McNulty could still win the seat he doesn't want
DESPITE his attempt to drop out of the race, the chances of John McNulty being elected as a senator next week are growing.
Arts Minister Heather Humphreys has so far refused to identify the party official who told her to appoint Mr McNulty to a state board.
She is claiming she is "not at liberty to say".
Just as Taoiseach Enda Kenny was hoping to close the cronyism controversy, Ms Humphreys reignited the affair, saying she would not name the official because it is "a Fine Gael matter".
The focus is now shifting to the Arts Minister who appointed Mr McNulty to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).
The minister made the appointment after his name was given to her by Fine Gael headquarters.
Ms Humphreys said she takes full responsibility for Mr McNulty's appointment and had personally looked at his credentials.
"I received his CV, I looked at it, assessed it and I take full responsibility for appointing him to the board," she said.
Yet when asked what she meant when she had stated previously that valuable lessons had been learned, the minister declined to elaborate any further.
Mr McNulty has asked Coalition TDs and senators not to vote for him.
However, several Fine Gael and Labour members say they have already done so.
Labour deputy leader and Environment Minister Alan Kelly said he is still going to vote for Mr McNulty.
Mr Kelly said he has yet to cast his ballot, but added that he believes in voting and will not be supporting any of the other candidates.
"I have no intention of voting for a Sinn Fein candidate. I have no intention of voting for a candidate supported by Fianna Fail," he said on RTE's News at One.
"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."
Independent TD Mick Wallace said Labour should leave the Coalition.
"People would like Enda's head on a plate and you can deliver that," he said.
Tanaiste Joan Burton insisted her party pushed through a new state board appointment system in response to the row.
The Labour leader said Fianna Fail made hundreds of rushed board appointments on leaving office in 2011.