CORK South West Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan has defended employing his two sisters as Oireachtas assistants and said that he was being fully transparent about it.
There are no laws in place forbidding TDs from employing family members, but this common practice has been criticised in the past.
His sister Anne – who was his campaign manager during this year’s General Election – works as his parliamentary assistant, while sister Emer is temporarily his secretarial assistant.
Deputy O’Sullivan said that his priority when the Covid-19 pandemic hit was to put together a team as quickly as possible to respond to the needs of his constituents.
‘Anne is an experienced parliamentary assistant from working in a TD’s office before, and was my campaign manager during my election campaign, and her experience is vast,’ said Deputy O’Sullivan.
‘We took on Emer in the interim and she is a highly qualified solicitor and is brilliant at what she does.’
Deputy O’Sullivan confirmed that Emer is only working as his secretarial assistant until August when he will be looking to fill that position with a non-family member.
Independent TD Michael Collins employs his brother John as a part-time secretarial assistant in Bandon, and employs two part-time parliamentary assistants, as well as one other part- time secretarial assistant.
Meanwhile, Social Democrat TD Holly Cairns has confirmed that neither of her Oireachtas assistants are related to her.
‘Richard Scriven is my parliamentary assistant and Tara Constantine is my secretarial assistant and both work full-time for me,’ said Deputy Cairns.