Transport Committee members refuse to question Minister Ross on semi-state Code of Practice anomaly – Munster
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has expressed her disappointment that her colleagues on the Transport Committee have decided against questioning Minister Shane Ross on the matter of the length of service of CEOs in semi-State bodies under the remit of the Department of Transport, Tourism, and Sport.
Deputy Munster had last week requested that the matter be on the agenda for this week’s meeting, however this morning committee members were told that a “legal issue” had arisen. All members, other than Deputy Munster, agreed to remove this item from the meeting’s agenda, despite legal advice indicating that the matter was permissible.
Deputy Munster said:
“This is a very serious matter. We have seven CEOs of semi-State companies under Minister Ross's remit that have CEOs in situ for longer than the seven year limit provided for by the government's own Code of Practice. Some of these CEOs have contracts of indefinite duration and have held these positions for over fifteen years.
“I do not agree with my colleagues’ assertion that there are data protection issues here. This is a policy matter regarding a department Code of Practice that appears to be out of kilter with legislation in place covering fixed-term contracts. The information they refer to is already on public record, and was recently reported in the media.
“It is frankly ridiculous that even with legal advice allowing for the matter to be discussed at the meeting, committee members from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael were reluctant to have the issue that was itemised on the agenda raised in a public forum.
“These matters are of public concern and public interest. They are also matters of policy, accountability and transparency. No public representatives should shy away from raising these issues.
“I will be following up on this issue in the coming weeks to seek clarity from Minister Ross. I won't allow this to be buried and I will be seeking for it to be reinstated on the agenda at the next meeting of the Transport Committee.”