3 top government posts to be filled internally

THE Government has defended its decision not to advertise three top department jobs externally saying the positions can be signed off on by the Cabinet.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the positions were government appointees and therefore did not fall within the remit of a vetting body.

The three secretary general positions were announced internally in departments last week and will not be vetted by any commission or external body. During the election, Fine Gael and Labour pledged to open up the appointment of senior public-sector posts.

The powerful civil servant jobs include the top position of Department of Taoiseach secretary general, held by Dermot McCarthy, which commands a salary of about €214,000. Mr McCarthy is due to step down in the coming weeks.

A second job is another secretary general post in the same department, reporting to the Tánaiste and working with the Government’s Economic Management Council.

The third post is that of secretary general in the new Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

These positions are believed to carry salaries of €180,000 and €191,000 respectively.

A government spokesperson confirmed that all three positions were advertised internally and would not go through the Top Level Appointments Commission.

The spokesman said that while the deadline for internal expressions of interests in the jobs was last night, the ultimate decision on the appointments would be made by the Government.

Mr Gilmore said the positions were government appointees and therefore did not fall within the remit of a vetting body.

But opposition politicians called for the three appointments to be vetted by the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Fianna Fáil’s Sean Fleming said the PAC must be given the role in the interest of “public accountability”.

Meanwhile, both Coalition leaders have warned that unless reforms are carried out under the Croke Park agreement, public servants could face more pay cuts.

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