Saturday 24 June 2017

Humphreys claims she didn't know of FG Seanad plans for McNulty

Heather Humphreys Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht opened the Wexford Festival
Heather Humphreys Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht opened the Wexford Festival
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys says she didn't know Fine Gael crony John McNulty was going to be nominated to the Seanad when she put him on a State board.

Mr McNulty was at the centre of a cronyism scandal after he was appointed to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) just days before becoming the party's candidate for a Seanad by-election.

The saga ended when Mr McNulty lost the by-election after asking Coalition TDs and Senators not to vote for him.

Ms Humphreys says she has "dealt with" the controversy surrounding the issue.

The minister claims she didn't know Mr McNulty wouldn't actually be able to sit on the board because he would be in line for a Seanad seat.

"No I didn't know that. And I really think at this stage that I want to move on from that," she said on RTE's Sean O'Rourke.

In her capacity as minister in charge of the Galetacht, Ms Humphreys says she had "one or two" Irish classes.

"I will go back to taking more classes," she said.

The McNulty affair damaged the credibility of Ms Humphreys.

Mr McNulty resigned after just 13 days on the board. He did not attend a single meeting, enter the company's Dublin headquarters or meet the IMMA directors.

But his extremely short tenure on IMMA gave him the necessary credentials to apply for the Seanad through the Education and Cultural panel.

The row dominated political proceedings earlier this year and resulted in two stormy Fine Gael parliamentary party meetings.

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