April 8, 2022
Recruitment of Sec Gen for Department of an Taoiseach and ‘secondment’ of CMO demonstrate a government not in control – Mairéad Farrell TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Public Expenditure & Reform, Mairéad Farrell TD, has said the latest recruitment practices within the Public Service, show that nothing has been learned from the debacle around the recruitment/ remuneration of the Secretary General of the Department of Health.

There was no open competition for the recent position of Secretary General of the Department of an Taoiseach, and the CMO’s “secondment” to Trinity College doesn’t seem to conform to the rules of secondment as set out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
Teachta Farrell said:
“It’s not even six months since the Finance Committee and the PAC issued a joint report which was highly critical of the recruitment and remuneration practices for Senior Officials. This was after the public outrage at the way in which the recruitment and salary setting (€81k increase) for the Secretary General of the Department of Health was handled. It seems as though that detailed report has been for nothing.
“The same old bad practices are at play, and the government are not in control, nor have they made any meaningful efforts to take back the reins. I am very concerned about how the recruitment for the most powerful Civil Servant in the country was handled, and the management of  this so called ‘secondment’.
“As the Department of Public Expenditures rules for secondment set out: “All secondments will be temporary in nature, and in general will be for a period of six months up to a maximum of five years”, but we’ve been told that this will be for an “indefinite” period. This sure doesn’t sound like any secondment I’ve ever heard of.
“Moreover, we heard that the Minister for Health wasn’t even aware of this. It was the Secretary General of the Department of Health who signed off on this. The irony of this, given that it was for that very position which gave rise to the Committee’s report, will be lost on nobody.
“It’s clear that this government have lost control. It’s time for a new oversight body to bring accountability. We know that the Civil Service Accountability Board hasn’t met since 2016, wasn’t properly wound down and seems to just have vanished in a puff of smoke. We now need to begin exploring the options for some kind of regulator to administer some kind of fitness and probity regime. We don’t need any more delays, reviews or other ‘look busy whilst doing nothing’ type approaches.”

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