Fianna Fáil Arts Spokesperson Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD says the Taoiseach’s handling of the John McNulty nomination process in the Seanad bye-election shows blatant disrespect for the board of the IMMA.  The latest twist in the saga has seen Mr. McNulty formally requesting that Oireachtas members refrain from voting for him in the ballot.

Deputy Ó Fearghaíl commented, “This fiasco is not only insulting, but has created unease in the arts sector, which feels increasingly taken for granted by this Government.  This botched appointment has backfired spectacularly, with Mr. Nulty not only forced to stand down from the board of IMMA, but now also deciding to withdraw from the Seanad bye-election.  The fact that IMMA was drawn into this whole sorry affair demonstrates the Taoiseach’s complete lack of respect for the institution.

“Enda Kenny is continuing to avoid answering key questions in relation to Mr McNulty’s appointment to the IMMA board.  He has repeatedly refused to confirm or deny that he directed either his own staff or Fine Gael staff to appoint Mr. McNulty.  He needs to outline who is accountable for this mess.  The public are entitled to know why Mr. McNulty arrived at this decision, and what the consequences for the Seanad bye-election are.

“The Taoiseach has treated the IMMA board, the arts community and the Seanad with disdain. The people voted last year to keep the Upper House, much to the Taoiseach’s disappointment. However, he needs to respect that decision and begin his promised process of reform.  His first step should be to explain his exact role in this debacle”.