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A 'male and stale' Fianna Fáil welcomed its newest TD to Leinster House today

Bobby Aylward’s arrival in the Dáil has been somewhat overshadowed by the Averil Power resignation.

Updated 3.20pm

Men from FF All the Fianna Fáil men at Leinster House today Source: Hugh O'Connell/TheJournal.ie

FIANNA FÁIL WELCOMED its newest TD to Leinster House this afternoon as the party attempted to put senator Averil Power’s resignation behind it.

The new Carlow-Kilkenny deputy Bobby Aylward was given a warm reception by his parliamentary party colleagues as he came through the gates of the Oireachtas.
https://vine.co/v/eb7OjzU3w0d

As they strode up to the famous Leinster House plinth it wasn’t long before Aylward and his party leader Micheál Martin were stopped by journalists who had only one thing on their mind.

Asked about the Power resignation, Aylward, who lost his Dáil seat in 2011, insisted:

This happens in political parties, it happened in my day as today and I intend to make the best of it.

There were loud cheers as journalists then put their questions to his party leader.

Martin noted that it was Fianna Fáil’s first by-election success in 19 years and – for “a bit of history for the electoral nerds out there” – the first in 45 years while in opposition.

On Power, he said:

“Well events happen in politics and I’m well used to it. Things happen, things move on. I’ve already articulated my views on that particular issue, I’ve no intention of adding any further right now to that. Today is Bobby Aylward’s day.”

A short time later, Aylward, who was previously in the Dáil from 2007 to 2011, was formally introduced in to the house.

He was warmly applauded as he shook hands on all sides of the chamber.

Bobby arrival Source: Oireachtas TV

‘Male, stale and outside The Pale’

Earlier, as Fianna Fáil attempted to move on from the issue, one TD admitted her departure did make the parliamentary party look ‘male, stale and outside The Pale’.

Frontbenchers Timmy Dooley and Billy Kelleher addressed the media on the Leinster House plinth about the likely sale of Aer Lingus and the crisis in maternity services respectively.

But it wasn’t long before they faced questions from the media on Power and the resignation of Cork activist Ken Curtin.

FullSizeRender Timmy Dooley and Billy Kelleher outside Leinster House today

Asked if he would accept, with Power’s departure, that Fianna Fáil now looks ‘male, stale and outside The Pale’, Dooley said:

Well if you narrow your focus to just the parliamentary party, then yes. But there is quite an awful lot of young men and women on our councillor list and throughout our membership that feed in to the development of our policy position and always have done, the same as our national executive.

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Kelleher, who expressed his disappointment at the departure of Curtin, said he also regretted the departure of Power.

“On a personal level I have great admiration for her,” he said.

Attempting to move on from the party’s internal wranglings, he pointed out that the party’s newest TD, Carlow-Kilkenny’s Bobby Aylward, will be introduced in the Dáil this afternoon.

“Today is a good day for the party as well,” the Cork North-Central TD insisted.

Dooley described Power as “a fine contributor, a fine senator” and insisted his party had led the way on the same-sex marriage issue.

But, he added: “It’s time to move on. Bobby Aylward will be here in couple of hours so we’ve one in, one out.”

More: Disaster for Fianna Fáil as prominent Yes Equality campaigner quits

Read: ‘She’s done a hatchet job on Micheál Martin’: Averil Power’s former pals aren’t happy

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Hugh O'Connell

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