CORK North Central Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy has rejected accusations that he is an “absentee TD”, following a controversy about his Dáil attendance.
Reports at the weekend claimed that Mr Murphy was signed in as present in the Dáil on days that he was tweeting updates from meetings held around the continent.
Mr Murphy is currently working as director of elections for the European People’s Party’s (EPP) 2019 European Parliament campaign and is due to step down from the Dáil at the next election.
He has insisted that he is “fully complying” with rules for members of the Dáil.
Mr Murphy said that his office was looking into the specific allegations, made in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, but that there have been days when he has held meetings on the continent before or after Dáil business. It is not against Dáil rules to sign-in and leave for other business.
“It’s quicker for me to get from Dublin to Brussels than to Cork on some occasions,” he said, saying that it was no different than TDs attending constituency events outside sitting times on a Tuesday morning or Thursday evening.
His constituency rival Mick Barry said that Cork North Central is lacking representation as Fine Gael allows Mr Murphy to remain a TD while his duties as the director of elections for the European People’s Party (EPP) keeps him out of Leinster House.
“Dara Murphy is an absentee TD.
“He is absent without leave for the job he was elected to do — to represent the people of Cork North Central.
“By letting this situation continue, Fine Gael, in my opinion, are treating the people of Cork North Central in quite an arrogant fashion,” he said.
Mr Murphy hit back and defended his work with the EPP.
“I have a different style of politics to people like Mick Barry who went and took part in the strikes in Barcelona,” he said, referring to the 2017 Catalan independence protests.
“I’m not sure how that served the people of Cork. I prefer a more constructive type of politics,” he added.
He said that having a good relationship with the EPP, which includes people like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, has served Ireland well and he wants to keep that relationship strong.
“We shouldn’t take that for granted,” he said. “Europe is hugely important to the people of Cork and the people of Ireland,” he said.
Mr Murphy said that his office is still open to work with constituents on any issues or queries they have.