Belfast Telegraph

Probe launched as Fianna Fail TD claims colleague voted for him in Dail

Timmy Dooley said he was out of the chamber at the time six votes were recorded in his name.

Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley said he believes a colleague voted in the Dail for him (PA)
Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley said he believes a colleague voted in the Dail for him (PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

An investigation is being launched after a senior Fianna Fail TD claimed a party colleague voted for him while he was not in the Dail.

Timmy Dooley said he was absent from the chamber last Thursday when six votes were recorded in his name.

The Clare TD said he believes his colleague Niall Collins voted on his behalf.

In a statement, the Ceann Comhairle (House Speaker) Sean O’Fearghail said the integrity of the voting system in Dail Eireann is of the “utmost importance”.

“As Ceann Comhairle, I have a duty to ensure that the public can have total confidence in the Dail’s proceedings,” he added.

I understand from my colleague, Niall Collins, who was sitting beside my seat, pressed my voting button Timmy Dooley

“I have asked the clerk of the Dail to prepare a report on the conduct of the votes for my urgent attention.”

Speaking to Clare FM on Saturday, Mr Dooley said he had to leave the chamber to take a phone call.

He added: “Yesterday I was told my vote was recorded.

“I understand from my colleague, Niall Collins, who was sitting beside my seat, pressed my voting button under the mistaken belief that I was at the back of the chamber on my phone.”

The Irish Independent reported on Saturday that Mr Dooley voted in the Dail six times last Thursday, however footage shows he was absent during that time.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock called for Mr Dooley to “urgently explain” what happened.

He said: “One of the most important jobs of a TD is voting on legislation in the Dail.

“It is a responsibility and a privilege we bear as elected public representatives.

“It is extremely concerning to read in the Irish Independent today that Deputy Timmy Dooley was recorded as voting six times on Thursday of this week, when he was not present in the Dail chamber.

“Voting in the Dail is very straightforward, as we are all assigned a seat from which we vote. The notion that any TD could be recorded as voting while absent from the chamber is very worrying.

“It is important that Deputy Dooley and Fianna Fail issue a statement outlining all facts on how this could have occurred.”

Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan has urged the Oireachtas Committee on Procedure and Privilege to investigate the incident.

He also called for last Thursday’s Dail votes to be retaken.

ʺIt’s an absolute disgrace that Fianna Fail TDs think they can act with such disregard for the rules and show such a level of arrogance by voting in the name of another TD not present in the Dail chamber,” he added.

Fianna Fail has been contacted for comment.

PA

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