Tuesday 25 July 2017

FG fears 'orgy' of appointments to state boards

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

THE Government could engage in an "orgy" of state board appointments before it leaves power, with almost 400 positions due to become vacant.

The filling of state boards has been a source of controversy over the years because the appointments are made directly by ministers and are usually not publicly advertised beforehand.

According to government statistics, there will be at least 379 vacancies on state boards over the next two-and-a-half months.

Fine Gael enterprise spokesman Leo Varadkar said his party wanted a moratorium to prevent the Government engaging in an "orgy" of appointments of cronies and political supporters.

"They could all be the best people for the job, but how would I know, because there is no Oireachtas scrutiny," Mr Varadkar said.

The boards which will have vacancies include Horse Racing Ireland, the Irish Medicines Board, the IDA, the Abbey Theatre and the Competition Authority.

The fees for directors on state board generally range from around €6,000-€15,000, while the chairs get paid salaries of €9,000-€30,000.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe have already indicated their intention to fill the vacancies in the state boards they are responsible for over the coming two-and-a-half months.

Overhaul

Mr Varadkar admitted this would make it more difficult for Fine Gael, which has promised to overhaul the system of appointments to state boards if it gets into power.

Those who have been appointed recently by the Government to state bodies include the daughter of Independent TD Jackie Healy-Rae.

Barrister Rosemary Healy-Rae has been re-appointed to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal for the next three years.

Irish Independent

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