Call for investigation into TDs being clocked in but not voting in the Dáil

Photo by: Tommy Kavanagh [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

There’s a call for the Ceann Comhairle to investigate incidents of TDs being clocked in at the Dáil but not being present.

Data compiled by RTÉ Investigates shows all five Kerry TDs, to varying degrees, logged their Dáil attendance yet didn’t take part in votes.

Of the 158 TDs, Kerry Independent deputies Michael Healy-Rae and Danny Healy-Rae had the highest number of days where they recorded their attendance at Leinster House, yet failed to vote.

TDs use an electronic fob to record their attendance; one swipe a day marks them being present for the entire Dáil day.

Expenses claimed aren’t audited as long as TDs attend Leinster House at least 120 days a year.

The RTÉ Investigates analysis shows Michael Healy-Rae logged his attendance on 76 days where he failed to take part in any vote.

He wasn’t present for the visit of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on June 21st last year, despite Michael Healy-Rae being chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs.

Speaking to Radio Kerry the following day, Deputy Healy-Rae said he takes his role seriously, but was absent because of a bereavement.

The Irish Independent has published a story on this absence again today, and Deputy Healy-Rae says he has no comment to make, that he spoke about the matter last year on Radio Kerry.

TD Paul Murphy of Rise says the system for paying expenses under the Travel and Accommodation Allowance Scheme needs to be reviewed and changes made.