Lisa Chambers plans immediate impact in 32nd Dáil

Lisa Chambers is part of the new generation of Fianna Fáil politicians who will enter the 32nd Dáil.

Mayo TD Lisa Chambers with her grandparents Bridie Chambers and Phylis Staunton. Picture: Henry Wills

Articulate and highly educated, she is poised to become a significant figure within Fianna Fáil and is likely to quickly rise through the ranks.

Her election in the Mayo constituency was perhaps one of the most significant blows to Fine Gael as she ousted Michelle Mulherin — the second of Enda Kenny’s running partners.

Being in the Taoiseach’s constituency did not phase Ms Chambers, a lawyer. She was confident she could edge out a victory along with fellow Fianna Fáil candidate Dara Calleary.

The 29-year-old barrister from Ballyheane associated herself with the Women for Election in Mayo group, speaking at a public meeting it hosted last May. She also campaigned on creating more jobs in the West as well as a better health service.

Although she said that “there is no politics in my house”, Ms Chambers still managed to become the first chairwoman of her local cumman at the age of 22.

She joked she had to ask her parents which side of the political divide they rested after attending local Fianna Fáil branch meetings.

Her entrance to political life was unconventional, coming when a friend in the reserve Defence Forces — of which Ms Chambers is a member — suggested it to her. She was asked to run in the 2011 election but at a time when even party stalwarts were being decimated in the polls she didn’t expect to gain a seat. This time around she felt different.

During the election campaign Ms Chambers told the Irish Examiner: “The feeling in Mayo is that we have been left behind in this recovery.

“We hear all this talk about emigration out of the country, what about the migration to the East?”

Her points and predictions were correct: This feeling was echoed at the ballot boxes in her own constituency and across the country.

Ms Chambers has set her sights on making an immediate impact within the parliamentary party. She strongly signalled she is not the backbench type. “I would love the justice portfolio — that would be a huge passion of mine,” she said.

“Obviously, I have a huge passion for the law and the justice system. But similarly I have 14 years’ service in the Defence Forces and I would have keen interest in defence policy, but I am also interes-ted in health and education.”

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