Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been branded as “indecisive” over his delay in appointing his 11 nominees to the Seanad by one of his former junior ministers.
Former Labour minister and now senator Kevin Humphreys lashed out at Mr Kenny’s failure to appoint his nominees, which means the Upper House cannot sit.
As a result, elected senators have been paid since their election without the house convening. Based on available figures, in excess of €260,000 in salaries have been paid to the 49 elected Seanad members.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Humphreys urged Mr Kenny to act with haste and appoint the 11 nominees and allow the Seanad get on with its work.
“It has unduly delayed the appointment of the 11 Taoiseach’s nominees, which in turn has delayed the Seanad from sitting. It is important that both houses should be getting down to work, scrutinising legislation and moving forward,” he said.
He claimed the delays have been caused by pressure being put on Mr Kenny from within his own party, from Fianna Fáil and the Independents as to how many seats they will be given. “What has been happening, there has been pressure from independents, from within Fine Gael and from Fianna Fáil in relation to how many appointments each are getting. The Taoiseach has moved far too slowly, and too indecisive and we need to get on with the work. It looks, unfortunately, like it is jobs for the boys.”
Among the names being linked with the Seanad are former ministers James Reilly and Paudie Coffey.
As Fine Gael’s deputy leader, it has been suggested Dr Reilly could be named Fine Gael leader in the Seanad. Michelle Mulherin, Mr Kenny’s former constituency colleague who lost her seat, is tipped to take a seat as is Ann Marie Dermody, a Dublin city councillor. Defeated Trinity senator and respected economist, Sean Barrett, has also been linked with one of the 11 places, despite being an independent.
Ryanair boss Micheal O’Leary is said to have lobbied Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Mr Kenny to try and have Dr Barrett appointed.
Ex-Fianna Fáil senator Averil Power has also been linked to a seat as part of Katherine Zappone’s deal to support the Government.
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