| 18.5°C Dublin

Kevin Doyle: 'Little white lies reveal truth - TDs find voting a waste of time'

 

Close

Fianna Fáil's Lisa Chambers. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Fianna Fáil's Lisa Chambers. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Fianna Fáil's Lisa Chambers. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Ten seconds and three steps - that's what it would have taken for Lisa Chambers to correct the record of the Dáil.

She didn't bother because she "genuinely thought it was insignificant".

Fianna Fáil's rising star even thought her mistake was so irrelevant she told a little white lie on radio.

"No, I haven't," Chambers responded on Sunday when asked very directly whether she had ever cast a vote for a colleague.

The answer came swiftly but when she popped up again on RTÉ's 'Morning Ireland' early yesterday, the Mayo TD explained she interpreted the question to mean did she ever "intentionally, knowingly, purposefully" vote for somebody else.

Chambers also claimed during the interview that the Dáil is like the theatre and the seats are "not numbered". That's not accurate because the voting panels do actually have numbers on them. The voting pad she has used during every voting session since February 2016 is marked A-17.

Close

Timmy Dooley’s vote was recorded six times in the Dáil, despite his absence from the chamber at the time. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Timmy Dooley’s vote was recorded six times in the Dáil, despite his absence from the chamber at the time. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Timmy Dooley’s vote was recorded six times in the Dáil, despite his absence from the chamber at the time. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

"I was tired, it was a long week," she said in a moment of hubris that must have sent commuters into a haze. The vote took place shortly after 1.30pm on Thursday afternoon.

For what it's worth, I believe her excuse. It's most likely she did accidentally cast a vote for Dara Calleary before doubling down and placing her own.

The fact she didn't think it mattered and was prepared to skirt over it when asked is the real concern.

Voting in the Dáil is a very small part of a TD's workload but arguably the most significant. And for a €100,000 salary, you'd hope they might see its importance.

But Chambers, who holds the important Brexit brief for her party, has survived her first 'scandal' since becoming a TD.

She is definitely embarrassed but still standing, unlike her colleagues Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins.

By applying one punishment to Chambers and another to the two male deputies, Micheál Martin has suggested he doesn't believe their version of events.

And maybe this is why. Last Friday, the Irish Independent contacted both representatives almost simultaneously to ask them about the vote.

It was put to Collins that he voted on behalf of Dooley. He replied: "Jeeze, I've no idea. I better check it out. Let me check it out and I'll come back to you." He never did.

Dooley was asked the same question in reverse, and replied: "I don't know anything about that."

By Saturday afternoon, both were running the line that Collins had wrongly believed Dooley was elsewhere in the chamber and, unprompted, did his voting for him.

It tells us many TDs don't set much value in the weekly voting sessions. They see a wasted hour of sitting around every Thursday. But the white lies suggest they know the public expect them to take the job more seriously.

A lie is only useful if the truth is more dangerous.

Irish Independent


Related Content