Dara Murphy missed several Dáil votes despite being fobbed in

Former FG TD did not cast votes on a third of voting days he was recorded as present

Dara Murphy: The former minister of state  was paid his full TD’s salary of €94,500 plus parliamentary standard allowances totalling €51,600 per annum after taking up his job with the EPP in Brussels in September 2017. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Dara Murphy: The former minister of state was paid his full TD’s salary of €94,500 plus parliamentary standard allowances totalling €51,600 per annum after taking up his job with the EPP in Brussels in September 2017. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

Former Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy did not participate in Dáil votes on more than a third of the sitting and voting days he fobbed in electronically in Leinster House during 2018 and 2019.

The Cork North Central TD attended Leinster House on 24 sitting days out of 70 in the first nine months of 2019, and 42 of the 104 sitting days during the whole of 2018. It is the lowest attendance record by a considerable margin. 

An examination of his voting record shows that he cast votes on nine days up to September 30th, 2019.

He did not cast votes on seven other days when votes were taken in the Dáil, even though he had fobbed in electronically in Leinster House. This means he was not in the chamber when the votes were taken and suggests he either arrived too late for the votes, or left the complex before the votes were taken.

In 2018, Mr Murphy cast votes on 18 days in total but did not vote on nine other days when votes were taken, even though he was recorded as present in the Dáil that day. Some of these days were the weekly “division day” where a multiple of votes are taken.

Paid position

The former minister of state has been based in Brussels since September 2017 where he held a full-time paid position as director of elections for the European People’s Party (EPP) for most of that time. It is the centre-right political grouping in the EU, of which Fine Gael is a member. 

There were 53 days in 2018 when votes were taken in the Dáil, the latest year for which full records are available. Mr Murphy was present and voted for 18 of those voting days and was present but did not vote on a further nine days, suggesting that, on some days at least, he arrived in from Europe too late to vote, or departed for Europe before the divisions were called.

He participated in only 32 per cent of votes cast in the Dáil since mid-2017.

Mr Murphy did not speak in the Dáil between December 2017 and his resignation on December 3rd. He spoke once at committee in the past two years, when he made a short contribution to the Petitions Committee in October 2018.

He has also submitted a total of seven parliamentary questions during 2018 and 2019, compared to hundreds for most of his colleagues. 

Mr Murphy was paid his full TD’s salary of €94,500 plus parliamentary standard allowances totalling €51,600 per annum after taking up his job with the EPP in September 2017.

Electronic fob

To receive the full travel and accommodation (TAA) portion of this allowance – worth €31,500 for a Cork city-based TD – Mr Murphy was required to clock in at the Leinster House campus using an electronic fob on at least 120 days in a full year. He did so by clocking in on non-sitting days, often when returning from, or going to, other EU cities.

As Mr Murphy is no longer a member of the Dáil, neither the Committee on Members’ Interests nor the Standards in Public Office Commission can initiate examinations of his record as a TD .

He has started a new position as expert for the cabinet of Bulgarian EU commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed this week he had discussions with Mr Murphy about an alternative.

“I and my advisers have discussed with former deputy Murphy a number of options as to how an inquiry can be carried out. That’s one of the options that we discussed with him and it is something that is still a work in progress,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said Mr Murphy “has already agreed that he will submit to an inquiry and I believe that he should pay back any expenses if that inquiry finds against him”.