Tag Archives: John McNulty


Taoiseach Enda Kenny outside RTÉ last night

Last night during the Leaders’ Debate on RTÉ One.

Miriam O’Callaghan: “You promised, and I quote you, ‘a democratic revolution’. You were going to reinvent our country and yet one of the most embarrassing crony examples, John McNulty, you appointed him to the board of IMMA to get him on to a bigger board, the Seanad. You out Bertied Bertie….Taoiseach this was naked cronyism and, to be fair, you said at the time, you left your own standards and integrity down.”

Enda Kenny: “Yes.”

O’Callaghan: “What did you mean by that? What did you do?”

Kenny: “What I did was, I didn’t, what I did was make an appointment that did not need to be made. And I’ve changed the rules since then…”


In respect of the appointment to the board of IMMA, that was made by the Minister, Deputy Heather Humphreys, exercising her right as the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in respect of examining the qualifications of Mr. McNulty, who is a completely innocent person in this regard. Mr. McNulty was formally nominated on 17 September.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny addressing the Dáil on September 30, 2014.

Previously: The Crony Crisis Timeline

The John Deasy Transcript

H/T: Elaine Byrne and Kildare Street

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Arts Minister Heather Humphries in the Seanad this evening

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys, who recommended  John McNulty for the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art defended her choice in the seanad today

Heather Humphreys: “Fine Gael party officials made me aware of John McNulty’s interests in serving on a board under my remit. I looked at his experience in business, in culture and in promoting the Irish language. I made the decision that he could make a positive contribution to the board of IMMA and I stand over that decision. There’s been considerable focus, and you mentioned it here this evening yourself, on the Fine Gael official involved. I don’t see any benefit out of making a scapegoat out of a party official by putting their name into the public domain.

The Taoiseach has taken full responsibility for this matter. What is most important is that the system of public appointments is being reformed. The Taoiseach has accepted that the system of public appointments is, could have been handled, and the, sorry, the Taoiseach has accepted that this appoint..has, sorry, the Taoiseach has outlined the system of public appointments that is being reformed and he has accepted that this entire matter could have been handled better. I accept that it would have been preferable to use the public appointments process and, while I stand over the appointments I have made to date.

I am fully committed to using the public appointments process in the future, in line with new Government guidelines. There have been some suggestions from members of your own party, Senator [Thomas] Byrne, that I breached the size of the IMMA board by making the two appointments. The current limit of the IMMA board, according to its memo and articles of association is 15 members. I moved to make two appointments as I believed the two candidates could make a valuable contribution and improve regional representation. I was advised by my department that there were six vacancies on the IMMA board so there was no impediment to me making the appointments. As part of Government reform plans, it is intended to reduce the size of the number of boards under my remit on a permanent basis. Legislation is needed to give statutory effect to this change. And it’s expected that this legislation will be published in late 2015. The heads of bills are currently with the relevant committee for their consideration. Since the appointments, I have met with the chair of the IMMA board and I’ve committed to working more closely with him in identifying the skills needed for the board. Indeed, I look forward to doing this with the chairs of all our cultural institutions, as part of the Government’s new appointments procedures and I am formally writing to all the chairs, asking them to outline the skill set that best suit the relevant board.”

Thomas Byrne: “As usual, I would ask the minister to answer the question that I asked and she has failed to answer the questions, yet again. That is a travesty of democracy. I want to make clear, we’re not trying to make a scapegoat of any Fine Gael official, it is the Taoiseach and you that are making a scapegoat of an unnamed Fine Gael official. You are the minister, the Taoiseach is the Taoiseach, you are responsible for this mess, nobody else. We’re trying to get to the bottom of what went on and that’s why we need to know who it was before we make any other considerations in relation to this. You’ve muddied the waters further, minister, by referring to “officials” in your speech, in the printed text. Was there one official, were there more? Were there multiple people from Fine Gael headquarters coming to ask you to put this person on the board.

You have stated that the memo of articles of IMMA require 15 members, well your own Government announced previously that there were only nine in the future, it was open to you to actually stick to that. You deliberately overrode Government, your Government policy to have only nine members on these boards, regardless of what the IMMA said. Well I put it to you that these questions have not been sufficiently answered, your chance is here, I wonder will it be taken up in the arts committee, or in the Dáil, but I think minister, you’re running out of time because really these questions are very serious, very serious allegations and accusations were made in the Sunday Independent article about you on Sunday. I read some of them into the record. I wanted to ask you questions before I or my party made assessments along those lines but, minister, you are not helping the situation. We are not going to scapegoat anybody. We want, we want answers. And we want to know did you vote in the Seanad election and did you vote for Mr McNulty?”

Humphreys: “Well, thank you, Senator, but first of all, you know, voting. The great thing about this country is it’s a democracy and when you vote, you vote in secret. And that’s the way it will stay in that respect. And I am responsible for the appointments to the board and I did that based on merit, that’s exactly it, that’s what I’m responsible for. Now I have listened closely, in fairness I have, I’ve listened closely, I’ve taken the criticisms on board and I mean that, I’ve taken them on board over the last two weeks in relation to board appointments and I acknowledge, I acknowledge that this should have been done differently and I have already moved to put a new system in place, in my department and I will be following these procedures. So it was out of this respect, out of respect to this house, by the way, two weeks ago, that I came over here, at very short notice, and I was lacking maybe on that occasion and I apologise for that.”

Via agenda.ie



Following the lead of the taoiseach’s tactic of deflecting Sinn Féin questions with mentions of Jean McConville.

Tánaiste Joan Burton raised the discovery of the body of Brendan Megraw in response to Mary Lou McDonald’s question regarding the IMMA/John McNulty debacle.

“In the day that’s in it, when we have the body of a young man finally being found for his distraught family, the action of the Taoiseach of this country taking responsibility in relation to something where he has acknowledged there was definite wrong, is in marked contrast to the absence of your own leader in relation to a very young man who has spent a very long time in a lonely grave.”


Tánaiste hits out over Megraw when challenged on McNulty (Marie O’Halloran, Irish Times)




From top: Heather Humphreys; John McNulty and Enda Kenny


A timeline of the ongoing John McNulty crony affair

Order in a story gone mad.

(questions at the end)

May 2014: John McNulty, a businessman, Fine Gael member and GAA team manager from Kilcar, Co Donegal, unsuccessfully stands for election to Donegal County Council; Deirdre Clune, member of the Seanad Cultural and Educational Panel, elected MEP.

Summer 2014: Fine Gael seeks names to be put forward as candidates for Clune’s vacated Seanad seat. 31 names put forward, including John McNulty (nominated by his constituency).

Fine Gael National Executive shortlists Stephanie Regan, Samantha Long and Kate O’Connell as candidates for the vacant seat on the Seanad Cultural and Educational Panel.

September 12: McNulty appointed (along with Sheila O’Regan) to Board of Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) by Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys. His appointment brings the number of Board members above the Fine Gael recommended maximum of 9.

September 17: News breaks that McNulty, rather than Regan, Long and O’Connell, will be the Fine Gael candidate for the Seanad vacancy.

September  18: John McNulty confirmed as the Fine Gael candidate for the vacancy on the Seanad Cultural and Educational panel. His proposer, Mr Enda Kenny, Taoiseach, describes McNulty as a “Businessman, Board Member of the Irish Museum of Modern Art”.

Concerns subsequently raised by Independent Seanad candidate Gerard Craughwell as to Mr McNulty’s qualifications to run for the panel vacancy, in particular his lack of arts experience.

September 21: A hearing takes place in Leinster House, before Judge Paul McDermott, regarding Mr McNulty’s eligibility to run.

Mr Craughwell withdraws his objection after the Clerk reads out a description of Mr McNulty as a businessman and Irish Museum of Modern Arts Board member.

September  23, 2014: Irish Independent and Daily Mail raise concerns regarding the appointment of Mr McNulty to IMMA. Addressing the Dail, Heather Humphreys stands over Mr McNulty’s appointment, saying:-
“I have no role to pay in selecting candidates in the Seanad by election. However it is my responsibility to ensure that people appointed to the boards that fall under the remit of my department have the relevant experience and have the capability of making a valuable contribution to the relevant organization. Mr McNulty brings considerable business experience to the IMMA board. He has also been involved in a range of local and Heritage projects.”
Ms Humphreys refused to answer questions about whether or not Mr McNulty publicly applied for the Board position.

On the same day, Enda Kenny reaffirms the right of the Fine Gael party leader to decide who should be Fine Gael candidates for the Seanad, even if not on the party shortlist.

September 25, 2014: Mr McNulty announces he is stepping down from IMMA due to his Seanad candidacy.
“I am stepping down from the IMMA board with immediate effect, in accordance with IMMA’s internal rules, which preclude me from being a board member and contesting an election at the same time. I will continue to be a member of IMMA an dan active supporter of their work. I look forward to continuing my election campaign for a seat in the Seanad.”
Mr McNulty’s tenure on the IMMA Board has been 13 days. He has not attended any Board meetings during his time as member.

On the same day, Enda Kenny denies having influenced Mr McNulty’s appointment to the IMMA Board, stating that:-
“I’ve never given instructions for Ministers to make appointments. We have a system hereby if Ministers are making appointments to the chairs of boards or semi-states or whatever, the Minister makes the nominations to Cabinet, but there are thousands of positions that are required to b filled occasionally.”

Mr Kenny defends his decision to select Mr McNulty as the Seanad candidate, stating that he “is a young man with a great deal of experience, a great deal of energy and a great deal of commitment that he will bring to Seanad Eireann. So they can’t all be winners, they can’t all be appointed and it’s the responsibility of the leader to make that choice and that’s what I did.”

Heather Humphreys once again declines to say how she came to nominate Mr McNulty as an IMMA Board member or if she was aware at the time he was to become his party’s candidate for the Seanad.

Meanwhile, Gerard Craughwell states that, had he known about the circumstances of Mr McNulty’s appointment to IMMA, he would not have withdrawn his objection to his candidacy.

September 26: Ballot papers for Seanad election distributed.

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships, Enda Kenny states that he never gave instructions to Heather Humphreys to appoint Mr McNulty to the Board of IMMA.

Heather Humphreys again affirms that Mr McNulty was the correct choice as an IMMA Board Member.
“I looked at his credentials and he indicated an interest to serve on the board and I felt that he was a good person. I think it is important to remember that any person who serves on the board does so on a voluntary basis and I felt that when I appointed the two people that board they were representative of the regions because sometimes Dublin based institutions maybe need a greater representation from the regions.”

September 30: Heather Humphreys states that she appointed Mr McNulty to the Board of IMMA after being informed by Fine Gael that John McNulty wished to serve on an Arts board. Although she was not aware that he had been chosen the Fine Gael candidate for the Seanad at the time, she was aware that he had sought the position as his name was among the 29 put forward to the Fine Gael National Executive. She was not asked whether or not she considered the consequences, from point of view of his continuing Board membership, of his possibly running for the Seanad.

September 30: John McNulty formally withdraws from the Seanad Race, apparently after being requested to do so by officials sent by Enda Kenny when still canvassing. He states that he had requested a place on an Arts Board from Fine Gael following his defeat in the local elections and agreed to sit on the IMMA Board because he ‘felt he had a lot to offer’. He was not asked whether or not, in deciding to become an IMMA Board member, he had considered the fact that he would have to resign if selected as the Fine Gael Seanad candidate.

October 1: Addressing the Dail, Enda Kenny states that when he nominated Mr McNulty as the Fine Gael Seanad candidate, he was not aware he had been appointed to IMMA. However the description of Mr McNulty given as part of Mr Kenny’s proposal describes him as an IMMA Board member.

All of which prompts three questions (among many, in fairness):

1. If you have to resign from IMMA as a Seanad candidate why did Heather Humphreys appoint a Seanad candidate?

2. Why did John McNulty take the IMMA appointment knowing he was running for the Seanad?

3. Enda told the Dail he didn’t know John McNulty was a member of IMMA but proposed him for Seanad with a nominee form describing him as an IMMA board member. What’s with that?


(Photocall ireland/RTÉ)


Enda Kenny with Jan O’Sullivan and pupils from Gardiner Street National School, Dublin at government buildings earlier

No instruction had been given to Minister for the Arts Heather Humphreys on the issue. She herself read his qualifications, read his credentials and appointed him, as she was entitled to do, to be a member of the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma), Mr Kenny said.
“He did not know at the time he was appointed whether he was going to be a candidate for the Senate or not,’’ the Taoiseach added.
The Taoiseach said when he gave his imprimatur that Mr McNulty should be considered for a nomination to contest the byelection, the Fine Gael system of validating candidates took over.
A sub-committee of the party’s executive council considered the names for a nomination. Twenty-nine people were being considered and Mr McNulty indicated he would like to serve on a cultural board.
Mr Kenny added the Fine Gael official dealing with the matter did not go back to the sub-committee, which was a cause of great “angst and a cause of concern” to him.

Seems legit.

Taoiseach says he did not discuss Imma job with McNulty (Irish Times)

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)


This just in.

I have informed the Taoiseach that under the circumstances, I am withdrawing my name and asking the Members of the Oireachtas not to vote for me in the upcoming Seanad bye-election. I would like to thank the many members of the Oireachtas who already expressed their support for me.
I am taking this decision because I believe that to contest the election would be an ongoing distraction from the critical work of Government which is to secure Ireland’s recovery through job creation and increased investment. I believe the Government’s economic plan is working and the country is now moving in the right direction. This is what all members of Government should be focussed on at all times.
It was my hope, if elected, to support the Government’s work in this regard as a member of the Oireachtas and now it is my intention to seek a Party nomination to contest the next General Election.

A statement from Imposed FG senatorial nominee – and briefly IMMA board member – John McNulty (top with Enda Kenny) this afternoon.

John McNulty dramatically pulls out of Seanad by-election racee (Irish Independent) 

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny on RTÉ’s Nine News last night, after it emerged that Fine Gael’s candidate for the Seanad by-election, John McNulty, was appointed to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art a week before his nomination, and that Mr McNulty was not on Fine Gael’s national executive’s three-women candidate shortlist for the vacant Seanad seat.

In Rhode Island, RTÉ’s Washington Correspondent Catriona Perry spoke briefly to Mr Kenny about the matter.

Catriona Perry: “Would it be usual though, if you’re given a list of three people, that you don’t pick any of them and you pick a fourth?”

Enda Kenny: “No it’s the right of the leader of the day to make the, to decide who should be nominated. I have to, I have to verify all the nominations, of all the candidates for general elections and for, and for the Seanad. So, from that point of view, the process is one that Fine Gael have always followed down through the years.”


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In addition, in relation to the three women –  Stephanie Regan, Samantha Long and Councillor Kate O’Connell – who were shortlisted by Fine Gael’s national executive,  Mary Regan, in the Irish Examiner, reports:

A mischievous rumour was put out around Leinster House yesterday that Labour did not want Regan — a potential election candidate in Dublin Bay North — or Long in Dublin South East in case they posed an electoral threat. “Labour didn’t want any of them running. And we are depending on their votes so we obliged them,” a Fine Gael source said. This was dismissed as a “creative” rumour and “completely off the wall” by Labour sources.


Watch back here

John McNulty appointment: A Stroke in Art (Mary Regan, Irish Examiner)

Previously: “It’s The Old Boys’ Club In Action Again”

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Ciara Conway, Labour TD


This morning it was reported that Fine Gael’s candidate for the upcoming Seanad by-election on October 10, John McNulty, of Donegal, was appointed to a state board – the Irish Museum of Modern Art – a week before his nomination.

Mr McNulty, who previously ran for election in the local elections for Fine Gael but failed to win a seat, was appointed by Fine Gael’s Heather Humphrey.s

In addition, the Irish Independent reported this morning that Mr McNulty was not on Fine Gael’s national executive’s candidate shortlist for MEP Deirdre Clune’s vacant Seanad seat.

The group put forward Stephanie Regan, Samantha Long and Councillor Kate O’Connell.

Further to this, Labour TD Ciara Conway spoke to Jonathan Clinch for today’s News At One on RTÉ about the matter.

Ciara Conway: “I think for a government that has brought forward the legislation about having 30% female candidate in the next general election that it’s a missed opportunity for a woman to make her mark in national politics. I think that the fact that the seat was vacated by a very able politician in Deirdre Clune, you know, is a lost opportunity. If you look at how the Irish parliament and the Oireachtas rank, internationally, we rank, well up in the eighties, 86, in terms of female participation and, you know, all other things being equal, in terms of ability and capability, my preference would have been for another woman Senator to join the team. But it’s endemic, across the political spectrum, it’s the old boys’ club in action again. And it’s very disheartening for people who are engaged in politics because, you know, there are barriers there and gender is one of them. I do believe that a woman should be there and the fact that, you know, the seat had been vacated by a female senator, it is hugely significant, because it’s a loss, we’re down another woman. And I don’t even know what that will do to our rankings further – will that bring us further down the international ranking in terms of female representation.”

Jonathan Clinch: “Do you believe that the Taoiseach is committed to gender parity in politics or does this betray an absence of such commitment?”

Conway: “I think, you know, the question can be asked of all political leaders in relation to their…”

Clinch: “But we’re looking specifically at Enda Kenny in this regard.”

Conway: “I mean that’s a question…I mean, it doesn’t look well, it doesn’t look well. You know we’re only 18 months/two years away from a general election. You know, where are the female candidates going to come from. They’ve been turned down at this opportunity here.”

Listen back here

FG’s Seanad nominee given job on state board (Today FM)

Kenny rejected three women to appoint male crony to Seanad (Irish Independent)