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Enda Kenny retains five colleagues who lost jobs after election

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has kept five party colleagues in politics after they lost their jobs in the election.

The former TDs parachuted into Seanad Eireann include Dr James Reilly, former health and children’s minister, and Mr Kenny’s past constituency running mates Michelle Mulherrin and John O’Mahony.

The others are Ray Butler who has represented Meath West in the past and Paudie Coffey, a former junior minister.

A sixth prominent Fine Gael colleague, Frank Feighan, is also nominated. He is a former Senator and TD from Roscommon who decided not to stand in the February election after facing deep voter anger at health cuts in the county.

Three of the Taoiseach’s other nominees are understood to have been decided by the leader of the opposition, Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin – an unusual move which is believed to be part of his support for the minority Government.

One of them is Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House, who was asked by Mr Martin to be a “voice for mental health”.

Other names on the list are Billy Lawless, an advocate for Irish immigrants in the US, Padraig O Ceidigh, the businessman who ran airline Aer Arann, Colette Kelleher, chief executive of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, and Marie-Louise O’Donnell, a journalism lecturer who is being returned to the Seanad.

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The Seanad is due to sit for the first time on Wednesday June 8.

Mr Kenny had attempted to get rid of the upper house during his first term in office.

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