SIPO recommendation on directorships could affect Kerry public representatives

The body which investigates alleged instances of non-compliance by Oireachtas members has suggested TDs and senators should no longer hold directorships.

SIPO, the Standards in Public Office, oversees ethics, electoral, state finance and lobbying legislation.

It released its 2019 report in recent days.

Among SIPO’s functions is the compilation of the Dáil Register of Members’ Interests, which is a list of properties, shares, occupations and directorships of Oireachtas members.

Its 2019 annual report cited the current Code of Conduct for Office Holders, which says office holders should not engage in activities that could be regarded as interfering with the duties of their public office.

However, SIPO considers this inadequate.

It is recommending that the Code of Conduct be amended to provide that all office holders should resign from any directorships on their appointment to office, in order to avoid both real and perceived conflicts of interest with their duties.

This would affect several Kerry public representatives, including Independent deputy Michael Healy-Rae, who has two directorships, and his brother Danny Healy-Rae, who has one directorship.

Kenmare senator Mark Daly would also be affected; he has two directorships declared, with one being a chairperson’s position.

Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin and Fianna Fáil senator Ned O’Sullivan have no directorships, while Sinn Féin TD Pa Daly and Fianna Fáil minister Norma Foley are not required to compile a register of interests until next year.