‘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

‘I tried to stop stab attack on boyfriend’

Leo Varadkar ‘overstated’ amount saved by anti-fraud measures

Man told bank teller he had bomb in ‘harebrained’ robbery attempt

Headshop drug treatments fell 50% after ban in 2010


Breaking Stories

Parents of Ireland 'will trash Fine Gael' at next election, says founder of children's charity

Irish group to launch new app to help people identify symptoms of coeliac disease

Decline in mail volumes a concern ahead of union seminar

Latest: Hospital board meeting conducted in 'very intimidatory and bullying way', says chairman

Lifestyle

Looking back in time with Dennis Dinneen's pictures

Four events to check out at the Cork International Choral Festival today

With bikini season beckoning please forget about quick fixes ...

Take a load off: Two people tell their individual weight loss journeys

More From The Irish Examiner