FORMER MEP and president of the European Parliament Pat Cox signed off on hiring his former assistant to a top job which was not advertised.
Patricia Ryan, who worked for Mr Cox in the 1990s and later worked as a €150,000-a-year special adviser to former Tanaiste and Health Minister Mary Harney, has recently been appointed as CEO of Limerick City of Culture 2014.
It has been confirmed that Ms Ryan was appointed to the role on the recommendation of Conn Murray, manager of Limerick City and County Council, which was then signed off by the newly formed board of the City of Culture body, of which Mr Cox is chairman.
In a statement last night, Mr Murray said he personally identified and engaged with a number of candidates.
"Patricia, who had already shown her capabilities from earlier in the year through her role as an adviser to the board of City of Culture, was the outstanding candidate. I recommended her appointment to the board, which it accepted," stated Mr Murray.
The council last night rejected suggestions that Ms Ryan is to be paid €170,000 for the year. "The suggested amount bears no resemblance to what the agreed salary is likely to be," Mr Murray said, adding that her remuneration package has not yet been agreed.