Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fás: New Board - Same Old System.

This is an article received from Red Rebel.


The new Fás Board appointed by Mary Coughlan shows once again how the system of capitalist cronyism is perpetuated while the public is duped by the Government and the media into believing that reform is taking place. Phrases such as ‘accountability and transparency’ ‘new slimmed down Board’ and ‘root and Branch reform’ abounded throughout media reports which reflected Government spin and led to very little comment or questioning by a compliant media.. Ok so the Board was cut from 17 to 11 members. There will be rolling membership (which I presume means that there will be changes in membership during the lifetime of the Board) allowing the Minister make even more appointments. The new act makes the FÁS Director General accountable to the Oireachtas. It bans directors and staff of FAS from any involvement on matters where they have a conflict and also provides protection for whistleblowers who report serious wrongdoing in the organisation. Sounds lovely but the reality may prove to be a little different. First of all this is just another Government appointed Quango. The Quangos' combined annual budget was €13bn in 2006, according to a Think Tank for Action on Social Change report, and it's sure to be even more now. This is more than the projected total Government budget deficit of 9.4 billion euro for the year.

So lets take a look at who is on the Board. The new Chairman of the Board, Michael Demspey from Wexford is a former senior director of the mulit-national Bristol Myers Squibb, and a board member of BIM . He will have a fellow St. Mary's CBS old boy at the FÁS table as a newly appointed board members is Tony Dempsey, a former Fianna Fáil TD from Wexford. Martin Hogan ( innovation manager at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology) and of course a member of the Green Party is also there as is Donegal Fianna Fail supporter Margaret Sweeney (CEO of Postbank Ireland). This is the same Margaret Sweeney who pocketed a tax-efficient exit package of €529,315 plus pension contributions of €250,000 and her €25,000 Mercedes, bringing the total to over €800,000 from Aer Rianta in 2004 after less than a year in the job. Seán Gallagher, Managing Director, Smarthomes Limited;Board Member, InterTradeIreland and sometime TV personality. Emer Gilvarry Solicitor; Managing Partner, Mason, Hayes and Curran.Ms. Annette Hughes, Director, DKM Economic Consultants; Member, Euroconstruct; Member, National Competitiveness Council.. Séan Ó Longáin, Barrister; Former Chief Executive Officer, County Donegal Vocational Education Committee. r. Brendan J. Murphy, resident, Cork Institute of Technology. The usual Golden Circle of the Cream of the Country. Good at creaming it more like as friends of the establishment.

There is no appointee representing workers, the disabled or the unemployed. The Board is also in breach of the Government’ own Equality Legislation of a minimum of 40% female representation with only 3 women appointed. It is about time these Quangos were done away with and an executive of full time workers appointed from within the organisation under the direct control of a Minister who would have to appear with the executive before an Oireachtas Committee every year to account for their performance.

1 comment:

  1. good post red. It looks like the Fas gravy train rolls on. I like the idea of having these things up before an oireachtas committee. The Oireachtas committees seem to be the only effective aspect of leinster house and even they are stymied. But its the way to go. Reacl accountability is needed.