Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly has claimed that the Taoiseach personally met controversial Seanad by-election candidate John McNulty in Sligo on 20 June.

Senator Daly told the Seanad that Enda Kenny was in Sligo for the opening of Lisadell House and "during that visit I believe that Mr McNulty met him with a delegation and the issue of the Seanad by-election was discussed".

The Senator asked Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys if she "could confirm if that meeting took place and if the issue of the by-election was discussed"

He also asked if the minister could confirm "if Mr McNulty was assured, despite the many torturous interviews that were held and the many people that were lobbying for the job, and if at that particular meeting on the 20th of June in Sligo that the Taoiseach promised Mr McNulty the Seanad by-election seat for him".

The Senator added that if that information is not to hand with the minister at this moment in time "that she may able to find that out, which would of course be a concern to all of us if that meeting did take place".

In response to Senator Daly's claims, a government spokesperson said: "The Taoiseach attended Lissadell House on the 20th of June this year where he met and shook hands with many of the hundreds of guests in attendance.

"The first and only time the Taoiseach discussed Mr McNulty's potential Seanad candidacy with him was in early September."