THE chief executive of the Limerick Regeneration Agency, Brendan Kenny, yesterday admitted that giving his daughter a €35,000-a-year receptionist’s job without advertising the post was “probably not the right thing to do”.
Nine of the 14 staff recruited by the two regeneration agencies had been seconded from public and local authorities.
But it also emerged that the son of a member of one of the regeneration agencies boards was also recruited for a job which was not advertised.
Yvonne Kenny along with Brian McElligott – son of board member Liam McElligott – were given five-year contracts up to 2012.
Ms Kenny, earning about €35,000 a year, works as a receptionist while Mr McElligott, a project manager, is on a salary of around €45,000.
Ms Kenny’s salary was put at the same level of clerical officer grade and Mr McElligott was put on the same grade as administrative officer.
The regeneration board chief Mr Kenny said he fixed the wage levels on local authority scales following consultation with the chairman of the regeneration agencies, former Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald.
Mr Kenny said, when the regeneration agency was set up in 2007, he needed staff straight away.
He disclosed he did not go through the normal job recruitment procedures due to the urgency of needing staff to be in place.
Mr Kenny said: “I needed suitable people around me quickly and that’s what I did. One of those people I took on was my daughter. She was taken on at the lowest local authority clerical officer level, on 30-something grand.
“The other person was Brian McElligott, who happened to be a son of Liam who is on the board. But there was no canvassing. I selected him as I felt he was the right man for the job. He was recruited as project manager on the €45,000 mark. The board was aware the process was urgent. My daughter was working in Kildare and was available and willing to come down to Limerick at the time.
“I needed somebody to do clerical and receptionist type work and she was available and I took that opportunity.
“In hindsight it probably wasn’t the right thing to do but there was an urgency and big pressure from the community for things to happen and they began to happen after that.”
The pair, he said, were at the same level of clerical officer and grade five administrative officer and not been promoted since they were given their five-year contracts in 2007.
Asked why he gave his daughter and Mr McElligott such long contacts, he said: “Yeah, that question has been asked. But what we wanted at the time was commitment from people. We wanted people motivated. We needed to keep people on board for the period of the regeneration.”
Mr Kenny said that Liam McElligott did not canvass him on behalf of his son.
“Brian worked in the same building here and I got to know him over the first few weeks here. I knew the type of people I was looking for,” he added.
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