Friday 23 March 2018

TD in row over hiring wife gives job to someone else

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

A Fine Gael TD who tried to get his wife on to his council seat and then hired her as an assistant in Leinster House is to give the job to someone else.

New Dublin North TD Alan Farrell was embroiled in controversy just after his election to the Dail when he tried to get his wife Emma Doyle on to his vacant Fingal County Council seat.

After he was thwarted in his efforts by the local FG organisation, Mr Farrell then hired Ms Doyle as his parliamentary assistant, a salary which commands between €41,092 and €52,200 per year.

After this was revealed by the Irish Independent, Mr Farrell then claimed he had only hired Ms Doyle, who is pregnant, temporarily.

And the Irish Independent has now learnt he has now hired a supporter called Fiona Farrell -- no relation -- as his secretarial assistant. Ms Farrell moves from her previous position in the Fine Gael press office.

A secretarial assistant has a starting salary of around €23,000, but Fine Gael confirmed yesterday that Ms Farrell will take up the position of parliamentary assistant when Ms Doyle steps down.

Ms Farrell was hired last month, but it is still unclear when Ms Doyle will leave her post.

The party also insisted Ms Farrell's appointment as parliamentary secretary will be permanent, and that Mr Farrell will be appointing another secretarial assistant when his wife leaves in the coming weeks.

The move caused embarrassment in Fine Gael, and was described as "silly" during a time of economic crisis.

Labour strongly recommended to its TDs that they do not hire family members in Leinster House, and FF and Sinn Fein similarly advised its deputies.

Another FG TD, Kerry South's Brendan Griffin, hired his wife and his cousin as his staff and got another cousin elected to his vacant council seat.

Mr Griffin (29) made the fact that he would give up €46,000 of a TD's €90,000 salary a central plank of his election campaign.

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