Deputy Lisa Chambers has shown a blatant disregard for the integrity and importance of the Dáil voting system, a Fine Gael Minister of State has said.
Minister of State with Responsibility for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan, said: “If mistakes happen it is imperative that they are corrected so that there is an accurate Dáil record – to fail to do so is simply baffling. I have made a similar error in the past and immediately took steps to ensure that the Dáil record was accurate.
“The explanation from Deputy Chambers that she didn’t correct the record after casting a vote initially in Deputy Dara Calleary’s seat and subsequently in her own because of the margin of the vote shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of having an accurate Dáil record.
“One of the fundamental duties of a TD is to cast votes in the Dáil Chamber on behalf of our constituents who elected us.
“When Deputy Chambers noticed her error, her very next step should have been to let a Teller know so that the record could be amended. Her failure to do so shows she either doesn’t understand the significance of the Dáil voting system or she simply isn’t too worried about the integrity of it.
“Either answer is, frankly, an affront to the democratic process.”
Minister Phelan continued: “Deputy Chambers has said she does not think she has cast a vote in error in somebody else’s name before but given her cavalier attitude on this occasion how much comfort can we take from that?
“Deputy Chambers has sought to explain away her reasons for withholding information about the inaccuracy recorded because of her actions by trivialising the matter, pointing to the fact that the vote wasn’t a close one.
“We need to see transparency from Fianna Fáil as to the extent of this serious issue that has emerged among its frontbench TDs. Is there a widespread culture of disrespecting the Dáil voting process in Fianna Fáil?”