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Full explanation needed from absentee Fianna Fáil Senator – Lawlor

12th December 2019 - Senator Anthony Lawlor

FIANNA Fáil’s Keith Swanick needs to give a full and frank account as to why he failed to vote in Leinster House on the vast majority of days he recorded his attendance, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Anthony Lawlor, of Kildare North, said it was very worrying that the Fianna Fáil Senator did not vote in three quarters of Seanad votes when he was recorded as being in the Kildare St campus in Dublin.

An RTÉ investigation uncovered that Senator Swanick, who is also a doctor, failed to vote on 84 of the 114 voting days he signed in at Leinster House from June 2016 to the end of 2018 – meaning he did not vote on 74% of the voting days when his attendance is recorded.

“Since the Sumer of 2016 until the end of last year, Senator Swanick claimed almost €73,000 in travel expenses. What is very concerning is Senator Swanick didn’t bother to exercise his duty to vote. It is simply not acceptable and not good enough,” Senator Lawlor said.

“On July 9 this year, RTÉ were told Senator Swanick was able to accept appointments at 3.30pm and 4.50pm at his general practice in Belmullet, Co Mayo. He was registered as being in Leinster House that day but would not provide an explanation to RTÉ as to whether he travelled from Dublin to Mayo that morning or from west Mayo to Dublin in the evening. It is a journey that could take more than four hours depending on traffic. It requires a straightforward answer.

“In recent weeks, we have seen Fianna Fáil preach a holier than thou attitude. In the first seven months of 2019, Senator Swanick voted in just six of the 114 votes that took place. Was Micheál Martin aware of this? Or perhaps he was oblivious to it.

“Either way, along with all recent political events, whether it is voting for a party colleague when they are not in the chamber or claiming expenses when you are not present for a day’s work as a public representative in the Dáil or Seanad, the Irish public deserve full and frank answers and explanations.

“Hopefully, Senator Swanick or his party can assist us on these matters and account for what has happened regarding the doctor’s shambolic voting record since 2016,” Senator Lawlor said.

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