Dundalk-based councillor Mark Dearey was appointed to the Seanad yesterday to replace Déirdre de Búrca, who resigned from the Greens earlier this month. Ms de Búrca had been one of Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s 11 nominees to the Seanad. Because of this, it technically fell to Mr Cowen to announce a replacement.
He did so yesterday, appointing Mr Dearey to the upper house at the Greens’ request.
It means the number of Green senators now returns to three, with Mr Dearey joining Dan Boyle and Niall O Brolcháin in the Seanad.
The number of Green TDs will remain unchanged at six, as Trevor Sargent will remain a member of the Dáil.
But his resignation as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture will still be seen as a significant blow to the party.
Mr Boyle summed up the party’s mood in a message on his Twitter social networking account yesterday afternoon.
“Today was meant to be about introducing Mark Dearey to the Seanad,” he wrote. “Too many conflicting emotions.”
A short while later, Mr Boyle posted another message: “We’re hurting. At least Trevor’s quiet dignity helps.”
On a more optimistic note, the Greens will be hoping that Mr Dearey’s appointment to the Seanad will increase his profile as he bids to win a Dáil seat in the Louth constituency at the next general election.
As a newly appointed senator, Mr Dearey will be paid €65,621 a year.