Every TD is entitled to make a numberÂ of appointments immediately after their election.Â Under current arrangements, they can hire a secretarial assistant and also a parliamentary assistant.Â There is also an option open to them to hire their parliamentary assistantÂ temporarily instead, althoughÂ very fewÂ choose this.
Not for the first time (nor presumably the last), the list of appointments includes no shortage of examples of family members getting the jobs.
The Sunday Times has done a good job already of teasing out many of these connections.
Their news editor Colin Coyle wrote: “They include Fine Gael’s Peter Fitzpatrick, who employs his daughter Grace, Bernard Durkan (son Tim), Kate O’Connell (sister Theresa Newman), Maria Bailey (father John), Sean Barrett (daughter Jaci), Catherine Byrne (daughter Clare), and Ciaran Cannon (wife Niamh Lawless).
“Among Fianna Fail TDs employing relatives are Brendan Griffin, who employs wife Róisín and his cousin Tommy; John McGuinness (son Andrew); Michael McGrath (brother Seamus); Seán Fleming (wife Mary); and Timmy Dooley (wife Emer).
“Seán Sherlock of Labour employs his sister íšna Willis, while Willie Penrose employs a brother, Johnnie, as his parliamentary assistant.Â The independent TD Michael Healy-Rae, employs his son Jackie Jr, while Mattie McGrath employs a daughter, Tríona.
“Dermot Connolly, the partner of independent Joan Collins, job-shares a role as parliamentary assistant in her office.”
NotÂ included on their list is Andrew Doyle, whose sister Eithne has worked with him since 2007.Â He told me that she is officially employed with him for two days a week but does “a lot more” than that.
He said: “If you’re good enough for the job, you’re good enough for the job. The only question is do they do the job well?”Â He said a blanket ban on hiring family members was “too simplistic”.
Below is an up to date spreadsheet of all the appointments made since the general election. If you happen to spot any other ones that merit further scrutiny, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
There is at least one mistake (since corrected) in the spreadsheet and if you spot further errors, feel free to contact me and I will amend the file, which was provided by the Oireachtas.
I won’t be takingÂ down the listÂ though as I don’t think that transparency would beÂ served by its removal.
You might notice as well that some TDs are not listed – this is because the FOI request was submitted a month ago and is accurate going back to that date so not all employees were finalised.
Further down is the document circulated to TDs on how the appointment process works.