Monday 24 July 2017

Wanted: one willing citizen to fill Healy-Rae's quango seat

Allison Bray

Allison Bray

WANTED: a suitable candidate to fill the shoes of controversial TD Michael Healy-Rae on a state quango. Bankrupts, ex-convicts and politicians need not apply.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton is seeking applications from the public to fill a non-executive position on the board of the Citizens Information Board (CIB).

The position is open to any qualified citizen, except those who have declared bankruptcy, served time in prison or hold an elected position on a local authority, Oireachtas or European Parliament.

Disqualified company directors are also ruled out.

The position entails advising the Department of Social Protection (DSP) on social policies.

The CIB provides information on various services, including the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).

The post, which runs until April 26, 2014, pays €5,985 a year plus travel and other expenses. The incumbent may be re-appointed for up to five years.

A successful candidate is expected to possess "a strong sense of ethics and integrity", the DSP said. Other qualities include having "a good understanding of what may constitute or be seen as a conflict of interests and acts to avoid or address issues of conflict of interest."

Candidates must also have "an appreciation of the State and the public as key stakeholder", an "understanding of good governance practices" and "a strong commitment on ensuring they add value and positively impact on the organisation".

The ability to communicate "clearly" both orally and in writing and ask "relevant and pertinent questions" are also required, as are the ability to "understand high-level financial data" and have an "appreciation of budgets and good financial management practice".

The post became vacant when the minister formally removed the independent South Kerry TD from the CIB board earlier this month after he twice refused to resign.He was appointed in April 2009.

Votes

Ms Burton's office claimed that it was purely "coincidental" that he was asked to leave after revelations that 3,636 calls were made to a premium-rate telephone line from Leinster House to cast phone votes in favour of the TD when he appeared on the reality TV show 'Celebrities Go Wild', which he won in October 2007.

The son of veteran politician Jackie Healy-Rae denied that he or a representative made them. However, he paid the €2,639 cost of the calls.

Ms Burton insisted the reason he was removed was that elected representatives were no longer eligible to sit on the board under the the Social Welfare and Pensions Act, which precludes elected representatives from membership.

Irish Independent

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