Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 30 March 2021
Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach
Business of Committee
Members of the committee and the public are aware the joint committee agreed in February to undertake an examination of the processes and procedures for the termination and review of the remuneration of senior executives in the public service arising from the controversy over the appointment of the Secretary General of the Department of Health on an interim basis in advance of a recruitment process to appoint a new Secretary General on a permanent basis. The committee agreed to seek submissions from a number of individuals and bodies, including the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the acting Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the Secretary General to the Government and the acting Secretary General of the Department of Health. The committee also sought submissions from the Public Appointments Service and the Top-Level Appointments Committee, TLAC, among others.
The request for submissions was issued on 5 March, following consultation with committee members and with the Committee of Public Accounts, with responses due by 19 March. To date, only five responses have been received. They are from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the acting Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the Minister for Health, the Public Appointments Service and the Commission for Public Service Appointments. Despite a reminder issued last week, no response has been received from the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Minister for Finance, the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications and for Transport, the Secretary General to the Government, the Department of the Taoiseach, the acting Secretary General of the Department of Health or TLAC. At its private meeting earlier, the joint committee noted its disappointment at the lack of engagement on the part of these senior politicians and civil servants and what it considers a lack of respect shown to the work being undertaken by the committee.
The joint committee intends to issue a formal reminder and request that those concerned formally engage with the committee, show some good example, and give the responses they have been asked for. It is simply not good enough that the work of a committee would be held up by such senior figures in politics and the Civil Service. I encourage them to reply to the reminder as quickly as possible as we intend to move on in detail with the work we have agreed to undertake with the Committee of Public Accounts.