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Lowry and Healy-Rae's secret deals with FF

MICHAEL Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae were given six state board nominations between them in return for supporting the previous government, it has emerged.

Mr Lowry and former independent TD Mr Healy-Rae were given three positions each to dish out to supporters as part of a secret agreement with Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen.

The revelations have come at a bad time for Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, who had tried to heap pressure on Fine Gael following the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal.

Mr Martin's attempts to distance his party from Mr Lowry, who the tribunal was highly critical of, have now been undermined.

Mr Healy-Rae's son Michael was appointed to the Citizens Information Board by Mary Hanafin during the last Government.

Ms Hanafin, then Social and Family Affairs Minister, has said she was asked to make the appointment by Mr Cowen and she did not know it was part of a deal.

Mr Healy-Rae still holds the nearly €6,000-a-year position, despite succeeding his father as a TD in Kerry South.

However, he has denied that his appointment was part of any deal, saying that he had sought the job himself.

Jackie's daughter, Rosemary Healy-Rae, was also given a post during the last Government.

The barrister was appointed to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal by then-Justice Minister Brian Lenihan in 2007.

She was reappointed for another three years by Dermot Ahern last December.

Mr Lenihan has said it was not conveyed to him that her appointment was part of any deal, adding he was going to do it anyway as he had a high regard for her.

Reports today reveal that among Mr Lowry's appointments was Sean Fogarty, who was given a position with the Equality Authority, which is based in Roscrea in Mr Lowry's Tipperary North constituency.

The other appointments were Billy O'Dwyer, who was given a place on the Irish Greyhound Board, and PR woman Valerie O'Reilly, who was given a post with the National Transport Authority, according to the reports.

Jackie Healy-Rae is also believed to have succeeded in getting Colm Lonergan on the board of the National Roads Authority.

The deal was made after the 2007 General Election and was honoured by Mr Cowen when he became Taoiseach in 2008.