Billy Lawless: the emigrant Senator

Irish Times | Jun 3, 2016

The Chicago restaurateur, who’ll have by far the longest commute to Leinster House, has been representing undocumented Irish since he realised that his customers needed help

When Billy Lawless takes his seat for the 25th Seanad’s first meeting, on Wednesday, he will be doing so as a representative of arguably the largest constituency of all: the diaspora.

Taking up office as the first Irish emigrant to be appointed to the Oireachtas will be no mean feat logistically for the Galway-born businessman, who lives almost 6,000km from Leinster House, in Chicago.

Lawless has had a lifelong passion for politics, but his early aspirations to hold office were stymied when his run for Galway City Council, as a Fine Gael candidate, was defeated in 1991. His neighbour and friend Michael D Higgins topped the poll.

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