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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Seanad Bye-Election 10th October 2014 post 4

John McNulty withdraws from Seanad Bye-Election

John McNulty put out a statement yesterday that he has withdran from the Seanad Bye-Election race.

Statement from John McNulty Fine Gael Press Office September 30th, 2014.

I have informed the Taoiseach that under the circumstances, I am withdrawing my name and asking the Members of the Oireachtas not to vote for me in the upcoming Seanad bye-election. I would like to thank the many members of the Oireachtas who already expressed their support for me.
I am taking this decision because I believe that to contest the election would be an ongoing distraction from the critical work of Government which is to secure Ireland’s recovery through job creation and increased investment. I believe the Government’s economic plan is working and the country is now moving in the right direction. This is what all members of Government should be focussed on at all times.
It was my hope, if elected, to support the Government’s work in this regard as a member of the Oireachtas and now it is my intention to seek a Party nomination to contest the next General Election.

He was subsequently interviewed on Highland Radio by Barry Whyte.

Other Seanad Bye-Election Candidates
2014 Seanad Bye-Election nominations.

Catherine Seeley
Catherine Seeley is Sinn Fein party councillor and teacher in Armagh. Upperbann Sinn Fein website bio.
Seanad should be representative of whole Irish nation - Cllr Catherine Seeley says Sinn Fein.

The Sinn Fein associated paper An Phoblacht writes Catherine Seeley – courage, commitment and vision. Explaining how following her co-option to Craigavon Council threats forced her to leave the school she was teaching in.

Gerard Craughwell
Teacher and Assistant Principal at a College of Further Education and Former president of the TUI from Dublin.

As mentioned in previous blogpost on this subject there is no requirement on the Seanad Clerk to publish the list of nominators in Seanad Bye-Elections unlike Seanad General Elections as there is no provision in law to do so, an oversight I think.

I emailed and asked members of the techincal group of the Dail whether they nominated Gerard Craughwell in the group of 9 Independents that Thomas Broughan TD proposed him as a candidate for the Seanad with (a group of 9 Fianna Fail Oireachtas members nominated him aswell the next day). The replys I have received so far.

Catherine Murphy whip for the technical group wrote Some Independent TDs call for support of Seanad Hopeful Gerard Craughwell.

List of Gerard Craughwell's Seanad Bye-Election Non-Party nominators.

Catherine Murphy IND
Tom Fleming IND
John Halligan IND
Finian McGrath IND
Maureen OSullivan IND
Thomas Pringle IND
Shane Ross IND
Thomas Broughan IND/Social Democratic Union
Peter Matthews IND/Reform Alliance

I have emailed and asked Fianna Fail to publish who in their parliamentary party nominated Gerard Craughwell, he says he doesn't know which members nominated him apart from Michael P Kitt who proposed him because he was by then already nominated.

The result

The Seanad Bye-Election cannot be stopped now that ballots have been sent out, there are still two other candidates Gerard Craughwell IND and Catherine Seeley SF. Fine Gael still need to win back a more comforable majority in the Seanad so they ask McNulty to withdraw in order that both Fine Gael and Labour members can still vote and elect John McNulty to the Seanad and then restart the race and win with another candidate. Who will Fine Gael nominate next? it could hardly be another potential Dail candidate, even if it is a woman that would repeating the abuse of the Seanad.

View 'Kenny comments on McNulty controversy' RTE News video September 26, 2014.

Enda Kenny
"I take responsibility for this having evovled where by people might imagine it is"

It seems it is what we imagined it was.

Enda Kenny

Leaders questions with discussion of IMMA appointment and Seanad Bye-Election starts at 15 minutes.

Dail Leaders Questions 30th September 2014 transcript in 'Leaders Questions' and 'Public Service Reform Plan Update' and questions continued on this issue in the Dail on the 1st of October.

The Taoiseach: received 44 nominations for the Seanad vacancy. These related to 29 persons, as some people were nominated more than once. There were, therefore, 29 people looking for the opportunity. I looked at the names of the candidates and their qualifications. I interviewed John McNulty and felt that he was an excellent, outstanding candidate who was well qualified.

Where and when did he interview John McNulty?

The Taoiseach: During the course of the process of validating his eligibility, Mr. McNulty expressed a wish to serve on a cultural body because he was intending to serve if elected to the Cultural and Educational Panel. He was not nominated until 17 September.

But if he was to be put in the Seanad he would not be able to serve on the IMMA board for any length of time. See below.

The Taoiseach: His curriculum vitae was forwarded to the Minister by Fine Gael officials and she made two appointments to the board of IMMA on the same day. She has already made the point that she made these appointments in her own right and on her own analysis of the individuals' qualifications and what they brought to the process.

It was what we imagined it was. The Fine Gael party directing a Minster in Government to use her powers to appoint a person to state board for future electoral purposes.

The Taoiseach: My party has a structure in place for dealing with applications and the validation of candidates for all elections. There is a process through our executive council whereby that happens. This was set in place in the early part of the summer. A sub-committee of the executive council made a recommendation for a number of names to be considered for the Seanad, which was their responsibility. Subsequently, Deputy McGinley announced his retirement and I looked at the possibility of the appointment of a candidate for the Seanad from Donegal. My rationale was that this was a Fine Gael seat in the Seanad which was made vacant by the election of Senator Deirdre Clune to the European Parliament. For that reason that process was not followed, nor was I informed of the state of play of the validation exercise.

One of many unanswered questions is when did Enda Kenny interview John McNulty, He said after Dinny McGinley announced his retirement after the reshuffle on 11th July 2014. Speaking to Highland Radio News 15th July 2014.

Dinny McGinely said he made the Taoiseach aware of his decision this morning.

The issue was also discussed in the Seanad, a motion was made to invite in the Minister for Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht into the Seanad chamber again to asnwers questions on the issue by Thomas Byrne but it did not pass.

The need for the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to explain in full her reasons for the appointment of Mr John McNulty to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, in light of the Taoiseach apologising for the affair.

John McNUlty withdrawal from the election was also announced in the Seanad chamber by Maurice Cummins

I wish to advise the House that Mr. John McNulty has withdrawn from the Seanad by-election and has asked that Oireachtas Members not support his candidacy. He issued a statement in that regard in

Fine Gael's Seanad Candidate search timeline

Constituency branches were invited to propose people for the Seanad in June.

Samantha Long was asked by her constituency group to write a letter in June she said on the RTE Radio Marian Finuncane Show.

John McNulty The county executive forwarded his name, along with some others, following a meeting in July.

Fionnann Sheahan explained the timeline that was issued on Drivetime at 1hour 19 minutes.

Fine Gael annual pre winter Oireachtas sessions think-in was held in Fota on Cork on the 11th where Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was announced by Kenny as chair of Fine Gael electoral strategy committee. Kenny begins to plan for Fine Gael’s general election campaign.Fiach Kelly, Irish Times.

Heather Humphreys appointed John McNulty to the board of IMMA on the 12th of September.

The Fine Gael Executive Council met in Galway on the Saturday the 13th and were told by a party official that was problem of qualification with the two or three women said to be on the shortlist.

Fine Gael members were told that John McNulty had been selected on the 17th and his name was published in the Independent on 18th of September by Fionnan Sheahan. Businessman who lost council election to run for the Seanad.

Fine Gael (national) Executive Council nominations 2014 on page 10 of Fine Gael's Ard Fheis Clar (Annnual Conference Programme) but who was elected ?

List I have so far. Fine Gael (national) Executive Council list.

Fine Gael Constitution and Rules
Fine Gael Constitution and Rules as published by the National Democratic Institute in 2012 on the iknowpolitics.org website.

Fine Gael Constitution and Rules 2012 Part IX Seanad Elections among the rules on page 84 is.

52 (a) (i) The number of candidates shall be decided by a Seanad Selection Commission which shall be established by the Executive Council, comprising five members.

(iii) On each sub-panel, the Party Leader shall be entitled to add and/or delete and/or substitute a candidate notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (i) and (ii) of the Rule.

(b) (ii) The candidates on each sub-panel shall be selected by the Selection Commission following consideration of nominations which shall be submitted by units of the Party before a closing date to be decided by the Executive Council.

(c) The Executive Council shall have power to determine the manner in which candidates shall be nominated for a Seanad Éireann Bye Election. Such a determination shall be consistent with Rule 52 (a)..

So my understanding of this is that a 5 members sub-committee of the Fine Gael Executive Council can as Seanad Selection Commission choose candidates but the Party Leader (nobody else) can over rule them.

Page 76 or 18 of the Fine Gael Constitution and Rules gives the rules on membership and election to the Executive Council.

A motion was put to the Fine Gael National Conference in 2013 which proposed removing the Women's Groups ability to elect two of its members to the Executive Council.

I cannot find a copy of Fine Gael National Conference/Ard Clar from October 2013 to see the wording of the motion nor a more recent version of the Fine Gael Constitution and Rules to confirm its passing. The Chair of the womens group and member of the National executive wrote a resignation letter in 2012 expresser her disappointment according to RTE This Week Radio programme.

John McNultys Election agent

Seanad Ruling on nominations transcript as shared by Fionnann Sheahan group political editor of Independent Newspapers.

John McNulty election agent Terry Murphy Head of Research and Development Fine Gael.

Register of Political Parties 16th September 2014

Name(s) of Officer(s) authorised to sign authenticating certificates of candidates
Fine Gael Any one of the following persons:-
Enda Kenny T.D.
Dr. James Reilly T.D.
Tom Curran
Terry Murphy
Eileen Kelly

Types of elections/Part of the State


It doesn't mention Seanad as political party membership is not put on Seanad Nominations or ballots as we see here from Stephen Donnelly TD's ballot.

Tenure on IMMA board

Section 26 of National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 as pointed out to me by @BrendanSol says that a member of board has stand down if elected to a public office.

Section 26 of National Cultural Institutions Act 1997
Membership of either House of Oireachtas or European Parliament.

26.—(1) Where a member of a Board is—

(a) nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann

he or she shall thereupon cease to be a member of the Board.

and as discovered by TodayFM and revealed in his own statement once running for election he had to stand down from the IMMA board he was appointed to only 6 days earlier.

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