Fianna Fáil Chief Whip and Arts Spokesperson Seán Ó Fearghaíl has reacted with dismay to official confirmation that no questions to Heather Humphreys are to be facilitated in Dáil Éireann. Fianna Fáil has tried to secure Dáil time using a range of official procedures, all of which have now been rejected by the Office of the Ceann Comhairle.
Deputy Ó Fearghaíl commented, “This continued lock-down of the invisible minister defies belief and is as clear an example of democracy denied as I have seen in my time in the Oireachtas.
“Minister Heather Humphreys is at the very centre of this tawdry affair and her explanation is required. My colleagues and I have been patiently asking simple questions of the minister and submitting requests for Dáil time to have those questions answered. The questions are being ignored and the requests have all now been refused.
“In the meantime, the Minister appears to have confirmed that she still does not fully grasp the seriousness of the situation as she seeks to dismiss reporters’ questions by telling them that the details of who instructed her to appoint John McNulty and when are “a Fine Gael matter”.
“Her decision to unilaterally increase the size of the board of a national cultural institution and appoint a party colleague to that board in order to make him qualify for a Seanad bye-election, all allegedly on the instructions of unelected and unnamed Fine Gael officials, is not an internal party matter. It is an abuse of her ministerial power and undermines a national institution. If Minister Humphreys does not realise this, or if she understands but just does not want to explain her actions, or if indeed she has accepted an instruction from the Taoiseach to lie low, then very serious questions quickly arise about her continued suitability for the post.”