Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins has called on the Environment Minister Phil Hogan to confirm if Mr Conor Taaffe, who he has appointed to the Building Regulation Advisory Board, is the same Conor Taaffe of HomeBond, the insurance company at the centre of the pyrite controversy.
The appointment is one of 26 appointments Minister Hogan has made to State Boards over the past year without advertising those positions. Details were confirmed in reply to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Independent TD Michael Healy Rae.
Deputy Collins commented “People will find it astonishing if Minister Hogan has appointed Conor Taaffe of HomeBond to the State’s building regulation watchdog, given the company’s close links to controversy over insurance cover for homes that have been destroyed by pyrite. These homeowners were left high and dry after HomeBond opted out of legal responsibility last September.
“The Pyrite Action Group has this weekend written to Minister Hogan expressing their ‘absolute objection’ to this decision and outlining the anger and disbelief among their members at the news. Minister Hogan owes these homeowners a clear explanation.
“What is even more disturbing is the latest appointments to Building Regulation Advisory Board were done completely under the radar. Minister Hogan did not advertise the positions despite his Government’s promise to publicly advertise all of the available roles on State boards. In fact, Minister Hogan has been forced to confirm this week that since coming into power last year, he has made 26 appointments to State Boards without advertising those positions.
“Fine Gael cynically campaigned on a promise of transparency and openness when it came to State board appointments. Last April Minister of State Brian Hayes told RTE’s Drivetime: ‘We’re going to advertise on line for every single new state board that comes up for reappointment. Those people will be known, they will set out their case and in the great majority of cases they will be appointed then by the government following a recommendation of the Minister.’ The reality has been far from what people had hoped. What we have seen instead is inside deals for political associates and people getting the nod behind closed doors.”