The former minister of State for European affairs Dara Murphy has joined a top consulting firm a year after leaving his €150,000-a-year job in the EU.
Mr Murphy was criticised for remaining as a TD for over two years while working as a campaign director for the European People's Party. Mr Murphy eventually resigned from his Cork North-Central seat in December 2019 and took up a role working for Bulgaria's EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.
He left that role just nine months later to take up a "new opportunity", but was earlier this month named as a senior advisor with global consultancy Rasmussen Global.
The company's statement on Mr Murphy's appointment touts his experience as a junior minister in Ireland and says that he "had a key role in negotiations for both GDPR and Brexit and the creation of the D9 group of digital nations".
The statement quotes Mr Murphy as saying that the company will be advising businesses and governments on climate and digital affairs.
“The EU’s post-Covid recovery will be led by the digital and climate revolutions," he states.
"Rasmussen Global is well-positioned to guide businesses and democratic governments through these opportunities ahead.”
Rasmussen Global CEO Anders Fogh Rasmussen adds in the statement that Mr Murphy brings "unique experience".
“I’m delighted that Dara has bolstered our team with his unique experience in national and European politics, as well as EU institutions,” he states.
The pathway from Government to lobbying has been subject to Dáil debate in recent days.
Labour's Ged Nash last week brought a bill that would legally enforce a one-year ‘cooling-off period' for senior and junior ministers, special advisers, and senior civil servants joining lobbying firms or bodies.
While Mr Murphy would not be covered by the legislation, Mr Nash said that his new role shows that questions remain between the closeness of lobbying and top public servants.
"My legislation is there to further regulate the act of lobbying," he said. "The 2015 Act was a good start, but that needs a refresh after six years in operation.
"The legislation is proportionate and we can find a balance between the right to make a living and any conflict in a role such as TD, advisor, or senior civil servant.
"Lobbying groups are buying networks as well as expertise.
Mr Murphy's decision to continue to draw expenses while being what now-Taoiseach Micheál Martin dubbed “an absentee TD” was widely criticised and referred to the Dáil’s ethics committee, but the timing of his resignation as a TD meant he was beyond the scope of any investigation.
His party leader Leo Vardkar subsequently signalled his annoyance at Mr Murphy's lack of cooperation with investigations following his resignation and said that the Murphy affair hurt Fine Gael’s chances in the election just weeks later.