Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Jonathan O’Brien has accused Government Ministers of blatant cronyism by packing state boards with party political hacks.
Deputy O’Brien said the Government was consistently flouting its own rules on filling publicly-funded appointments to the publicly-funded boards.
Speaking today during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil, DeputyO’Brien told Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte:
“Last week you publicly admitted that the political affiliations of your two appointees to the board of Bord na Mona, had influenced those appointments.
“Meanwhile, your colleague Finance Minister Michael Noonan admitted that his appointment of a long-time Fine Gael activist to the board of the National Management Agency (NAMA) was not made through any public appointment process.
“And earlier this week it was revealed that Minister Deenihan appointed a former Labour councillor and defeated election candidate to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
“In another betrayal of the electorate, Labour Party and Fine Gael Ministers have engaged in blatant cronyism by packing state boards with party political hacks.
“When this Government assumed office we were told that politics would be done in a different way. We were to witness a new era of ‘openness, transparency and accountability’. Citizens were promised no less than a ‘democratic revolution’.
“Instead, what you have delivered is the same stale, old politics of your predecessors.
“It’s not just in the area of ‘jobs for the boys’ on State boards that we can see the ‘old politics’ but also in the way Ministers have favoured their own constituencies for funding and in the way the Government has sought to retain control over the Banking Inquiry by stuffing it with Government TDs and Senators.”
The Sinn Féin TD asked Minister Rabbitte when the Government would cease flouting its own rules on filling publicly-funded appointments to State boards by adhering to the public appointments system.
Speaking later Jonathan O’Brien said:
“The condescension of Pat Rabbitte today in the Dáil chamber is something we have come to expect from someone noted for their arrogance and inflated sense of self-importance.
“However, what this issue exposes is that this arrogance now infects the entire Cabinet. Pat Rabbitte quietly appointed two Coalition cronies to a state board last week in what is widely believed to be his final days as a Cabinet minister.
“But this was a Government decision. The Cabinet had to approve those appointments. Clearly, Fianna Fáil-style governance is alive and well in the Fine Gael/Labour cabinet room.
"In the dying days of the last Fianna Fáil-led government we saw Fianna Fáil packing State boards. They were loudly and rightly criticised at the time by Pat Rabbitte and the Labour Party. Yet here he is packing a State board in what is likely to be one of his final acts as a Minister.
“This unseemly scramble for jobs for the Government’s friends in advance of next week’s Cabinet reshuffle will cause deep anger to hard-pressed families and citizens across this State who are suffering cruel cuts to basic services and social supports as result of this Government’s austerity agenda.”