FINE Gael "five-a-side" TD Sean Conlan, who has taken a hard line pushing for cuts to public sector pay, was under fire yesterday after it emerged he is employing his girlfriend as a Dail assistant at the same time as she is working as a barrister.
Mr Conlan is also a member of the party's national executive.
Mr Conlan's girlfriend, Sarah Comiskey, works as his parliamentary assistant, which comes with a salary of up to €50,000.
She is also a qualified barrister and is currently carrying out legal work, and was in Monaghan Circuit Court last week.
But Ms Comiskey also works from Mr Conlan's constituency office. It is understood she started work as Mr Conlan's parliamentary assistant in the summer of last year, replacing another worker who left.
Mr Conlan previously said he "conducted interviews with other persons for the role of PA prior to hiring Ms Comiskey".
There is no prohibition on a parliamentary assistant having another job.
Ms Comiskey was asked if she felt it is appropriate to be working as a parliamentary assistant and barrister at the same time. "I think I have answered these questions before and I have replied by email to your editor," she said.
"I don't think there is anything else I need to address. I think I have addressed everything already to be fair. I've already answered that."
In her email response, Ms Comiskey did not address the question about whether it was correct to work as a parliamentary assistant and a barrister at the same time, given the current jobs crisis.
The Bar Council's code of conduct states "barristers are permitted to engage in any part-time occupation that is not inconsistent with the code of conduct".