Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has commented on the latest developments in the scandal surrounding Fine Gael’s attempt to replace Deirdre Clune MEP in Seanad Éireann.
Deputy Martin said, “It is clear from his comments to date, and those of his senior party colleagues, that the Taoiseach has yet to grasp the damage that is being done by this unfolding scandal. Fine Gael’s decision that John McNulty must be elected to the Seanad and the abuse of the appointment process to one of our key cultural institutions in order to allow that election, highlights a deep cynicism and betrays the promise of political reform that secured Enda Kenny’s election as Taoiseach.
“The first thing that the Taoiseach should do on his return is to apologise to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. This key cultural institution has been abused for straightforward internal Fine Gael party business reasons and it is not good enough. The next thing he should do is announce today that the bye election process to replace MEP Deirdre Clune has been suspended and that the process will begin again.
“The Taoiseach’s response to questions in the US, saying that this is the way that Fine Gael does business and that as Leader it is his prerogative to proceed in this way, is illustrative of Mr Kenny’s style, but it entirely ignores the damage that it is doing to already low levels of public confidence in politics in this country. I hope that on reflection he will revisit and revise these remarks.
“Meanwhile, the Labour Party’s attempt to simply shuffle sideways out of the issue is not sustainable. The Tánaiste has already expressed dissatisfaction and her backbenchers have been quick to speak to media about their unhappiness. If they now proceed to support Mr McNulty’s election to the Seanad, as media briefings have suggested, Labour’s role as simple placeholders in this Government will be further confirmed.”