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Ireland Lisa Chambers claims she has been 'singled out' after new footage emerges of her voting for Dáil colleague

18:16  15 december  2019
18:16  15 december  2019 Source:   independent.ie

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New Dail footage shows seven votes being recorded in Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley’s seat while colleague Lisa Chambers sits in his place. Oireachtas video recordings from January 17 show Ms Chambers , Fianna Fail’s Brexit spokesperson, in Mr Dooley’s seat during almost 50 minutes of Dail

Now Chambers has admitted she mistakenly voted for deputy leader Dara Calleary in the same set of votes . Minister Flanagan today admitted he has pushed a voting button for a colleague in the past, but Speaking to RTÉ News, he said the integrity of the voting system in the Dáil was of “utmost

Lisa Chambers smiling for the camera: Fianna Fáil Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers. Photo: Tom Burke Fianna Fáil Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers. Photo: Tom Burke

FIANNA Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers claims she is being “singled out” after new footage emerged of her voting for a colleague in the Dáil.

Earlier this week the Mayo TD the Oireachtas Committee on Members’ Interests criticised her for casting a vote on behalf of her colleague Dara Calleary.

While it was accepted that Ms Chambers did so “inadvertently”, the Committee probing ‘Votegate’ warned that a further breach of voting rules could lead to a finding that she had acted “recklessly” or “intentionally”.

Now the ‘Sunday Independent’ has uncovered footage showing seven votes being attributed to Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley while Ms Chambers was sitting in his place.

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Oireachtas video recordings from January 17 show Ms Chambers in Mr Dooley’s seat during almost 50 minutes of Dail votes

Mr Dooley is not shown in or near his seat at any stage during the voting session which dealt with issues ranging from rural crime to cycling.

Mr Dooley, who remains under investigation as part of the Votegate scandal, has insisted he was in the Leinster House at the time.

“I checked my own notes and I was present in the chamber for that parliamentary voting session,” he told the Sunday Independent.

However, the Clare representative could not say where he was in the chamber when the seven votes took place.

In a statement today, Ms Chambers said the situation was “no different to the multiple government ministers and TDs across the house who have had votes recorded for them while they were not in their seats and elsewhere in the chamber, even the Taoiseach has said he has voted for others”.

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“On the day in question you can see many other TDs were in different seats, this was entirely normal and people moved throughout the voting block, so I am unsure why I am being singled out in this regard,” she added.

Lisa Chambers, Stephen Donnelly are posing for a picture: Click here to view full-size graphic Click here to view full-size graphic

Ms Chambers said TDs using the wrong voting pad was a “common occurrence across the House” which has now been cleared up and “no longer occurs”.

“In my own view the Government are under pressure with the Dara Murphy scandal and attempting to deflect from that issue.”

Her accusation that Fine Gael was trying to deflect from questions about Mr Murphy’s double-jobbing was repeated by Fianna Fáil leader Michaél Martin on Newstalk radio this afternoon.

a man wearing a suit and tie walking on a city street: Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley. Photo by Gareth Chaney/Collins © Copyright Collins Photo Agency Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley. Photo by Gareth Chaney/Collins

He previously sacked Mr Dooley and Limerick TD Niall Collins from the party’s frontbench over voting anomalies – but chose not to sanction Ms Chambers. All three have made apologies in the Dáil.

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The new footage comes after the Dail’s ethics committee issued Ms Chambers with an official warning following an inquiry into a previous vote she made on behalf of Fianna Fail deputy leader Dara Calleary.

Ms Chambers admitted she voted for Mr Calleary while he was not in the chamber but said she pressed his voting button by accident. She said she did not tell Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail about the incident because the vote had passed by a large majority.

The Oireachtas Committee on Members’ Interests found Ms Chambers “acted in good faith” and voted “inadvertently”.

However, it warned Ms Chambers that a further breach of voting rules could lead to a finding that she had acted “recklessly” or “intentionally”.

The committee is still investigating six votes cast by Mr Collins on behalf of Mr Dooley.

It has written to Mr Dooley, asking why he made a formal apology to the Dail about the incident.

In October, the Clare TD apologised for “the fact that when I spoke to Deputy Collins I gave him the impression that I would be in the chamber” for voting throughout the voting block.

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The apology followed a comprehensive report by the clerk of the Dail into the votes cast by Mr Collins and Ms Chambers.

Mr Collins has said he believed Mr Dooley was in the chamber when he was voting on his behalf. Video footage of the incident showed Mr Dooley point at a seat and leave before Mr Collins began voting for him.

The ethics committee is expected to reprimand Mr Collins. The controversy forced the Ceann Comhairle to insist all TDs are in their designated seats when votes are being recorded.

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Fine Gael TD makes formal complaint to Oireachtas ethics committee about 'voting practice' of Lisa Chambers .
A fresh complaint has been made to the Oireachtas ethics committee about the “voting practice” of Fianna Fáil Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers, Independent.ie can reveal. Mr O’Dowd’s formal complaint is now likely to be considered by the Oireachtas Committee on Members’ Interests which just last week criticised Ms Chambers over a separate incident in October. On that occasion the Mayo TD admitted casting a vote using a pad registered to her constituency colleague Dara Calleary.

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