Tuesday 24 October 2017

FG politician embroiled in Seanad cronyism row gets election strategy post

John McNulty with Taoiseach Enda Kenny
John McNulty with Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

The Fine Gael politician at the centre of the infamous Seanad cronyism debacle has been appointed to a strategy position within the party.

John McNulty has been hired to the post of development officer in Co Donegal and will be tasked with trying to win a second seat in the constituency for Fine Gael.

It is one of a number of posts recently created by Fine Gael as the party steps up preparations ahead of the next general election.

Mr McNulty is closely associated with the family of outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who in 2014 found himself facing accusations of political cronyism.

The now former Fine Gael leader was involved in the appointment of Mr McNulty to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), housed at the Royal Hospital, in a bid to boost his credentials ahead of a Seanad by-election.

The controversy, which also proved damaging to Arts Minister Heather Humphreys, resulted in Fine Gael losing a Seanad seat that it should have comfortably held.

John McNulty was a member of the IMMA board for 13 days
John McNulty was a member of the IMMA board for 13 days

Independent senator Gerard Craughwell won the contest.

Mr McNulty was a member of the board for just 13 days.

In September 2014, Mr Kenny said the appointment should not have occurred and he pledged that it would not happen again.

"I wouldn't say it was my finest hour, and I take responsibility for this having evolved to what people might imagine it is," Mr Kenny said.

It has now emerged that Mr McNulty will take up the new strategy post in Donegal in the coming days.

The part-time position is paid and based on a contract of two years.

A similar position has been filled for Co Tipperary.

According to the notice for the position, which was advertised by the party, the successful candidate will support the work of councillors and help fundraising efforts.

It says that "a good understanding of politics and a background in the voluntary sector" are necessary requirements.

And it says that a knowledge of the Irish language is desirable.

"Excellent interpersonal and adaptability skills are fundamental to this role along with willingness to work unsociable hours," says the notice for the post which was advertised in March.

Mr McNulty will report to the party's general secretary Tom Curran.

Irish Independent

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