Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy has stated that he was compliant with the rules of Leinster House 'at all times' in the wake of controversy over his attendance in the Dáil.
Deputy Murphy came under fire after it emerged that he had claimed his full allowance as a TD over the last two years, despite a poor attendance record in the chamber.
He was elected as a TD for Cork North-Central in 2011, and has previously served as a Minister of State for European affairs.
Since taking up a new role as the European People Party's election campaign director in October 2017, he has continued to draw his full Dáil salary of more than €94,000 a year, as well as more than €50,000 worth of annual allowances.
However, figures released by the Oireachtas revealed that he only attended 24 out of 70 sitting days in the Dáil between January and September which is the lowest number of any TD.
Deputy Murphy defended his record in a statement this evening, saying that he would "continue to provide any evidence required to the appropriate authorities".
He said: "I attended the required 120 days at Leinster House in 2018 and should achieve the requisite number for 2019 and will make the statutory return when due."
As a Minister of State, Deputy Murphy said he was prohibited under law from having any other source of employment, but this is permitted as a TD.
He said many of the TDs in the Dáil do have other occupations, including legal, medical, business, farming and other interests.
He continued: “I have remained in the political environment. Fine Gael nominated me in 2015 as a European Peoples Party (EPP) Vice President and I was successfully elected. The EPP is the largest political group in Europe with more than 80 member parties.
“Most Irish political parties have affiliation to a European political grouping and various members of the Oireachtas engage with their own groups in different capacities.
He then stated that he was elected as EPP election campaign director in October 2017.
“European elections and politics are very important for all the people of Europe and this is particularly the case for Ireland at this time in our history.
Deputy Murphy then thanked the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael and the Governments Whips’ office "for their support during these successful elections for our party grouping.”
'Certain anger' with constituents
The statement follows calls from Fianna Fáil for an investigation into Deputy Murphy's recent Dáil attendance.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said earlier today that it was a very serious issue and that there was "certain anger" among the Cork North-Central constituents.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan was also speaking about the issue today, saying that there were a "number of questions" which needed to be answered by Deputy Murphy.
Deputy Murphy is expected to resign his seat before the end of the year to take up a new post.
Additional reporting by Stephen McNeice