Taoiseach to get picture of election candidate off Government website
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has committed to removing a photograph of a Fine Gael election candidate from a Government website.
Senator Michelle Mulherin, who is running for the Dáil in Mayo, was pictured alongside a line-up of ministers at the launch of an urban regeneration fund on Monday.
However, her appearance on an official Government website raised the ire of Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald who suggested taxpayer funds were being used to raise the profile of party candidates.
She told the Dáil that the Strategic Communications Unit was scrapped because it was seen as promoting Fine Gael candidates so she was “very surprised” by the latest picture.
“There is a picture of the Taoiseach and four Government Minister colleagues. Lo and behold, standing alongside and smiling for the camera is a Fine Gael Senator and election candidate for Mayo.
“Despite all of the bluster taxpayer's money is still being spent to promote Fine Gael candidates under the guise of public information,” Ms McDonald said.
“They were announcing the fund for urban regeneration and development, but why on earth does the Taoiseach have a party colleague alongside all of Government colleagues? What is that all about?”
Ms Mulherin was at the launch, which is part of Project Ireland 2040, as her constituency received funding for a digital hub.
The Taoiseach said he would “check into” how the picture appeared on the Government website.
“I will have that taken down. I do not know which website it is on but I will certainly check into it,” he said.
However, Mr Varadkar added that people needed to be “realistic about this”.
“Deputies and Senators who are not Ministers, including those from the Opposition, do turn up at Government announcements, so do candidates,” he said.