Labour today angrily refuted a 'cronyism' claim after party leader Eamon Gilmore's daughter turned down an offer to represent the State in a court case.
Barrister Grainne Gilmore (28) declined an offer to be part of a State legal team in a High Court case involving attempts by objectors to stop the construction of the Corrib gas pipeline.
Dublin Independent TD Finian McGrath said he thought it was strange that the staff of Labour-appointed Attorney General Maire Whelan should offer work to the daughter of the Labour leader.
"I don't know the exact circumstances of this decision but I do know that there are large numbers of qualified barristers in the Law Library with not enough work to go around in these recessionary times.
"I find it all the more surprising, because cronyism is a subject that has been much discussed of late," said Mr McGrath.
A Labour spokesman told the Herald today that Grainne Gilmore is a practising barrister who has also carried out legal work for the former Attorney General under the Fianna Fail-led government.
"Grainne Gilmore is a barrister specialising in environmental law, practising on the Dublin Circuit. She has undertaken work for the State during the period of office of the previous Attorney General.
"She was offered a brief in this case but declined it as she had previously offered advice to other parties potentially involved," said the spokesman.
"The lawyers appointed to represent the state in this case are Niamh Hyland and Michael Cush SC," he said.
The spokesman added: "She is a working barrister earning a living. Is she expected to turn down all work if it involves any State agencies?"
Ms Gilmore qualified as a barrister in 2008. She currently teaches environmental law at Dublin Institute of Technology. Labour leader and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has refused to comment on the matter.