TDs warned unapproved absences will be reported to Taoiseach

Chief Whip’s email goes on to say that pairing arrangements for Ministers will be stopped

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  at Government Buildings on Wednesday. Government Chief Whip Seán Kyne has emailed Ministers and TDs to warn them that any unapproved absences during the coming Dáil term will be reported to Mr Varadkar. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings on Wednesday. Government Chief Whip Seán Kyne has emailed Ministers and TDs to warn them that any unapproved absences during the coming Dáil term will be reported to Mr Varadkar. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Government TDs have been warned that any unapproved absences during the coming Dáil term will be reported to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Government Chief Whip Seán Kyne emailed Ministers and TDs on Tuesday night to warn them about missing votes or debates without an absence request. Ministers were already told earlier this month that they were not permitted to schedule mid-week events that would take them away from the Dáil.

They were warned the Government was losing too many votes unnecessarily.

The email on to TDs and Ministers was sent at the same time the Government was outlining plans for an omnibus Brexit Bill which would be needed in the event of a no-deal scenario.

Priority legislation

The Government also announced a number of other pieces of priority legislation they are hoping to progress by the summer, including legislation to set up a tribunal for the victims of the Cervical Check scandal.

“Absence requests can only be approved for Ministers and Ministers of State who are abroad on official business. All other business should be scheduled for non-sitting Dáil days,” the email reads.

“Ministers and Deputies should not schedule constituency visits or events on Dáil days, particularly Wednesdays and Thursdays.

“The Taoiseach will be notified of all those absent for votes, without permission,” Mr Kyne writes.

‘In attendance’

“As you know, the arrangements for the Dáil-sitting week are proposed and potentially voted on Tuesdays, at the Order of Business, following Leaders’ Questions, it is essential that all are in attendance in the event of a vote being called.

“Every effort will be made to schedule report-stage business, where possible, on Wednesdays, and all should make sure they are in attendance.”

The email goes on to say that pairing arrangements for Ministers will be stopped. Pairing is an arrangement whereby a TD of one party agrees with a TD of an opposing party not to vote in a particular division, giving both TDs the opportunity to be elsewhere.