Meat lobby group under fire over appointment of top civil servant
New role at MII for former Department of Agriculture assistant secretary
Published 13/05/2015 | 02:30
Concerns have emerged over the appointment of a former Department of Agriculture assistant secretary to chair a lobby group for meat processors.
Despite retiring from his senior civil servant position less than five months ago, Philip Carroll will be heading up a strengthened lobby team for Meat Industry Ireland (MII) which represents such meat companies as the Larry Goodman controlled ABP, Dawn Meats, Kepak, Irish Country Meats and Slaney Foods.
During a long career in the public service, Mr Carroll was responsible for the management of the now disbanded Special Investigation Unit (SIU), which was the subject of a closed Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing just last week.
"It's shocking that such an appointment would be made when we are about to commence hearings in relation to the failed prosecutions carried out by the SIU that cost the State millions," said PAC chairman John McGuinness.
"At the very least, this is poor practice, and shows poor judgement by both Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and Philip Carroll," he said.
Fianna Fail's agriculture spokesman, Éamon Ó Cuív also expressed his concern that the protocols for retiring civil servants were not adhered to during the appointment of Mr Carroll.
The Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour states that retiring civil servants should sit out a 'cooling off' period of at least a year before accepting jobs that "could lead to a conflict of interest".
Legislation has already been passed on making cooling-off periods mandatory for senior public servants, but this will not become law until September.