Under pressure: Shane Ross
STEP up or step away is the message to Transport Minister Shane Ross from Limerick TD Niall Collins.
Deputy Collins has accused the minister of failing to do his job and appoint directors to vacancies on the Shannon Foynes Port Company board.
“If he is not prepared to carry out his duties and responsibilities, why doesn’t he resign and let some other minister do the job?” Deputy Collins declared.
Instead, he said, Minister Ross is “completely fixated about his campaign on judicial appointments.”
Deputy Collins warned that vacancies on the Shannon Foynes Port Company board were putting the company at risk of not having a quorum and being “unable to conduct meetings in a legal sense”.
While this is not the case at present, he said, it was his information that it might shortly be the case.
“Given that Foynes is one of the largest ports in the country, a Tier One port and such an important economic driver for Limerick and the Mid-West, I find it unacceptable that the Minister is treating us in Limerick like this.”
“It is another example of the Dublin versus rural divide,” he continued.
“He thinks political appointment of people is wrong,” Deputy Collins added but pointed out that the Minister is obliged in law to make these appointments, as recommended by the Public Appointments Service.
“He is failing abjectly to carry out his legal duties,” he said.
The Fianna Fail TD pointed out that he had discovered through a parliamentary question that there is “a raft of vacancies” on all stage agencies under the remit of Minister Ross. Commercial, semi-state agencies are suffering under Minister Ross’s watch, he claimed. “He can’t take any decision at all in relation to addressing the gaps and vacancies at board level.”
“What is going on? These are agencies of state with obligations under company law and many other headings but they find themselves with corporate structures being fundamentally undermined by the inaction of the Minister, Deputy Shane Ross.
“He has stated applications are with the Public Appointments Service,” Deputy Collins said.
A spokesman for the Shannon Foynes Port Company confirmed that there is at present a quorum in place for the board.