Shane Ross

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Transparency and the Semi-States

Posted on: May 27th, 2005

Aer Rianta is a semi-State body that has gone walkabout. Who is in charge? The outgoing board is under threat and is a lame duck. The Minister for Transport is apparently introducing a plan which does not have the support of the Taoiseach. A letter from the leader of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to the Cabinet immediately caused a delay. The plan itself appears to be of dubious business value, but we cannot judge because we have not seen it.

Dublin Airport is in chaos and is not being properly run. If nobody else intends to, it is high time the Seanad brought in the Minister and put him through a question and answer session. This semi-State company is in chaos and is not being governed by anybody.

Another semi-State operation which should cause us a certain amount of alarm is the National Lottery. The National Lottery is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. As a result, it is very difficult to get any information about what is happening.

There is a particular instance which should be examined. While it is difficult to confirm this, apparently it has stopped sellers selling lottery tickets illegally overseas and accepting them for the lottery. This practice went on for approximately 15 years. I tried to investigate the matter but I came up against a brick wall. One cannot get information unless one speaks to the executives involved. Things have gone on behind the scenes which are not clear and which need to be investigated. It is time the matter was either subject to the Freedom of Information Act or there was more transparency from the National Lottery.