The Arts Council has launched an internal review after the mother of one of its departmental heads was awarded a €16,500 grant from the same department for folk and traditional singing initiatives.
Patricia Flynn, a singer from Co Armagh who spends part of her time in Co Donegal, was given the grant last year under the Arts Council's traditional arts section.
The allocation for the Stray Leaf Folk Club and Sliabh Gullion Festival of Traditional Singing was the largest made in its category. Arts Council records show it was made for the Louth County Council region and the project aims to make a digital archive of traditional music and song from south Armagh.
Ms Flynn’s son Paul is the head of traditional arts at the Arts Council and is one of a number of people responsible for assessing initial grant applications under its Deis programme.
The final selections are made by a judging panel. Mr Flynn contributes to the selection of the panel.
The Arts Council said the aim of the grant was to create a "multimedia digital archive in collaboration with Irish Traditional Music Archive, RTÉ and the National Folklore Collection".
Other reasons given were “to present iconic musicians [and] singers in performance” and “to innovatively contextualise the role of community events in traditional music”.
Mr Flynn, who is understood to be on leave, did not respond to queries last night and Ms Flynn did not return calls. A spokesman for the Arts Council said it “is reviewing the circumstances of a Deis funding grant allocation decision made in July 2013”.
The grant was awarded during the second round of Deis grants last July, with 15 successful applications chosen from a total of 20.
The council's assessment panel was made up of three people: Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill, Aidan O'Donnell and Fintan Vallely.