Sunday 21 January 2018

Pledge on political reform falls short

OBJECTION: Ann Phelan, Labour TD for Carlow-Kilkenny
OBJECTION: Ann Phelan, Labour TD for Carlow-Kilkenny
CONFLICT: John O'Connor, chairman designate of EirGrid

Timmy Dooley

The current Government was elected on a promise of reforming our political institutions to ensure that the executive would not just be accountable to the Dail on legislative matters but also on state appointments. They have failed to deliver on both.

The appointment of the chairperson of EirGrid is probably one of the most important appointments the Minister for Communications is going to make. Let me say from the outset, I believe John O'Connor is a man of the highest integrity. He has had a very successful career in the Department of the Environment. He also had a distinguished career as chair of An Bord Pleanala.

What I am concerned about is the unique knowledge and insight he gained as chairman of An Bord Pleanala. There is a perception among community groups that they are not just working against the planning department of EirGrid in an effort to get balance and fairness, but also against a professional who has gained an unprecedented insight into how decisions are taken in An Bord Pleanala.

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