Opposition hits out at "old backroom deals" in Seanad nominations

James Reilly and Michelle Mulherin are among the Taoiseach's appointees

General election, date, polling day, Enda Kenny, ad campaign, USC, Richard Bruton

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

Sinn Féin has criticised the 11 nominations to the Seanad by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Six of those appointed are former Fine Gael TDs, while five are Independents from civil society.

It has also emerged that three of the appointees were by Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin.

Mr Kenny has appointed five former TDs who lost their seats in the February election, and one who did not even contest that poll.

They are former minister James Reilly, his deputy leader, former junior minister from Waterford Paudie Coffey, Mayo's Michelle Mulherin, John O'Mahoney from Galway-West and Ray Butler from Meath West.

Frankie Feighan - who had decided not to contest the election in Roscommon-Galway - was also appointed.

Five of the appointees are Independents and include three that were picked by the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

These were Joan Freeman, the founder of Pieta House, the CEO of Alzheimers Ireland Colette Kelleher, and businessman Pádraig O'Céidigh.

The other Independents are the advocate for Irish Immigrants in the US Billy Lawless - who has links to Fine Gael and contested local elections for the party in Galway in 1991 - and former Senator Marie Louise O'Donnell.

'Not new politics'

But Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway Walsh has criticised Mr Kenny, saying: "The Taoiseach promised a new politics and Fianna Fáil said that they were in opposition to the government".

"It is clear from the list of appointees to the Seanad that the promise of new politics by the Taoiseach is betrayed by his actions. The bulk of his nominees are a band of former Fine Gael elected representatives".

"It is also clear that the pretence of Fianna Fáil being independent of government is laid bare by the claim that they put forward three of the Taoiseach's nominees as part of a deal".

"This is not the new politics that we were promised. This is the outworking of the old backroom deals approach that kept Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in power since the foundation of the State".

The first meeting of the new Seanad will take place on Wednesday June 8th.

It is over three months since the 24th Seanad was dissolved, and 49 other Senators were elected last month.

The bill for their salaries has already reached €250,000 - and that does not include expenses and allowances.

The appointments in full are:

  • Paudie Coffey (former Senator, Dail deputy and Minister of State)
  • Joan Freeman (Founder of Pieta House)
  • Michelle Mulherin (former Dail deputy)
  • Ray Butler (former Dail deputy)
  • Frank Feighan (former Senator and Dail deputy)
  • John O'Mahony (former Dail deputy)
  • Dr James Reilly (Former TD and Minister)
  • Billy Lawless (advocate for Irish immigrants in the US)
  • Colette Kelleher (CEO Alzheimers Ireland)
  • Pádraig Ó'Céidigh (Businessman)
  • Marie-Louise O’Donnell (Former Senator)