‘Newbies’ gather at Leinster House as outgoing ministers pack up their belongings

It was a buoyant day for TDs at Leinster House but a wistful one for others, as the newly-elected gathered for their first giddy day at school, while some pensively packed up their bags after decades of service.

‘Newbies’ gather at Leinster House as outgoing ministers pack up their belongings

The ‘newbies’ dressed in their best attire for meetings in Dublin, while some of the country’s political beasts mournfully stretched out their last hours on the parliament grounds.

It was a forlorn affair for Fine Gael, whose TDs were ensconced in a parliamentary meeting for hours about what went wrong and what the future holds for the party.

Earlier in the morning, Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan, tucking into his porridge in the cafeteria, was crestfallen after the dramatic loss of his seat in Kerry.

Labour’s Joe Costello was collecting some of the last of post, while party colleague Pat Rabbitte held his head high with suitcase in hand as he strolled through the parliament car park.

Having served as TDs for decades, some now face into the abyss outside Leinster House. Many though, will point to their generous ministerial pensions.

Elsewhere, an earlier incident in the day all too well reflected Labour’s dilemma after its election trashing. Party senator John Gilroy was forced to call in a tow truck to Leinster House after putting petrol into his diesel Toyota Corolla the night before.

Eddie, the “genius” tow truck man, had pointed out it would just clean up the engine. But the sight of a tow truck helping out the dispirited party member was too much, and drew obvious quips about Labour’s breakdown during the election.

Beaming from ear to ear, Fianna Fáil TDs could barely contain themselves, riding high on a wave that has swept them back into Leinster House with more than double the number of TDs. “No way, José,” is their reaction to suggestions of any power-sharing deal with Fine Gael. Let’s wait and see then.

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