John Perry one of many TDs who has hired family members

Sligo-North Leitrim TD criticised for hiring wife as assistant on salary of up to €49,000


Fine Gael TD John Perry is one of dozens of TDs who have appointed relations to positions during the lifetime of this Dáil.

Mr Perry appointed his wife Marie Mulvey last year as his parliamentary assistant on January 2nd this year.

The TD for Sligo-North Leitrim stepped down as minister of State for small business in July of last year in a Government reshuffle.

His wife Marie began working for him as parliamentary assistant in January this year on a salary of between €38,760 and €49,035, according to RTÉ.

The practice of TDs hiring relations is not encouraged and Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said it should to be done if at all possible. Mr Perry has had financial difficulties in recent years arising from his businesses and property interests in Ballymote, Co Sligo.

Many other TDs have hired family members, usually one of two full-time positions for which they get State funding: parliamentary assistant and secretarial assistance.

Labour Minister of State Seán Sherlock employed his sister Úna Willis as a secretarial assistant based in East Cork. Ms Willis has worked with Mr Sherlock and their late father, Joe, who was a TD for Cork East until 2007.

His colleague Willie Penrose, representing Longford-Westmeath, has employed his brother Johnnie Penrose as his parliamentary assistant, taking him on in 2007.

Family connections

Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett has employed his daughter Jaci, as his parliamentary assistant in the last Dáil term and also in this Dáil. term.

The Fine Gael TD for Kerry South Brendan Griffin hired his wife Róisín as his secretarial assistant and his cousin Tommy as his parliamentary assistant. Mr Griffin decided in 2011 that he would accept only half his TDs salary.

His Fine Gael colleague Andrew Doyle (Wicklow) took on his sister Eithne who job-shared the parliamentary assistant role since summer 2007.

Bernard Durkan, also from Fine Gael, hired his son Tim as an assistant in his Dáil office.

Jack Wall, the Labour Party TD for Kildare South, hired his son Mark, who is also a county councillor, as his parliamentary secretary, a role he filled since 2006.

Kildare North Independent TD Catherine Murphy employed her daughter Yvonne on a temporary basis as a parliamentary assistant. When the TD was made the whip for the technical group, Yvonne worked in that office but members of the technical group made contributions to her salary.

Fianna Fáil TD Colm Keaveney, while still in the Labour Party, hired his wife Deirdre on a temporary basis. At the time, he said at least 27 Oireachtas members had members of their family working for them.

Similarly, South Tipperary Independent TD Mattie McGrath employed his daughter Tríona in the parliamentary assistant role. His niece Kathy was employed as his secretarial assistant.

Kerry Labour Party TD Arthur Spring took on his brother Graham as his parliamentary secretary.

“It was nothing to do with following or not following recommendations. It was about getting the best person to do the job and I’d hire him 10 times over if I could,” he said.

Independent TD Joan Collins’s partner Dermot Connolly was one of two people job-sharing the parliamentary assistant’s role in her office. Mr Connolly is also very involved in Dublin South Central as a political organiser.