Dara Murphy resigns Dáil seat; Calls for TD to address attendance and expenses questons

Dara Murphy resigns Dáil seat; Calls for TD to address attendance and expenses questons

- Additional reporting by Juno McEnroe

Fine Gael TD for Cork North-Central Dara Murphy has formally resigned his Dail seat, to allow him take up a plum European Commission job from today

As revealed by the Irish Examiner last week, Mr Murphy has confirmed his decision to stand down before Christmas and he has said he informed the Leas Ceann Comhairle last night.

He will “co-operate with any relevant statutory procedure” as part of that process to allow him take up his new role, which carries with it a salary of €150,000 a year.

Since the story first emerged, Mr Murphy's poor attendance in Leinster House while claiming expenses has been the subject of considerable controversy.

Yesterday, in light of that controversy, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed a review of Dail expenses has been initiated.

“Last night, on Tuesday the 3rd of December, I met with the Acting Ceann Comhairle and gave him a letter informing him of my decision to resign my seat in Dáil Éireann,” he said on Wednesday morning.

“I also met the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last night and spoke to him about my decision. I will commence a new position in the European Commission today. I will of course co-operate with any relevant statutory procedure that may be initiated,” he said.

“In addition, I would like to acknowledge and give thanks for the support I have received from so many people: the Taoiseach and the Fine Gael Party, at local and national level; my family; and most importantly I would like to thank the people of Cork North Central."

In his letter to the acting Ceann Comhairle, Mr Murphy said: “I would like to inform you that I am resigning my seat in Dáil Éireann with immediate effect. I would ask you to please inform the House at an appropriate time.

"I would also like you to please convey my gratitude and best wishes to all members and staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas.

"It has been an honour to represent the people of Cork and work with so many fine people for the past nine years. I would also like to thank you for your professionalism and courtesy. Regards Dara Murphy.”

Mr Murphy was not present for the debate on the Confidence Motion in Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy in the Dáil today but was present to vote. It would appear that he waited until the conclusion of the vote to formally present his letter of resignation.

This morning in the Dáil, Leas Ceann Comhairle Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher told TDs that he had received Mr Murphy’s resignation letter at 10.45pm last night with it taking effect from that point.

Mr Murphy is a TD for the Cork North Central TD since 2011 and is a former Minister of European Affairs but was dropped by Mr Varadkar when he took office in 2017.

Dara Murphy resigns Dáil seat; Calls for TD to address attendance and expenses questons

Dara Murphy must co-operate with any inquiry into attendance and expenses -FF

Fianna Fáil has also insisted the outgoing TD must cooperate with any Oireachtas probe into his attendance and expenses records, writes Juno McEnroe.

Opposition TDs said they hoped the Fine Gael TD, who resigned his seat for Cork North Central today, would not have to be forced to answer mounting questions about his expenses.

The demand comes after the former European Union Affairs Minister continued to come under fire for double-jobbing while he was an elected representative for Cork.

Mr Murphy has had one of the lowest attendance records in Leinster House while working for the last two years in Brussels for the European People's Party, an EU political group that includes Fine Gael.

Mr Murphy continued to claim his €96,000-a-year salary plus expenses while still fobbing in his attendance at Leinster House. He will now work in a new role on a €150,000 a-year salary for the EU.

Fianna Fáil has launched complaints to the Oireachtas Ethics Committee about Mr Murphy's expense claims while he worked for the EPP. The outgoing Cork deputy, after resigning this morning, promised to cooperate with any inquiry.

Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers launched a stinging attack on Mr Murphy and insisted he must cooperate with any Oireachtas probe.

“It's been very clear Dara Murphy has not been turning up for work for the past two years. And there's been an attempt by Fine Gael and by Dara Murphy to muddy the water to discuss TDs having second jobs as though it's comparable to essentially living in a different country and not turning up to work virtually at all, for the last two years.

“I expect that Dara Murphy, given the assurances that the Fine Gael party have given, will cooperate with any investigation into his affairs for the last two years, and any statutory investigation, or any investigation by the committee and procedures and the ethics committee. Dara Murphy has himself assured the people of this country that he will do that.”

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