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Friday 17 October 2014

Seanad Bye-Election, IMMA correspondence

Another Friday information release, Katie Hannon of RTE PrimeTime has some of the correspondence re the John McNulty appointment, the Sunday Times had some of this information two weeks ago but RTE decided to published the raw documents released to them under Freedom of Information because thats what modern news organisation do, there is so much benefit to seeing even the most boring thing with your own eyes and allowing it to be seen.

Sarah Glennie
The IMMA director said she only found out about the appointments on the 18th, the Department told the Sunday Times that it "wrote to IMMA on September 12 notifying of the appointments" but that the director was out of office till the 18th of September, McNulty's name only came out in the press the night before, Businessman who lost council election to run for the Seanad (23:17pm on 17th September).
I was notified by the Department via a phone call from Kevin Lonergan on September 18th that two new appointments had been made to the IMMA Board, John McNulty and Sheila O’Regan. We have not received anything in writing about this or any communication from the Minister’s office but I was told by both Kevin and Niall O’Donnchu that the appointments had been accepted and confirmed.
Email: IMMA director Sarah Glennie. New board members - 23rd September

Gerard Craughwell
Gerard Craughwell and John McNulty met the Seanad Clerk on Monday the 22nd of September to rule that their nominations were valid, Gerard Craughwell had decided to object to John McNulty's nomination but then withdrew his objection on learning that John McNulty was a board member of IMMA,

It was that evening we searched and inquired about his position on IMMA, and I emailed IMMA who sent me a list which didn't included John McNulty or Shiela O'Regan, I then emailed the Department who forwarded me a press release, about the 12th of September appointments, that they may have been sending to journalists like Gavan Reilly who were inquiring into it too.

The IMMA director and board chairman Eoin McGonigal even met the Minister on the 18th while meeting leaders of cultural institutions at a Council of National Cultural Institutions meeting, they didn't discuss the appointments.

The press release sent out by the Department of Arts claims that Heather Humphreys decided to appoint two board after a visit to IMMA,

The Minister made an unannounced visit during August with the Commissioners of OPW and met Gale briefly. Myself and Eoin did not meet her. We met her very briefly last Thursday at the CNCI meeting with Chairs and Directors of the CNCI and this matter did not come up.

Eoin McGonigal
Eoin McGonigal wrote to the Minister on the Wednesday the 24th querying why more then 9 members of the board had been appointed when they had been told by the Department in 2012 that the board would be limited to 9 and that all future appointments would be made through the public appointmenst process. He also wrote,

I would also like to draw your attention to our Memorandum and Articles which I am also enclosing and in particular clause 21 (xi) which states and IMMA Director’s must resign from the Board on receiving nomination to become a member of the Seanad. I have sent a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of IMMA to John McNulty and drawn his attention to Article 21 Rule 9.

He even enclosed a version of this memo from 2012 about board size limits which I have shown was held at the maximum 9 for two years until just before the Seand Bye-election.

National Gallery of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Art Gallery: Summary of Reform Proposals 2012.
The boards of the three institutions to be retained, but scaled back to a maximum of 9 members each, including the Chair.
I'd like someone to publish IMMA's Memorandum and Articles but the law is also in the 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.

John McNulty
John McNulty said he was stepping down from the board the next day on the 25th.

John McNulty was already no longer a board member as soon as he was nominated which was on the 18th of September.

Seanad Clerk
The Seanad Clerk emailed the IMMA director on 18th of September asking whether McNulty was a member of the board, which he was because Humphreys deemed it so, the director replied writing
I am writing to confirm that John McNulty has been appointed as a Director of the IMMA Board.
but she didn't mention to the Clerk that he had only been appointed 6 days before, and that the IMMA director had only been told by phone that day, the 18th, How long did the director know of McNulty's appointment? hours, minutes? Any lack of communication doesn't justify McNulty using a 6 day appointment as a qualification for a Seanad seat.

It seems the IMMA offices were not told by the director till the 23rd, so when they were asked on the September 22nd who was on the board the Director’s Office sent out a list that didn't include the latest two appointees.

Sheila O'Regan IMMA board member?
The department of Arts wrote to IMMA on the 2nd of October requesting them to send information on duties of IMMA board members to Sheila O'Regan, why hadn't they already done that? Why did the department have to ask. Compare that to the very welcoming message to the previous appointee Jane Dillon-Byrne.

IMMA's website still doesn't list Sheila O'Regan as a current member of the board although they do now list Jane Dillon-Byrne, haven updated the list in the last week of September. I've asked IMMA twice why Sheila O'Regan is not listed as an IMMA board member and they refuse to answer, while answering other questions (about the expiry of other board members terms). Boards have to be uneven but that's no reason Sheila O'Regan is not on the board it may mean they have to appoint another person.

My twitter account @lostexpectation is even mentioned in the email sent to board members and staff on 23rd along with news articles from Fionnan Sheahan of the Independent and Gavan Reilly of TodayFm.

Heather Humphreys
Minister for Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys was asked in the Dail by Billy Timmis TD why did the Minister for Arts Humphreys appoint more IMMA board members then promised limit of 9? Again she repeated her press release and did not say why she breached the limit the Department had instituted.

Terence Flanagan TD also asked each department,
a list of all State board appointments since general election 2011; the person who recommended each appointment; the credentials of those appointed; if the vacancy was publicly advertised; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Heather Humphreys repeated her press released information and didn't answer most of the question, but did say that only 1 person, since 2011, I presume Emma Goltz, was appointed after a publically advertised call. It has to be noted that a Labour Party member who did not retain her council seat was also appointed to the board without an advertisement or involvement of the Public Appointments Service, as far as I know. The minister also breached her departments governance protocals in this case too.


I was notified by the Department via a phone call from Kevin Lonergan on September 18th that two new appointments had been made to the IMMA Board, John McNulty and Sheila O’Regan.
Several queries had been sent into our press department on that day and subsequent days asking for the list of our Board members and the list of 9 current members was sent out to all queries.

Email: IMMA director Sarah Glennie. New board members - 23rd September

Who knew John McNulty was on the IMMA board on the 18th of September and tried to double or triple check but didn't say anything about it before the nominations were ruled upon on the 22nd?

This email still doesn't make sense, how can she say she was told on the 18th and they say she didn't know, unless when she said we she meant IMMA's offices. Still doesn't answer my first question.

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