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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019
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Some serious shade was thrown as the Dáil welcomed a new TD today

They just couldn’t help themselves…

THE DÁIL WELCOMED its newest member this afternoon as Fianna Fáil’s Bobby Aylward took his seat for Carlow-Kilkenny.

It was a rare bit of good news for the party after an eventful 24 hours with the resignation of Averil Power and a party activist in Cork over the party’s marriage referendum campaign.

Bobby arrival

Aylward’s election in the early hours of last Sunday morning was Fianna Fáil’s first by-election win 19 years and its first in opposition in over four decades.

As the new deputy arrived in the chamber there was applause and then a series of good-natured exchanges.

It’s fair to say there was a serious amount of shade thrown across the chamber by several members:

Source: Video: Oireachtas TV

First, Martin noted that Aylward’s constituency colleague John McGuinness – who went on holiday in the middle of the campaign – “worked particularly hard” to get him elected.

The ribbing of McGuinness wasn’t over.

Enda Kenny advised Aylward not to take too much advice from McGuinness “because you’ll be away all the time”.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 16.13.53

Then Labour’s Kathleen Lynch, with a nod to Fianna Fáil’s women troubles, said she was there to “inject a little bit of gender balance” into the debate.

Speaking for the Technical Group, Finian McGrath said it had been “a bad day yesterday in Dublin Bay North” – a nod to local senator Averil Power’s resignation from Fianna Fáil.

He joked that there was a seat beside him if Aylward ever got “a bit wobbly on any issues”.

McGuinness’s roasting wasn’t over.

Fine Gael’s Pat Deering said he looked forward to seeing the PAC chairman campaigning “hand-in-hand” with Aylward at the next election.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 16.15.17

But then it was McGuinness’s turn.

He noted he was the only member of the Dáil who nominated Aylward to be the Fianna Fáil candidate in the by-election.

Then he hit out at Fine Gael’s own internal problems in Carlow-Kilkenny where former IFA chief John Bryan had failed to win the nomination.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 16.15.23

But the teasing for McGuinness wasn’t over.

Fine Gael’s John Paul Phelan noted Aylward had got a tan on the highways and byways of the Carlow-Kilkenny campaign trail unlike others sitting close to him “who got their tans elsewhere”.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 16.17.06

There was another outbreak of chuckling in the chamber, before Phelan dryly concluded: “It’s not a day for party politics.”

Indeed.

Read: A ‘male and stale’ Fianna Fáil welcomed its newest TD to Leinster House today

Enda: There won’t be a referendum on repealing the 8th amendment

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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