Tag Archives: Seanad Eireann

Keith Swanick as a GP (left) And as Fianna Fail  Senator and his voting record – the poorest in Seanad Eireann by some distance

Further to an RTE Investigates investigation into missed votes – and expense claims – in the upper house.

Via RTÉ Investigates:

In the first seven months of this year, Dr [Keith]Swanick voted in just six of the 114 votes that took place.

Dr Swanick has claimed his full entitlements under the TAA scheme. As a Mayo resident, he is entitled to claim just over €28,000 each year. From June 2016 to the end of 2018, he received close to €73,000 in travel expenses.

Dr Swanick has a general practice in Belmullet, Co Mayo. Last year, he received €520,000 under the General Medical Services (GMS) scheme, the highest amount for any GP in Mayo. In a statement, Dr Swanick said this figure was a “gross amount” and did not represent his personal income.

On Monday 8 July, RTÉ Investigates phoned his surgery to see if he was available to see patients the following day, Tuesday 9 July, which was also a Seanad voting day.

We were told Dr Swanick would be available for appointments that Tuesday at 3.30pm and at 4.50pm.

Oireachtas records show Dr Swanick was recorded at Leinster House that Tuesday.

He was at Leinster House the following morning, Wednesday 10 July, at 9am and participated in a Health Committee meeting.

RTÉ Investigates asked Dr Swanick if, following the completion of surgery on Tuesday 9 July, at around 5pm, he drove to Leinster House – about a four-hour drive from Belmullet – to record his attendance that evening.

He did not respond.

Senators, expenses and the missed votes (RTÉ)

ned1

Senator Ned O’Sullivan (Fianna Fáil) raised the issue of seagulls this morning in the chamber.

Well I have nothing against pigeons. I can take or leave pigeons but I’m very much against seagulls. And eh I think something needs to be done here to address the seagull problem in this city. People may have been listening to Joe Duffy about it there last week. It seems the seagulls have lost the run of themselves completely. I know the apartment block I live in it’s impossible to get a night’s sleep.

They’re very raucous. They’re keeping people awake. I saw that they’re getting so cheeky now that they attack young children and dispossess them of their lollipops and stuff like that. It might be funny to many people but it’s a serious issue in the city. They’re not seagulls, they really are vermin. They’re scavenger gulls, dump gulls….

..So I’m saying the Minister for the Environment should look at that in a serious manner. It might be funny but if you listen to the details on the radio show you’ll learn that it’s anything but.

Dry your eyes Senator.

Ná bí ag gol.

Meanwhile…

cummins marcmac pburke[Top – Maurice Cummins, centre – Marc MacSharry, bottom – Paddy Burke]

The Seanad was suspended for half an hour this morning after a row broke out following claims of a conflict of interest made by Fine Gael Senator Maurice Cummins against Fianna Fáil Senator Marc MacSharry’s membership of the banking inquiry.

Cathaoirleach Paddy Burke was forced to rise to his feet (woo!) as Senator MacSharry said:

“In my years in the Senate, it is an outrage, an absolute outrage”

and later addressing the Cathaoirleach:

“What’s outrageous is what you’ve allowed the chair to do to a member of the House. It’s a disgrace. But you’re bringing this, you’ve the chair and this House into disrepute to allow this disgraceful impugning of the character of a member”

Later, Senator Paul Bradford tried to calm matters by saying:

“We are all grown adults and surely if we can adjourn for one twenty minutes or half an hour it should be possible to resolve this difficulty”

We’re not entirely sure about that assertion Senator Bradford in light of the evidence presented.

Update: Seanad leader withdraws conflict of interest claims (RTÉ News)

Fianna Fail Senator’s ‘conflict of interest’ prevents banking inquiry membership, Seanad leader claims (Fionnan Sheahan and Daniel McConnell, Irish Independent)