Wednesday 21 August 2019

'Excellent team of highly qualified professionals' - Clare Daly defends hiring Mick Wallace's son as her assistant in EU office

Close colleagues: MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace are both members of the Independents 4Change party. Photo: Tom Burke
Close colleagues: MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace are both members of the Independents 4Change party. Photo: Tom Burke
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

CLARE Daly has defended hiring her political ally Mick Wallace’s son as a taxpayer funded European Parliament assistant – a role which can command a salary of more than €8,500 a month.

Strict EU anti-nepotism rules prohibit MEPs from hiring close relatives meaning Mr Wallace could not employ his own son Fionn.

However, his party colleague Ms Daly listed Fionn A Wallace as one of her three parliamentary assistants.

In a statement published on Facebook, Ms Daly said she recruited an “excellent team of highly qualified professionals” to work as her assistants in the parliament.

“In terms of my staff, everyone an MEP wants to hire has to go through a recruitment process run by the European Parliament during which they have to provide evidence of their qualifications and experience,” she said.

“I consider myself fortunate to have assembled an excellent team of highly qualified professionals to do the job they have been employed to do,” she added.

She described her decision to hire Mr Wallace’s son as a “sensational non-story” about one of her staff members.

The newly elected MEP, who will be paid €105,092 a year, said the European Parliament’s expenses are “outlandish and excessive and should be reformed”.

“All 751 MEPs have the same allowances. I will be fully transparent in my use of same,” she added.

Yesterday, Ms Daly did not respond to questions posed to her by the Irish Independent in which she was asked what qualifications Mr Wallace’s son held to qualify for the job.

Similarly, she did not respond to questions asking how much she intended to pay Fionn Wallace.

MEPs are given a massive €25,000 a month to spend on staff salaries and at least 25pc or €6,250 must be used to pay parliament-based accredited assistants.

However, there is no cap on how much can be spent hiring parliamentary assistants.

This means the entire €25,000 monthly pay budget could be used to pay Mr Wallace's son and the two other assistants employed by Ms Daly. Parliamentary assistants are paid on pay ranging from €1,849 to €8,519 a month.

The pay scale at which an assistant is paid is entirely at the discretion of the elected member of parliament.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News