Gilmore denies role in wife's posting
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has denied any involvement in the appointment of his wife to the role of policy specialist at the Department of Education.
The Irish Daily Mail reported today that Carol Hanney will take up the position on a salary of €92,000 when Dún Laoghaire VEC, where she is currently chief executive, is disbanded early next year.
Speaking in Brussels today, Mr Gilmore said his wife was being treated equally to other people in the education system who were being redeployed as a result of the Government’s decision to amalgamate the VECs.
“It’s disappointing that some people seem to think that a woman shouldn’t have a job or an independent career,” he told reporters.
“My wife Carol Hanney has worked in the education system for the past 37 years. She was principal of a school. She was principal of a further education college. She has recently been the CEO of a VEC.
“The VECs are being amalgamated and as part of that process some of the CEOs are being redeployed within the education system,” he added.
“She’s being treated in exactly the same way as the other CEOs who are being redeployed.”
A total of 33 VECs are being merged into 16 Education and Training Boards as part of the Government’s reform plan, announced in 2010. Some 19 permanent CEOs are currently employed by the VECs.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Education and Skills said today that under a redeployment scheme agreed with Siptu, CEO’s were appointed to the 16 new bodies on the basis of seniority. The three least senior CEOs had to be redeployed to other positions, which included Ms Hanney.
Dr Padraig Kirk, current CEO of Co Louth VEC is to be reappointed as director of in-service training for teachers on junior cycle reform.
Ted Owens, current CEO of Cork VEC, will be appointed as acting CEO to the Cork Education and Training Board. "None of these positions are political appointments," the spokeswoman said.
However, Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said there were questions to be answered in relation to the appointment of Ms Hanney.
Mr McGrath said people expected good practice when it came to senior public appointments and that there should be an advertised and open competition allowing every interested party a chance to apply for such a role.
This process was particularly important when the wife of a senior Government figure like the Tánaiste was involved, he said.
“The principle is one that the public are very interested in as we want to get away from the politics of cronyism and the politics where people are getting preferment and being given the opportunity to take up positions based on who they are.”