Former Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy has departed “by mutual agreement” from his top EU role less than nine months before leaving the Dáil.
It has been confirmed Mr Murphy, the former European Affairs Minister left his €150,000-a-year job in the European Commission where he worked as part of Bulgaria’s EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel’s cabinet.
Mr Murphy has told the Irish Examiner he has left the position of special adviser to the EU Commissioner for Innovation to take up what he described as a “new opportunity” at the end of September.
In a statement to the Irish Examiner, Mr Murphy said: “I left the Commissioners cabinet in mid-June and I will leave the directorate (research and innovation) at the end of September to take up a new opportunity.
“I wish Commissioner Gabriel the very best for the future.
His departure was confirmed by Ms Gabriel’s office who said: “By mutual agreement Dara Murphy has left my Cabinet.
“I am very grateful for his contribution from the beginning of the mandate. I wish Dara all the best for the future.”
Mr Murphy became a lightning rod for controversy while remaining as a TD for over two years while working as a campaign director for the European People’s Party.
His resignation as a TD was revealed by the Irish Examiner despite initial denials by the Fine Gael press office in December 2019.
His decision to continue to draw expenses while being “an absentee TD” as described by now Taoiseach Micheál Martin was widely criticised.
The matter was referred to the Dáil’s Ethics committee, but the timing of his resignation as a TD meant he was beyond the scope of any investigation.
On his resignation, he committed to cooperating with any process established but his former party leader Leo Varadkar vented his annoyance when he failed to do so.
“I have asked him to do so. As of now, he’s not willing to do so. I’m annoyed about that, quite frankly, and a lot of people in Fine Gael are annoyed about that too. And I’d be calling on him to reconsider that decision,” Mr Varadkar told the Dáil.
“The one thing I think we need to do is make sure that we don’t have a repeat of the Dara Murphy affair,” Mr Varadkar said.
Speaking during an interview with the Irish Examiner in the run up to the General Election in February, Mr Varadkar said the Murphy affair did hurt his party’s chances in the election.