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Luke Ming Flanagan

The 'high-maintenance independents' prepare to take their seats in the Dáil

We look at the more colourful TDs who will take their seats in Dáil Eireann next week.

INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES HAVE so far taken 12 seats in the next Dáil and more are set to be elected today with a range of political views among them.

A number of independents in the last Dáil have or will hold their seats with more conventional candidates like Shane Ross, Catherine Murphy, and Mattie McGrath also enjoying success at the polls.

The Financial Times notes that some of the independents in the last Dáil were known as “gombeens” and there may yet be a few of those in the next one.

Michael Healy-Rae

The paper quotes Michael Healy-Rae, son of Jackie, who held his seat in Kerry South as being quite unhappy with such a term:

When a Dublin politician secures funding for the inner city, he’s a hero. When a rural politician does, he’s a gombeen.

In any case, Healy-Rae is unlikely to be approached by Fine Gael if they look to form a government with ‘like-minded independents’.

Luke Ming Flanagan

Neither is Luke Ming Flanagan in Roscommon-South Leitrim who described himself as a “high-maintenance independent” after his election on Saturday.

Flanagan has called for the legalisation of cannabis. It’s reported that he sent 500 cigarettes rolled with the drug to Irish politicians – and got none of them back.

Mick Wallace

In Wexford, Mick Wallace topped the poll on the first count and vowed not to wear a suit when he enters the Dáil next week. He told the Irish Times:

It’s ludicrous; so long as a fella washes himself and is clean, he should be welcome.

Yesterday, Wallace noted on Twitter that the challenges of junior county football were much bigger than winning an election as he did on Saturday:

Elsewhere, although not strictly independents, People Before Profit’s two elected TDs Richard Boyd-Barrett in Dún Laoghaire and Joan Collins in Dublin South Central will aim to offer a radical alternative.

Richard Boyd-Barrett

Boyd-Barrett, son of actress Sinead Cusack, was a surprise winner in Dún Laoghaire beating Labour’s Ivana Bacik and outgoing tourism minister Mary Hanafin to the final seat.

Joan Collins

Collins will cut an unusual figures in the Dáil with a nose stud and three earrings on each ear.

She is most remembered for confronting former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern outside Dáil Eireann in January haranguing him about his pension, later saying his “smug face” incensed her.

Joe Higgins

The two PBP TDs will be part of the United Left Alliance that also includes Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins who regained his seat in Dublin West.

Higgins had been an MEP who earlier this year encountered the anger of EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso for his criticism of the bank bailout.

Clare Daly

Higgins was previously imprisoned in 2003 for his opposition to the Bin Tax along with colleague Clare Daly who was elected in Dublin North.

TDs such as these will look to form technical groups in the Dáil which will give them speaking rights, Wallace has already indicated he will do so.

Their presence alone is sure to make for some interesting debates.