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Government still packing State boards and quangos

THE outgoing Government continues to fill vacancies on State boards in its final days of power.

In the past fortnight, Mary Coughlan, the Minister for Education and Skills, appointed former FF TD Dr Dermot Fitzpatrick to the board of the Dublin Dental Hospital.

Dr Fitzpatrick, who retired from politics in 2007, is the father of Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick, who is running for Fianna Fail in Dublin Central.

He practised as a dentist before switching to general medicine.

The Government reportedly had 300 State appointments to fill last November and appointed 90 over Christmas and a further 48 over 10 days in January.

Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar accused the government of "political cronyism" while business group ISME has called for an independent commission to take State appointments out of the hands of politicians.

Ms Coughlan also appointed south Dublin dentist Alex Creavin to the same board. As Health Minister, she renewed the terms of four members of the Health Insurance Authority for another five years.

She approved the appointments of professionals to the boards of An Bord Altranais and the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council in the past fortnight. They were, respectively, senior health civil servant Chris Fitzgerald, and Robert Morton, an assistant national director of the HSE.

Businessman Paul Duffy and Gerard O'Mahony were appointed to the board of the IDA on February 8 by Enterprise and Employment Minister Mary Hanafin, who took over from Batt O'Keeffe.

Environment Minister John Gormley is expected to announce at least one appointment to An Bord Pleanala before he leaves office.

Mary Harney, the former Health Minister, made a few appointments of her own before retiring last month.

They included John McAdoo to the board of the Medical Council and Joan Ryan to the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Sunday Independent