Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Thomas Byrne has criticised Minister Richard Bruton after it emerged that a large number of board positions in executive agencies and other bodies under his responsibility remain unfilled. Deputy Byrne says the inaction has led to policy paralysis within the education system.

“Minister Bruton has so far refused to fill vital board positions in key education agencies. This is despite the presence of a significant policy to-do list, particularly in the higher education sector. For example, the Higher Education Authority currently has nine vacancies in executive and board positions.

“The failure to make these appointments means that executive bodies are unable to take important decisions on policy. This has created a policy drift across the whole education sector. These bodies are also unable to sign-off on administration and management reforms which are desperately needed.

“The National Council for Special Education has also been particularly limited as a result of Minister Bruton’s inaction. There are currently 13 board member vacancies at a time when key decisions relating to budget allocations for special needs and resource teaching are waiting to be taken.

“I’m reliably information that there is a short list of candidates who are fully qualified for these positions. These individuals have gone through the application process with the Public Appointments Service and could be appointed immediately. Minister Bruton needs to make these appointments to ensure that decision making in the education sector is no longer impeded.”