FIANNA Fáil councillor Kenneth O'Flynn has hit out at the recent criticism of MEP Brian Crowley.
Mr Crowley has come in for significant criticism in recent weeks after it emerged that he has been unable to attend the European Parliament since his reelection in 2014 due to ill-health.
As such, he has not cast a single vote during that time, something described as 'an essential element' of an MEP's job by fellow representative Luke 'Ming' Flanagan.
His Fianna Fáil substitute Kieran Hartley has called on party leader Micheál Martin to intervene, while Mr Flanagan claimed that he would resign if he was in Mr Crowley's position.
Under MEP regulations, if Mr Crowley resigned, his substitute would automatically take over his role.
Fianna Fáil has indicated that it is powerless to act against Mr Crowley.
Mr O'Flynn has moved to back his party colleague, claiming that his constituency work has not suffered despite his absence.
"I don't believe in the type of politics that kicks people when they're down," he said.
"All of us in our lifetime experience ill-health. Some of us are very fortunate to have employers that keep our jobs open while we recover. I believe that Mr Crowley is entitled to the same."
A spokesperson for Mr Crowley's office has confirmed that the MEP has not attended Parliament due to ill-health and hospitalisation. However, the spokesperson confirmed that he was 'working away from hospital.'
They added that Mr Crowley intends to answer 'any and all' questions about his absence once he leaves hospital, though no date for such an event was provided.
Mr O'Flynn said, "I wish Brian all the best. He has served Ireland South well since his election in 1994 and continues to do so in day-to-day work.
"We should allow Brian and his family some privacy and allow him to recover. I wish him all the best. The last couple of years have been very tough for Brian and his family.
"However, his office has been operating to maximum capacity. He has been in constant contact with local representatives like myself, as has his entire office."