Thursday 21 November 2019

Limited number of ways TDs can lose their seats

Michael Brennan

There are only a limited number of ways that TDs can lose their seats -- and being declared bankrupt is one of them.

Under the 1992 Electoral Act, a TD has to be disq-ualified from serving in the Dail if he or she is declared bankrupt. Once the order is made, the Examiner of the High Court will wait for six months and then notify the Ceann Comhairle that the bankruptcy order is still in force. The TD will then have to give up his or her seat.

There is no requirement on the government to hold a by-election, but the current Government has promised to bring in legislation to make it mandatory to hold one within six months of a vacancy occurring.


Trade union leader Jim Larkin was elected to the Dail in the Dublin North constituency in the 1927 General Election with more than 7,000 votes.

But he had refused to pay a libel owed to his enemy William O'Brien and was declared bankrupt. He was not able to take up his seat in the Dail as a result.

The issue of bankruptcy arose again when RTE took bankruptcy proceedings against former Fianna Fail Mayo TD Beverley Flynn for failing to pay €2.4m owed in legal costs. However, it dropped the bankruptcy action when Ms Flynn paid a settlement of €1.2m in 2007.

TDs can also be disqualified from serving in the Dail if they are found to be of "unsound mind" or if they are sent to prison for more than six months.

Irish Independent

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