Nepotism still ruling appointments process

In recent days there have been reports of widespread nepotism continuing with Irish political parties. assistants and drivers who are family members. Some of those involved have justified this by citing the involvement of those given the work in electoral work over a number of years.

The Oireachtas spokesman told Joe Duffy today that all those receiving jobs are vetted by an outside HR agency and meet basic competency requirements for the jobs.

At the same time Enda Kenny insists that these are personal rather than party appointments and thus while he disapproves he cannot stop them. Eamon Gilmore appears to have a similar position. In fact it is some of Labour’s so-called younger brighter stars who have employed family. While all of those involved probably have the ability to do the job there is a serious question to be asked about the continuing perception of cronyism and indeed direct patronage in Irish politics.

On a related note it appears that committee chairs have been “informed” who they will be, this is arguably another form of patronage. Allowing the chairs to be elected could have done much to increase the power of the legislature vis a vis the executive.

6 thoughts on “Nepotism still ruling appointments process

  1. Ciarán Cuffe used to hold open interviews for staff, which was quite unusual, but he always ended up with great people. Still, for more personality-based people, I can understand the practice of hiring family/friends to some extent.

    In (hopefully most) cases, they are not simply hiring family members, but instead people who have worked hard on their campaigns, and know the TD’s modus operandi, the constituency issues, and the constituents. Maybe I’m being naive, but I imagine that many of these appoiintments are simply because family members are most familiar with a rep’s constituency operations, and not simply because they’re family.

  2. The response from Kenny from issues that require proper leadership is pathetic.

    Yesterday he made the most mealy mouthed statement on women who were sent with the full knowledge and support of the State to Magdaline Laundries because it suited the State for it to happen and he tried to separate the women into categories, much like Kenneth Clarke in the UK trying to make out there were different types of rape.

    Kenny’s failure to deal with the Magdaline issue, like Ahern and Cowen before him, probably reflects his Catholic mentality – developed in his case in the most backward of rural Irish community’s – you can just imagine what the Church and politicans got away with in places like Castlebar over the last few decades.

    Perhaps a Jewish Minister for Justice won’t be effected by an inferiority complex when it comes to dealing with nuns and priests and won’t let them run rings around him like Ahern and Woods did.

    With regard to lesser issue of cronyism, Kenny defended it by saying it was a personal appointment and it wasn’t a government one. It’s hard to believe this is a man who spent 10 years trying to get into power and when he does it seems there was any plan about what to do then. It is remarkable that Kenny doesn’t seem to know that the rulebook by which politics and senior public servants operate in Ireland needs to be ripped up and rewritten as a matter of urgency. Instead Kenny has placed a bowl of water beside his desk and I’m sure he is usually regularly to wash his hands when any issue that requires proper leadership is required.

    There are plenty of issues in life that are black and white – right or wrong.

    It is wrong that these positions can be filled in secret and the defence that somehow they went through a HR agency is laughable. So how does that work, your brother/sister/husband/wife the TD tells you they have a vacancy and that you need to apply through some agency and funny enough there’s only one applicant for the position who happens to be the TDs brother/sister/husband/wife – you couldn’t make it up.

    This is the ‘new’ government that pays the likes of Mary Harney over €100k in pension while cutting special needs teacher posts or home care for the elderly.

    This is the ‘reforming’ government that pays ministers well over €150k when cutting funding for social projects in the most deprived communities.

    This is the ‘honest’ government led by a party that claimed it would publish audited party accounts but has refused to do so, which allows its elected reps from TDs, Cllr and Sen to claim expenses without providing receipts.

    This is led by a man who claimed accomodation expenses on a property that has no mortgage. Let’s not get started on all the elected reps buying property and offices and renting them to themselves and each other and family/friends while passing on the rent/mortgage cost to the taxpapyer.

    The list is endless and so far not one single reform has tackle any of the abuses that were daily under the last government. Not one. They made great play of going to ban corporate donations and then claim they can’t refused to lower the threshold to zero. Why would they, given Fine Gael has slipped so perfectly into the role occupied by Fianna Fáil for so long – the only surprise is how quickly it has happened.

    • I totally agree “pathetic ” leadership all of us should start preparing for the next election because this can only end one way.

      I despair for a country being led by a flock of sheep. Kenny will turn out to be the leader we thought he would be at least the one I knew he would be. I’m told he looks good in a photo and the ladies love his jaw line but so far all he has done is gone from one publicity stunt to the next. A man of style as in, do I look good in this outfit? As for substance? None whatsoever.

      At least they are wasted no time in setting out their stall, abandoning leadership, election promises and principles all within the first 90 days of attaining office.

      They will say, of course, that they were the best people for the job. What else can they say to the public, other than, we heard you now go and get stuffed you bunch of losers. Obviously they believe we are complete suckers, after all who voted for them? How do they know they are the best people for the job when they never bothered to interview the competition? Sadly, the nepotistic people who appointed them are also not suitable for the jobs as evidenced by the stench of decay.

  3. Yes but these people we elect are a mirror reflection of the vast majority of Irish people. Hasn’t it been said that the Irish mentality hasn’t evolved much from the hard cunning of a 19th century peasant? When you look at members of the previous government you can easily picture as 19th century tenants – drunk, lazy, in awe to the Church and incapable of linking their grinding poverty to the constant birth of children. Bertie Ahern is exactly the type of Irish person who would have conned a widow out of her farm and Cowen is the personification of the lazy Irish man who spends all his wages before giving a thought to putting food on the table – let’s not forget the majority of Irish farmers came out the other side of the famine richer than ever and as usual did so on the back of the misery of others. Not much has changed there in Ireland.

    When you look at the calibre of some of the people elected at the last election you have to fear for the future. Is there anyone involved in politics today who will be spoken of in years to come at their passing in the same way as FitzGerald or Declan Costello- has the public sector ever produced another TK Whitaker?

    So while we need Mr Kenny to provide a better moral example we also need to make the effort to hold him to account – how often do we hear people whinging but they can’t eve nget off their backside to go and vote never mind get involved in any issue. Also, let’s not forget Mr Kenny is the product of a rural Irish catholic upbringing and there is nothing more miserable than growing up in somewhere like Mayo in the grip of a stagnant State and all powerful church so perhaps he is simply incapable of knowing what a right decision is as it’s unlikely a person with a strong moral fibre would have fared well in rural politics in Ireland?

  4. Jane queried my resigned and despairing conclusion “It’s Ireland after all” on another thread. My attempted explanation is, perhaps, appropiate here.

    “When I said it’s Ireland it’s that everyone in a position of power and influence knows everyone else in a similar position. The country is too darned small. Individuals and groups will have interests that conflict; that’s why we have systems of governance to resolve these conflicts. But nobody will take a stand because it could discomfort or disadvantage a friend, a neighbour, a relative – even a family member. It’s all “Tóg bog é an saol; and tógfaidh an saol bog duit”. This is the kind of environment where soft corruption flourishes and it suits those who exercise power and influence perfectly. “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”. Anyone who has the temerity to raise a head over the parapet will get it knocked off pretty promptly – and this discourages all the others. Any conflicts are dealt with behind the scenes and the lack of transparency always and everywhere is to the detriment of consumers and ordinary citizens. But don’t make a fuss. What would people think. You’ll get a name for being awkward and cranky and it won’t do you any good. Not, in general, hugely different from many other societies, but, in some respects, yes, very different – and too darned incestuous – so, yes, it is Ireland after all.”

  5. Des, “Man from the bog, but … …” Looks like it.

    The Mitered did not “run rings around B and my namesake”. The latter two did the spinning but only after asking permission – “how fast may we go?”

    Paul, it used to be that the only persons fit to be eccentric, and were tolerated as such, were the very wealthy and – god help us, university professors.


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