Monday 25 September 2017

Rival candidate looks for legal help to get McNulty off the ticket

20/6/2013; Gerard Craughwell, President of the TUI pictured before a meeting with the Association of Secretary School Teachers Ireland, (ASTI), to discuss the Haddington Road agreement. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / Irish Independent
20/6/2013; Gerard Craughwell, President of the TUI pictured before a meeting with the Association of Secretary School Teachers Ireland, (ASTI), to discuss the Haddington Road agreement. Picture credit; Damien Eagers / Irish Independent
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

A CANDIDATE in the Seanad by-election is looking for legal help to take a High Court challenge against Fine Gael crony John McNulty's nomination.

Mr McNulty is also facing calls from within Fine Gael to withdrawn from the contest.

Former Teachers Union of Ireland president Gerard Craughwell has resubmitted his official objection to Mr McNulty being a candidate.

Mr Craughwell dropped his complaints about the candidacy of Mr McNulty last week after his membership of the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) was disclosed.

However, he didn't know Mr McNulty was only appointed to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art by the Coalition 10 days earlier.

A High Court judge was due to rule this week on whether Taoiseach Enda Kenny's controversial candidate for a vacant Seanad seat was actually qualified to run.

Mr Craughwell has now written to the Clerk of the Seanad, who is the returning officer for the election, saying he wants his objection to be reheard.

"I withdrew my objection to Mr McNulty's nomination based on the mistaken belief that he had long been a patron of the arts after all his papers were signed by An Taoiseach. I withdrew my objection based on this evidence alone and I would never have accepted a six day term as a qualification for his nomination had I known.

"As Mr McNulty's has now resigned from that board and we now know he never attended any meetings of that board nor did he participate in any functional way with the board of IMMA I believe that Mr McNulty is no longer eligible to stand as a candidate for election," he said in his letter.

Mr Craughwell is also considering a High Court challenge to Mr McNulty's candidacy.

"I'm doing everything I can to get to the courts. I have spoken to a legal practice today. If somebody wishes to go to the High Court on altruistic grounds, they will have my support," he said.

High Court Judge Paul McDermott was present at a hearing in Leinster House on Monday to adjudicate on Mr McNulty's qualifications in the cultural and educational sector, which is a requirement to be a candidate in this particular Seanad by-election.

Mr Craughwell withdrew his objection when the Clerk of the Seanad read out Mr McNulty's official description as a businessman and IMMA board member.

But Mr McNulty's candidacy is also being questioned by the party's candidate in the Dublin South-West by-election.

Fine Gael Senator Cait Keane said Mr McNulty would be "doing himself a great service" in reconsidering his candidacy in the Seanad by-election.

She said the controversy surrounding Mr McNulty was having a damaging effect on Fine Gael.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out Mr McNulty being replaced as a candidate. Mr Kenny said he was advised that a legal process is now in place and the nomination will go ahead.

Sinn Fein vice-president Mary-Lou McDonald also called for Mr McNulty to withdraw from the Seanad by-election.

Indicating the controversy will continue into the Dail next week, Ms McDonald called on the Taoiseach and Ms Humphreys to give a full account of the board appointment.

Irish Independent

Also in this section