Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Sean Fleming has today introduced the State Boards (Appointments) Bill 2014 in the Dáil.
The purpose of this Bill is to put the appointment process by Ministers to all State Boards on a statutory basis.
Deputy Fleming commented: “Recently Minister Brendan Howlin announced a new model for dealing with these matters. Yesterday he introduced guidelines which he would request Ministers to implement. I believe these voluntary guidelines will not be satisfactory and the public require a clear statutory process that they can be satisfied will be implemented in full. This is why I have introduced this legislation in the Dáil today.
“I have included a much more extensive schedule of organisations to be included in this legislation than the Minister has under his voluntary guidelines. I am including all public bodies, commercial state companies, non-commercial state companies, and state organisations and members of the Labour Court, An Bord Pleanala, the Competition Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Revenue Commissioners, Revenue Appeals Commissioner, and Regulators.”
All persons to be appointed to State Boards will be required to be processed and considered by the Public Appointments Service (PAS).
Deputy Fleming added: “A Minister or a Government shall only appoint to State Boards people who are recommended by the Public Appointments Service in accordance with the provisions of this Act. The PAS will have to advertise all vacancies by way of a transparent assessment process. They will be required to consider an applicant’s relevant experience and educational qualifications and personal attributes before making a recommendation to a Minister.
“This legislation requires the Minister to ensure that there is gender balance in the appointments to State Boards. Canvassing directly or indirectly by any person either on his or her own behalf or on behalf of a candidate for a position shall not be permitted.
“The essential difference between this legislation and the Government’s proposals is that Fianna Fáil believes that this matter needs to be dealt with on a statutory basis and not by way of guidelines, merely drawn up to assist Ministers. If the government is serious about political reform and commitment to real openness and transparency it will accept this legislation.”