‘Lovely girls’ note embroils Taoiseach in controversy

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has become embroiled in a Father Ted-style ‘lovely girls’ controversy over the way he was lobbied to make a State appointment.

The political squall centred on a note apparently given to the Taoiseach by former Fine Gael Minister turned Independent TD Michael Lowry, backing his former press advisor, Valerie O’Reilly, for reappointment to the National Transport Authority board.

It read: “Taoiseach, would you please consider re-appointing Valerie O’Reilly to the board of the NTA. A woman, bright, intelligent and not bad looking either! Michael Lowry,” a Sunday newspaper reported.

The controversy comes on the heels of ‘Cronygate’, in which Mr Kenny was accused of over-looking a raft of prominent female candidates for a vacancy in the Seanad in order to fast-track John McNulty for elevation to the upper house.

The Taoiseach admitted Cronygate was “not his finest hour” when Mr McNulty pleaded for people not to elect him to the role after allegations he had been given a short-lived post on the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art in order to boost his credentials for the vacancy on the cultural and educational panel of the Seanad ahead of his selection.

The note has prompted comment about Mr Kenny’s relationship with Mr Lowry.

Fianna Fáil senator Aevril Power expressed surprise at the tone of the note. “I was mortified for the lady concerned,” she said. “She probably does have strong business credentials, but to be referred to in this Father Ted ‘lovely girls’ sort of way is every women’s worst nightmare.

“It also shows that we need far greater transparency when it comes to State board appointments.

“The fact Deputy Lowry passed such a note to the Taoiseach implies it goes on a lot more often than we would like to think.”

READ MORE: Lowry has no regrets on 'not bad-looking' note

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Only 3% of planning retentions refused; Councillors claim houses being built before planning is secured

Bodybuilder withdraws injury claim due to Facebook images

‘Very sad day’ as retailer closes after 58 years

Trade unions and parties attack Varadkar’s ‘Thatcher-like’ measures


Breaking Stories

Report finds high level of risk-taking by farmers on their farms

Cork girl, 15, fled Manchester Arena amid chaos

Campaigners for unemployed claim people struggling to find work despite low jobless rate

Poll reveals most people don't think Govt doing enough to tackle rents and homelessness

Lifestyle

Lorraine Kelly never felt better as she heads for 60

LauraLynn provide numerous services to families and support that is 'absolutely fantastic'

Making Cents: Why we need to eliminate waste from food budgets

Exploring synaesthesia - see sounds, taste colours, smell words

More From The Irish Examiner