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Sunday 21 January 2018

Ministers 'conflicted' over semi-states

Laura Noonan

DUBLIN Docklands Development Authority chairman Niamh Brennan yesterday launched a stinging attack on how political appointments are made to semi-state boards.

Professor Brennan, who was appointed to the DDDA to clean up the strife-ridden authority, said government ministers were "too conflicted" to make impartial decisions on such appointments.

Speaking at a corporate governance conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin, Prof Brennan also warned that efforts by the Financial Regulators to clean up Ireland's boardrooms may fall short.

Prof Brennan said ministers were "too conflicted" because "the burning obsession of politicians is to be re-elected".

"Is that person appointed because they're going to do a good job for the taxpayer, or because they're a politician's hack?"

Responding, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey admitted there were "obvious conflicts".


But he said when things went wrong in a semi-state politicians were the ones who "get it in the neck".

"Persons of the highest calibre should be appointed but that doesn't mean that no acquaintance of a minister. . . can ever be appointed," he said.

Prof Brennan warned that plans to clean up Ireland's boardrooms may not go far enough. Current rules mean "you can be a basket case and still be a company director and the regulator's plans include no measures for requiring directors to have adequate qualifications".

Irish Independent

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