*Senator Timmy Dooley. Photograph: Joe Buckley

A CLARE SENATOR has defended his voting record in the Seanad despite it being one of the lowest among the sixty Senators.

Of the thirty six ballots held in the Seanad for the first six months of this year, only Westmeath Senator Paul Daly (FF) has a one hundred percent record having been present for all thirty six votes. The details were published by The Mail on Sunday.

Having been present for thirty three of the thirty six, Senator Martin Conway (FG) has the best voting record of the three Clare senators. Senator Roisin Garvey (GP) ranks in mid table of the sixty Senators, she cast a vote for seventeen of the thirty six ballots.

Listed in the bottom three of the sixty is Senator Timmy Dooley (FF) who was present for just nine of the thirty six votes, only Senator Malachi O’Hara (GP) and Senator Pippa Hackett (GP) ranked lower than the Mountshannon native.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Senator Dooley explained, “The way the voting works in Seanad, you could have six or seven today and no vote for three or four weeks then another seven or eight, it isn’t representative of the amount of time you spend there or the work you do. For the past three years, I’ve been co president of ALDE party, that requires me to spend time on a regular basis in Brussels, Strasbourg or other capital cities, I seek permission from the party whip to travel when he has the necessary support he will give me permission to travel”.

He believed his role in Europe with ALDE has been positive and has outweighed his absence from the Upper House for votes. “There has been a benefit to it that I brought an energy conference to Ennis, as a result of that role I have to travel more than most Senators, it does result on occasion when you were not there on an occasion when there is a god number of votes, unlike the Dáil where that used to be the case the Dáil now has a voting block on a Wednesday night”.

Votes have not been lost by the Government when he has not been present, Senator Dooley flagged. “The purpose of a vote is to get certain legislation passed, the responsibility of the Whip is to ensure we have enough Senators there so we don’t lose a vote”. He said he is in regular consultation with the Whip to secure permission to attend roles elsewhere, “it is prestigious and I’m given flexibility and benefit to it as we’ve seen for Clare when there is conference brought to Clare. Last Thursday, I was at a meeting of twelve people, four of them were Prime Ministers, six were Commissioners and two were Chairman of other parties in Europe, I was given permission by the Whip and missed four votes taken by the Seanad”.

He did not believe the system of operation was flawed if his absence did not impact on the running of the Seanad. “The business of the house works because the whip is in place to make enough Government Senators there at all times to pass legislation. What would be difficult and wrong is if I was supposed to be there and wasn’t and we lost a vote”.

Data outlined in the report can be a “distortion if you apply it to individual Senators,” he believed. “Certain people are not required to be away from Leinster House and get to vote on every ruling, others have other responsibilities attached to their role as a Senator”.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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