How to get nominated for Seanad Eireann (in one easy lesson)…

Interesting insight into just how odd the electoral mechanism to the upper chamber in Dublin is, and just what an insiderly game the business of public appointments is.

The Arts Minister, Heather Humphreys, has defended a decision to appoint Fine Gael’s Seanad by-election candidate to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) — without going through the public procurement process.

John McNulty, a 37-year-old from Donegal, was appointed on September 12, just days before nominations closed. The appointment was cited in his nomination papers as part of his credentials to take a seat on the Cultural and Education Panel.

Fellow candidate, independent, Gerard Craughwell said this was just an attempt to boost these credentials. A spokesperson for the minister said Mr McNulty was appointed “based on his business experience and involvement in cultural and heritage groups”.

Yes, well, it’s not as though Fine Gael are the only ones playing that game. Still it underlines the need for some form of serious commitment to reform Ireland’s democratic institutions.

Transparency in how public appointments (jobs for the boys and girls) are made might be a useful addition to proper reform of the legislature?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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