Updated: 30/07/12 : 18:13:30Printable Version
Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Health Marc Mac Sharry has hit out at the Government for appointing the new head of the HSE behind closed doors, instead of openly advertising the role.
The Health Minister James Reilly last week named Tony O’Brien, the Chief Operating Officer at the Special Delivery Unit, as the new Director General of the HSE.
Senator Mac Sharry raised concerns that such a senior public service role was given to an ‘insider’ and was not open to competition.
“There is no question that Tony O’Brien is an extremely well qualified and capable health professional. I wish him every success in his new role,” the Sligo Senator said.
“However, it is disgraceful that one of the most important managerial roles in the public service was filled in such a secretive manner. The health service is in crisis with an ever-increasing deficit. It was crucial that an independent, transparent appointment process was carried out in order to restore confidence in the service. The Oireachtas Health Committee would have been an ideal body to oversee the appointment.
“Instead Minister Reilly chose to pick an insider behind closed doors, without absolutely no transparency in the process. Was there even an interview for the role? The Minister is already stacking the Special Delivery Unit with his own political appointments. He now looks set to hand-pick the entire new Health Service Directorate.
“Only last week at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte called for open competition in senior appointments. Just a day later, his colleague promoted an insider to one of the most important and senior roles in the public service. This is typical of the increasing arrogance of this Government.
“Despite the Minister’s team of advisors costing more than a million euro, he’s failing to provide any leadership in the health service. We’re now facing severe cuts to frontline services in Sligo and across the country to tackle a projected deficit of up to €500 million this year.”
Senator Mac Sharry also called on Minister Reilly to clarify if his Labour colleagues were consulted in advance of the appointment.
“Given the increasingly dysfunctional relationship between the three health ministers, we must also ask whether Ministers Shortall and Lynch were even asked for their opinion about this appointment and whether they expressed any concerns about the process.”