Independent TD Mattie McGrath has responded to recent media implications that he has been anything less than committed in his duty to attend the Dáil on all those days in which it sat for business.
He said that recent media reports had been incomplete and risk painting a picture of him as someone who is routinely absent from the Dáil.
“As the record will categorically show I have attended the Dáil on all sitting days between Tuesday to Thursday and the vast majority of Friday sittings over the course of the last year. The report suggests that I was absent for nine out of the 35 days on which the Dáil sat. This is simply incorrect. On three of those days where I was marked absent I was present speaking in the Dáil and the speaking record will show that and for the other two days I was on business in the United States as part of the Oireachtas Research Group investigating the implications that may arise from the proposed Protection of Life Bill. I was also present for seven non-sitting days for Oireachtas hearings, to which the report makes no mention of,” he said.
While Deputy McGrath missed four Friday sittings he said that these sittings, which are presented by the Government as an increased opportunity for work to be carried out and important issues raised, are in fact a ‘mockery of the Oireachtas reform agenda so passionately espoused by both Government Parties during the last election’.
“It is the experience of the vast majority of parliamentarians that the Friday sittings are nothing but an exercise in optics for this Government who are more interested in creating the impression that they are serious about reform that actually carrying it out. I have sat through more than several Friday sittings during which there is rarely more than a handful of members of Government present,” he said. According to him, those who are present cannot wait to get away as soon as possible.
“I witness this most clearly only very recently with the disrespectful way in which the proposed Organ Donation Bill was debated. I stand over my record as a hardworking and committed representative and I have no doubt that anyone who cares to analyse the record in a fair and impartial manner will see that,” he said.