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Only reactionary reforms from Government on state boards appointments - Reilly

22 January, 2015

Sinn Féin’s Seanad Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Senator Kathryn Reilly, has criticised the government’s reactionary reforms on Appointments to State Boards during a Seanad debate today.

Senator Reilly said:

“Appointments to State Boards have been all too often manipulated by governments, past and present, for narrow self-interest and they have become a byword for the type of cronyism that has helped discredit our political system. Since coming to power in 2011, Fine Gael and Labour, who rallied loudly against Fianna Fáil’s insider system of appointments, have participated in the same “parish pump” politics of their predecessors.

 “Last year we had Fine Gael trying to appoint their Seanad candidate John McNulty to the board of IMMA in a cynical attempt to boost his credentials. And we also had Deputy Pat Rabbitte, appointing a Labour Party by-election candidate, Denis Leonard, and former Fine Gael Deputy, John Farrelly, to Bord na Móna just days before a cabinet reshuffle.

“Furthermore, in January 2013 Noel Ward, a former constituency organiser for Deputy Rabbitte, was appointed to the board of Ordnance Survey Ireland by the Communications Minister despite not having applied to the role following a public advertisement by the Department.

Highlighting Sinn Fein’s commitment to political reform, the Cavan-Monaghan Senator stated:

“Sinn Fein believes that a cultural shift is urgently required in order to restore public trust and confidence. As evidence we need only look at the policy whereby all public appointments in the North are made on merit and are both monitored and regulated by a Commissioner for Public Appointments. It is independent from both Government and the Civil Service.

“Sinn Fein has proposed five key recommendations on appointments to State Boards. We aim to limit directorships to five per individual, to attain a 40 per cent minimum gender quota on all boards (progressing to 50% over time), to bring equity to remuneration for directors, transparency in appointments and for there to be a timely provision of accounts, and regular auditing.”

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