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Thursday 2 October 2014

Seanad Bye-Election 10th October 2014 IMMA board timeline

To continue from the bottom of Seanad Bye-Election 10th October 2014 post 3 in regard to the pre-electtion, manifesto and programme for government promises in regard to ministerial appointments.

Fintan O'Toole had a good column Does appointment of McNulty to board of Imma meet seven principles of public office? which is based on the UK Ministerial code's 'The Seven Principles of Public Life'. Page 25.


Ministerial Code Cabinet Office 2010.
General principle
Ministers have a duty to ensure that influence over civil service and public appointments is not abused for partisan purposes
Civil service appointments must be made in accordance with the requirements of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 and the Civil Service Commissioners’ Recruitment Principles. Public appointments should be made in accordance with the requirements of the law and, where appropriate, the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Code Of Conduct For Office Holders As Drawn Up By The Government Pursuant To Section 10(2) Of The Standards In Public Office Act 2001

1.5. Highest ethical standards to be applied at all times
Office holders in particular should
- act only by reference to and dedicate the resour es of their offices in furtherance of the public interest
- make decisions and encourage and support the making of decisions on merit and without discrimination
- not be influenced in their official duties by personal considerations
- be accountable for their decisions
- protect the integrity of the offices they hold
- respect confidences entrusted to them in the course of their official duties
- respect at all times the role of the Accounting Officers of their Departments and the obligations of staff under the Civil Service Code of Conduct.

2.2.7. Appointments
Subject to provisions in legislation or other formal requirements for the establishment of Government bodies or the filling of positions, appointments by members of the Government should be made on the basis of merit, taking into account the skills, qualifications and experience of the person to be appointed, as well as any other elevant criteria including, for example, requirements in relation to gender balance.

Cabinet Handbook 2007


1.9 Ethics Framework
The ethics framework for office holders is set out in the: -
Ethics in Public Office Act, 1995 and the Standards in Public Office Act, 2001, Guidelines on Compliance with the provisions of those Acts and Code of Conduct for Office Holders as drawn up by the Government and operative since 3 July 2003.

Office holders are obliged to familiarise themselves with and observe those requirements.

I cannot find master set of rules for appointment to state boards, where are they written down? The State board code of Practice doesn't have much detail on the appointment process. Though many of the state board vacancy notices share the same language, "In making any Board appointments, the Minister will not necessarily be confined to those who make such expressions of interest".

Commission for Public Service Appointments
Code of Practice for Appointment to Positions in the Civil Service and Public Service

This Code of Practice sets out the principles to be observed in respect of
both external and internal appointments to positions in the Civil Service, An
Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive, the Health Information and
Quality Authority, any other public body to which the application of the
Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 has
been extended by order of the Minister for Finance

The relevant government minister is responsible for
all matters relating to recruitment including
eligibility criteria, terms and conditions and use or
knowledge of the Irish language.

Little detail.

Code Of Practice For The Governance Of State Bodies May, 2009
Arrangements for appointments to the boards of State bodies are, in general,
set out in the legislation establishing the bodies in question.

National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997.

Can't find anything there about Minister's Appointments.

Department Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht
Public call for expressions of interest for cultural board positions 2013.

All appointments will be made in accordance with the legislation governing appointments to each body. The Minister will not be restricted to considering only those who have responded to this invitation.

Alot of the codes of conducts speak about financial gain rather then party gain, although they do talk about public interest.

Ministers and Secretaries Act, 1924

Code Of Conduct For Members Of Dáil Éireann Other Than Office Holders.

Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies

Standards in Public Life list of laws on Department of Environment website.
Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004.

Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004.

Code of Conduct for councillors
Local Government Act 2001 Section 169.
Code of Conduct for Councillors June 2004.

3.6 ... The public perception of the way a councillor is seen to deal with such matters is important for the maintenance of trust in local government.

3.7 ... The test to be applied by a councillor is not just what s/he might think - but rather whether a member of the public knowing the facts of the situation would reasonably think that the interest concerned might influence the person in the performance of his or her functions. If so, disclosure should
follow and a councillor should consider whether in the circumstances s/he should withdraw from consideration of the matter. In this context it is important to ensure that as well as the avoidance of actual impropriety, occasions for suspicion and appearance of improper conduct are also avoided in case of private or personal interests.

These quotes are in reference to disclosure of interests but I think it shows that the rule that its not just corruption but the perception of corruption that must be avoided applies for councillors generally.

John McNulty's Memberships

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

Arts boards reform

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.

31/10/12 - Deenihan outlines reform actions for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht organisations

Some of the reform actions now being progressed include:

National Gallery of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Art Gallery

• The boards of the three institutions to be scaled back to a maximum of 9 members each, including the Chair

Governance of Cultural Institutions 26 March 2013
Speech by Minister Jimmy Deenihan
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
To ensure that appointments by the Minister of the day to these boards will have regard to an independent assessment process, based on a skills matrix to be drawn up by the Minister and managed through the Public Appointments Service;

To scale back the boards of the National Gallery of Ireland, IMMA and the Crawford Gallery to a maximum of 9 members each, including the Chair, all serving on a pro bono basis;

New Ministers briefing Summer 2014.
Contine to work on the implementation of the Government decision on reform of the NGI, IMMA nad Crawford Gallery -Heads of Bill approved by Government and submitted to Oireachtas Commmittee

Minister Heather Humphreys said in Seanad speech on the 23rd of September that
Legislation is required in order to reduce the number of members of the board, and this legislation is pending.

Programme for Legislation Autumn Session 2014 as published 17th September 2014. Legislation Programme Autumn 2014 PDF

Bills in respect of which heads have been agreed and texts are being drafted
Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Title of BillPurpose of BillStatus of Bill
32National Cultural Institutions (No. 1) BillTo revise and update the governance arrangements in regard to the National Gallery, Irish Museum of Modern Art and Crawford Art Gallery Cork, including shared services
Publication Expected - Late 2015

15.04.11 Minister Deenihan advertises for Board members for the National Concert Hall, Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)

Answer to parliamentary question re IMMA board membership by Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Appointments to State Boards Sept 2012, 9 members.
Appointments to State Boards June 2012, 9 members

Appointments to State Boards21 November 2013, 8 members

Total number of places on the board 15 Board positions currently vacant 7.
8 members
Length of time that the vacancy has been unfilled. one since February 2012 Has the vacancy been publicly advertised? Yes – in May 2011 and again in June 2013

Appointments to State Boards 18 June 2014
Appointments to State Boards 8 July 2014

Number drawn from the public advertisement process.
Presumably Emma Goltz (collector) November 2013.

04/06/2013 Minister Deenihan advertises for Board members for the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Merrionstreet Announcement of Board Vacancies
Minister Deenihan stated: "this is an exciting opportunity for suitable and experienced people to help shape the future of these wonderful institutions. We are seeking to widen the pool of suitable candidates for consideration for appointment to these bodies."
Interested persons should state the Board('s) they wish to be considered for appointment to, their area of expertise, relevant experience and qualifications, and also set out clearly any actual or potential conflicts of interest if they were to be appointed to a Board.

A general advertisement seeking expressions of interest in May 2011 Number of applications received 67.

nanes and numbers workings

Current IMMA board Google Timeline.
IMMA board Dates I could find going back to where Im pretty sure.
IMMA board Dates I could find going back to 1995. Many resignations and replacements around 2001/2002 that I'm not entirely sure of the dates of.
The Oireacthas Opac has IMMA annual reports back to 1997 except 2002.

You can see how in 2012 it went from 15 to 9 until recently it then went back up to 11.

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.