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Written Answers - Appointments to State Boards

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 283.  Deputy Jonathan O’Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton  if he will provide a full breakdown by gender of all appointments to State boards since February 2011; the current status of State boards in relation to the percentage of participation of women and men in each one; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17563/12]

[816]Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I have made the following appointments since taking office in March 2011:


Mr. John Murphy, Secretary General of the Department was appointed to the Board of Forfás with effect from 18th January 2012. The Industrial Development legislation provides that the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) serves on the board of Forfás. Professor Mark Ferguson therefore became a member of the Forfás Board on taking up his position with SFI with effect from 18th January 2012.

National Standards Authority of Ireland Board (NSAI)

Helen Curley, a Principal Officer in my Department, was appointed on 8 July 2011. Ms Curley resigned from the Board on 15 November 2011, as due to an internal transfer she was no longer responsible for the NSAI policy area.

Following an open expression of interest campaign, organised through the Public Appointments Service, Mr. Terry Landers and Ms Barbara O’Leary were appointed to the Board with effect from 06 March 2012.

Competition Authority

While it does not have a typical board structure, the Competition Authority consists of a Chairperson and up to four other members who act as an executive board. The Competition Acts 2002 to 2010 set out the requirements pertaining to appointments to the Authority. I re-appointed Mr. Declan Purcell as Chairperson of the Competition Authority on 1st July 2011 and following his retirement, I subsequently appointed Ms Isolde Goggin as Chairperson following her selection by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) who publicly advertised this position. I appointed Ms Noreen Mackey and Mr. David McFadden as temporary members of the Authority in July 2011 and I subsequently re-appointed both from 1st October. On 9th August 2011, I re-appointed Mr. Ciarán Quigley as a temporary member of the Authority.

Advertisements for three full time members of the Competition Authority were published in June 2011 and following the completion of the PAS selection process for these posts I appointed Mr. Stephen Calkins and Mr. Gerald FitzGerald from December 2011 and Mr. Patrick Kenny from January 2011.

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority

Seven appointments were made to the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA). Mr. Dave Martin and Mr. Kevin O’Donovan were both appointed as nominees of the Prescribed Accountancy Bodies on the 26 May 2011. Ms Sylvia McNeece of the Irish Pension Board, Ms Deirdre Behan of the Revenue Commissioners, Ms Mairead Devine of the Central Bank, Ms Marie Daly of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation and Mr. Sean Hawkshaw of the Irish Association of Investment Managers were all appointed as nominees of the Designated Bodies on the 3rd January 2012. Mr. Conor O’Mahony was appointed as a nominee of the designated bodies on the 2nd March 2012. These appointments were made in compliance with the Companies (Auditing and Accounting) Act 2003.

National Consumer Agency

Ms Isolde Goggin was appointed to the Board of the National Consumer Agency in November 2011. Ms Goggin’s appointment was made in the light of the forthcoming merger [817]of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency and also given her appointment as chairperson of the Competition Authority and Chairperson designate of the new body, of the proposed merger.


Two appointments were made to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB).

One was the re-appointment of Ms Ann Fitzgerald in her capacity as Chief Executive of the National Consumer Agency, which is a statutory position on the Board.

In the case of the second appointment, it was considered appropriate to have a representative from the Department on the Board and Ms Breda Power, Assistant Secretary, was appointed.

Science Foundation Ireland

Dr. Rita Colwell and Professor Martina Newell-McGloughlin were both reappointed to the Board of Science Foundation Ireland with effect from 26th of July 2011. Dr. Colwell and Professor Newell-McGloughlin are internationally renowned scientific experts in the Life Sciences and Biotechnology sectors.

InterTrade Ireland

The InterTradeIreland Board expired on the 12th December 2011.

I nominated four new members to that Board. These members included the following:

Mr. Martin Cronin Chairman;

Mr. Philip Doherty;

Mr. Kevin Norton;

Ms Mairead Sorenson.

These four members were subsequently appointed to the Board on the 13th December, 2011 by the North South ministerial Council. Mr. Philip Doherty did not take up his membership on the Board, and I have recently nominated an alternative Mr. John Corbett. Mr. Corbett’s nomination has not yet been approved by the North South ministerial Council which is not likely to happen until April.

Shannon Development

Mr. Stephen Curran, Principal Officer, was appointed to my Department on 9 January 2012 and was subsequently appointed to the Board of Shannon Development on 23 February 2012. This appointment was a direct replacement of Mr. Bob Keane, Principal Officer, who transferred from the Department to a position in Brussels and subsequently resigned from the Board.


I have recently made the following two appointments to the Board of the IDA:

Alan W. Gray and Mary Campbell. Ms Mary Campbell was identified following consultations with IDA Ireland to nominate a person with relevant international financial experience for my consideration for appointment to the Board.

[818]Appointments to the boards of bodies accountable to my Department are made in accordance with the legislation under which the body was established. The relevant legislative provisions vary from body to body. For example, in certain cases the legislation provides for the appointment of persons nominated by specified stakeholders, such as employer or trade union representative bodies. This can sometimes have a limiting effect on the scope to address gender imbalances. In other cases there may be no such provisions.

Appointments are also made based on the expertise and experience of individuals, the balance of skills and attributes in terms of the overall composition of the board, the gender balance of the board and the availability and commitment of people to serve on the board. So, whilst achieving greater gender balance on State boards is an important goal, the overriding focus is on getting the best people for particular board appointments.

In this respect, the Deputy will be aware that Government policy is to introduce greater transparency in the appointment process. In line with this policy and in an effort to broaden the pool of suitable candidates for consideration for appointment to boards, I sought expressions of interest last summer from suitably qualified people for appointment to the boards of several agencies under my Department’s remit. I made it clear in advertising those vacancies that I would not be restricted to only those who responded to the advert. I intend to launch another expressions of interest campaign in the near future in respect of further vacancies that have arisen or that are due to arise over the coming months. In this respect, my overriding focus is to find the best people for particular board appointments. In making appointments I will have regard to the expertise and experience of individuals, the balance of skills and attributes in terms of the overall composition of the board, the gender balance of the board and the availability and commitment of people to serve on the board.

As part of the Government’s commitment to achieving a minimum of 40 per cent representation of women on State Boards, The Department of Justice and Equality collect data on a six monthly basis for reporting to Government. I have attached the latest Report in respect of the State Boards under the aegis of my Department for the Deputy’s information.

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