Europe

Fianna Fáil caught up in Dáil voting controversy

Timmy Dooley (left) and Niall Collins Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins have been asked to stand down from their frontbench posts

The Republic of Ireland's main opposition party has been caught up in a controversy about parliamentary voting.

Two Fianna Fáil frontbench spokesmen have been forced to stand down temporarily as a result.

The Irish Independent revealed one of the two, Timmy Dooley, had six electronically recorded votes despite not being in the chamber last Thursday.

The second man, Niall Collins, admitted he had voted for Mr Dooley.

Speaker of the Dáil (Irish parliament), Seán O'Fearghaíl, has ordered a report on the matter for "his urgent attention".

Mr Dooley has apologised for what happened saying Mr Collins voted for him in the mistaken impression that he, Mr Dooley, was in the chamber after the doors had locked but was taking a mobile phone call at the back of the room.

Fianna Fáil's opponents say that is not credible given there were six votes.

Party leader Mícheál Martin has asked both men to stand down from their frontbench posts.

'Sat in seat by mistake'

It has also emerged that the party's Brexit spokeswoman, Lisa Chambers, voted for her constituency colleague and party deputy leader, Dara Calleary, while he was outside the chamber doing a radio interview on Thursday.

She says she sat in his seat by mistake and voted before realising her error and voted again from her seat right beside his.

On Sunday she was asked in a radio interview whether she had ever voted for someone else and denied doing so.

Twenty-four hours later she says she never intentionally voted for someone else.

Ms Chambers said she did not inform the speaker or the voting tellers about what had happened because all of Thursday's votes were carried by large majorities.

Mr Martin has accepted her explanation and is not asking her to stand down temporarily.