Friday 23 February 2018

HSE at the centre of nepotism row -- again

More unadvertised posts filled by relatives despite ongoing probe


Nepotism is rampant throughout the Health Service Executive (HSE), as the Sunday Independent has exposed another group of children of senior managers being appointed to jobs which were not advertised.

Three weeks ago, this newspaper revealed that the children of four managers in a Cork office and three children of managers in Limerick were appointed to non-advertised positions despite a national moratorium on recruitment.

This weekend, the Sunday Independent has learned the children of another three senior managers in Dublin were appointed to clerical grade-three positions on a temporary basis to aid in the administration of the Back to School Scheme. However, these people are still in their posts over a year later.

The individuals involved in the Dublin office are: Eoin Tighe, son of regional manager Rita Tighe; Grace Whittle, daughter of superintendent Joseph Whittle; and Mark Mulvihill, son of senior manager Noel Mulvihill.

Health Minister Mary Harney, through her spokesman, said that she was awaiting the findings of a HSE investigation into the charges of nepotism but stressed that it was her view that public-sector norms in terms of recruitment were adhered to strictly.

The HSE confirmed that the roles were filled without external advertisement but in line with existing emergency short-term provisions and following a derogation to the public sector-wide moratorium of staff recruitment.

Fine Gael's Health spokesman James Reilly said there was only one word to describe appointments like this -- nepotism.

"It is utterly intolerable that senior managers in the HSE would see fit to nominate family members to paid positions in the HSE without advertising those positions, in an organisation already struggling for credibility."

He said it was disgraceful and a reflection of the mindset of HSE managers that they would show complete disregard for fairness and transparency by giving family members jobs without any recourse to due process.

Normal HSE recruitment policy dictates that all vacancies are filled by open competition, with posts advertised in national and local media as well as on the HSE website.

None of the 13 temporary positions as grade-three clerical officers in the HSE South region were advertised, while the Limerick posts were only advertised to existing staff.

The "vast majority" of 15 temporary Community Welfare Officers (CWOs) working in Limerick were family members and friends of HSE staff.

Among those to be appointed to jobs, which carry an annual salary of over €29,000, were Rosaleen Walsh, daughter of HSE project officer Ignatius Walsh; Killian O'Sullivan, husband of HSE CWO Geraldine O'Rourke; and Kevin Gaffney, husband of HSE CWO Anne Mulcair.

Among those to obtain jobs in the HSE South area were Orlaith Healy, the daughter of HSE South regional director of operations Pat Healy; Gillian O'Brien, daughter of HSE South assistant national director of human resources Barry O'Brien; Richard Laide, son of HSE South senior finance official Mick Laide; and Mark O'Donovan, son of HSE head of procurement John O'Donovan.

In a statement to the Sunday Independent, the HSE confirmed the jobs were awarded without any external advertisement.

A spokeswoman said: "All staff members working on the Back to School Scheme 2009 in the Dublin area had been interviewed in a competitive process prior to the commencement of this scheme."

The HSE's examination into alleged nepotism in the appointment of relatives of senior managers is ongoing at present, the spokeswoman added.

Sunday Independent

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