FG’s Dara Murphy: based in Brussels for two years but claiming €4,300 monthly Dáil allowance
TD expected to take up post in cabinet of Bulgarian EU commissioner in December
Dara Murphy, TD for Cork North Central. As he is in what is known as ‘Band 8’ because of his Cork base, he is entitled to €51,600 annually in allowances, in addition to his €94,000 TD’s salary. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Cork North Central TD Dara Murphy has claimed his full parliamentary and travel allowances of €4,300 per month despite not having spoken in the Dáil for almost two years.
Mr Murphy is expected to take up a new post as deputy head of cabinet for Bulgarian EU commissioner Mariya Gabriel in December. If he is appointed to the position he will be required to resign from the Dáil.
However, Mr Murphy has been based in Brussels for the past two years, where he has worked as campaign manager for the European People’s Party (EPP), the centre-right grouping to which Fine Gael is aligned.
Mr Murphy has attended the Dáil on 24 of the 70 sitting days this year. Most of the days he has been present have been Thursdays, the day most votes are cast.
He has the lowest attendance record of all 158 TDs.
However, Mr Murphy has been recorded as being present in Leinster House on 55 non-sitting days – among the highest of all TDs.
Most of these days have been Mondays and Fridays, when he was en route to, or returning from, Brussels or other European cities. The 55 days includes 12 days in August.
Given that he is in what is known as “Band 8” because of his Cork base, he is entitled to €51,600 annually in allowances, in addition to his €94,000 TD’s salary.
Mr Murphy has two Twitter accounts. Of more than 1,000 tweets he posted in the past 18 months, no more than 20 have related to his work as a TD.
The datelines of his tweets suggest he was in locations such as Malta, Warsaw, Brussels and Paris on days he signed in on the Dáil electronic fobbing system. This suggests he recorded his attendance on the fobbing system either after flying back from, or before flying out to, those destinations.
His last contribution to a Dáil debate was on December 7th, 2017. He spoke at a meeting of the Petitions Committee in October 2018, his only appearance at the committee during 2018 and 2019.
He put down five written parliamentary questions in 2019. Most TDs would ask hundreds in the course of a calendar year.
Mr Varadkar said: “I think the timing of his resignation from the Dáil is a matter for him, not for me, and I haven’t discussed that with him.”
Questioned about Mr Murphy’s non-participation in the Dáil, the Taoiseach said: “He’s been very busy over the past two years. Not just as a TD representing his constituency locally, he has been present for key votes. But his main job has been a European job in the past two years, and he’s done that extremely well.”
Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien also represents Cork North Central. He said he had not seen Mr Murphy in the constituency for a long time, and only once or twice in the Dáil over the past 18 months.
Attempts to contact Mr Murphy were not successful. A Fine Gael spokesman said the party was not making any comment. It was pointed out Mr Murphy spoke at a recent parliamentary party meeting.