A NEW government TD has hired his wife as an assistant in Leinster House after he was thwarted in his efforts to get her elected to his vacant council seat.
Fine Gael's Alan Farrell has hired Emma Doyle as his parliamentary assistant in the Dail just two weeks after she was rejected by Mr Farrell's Dublin North FG branch as his replacement on Fingal County Council.
The Irish Independent has learnt Ms Doyle, a barrister by profession, sent out an email to Mr Farrell's colleagues this week, telling them about her husband's new mobile phone number.
"Please note that Deputy Alan Farrell has changed his mobile number," Ms Doyle wrote. "Kind regards, Emma Doyle, Parliamentary Assistant to Alan Farrell TD."
Parliamentary assistants earn between €41,092 and €52,200 per year, which is paid for by the State.
Neither Malahide-based Mr Farrell nor his wife returned calls for the past two days.
However, when confronted last night at a US embassy function and asked if hiring his wife sent out the wrong signal, Mr Farrell said: "I am here at an embassy function, there are people here who I would like to speak to this evening. I am not telling you anything, that is none of your business. Please go away before I call security."
The move has caused some embarrassment within Fine Gael, with one source describing it as "silly" during a time of economic crisis. Labour has strongly recommended to its TDs that they do not hire family members in Leinster House, and Fianna Fail has similarly advised its deputies.
A Sinn Fein spokesman said none of its TDs hired family members.
Ms Doyle worked on Mr Farrell's general election campaign and on previous local election campaigns.