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]