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Minister Quinn and Political Donations


ger12

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Interesting piece today in the Irish Times about Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn's comments at a book launch. Minister Quinn was unhappy that a recent appointment to a State board by him, where the appointee had made a small donation to his election campaign, was seen as perhaps “ergo he has bought his place on the board”. He suggested that the “politically correct” presumption that if you get a political donation “you are inevitably corrupted” should be challenged.

I thought it interesting that Michael Noonan, as Fine Gael leader, banned corporate donations in 2001 as he believed financial support from business to politicians is perceived by the public to have one purpose - securing commercial advantage. Mr Kenny reversed this policy.

Has the pendulum (as Ruairi put it) swung to a certain point and should it be rebalanced to a certain position?

Quinn criticises notion that donations corrupt - Oireachtas News Updates | The Irish Times - Thu, Mar 07, 2013
Quinn appoints five members of public to boards - Irish News, World News & More | The Irish Times - Mon, Mar 04, 2013
State board appointments 'not fair' - RTÉ News
 

Sync

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I don't see why basic abc rules shouldn't apply to politics. If in negotiation for a contract and I "donate" towards the person offering the tender then my compliance people will be all over me and his people should be all over him.

All situations described by Quinn aren't corrupt. They do all carry an inherent appearance of impropriety which should be avoided.
 

ger12

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By not appointing someone who financially donated to his election campaign he would surely have avoided "an inherent appearance of impropriety"?
 

Sync

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Well yes, or(a more realistic option for this sort of incident) a complete return of all donations prior to interviewing for the role.
 

ManUnited

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By not appointing someone who financially donated to his election campaign he would surely have avoided "an inherent appearance of impropriety"?
If you uncovered a secret donation it would have 'an inherent appearance of impropriety'. Do you not think that making donations public information removes it?
 

ger12

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If you uncovered a secret donation it would have 'an inherent appearance of impropriety'. Do you not think that making donations public information removes it?
No. Would e.g. the Ministers appointment have been appointed if they'd never met?
 

Analyzer

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Interesting piece today in the Irish Times about Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn's comments at a book launch. Minister Quinn was unhappy that a recent appointment to a State board by him, where the appointee had made a small donation to his election campaign, was seen as perhaps “ergo he has bought his place on the board”. He suggested that the “politically correct” presumption that if you get a political donation “you are inevitably corrupted” should be challenged.
Yes, Quinn has gone for a novel approach, in taking people head on for having the audacity to assume the first thought that comes to mind.

It is as if Quinn is a victim, in all of this. Poor Ruairi Spin. He was going to appoint somebody to a state job, and then it happened that the appointee happened to donate money to his election.

Fascinating the way that Looper Party HQ assume that people are to be treated like children.

The same mentality as fibbing to get elected.
 

ger12

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Well yes, or(a more realistic option for this sort of incident) a complete return of all donations prior to interviewing for the role.
But he'd already been elected by then, having the advantage of the donation. Surely in this instance it would be proper for any politician to simply not appoint a party member or financial donator?
 

cllr

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Making small donations to Political campaigns is how some people support Politics. In the case of the person refferred to I undestand that he made a donation of E600 fully declared to one RQ campaign a few years ago. Given that Minister Quinn has been an elected Public Rep since 1974and has run in numerous campaigns that had to be paid for I doubt if that donation represented any sort of significant figure. though I guess f you want to find a conspiracy you will always find one where none exists
 

ManUnited

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No. Would e.g. the Ministers appointment have been appointed if they'd never met?
Probably, if he was the best for the job.
It's a tricky one though. You could ban all donations and have the state fund parties, but that is undemocratic.
People have the right to participate in the democratic process any way they can, or want to.For example, I couldn't vote for a candidate in the last election, so I donated a few quid to his campaign fund. Should properly qualified people be excluded from jobs for exercising their democratic rights? Having the information on who donated what seems like a good solution.
 

ger12

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Making small donations to Political campaigns is how some people support Politics. In the case of the person refferred to I undestand that he made a donation of E600 fully declared to one RQ campaign a few years ago. Given that Minister Quinn has been an elected Public Rep since 1974and has run in numerous campaigns that had to be paid for I doubt if that donation represented any sort of significant figure. though I guess f you want to find a conspiracy you will always find one where none exists
Had this man never made a contribution, never having met Minister Quinn, would he have been appointed to this State board?

Oh, and surely every penny counts in every election?
 

ger12

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Probably, if he was the best for the job.
It's a tricky one though. You could ban all donations and have the state fund parties, but that is undemocratic.
People have the right to participate in the democratic process any way they can, or want to.For example, I couldn't vote for a candidate in the last election, so I donated a few quid to his campaign fund. Should properly qualified people be excluded from jobs for exercising their democratic rights? Having the information on who donated what seems like a good solution.
Should all State board appointments be approved by a cross party Oireachtas committee? Or be left to civil servants? Or an outside unit altogether?
 

ManUnited

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Should all State board appointments be approved by a cross party Oireachtas committee? Or be left to civil servants? Or an outside unit altogether?
"In making any board appointments, the Minister will not necessarily be confined to those who make such expressions of interest but will ensure that all of those appointed have the relevant qualifications for the positions. In that respect, the Minister will have regard to the body or agency in question and its particular area of responsibility etc. as well as ensuring that the board members have an appropriate mix of skills and experience in such areas as corporate governance, legal expertise, financial expertise (with particular reference to audit capability and/or project assessment). The Minister may, from time to time, also decide not to fill all existing vacancies.

Persons being proposed for appointment as chairpersons of State Bodies/Agencies may be required to make themselves available to the appropriate Oireachtas committee to discuss the approach which they will take to their role as chairperson and their views about the future contribution of the body or Board in question and, following that discussion, decisions will be taken by the Minister or the Government, as appropriate, to confirm the nominee as chairperson."

Seems reasonable.
 

wombat

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Should all State board appointments be approved by a cross party Oireachtas committee?
They are not that important, most of the state bodies should be closed.
 

ger12

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They are not that important, most of the state bodies should be closed.
So why haven't your chaps taken the steps to do this?
 

ger12

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"In making any board appointments, the Minister will not necessarily be confined to those who make such expressions of interest but will ensure that all of those appointed have the relevant qualifications for the positions. In that respect, the Minister will have regard to the body or agency in question and its particular area of responsibility etc. as well as ensuring that the board members have an appropriate mix of skills and experience in such areas as corporate governance, legal expertise, financial expertise (with particular reference to audit capability and/or project assessment). The Minister may, from time to time, also decide not to fill all existing vacancies.

Persons being proposed for appointment as chairpersons of State Bodies/Agencies may be required to make themselves available to the appropriate Oireachtas committee to discuss the approach which they will take to their role as chairperson and their views about the future contribution of the body or Board in question and, following that discussion, decisions will be taken by the Minister or the Government, as appropriate, to confirm the nominee as chairperson."

Seems reasonable.
How many appointees have been asked to appear before a Oireachtas committee?
 

Hewson

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Interesting piece today in the Irish Times about Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn's comments at a book launch. Minister Quinn was unhappy that a recent appointment to a State board by him, where the appointee had made a small donation to his election campaign, was seen as perhaps “ergo he has bought his place on the board”. He suggested that the “politically correct” presumption that if you get a political donation “you are inevitably corrupted” should be challenged.

I thought it interesting that Michael Noonan, as Fine Gael leader, banned corporate donations in 2001 as he believed financial support from business to politicians is perceived by the public to have one purpose - securing commercial advantage. Mr Kenny reversed this policy.

Has the pendulum (as Ruairi put it) swung to a certain point and should it be rebalanced to a certain position?

Quinn criticises notion that donations corrupt - Oireachtas News Updates | The Irish Times - Thu, Mar 07, 2013
Quinn appoints five members of public to boards - Irish News, World News & More | The Irish Times - Mon, Mar 04, 2013
State board appointments 'not fair' - RTÉ News
Amazing stuff from Quinn. Or maybe not, given his failure to explain discrepancies in his travel expenses claims.

It's really very simple, no matter how politicians try to muddy the waters. Where there's a relationship between a politician and a political appointee there should be no money trail from the latter to the former. Where there is there's compromise.

Though Quinn's attitude is pretty much reflective of . . . eehh, 'New Labour.'
 

ManUnited

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How many appointees have been asked to appear before a Oireachtas committee?
Shouldn't be so hard to find out for yourself, don't be so lazy. If you are trying to construct a plausible conspiracy theory you have to do the ground work.
 
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