Shane Ross

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Cronies and Hacks in Semi-State Appointments

Posted on: March 10th, 2004

Speaking during Private Members’ time in the Seanad, I launched an attack on political cronyism and the system of government appointments to semi-state bodies.

Political parties continually place their political friends with no relevant expertise on the boards of State agencies. Where are the representatives of enterprise on the board of FÁS? Where are the management gurus on the board of An Post?

Suddenly, members of state boards are removed when the company is prepared for sale, as in the case of Eircom. They are good enough for the state sector, but cannot cut the mustard in the commercial world.

Aer Rianta, An Post, and RTÉ are among the worst cases. Prison visiting committees are riddled with political loyalists.

Even universities are not immune. The Board of Trinity College Dublin and the Senate of the National University of Ireland are now afflicted with political nominees. Many of these have political affiliations more obvious than their expertise for the job. A Fianna Fail ex-Junior Minister, and a PD ex-Senator sit on the Senate of N.U.I. How will this improve our universities? Seanad Eireann is not the only Senate populated by political hacks!