Wednesday 24 January 2018

Humphreys defends withholding State board job CVs

Heather Humphreys
Heather Humphreys
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

ARTS Minister Heather Humphreys has stood by her department's decision not to release the CVs of successful candidates for State board jobs.

Ms Humphreys said new Government guidelines did not propose the publication of CVs.

The CVs her department has refused to release include that of John McNulty, the ill-fated former Seanad candidate who Ms Humphreys appointed to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).

The decision is at odds with that of other departments, who have not had any difficulty in releasing CVs under Freedom of Information rules.

However, responding to a parliamentary question from Reform Alliance TD Lucinda Creighton, the minister defended her department's stance.

Ms Humphreys said new guidelines "do not propose the publication of the curricula vitae of the successful candidates".

Ms Creighton said the position adopted by the Department of Arts was "out of kilter" with other Government departments and that it was "bemusing and disappointing" that Ms Humphreys was "not showing leadership on the issue".

Mr McNulty's CV has remained under wraps despite the controversy over his appointment to the IMMA board shortly before he declared his candidacy for last year's Seanad cultural and educational panel by-election.

Ms Humphreys faced claims the appointment was made to boost Mr McNulty's credentials, an accusation she denies.

Mr McNulty subsequently resigned from IMMA and withdrew his Seanad candidacy.

The Arts Minister said she was advised the decision to withhold CVs "took account of all relevant factors, including matters relating to personal information".

She also said she had no role in determining what information was released under the Freedom of Information Act.

However, Ms Creighton said the minister's position was against the spirit of the new guidelines put in place by Public Reform Minister Brendan Howlin in the aftermath of the McNulty controversy.

"It seems now that the guidelines are going to be applied on a very selective basis," she said.

"Heather Humphreys, who was in the eye of the storm over the McNulty affair, should be the first minister to be coming out to show that her department is transparent and that there is nothing to hide.

"So it is really bemusing and disappointing that she is not doing that."

Irish Independent

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