ENVIRONMENT Minister Phil Hogan has given a state board position to a Labour Party member who was canvassing for the party in the Meath East by-election.
It comes as the Government is planning to get the 10-member board of FAS to step down and appoint an entirely new board for its replacement body, Solas.
Mr Hogan has appointed Rhonda Donaghey, a SIPTU trade union official and Labour Party member, to the board of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).
Last March, Ms Donaghey put up a photo showing her canvassing in Meath East for Labour candidate Cllr Eoin Holmes with other party members – including Labour national organiser Brian McDowell. A Labour spokesman confirmed that she was a party member.
Mr Hogan has also appointed four other people to the board of the PRTB, which is responsible for registering tenancies and dealing with disputes between tenants and landlords.
They include two members of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers, HSE manager Paul Flood and solicitor Catriona Walsh, who has prosecuted rent arrears cases for Wexford County Council.
Mr Hogan's department said the positions had been publicly advertised in line with Government policies – and three out of the five people appointed had submitted their CVs in response. However, it did not reveal if she had been one of them.
A spokesman for Mr Hogan insisted that Ms Donaghey's trade union experience of dealing with people from foreign countries would be useful for her work with the PRTB.
The spokesman also said that Mr Hogan had given consideration to the government policy of gender balance on state boards.