Politics

Expenses abuse fear as TDs escape clocking in

Questions have been raised about why the Dáil’s ‘clock-in’ system doesn’t record what time a TD registers their attendance in Leinster House.

The Oireachtas told the Irish Independent that it does not record a log-in time for deputies – but Rise TD Paul Murphy claims the fob terminals used by colleagues are capable of doing so.

“My understanding is that the machines automatically records time stamps,” he said.

“And so if they [the Oireachtas] don’t record them it’s because they’ve been turned off, and that’s a decision that would have to be made somewhere.”

Mr Murphy wants a review of the check-in system on foot of claims it is open to abuse.

He said that if TDs were capable of voting on behalf of absent colleagues in the Dáil then it’s possible some might also let others into the chamber.

However, Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan said he had never heard of such a practice.

“I don’t think, from my own assessment, that is an issue,” he said.

TDs have to register their presence in Leinster House on at least 120 days to claim their full allowance for travel and accommodation.

In the wake of the so-called ‘votegate’ controversy, the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, has already moved to tighten up the procedure around voting in the Dáil chamber.

He is likely to now be pressed for further transparency around expenses.

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