Leinster House

  • Roscommon-Galway TD Eugene Murphy’s Oireachtas meeting into the Cuisle Centre reveals Government shock over the facilities closure by the Irish Wheelchair Association.

    Minister Finian McGrath revealed at a special meeting of the Oireachtas this afternoon that the Irish Wheelchair Association received almost €40 million in funding nationally from his Department in 2019.

    Fianna Fail TD Eugene Murphy believes the funding the Irish Wheelchair Association received in 2019 combined with their own fundraising efforts should have been adequate to carry out the upgrading and repair works of the Cuisle Centre, estimated at €1.2m.

    Deputy Murphy said that 48 jobs were at stake and he called on the IWA to meet with elected representatives and Oireachtas members to prevent the closure of the Donamon centre.

    The Roscommon Galway TD organised the meeting in Leinster House today, with the Minister of State for Disability Issues and with his fellow Oireachtas members in relation to the proposed closure of the Cuisle respite centre in Roscommon.

  • Minister for Community and Rural Affairs Michael Ring insists he was in the Dail chamber anytime ever a vote was recorded in his name.

    The fallout is continuing into what’s being termed the “phantom voting” controversy last week that has resulted in three separate Dail investigations now underway and appears to have sparks flying  between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

    During a day of political drama in Leinster House yesterday, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl announced a two-pronged investigation into four Fianna Fáil TDs involved in the phantom voting controversy - including Mayo's Lisa Chambers and Dara Calleary as well as Niall Collins and Timmy Dooley.

    Deputy Lisa Chambers admits that by mistake she voted twice in the one vote on Thursday, initially sitting in Dara Calleary’s seat by mistake and voting there and then realizing her error  - sat in her own seat and voted again there, and never alerted the clerk of her error.

    She told Midwest News on Monday that Dara Calleary had not asked her to vote for him. “He was out of the Dail chamber at the time doing a phone interview”, she stated.

    Her colleague Niall Collins had on the same day voted six times for another FF deputy Tim Collins and Tim Collins was not in the Dail at the time.

    Mr Ó Fearghaíl said yesterday the clerk of the Dáil will compile an urgent report on the “very grave” voting revelations, while a separate probe will be carried out by an Oireachtas ethics committee.

    But within hours of the announcement, Fianna Fáil wrote to the Ceann Comhairle seeking an investigation into the voting records of five Fine Gael ministers.

    The Fianna Fáil complaint was the result of the party reviewing more than a year of Dáil footage to establish whether Fine Gael TDs were ever absent from the chamber when their votes were recorded.

    The votes involve Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty, Mayo-based Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring, and Ministers of State Jim Daly and Damien English. All denied voting improperly.

    This lunchtime Minister Ring told Midwest News that he has never had a vote recorded under his name in the Dail while he was not in the Dail Chamber.

    He explained that on the day in question by Fianna Fail’s video trawl, (4th October of 2018), there is clear video footage of him in his seat voting twice, then after the third vote was called he is seen answering his phone and walking to the back of the Dail chamber.

    He says the doors of the chamber are locked during a vote. He was in the chamber, and simply can’t remember who he asked to physically vote for him in the third vote of the day.

    But he insists he has never had a vote recorded under his name when not physically in the Dail chamber.

  • The Transport Minister has launched a scathing attack on what he calls 'the lunatic fringe' in Leinster House opposed to tougher drink drive laws.

    Shane Ross has suggested any government Ministers who criticised the enforcement of the laws were 'unfit for office'

    Transport Minister Shane Ross is today responding to intense criticism from some rural TDs over tougher new drink drive laws.

    In particular some have raised the issue of an increase in the number of driver breathalyser tests being carried out in the morning across the country.

    Over the New Year period 43 people were arrested between the hours of 9 am and noon on suspicion of drink driving, out of a total of 445 people.

    Writing in today's Sunday Independent, Minister Ross slammed TDs who criticised the new drink driving laws, referring to the lunatic fringe in Leinster House.

    He also told the paper that any government Minister's who criticised the enforcement of the laws were unfit for office.