April 8, 2020
News

Kilkenny Minister admits mistakingly casting vote for colleague

By COLIN BARTLEY

A KILKENNY TD admitted he once cast a vote for a colleague in Dáil Eireann accidentally, but he immediately corrected the “mistake” and had it properly recorded.

Junior Minister John Paul Phelan said he once pressing the wrong button during a vote in Leinster House. But he instantly realised he had made a mistake and approached the Dáil tellers to rectify it.

Minister Phelan made the admission following the removal of two Fianna Fáil TDs at the centre of the Dail voting controversy from the party’s front bench.

Deputies Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins were asked to step down by Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin after it emerged the latter cast six separate votes for his colleague in the chamber last week when he was not present.

Another Fianna Fáil TD, Lisa Chambers, admitted to voting on behalf of her deputy leader Dara Calleary at the same Dáil sitting last week. She claimed she inadvertently sat in the wrong seat. Party leader Michéal Martin accepted her explanation and she has not been asked to step down.

Minister Phelan today admitted he made a similar mistake, but that there was one crucial difference.

“It happened me in the last Dáil. I made the mistake but I corrected it with the tellers immediately and the vote was recorded.

“I pressed the wrong button – exactly the same situation. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd sits beside me, he wasn’t there. I first pressed his button, then my own. I then went down and told the tellers to correct the record that Fergus wasn’t present.

“That happens a bit,” Minister Phelan (pictured below) told RTÉ.

He was quick to explain that his mistake, and how he resolved it, is very different to the current issues facing the Fianna Fáil deputies.

“This is almost identical (to the Lisa Chambers incident) except that Lisa Chambers knew she done wrong but didn’t correct the record.”

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD,  has ordered a full investigation in the voting controversy.

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