SIR – Fine Gael rolled out their ministers to the media to exploit yet another Dáil Éireann fiasco, after it emerged Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley was recorded as voting six times, despite being absent from the Dail chamber, ably assisted by his colleague Niall Collins.
What is worse; On Monday morning, while being interviewed on Newstalk ‘Breakfast,’ our Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan admitted voting on behalf of colleagues who were running back to their seats – but insisted that was ‘an entirely different issue.’ This man is supposed to be the custodian of our Justice system !
If these people were living in the real world and working in industry, they would simply lose their jobs (no pay-offs, no pension ).
It is common practice in industry since the 1980s, that clocking in or out another person or falsifying company records is considered gross misconduct, leading to immediate suspension and ultimate dismissal. Yet, in Dáil Éireann (a place of employment), the rules appear to be different to that of the hard-working folk that our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar continually claims to admire.
It's not so long ago where we were treated to the Lapgate scandal, where TDs were highly intoxicated while voting on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill. This was a vital process where legislation was being introduced and decided on by people, who we were are being led to believe had 'capacity of mind' – after drinking 'a few pints' in the Dáil bar – in the early hours of the morning. The very same hypocrites who condemn drinking & driving !
How much of our legislation could we challenge, as a result of the behaviour of our politicians ?
In the meantime, the two Fianna Fail TDs at the centre of the voting scandal have been temporarily removed from senior positions in the party pending the results of an 'independent' investigation by the Ceann Comhairle – another politician !
The Ceann Comhairle's investigation should now also involve the astonishing admission made by the Minister of Justice on Monday morning's Newstalk ‘Breakfast’ programme.
It is often argued that the politician-versus-citizen distrust depends on a failure of prudent accountability. As we are constantly witnessing a lack of accountability from our legislators, we have to continue with the motto 'never trust a politician'!