WATCH: Limerick TD's maiden speech: 'How many of ye here have common sense?'

Rebecca Laffan

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Rebecca Laffan

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rebecca.laffan@iconicnews.ie

LIMERICK'S newest TD Richard O'Donoghue has irked the Government with his maiden speech, questioning their common sense as the new Dáil meet for the first time this Thursday.

The County Limerick deputy already caused a stir this morning as he arrived on the scene in Leinster House in a revived American 1959 Plymouth Cornonade, after the vehicle broke down en route and caused him to catch the train for part of his journey.  

"I've been listening to the floor here since I came in, and I've listened to a lot of educated people. But how many of you here have education of life? How many of you here have common sense?

"Because from what I've seen in government in the last couple of years, you lack all of it," he stated, "I believe an ounce of cop on is better than a stone of brains."

"You're going to have to listen," he continued, "people voted for change, and they voted for change in Limerick and I believe I'm the first independent to be voted in county Limerick - that is change."

Deputy O'Donoghue is, however, not the constituency's first Independent TD. In June of 1927, county Limerick man Gilbert Hewson was elected, though lost his Independent seat the following September. 

"The new government that's put in place has to respect rural Ireland and rural Limerick. You've been talking about building houses, there's no infrastructure in rural Ireland but what there is is hundreds of derelict houses that the laws that ye have implemented have stopped them from being refurbished and rebuilt and putting young people in them, and putting them back into our community," he continued.

"Ye've closed our post offices, ye've completely closed us down. Ye talk about health, and we've all tried to fix health, but all ye've done is made it worse. Until ye take control of your hospitals and put a bit of structure in place which means that you control the consultants. You make the consultants release patients by 11pm and release the bed, if they're not released by then they're in for the night until the following day. This means that you have a window like a hotel, so the nurses know how many beds they have between 11 and 1 and they can work with that.

"I will back a leader that will work with rural independents and will rebuild Ireland as a whole, not just in the cities." 

Fine Gael TD and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan directly replied to the Limerick TD's comments in her speech, saying: "I was a solicitor for 20 years, I dealt with clients who were divorcing and separating, custody, access, guardianship - people going through the worst of times. I know exactly what life is about."

Fellow county Limerick deputies Patrick O'Donovan, Fine Gael, and Niall Collins, Fianna Fáil, have also made their first speeches in the 33rd Dáil this evening, with updates to follow here on our website.