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Libya's Irish health minister defends hiring sister as assistant

Fatima Hamroush – who was based in Ireland before being appointed to the Libyan cabinet – says her sister is fully qualified.

Libya's interim cabinet swears its oath of office last month.
Libya's interim cabinet swears its oath of office last month.
Image: Abdel Magid al-Fergany/AP

LIBYA’S NEW minister for health – an Irish citizen was based in Drogheda until her appointment – has defended employing her sister as an administrative assistant.

Fatima Hamroush, a native Libyan who moved to Ireland in 1996, left her position at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda to take up appointment as Minister for Health in the transitional government two weeks ago.

Hamroush has come under fire, however, after it emerged that she had appointed her sister Ibtissam as an assistant.

In a statement published on her son’s blog, however, Dr Hamroush spoke of her sister’s credentials – and dismissed suggestions that she was appointed on the basis of nepotism.

She said:

My sister is a legal consultant in Libyan courts and has worked in human rights for some time. She is a senior employee in MOH [a hospital] in Benghazi and I trust her loyalty to me and to the country.

She added that her job required assistance from people who knew the Libyan health system, and also someone who “will not tell me she is tired from working 12 hours a day”.

The choice behind all appointments was based on their efficiency and experience and the full knowledge that they are partiotic and different from Gaddafi regime employees.

Hamroush is one of two Irish-based appointees to the Libyan interim cabinet – Dr Fathi al-Akkari, previously of the Institute of Technology Tallaght, is the country’s deputy education minister.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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