February 24, 2016
Enda Kenny is under serious pressure after he admitted his role in the John McNulty appointment debacle.
Enda Kenny is under serious pressure after he admitted his role in the John McNulty appointment to the Seanad debacle.

GENERAL ELECTION: Tim Jackson has blasted the Taoiseach’s handling of the McNulty affair, labelling the debacle as another nail in the coffin of Fine Gael’s credibility.

He has also called on Minister Joe McHugh to clarify whether Mr McNulty has been part of his election team whilst canvassing.

Tim Jackson told Donegal Daily, “This issue goes to the heart of all that’s wrong in Irish politics.

It’s a clear case of cronyism within a party that promised a “political revolution” at the last election but has utterly failed to deliver.

“The Taoiseach has denied being part of this affair for two years, and only now has he decided to finally tell the truth.”

“I hope that Minister McHugh will answer questions around McNulty’s alleged involvement in his own election campaign.

It’s time for Fine Gael to become a lot more transparent in their affairs, lest they continue to be part of this ongoing problem of political favours and privilege.”

“I’m meeting people every day on the doorsteps who are fed up of Irish politics, and they’re ready to send that message to the Government on Friday.

“It beggars belief that the Taoiseach didn’t tell the truth when this scandal broke, and it simply indicates that voters really cannot trust a politician’s word.”

“Throughout my campaign I have emphasised that there is a crisis of leadership in Ireland, causing dysfunction at every level of society.

“We now have an opportunity to elect TDs who will speak and act for the good of Donegal and Ireland.”



 February 23, 2016
Mr Kenny and Mr McNulty
Mr Kenny and Mr McNulty

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has finally admitted it was him who appointed John McNulty to a State board in an effort to get him into the Seanad – after two years of denying any role in it.

During a debate on cronyism on the RTE Prime Time debate Mr Kenny admitted he appointed Kilcar Fine Gael member John McNulty to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma).

Mr McNulty was the Fine Gael candidate for the Seanad by-election and was appointed to the board by Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys to ensure his election.

Mr Kenny confirmed during the debate he had made the decision, one he “shouldn’t have made”.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams interjected to tell presenter Miriam O’Callaghan that she had a ‘scoop’ –  saying this was the first time the Taoiseach admitted his role in the process.

Up until now, said Mr Adams, Mr Kenny had denied any role in the process.

The incident has been described by commentators as an incredible blunder by the Taoiseach.

Mr McNulty later resigned after just 13 days on the board amid a cronyism crisis for Fine Gael. He did not attend a single meeting, enter the company’s Dublin headquarters or meet the IMMA directors.

But his extremely short tenure on IMMA gave him the necessary credentials to apply for the Seanad through the Education and Cultural panel.

Tonight Mr Kenny said on the RTE debate that “it has all changed now”.

There was no clear winner in tonight’s TV debate with all leaders under pressure at times.




 October 10, 2014

John McNulty has lost out in the vote for a vacant Seanad seat.

John McNulty
John McNulty

The Kilcar man said he would resign the seat even if he won it.

It follows his controversial nomination to stand for the vacant post.

Gerard Craughwell (Ind) defeating McNulty (FG) on the second count.

We will bring you more on this story shortly.



 October 9, 2014
Kilcar man and FG Seanad candidate John McNulty.
Kilcar man and FG Seanad candidate John McNulty.

DONEGAL businessman John McNulty has said tonight that he will resign if he is elected to the Seanad tomorrow.

He told Fine Gael party officials that he will not take up his seat.

Mr McNulty, co-manager of his local senior football club Kilcar, has been caught up in a political storm not of his own making.

Earlier today former junior minister Dinny McGinley blamed party headquarters for the fiasco which began when he was appointed to a museums quango just days before being nominated to run in the Seanad by-election.

Ironically many Government TDs had already voted for him before the political crisis erupted.

So Mr McNulty may still be elected to the seat.

However a source close to the Kilcar man told us tonight: “John has assured Fine Gael that he will immediately resign his seat if he is elected.

“John’s an honourable man and won’t want to see a new political crisis engulf the party.”





A leading actor on RTE’s hit TV show Love/Hate has slammed the nomination of Donegal businessman John McNulty to the Seanad.

Eric O'Byrne (left) who has slammed the nomination of John McNulty along with Tom Vaughan Lawlor who plays Nidge in Love/Hate. Image courtesy of RTE.
Brian O’Byrne (left) who has slammed the nomination of John McNulty along with Tom Vaughan Lawlor who plays Nidge in Love/Hate. Image courtesy of RTE.

Brían F O’Byrne, who plays gangster Nidge’s rival Garda Det Insp Mick Moynihan, described the controversy as “depressing and enraging.”

The actor said he was sure Kilcar Mr McNulty was a good businessman and community activist and “probably a great guy.”

But claimed he would not have been suitable for the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma) or the Seanad.

“This man, a failed political candidate, was being given a Seanad seat because nobody gives a shit about the Seanad, and nobody cares about wasting money. Because this is how things work,” he said in an email to the Irish Times.

And he strongly criticised the Government and Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys on the eve of the Seanad byelection poll closure.

“I believe Minister Humphreys should be relieved of her duties. How she expects people in the artistic community to think she has their interests at heart would seem impossible,” he said.

Mr O’Byrne acknowledged that as he does not live in Ireland he did not know “the feeling on the ground”, but said any positive press in the US about Ireland was usually related to the arts.

“The arts and Irish artists are paraded to the world as ambassadors, and yet the new Minister seems to have shown utter disrespect to a community, I would imagine she would like to meet, for the first time it seems, on positive terms,” he said.

“Everything is ridiculous in McNultygate…I find the whole affair depressing and enraging.”

Mr O’Byrne, who is from Mullagh in Co Cavan and lives in the US, has starred in the film Million Dollar Baby, directed by Clint Eastwood, and numerous Broadway productions.

“Heather Humphreys should just say she was told to appoint someone, she had no idea who he was, it was only going to be for a few days anyway, and they thought no one would notice,” Mr O’Byrne said.

“So if the Government will do this on something as ‘small’, what are they doing on bigger issues?”




 October 4, 2014




 October 2, 2014
John McNulty
John McNulty

HE may have asked people not to vote for him in the Seanad elections, but Donegal businessman John McNulty could still end up as a Senator.

Fine Gael and Labour members of the Government say they will still vote for the Kilcar man even though he has pulled out of the race.

The problem is it is too late to take his name off the ballot paper – and the two other candidates include a member of Sinn Fein and an independent backed by Fianna Fail.

McNulty said he was pulling out of the race – with many members of Fine Gael in particular seeing him as the innocent victim in a larger cock-up by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The quiet-spoken Kilcar man – who helps coach his parish senior football team – may end up in the Seanad if enough people vote for him.

Labour Party Deputy Leader Alan Kelly told RTE today: “I have no intention of voting for a Sinn Fein candidate.

“I have no intention of voting for a candidate supported by Fianna Fail.

“In that scenario, I have no option by definition but to vote for what was the Government candidate. That was always my intention and I have no intention of changing it.”




 September 30, 2014

Donegal businessman John McNulty has withdrawn his candidacy from the upcoming Seanad by-election.

John McNulty
John McNulty

The Kilcar businessman said he informed Taoiseach Enda Kenny that he was withdrawing from the race

Mr Kenny had come under pressure in the last week over the appointment of Mr McNulty to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Mr McNulty, who owns a Mace store in Ballybofey, said he is “asking the Members of the Oireachtas not to vote for me in the upcoming Seanad bye-election. I would like to thank the many members of the Oireachtas who already expressed their support for me.”


The statement continued: “I am taking this decision because I believe that to contest the election would be an ongoing distraction from the critical work of Government which is to secure Ireland’s recovery through job creation and increased investment.


“I believe the Government’s economic plan is working and the country is now moving in the right direction. This is what all members of Government should be focussed on at all times.


“It was my hope, if elected, to support the Government’s work in this regard as a member of the Oireachtas and now it is my intention to seek a Party nomination to contest the next General Election.”



 May 22, 2014

Popular South Donegal Election candidate John McNulty is calling on everyone to get out and use their vote this Friday in the Local and European Elections.  Fine Gael

McNulty said, “If people in Donegal want change and want fresh thinking and strong representation in Donegal County Council, then I encourage them to use their democratic vote wisely.

McNulty who is on the Fine Gael ticket in the Donegal Electoral Area, which has 6 council seats up for grabs, faces stiff competition from sitting Councillor Brendan Byrne (FF) and new Independent CandidateNiamh Kennedy for an ‘in-through’ seat.

He has been very visible on the canvass trail in South Donegal and knows the lie of the political landscape.

McNulty told Donegal Daily, “Of course I am asking everyone I canvass for the number No.1 vote, but I respect that some of the public are voting for the local candidate in their own town, and I am asking them to give me their highest preference possible.  Fine Gael 1

McNulty’s passion for success is very palpable in conversation, and whispers from the South West are saying that an upset could be on the cards, putting further heat on current sitting councillors.

McNulty, who lives in Kilcar and who has a Mace Store in Stranorlar is well known in GAA and Soccer communities,and has put in some strong debate performances recently on Ocean FM and SWDCR FM and competed well against seasoned sitting councillors.

Throughout his campaign he has been very vocal about the future development of KIllybegs as a “Recovery Hub”for south Donegal and has had constructive conversations with Minister Simon Coveney and the Killybegs Fisherman’s Organisation about what could be done to diversify local industry, and create more jobs.

Whilst on the canvass trail McNulty has met local farmers who are looking a change in the Farm Inspection process.

McNulty added, “I am fully supporting farmers and the Donegal IFA , whom I have met, in attaining a “Farmer’s Charter of Rights”.

“Currently when farmers are inspected, any discrepancies in herd number or stock, can mean an immediate effect on farm payments.

“I will lobby and advocate that farmers are given a specific timeframe to get any discrepancies resolved, which is a fairer system, and would be more in line with other Irish statutory inspections.

McNulty has also highlighted SliabhLiag which is a signature point on the Wild Atlantic Way as a priority for him to work on with the local tourism committees if elected.

He also highlighted the urgent works required at the beautiful Silver Strand beach in Malinbeg, which has major safety concerns for locals and visiting tourists.

McNulty concluded, “Any Donegal County Councillor should be approachable, available and dependable for their people in Donegal, and if elected, I will put my heart and soul into working for the people of South Donegal from Glencolmcille to Bundoran.



 April 22, 2014

Fine Gael’s candidate John McNulty has stated that investment in road infrastructure must improve if the Wild Altantic Way is to succeed in South Donegal. 

Public support is continuing to grow for Kilcar man and FG candidate John McNulty.
Public support is continuing to grow for Kilcar man and FG candidate John McNulty.

Public support continues to swell for the popular Kilcar man since he announced his intention to run.

This was evidenced by the huge crowd that turned out in support for McNulty’s election launch over a week ago.

McNulty is keen to tackle many of the issues affecting South Donegal and is adamant that the Wild Atlantic Way project will continue to boost tourism and generate spin off business for the local economy in 2014.

McNulty, pointing to to Bord Failte figures, “Visitors to Donegal in 2013 had increased by 10% on 2012, which is very encouraging.

McNulty also added that he would welcome the same increase in numbers this year, but he insists that we need to make the roads safe going to these beautiful visitor sites.

On the Wild Atlantic Way there are 15 Signature Discovery Points from County Donegal to County Cork.

County Donegal has three of them: Malin Head, Fanad Head and Sliabh Liag.

McNulty told Donegal Daily,  “29% of visitors to Donegal last year visited Sliabh Liag whilst 34% visited Glenveagh National Park.

“There is a well maintained road leading to our National Park from Letterkenny which is safe for visitors.

“In comparison in our area, the road leading from Carrick to Teelin which accommodates thousands of tourists every year to Sliabh Liag is treacherous and is an accident waiting to happen.

“McNulty added, “While road surfacing works have taken place, local residents are gravely concerned that there should be barriers installed to prevent cars from going into the river embankment close to the famous fishing spot “The Salmon Leap”.

“It’s fantastic to have a Wild Atlantic Way Signature point like Sliabh Liag on our door step, but we also have a responsibility to our tourists and to our locals to keep our roads safe.

John McNulty concluded that he has been inundated with concerns from locals from the surrounding towns in relation to expenditure and prioritising of works on certain roads in the local area, and will be taking some time to audit works completed in 2013 in coming days.




 April 15, 2014

Fine Gael’s 2014 local election candidate John McNulty gave a frank and intentional address to a large crowd at his campaign launch in Kilcar on Saturday night. 

John McNulty (FG) told the crowd at his election launch that the housing crisis in Donegal needs to be addressed.
John McNulty (FG) told the crowd at his election launch that the housing crisis in Donegal needs to be addressed.

Support for McNulty has swelled since he announced his intention to run in the forthcoming elections next month.

The support for McNulty was evidenced by the large crowd that gathered at his election launch on Saturday night.

McNulty addressed the crowd passionately, and reiterated his belief that his area has not been represented well over the last number of years.

McNulty told his followers, “There must be more done to address the Social Housing issue in the Donegal Electoral Area.

“Latest CSO figures have Donegal with the second highest figure of vacant houses in the country after Leitrim, with a recorded 28% being vacant.

McNulty added, “With over 200 current applicants for Social Housing in the Donegal Electoral Area, we need to be more creative and open minded in getting solutions for this problem.

The successful launch was opened by John O’ Mahoney T.D, Mayo and was also supported by Dinny McGinley T.D. and other local councillors on the night.




 April 4, 2014

DD LOGO 2YET ANOTHER GAA figure has joined the council election race – with businessman and Kilcar Seniors manager John McNulty to run for Fine Gael

Fine Gael General Secretary, Tom Curran, has said the Party’s Executive Council is “happy to confirm” to Donegal Daily that Mr John McNuty, Stranorlar, has been added to the Party ticket for the Donegal electoral area for the Local Elections to Donegal County Council. 

John McNulty is a businessman and runs the Mace convenience store in Stranorlar. He has also run retail businesses in his native Kilcar, Carrick and Donegal town.

Actively involved in the GAA, John is manager of the Kilcar senior and U-21 football teams. He will join sitting Councillors John Boyle and Barry O’Neill on the Fine Gael ticket in the six-seat Donegal electoral area, which has been increased by one seat since the last local election

Tom Curran said: ‘The Party’s Executive Council believes Fine Gael has put in place an excellent team in the Donegal electoral area. We are very confident of success in the Local Elections in Donegal.”