Vote Gate: What the two TDs claim happened last Thursday

An Oireachtas report into the Dáil voting controversy has been published this morning.

The report looked into the voting activity of a number of Fianna Fáil TDs in the Dáil last week.

Last Thursday, Niall Collins voted six times for Timmy Dooley.

The internal Dáil report into the voting irregularities included testimony from the two TDs at the heart of the scandal - Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins- and this is what they had to say.

Vote Gate: What the two TDs claim happened last Thursday

Timmy Dooley, Clare TD: 'I've learned a hard lesson...I owe apologies'

Vote Gate: What the two TDs claim happened last Thursday

"I’ve learned a hard lesson. If you’re in the complex you stay for the vote. I owe apologies, I was sloppy and I should have delayed taking a call and instead concentrated on the voting.

"It was my personal responsibility and I didn’t follow through on this. You shouldn’t require checks for something as basic as this.

"As regards how you can manage this in the future, a swipe card perhaps before you vote,” he said.

Mr Dooley said he told party colleague Niall Collins: "I'll see you at the vote but I have to make a call".

The report states the Dáil video feed clearly shows the two men having a short conversation in the chamber awaiting the formal calling of the vote.

Mr Dooley is seen pointing towards the front row of the seats and Mr Collins nodding before Mr Dooley exited the Dáil Chamber.

"When asked about the nature of the conversation with Deputy Collins, Deputy Dooley said that he told Deputy Collins that he needed to speak with him.

"Deputy Dooley said he told Deputy Collins that: 'I'll see you at the vote but I have to make a call.'

"When asked what he meant by pointing at the seats, Deputy Dooley was indicating to Deputy Collins that he would see Deputy Collins when they were voting,” the report states.

The report adds that footage of the eight votes shows Mr Dooley leaving the chamber and not returning.

It states that Mr Dooley's seat lay empty for the totality of the voting, however a vote is registered in his designated seat for six of the eight votes.

Mr Dooley confirmed to Mr Finnegan that he didn't vote in any of the eight votes and he never returned to the Dáil.

When asked why he didn't return, he indicated that he had to return to his office to make a call. He stated that he should have gone back but that he left the complex.

"He could not say how long the call lasted, nor could he say at what time he left the complex,” the report states.

Mr Dooley confirmed he left the complex and that he had no contact with Mr Collins thereafter.

When it was put to him whether he asked Mr Collins to vote for him while absent from the chamber, the Clare TD replied: "No, I'm clear on that fact".

The report states that Mr Dooley told Mr Finnegan that Mr Collins "assumed I was in the House. I've done it in the past".

When asked when he was made aware that his vote was registered in his absence, the Clare TD said it was when he was contacted by an Irish Independent journalist last Friday.

Asked if he had taken any steps to correct the record, Mr Dooley indicated that he didn't.

"However, he stated that he contacted the Ceann Comhairle on Sunday 20 October."

Niall Collins TD: 'This reflects on me badly'

Vote Gate: What the two TDs claim happened last Thursday

"I wouldn't cast a vote knowing or believing someone to be outside the Chamber.This reflects on me badly,” Niall Collins told Dáil Clerk Peter Finnegan.

"Deputy Collins stated that Deputy Dooley indicated that he wished to speak to him but that Deputy Dooley had to deal with a phone call first...When asked if Deputy Dooley had requested him to vote on Deputy Dooley's behalf, Deputy Collins said 'no',” the report states.

"He also stated that he didn't say to Deputy Dooley that he would vote on his behalf. Asked what he believed Mr Dooley meant by pointing he said he had no idea, that he was looking at his colleague's face not his hands,” the report adds.

The Limerick TD said he didn't see Mr Dooley leave the chamber.

The official footage from the Dáil recordings shows Mr Collins sitting in seat A-15, designated to Barry Cowen and not his own seat of A-16.

Asked if he knew his own seat, Mr Collins replied “of course” he did.

According to the report, Mr Collins said he pressed Mr Dooley's voting button because he believed he was at the back of the chamber on his mobile phone.

Vote Gate: What the two TDs claim happened last Thursday

He confirmed he also pressed the voting button in the seat he was occupying - Mr Cowen's designated place.

Mr Collins said he didn't consider switching seats with Mr Cowen as they had voted this way before.

The demoted Foreign Affairs spokesman confirmed that he pressed both buttons for the first six votes.

Asked why he didn't press Mr Dooley's voting button for the seventh vote, Mr Collins said: "I don't know, I can't explain it."

He said he couldn't explain why he didn't vote on Mr Dooley's behalf in the eighth vote either.

Mr Collins said he didn't because he was under the mistaken belief Mr Dooley was in the Chamber, so he didn't feel the need to alert the Clerks.

Mr Collins said he became aware of the matter when he was contacted by the Irish Independent on Friday.

The Limerick TD said he didn't contact the Ceann Comhairle as he spoke to Mr Dooley and he indicated that he would.

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