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Saturday 10 December 2016

First-time TD Donnelly mixed up 'Dead Zoo' with the Dail

Debuts

Stephen Donnolly
Stephen Donnolly

It's fair to say that most people find the first day of a new job a little bit daunting.

Stephen Donnelly TD made a classic blunder as he made his way to Leinster House for his first day as a newly-elected member of the 31st Dail in 2011.

"After the three-day count in my constituency of Wicklow I was just exhausted," he said.

"I remember saying to Susan, my wife, that I had better go into the Dail and get cracking.

"When you're not a member of a political party there's nobody ringing you and telling you when to show up."

Mr Donnelly said that on the first day in his new job he travelled into town by Dart, and after getting off at Pearse Street made his way towards the Dail.

"As I neared what I thought was the Dail, I spotted two gardai, young fellows, tall men, standing outside," he said, "so I said to them, 'Stephen Donnelly reporting for duty'.

"To their credit, the two lads didn't even crack a smile. Their eyes may have moved slightly, but that was it."

The Social Democrat recalled the warm greeting he received from the two guards.

"They said, 'Well, Deputy, congratulations, it's a great honour. Now, you absolutely could head in here, but this is the Museum of Natural History and what you'll be looking for is the Dail'."

Mr Donnelly cringed as he recalled his embarrassment at getting the Dail mixed up with what is commonly known as the Dead Zoo.

"I was literally standing there with my lunchbox and my schoolbag, it was such a typical first-day look," he said.

Mr Donnelly should take comfort in the fact that his mistake does not even come close to Plinthgate, which saw the newly-elected Mary Mitchell O'Connor of Fine Gael accidentally drive her car down a series of concrete steps outside the Dail after mistaking them for a ramp.

Mr Donnelly's party has issued an appeal for 100 supporters or more to come along to the filming of their broadcast which will be screened on RTE on February 20.

"Lets Make a Movie" was the message to supporters who were invited to turn up tomorrow for a three-hour afternoon film shoot in Dublin.

"We have something very exciting planned," the Social Democrats said.

The filming will be at St Joseph's Boys School in Fairview, and supporters are invited to be there for 1.30pm.

"Our 14 candidates have been asked to bring their teams, which will mean at least 70 or 80 people, along with 60 other supporters who have signed up so far," said party spokeswoman Anne Marie McNally, a candidate in Dublin Mid West.

"We're keeping the concept under wraps. We've a great production team."

The party is allowed a 90-second broadcast compared with the three minutes granted to bigger parties.

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