies. Eighteen are sons of former deputies; eight are daughters, five are brothers, with the remaining number comprised of three grandsons, and one each of nephew, cousin, granddaughter and grandnephew.

The total is slightly less than that for the 28th Dáil, in which there were 41 deputies with relatives who had been deputies.

Ireland's most famous political family name, de Valera, which is kept in the public mind by out-going Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Síle, grand-daughter of former president Éamon and by the long-fellow's grandson, Éamon Ó Cuív.

Michael McDowell's election creates a span arching back to the formation of the Free State, as he is the grandson of Eoin MacNeill, Republican and founder member of the Gaelic League.