My Perfect Cousin

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Today’s Irish Daily Mail and Lorraine Hall (above)

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys has appointed her second cousin as her ministerial special adviser, the Irish Daily Mail can reveal today.
Lorraine Hall, who is from the minister’s Cavan-Monaghan constituency, signed her official contract just 15 days ago, on September 29.

…However, Ms Hall – press adviser to Alan Shatter when he was justice minister and policy adviser to Fine Gael in opposition – has worked for Ms Humphreys since her appointment to Cabinet in July and is being paid an annual salary by the taxpayer of €75,647.
However, yesterday Ms Hall repeatedly refused to admit that she was a blood relative of the minister – until it was finally confirmed by her own department.

Last night, the department said in a statement: ‘Ms Hall was formally appointed as a special adviser to the minister following a Government decision on September 10.

‘Under the Ethics in Public Office Act, a statement of qualifications and whether the person appointed as a special adviser is a relative of the office holder must be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas within 60 days of their appointment.

The statement went on to claim that Ms Hall’s relationship to Ms Humphreys did not come under the scope of ethics regulations.

‘The Ethics in Public Act 1995 clearly sets out the definition of a relative of the office holder: “Relative”, in relation to a person, means a brother, sister, parent or spouse of the person or a child of the person or of the spouse,’ it said. ‘Ms Hall is not a relative of the minister as defined under the Act.

“Any reference to their distant relationship would be utterly unfair without referencing Lorraine’s extensive experience and suitability for the job.’ The statement added:‘ Ms Humphreys’ father, who is deceased, and Ms Hall’s father, were cousins.’

New Arts Minister Gave €75K Adviser Job To Her Cousin (Senan Molony, Irish Daily Mail) [not available online]

88 thoughts on “My Perfect Cousin

  1. ReproBertie

    “Ms Hall – press adviser to Alan Shatter when he was justice minister and policy adviser to Fine Gael in opposition”

    So she has experience in this field and has worked for the party for a number of years? Look like we have new levels of desperation reached in attempting to demonise the government.

    1. Mister Mister

      Yeah, rabble rousing faux outrage is what it looks like. But a bit stupid to deny the relationship .

      1. Drogg

        I’m the opposite Id be as close to my second cousin as my 1st cousin. If there was nothing wrong why deny it and if she if a party member that has been doing this type of work why not position her with someone she is not related to.

        1. Medium Sized C

          “If there was nothing wrong, why deny it?”
          “If he was innocent, why did he run?”
          “You must be guilty of something if you are afraid”

          BURN THE WITCH.

          1. Ciarán

            completely different thing to have a n automatic reaction to something threatening (fear and confusion) causing you to do something that inadvertently looks guilty (running, sweating), and taking the considered time to issue an official statement that is knowingly false

    2. Medium Sized C

      No, I don’t think so.
      A new level of laziness in journalistic dirt dishing……doubt that either.

      Its just lazy shitty journalism .

    3. 3stella

      Worked for Shatter & now Humpty Dumpty, she’s not very good at advising her clients in avoiding scandal.

    4. TheDude

      ‘You tell me one party out there who doesn’t look after their own. I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s politics.’

    5. Neil

      How about ‘Minister Shatter gives job to his party colleagues cousin’. Fine Gael’s clearly been committing acts of nepotism for a very long time. I wonder who Dennis O Brien is related to. All of them? Michael Collins maybe?!

    6. John Boy Walton

      Yeah but you gotta ask yourself, at such times when ordinary working people are being decimated with austerity the ‘arts minister’ gets an adviser being paid 1,455 euro per week of public money. Is it really necessary to have an arts minister at all let alone have one with an adviser being paid so high at a time like this. What the hell is an ‘arts minster’ anyway. Even that sounds like a made up job for for one in the click.

    1. Disasta

      Exactly. Was this openly advertised?
      75 grand a year? Yer one looks well under 30, in that case no way has she experience that commands that salary. Anyone know her age? Education? Experience?

          1. Sidewinder

            I think it was the part where s/he specifically asked for her age and referenced her age that was ageist actually.

      1. Rob

        It’s actually more idiotic than ageist.

        There is a very long list of jobs where you can have sufficient experience to command €75k by age 30.

        Advising the person who runs a national justice system is on that list.

        1. Disasta

          I suggested she looked well under 30 and requested further information. How is that idiotic? I didn’t say she was 30. Learn to read what’s written.
          Given that most of you, such as yourself, are just on for a rant and ignore facts I decided to look myself.

          She actually is probably older than that and that picture is not recent. On garnering further information I’ve learned she has just over 3 years relevant experience, a further 6 working for Fine Gael and a degree in Arts and a masters in Economics & Public Affairs.

          Don’t see how that should net you 75gs. or get you that job but then these jobs are obscenely overpaid and she is family and part of Fine Gael.

  2. Pedantic Pete

    Move along. Nothing to see here. She has the relevant experience and is trusted by the party. That’s enough for anyone to be appointed.

  3. Clampers Outside!

    A ‘special advisor’ = PR and communications….. off to a great start in the job with the denial there Ms Hall. Way to go with the ol’ communicatin’ with lies about your relationship. Not that it should matter seeing as the qualifications are there, but why lie… tools all.

    How ‘special’ are these shower of advisor muppets in fairness, special needs like.

  4. Louis Lefronde

    Ah, I see the Young Fine Gael Trolls are doing their very best to ‘deflect’ the story on Broadsheet this morning with such trite comments like

    “Move along. Nothing to see here. She has the relevant experience and is trusted by the party. That’s enough for anyone to be appointed.”

    But what is undeniable, is this. Firstly the job is paid by the taxpayer. Secondly all public jobs should be advertised by the Public Appointments Board, and subject to open and free competition without any interference from Ministers in the Executive or members of the Oireachtas. If the candidate is good enough she will get ‘the job’ if she won’t – she won’t.

        1. Medium Sized C

          Did you ask yourself that question before accusing people who disagree with you of being in Young Fine Gael?

    1. Mister Mister

      Ah ffs. I don’t know what I am these days. I’ve been a FF shill, a FG shill, an Irish Water shill. Now a Young FG troll. No wonder we have such mental health issues in this country when you’re being told you’re all these contradictory things.

      I like to think I’m just not a hysterical idiot who can think neutrally for himself.

    2. ReproBertie

      Louis do you have some evidence that the position was not advertised by the Public Appointments Board, and subject to open and free competition without any interference from Ministers in the Executive or members of the Oireachtas?

      1. Louis Lefronde

        Well, let’s start with the more obvious position. When was the position advertised, if it was? How many candidates applied? When did the interviews take place?

        Of course in default of the above, there is still an FOI request?

        1. ReproBertie

          Your immediate reaction, based on zero infromation, is that this was somehow dodgy. Since you’re the one suggesting that the job was not advertised on public jobs I think the onus falls on you to back it up rather than on people questioning your knee jerk allegation.

          1. Louislefronde

            Try again with the spin and deflect. It’s a public job, the onus is not on the taxpayer to prove anything. Remember he who pays the piper calls the tune. The tune or should I say the question that will put to the Minister in the Oireachtas will be as follows: Was the position advertised through the Public Jobs commission, how many candidates were interviewed? When was the interview? When was the appointment made.

            If everything is above board then the appointment is fair.

          2. ReproBertie

            You’re some man to talk of deflect as you bounce the questions away yet again. You suggest that the appointment of an experienced candidate was not fair. On what are you basing that?

    3. jungleman

      Ray Luna is definitely working for Fine Gael. The rest of them I’m not as sure about. I presume they’re just FG supporters.

    4. Happy Molloy

      you know you do write quite thoughtful and intelligent sounding posts, quite frequently, but when you accuse anyone with a different opinion of being a party shill you sound paranoid and I write Off your opinions from there on

  5. Richard

    There is certainly something to see here. To deny so is to be on par with the bird that’s learned to love its cage. This is political corruption and nepotism at it’s absolute highest pitch. We’re not talking about a €25,000 appointment here, it’s over €75,000 of taxpayers’ money. This is a blatant and flagrant betrayal of public confidence. Ireland, you embarass me more with every passing day.

    1. ReproBertie

      It’s the appointment of someone with relevant experience which makes a nice change. No details are given of the recruitment process. Where’s the evidence of corruption or nepotism?

      1. Richard

        What appropriate experience are you looking at? I’ve looked at her Linkedin page and she has sod all practical experience in the Arts. No details of the recruitment process – This is a public body, why is was this process not completely transparent? Why did the minister deny the relationship at first? It doesn’t exactly take George Orwell to see that this is 100% pure political balony.

        1. Squiggleyjoop

          If only this happened before Orwell’s death. It would have been perfect material for a 1984 sequel he actually wrote himself.

        2. ReproBertie

          I’m talking about the relevant experience listed in the article up above. The parts where she worked for Alan Shatter and was a FG policy advisor when they were in opposition.

          How do you know that the recruitment process wasn’t completely transparent? Just because the Oirish Daily Fail are acting like it’s the scoop of the century doesn’t mean that there’s actually a story here. And I say that as someone who has no time for FG and has never voted FG in his life. There’s enough to be annoyed with the government over without these petty empty distractions.

          1. Richard

            So, first you’re claiming to reference the experience noted in the IDM article, then proceed to lambast that very paper? As salacious a rag as the IDM may be, they certainly have something here. I’m not sure what you’re trying to deflect here, but the circumstances under which this Soc&Pol graduate found her way to a €75,000 pay cheque stink to high heaven.

          2. ReproBertie

            Yes, I’m pointing out that this salacious rag have shown that their own story is without merit by listing her experience in the article designed to denigrate the minister she now works for. What they have here is a bottle of smoke with an unfounded suggestion of wrong-doing.

            Minister hires someone with experience for job. Person hired happens to be distant relative. There would be no objection at all but for the knee jerk assumption, based on nothing beyond anti-FG or anti-Government bias, that the second sentence was why she was hired.

    1. ReproBertie

      A much better point. What do all those civil servants, with their years of experience, do in the Department if a sepcial advisor is required? Same question could be asked of all the special advisors.

      1. Louis Lefronde

        Now that is a very good question. Government Minister (paid by the taxpayer) hires Fine Gael party hack to a job as a special adviser (paid by the taxpayer) in a Government Department (paid by the taxpayer) which is already populated by civil servants (paid by the taxpayer) who seemingly are unable to do the job of sprouting propaganda which is precisely what this hack is being hired to do.

        Wonderful!

        What a bunch of rednecks?

    2. andyourpointiswhatexactly

      I’d say it’s just this particular Arts Minister. Every time I see her, she seems hopelessly out of her depth.

    3. Elly

      I can understand each minister needing a special adviser, but surely that specialist should have extensive experience and qualifications in their field and should remain in that position to advise whichever minister is appointed, regardless of party affiliation? In hindsight, maybe I should have just joined a political party and I could be a special adviser too. The mother would be so proud. I will return to Ireland when the civil service recruits candidates due to their suitability for the job. Not who they know. Grrr.

      1. jungleman

        I don’t really agree with them having special advisers. Don’t they have the full department to advise them.. This one appears to be a PR adviser. In my opinion, if a political party decides that they want spin doctors, they should pay them out of the party’s private finances.

        1. Louislefronde

          I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. A spin-doctor is a propagandist, why should the taxpayer be paying for a Fine Gael political hack to sprout bullshit on behalf of a Fine Gael Minister.

  6. Green Fingered

    Wow, it’s scary that people don’t think that this raises a few questions.
    Maybe this is all above board but why the secrecy?
    What qualifications does this woman have?
    Maybe she is the most qualified and experienced person in the world
    But if that’s the case then gives us the details.
    She worked for Alan Shatter but on what basis did she get that job?
    Political Parties can spend their money anyway they want but this is
    taxpayers money so I think we have the right to some transparency.

  7. Mrs P

    I know Ms Hall myself. She’ll be chuffed people think she’s in her 20s :-) She is well qualified and has many years political experience.
    It is not she who is at fault here but the manner in which she was appointed. The way Minister Humphrey’s office has gone about it is murky and idiotic (sure Irish politicians know no other way), all public jobs should have to be advertised and the correct process gone through. If this had happened most likely Ms Hall would have been given the job on her credentials and there’d be no story. The minister seems to be an idiot to not realise this would come back to bite and be used against her.

    1. Green Fingered

      Hi Mrs P,
      You say Ms Hall is well qualified. Can you tell us what her qualifications are?
      I’m genuinely interested.

    2. Disasta

      What credentials does she have that are relevant other than having worked for Fine Gael and is related to a party member?

      I see no conflict of interest here. LoL

  8. Yadayadayada

    “Any reference to their distant relationship would be utterly unfair without referencing Lorraine’s extensive experience and suitability for the job.’

    How did her experience and suitability compare to that of other potential candidates for the post, if there was a recruitment process available to them at all?

    Nepotism and blatant liars thriving in Ireland.

  9. Betsy

    Hi Green Fingered,

    Check out her qualifications on her Linkedin page. More than qualified in my opinion.

    1. Elly

      She is well qualified, no doubt, but not for this specific post. There are a wealth of people out there who have extensive advisory experience in the arts and heritage.

      1. ReproBertie

        We don’t know enough about the role to determine what areas her experience should be in. Special Advisor could cover anything.

        1. Ciarán

          This is clear, to draw upon an illustration only tangentially related: in the old days many gentlemen in a position of ecomnomic power, who were often also confirmed bachelors, often had a young ‘Valet’ whose tasks and reason for employment could not be easily summated by them in one line.
          But what they could confirm without question was that they were ‘indispensable’.

    2. Green Fingered

      Hi Betsy,
      Thanks for that. Her LinkedIn profile makes for interesting reading.
      Basically it tells me that since finishing college 10 years ago she has had one employer, Fine Gael.
      If they think she is worth €75,000 per annum then let them pay it out of party funds.

    3. Stash

      Her LinkedIn page lists:

      Press Adviser to the Minister for Justice, Equality & Defence
      Department of Justice & Equality
      March 2011 – May 2014 (3 years 3 months)
      Policy Officer
      Fine Gael
      November 2004 – March 2011 (6 years 5 months)
      Responsible for the development of policy in the areas of Health and Social Protection

      So not much in the way of particular experience in the Arts, Heritage or the Gaeltacht

      1. Happy Molloy

        maybe she’s a hell of an administrator and proven herself to be adaptable? or maybe not.
        I’ve won jobs in the past where I didn’t meet candidate requirement but got them through good interviews and good recommendations.

        I suppose it depends on what exactly she will be doing

        1. Sancho

          You’re strangely eager to give her and FG the benefit of the doubt no matter what. You may be right, but just wondering why you’re so content to give them such benefit. There are plenty of reasonable Qs-

          Why did she deny the relationship?
          What applicable experience does she have?

          Fundamentally, the nature of the relationship raises a reasonable presumption. Her lies raise a very serious red flag. And her lack of on-point experience would appear to support the cynics among us. Add to this the McNulty affair and you have a public that is right to be suspicious. Not you (and a few others), however, you want everyone to assume the best and just move on. Curious. Any reason why?

          Thanks,

  10. bisted

    …the Arts portfolio in the UK is known as the Ministry of Fun…for Heather Humphreys to create such mayhem and generate so many column inches without making any contribution to the Arts certainly takes a certain talent. Then again, if she was in the UK she would probably get a Knighthood….more Sir Humphreys.

  11. Joxer

    jayus yer wan humphreys is some one isnt she. do you think she is there as a distraction? i mean she was thrown in to the position, gets involved with the mcnulty carry on, now theres this hiring her cousin to a well paid job at the taxpayers expense – no one could be that bad , it has to be intentional.

    either FG are incompetent or they dont give a flying f*ck what anyone thinks of them.

    1. Bob Dole

      You might have a point there-I think she’s the new O’Reilly. Only he could match the Arts Minister for sheer stupidity..

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