Robert Troy’s statement to the Dáil could be ready in an hour

The opposition lashes will ensure Robert Troy makes a personal statement to the Dáil about his errors and omissions in his property portfolio.

Despite his dramatic resignation as Minister of State on Wednesday night after nearly two weeks of controversy over secrecy, he is being kept to his accountability pledge.

However, there are signs that the united opposition parties will be ready to draw a veil on the matter following the personal statement and limited response speeches.

It could be done in the first day or two after the Dáil’s return and completed within an hour.

“There is no longer a vote of confidence or anything to be pushed to a vote, other than an extraordinary advancement,” a senior source said.

“I think there is an acknowledgment of his personal humiliation and equally an acknowledgment that the investigation by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) must proceed in a free and fair matter without prejudice.”

However, another savvy official said there was a device that would allow testimony “that would preclude question-and-answer”.

A member can approach the Ceann Comhairle to ask permission to make a personal statement, and then sit down promptly after making it – although this approach has been somewhat forgotten in recent years.

The matter will be discussed by the Oireachtas Business Committee, with input from the government and opinions from party leaders. Last night it was suggested that the House of Representatives could seek legal advice in advance as to whether it would be appropriate to “interrogate” someone in the Dáil chamber who is no longer an official but an ordinary backbencher.

The Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges, the CPP, has ruled it cannot investigate Mr Troy’s failure to fully declare property interests.

Under legal advice from the Houses of the Oireachtas, there should be no intrusion into areas currently under investigation by a government body, SIPO, following complaints received from members of the public.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan had urged the Dáil committee to look into Mr Troy’s affairs hours ahead of his resignation from the lower echelons of government.

However, in a statement released yesterday, the Oireachtas said it was not appropriate to consider the matter while the SIPO process is still ongoing

“It is a statutory process underway at SIPO. All provisions for dealing with such matters are laid down in the Ethics Act and therefore it would not be appropriate for the Chambers to discuss/consider the matter while SIPO is exercising its statutory function,” it said.

Green Party Children’s Secretary Roderic O’Gorman said on the radio that Mr Troy had made a significant number of mistakes, although it was “very clear they were real mistakes”.

Speaking to Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1, the Minister added: “I think he saw that this was going to be a focus over the next few weeks, particularly before he comes to the Dáil and makes a statement at a time when we prepare for a budget.”

Sinn Féin Chairwoman Mary Lou McDonald said the affair cast a bad light on both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste because they defended Mr Troy until he resigned.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the Taoiseach will not propose a new name to fill the vacancy at Business, Commerce and Employment, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s department, until at least the week after the personal statement and possibly longer. However, it will be occupied “on a short-term basis” and is expected to remain until the December appointment.

The Fianna Fáil Pre-Dáil Think-In is taking place next month in Mullingar, in the heart of Mr Troy’s Longford-Westmeath constituency, where he made it last time after clever vote management with running mate Joe Flaherty. Local party members were able to express their views to high-ranking figures. Robert Troy’s statement to the Dáil could be ready in an hour

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