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Wednesday 26 June 2019

€70,000 cost to find Central Bank boss Makhlouf

Gabriel Makhlouf, formerly New Zealand’s treasury secretary. Photo: Vivek Prakash
Gabriel Makhlouf, formerly New Zealand’s treasury secretary. Photo: Vivek Prakash

Gordon Deegan

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has confirmed the process to appoint Gabriel Makhlouf to the post of Governor of the Central Bank has cost the tax-payer €70,236.

In a written Dáil reply to Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty on the spend, Mr Donohoe said the pay-out by his department includes fees to top "head-hunting" firm Merc Partners and the expenses for a number of candidates and interview panel members.

The cost of the new appointment included a print newspaper advert at a cost of €12,300.

Mr Donohoe said for comparison, the cost of the process to select Governor Philip Lane to the post was €63,748 in 2015 where Merc Partners also led the search.

Mr Donohoe said that in respect of the new appointment it involved a comprehensive search using Merc Partners; a rigorous shortlisting of applicants; psychometric testing of final interview candidates, and a final interview of five candidates. Mr Makhlouf was the recommendation of the independent interview panel to Mr Donohoe, who confirmed the interview panel was made up of secretary general of the Department of Finance as chair of the board, Derek Moran; member of the Central Bank Commission, Patricia Byron; former permanent secretary to HM Treasury, Nick MacPherson and chairwoman of the Policing Authority, Josephine Feehily.

Earlier this week, Labour finance spokeswoman Joan Burton called for the process of appointing Mr Makhlouf to be paused because of controversy. Mr Makhlouf had claimed publicly that New Zealand's treasury systems were hacked, despite advice to his department from the government cyber security bureau that no such hack occurred.

Mr Makhlouf is facing an inquiry during his final weeks as a senior official in New Zealand's finance ministry and as head of Treasury.

It later transpired the Treasury had mistakenly published the information itself, which meant the opposition could access the data through a web search engine without breaching any laws.

Irish Independent

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