Fianna Fáil Press Office
Dara Calleary
Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation

14 February 2016

Fine Gael’s abuse of power is sinister – Calleary

Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Dara Calleary has described the revelations in this morning’s Sunday Business Post about Fine Gael’s abuse of its position in the Department of Enterprise, Jobs & Innovation as “extremely sinister.”

“It has been clear for some time that Fine Gael has sought to claim political credit for the normal working of the state’s enterprise agencies.

“There has been an unprecedented level of involvement from the Minister’s political staff in seeking to control how every element of the publicity for state agencies is handled.  The Taioseach himself saw this area as so important that he overruled the Minister for Public Expenditure to give a €35,000 salary increase to Fine Gael’s chief political advisor in the Department.

“We were sufficiently concerned about this that we wrote in January to the Chief Executives of the state agencies seeking assurances that political staff would not be able to manipulate activity before the election. We received incomplete and limited assurances on this matter.

“Today’s story confirms that Fine Gael has been holding party political rallies in businesses which have received significant state contracts or funding. This includes an Irish Water contractor.

“This is unprecedented and extremely worrying. One of the things which has distinguished Ireland internationally has been that its enterprise agencies and grants have operated 100% without political involvement. Yet we now have final proof of Fine Gael’s efforts to target state-aided companies to help their political campaign.

“This is not something which can be dismissed as ‘everyone does it’ – it has absolutely not happened for at least decades and breeches core standards accepted by previous governments of all make-ups.

“Today we have written to the Secretary General to the Government calling for an immediate inquiry into this matter. We have asked him to ascertain whether lists of companies in receipt of state support, or seeking state support, are in the possession of the Fine Gael campaign. We have also asked him to commission an investigation on whether information has been shared by Fine Gael Advisors using official resources,” he added.