Four TDs stranded abroad are granted Dáil attendance

Wed, Oct 27, 2010, 01:00

FOUR TDs who were stranded abroad as a result of the volcanic ash crisis earlier this year applied to have their Dáil attendance records amended and their requests were granted.

Three of them – Dr James Reilly, Jim O’Keeffe and Bernard Allen – are from Fine Gael, and one – John O’Donoghue – from Fianna Fáil.

Deputies must attend Leinster House for a minimum number of days to obtain allowances, but the record may be corrected in the event of “exceptional circumstances”.

Former ceann comhairle Mr O’Donoghue made an application “for reconciliation of my non-attendance in Dáil Eireann as and from Monday, 19th day of April, 2010 through to Thursday, 22nd day of April, 2010”.

In a letter to Ceann Comhairle Seamus Kirk, Mr O’Donoghue said he had made arrangements to attend at Leinster House on each of those days.

He had gone abroad on a short break and had intended to return to Ireland on Friday, April 16th.

Fine Gael’s current deputy leader and Dublin North TD Dr James Reilly applied for a “derogation” for registering attendance between April 16th and April 23rd.

“I was returning from pro bono work for Concern in Haiti and was unable to arrive in Ireland between these dates due to travel restrictions imposed as a result of the volcanic ash in Irish airspace,” he wrote in a letter to the Ceann Comhairle.

Cork South-West deputy Jim O’Keeffe explained he and his wife had gone to visit their daughter in the Thai capital Bangkok shortly after Easter.

He said that as a consequence of the volcanic eruption in Iceland, he was unable “to attend my Dáil office as arranged on April 16th and also to attend Dail sittings on Tuesday 20th April, Wednesday 21st April and Thursday 22nd April”.

Bernard Allen, Cork North-Central said he was “stranded in Portugal” from April 19-24th and said he had been informed he could have his attendance reconciled due to “unusual circumstances”.

The information was originally released to RTÉ following a Freedom of Information request.