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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
PA Former TD Dara Murphy

Rowdy scenes in Dáil as Martin asks Varadkar: 'Have you asked Dara Murphy to refer himself for investigation?'

Three bodies have ruled themselves out of carrying out an investigation.

THE ISSUE OF former Cork TD Dara Murphy, his attendance and his expenses were raised again in the Dáil today. 

There were some rowdy scenes after Leaders’ Questions when Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said it is more than two weeks since former Murphy formally resigned as a Member of the House. 

Martin questioned the Taoiseach about what form of inquiry would be launched into Murphy, highlighting that three bodies the Taoiseach suggested should carry out an investigation have all stated it is not under their remit.

The Dáil Ethics Committee determined last week that it cannot investigate the complaint as Murphy is no longer a TD. 

Other than the committee, the Standards in Public Office (Sipo), as well as the Clerk of the Dail have stated that they do not have the jurisdiction to investigate. 

Murphy, formerly a Cork North Central TD, has faced criticism in recent weeks over reports around his attendance at Leinster House. 

The former minister of State has been based in Brussels for the past two years where he has worked as full-time director of elections for the European People’s Party (EPP). Fine Gael is a member of the EPP, a political grouping in the European Union.


Questions have been raised about Murphy working in Brussels while also being a sitting TD in the Dáil. Questions have also been raised about how Murphy has been in Leinster House on 24 sitting days out of 70 in the first nine months of 2019 and just 42 of the 104 sitting days during 2018.

Last week, the Taoiseach stated that Murphy is willing to fully comply with any inquiry. 

However, Martin stated in the Dáil today that an inquiry can only happen if Murphy agrees to present himself for investigation.

The Fianna Fáil leader said Murphy “effectively retired from serving the people of the north side of Cork approximately two years ago when he accepted a role as campaign manager for the European People’s Party, an appointment on which the Taoiseach congratulated him and wished him well”.

He noted that the Taoiseach has said he will find a way to have an independent investigation into Murphy’s performance of his role as a deputy.

“Given all that the Taoiseach has said on the subject in recent weeks, has he asked his former colleague to refer himself to the Committee on Members’ Interests under that legislation? If not, will he so do?”

There were tetchy barbs between the two leaders as Leo Varadkar chose to answer the question by referring to Fianna Fáil’s Lisa Chambers, Niall Collins and Timmy Dooley who are caught up in the ‘votegate’ controversy relating to TDs voting on behalf of their colleagues. 

Discussions with Murphy 

“In respect of the former Deputy, Dara Murphy, I am aware the provision exists, and we have had some discussions with him about it,” said Varadkar.

Martin replied:

Did the Taoiseach ask him? I asked a simple question and am entitled to an answer. Did the Taoiseach ask him or not? The Taoiseach has been asked publicly about the matter, as has his party. I am asking him formally in the House whether he has asked Mr. Murphy to avail of the mechanism. It is a “Yes” or “No” question.

“Both I and my advisers have discussed with the former Deputy, Dara Murphy, a number of options as to how an inquiry can be carried out. That is one of the options we have discussed with him and it is still a work in progress. There should be an inquiry and Mr Murphy has agreed to submit to one. He should pay back any expenses if the inquiry finds against him,” said the Taoiseach. 

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