Thursday 25 April 2019

Jobs minister Bruton defends crony appointments to State boards

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton

Daniel McConnell, Group Political Correspondent

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton has defended the appointment of five Coalition cronies to state boards in the past week by his colleague Phil Hogan.

Mr Hogan, who is expected to be leaving the Department of the Environment in the coming days, has appointed seven former local councillors – five from Fine Gael and two from Labour – to state boards in recent weeks.

Speaking today, Mr Bruton defended the appointments saying that political allegiance should not be a disqualifier from being considered.

Mr Burton said the positions are and should be advertised but sometimes you don’t get the required expertise from those who apply. He said that being a member of a political party is not sufficient grounds to preclude people from consideration.

In the last week alone, Mr Hogan has appointed three former councillors to the board of the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) and a further two to the Western Development Commission (WDC).

The three appointed to the NOAC were Michael “Spike” Nolan a former Fine Gael councillor from Kildare, former Labour Dublin City Councillor Henry Upton who both lost their seats at the recent elections and Offaly Fine Gael councillor Constance Hanniffy. She did not contest the recent election.

Eugene Lavin, a former Fine Councillor and former Mayo Football goalkeeper, and Gerard Mullaney, a former Fine Gael County Councillor from Sligo were appointed to the WDC.

Members of the WDC are entitled to fees of up to €5,985 a year.

Two weeks ago, the Irish Independent revealed that Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte had appointed two coalition cronies to a state board.

Mr Rabbitte came under fire for appointing Labour Party by-election candidate Denis Leonard and former Fine Gael TD John Farrelly on the board of Bord na Mona. Taoiseach Enda Kenny defended the appointments said the individuals involved brought a “wealth of experience” to the table.

Then last weekend, the Irish Independent reported that Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan, who is also facing being axed from Cabinet, appointed former Labour Councillor Jane Dillon Byrne to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).

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