Updated: 27/06/17 : 06:26:47
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New Govt ministers' family hirings vindicates Perry

If a week is a long time in politics then it seems a lifetime since the former junior minister and Sligo TD John Perry was savaged by Fine Gael senior personnel over his perceived flaunting of the sacred rules, as decreed by none other that the party supremo, the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Perry's 'crime' was,in 2015, to hire and pay, his wife Marie as his parliamentary assistant for an interim period. The position commanded an annual stipend of between €41,092 and €52,200 with overtime of up to €20,000 available.

RTÉ Investigations Unit reported extensively on the appointment as did national and local media.

The then Taoiseach Enda Kenny had declared in 2011, "I've made a point of saying that it's not good practice to appoint family members"

The current Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said at the time, "I do believe myself that family members should not be appointed to do that work and that it's more appropriate to appoint people who are not related to you in order to fulfil important work within the Dail."


How times appear to have changed. Today Varadkar’s new cabinet members have between them hired 12 family members.

Nine of his senior team are among the 30 TDs and two senators who have given jobs to relatives or partners.

Junior Ministers Helen McEntee and Catherine Byrne both employ not one – but TWO two relations each while the new Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty hired her brother Andrew Dalton as a secretarial assistant.

McEntee, the junior minister for European Affairs, confirmed the employment of aunt Eileen Clarke-McDermott and cousin Christine Condra who job share the Secretarial Assistant role.

Byrne, the junior minister for Drugs and Health Promotion, is now employing her niece Nina Turner as a parliamentary assistant, and her daughter Clare as a secretarial assistant.

Spoken out

The salary of a secretarial assistant is between €23,180 and €44,726 and can be split into two part-time positions while a driver can earn from €32,000 to €34,699.

Although the politicians are not breaking any rules, previous Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Opposition leader Micheal Martin have in the past spoken out against the practice of deputies hiring relatives.

Michael Ring, promoted to Minister for Rural Affairs, employs daughter Suzanne McGreal who, he has pointed out in official papers, was first appointed in 2005.

Other ministers who hired relatives are new Diaspora Minister Ciaran Cannon, Research and Development Minister John Halligan, the new Minister of Sport Brendan Griffin, and Andrew Doyle, Minister for Food, Forestry and Horticulture.

Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail employs his sister as secretarial assistant.

In the Seanad, Denis O’Donovan gave a job to his wife Eileen Griffin, who is a personal assistant.

And Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher hired nephew Peter Logue as a driver.

Between them, the family members are earning up to €1.35million a year from working for the 30 TDs and two senators.

Perry’s neighbour and former constituency adversary, Fianna Fáil’s Eamon Scanlon continues to employ his daughter Lisa Anne Scanlon as parliamentary assistant.

Perry, who has put his financial woes behind him when late last year the Commercial Court struck out the claim for €2.47m against him and his wife, recently declared his intention to re-enter the the political ring, however it is unsure whether he will contest the national or local elections.

Whichever he decides he can rest in the knowledge that it is the norm now to employ any family member he chooses.

Who's employing who?

REGINA DOHERTY (FG), brother Andrew is secretarial assistant.

HELEN McENTEE (FG), aunt Eileen Clarke McDermott and cousin Christine Condra, share the secretarial assistant role working 50 per cent/50 per cent.

CATHERINE BYRNE (FG), niece Nina Turner as parliamentary assistant and daughter Clare as secretarial assistant.

MICHAEL RING (FG), daughter Suzanne McGreal as parliamentary assistant.

CIARAN CANNON (FG), wife Niamh Lawless as secretarial assistant.

JOHN HALLIGAN (Ind), daughter Aoife Marks as secretarial assistant.

BRENDAN GRIFFIN (FG), cousin Tommy as parliamentary asst and wife Roisin as part-time secretarial assistant.

ANDREW DOYLE (FG), sister Eithne is employed as part-time parliamentary assistant.

SEAN KYNE (FG), brother-in-law Tom McDonagh as a civilian driver.

KATE O’CONNELL (FG), sister Theresa Newman is parliamentary assistant.

DARA MURPHY (FG), wife Tanya Ainscough is part-time secretarial assistant.

PETER FITZPATRICK (FG), hired daughter Grace Fitzpatrick as secretarial assistant

LISA CHAMBERS (FF), sister Ciara Chambers as parliamentary assistant.

BERNARD DURKAN (FG), son Tim as secretarial assistant.

EAMON SCANLON (FF), daughter Lisa Anne Scanlon as parliamentary assistant.

MARIA BAILEY (FG), dad John Bailey is part-time parliamentary assistant.

WILLIE PENROSE (Lab), brother John Penrose as parliamentary assistant.

SEAN SHERLOCK (Lab), sister Una Willis as secretarial assistant.

SEAN FLEMING (FF), wife Mary Fleming as part-time parliamentary assistant.

MICHAEL COLLINS (Ind), brother John Collins is part-time secretarial assistant.

MARTIN HEYDON (FG), sister Rosemary is parliamentary assistant.

MATTIE McGRATH (Ind), daughter Triona O’Flynn and niece Kathy McGrath share the parliamentary assistant job.

SEAN BARRETT (FG), daughter Jaci Power is parliamentary assistant.

JOHN McGUINNESS (FF), son Andrew as part-time secretarial assistant.

TIMMY DOOLEY (FF), wife Emer is his secretarial assistant.

SEAN O FEARGHAIL (FF), sister Deirdre Morrisroe as secretarial assistant.


DENIS O’DONOVAN (FF), wife Eileen Griffin as personal assistant.

PAT ‘THE COPE’ GALLAGHER (FF), nephew Peter Logue as civilian driver.