New board member and historian Sheila O’Regan is a member of Fine Gael.
Fine Gael Limerick TD Patrick O’Donovan confirmed to the Irish Examiner he personally recommended Ms O’Regan for a board position to Ms Humphreys.
Ms O’Regan, from Ardagh, west Limerick, said she did not want to comment last night.
Ms Humphreys appointed Ms O’Regan at the same time as John McNulty, the Donegal businessman who was forced to resign from Imma’s board last week.
Both were appointed by the minister to the board on September 12. Accusations of cronyism have been made against Fine Gael after it emerged Mr McNulty was put on the board ahead of his nomination for the Seanad by-election.
Mr O’Donovan last night said he believed Ms O’Regan would do a wonderful job on Imma’s board. He said he knew Ms O’Regan, a neighbour of his, and that she is a Fine Gael member. He said she is not currently active with the party.
“She has all the credentials. She’s someone I’ve known since I was a child,” he said, adding that he put her name forward “for consideration if a vacancy arose in a cultural institution”.
Fine Gael party chairman Dan Neville, also a Limerick TD, said Ms O’Regan had been involved in the party and attended meetings.
Her husband, Willie O’Regan, was pictured with Mr O’Donovan at this year’s Béal na mBláth commemorations, and was also involved in Fine Gael, he said.
Ms Humphreys’ office confirmed Mr O’Donovan recommended Ms O’Regan for a position. “At the time she appointed Sheila O’Regan to the board, Minister Humphreys was not aware if Ms O’Regan had any political allegiances or involvement with any political party,” it said in a statement.