Tipperary T.D. Mattie McGrath is top of the class in Dail debates

Anne O'Grady

Reporter:

Anne O'Grady

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath is the most regular contributor to Dail debates

Deputy Mattie McGrath

Tipperary Independent TD Mattie McGrath tops the poll as the Dáil deputy who has most regularly contributed to debates this year, speaking 270 times to date, an analysis of Oireachtas speeches finds.

Meanwhile, Independent Deputy Michael Lowry had the dubious distinction of being the Tipperary TD with the least contributions to debates, speaking just 21 times.

Labour's Alan Kelly was also among the top ten in the country, contributing to 101 debates, with Fianna Fail's Jackie Cahill in third place, with 63 contributions and WUAG's Seamus Healy coming in fourth with 56 contributions.

Among the parties, Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs have spoken the most times on average. The parties account for just 4 per cent of the seats in the Dáil, but have made 7.5 per cent of the spoken contributions since the beginning of 2017.

Fianna Fáil is the only other party that accounts for a larger portion of speaking time than its seat tally. It has around 25 per cent of seats but made up 28 per cent of spoken contributions so far this year.

The analysis is taken from KildareStreet.com, a searchable database of everything said in the Oireachtas. The average number of contributions for a TD is 85. Heckling or shouting in most cases is not recorded in the speaking count but if a TD interrupts another deputy to make a point in the Dáil that is counted in the number of times they have spoken in the chamber.

The Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl is recorded as speaking 583 times on the Dáil record, but as the chair of the House these are not speeches. The Ceann Comhairle opens the business of the Dáil each day, and has to routinely remind TDs to stay within their allocated time when they are making speeches.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett has made 253 spoken contributions, his colleague Bríd Smith has spoken 198 times and Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger has made 187.