Shane Ross

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Semi-State Appointments must be Transparent

Posted on: February 8th, 2007

The Minister for Transport has announced the name of the person to be put in charge of the Dublin transportation authority and the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA). During the past 20 years, I have been among a number of Senators who proposed that the House should vet or meet anyone whose name had been put forward to sit on boards or in the chair of a semi-State body.

Regarding this particular appointment, it is strange that someone is good enough for the RPA but not good enough for Aer Lingus. There is an inconsistency that I cannot understand and it should be explained to us. We are entitled to accountability on appointments of this sort and we are not getting it. However, when I tried to get some answers in the Seanad, there were ructions:

Mr Ross: What I find difficult about this appointment is not so much the reason the person appointed left Aer Lingus, but that he was in charge of AIB Bank at a time when afterwards it had to pay——

An Cathaoirleach: It would not be wise to go into the history of the person who was appointed.

Mr. Ross: I am not a wise person.

An Cathaoirleach: It is not advisable to go into the man’s history.

Mr. Ross: Let us just say that AIB Bank was forced to pay a fine of €90 million for a period for much of which this person was in charge. There are questions to be answered about that.