International Women’s Day #IWD2020

The Equality Commission together with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for NI and WRDA/Reclaim the Agenda hosted an event for International Women’s Day on Thursday. Watch Geraldine McGahey (Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission), Deirdre Hargey (MLA and Communities Minister) and Judena Gillespie (Commissioner for Public Appointments for NI) speak with candour about their careers and journeys into positions of leadership.

What to #20YearRule papers tell us about gender balance in public appointments?

DECLASSIFIED PAPERS from the Department of Economic Development in 1990 show that women accounted for just 1 in 6 of its public appointments. DETI figures for 2015 show that the proportion of female appointees had nearly doubled, and overall OFMdFM figures for 2015 show female appointments at 38%. There is a commitment for gender equality of in-year appointments by 2018, and of all appointees in post by 2021.

Foster and McGuinness used Royal authority to avoid competition for their head new spin doctor

There’s irony in the appointment of my old mucker David Gordon (a once fierce and dogged journalist) comes on foot of what we might have called in the Northern Ireland Water days a ‘single tender action’ (STA). No blame attaches to David of course, but it’s ironic that he was first to break the sacking in 2010 of four expert non-executive directors of Northern Ireland for allowing too many of these STAs. In a large concern like NI Water there’s always …

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In Heaney’s land of “password, handgrip, wink and nod”, we have a problem with public appointments

A unionist friend on Twitter pinged me this the other day after my account auto-tweeted my analysis piece on the possibility (as opposed to the probability) of Fianna Fail coming north for 2019 a couple of days ago… FF the cute hoor party that ushered in the Irish banking collapse ? We seem to have enough if those types already — PJ (@JP46251093) September 14, 2016 Now all stereotypes contain more than just a modicum of truth within them, and recent …

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Public Appointments Commissioner calls for change to “elite” membership of NI Boards

This one seems to have one a bit unnoticed in the media. The BBC reported two weeks ago, the comments of John Keanie the Northern Ireland Public Appointments Commissioner. He complained about a lack of diversity in the membership of the boards of public organisations. According to his publications (here and here) there is a gross over representation of older white men: even worse than their over representation on such organisations in mainland GB. He also suggests that there is …

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Round up on the NAMA/Tughans/Robinson story…

So, what’s been happening on the Project Eagle story today then? So the DFP committee is to investigate the matter, but the chair of that committee thinks it may have to be referred to the Guards and the PSNI. Oh, and Mick Wallace doesn’t see the point. On the Robinson side of the story Gareth (not Gavin who also it seems has links at Tughans) and his PR firm are making themselves unavailable for comment. Next, the Irish News lead …

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How to get nominated for Seanad Eireann (in one easy lesson)…

Interesting insight into just how odd the electoral mechanism to the upper chamber in Dublin is, and just what an insiderly game the business of public appointments is. The Arts Minister, Heather Humphreys, has defended a decision to appoint Fine Gael’s Seanad by-election candidate to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) — without going through the public procurement process. John McNulty, a 37-year-old from Donegal, was appointed on September 12, just days before nominations closed. The …

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Lord Chief Justice: “it is difficult to regard the remarks as anything other than undermining and unhelpful to the administration of justice in Northern Ireland”

Apparently, I haven’t read it, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, MP for Neath, devotes two pages of his recently published memoirs to an attack on Lord Justice Girvan.  More specifically, an attack on the then Mr Justice Girvan for his 2006 High Court ruling that Peter Hain “acted for an improper motive” when appointing Bertha McDougall Interim Victims Commissioner and was “in breach of the Ministerial Code of Practice” and that the then Secretary of State “approve[d] …

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“it is important to restore the public’s confidence in NIW…”

The NI Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee declined the offer to question directly the former chairman of Northern Ireland Water – who, along with the non-executive directors, disputes the circumstances of their dismissal in March.  Meanwhile, as the BBC notes, the NI Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy, has appointed 4 new non-executive directors to the Board of NI Water by “an emergency process”. The new directors are: Mairtin O’Muilleoir, a Belfast businessman and former Sinn Fein councillor; Peter Bunting, …

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