Government integrity in tatters following ‘stroke politics’ Zappone appointment – The Rural Independents
Rural Independent TDs claim the current government prioritises insiders for all political appointments and is disgracefully using public money to do so. The hand-picked appointment of former Minister Zappone to the unadvertised cushy UN role, represents a deeply cynical and arrogant development at the last cabinet meeting before the summer break, according to the Rural Independent TDs. Speaking from his Tipperary constituency, the Leader of the group, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath stated: “The decision by the government to appoint former Minister Katherine Zappone to the lucrative Irish delegation to the United Nations, without advertising or interviewing for the role, smacks of political patronage and is an outright abuse of power.” It is incredible, cynical and arrogant that this appointment would occur at the last cabinet meeting before the summer break. Ms Zappone who was rejected by the electorate at the last general election, was clearly selected by the Tánaiste for this intentionally unadvertised position.
“Former Minister Zappone who is a friend and former colleague of the Tánaiste is already entitled to three public service pensions from her respective roles as Senator, TD and Minister. Incredibly, the salary and all travelling expenses of this new highly lucrative position will be fully funded by the Irish taxpayer, despite no competitive recruitment process being in place.” It is highly likely that the overall renumeration and travel package for this new position will be over €200,000. Interestingly, in their 2011 general election manifesto, Fine Gael promised to tackle ‘cronyism and feather bedding completely’; yet, here we are a decade on, and that party is breaking that promise every-single- day. Such actions undermine the entire democratic process. Following the decision to appoint former Minister Zappone, the Taoiseach claimed he was blindsided by the tabling of this appointment memo at the cabinet meeting. However, he utterly failed to act and stop the appointment, despite having the power to do so. In fact, over the last year political cronyism has exploded within the three government parties as large numbers of people with close links to FF, FG and the Greens have been appointed to lucrative state board positions.
These appointments include former party TDs and Senators. Therefore, despite the crocodile tears from Fianna Fail over this appointment, the reality is that they are happy to go along with anything Fine Gael bring forward, so long as they continue to enjoy the trappings of power and the ongoing exploitation of the system to appoint their own political cronies. We believe that all taxpayer funded appointment should be publicly advertised and include a proper recruitment process. The system must be fair and be seen to be fair. It appears that the only way to bring fairness and transparency back into the political system in Ireland is to change this self-serving government.”