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Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald is a PAC 'drama queen'

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Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has one of the poorest attendance records at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Sunday Independent has learnt.

The role of Ms McDonald during high-octane PAC battles with Angela Kearns and Rehab has been a key factor in the political rise of the SF TD.

However, records reveal that Ms McDonald was in the bottom tier of attendances, coming in 12th out of 17 current and previous members.

She has missed 36 of 115 PAC meetings, giving her an attendance rating of approximately 70pc. This was significantly below the standard set by PAC attendees such as chairman John McGuinness (97pc), John Deasy (87pc), and Shane Ross (85pc). One PAC source noted: ''Mary Lou is a bit of a drama queen, there for the big games, but a bit more difficult to find during the hard grind of things.''

The figures will also pose Taoiseach Enda Kenny with a dilemma as he finalises a reshuffle of the PAC and the rest of the Dail committees. The Fine Gael TDs on the PAC with the highest attendance record are John Deasy and Kieran O'Donnell. Both were leading figures in the attempted coup against Enda Kenny in 2011.

There are concerns that some in the FG hierarchy are anxious to break up the 'cosy cartel' they believe exists within PAC between 'oddball' Deasy and chairman John McGuinness.

One FG TD noted: ''Deasy and the PAC has caused more trouble for the Coalition than any of the opposition parties; Enda would love a chance to take that thorn out of his foot.''

They added, however, that: ''Mr Deasy's status as one of the most committed members of the PAC means it would be very hard for anyone to move against him without appearing to be utterly vindictive.''

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