Gogarty: 'We're not a bunch of hippies'

THE decades-old tradition of successive governments appointing party hacks to state bodies is set to come to an end. The Green Party intends to press ahead with a commitment secured in the Revised Programme for Government last autumn.

The programme agreed last October stated: "We will introduce on a legislative basis a more open and transparent system for appointments to public bodies. The legislation will outline a procedure for the publication of all vacancies likely to occur, invite applications from the general public and, from the responses, create a panel of suitable persons for consideration of appointment.

"The legislation will also specify numbers of persons to be appointed by a minister and will facilitate the appropriate Oireachtas Committees to make nominations to the panel."

Confirming his party's plans, Dublin Mid-West TD Paul Gogarty told the Sunday Tribune: "Up to recently the narrative was that the Greens were only propping Fianna Fáil up in government. But that has changed now. We have shown that we are not just a bunch of hippies as we are getting constructive and creative policies through that will help the country going down the line."

A key Green strategist added that various ideas and options on the 'jobs for the boys' legislation are being thrashed out. The new legislation is expected to give the Oireachtas more power in appointing people to state boards, which will diminish the current party-political nature of appointments.

Citizens will be able to apply for positions on state boards and there will be interviews and selection panels put in place. Under the current 'jobs for the boys' system – which the Greens themselves have taken full advantage of since coming to power – there are people sitting on state boards who have no qualifications or skills that relate to their given board. The new legislation will strive to address this situation whereby "applicants will need to have the skills set to match the board".