Taoiseach accused of ‘losing control’ of his own Government after two Green appointments to State roles without open competition
22 hrs ago
THE Taoiseach has been accused of “losing control” of his own Government in allowing two Green appointments to State roles without an open competition in the wake of the Katherine Zappone controversy.
He was attacked by Sinn Féin, but responded by saying that party had made plenty of unqualified appointments to bodies in Northern Ireland.
The row kicked off in the Dáil at lunchtime as Louth Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster told Micheál Martin that Eamon Ryan’s appointments of two people to the Climate Change Advisory Council had been without process.
“He’s a minister in your Government, and you are the Taoiseach. Are you going to keep turning a blind eye?” she asked.
“Are you actually happy that the Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael culture has now rubbed off on the Green Party when it comes to giving plum positions to political friends?”
She claimed Mr Martin was “so desperate to be Taoiseach” that he had lost control of his Government.
The row relates to the appointment of Mr Ryan’s former adviser, Professor Morgan D Bazilian, and a former Green Party candidate, Dr Cara Augustenborg, to the council as Ireland tries to meet its climate change commitments. The roles come with a €10,000 annual recognition payment.
Responding to Ms Munster, Mr Martin said: “I tell you, look at those two appointments and contrast them to the ones that your party has made, just look at it.”
He said Dr Augustenborg was an environmental scientist and a senior fellow in environmental policy at University College Dublin and was “not just an oul’ pal, but someone of substance in the area”.
He added that Prof Bazilian was similarly qualified and was a professor of public policy holding two Master’s degrees and a PhD in energy systems.
This was unlike Sinn Féin appointments in Northern Ireland, he said, as Ms Munster interrupted him: “Where’s the transparency? This is same old, same old. You are turning a blind eye.”
The Taoiseach said: “There is expertise behind those (Green) appointments and they went through the proper format. The contrast is stark.”
Ms Munster said: “There was no open process.”