Healy-Rae daughter gets plum state job

THE daughter of Independent TD Jackie Healy-Rae was given a lucrative position on a state board just weeks before her father agreed to support the Government in the budget vote.

Barrister Rosemary Healy-Rae was reappointed to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal for the next three years where she will get paid €272 for each meeting she attends and up to €361 for each case on which she gives her legal expertise.

The seven-member panel of experts was appointed by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern on November 11 to the tribunal which typically analyses more than 200 cases of compensation claims per year. The Government-appointed chairwoman of the tribunal is Sinead Behan, who is a failed Fianna Fáil election candidate.

Ms Behan, who will be paid an annual fee of more than €2,000 as well as fees to attend meetings and for each case examined, was unsuccessful in the Cork South Central by-election for Fianna Fáil in 1998.

She has worked for the legal practice of Martin Harvey, who had contracts worth €30,000 a year for the storage of electronic voting machines, and who is Cork city sheriff.

Another Cork solicitor, Eamon Murray, was also appointed to the board. His practice is recorded by the Standards in Public Office Commission as having made €900 donations to Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin in 2007 election year. Ms Healy-Rae said last night that she was originally appointed to the board in 2007, and on neither occasion had it anything to do with her father’s support for the Government.

A spokesperson for the chief whip’s office said the Government does not discuss the contents of agreements with independent TDs and that this appointment was a matter for the Department of Justice.

The department said such appointments are a matter for the minister and it does not explain the rationale behind them. Around 40 appointments to state boards have been made by Fianna Fáil and Green Party ministers in the past month.

Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar has called for a moratorium on such appointments until after the general election to prevent ministers using “their last few weeks in office to stuff state boards and other bodies with political party supporters and other cronies”.

Last week, solicitor Paul Kelly, who served as a Fianna Fáil councillor in Kildare for 11 years, was nominated as a district court judge. Weeks earlier, the well known Fianna Fáil supporter and former GAA star Paídí Ó Sé was appointed to the board of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, earning an annual fee of €7,695.

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