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Saturday 21 October 2017

TDs hiring family is bad practice -- Enda

Fiach Kelly and Michael Brennan

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny yesterday waded into the cronyism controversy -- and said it was "not good" practice for TDs or ministers to hire family members in their staff.

But he claimed that Fine Gael pre-election pledges to stamp out cronyism related to state board appointments -- and not his TDs hiring family members.

Mr Kenny's comments come after the Irish Independent this week revealed two junior ministers had hired two family members each in their departmental staff and that 25 TDs had relatives working for them.

However, the Taoiseach said he had no control over how the positions were filled, and said he was always "very careful" over how he filled his staff during his career.

The two Fine Gael ministers -- Training and Skills Minister Ciaran Cannon and junior agriculture minister Shane McEntee -- have defended their appointments.

Mr Cannon has appointed his wife Niamh Lawless as his personal secretary and his brother-in-law as one of his two ministerial drivers.

The personal secretary position comes with a salary of between €23,000 and €49,000 and the driver's position comes with a salary of around €35,000.

Mr McEntee has his daughter and sister-in-law job-sharing his €44,000-a-year personal assistant post.

Even though ministers were advised not to hire family members, no such recommendation was made for junior ministers and Mr Kenny said the junior appointments "did not have to be approved by Government".

"I've made a point of saying that it's not good practice to appoint family members," Mr Kenny said at the National Library in Dublin yesterday.

Irish Independent

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