Michael hires his brother and gives seat to nephew
THE Healy-Raes are still keeping it in the family -- with new TD Michael hiring his brother Danny as his Oireachtas secretary and giving his vacant council seat to Danny's son.
Michael Healy-Rae was previously secretarial assistant to his father Jackie, whose Dail seat he has now taken -- and Danny will now take up the assistant's role, which has a starting salary of around €23,000.
Danny is also a councillor with Kerry County Council, and his son Johnny Healy-Rae will now sit beside him in the council chamber.
Michael last night said he needed someone he could rely on completely.
He has kept on Jackie's parliamentary assistant, a position that comes with a salary between €41,092 and €52,200.
The two brothers were embroiled in controversy last year when this newspaper revealed they were paid almost €110,000 between them for one year's service on Kerry County Council. Danny and Michael were paid a total of €196,000 for 2008 and 2009 in wages and expenses. And mayors, of whom Michael was one, get extra allowances while they hold the office.
Michael received €74,342 in 2008 and €39,663 the following year, with Danny getting €32,400 and €49,376 for each year respectively.
Another Kerry South TD, Fine Gael's Brendan Griffin, hired his wife Roisin as his secretarial assistant, his cousin Tommy Griffin as his parliamentary assistant and helped another cousin, Matt Griffin, get his old council seat.
Mr Griffin (29) made the fact that he would give up €46,000 of a TD's €90,000 salary a central plank of his election campaign. However, his family members will earn more than that with their combined salaries.
Another Fine Gael TD, Dublin North's Alan Farrell, hired his wife as a parliamentary assistant, but now claims this is a temporary appointment. Mr Farrell previously refused to answer questions on the issue and told the Irish Independent at a function to "go away before I call security and ask them to remove you".