Fianna Fail TD Seamus Kirk became the 16th Ceann Comhairle (Speaker of the House) in the history of the Dail (Irish Parliament) Tuesday after John O’Donoghue resigned the position.

Kirk, who represents the Louth constituency, defeated Dinny McGinley of Fine Gael by 87 votes to 51.

The 62-year-old Kirk was first elected to the Dail in 1962 and has been retained his seat in every election since.

From 1987 to 1992, he served as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and since 2002 he has been Chairman of the Fianna Fail Parliamentary party.

Kirk’s appointment came after South Kerry TD John O’Donoghue resigned as a result of the controversy over some of his expense claims as Minister of Arts, Sport and Tourism and Ceann Comhairle.

O’Donoghue made a statement in the Dail during which he said that even though he was stepping down as Ceann Comhairle, he would be standing for election again in his South Kerry constituency.

'In the fullness of time, it will become apparent that many matters have been distorted and exaggerated beyond the bounds of fairness,” said O’Donoghue, before ending his statement on a somewhat defiant note.

“Finally, while I may have been forced out of office by an unfair procedure, only the people of South Kerry have the right to exclude me from political life.

"They have had a good opportunity to judge me, my standards, my motives and my commitment to this country for almost 23 years. I now look forward to representing the interests of the constituents of South Kerry to the best of my ability."