THE Government's nominee to take over the job of Ombudsman was at the centre of a row in Wales, after he asked authorities there to give him the power to stop people who made complaints going public with the resulting reports.
Peter Tyndall was last night announced by Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin as the Government's nominee to take over from Emily O'Reilly, who was elected to the role of European Ombudsman in July.
The almost €176,000-a-year job attracted expressions of interests from 34 other candidates including journalists, public relations practitioners, public servants and legal and business professionals.
Mr Tyndall (58) has been the Public Service Ombudsman in Wales since 2008, handling complaints relating to the health service and local government.
The Dubliner, who has lived in Wales for 30 years, will face questioning before an Oireachtas committee before being formally appointed to the job of Ombudsman and Information Commissioner.
Mr Howlin said he was "delighted" to announce Mr Tyndall's nomination, saying during his time in Wales his office "has become regarded as a leading example of ombudsman practice and its approaches have been extensively adopted elsewhere".
But Mr Tyndall, who currently earns between €160,000 and €166,000, came under fire in June after he requested powers from the Welsh government to stop complainants in sensitive cases going public with his reports.
At the time, he argued that the request was prompted by cases where vulnerable people were mentioned in the reports and could be identified "no matter how hard we try to anonymise it".
He maintained he was "absolutely not" trying to silence complainants who were unhappy with his findings.
Mr Tyndall's spokeswoman last night said that the request for more powers would be a matter for his successor in Wales to decide whether or not to pursue.
She said he was not commenting on his nomination as Irish Ombudsman as he first had to discuss arrangements for a successor with the Welsh Assembly.
Responding to the row in Wales, a spokeswoman for Mr Howlin said Mr Tyndall – subject to his appointment being made by the President – "will be working within the legislative framework set down for his Office in Ireland's Ombudsman Act."