13 September 2009

FÁS Board Members will resign

The chairman of Ireland's national training and employment agency FÁS has said that all its board members will resign in the wake of a report which showed a massive waste of taxpayer money.

Speaking earlier today on the This Week programme on RTÉ Radio 1, Peter McLoone (left) - who is in his day job the Secretary General of IMPACT, Ireland's largest public service trade union - stated there was "no time frame" from either the Taoiseach or the Tánaiste for the appointment of a new board, but that this was something to be clarified early next week.

He emphasised that the present board was only appointed in 2006 and was therefore "not responsible for earlier follies and misbehaviour" inside the agency. However, the board would not stand in the way of change and co-operate completely with the transition.

McLoone defended the board's actions and said it had "dealt with any issues that came before us". He and the whole board would "take responsibility for anything that happened while we were in office".

The move follows strong criticism of wasteful expenditure, including massive overspending on promotion at the agency, specified in detail in a report by John Buckley, Ireland's Comptroller & Auditor General, who investigated FÁS for almost a year. (see my entry of September 10th)

The investigation was ordered last year by the Tánaiste Mary Coughlan (right), who is in her capacity as Ireland's Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment responsible for FÁS.

However, she only acted after the independent Senator Shane Ross (left) had - in a lengthy and painstaking investigation of his own - exposed massive irregularities and waste of taxpayers' money on a colossal scale inside the state agency.

Without courageous and independent people like Shane Ross the truth about FÁS might still be unknown to us and subject to the usual government cover-up and denial.

The Emerald Islander

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