Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.24 20 Oct 2019


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Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has asked two of his party's TDs to step down temporarily from the frontbench amid a controversy over Dáil votes.

It emerged yesterday that Clare TD Timmy Dooley took part in six votes in the Dáil on Thursday, despite not being present in the chamber at the time.

Deputy Dooley has explained that his party colleague Niall Collins voted on his behalf, under the 'mistaken belief' that he was present nearby.

It has prompted the Ceann Comhairle to request the Clerk of the Dáil to "prepare a report on the conduct of the votes for my urgent attention".

Seán Ó Fearghaíl said he has "a duty to ensure that the public can have total confidence in the Dáil's proceedings".

Speaking in Kildare today, Micheál Martin confirmed he had asked Deputies Dooley and Collins to step down from their frontbench duties pending the outcome of that investigation.

He said: "I don't think it's acceptable - I agree with the Ceann Comhairle that the integrity of the voting system in Dáil Éireann is of the utmost importance.

"I have spoken to both deputies this morning, and I asked them without prejudice - and pending the outcome of the report that the Ceann Comhairle has initiated into this - that they would step down from the Fianna Fáil frontbench, and they have both agreed to do that."

He added: "I think that underlines the seriousness with which I take this issue, and I think it's important that the Ceann Comhairle's inquiry now gets underway.

"They've both assured me they will cooperate fully with the Ceann Comhairle in relation to this."

Timmy Dooley is Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on communications, climate action and the environment, while Niall Collins covers the foreign affairs and trade portfolio.

Main image: File photo of (l to r) Timmy Dooley TD and Fianna Fáil Leader Micheal Martin. Photo: Leah Farrell/ RollingNews.ie

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Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin Niall Collins Timmy Dooley

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