Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams 'inadvertently' voted on abortion legislation for Peadar Tóibín

Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams

SINN Féin's Gerry Adams "inadvertently" voted in the Dáil seat of former party colleague Peadar Tóibín to support an abortion referendum.

Mr Toibín, who quit Sinn Féin because he opposed its support for changes to abortion law, was not present on the day.

But he was recorded as having voted in favour of a referendum on the issue because former party leader Mr Adams voted in the wrong seat.

Mr Toibín, now leader of Aontú, said he was "disappointed and annoyed with the error" but "Gerry apologised to me afterwards".

Sinn Féin said Mr Adams had been allocated a new seat some weeks earlier after standing down as party leader and "inadvertently voted in Peadar's seat" in March 2018.

"We alerted the Dáil officials that day to the error and Gerry apologised to Peadar," the party told the Irish Independent.

The issue of irregular electronic voting in the Dáil has dominated political debate this week after several instances of "phantom voting" emerged.

An inquiry into the issue has recommended no disciplinary action should be taken, but proposed that a wider review of the voting system should be carried out.

It suggested the Dáil's procedures committee should have the power to sanction TDs, including issuing suspensions, when an irregularity arises.

To stop TDs pushing other members' electronic voting buttons, it also recommended rule changes so that voting would not start until TDs were sitting in their allotted seats.

The report also called for a review by March 2020 of best international practise in parliamentary voting.

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