Monday 21 October 2019
Phantom votes: FF in chaos as more TDs dragged into scandal
Fianna Fáil’s high-profile Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers has become embroiled in the ‘phantom votes’ controversy that has rocked the party.
In a fresh headache for leader Micheál Martin, she has admitted she recorded a vote “in error” on behalf of Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary during last Thursday’s bizarre Dáil session.
And she apologised for failing to disclose this in a radio interview when she was asked directly whether she ever voted for another colleague in the Dáil.
Mr Martin has ordered Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins to stand down from the front bench until the Ceann Comhairle has completed a probe into the matter. Fianna Fáil TDs privately expressed fury at the mess as Fine Gael ramped up the pressure and sought to bring two more senior figures – Barry Cowen and Willie O’Dea – into the scandal.
It comes after the Irish Independent revealed on Saturday that Mr Dooley was recorded as voting six times despite not being in the Dáil chamber.
Both he and Mr Collins initially claimed they did not know what happened when contacted on Friday.
However, the following day the pair said Mr Collins had pressed Mr Dooley’s voting button in the mistaken belief he was still in the chamber.
Mr Calleary’s assigned seat is beside fellow Mayo TD Lisa Chambers.
The Fianna Fáil deputy leader was not present at the start of Thursday’s voting session as he was doing a live radio interview.
Ms Chambers was asked directly on RTÉ yesterday whether she had ever voted for a colleague or had a colleague vote on her behalf. She replied: “No, I haven’t.”
However, she failed to give any mention to the vote she made in error on Thursday and last night she apologised for that.