Voting Fraud legal in Dail Doss House Eireann. This would not happen in any other country: our Political Culture is toxic and we the people should not accept it anymore.

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No disciplinary action recommended over Dáil voting

The report was requested after it emerged a number of TDs had voted for their colleagues
The report was requested after it emerged a number of TDs had voted for their colleagues
No disciplinary action has been recommended following the inquiry into Dáil voting, but a wider review of the voting system is needed.

The inquiry found that Fianna Fáil frontbench TD Niall Collins was of the belief that party colleague Timmy Dooley would return to the chamber when voting on his behalf.

Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fearghail told the Dáil that the controversy has further eroded confidence in how our national parliament conducts its business.

He said the facts as laid out in the report are stark and unpalatable and under no circumstances can they be allowed to happen again.

Mr Ó Fearghail said the issues that arose were the result of political failures and were not of a technical nature.

He said the report has now been submitted to the Committee on Procedure.

‘I left everyone in a difficult position’ – Dooley

Mr Dooley told the inquiry he had said to Mr Collins that he would see him during the vote last Thursday, but first he had to leave the chamber to take a call.

“I left and couldn’t come back. I left everyone in a difficult position,” Mr Dooley said.

He said that video footage of him pointing at seats was done to indicate that he would see Mr Collins during the votes.

When questioned if he asked Mr Collins to vote for him, Mr Dooley told the inquiry: “No, I am clear on that fact.”

He said that he did not give Mr Collins any reason to press his button. “He assumed I was in the House. I’ve done it in the past,” Mr Dooley said.

Mr Collins told the inquiry that Mr Dooley did not ask him to vote on his behalf. He said that he was under the mistaken belief that Mr Dooley was in the chamber but he did not look around to check.

Mr Collins said he would not cast a vote knowing or believing that someone was outside the chamber because that would reflect badly on him.

He was asked what lessons he had learned, he replied: “Sit in your own seat. If someone else is not there, don’t vote.”

Regarding his initial conversation with Mr Dooley, where the Clare TD points to the voting machine, the inquiry wanted to know what Niall Collins understood this to mean.

He replied: “I’ve no idea…I was looking at his face and not his hands.”

During the regular weekly votes, Mr Collins voted six times for his absent colleague Mr Dooley.

Mayo TD Lisa Chambers mistakenly voted once for the deputy party leader Dara Calleary, but failed to have the voting record corrected immediately afterwards.

She told the inquiry that she had never until last Thursday made the mistake of voting for someone else in the Dáil.

Mayo TD Lisa Chambers

“I never made this mistake before, what a day to do it,” she told the Clerk of the Dáil.

Asked why she did not inform the teller about voting twice, she said: “I left it as it was a big loss the vote in question. It is too casual altogether.”

The controversy around events last Thursday prompted the Ceann Comhairle to order an urgent report into the matter.

TDs are required by the constitution to be present in the Dáil when voting.

However, there does not appear to be any obvious sanctions for those found to have acted outside this provision under the rules of Leinster House.

On the wider issue of voting in Leinster House the Ceann Comhairle said any recommendations on changes to the current electronic voting system will be given immediate attention.

Fianna Fáil also referred video footage to the Ceann Comhairle over instances where it claims that some Fine Gael ministers are not in the chamber for a Dáil vote.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Minister of State Sean Kyne said controversy had completely undermined public confidence in the political system.

tHe said the Fianna Fáil deputies involved have done a great disservice to the mandate they have been given by their constituents and colleagues.

Minister of State Sean Kyne

Mr Kyne said that voting for colleagues who are in the Dáil chamber is one thing, which TDs could agree is commonplace across the House.

However, he said it was not best practice and should not continue.

He added that voting for absent colleagues is “completely and utterly different”, saying it is”entirely wrong” and brings the house into disrepute.

Mr Kyne described the actions of the Fianna Fáil TDs involved as “wrong, cavalier and arrogant”.

His Fine Gael colleague Martin Heydon said the report raised a serious of questions for Fianna Fáil and their party leader, Mícheál Martin.

Mr Heydon asked why Deputy Niall Collins told journalists that he did not know anything about voting for Deputy Timmy Dooley when he was queried about it?

The Kildare South TD also asked if Mr Martin thinks Barry Cowen has any case to answer, and if he now thinks the explanations given by Mr Dooley and Mr Collins were acceptable.

He called on Fianna Fáil to answer the necessary questions to restore confidence in the Oireachtas voting process.

The Fianna Fail Leader Micheal Martin welcomed the report which he described as ‘detailed and comprehensive’.

He said that serious issues of public concern have been raised and must be addressed.

He said there are three broad issues involved: general practices during voting, a specific incident last week and what changes they need to make.

Deputy Martin said he thought that Fine Gael’s claim to be outraged has been more than a bit undermined by the sound of laughter and backslapping coming from their corridors together with daily briefings about immediately holding an election that they claim not to want until next May.

He said it was important to note that there has been no evidence produced in five days of trawling that we are addressing any matter which has had any impact on deciding the outcome of a Dáil vote.

Meanwhile, the Ceann Comhairle has been urged to make it clear that it was not within his power to impose sanctions on Fianna Fáil TDs who were found to have breached voting regulations in the Dáil.

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith said people were shocked to hear that no sanctions were handed down when the report was published this morning.

Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith

Ms Smith said Seán Ó Fearghaíl should make the record clear that is not within his power to sanction the individuals. She also said the explanations given by the TDs involved “stretch credibility”.

Socialist TD Paul Murphy also questioned the stories given by Deputies Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins.

Mr Murphy asked why Mr Collins only voted for Mr Dooley during six of the eight votes in the relevant voting block.

He raised a phone call which Mr Collins received after the sixth vote, saying he needs to clarify if the call was from his party colleague.

The Dublin South-West TD also asked if Fianna Fáil TDs who sit in benches further back from the front of the chamber, and which are not on camera, are also engaging the same in practices as their colleagues but just have not been caught?

Fred says:  Nobody should be shocked at today’s findings – I mean this is yet again another Scandal and it will be politically covered up, make no mistake about this.  Now, during an election, if any citizen is caught doing a double vote, he or she will be arrested and taken to a Dublin or country district court and they will face charges.  If found guilty there is a £2,500 fine or 2 years in prison.  This is Politicians and they are the Untouchables; they make the laws of the land and they break the laws of the land.  So what I am saying literally is:-  They can actually piss on the Irish people/citizens and carry on regardless.  Dooley must think that we are all muppets.  Well Timmy I have news for you.  Collins may be a Muppet like yourself but the Irish people have watched FF bluff for the past three years and we Cannot Forget the Cosy Deal.  Fred

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