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Saturday 23 August 2014

Former TD coy on 'political pull' for state job

Niall O'Connor

Published 27/06/2014 | 02:30

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny pictured with John Farrelly in 2013
Taoiseach Enda Kenny pictured with John Farrelly in 2013

A former Fine Gael TD appointed to the board of Bord na Mona has refused to say if he believes that his political connections helped him get the job.

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Asked five times by the Irish Independent if his party links influenced the Government's decision to appoint him, John Farrelly replied on each occasion: "I don't run the Government."

The ex-Meath politician last night said he expressed an interest three years ago in joining any single semi-State board "because it was something I wanted to do".

He added: "When a minister is appointed, do you ask why he was appointed, no."

He confirmed that he will paid €12,600 in fees for his services with Bord na Mona.

"I had my first board meeting today and I believe I will fit in exceptionally. I've been paid for all my public life, except for the first 15 years when I got nothing. I work for everything I get paid in both public and private."

When it was pointed out that there may be the perception that his appointment was linked to his Fine Gael connections, Mr Farrelly replied: "There's perceptions about everything."

He also launched an attack on Gerry Adams after the Sinn Fein leader described his appointment to a state board as an act of cronyism.

Mr Farrelly went on the offensive last night and accused Mr Adams of having bigger questions to answer himself.

Mr Adams released a statement yesterday in response to the Irish Independent revelation that Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte quietly appointed Mr Farrelly and Labour's Denis Leonard to the board of Bord na Mona just days before he is reshuffled out of cabinet.

"In the dying days of the last Fianna Fail-led government we saw Fianna Fail packing state boards. They were loudly and rightly criticised at the time by the Labour Party," Mr Adams said.

"Yet here we have a case of Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte packing a state board in what is likely to be his final days as minister. It's clearly a case of different folks same strokes," he added.

The decision has also caused uproar in Fine Gael circles in Co Meath, where Mr Farrelly served as a councillor before losing his seat in the local elections last month.

But the claims by the SF leader sparked a furious response from Mr Farrelly, who has refused to deny his appointment is linked to his FG ties.

Irish Independent

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