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Real reform of state board appointments needed – McDonald

25 April, 2012 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD


Responding to the Institute of Directors findings that its members believe Government appointments to State boards are not fair or transparent, Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD this afternoon criticised the Government for failing to tackle the insider culture of state board appointments.  

Deputy McDonald said:

“There are no surprises in the findings of the Institute of Directors report. Sinn Féin has long argued for root and branch reform of how State board appointments are made. Political appointments have become the norm and this is simply unacceptable. Not surprisingly Fine Gael and Labour in Government have done little to change this insider culture.

“In advance of the Government’s Budget 2012 announcement Sinn Féin called on the Department of Expenditure and Reform to commit to a considered reform programme of the non-commercial state agency sector incorporating enhanced governance, output measurement, reporting, shared services, a reduction in senior management pay and to consider a possible reduction in staff numbers.

“Last year the Comptroller and Auditor General found that just 31% of non-commercial state agencies complied with a requirement to present draft un-audited annual accounts to their parent department and the Department of Finance no later than two months after the end of their financial year.

“Immediate reforms must include the compilation of a ‘State Agency Database’ of all current commercial and non-commercial state agency board members, their competencies and remuneration. In addition this database could include a list of potential board appointees selected on the basis of their capabilities. Open competition for appointments should become the norm. All data should be made publically available on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s website.

“Full transparency and the matching of required skills to the appropriate board are basic requirements of the state board appointments system. Brendan Howlin keeps talking the talk of reform but is not really walking the walk.”

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