Elected: profiles of new TDs

Election Winner Profiles

By Stephen Bourke

Eric Byrne (Labour)

Labour councillor Eric Byrne topped the poll in Dublin South Central with 16% of first preference votes.  Byrne has been on Dublin City Council since 1999 but first ran for the Dáil for the Workers’ Party in the 1977 General Election in Rathmines West. 

In 1992 he was one of the members of the Workers’ Party who split to found Democratic Left, but lost his seat soon after. He was at the centre of the famous 1992 ‘Long Count’, when he narrowly missed out on a Dail seat by five votes after three recounts over 10 days.  He won a by-election in 1994 to support the Rainbow Coalition from the back benches. This time round Eric comfortably won his seat.

Catherine Byrne (Fine Gael)

Former Lord Mayor of Dublin Catherine Byrne was also elected by Dublin South Central.  She keeps the Dáíl seat she won in 2007.   In the last Dáil she served as Fine Gael’s spokesperson for Older Citizens.

Byrne is an avid sports fan and has played ladies soccer at the highest level. She supports her local league of Ireland club, St. Patrick’s Athletic and Leeds United and has previously managed schoolboy soccer teams in her locality.

Byrne’s priorites for her year as Lord Mayor included continuing to support the various regeneration projects across the city, childcare issues within communities, supporting community projects, and civic leadership schemes, especially among young people.

Michael Conaghan (Labour)

Originally from Donegal, he has represented Ballyfermot on Dublin City Council since 1991.  Conaghan was a teacher and worked as the vice-principal of Inchicore College of Further Education. 

Conaghan was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 2004-2005.  During his term in office as Mayor, Conaghan paid particular attention to community policing and sought to establish a specific council committee to deal with issues relating to social justice and equality.

Conaghan got 11% of first preferences. 


Joan Collins (People Before Profit)

Joan Collins has been a councilor for Crumlin-Kimmage since 2004. 

In 2007 she ran for the Dáíl as part of a campaign against waste charges after splitting from the Socialist Party.  She failed to win a seat, but was re -elected to Dublin city council in  2009 Local Elections as part of the People Before Profit Alliance.

Collins confronted Bertie Ahern at the gates of Leinster House on the final day of the last Dail and asked if he was ashamed of himself. The confrontation became a You Tube hit.

She was the fourth candidate elected with nearly 13% of first preferences. 

Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Sinn Féin)

Ó Snodaigh won his first Dáil seat in 2002 and was reelected in 2007.  He was Sinn Féín’s spokesperson on Justice, Equality, Human Rights, Law Reform and International Affairs. 

He worked as a secondary teacher in Dublin before becoming a public representative.  Last year he was one of three Irish politicians who tried to join the flotilla bringing aid to the Gaza Strip.

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