Sunday 17 November 2019

'Votegate': Shane Ross to face no action over vote 'mistake'

Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Kyran O’Brien.
Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Kyran O’Brien.
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Transport Minister Shane Ross has escaped sanction for using the children minister's voting pad during a debate on drink-driving legislation last year.

Mr Ross, below, pressed Katherine Zappone's button during a division on the Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2017 which he had championed.

The Bill brought in tough new laws that result in automatic disqualification for all drivers caught over the limit.

In a bizarre sequence of events, Mr Ross managed to cast his own vote against the legislation.

But he also used the machine assigned to Ms Zappone to vote in favour.

Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae later complained to the Ceann Comhairle.

The Kerry TD, who vehemently opposed the legislation, demanded that Mr Ross's error be "dealt with".

"This is totally unfair. Would he please come in here and explain what he was at? He reached across and pressed Minister Zappone's button?" he said in January 2018.

Sources say a subsequent probe established the minister sat in Ms Zappone's seat by mistake but notified Oireachtas officials of his error. As a result they were in a position to amend the record and it was decided there was no reason to issue any sanction.

Fianna Fáil's Lisa Chambers is under investigation for a similar mistake - but she did not alert tellers to the fact she "inadvertently" cast a vote for an absent colleague.

Irish Independent

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