Three former TDs and four outgoing senators appointed


The Taoiseach's right-hand man in his constituency, three former TDs and four outgoing senators are among the 11 nominees to the Seanad, whose appointment Mr Ahern announced last night.

Following the elections last week, the Seanad complement of 60 senators is now complete.

There were no major surprises in the line-up which includes four Progressive Democrats, although there had been expectations that Mr Ahern might nominate a member of the Traveller or other ethnic minority community or a disability rights campaigner.

Two of the 11 nominees are women, the former Minister Ms Mary O'Rourke and Progressive Democrats councillor, Ms Kate Walsh.

Mr Cyprian Brady, the Taoiseach's constituency organiser and manager, joins Ms O'Rourke (65), whom the Taoiseach had nominated to the Seanad after her shock defeat in the Dail election and before the latest Seanad elections.

Mr Micheál Kitt, (52), a former Galway East TD of 20 years standing, who failed to get elected to the 29th Dáil and who suffered a shock defeat in the Seanad elections was appointed, as was former TD for Waterford, Mr Brendan Kenneally (47), a former Minister of State who also lost his seat at the last general election.

Outgoing Fianna Fáil senator on the Agriculture panel, Mr Pat Moylan (55) who also surprisingly failed to get re-elected, was also appointed by Mr Ahern. The Taoiseach also appointed a member of Limerick County Council, Mr Michael Brennan (55) to the Seanad. Mr Brennan works in the tourism sector in Adare, Co Limerick, and has been on the county council since 1983.

Mr Brady is a former civil servant, a member of Fianna Fáil for the past 23 years and a close associate of the Taoiseach.

He had been viewed as Mr Ahern's choice for running mate in his Dublin Central constituency but at the convention Dr Dermot Fitzpatrick was selected and subsequently won a Dáil seat.

Dr Fitzpatrick was a Taoiseach's nominee to the Seanad in 1997. As expected, the Taoiseach nominated four Progressive Democrats, all general election candidates.

They were outgoing senator Mr John Dardis (57), a farmer from Newbridge, Co Kildare; Cllr Kate Walsh (53), mayor of Celbridge, who got the highest personal vote nationally in the local elections for Kildare County Council; the party chairman, Mr John Minihan (44), a Montenotti-based pharmacist and member of Cork Corporation; and Mr Tom Morrissey (46), originally from Cashel, Co Tipperary, but based in Castleknock, Dublin, a director of a printing and advertising company and deputy chairman of Fingal County Council.

Outgoing independent Sen Maurice Hayes, chairman of the Forum on Europe, was re-appointed. He was one of Mr Ahern's nominees in the last Seanad.

Mr Ahern, however, did not act on a recommendation by the Oireachtas committee on the Constitution that the Taoiseach should keep four of the 11 Seanad seats he directly nominates for Northern Ireland residents. The committee recommended that those four in turn should proportionally represent the nationalist and unionist community.

The all-party committee had also recommended that Northern Ireland politicians should be allowed to speak in the Dáil on some Northern Ireland debates.