Dáil debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Ceisteanna - Questions

Climate Change Negotiations

1:12 pm

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Leader of the Opposition; Dublin Central, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

During consideration of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act last year Sinn Féin proposed, in an amendment, that appointments to the Climate Change Advisory Council should take the form of a public appointments process, based on the process of appointment to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Our amendment was rejected by the Government.

It cannot be news to the Taoiseach that it is the general expectation that a transparent public appointments process is in place for such appointments. There have been years of reform on this matter and, in fairness, I acknowledge the former Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Brendan Howlin, who gave this matter much attention when he took up office in that Department. The public outrage at the Katherine Zappone appointment was not a result of her lack of qualifications, far from it, rather it was in response to the insider culture it represented.

The Taoiseach can levy all the charges he wants of the Opposition trying to do down the Government, but the reality is he knows full well that the appointment by Ministers of former colleagues, or in the case of the Minister, Deputy Ryan, an active member of his party, is not right. It is the public first and foremost who find this culture offensive, but by actively avoiding an open appointment process Ministers undermine those they appoint regardless of their eminent qualifications.

I ask the Taoiseach to ensure that his Ministers put in place the appropriate public processes for such appointments in the future.


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