Varadkar says vacancies on State boards to be advertised


THE MINISTER for Transport, Tourism and Sport has announced that all vacancies on State boards in the coming year under his remit will be advertised over the next few weeks.

Among the positions Leo Varadkar intends to advertise is the post of chairman of State transport company Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), which is due to become vacant in three months’ time.

A memorandum for Government on appointments to semi-State bodies is currently being prepared by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin.

Fianna Fáil frontbencher Michael McGrath has called for a list of forthcoming board vacancies to be made available online, with members of the public having the opportunity to apply.

Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh said a public appointments commission should be established  to consider applications for positions on State boards, all of which should be advertised.

Chairman of the Technical Group of Independents and United Left Alliance TDs, Finian McGrath, said: “The days of appointing political hacks should cease immediately.”

Dr Varadkar said yesterday: “The new coalition Government is going to do things very differently to the old government.

“When it comes to public appointments, we are going to open up the system to new people who have never served on a State board and may have something to offer, make it more transparent and involve the Oireachtas more.

“To kick things off, I have directed that all appointments coming in the next 12 months in the transport, tourism and sport brief be advertised for expressions of interest in the coming weeks and I will also be asking the relevant Oireachtas committee to make recommendations.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told Independent TD Shane Ross in the Dáil last week that a memorandum on appointments to semi-State bodies was being prepared by Mr Howlin.

“We will debate that shortly. I am interested in putting an end to the blatant cronyism,” Mr Kenny said.

Mr McGrath said last night: “We need a much more open, transparent system of making appointments to State boards.

“For example, I believe that a list of forthcoming board vacancies should be available online and that persons should have the opportunity of applying.”

“There should also be a publicly available register of all appointments that have been made.”

Mr Ó Snodaigh said: “There should be a public appointments commission where people could send in their applications for appointments to State boards if they have that interest and the necessary expertise.

“These positions should be advertised when they are due to become vacant,” Mr Ó Snodaigh added.

A call for all appointments to State boards to be based on merit and ability was made by Finian McGrath. “The days of appointing political hacks should cease immediately. This country is awash with talented people and they are the ones that should be nominated to these boards.

“In the general election, the people at the doors were telling candidates across all parties as well as Independents that State boards should be filled with people who can lead us out of this economic mess,” the Dublin North Central TD added.