Michael Healy-Rae removed from State agency

Monday 04 July 2011 11.31
Michael Healy-Rae - Controversy over phone votes last week
Michael Healy-Rae - Controversy over phone votes last week

A spokesperson for Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has confirmed that Michael Healy-Rae has been formally removed from the governing body of the Citizens' Information Board.

The letter was sent to him on Friday.

He was formerly removed under the Comhairle Act 2000 which gives the minister power to remove persons from State boards.

Ms Burton had written to Mr Healy Rae twice already asking for him to resign.

The Kerry South TD had been receiving an €5,985 a year for the position on the State quango, in addition to his Dáil salary of around €92,000.

He was appointed to the board of the Citizens' Information Board in April 2009.

His term was due to end on 26 April 2014.

A spokesperson for Ms Burton said the agency is an advisory body for the minister in relation to the development of social policy.

Mr Healy Rae's membership was a conflict of interest because as a TD he can vote on measures that are brought to Government and which may affect or influence the functions of the CIB.

A spokesperson for the minister said it is not yet known when his position will be filled.

All appointments to the board are made by the Minister for Social Protection.

There is a provision in the Comhairle Act 2000 to allow for a member to be removed from the board of the CIB by the minister.

The agency supports the delivery of information through three channels: online, telephone and face-to-face.

It provides information on public services for the general public and information providers.

The Social Welfare and Pensions Act, enacted last week, outlines that from the 1 of July 2011 no elected representative can sit on the Citizens' Information Board.

A spokesperson for the Minister said it was 'coincidental' that Mr Healy Rae was asked to resign in the wake of the controversy surrounding calls made from Leinster House to the RTÉ reality TV show, 'Celebrities Go Wild' in 2007.

Mr Healy Rae last week said he would pay back over €2,600 for the phone calls which was made on his behalf and helped him win the competition.