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Lowry also spoke to minister about job on state board for former adviser

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Michael Lowry and Valerie O'Reilly (inset)

Michael Lowry and Valerie O'Reilly (inset)

Michael Lowry and Valerie O'Reilly (inset)

INDEPENDENT TD Michael Lowry personally approached Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe last week about the reappointment of his former press adviser to a state board.

Mr Lowry pulled Mr Donohoe aside outside the Seanad chamber on Wednesday and informed him "out of courtesy" that he intended to "pass a note to the Taoiseach" seeking the reappointment of Valerie O'Reilly to the board of the National Transport Authority (NTA).

Later in the Dail, the former minister handed the note to an usher who proceeded to pass it on to Enda Kenny.

"Taoiseach, would you please consider reappointing Valerie O'Reilly to the board of the NTA. A woman, bright, intelligent and not bad looking either! Michael Lowry," the note said.

Mr Donohoe yesterday said that the personal looks of any individual play no factor in his determination as to whether they are suitable members of State boards.

"The last thing I would be considering in relation to an appointment of a man or a woman is how they look," Mr Donohoe said.

Meanwhile, Mr Lowry said he has no regrets about the note but admitted the reference to Ms O'Reilly's looks was "unnecessary and light-hearted".

"We have heard a lot and read a lot about the lack of involvement of women in state institutions and the lack of recognition for their talents and abilities.

Fuss

"In that context I don't see what the fuss is about, requesting the Taoiseach to consider for appointment a women with all the necessary qualifications."

Ms O'Reilly has been sitting on the NTA board - where members receive €11,970 a year in fees - for almost five years.

It was confirmed that the PR executive approached Mr Lowry and asked him to make representations on her behalf with the government. She did not wish to comment when contacted last night.

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