Sunday 23 July 2017

Minister demands Olympian be added to board

In limbo: Derval O’Rourke. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
In limbo: Derval O’Rourke. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Former sports minister Michael Ring has written to Shane Ross demanding he appoint an ex-Olympian and a female accountant to the board of Sport Ireland.

Mr Ring personally phoned Derval O'Rourke and Bernie Grey earlier this year to inform them they had been successful in an open competition for board membership.

However, shortly afterwards the outgoing Fine Gael-Labour coalition stalled appointments ahead of the General Election, meaning the two women were never formally approved by Cabinet.

Mr Ring believed this would be a formality once the new government was formed. However, he was moved to the Department of Rural Affairs and replaced in Sport by Mr Ross and junior minister Patrick O'Donovan.

Mr Ross has been refusing to fill as many as 35 vacant board positions because he is unhappy with the interviewing process.

The letter, seen by the Irish Independent, was sent on November 23 and stated that two vacancies became available in November 2015.

"The legislation stipulated that these vacancies must be filled by women, one of whom must be an accountant," the letter claims..

It notes that the Public Appointments Service provided a list of suitable candidates and Mr Ring chose Ms O'Rourke, a former world indoor hurdles champion, and Ms Grey who is an experienced accountant.

Mr Ring notes that neither candidate was known personally to him. "I ask you, therefore, to appoint these two candidates to the board of Sport Ireland," he wrote.

In a statement, Mr Ross said his predecessor as senior minister, Paschal Dohonoe, "did not take any decision regarding the two vacancies".

He added that the question of appointments to the board of Sport Ireland wouldn't be addressed until after he had finalised his consideration "regarding the overall approach for appointments to the boards of State bodies".

Irish Independent

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