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Dublin: -2°C Sunday 11 April 2021

Where have you seen these political faces before?

They all have one place in common besides the Dáil.

AS SEVERAL SENATORS decide to throw their name into the ring for the next general election, TheJournal.ie has taken a look back at the current crop of TDs who served in the Seanad.

Here are the ministers who once held a place in the upper house:

Alan Kelly

The Environment Minister served in the Seanad from 2007-2009, before being elected to the European Parliament.

Kelly acted as the Labour party spokesperson on tourism and Seanad spokesperson on finance and local government.

Labour European Election Campaigns Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

He was elected to the Dáil in 2011, where he initially served as junior transport minister. The Tipperary North TD became the deputy leader of the Labour party, and the Environment Minister, last July.

Kelly’s junior colleague at the Department of the Environment, Fine Gael’s Paudie Coffey, served in the Seanad from 2007-2011.

Frances Fitzgerald

The Justice Minister worked in the upper house in between stints as a member of Dáil Éireann.

Fine Gaels Reports on Childcare Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter with then Senator Frances Fitzgerald in 2010. She would later replace him as the Justice Minister. Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Fitzgerald was a TD for the Dublin South East constituency from 1992-2002. She served in the Seanad on the labour panel from 2007-2011, before re-entering the Dáil in 2011 for Dublin Mid West.

She was appointed the first-ever senior Minister for Children, before succeeding Fine Gael colleague Alan Shatter as Justice Minister in 2014.

Paschal Donohoe

Fine Gael Senator Paschal Donohoe Donohoe regaling Enda Kenny with tales of the spire in 2009. Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Donohoe took over from Leo Varadkar as Transport Minister last year, having previously served as junior minister for European Affairs, and Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Dublin Central TD was elected to the Seanad’s administrative panel in 2007, after he failed to secure a seat in the Dáil. He served as the Fine Gael spokesperson on transport in the upper house.

Alex White

Start of By Elections Campaigns White with former Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore as they geared up for a by-election in 2009. The cute dog is an added bonus. Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

The Communications Minister was a Senator from 2007-2011. He failed to be elected to the Dáil in 2007, but secured a seat in Dublin South in the following general election.

While in the Seanad, White served on the cultural and educational panel, and acted as group leader of the Labour party. In the Dáil, he was junior health minister before moving to his current brief.

The Opposition

Shane Ross

First Activies AGMS Broadcaster Eamon Dunphy with Shane Ross, Senator and then Sunday Independent business editor, pictured in 2000. Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Ross was first elected to the Seanad as an independent Senator for Trinity College in 1981, and was re-elected nine times.

After 30 years in the upper house, he resigned in 2011 when elected as an independent TD for Dublin South.

Pearse Doherty

Dail Is Back The then Senator pictured in 2007. Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson served as the party’s first Senator, working on the agriculture panel from 2007-2010.

He entered the Dáil five years ago as a TD for Donegal South West in a by-election.

Timmy Dooley

Dail Is Back Dooley, pictured in 2007. Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Dooley is currently Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on transport, tourism and sport.

He was elected to Dáil Éireann as a TD for Clare in 2007, having served as a Senator on the administrative panel for the previous five years.

Michael Kitt  

President receives Ministers of State. Kitt, then junior foreign affairs minister, with then President Mary McAleese (2007).

Kitt served in the Seanad from 1977-1981 and 2002-2007 – in between periods as a TD for Galway East.

In 2011, Taiseach Enda Kenny appointed him as Leas Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil.


Several other Fine Gael TDs were previously Senators, including James Bannon, Jerry Buttimer, Ciaran Cannon, Noel Coonan, Frank Feighan, Joe McHugh, Joe O’Reilly, John Paul Phelan and Liam Twomey.

Labour’s Dominic Hannigan, Michael McCarthy, Brendan Ryan and Joanna Tuffy also all served in the upper house.

Originally published: 10.15am

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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