CLARE TD, Violet-Anne Wynne (IND) made history when becoming the first TD to bring their baby into the chamber of Dáil Éireann.
Deputy Wynne has returned from maternity leave in the past fortnight after giving birth to her sixth child in February of this year. She had stepped back from her political duties in January of this year.
Baby Collins was born in February in the back of an ambulance in the car park of Kilrush Golf Club while en route to the hospital and on Wednesday evening became “the first actual baby” to join politicians in the lower house of the Oireachtas.
During Dáil proceeedings, Ceann Comhairle Séan Ó Fearghaíl (FF) welcomed Wynne back to work at Leinster House.
A cross-party round of applause greeted the Offaly native as she stood holding baby Collins at the back of the chamber. “We’re seeing a bit of history being made tonight,” the Ceann Comhairle said. “Baby Collins is the first actual baby to join us here in the house,” the Kildare South TD quipped.
After the first vote on the passage of the Road Traffic and Roads Bill, which was passed by 74 to 64 votes, Deputy Wynne was approached and congratulated by Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman (GP) and TDs including Marc MacSharry (IND), Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (LAB) and Holly Cairns (SD).
Deputy Wynne thanked the Ceann Comhairles and all TDs “who made Collins feel so welcome” during her first appearance in Leinster House.
‘History’ was made in the Dáil when Clare TD Violet-Anne Wynne brought her 7-month old daughter Collins into the chamber.
Ceann Comhairle Séan Ó Fearghaíl commented that it was the first time an ‘actual’ baby was in the Dáil pic.twitter.com/awD4CZWJTs
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) September 21, 2022
Elected as a first-time TD in February 2020 having secured over 15 percent of the first preference vote in Clare, Deputy Wynne said she was hopeful the piece of history would encourage women to be more comfortable with bringing their children into the chamber.
“It’s a learning curve, but it’s very positive. I can’t get over the welcome I’ve received. I’ve brought Collins to Budget briefings and people have been really positive towards her and are telling me that it’s very welcome to see. I wasn’t sure if Collins was going to be allowed into the chamber. The creche closes at 6.15 but your vote is so important, so I had no other option”.
She told The Irish Examiner, “I did get her to sleep going in but the bell woke her for the second vote. The ushers were fantastic and did everything they could to help me”. Violet Anne added, “I hadn’t planned on having Collins here with me, but when I came up one night last week, nobody got any sleep because I’m combined feeding. I just felt it was better for her and better for me. I hope that it paves the way for more mothers to feel comfortable doing this because you can’t tell how difficult it is with each child”.
A little bit of history in the Dáil chamber tonight. Fellow Clare TD @WynneTd has returned from her maternity leave and brought her beautiful little baby, Collins, into the chamber. We think Collins might just be the first ever baby (or, in the words of the Ceann Comhairle… pic.twitter.com/8ycTQbOGoQ
— Cathal Crowe T.D. (@CathalCroweTD) September 21, 2022