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Minister claims "no connection" between McNulty board appointment and Seanad nomination

The opposition claim that the controversy is growing ‘shabbier by the day’.

Junior Minister Dara Murphy
Junior Minister Dara Murphy
Image: Fine Gael via YouTube

A GOVERNMENT MINISTER has said there was no connection between the appointment of Donegal-based shop owner John McNulty to a state board and his selection as a nominee for the Seanad by-election.

However, the opposition claim that the controversy is growing ‘shabbier by the day’.

Speaking this afternoon on RTE’s Saturday with Brian Dowling, Minister of State at the Departments of the Taoiseach and Foreign Affairs Dara Murphy said the appointment and nomination, as far as he understands, “are two separate processes”.

“There were two separate processes as you know,” Murphy said “There was the appointment of John McNulty to the IMMA board and there was the nomination of him to run as a senate candidate which will be chosen by the 250 members of the Oireachtas.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said yesterday that he takes full responsibility and blame, and said McNulty is “an innocent person in this”.

When asked about what Taoiseach is taking responsibility for, Murphy said

Enda Kenny has said that he is taking responsibility for the procedure around the appointment to state boards in the first place and the pother issues that arose during the week, which was discussed at Fota just 10 days ago by the FG parliamentary party, and that’s how we appoint and select candidates generally.

In a statement released after the programme, Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath said Murphy “refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing and actually reverted to Fine Gael’s early and incredible defence of the two events being completely separate and coincidental”.

This mess just grows shabbier with every passing day.

“Fine Gael need to agree what version of events they are asking the public to believe.”

He also noted that the Arts Minister refused to answer questions from the media this morning, as reported by RTÉ News.

Despite being on the board for mere days, McNulty cited his Museum of Modern Art Ireland (IMMA) affiliation as grounds to qualify for the Seanad’s Cultural and Educational Panel in his nomination papers even though he would have to resign his board membership once elected to the upper house.

Minister for Arts Heather Humphrys said that she appointed McNulty to the IMMA board to ensure “better regional representation”.

He has since resigned from the board, as internal rules prevent him from contesting an election and sitting on the board at the same time.

Read: 8 things you need to know about Fine Gael’s Seanad shambles… and why it matters >

‘Not my finest hour’: Enda Kenny says he takes all the blame for McNulty-gate >

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Nicky Ryan

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