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€55k in fees for ex Lowry adviser on note to Enda

MICHAEL Lowry's former press advisor received at least €55,000 in fees from the State board to which the TD lobbied Taoiseach Enda Kenny to have her re-appointed.

Valerie O'Reilly has been sitting on the board of the National Transport Authority (NTA) - where members get €11,970 a year in fees - for almost five years. Last week, Mr Lowry passed a note in the Dail chamber to the Taoiseach seeking to have Ms O'Reilly re-appointed.

The note published by the Sunday Independent said: "Taoiseach, would you please consider re-appointing Valerie O'Reilly to the board of the NTA. A woman, bright, intelligent and not bad looking either! Michael Lowry."

Last night, a spokeswoman for Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe, who is responsible for NTA appointments, said he has "not made any decision at this point about reappointment".

Asked if Ms O'Reilly applied to be reappointed, the spokeswoman said: "that's a matter of her".

Meanwhile, Mr Lowry's comments on Ms O'Reilly's "not bad looking" appearance has sparked anger among some of his female colleagues in the Dail.

Fine Gael TD Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said she was concerned such a "shallow view" of women still existed in Irish politics. "Handing a note over in the chamber is very peculiar and the contents I think didn't do her justice," Ms Corcoran Kennedy told the Herald.

"I don't know her and I don't know about her but it looked to me it wouldn't do her any good."

Independent TD Catherine Murphy questioned why Mr Lowry felt a note was an appropriate way to contact the Taoiseach

"I wonder what type of a relationship he has with the Taoiseach that he can send that type of note," Ms Murphy said.

"I think it's done her a serious disservice and you think these type of things are over and then they crop up again and," she added.

Ms O'Reilly declined to comment when asked if she thought it was appropriate for Mr Lowry to pass a note to the Taoiseach about a job appointment.

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