Transparency in public appointments
News that the previous Government had granted independent TDs Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae the right to nominate three directors each to state bodies illustrates the urgent need for greater transparency in the making of public appointments.
For far too long the directorships of semi-states and other public bodies have been doled out to party loyalists. Ministers of all parties used the patronage opportunities represented by such appointments to reward political allies and contributors, regardless of their aptitude or suitability for the job.
The 12-day gap between the last general election and the first meeting of the new Dail provided a demonstration of this spoils system at its very worst as Fianna Fail moved to stuff their cronies onto state boards before the new Government took office.