Phone scandal Kerry deputy Michael Healy-Rae has been sacked from the board of the government sponsored Citizen’s Information bureau.
Social Welfare Minister Joan Burton removed Healy-Rae from office just days after he was forced to pay for Premium phone calls to a TV reality show voting line.
The Kerry South member of the Irish parliament was at the centre of the Dial Eireann scandal last week when it emerged that almost $4,000 worth of calls were made from government buildings in support of his bid to win a TV show.
Healy-Rae has pledged to refund all the money paid for the taxpayer although he has denied that either himself or his father Michael, whose seat he won at the last election, made the calls.
Now the debacle, dubbed the Ring of Kerry controversy, has re-surfaced after Minister Burton’s decision to forcibly remove Healy-Rae from the Citizen’s Information Board after he twice refused to quit voluntarily.
Minister Burton’s office have denied that the two events are in any way related.
The Minister maintained the Minister’s presence on the board for the remainder of his three year term would represent a conflict of interests as he can vote on measures which would affect the CIB’s work.
“His membership of the board compromises the effective performance of it. I consider it inappropriate for a board member to be in receipt of remuneration” for being on it as well as getting paid as a TD (deputy).
“In view of this, I will now consider termination of the deputy’s membership of the board invoking the provisions of the Comhairle Act 2000.”
Labor Party Minister Burton has also changed the law so that sitting politicians will be banned in future from being members of a board.