DEPUTY Timmy Dooley has said that Fine Gael have tried to employ smear tactics, following news stories this week about Lisa Chambers casting votes in the Dáil while sitting in his seat.
The Clare TD has said that what happened was entirely in keeping with custom in Leinster House.
“There was a practice over time where people didn’t sit in their own seats and that’s the case across the house. My view is they are just targeting Lisa on this and it’s unfair.”
He added, “So many people have accepted that they did it and said that they did it. That has tightened up and that has changed, so people have to be in their designated seats now before the vote can take place. There doesn’t seem to be any complaint against me, it’s an effort to target Lisa Chambers, which I think is unfair.”#
The fact that footage of the Dáil was brought into the debate was also unfair, he believes. “The difficulty in all of this is that only about 30% of the Chamber can be seen from the camera angle. Now it’s being suggested that if you are not visible in that space, there’s a question mark about it. That’s highly unfair because the whole of the Dáil is not visible from that camera angle.”
He said there has been an attempt by Fine Gael to take some focus away from uncomfortable matters. “Don’t forget, regardless of where people were voting, there’s no personal gains for them. Obviously, there’s an effort to throw out as much dirt in the hope that it will stick but the truth of it is that the people I am talking to every day are concerned about the activities of Dara Murphy, where significant amounts of money are involved, and they are concerned about health and housing.
“I think what you are seeing in this latest attack on Lisa Chambers is very much an effort by some elements within Fine Gael to muddy the waters. It’s clear that the Government is in its dying days,” Deputy Dooley concluded.
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.