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POLITICS & CRONEYISM

The sun may be about to set at last on this particular empire but the Government is making sure its friends and supporters will be well looked after when it eventually leaves office.In a story that has been strangely neglected by the mainstream media until now, The Sunday Independent and The Sunday Business Post both cover the cronyism involved in appointments to state boards.

These appointments are in the gift of the government regardless of expertise or suitability. It appears these positions are not open to interview to find the best candidate and there is little or no transparency.

“The Fianna Fail-led Government is stuffing quangos and state boards with political cronies and insiders in its last weeks of office,” the Sindo reports. “In an unprecedented spree of patronage, ministers have appointed Fianna Fail councillors and supporters to often lucrative part-time boardroom positions.”

The newspaper goes on to list a number of these positions and the lucrative salaries (paid by the hard-pressed taxpayer) they command. For example, Leitrim FF councillor Mary Bohan has joined the board of the Health and Safety Authority, which paid its board members €97,067 in 2009. She was also appointed by Fianna Fail to the Central Fisheries Board.

Donegal FF councillor David Alcorn has been appointed to the National Roads Authority, which paid its directors a total of €98,000 in 2008.

Indeed, ‘tis a great little country – at least for some.

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