Dáil Éireann - Volume 417 - 24 March, 1992

Written Answers. - Teagasc Director Appointment.

375. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his attention has been drawn to the recent appointment by Teagasc of a director designate, some five years prior to the present incumbent achieving normal retirement age; if he has satisfied himself that this appointment complies with normal recruitment criteria; if he considers that such an appointment at this stage is conducive with the principle of affording equality of access to such employment opportunities to all suitable applicants who might be available for appointment when a vacancy arises for this position; if he will outline the basis on which a decision was made to appoint a director designate now; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

376. Mr. Garland asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the board of Teagasc have decided upon the person [1274] to fill the vacancy of director before such a vacancy has arisen and that by doing this they pre-empt the authority of whatever board may be in power when the vacancy actually arises; and if he will make a statement on this matter outlining the action, if any, he intends to take.

Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): I propose to take Questions Nos. 375 and 376 together.

Section 5 of the Agriculture (Research Training and Advice) Act, 1988, provides that the first director of Teagasc shall be appointed and may be removed from office at any time by the Minister for Agriculture and Food. Each subsequent director shall be appointed and may be removed from office at any time by Teagasc with my consent.

In accordance with this procedure, the chairman of the board of Teagasc wrote to me on 4 March 1992 seeking my consent to the appointment of Dr. Liam Downey, whose term of appointment as director of ERAD expires on 31 March 1992, to be the director of Teagasc on the retirement of the current director, Dr. Pierce Ryan. I have given my consent to this proposed appointment. The contractual terms and conditions pertaining to the appointment will be considered by myself and the Minister for Finance at a future date. I can assure the Deputies that the various procedures laid down in the 1988 Act will be complied with.

I must point out to Deputies that at this stage, all that has happened is that Dr. Downey is returning to the body from which he was seconded when he was appointed director of ERAD.