Further questions are being asked of Fianna Fáil following revelations that votes were cast in the Dáil for a Clare TD, who wasn’t present in the chamber at the time.
Niall Collins voted a number of times for his colleague Timmy Dooley last week, and both have since been asked to step down from the front bench by their party leader.
An investigation has been launched into this, as well as a second incident, as Clare FM’s Fiona Cahill reports.
It emerged over the weekend that on Thursday last, Limerick TD Niall Collins voted six times for his party colleague Clare’s Timmy Dooley, when he wasn’t in the chamber.
In each case, the voting margin was so wide it would not have impacted on the result, but regardless, the Dáil record must now be corrected.
Speaking to Clare FM on Saturday, Deputy Dooley explained what happened.
Deputy Dooley has declined further comment today, when contacted by Clare FM, but both he and Deputy Collins have now been temporarily stood down from the front bench in the wake of the controversy, pending the outcome of an investigation by the Ceann Comhairle.
Party leader Micheál Martin says both are co-operating fully.
But it’s since emerged the party’s Brexit spokesperson also voted on behalf of another party member.
Lisa Chambers says she “honestly and genuinely” thought she was in her own seat when voting in the Dáil chamber, and recorded a vote in deputy leader Dara Calleary’s name “in error”.
She then recorded a vote in her own name but didn’t correct the record.
Micheal Martin has now accepted her explanation and says that she will not face any sanction.
Deputy Chambers says voting on behalf of others often happens.
The Justice Minister has also admitted that he’s voted for a colleague in the Dail chamber on a couple of occasions.
Minister Charlie Flanagan says there are circumstances where colleagues vote for one another, but he insists this is different to the current controversy.
It’s not clear how long the Ceann Comhairle’s investigation will take, or how extensive it will be.
Group Political Editor at Independent News and Media, Kevin Doyle has told Clare FM’s Morning Focus, that key questions will need to be answered.