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'This story is unravelling as it gets made up': Yep, they're still talking 'McNulty-gate' in the Dáil

Enda Kenny faced more questions today on the circumstances surrounding John McNulty’s appointment to a state board.

The Taoiseach came under fire over McNulty-gate in the Dáil today
The Taoiseach came under fire over McNulty-gate in the Dáil today
Image: Screengrab/Oireachtas TV

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said that a “flawed” process “within the Fine Gael system” was responsible for the appointment of John McNulty to a state board days before he was nominated by the party for the Seanad by-election.

The ‘McNulty-gate’ controversy continues as the matter was again raised during Leaders’ Question in the Dáil today with Kenny insisting: “I’ve accepted responsibility. I’ve apologised for the entire process.”

Facing questions from the Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil leaders, Kenny revealed for the first time that the Fine Gael official dealing with McNulty’s appointment to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) did not consult the party’s internal sub-committee dealing with the Seanad vacancy, saying he was “upset” that this had happened.

Kenny said that there were 44 nominations, involving 29 names, for the Seanad vacancy arising out of Deirdre Clune’s election to the European Parliament.

He added that McNulty had indicated to Fine Gael personnel dealing with the nomination that he had an interest in serving on a cultural board.

“He did not know when he was appointed by the minister to the board of IMMA that he would be a candidate for the Seanad,” Kenny insisted.

The Taoiseach said he had a lengthy interview with Donegal-based McNulty in the wake of Donegal South-West TD Dinny McGinley’s decision to retire from the Dáil at the next election, but said he was not the only candidate interviewed.

Correcting the Dáil record from yesterday, Kenny said that there were no discussions with McNulty about serving on a cultural body during the interview.

Attempting to draw a line under the matter, Kenny said he was in the process of “fixing the internal mechanics of the way the party does its business” and noted the changes to “flawed” way that state board vacancies are filled that were announced yesterday.

Kenny also appeared to hit out at the frontpage story on the Irish Daily Mail today, saying he is “actually sick and tired” that a “flawed process” of filling state board vacancies sees people interested in public service labelled as “lackeys, hacks or cronies”.

‘A grubby incident’: Enda Kenny faces further criticism over McNulty affair

Read: Here’s why Enda Kenny now has a BIG problem in the Seanad

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Hugh O'Connell

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