My appointment wasn't cronyism
Sir -- Last Sunday, I was, among others, the subject of an article by Shane Ross, which sought to portray all Government appointments to State bodies as jobs for the boys. It is journalism's job to question ministers and hold them accountable for their decisions, but it is unfair to imply that all appointments to State boards, only have one objective: to look after supporters of the party.
In my case, I was appointed to the board of An Bord Bia. I ran for Fine Gael in the election of 2007, unsuccessfully, and so have a connection to the party. My business got into trouble in 2009 and, as a result, I lost control of it. Lost both times, as was also helpfully pointed out by Shane. The thrust of the article was that because I had a previous connection to Fine Gael and because my business got into trouble I was an unsuitable appointment to the board.
It is true that I actively sought an appointment to An Bord Bia. In fact, I lobbied everyone I knew in the party to get it. I have always admired the work it does in Irish food and, as someone who has a passionate interest in the area, I wanted to be part of influencing it for the future. I would have been quite happy to go before an Oireachtas committee, if I had been asked.