The chair of an Oireachtas committee examining absentee voting in the Dáil has stepped aside from the investigation.
Fine Gael's Hildegarde Naughten has recused herself from the investigation on legal advice.
She admitted to voting "on less than a handful of occasions" on behalf of another TD while they were in the Dáil chamber.
But she said she had "never voted for someone who was not present in the chamber."
The investigation is examining complaints about TDs voting for members who were not in the chamber at the time.
In a statement, Deputy Naughton said: "In light of legal advice received by the Parliamentary Legal Advisor, I wish to announce that I have recused myself from the investigation of complaints against four named deputies arising out of recent voting irregularity in Dáil Eireann.
"I will continue to remain as chair of the Committee on Members Interests, but will take no part in this particular investigation", she said.
"While the decision is not made lightly, it is one I am making to ensure the integrity of the process.
"It is vital that there is not even the slightest perception of bias in the proceedings of the committee."
"The legal advice now received indicates that anyone who voted for a fellow TD while they were both in the chamber would be advised to consider whether the process would be best served by them not adjudicating on these present complaints."
"The present investigation concerns voting for members who were outside the chamber and the two are in no way comparable.
"That is accepted across the political divide, notwithstanding those trying to muddy the waters.
"However, I have made the decision to recuse myself to ensure that no possible perception of bias exists and to ensure that the committee can investigate this matter without delay and free from challenge. Now is the time to do so - prior to the committee commencing its work."
Last week, four Fianna Fáil TDs apologised for the practice.
Niall Collins, Timmy Dooley, Lisa Chambers and Barry Cowen read out apologies to the Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl.
Mr Ó Fearghaíl ordered the investigation after it emerged that Deputy Collins voted on behalf of Deputy Dooley while he was not in the Dáil chamber.
While Deputy Chambers admitted recording a vote on behalf of Deputy Dara Calleary, after sitting in the wrong seat.
She then moved to her own seat, voted again and did not correct the record.