Belfast Telegraph

Fianna Fail TD ‘fully accepts’ mistake of voting for deputy leader in Dail

Lisa Chambers admitted she accidentally recorded a vote for Dara Calleary when she unknowingly sat in his seat in the chamber.

Lisa Chambers admitted she accidentally recorded a vote for her colleague (Brian Lawless/PA)
Lisa Chambers admitted she accidentally recorded a vote for her colleague (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

Fianna Fail’s Brexit spokeswoman said she fully accepts her mistake when she voted for her deputy leader in the Dail last week.

Lisa Chambers admitted she accidentally recorded a vote for Dara Calleary when she unknowingly sat in his seat in the Chamber.

The frontbencher said she should have made the teller aware of the error.

It happened at a time when senior party colleague Niall Collins voted for Timmy Dooley, who was not in the Dail at the time.

It's my mistake and I hold my hands up to it Lisa Chambers

Ms Chambers explained that she sits beside Mr Calleary, who was not present during the vote, and once she realised she was in his seat and had recorded a vote in his name, she returned to her seat.

Speaking to RTE Radio One, Ms Chambers added: “When I voted in the very first vote, I honest to God believed I was in my seat and pressing my voting button.

“When I looked up at the main screen, where you can see the seats highlighted for voting, I realised my seat wasn’t highlighted and that’s when I realised I was in the wrong seat and probably less than 10 seconds later I hopped in to my own seat.

“It’s my mistake and I hold my hands up to it, I should have told the teller there was an error recorded in the seat beside me, I didn’t do that.

“Dara missed a few votes, I only voted in the very first one and then I went back to my seat. There are absolutely no benefits or no good reason why I would have voted for anybody else, it didn’t make any difference to the vote.

“I still should have corrected the error.

“I hope people will take it as a genuine, honest mistake. Others have done the same, my mistake was not telling the teller and correcting the record.

“It didn’t make a difference to the vote.

“There was no malign intent, I didn’t intentionally go in and vote for someone else.”

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Niall Collins voted for Timmy Dooley at the same time (Niall Carson/PA)

She denied Mr Calleary asked her to vote on his behalf, saying he only became aware of it after she told him.

“I told Dara on the day. I spoke to Micheal (Martin) yesterday and explained and he accepted my explanation,” she added.

“I don’t think I have ever done it before because Dara is usually in his seat and you kind of place yourself, ‘well he’s there so I’m beside him’.

“It just happened on that day. I was tired, it was a long week. The full bench was empty.

“I counted the wrong number in and that’s genuinely what happened.”

She said she hopes she is not asked to temporarily step down like her colleagues Mr Cooley and Mr Collins.

“What happened to me was very different to Timmy and Niall in that there were six votes recorded and both accepted that Niall knew he was pressing the button for him,” she added.

“I believed I was in my own seat and pressing my own button.”

The Ceann Comhairle (House Speaker) has asked for a report into voting irregularities following last Thursday’s incident.

PA

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