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Dublin: 6 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

Meet the youngest member of the new Dáil: 22-year-old student James O'Connor

The Fianna Fáil TD, elected in Cork East, is the youngest member of the 33rd Dáil.

THE YOUNGEST TD in the 33rd Dáil is James O’Connor, a 22-year-old student who is one of the youngest Fianna Fáil TDs ever elected. 

O’Connor, who was a child the last time Fianna Fáil won an election, placed fourth in Cork East, in the process unseating running mate Kevin O’Keefe. 

While he is not the youngest member of the Dáil ever elected, he is younger than health minister Simon Harris was in 2011, when aged 24 he was given the privilege of nominating Enda Kenny for taoiseach. 

In 2016, it was the Fianna Fáil candidate in Dublin West, Jack Chambers, who aged 25 was the youngest TD elected. 

Speaking to before the election, he said: “I’ve been exceptionally hard-working as a county councillor, I’m the youngest candidate in Munster and I believe you can achieve a lot of good through public work.”

The so-called baby of the Dáil hails from Youghal and despite his relative youth is already a local councillor, having been elected to Cork County Council in May. 

O’Connor isn’t the only precocious politician who’ll be filling a seat in the Dáil over the coming weeks and months. 

Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane, who won of the three seats in Roscommon-Galway, is 27-years-old. 

Ahead of the election, the former political advisor told that she was putting her name forward “to offer a real alternative to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil who have not delivered for our constituency”. 

Holly Cairns, who was elected in Cork South West for the Social Democrats, is aged 30, while new Sinn Féin TD Mairéad Farrell, who was elected in Galway West, is 29. 

The youngest TD ever elected was Labour’s William J Murphy, who was 21 years and 29 days old when he was elected to the Dáil in 1949.

Kathleen O’Connor, who was elected in 1956 for Clann na Phoblachta, is the youngest ever female TD. She was aged 21 years and seven months when she was elected in 1956. 

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