The Man Who Wasn’t There


Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae

This morning.

RTÉ Investigates analysed official attendance records published by the Oireachtas, together with TD voting records, to find instances where TDs signed in electronically and then failed to attend any votes.

To wit:

Those who most frequently missed every vote on days when they clocked in include Independents Michael Healy-Rae, Danny Healy-Rae, as well as Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny, Independent TD Noel Grealish, and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and his party colleague Willie O’Dea.

RTÉ Investigates found that between March 2016 and the end of July 2019, Michael Healy-Rae recorded his attendance in Leinster House for 76 days on which he missed the entire day’s votes.

In that period, there were 155 days when he signed in and a vote took place- meaning he missed 49% of the voting days for which he was recorded as present at Leinster House.

Michael Healy-Rae told RTÉ Investigates that he sometimes had meetings when votes took place. He also said that, on occasion, he would be asked to ‘pair’ – an arrangement whereby two opposing TDs agree not to vote, which generally occurs when one or both of the TDs have other commitments and can’t attend.

RTÉ Investigates – TDs, expenses and the missed votes (RTÉ)


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23 thoughts on “The Man Who Wasn’t There

  1. Back Again

    So nobody pushed the button in his stead?

    That must make him one of the most honest members in the lodge.

    Fair play, in fairness.

    1. millie vanilly strikes again

      Thats a good Halloween mask you’re wearing. You make a very convincing troll…

  2. Paulus

    Given Michael’s resemblance to Woody Allen, how about some appropriate film titles:

    Annie Hall will do for a meeting.
    Broadway Danny Healy Rae.
    The Purple Nose of Kerry

  3. Bertie Theodore Alphege Blenkinsop

    That’s funny, I had to give a talk recently about the original “man who wasn’t there”, Major William Martin of Operation Mincemeat fame.

      1. Bertie Theodore Alphege Blenkinsop

        Nah, not really.
        I’m like a highlights reel of a terrible footballer, you only see my overhead kicks here, the rest is mundane :)

          1. Bertie Theodore Alphege Blenkinsop


            I don’t like to let too much sunlight in on the magic but thanks all the same :)

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      I love that Operation Mincemeat story. Occasionally BBC2 present these hour-long docs about WW2 or Cold War espionage and they covered this one very well.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        theres a little plaque on the wall outside a corner cafe on a shabby side street in huelva that commemorates it. I amused myself one afternoon asking everyone around what it was about. nobody knew. or cared.

  4. Jeffrey

    That’s … nice I suppose? Next? Because yes, this is all shocking but nothing will happen, nothing will be done, blablabla…

  5. phil

    They love the money , can you imagine if we tied level of expenses to performance , we would have the best run dail in the world , not saying thats a good thing though , I tend to feel the less work they do the better we are off

  6. Hector Ramirez

    In light of TDs voting for others (and not seeing an issue with it) how about someone check if TDs have ‘clocked’ in for others too?

    1. ReproBertie

      As there is one clock in clock which is not covered by security cameras (according to Miriam Lord in Saturday’s Irish Times) such shenanigans cannot be proved.

  7. Slightly Bemused

    I cannot speak for everyone in this list, or every event, but I have on occasion been in Leinster House at the times of a vote. When presenting something in the audio/visual room, when a vote tone came on, most if not all TDs present would leave. Fair enough.
    But I have also been in sessions with one or other of the Committees (including at least two where Catherine Murphy was present, and yep, she is my TD and I am very proud of the work she is doing) when the tone sounded. Most took the Committee business to be more important and did not leave.
    I do not know what votes were in question, and I do not know if arrangements were made for the other parties to respect that (I know they do trade offs when some TDs cannot vote due to other Oireachtas business, which I think is fine, so long as it is open and transparent) but I feel the straight numbers are probably not the whole story.

Comments are closed.

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