Revealed: the 10 TDs with the perfect Dáil attendance record
Dáil logs show TDs and Senators with the best and worst attendance records
Dáil attendance: records are based off electronic fobs deputies validate in Leinster House
Ten TDs attended the Dáil every day it was sitting since the start of this year, according to Oireachtas figures published recently.
Kate O’Connell (FG), Brendan Ryan (Lab), Maurice Quinlivan (SF), Róisín Shortall (SD), Michael Collins (Ind), David Cullinane (SF), Jackie Cahill (FF), Seamus Healy (Ind), Aindrias Moynihan (FF), and Niamh Smyth (FF) were recorded as attending all 66 sittings of the Dáil since January.
The TD with the lowest attendance from January to July was Solidarity TD Paul Murphy, who attended 38 Dáil sittings. Murphy was in court from late April until June charged with falsely imprisoning Joan Burton TD and Karen O’Connell in a car in Jobstown during a protest. He was acquitted of the false imprisonment charges along with five other protesters in late June.
The slim Government majority that Fine Gael and several Independents hold in the Dáil means most Fine Gael backbench TDs have a high attendance record of around 60 sittings in most cases.
The attendance records are used to validate a deputy’s travel and accommodation Dáil allowances. The preliminary attendance records are based off electronic fobs deputies validate in Leinster House.
Oireachtas members can have their attendance record reconciled at the end of the year if they attended any sittings but forgot their electronic fob or if they were abroad on duties as a member of the Oireachtas.
The attendance of Ministers and junior ministers is not published by the Oireachtas, as they do not claim the Dáil members’ travel allowance, according to a spokesman for the Oireachtas. Ministers claim a separate ministerial travel allowance through their departments.
Other TDs with nearly perfect attendance records on days the Dáil was in session include Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath, Labour TD Alan Kelly, and Sinn Féin’s Dessie Ellis, who all attended 65 days out of 66.
The deputy with the second worst attendance record is Marc MacSharry (FF), who signed in for 45 out of 66 days the Dáil was sitting this year.
Jonathan O’Brien (SF) attended 51 sittings, Fianna Fáil’s housing spokesman Barry Cowen attended 54 times, and Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty attended 56 days.
Of the party leaders: Michaél Martin (FF) attended 61 days, Gerry Adams (SF) clocked in for 64 days, Brendan Howlin (Lab) was present for 63 sittings, and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan attended 59 sittings.
The attendance figures compared are based off days the Dáil and Seanad was sitting. The Dáil normally sits on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but deputies may be in Leinster House on other days to attend Oireachtas committee meetings or to work from their parliamentary offices.
Two Senators attended all 51 sittings of the Seanad so far this year, David Norris (Ind) and Denis Landy (Lab), according to Oireachtas records.
Joan Freeman, chief executive of charity Pieta House and one of former taoiseach Enda Kenny’s nominations to the upper house, attended 33 days the Seanad was sitting, according to the electronic log.
Chicago-based Senator Billy Lawless, who was another taoiseach nominee to the Seanad, has attended 38 out of 51 sittings since January.
The Dáil begins its autumn session on Wednesday and the Seanad is scheduled to return the following week on September 26th.