Dara Murphy set to receive €150,000 salary in Europe

Dáil committee seeking to investigate complaint unable to do so once FG TD resigns

Dara Murphy, then minister of State for Data Protection, in 2017.  File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Dara Murphy, then minister of State for Data Protection, in 2017. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Departing Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy is expected to be paid a salary of €150,000 per annum when he takes up a new position in the cabinet of a European commissioner.

Mr Murphy is set to resign his Dáil seat, possibly later this week, and become the “cabinet expert” for Bulgarian commissioner Mariya Gabriel, who is in charge of the innovation and youth portfolios in the new Commission.

The salary works out at about €12,560 per month, as the role, equivalent to that of a deputy head, is on what is known as grade AD13 of the Commission’s pay scale.

Meanwhile, the Dáil committee asked to investigate a complaint about Mr Murphy’s Dáil attendance record will be unable to do so once the Cork North Central deputy resigns his position.

Fianna Fáil whip Michael Moynihan wrote to the Dáil Committee on Members’ Interests at the weekend asking it to examine whether or not Mr Murphy breached ethics legislation by claiming full allowances, despite being largely absent from Dáil proceedings over the past two years.

The former minister of State has been based in Brussels, where he has had a full-time paid position as the European People’s Party’s director of elections for most of that time.

Vote of confidence

Dara Murphy is expected to be present for the vote of confidence in Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy in the Dáil on Tuesday. However, under the Ethics in Public Office Act, the committee will not have the power to conduct an investigation, as Dara Murphy will shortly not be a member of the Dáil.

The only possibility of an investigation being conducted would involve a more complicated procedure, involving the Standards in Public Office Commission.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar defended Mr Murphy at the weekend. A spokesman said he was not making any other comment on the matter.

However, Minister for Communications Richard Bruton said: “I think a lot of questions have surfaced in the media, and I think they do have to be answered. I think it’s important that the Committee on Members’ Interests investigate this and thrash it out: I think people ultimately have to be accountable for what they do.”

Mr Murphy has been in Leinster House on 24 sitting days out of 70 in the first nine months of 2019, and 42 of the 104 sitting days during the whole of 2018 – the lowest attendance record by a considerable margin.