Saturday 24 February 2018

Bruton vows to get tough on state board appointees

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

STATE board members appointed by Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton will be told their exact duties -- and threatened with the sack if they don't live up to their responsibilities.

It follows a clampdown on cronyism in appointments by a number of ministers, after revelations that Independent TDs Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae were each given three positions on state boards to hand out to supporters as part of a secret deal struck with former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen for supporting Fianna Fail in government.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Bruton said anybody he appointed would be given a contract setting out what they had to do and threatened to sack them if they didn't live up to their responsibilities.

His colleague, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, is advertising vacancies in the national press on state boards overseen by his department.

Mr Bruton said anybody he puts on a board would be given "a clear letter of appointment, setting out expectations of board members".

"The idea that someone just wanders up from a county council and arrives in on a board -- that is not acceptable. We need to have this professional -- seek the best talent, give them a clear mandate of what is expected of them as board members. I think that will be a significant change," he said.

And Mr Bruton will also warn board members he will remove them if they are not living up to the standards expected.

"If they are not delivering I think you have the right to withdraw their mandate and that is absolutely important. This isn't some type of retirement home for people. You are setting boards to run important agencies and you set an expectation for them," he said.

Mr Bruton said he expected his approach to come in across the Government. However, the rest of the Cabinet are showing no signs of following the example of Mr Varadkar in advertising positions on state boards.

Irish Independent

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