John McNulty resigns from IMMA board with immediate effect
The Fine Gael activist at the centre of the Seanad nomination controversy has resigned from the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).
John McNulty, who was appointed to the State board just six days before being controversially nominated to contest a Seanad seat, said he was resigning because IMMA rules did not allow him contest an election while a board member.
The move comes amid repeated criticism that his appointment to the board was made to help the Donegal businessman win a Seanad by-election.
“I am stepping down from the IMMA board with immediate effect, in accordance with IMMA’s internal rules, which preclude me from being a board member and contesting an election at the same time,” he said in a statement.
“I will continue to be a member of IMMA, and an active supporter of their work. I look forward to continuing my election campaign, for a seat in the Seanad.”
The move comes amid growing controversy over Mr McNulty’s nomination to fill the Seanad seat left vacant by the election of Deirdre Clune to the European Parliament.
Fine Gael TD John Deasy launched a blistering attack on the party in a radio interview this lunchtime, saying that members were becoming “disgusted” at how the party was being run, while one of the three women candidates overlooked for the nomination, Samantha Long, quit Fine Gael and said its decisions was a 'regressive step'.
The overlooked Seanad hopeful said the party was ignoring female candidates.
“This appointment was to possibly elect another woman to parliament and replace a woman’s seat. It’s a regressive step to appoint a man to that position,” she told RTE Radio One.
“I was mulling over the aspects of what had been happening over the last week or so and while I wasn’t personally hopeful to be that nominee and candidate, I was disappointed that there wasn’t a woman suitable, a capable, suitably qualified woman.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has come under fire for rejecting three women shortlisted for a vacant Seanad seat and instead putting forward Mr McNulty, in a move described as a "political stroke".
But up to 15 Fine Gael TDs are demanding an explanation from Mr Kenny on the appointment of party crony John McNulty to a State board days before his Seanad nomination, with some deputies saying it reminded the public of "the way Fianna Fail did business".