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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 19 July, 2018
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Ross comes under fire after failing to make one State board appointment since becoming minister

The Transport and Tourism minister has come under fire from opposition politicians.

Image: Leah Farrell

MINISTER SHANE ROSS has defended himself after he came under strong opposition criticism for so far failing to fill any vacant positions on State boards in his time in Government.

Speaking this afternoon on RTÉ’s News at One, the Transport and Tourism minister defended himself after it emerged that he has failed to make any appointments to boards under his remit since he took office over six months ago.

Ross has not filled 36 open vacancies on State boards, including those of Dublin Bus, Irish Rail, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Dublin Airport Authority, despite candidates having been identified for his approval by the Public Appointments Service.

Ross said today that the system for making appointments to State boards was “too much  in the hands of ministers”.

“There has been a series of board appointments sent up to me where there have maybe been 33 names for two positions,” he said.

That is not satisfactory, I can’t make a choice on this.

Ross said that the choice of potential candidates was too broad for a minister to choose from and that he had “put in some very detailed possible reforms” to try to end this practice.

He said the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform would be issuing new guidelines on the matter “within the next few weeks”.

Ross came under fire from lead opposition party Fianna Fáil over the matter, with spokesperson for transport Robert Troy saying he had failed to fulfil his ministerial duties.

“Minister Ross has failed to carry out his Ministerial duties since being appointed to cabinet,” said Troy.

“He has failed to fill a single open board vacancy under his remit and this is putting the operational capability of a number of organisations at risk.”

Troy pointed out that a number of key State transport bodies were without members “at a time when the transport sector is undergoing rapid change and faces significant challenges in the years ahead”.

He also pointed out that the Road Safety Authority has vacancies on its board when “the organisation is attempting to address a sudden spike in road related deaths”.

Speaking today, Ross also defended himself in relation to call that he should have better handled the Luas workers’ dispute which was resolved earlier this year.

Ross said he had no business getting directly involved in the matter as it was a dispute with a private company.

He also defended comments he had earlier made in reference to judicial appointments, in light of criticism from Ireland’s top judge.

Read: The Olympic Council of Ireland is refusing to pay €410,000 to allow Pat Hickey leave Brazil

Read: Ireland’s top judge ‘surprised’ by Shane Ross comments that judiciary will fight change

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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