The warning came as some Labour TDs said privately they may abstain in the ballot to select a member for the Upper House in which only Oireachtas members have a vote. With many Labour TDs furious that the row and accusations of stroke politics have overshadowed improving economic news, a party source said: “There is a culture of arrogance in the upper echelons of Fine Gael and they would want to start copping themselves on a bit.
“It is coming to a tipping point. We can’t stand over this sort of thing.”
Pressure continues to mount on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to explain the full circumstances surrounding how John McNulty was appointed to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art by Arts Minister Heather Humphreys, just six days before the Taoiseach nominated him for a vacancy on the Seanad’s culture panel.
Fianna Fáil have demanded that the Government agrees to an emergency Dáil debate on the nomination tomorrow. Ms Humphreys refused to answer questions on the controversy at the weekend as she ignored journalists’ inquiries about her role in the matter.
After initially appearing to blame Ms Humphreys for the appointment of Mr McNulty to IMMA — a position he resigned from after 13 days — Mr Kenny said on Friday that the affair had not been his “finest hour” as he took responsibility for the situation and promised it would never happen again.
The Taoiseach also stated it was now legally too late to withdraw Mr McNulty from the Seanad by-election where he faces competition from Sinn Féin Independent Seanad by-election candidate, Gerard Craughwell.
Mr Craughwell said he was meeting legal advisers today to decide on whether to challenge the election process. Fine Gael TD Eoin Murphy said he did not believe Mr Kenny would have to resign if the party lost the by-election. Former Fine Gael minister and Independent TD Lucinda Creighton claimed the Government had lied about the controversy.
Labour figures have accused the Taoiseach of “destabilising” the Government’s position in the Seanad with the nomination row due to the fact that if Mr McNulty does not replace Deirdre Clune in the Upper House after her election to the European parliament, the Coalition will lose its majority in the Senate making the passage of legislation much trickier.