Dr Tony White’s latest book, Irish Parliamentarians: Deputies and Senator 1918 –2108, is a comprehensive directory of the 1,870 men and women who have been TDs or Senators in the parliament of the Irish State since the first meeting of Dáil Eireann in January 1919. The election for the first Dáil took place 100 years ago, on 14 December. The book profiles the founders of modern Irish democracy and their successors. It gives details of their families, their education, and their careers inside and outside politics.
In this interview with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications, Tony White (a former Jesuit and author of a book on the history of Crescent College Comprehensive SJ – The Crescent) outlines the changing face of the Dáil over the past century, particularly in regard to the rise of female deputies and senators. He looks at the religious make-up of the chambers, and the relationship of religious orders to Dáil members, noting that the Jesuits were the second most influential order in terms of their connections to TDs, Taoisigh and Senators.
Tony White also does some age-profiling, noting that the oldest sitting member was 95 when he left the Dáil and the youngest was 21 when they took their seat. Overall, he says, in the early days the parliament of the people of Ireland was a youthful one, with more than 60% of deputies aged 40 or younger.
Irish Parliamentarians: Deputies and Senator 1918 –2108 », is published by the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) and costs €60.