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State Board jobs to be open to public

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar announced he is to open up State Board appointments under his remit to the public.

The Dublin West TD said all vacancies on State Boards for which he has responsibility in the coming year will be advertised shortly.

Among the positions Mr Varadkar intends to publicise is the post of chairman of CIE which is due to become vacant in three months' time.

The Fine Gael deputy -- whose brief also takes in tourism and sport -- said he will advertise vacancies in his department publicly and then allow the relevant Oireachtas Committee to make recommendations on who to appoint.


Mr Varadkar added the final decision will still be made by him as minister, rather than an independent commission.

"I would rather see decisions made in this country by people who are actually elected and people who are accountable to the public and can lose elections, rather than having an independent golden circle of people making all the decisions who are then accountable to no one," he said.

However, Mr Varadkar's announcement came before an official government policy was agreed.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minster Brendan Howlin is currently preparing a memo for Cabinet on the issue.

Mr Varadkar said previously that there are around 6,000 positions on State Boards, with fees for directors ranging from around €6,000 to €15,000.

The chairs usually get paid salaries of €9,000 to €30,000.

Fine Gael and Labour both promised during the election campaign to end the practice of cronyism when it came to State Board appointments.

Mr Varadkar insisted the new Government is going "to do things very differently".

Speaking in the Dail last week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Cabinet will be debating the issue shortly.

"I am interested in putting an end to the blatant cronyism," Mr Kenny added.