Sinn Féin spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Mairéad Farrell TD has welcomed the announcement that an independent review panel has been established to examine the processes of recruitment and remuneration for senior public servants.
This review is to be led by Dr Donal de Buitléir and comes in the wake of the Finance Committee and PAC’s joint report, which sharply criticised the way in which the position for Secretary General of the Department of Health was filled and salary set.
The panel has been tasked with evaluating and making recommendations for reform.
Teachta Farrell said:
“I am glad to see that this panel is now up and running, given the numerous recommendations which were contained in the report.
“Dr Donal de Buitléir is very experienced and a great person to lead this. We recently saw that there was no open competition for the position of Secretary General in the Department of an Taoiseach.
“It is important that the best person for the job gets it. With roles of such responsibility, it is essential that the person who brings the most to this role is hired, and therefore it can only be beneficial that everyone with the relevant qualifications can legitimately compete.
“But in order to know who that is, we need for our senior public service appointments to be genuinely open to international and private sector expertise.
“Any organisation, be they in the public sector or private sector, needs fresh thinking, new ideas and different ways of approaching challenges.
“This review also needs to restore confidence in the way that salaries for senior officials are set.
“We cannot have another episode where there is rightful public outrage because of an €81,000 salary increase, for which little evidence for its justification could be provided.
“The way that salaries are set should follow a consistent and transparent process where they are benchmarked against similar positions in other EU jurisdictions.
“This change needs to begin at the top, and I am hoping this independent review will be able to make the recommendations that help achieve that aim.”