I move amendment No. 1:—
In page 5, Section 11, sub-section (3) after the word "board" in line 27 to insert the words "and shall in the case of a situation of an administrative, inspectorial or clerical character".
This amendment is not as wide in its scope as an amendment which was moved by me in Committee and which was defeated. The amendment moved in Committee contemplated making it compulsory upon the tourist development board to fill any situation in its gift through the machinery of the Local Appointments Commissioners. This amendment aims at having only a certain class of appointments filled through that machinery: that is, appointments of an administrative, inspectorial or clerical character. The amendment, therefore, is less wide in its scope and more definite and particular than the amendment rejected in Committee.
The objections taken in Committee were of two characters, and perhaps I might deal with these first. The Minister, speaking in Committee, as reported in column 329 of the Official Debates, said:
"I am quite prepared to agree that, in the case of this type of organisation as in the case of the Electricity Supply Board, there are certain types of appointment in respect of which the machinery could be used."
I am suggesting that these are the types of appointment for which that machinery could be used. Further on in the same column, the Minister said:
"It will not have them at the beginning. It will merely have a few typists, a few inspectors and general staff, until its activities begin to grow."
Now, I have translated typists, inspectors and general staff, used in the debate, into words suitable for insertion into an Act of Parliament: that is to say, administrative, inspectorial or clerical appointments, and, in the light of what the Minister said in Committee, I feel there will be no objection taken now to having appointments of this type filled by public advertisement or by any machinery which may be suggested to the board by the Local Appointments Commissioners.
May I deal at the outset with another objection that was made? It was said that if the machinery of the Local Appointments Commissioners were used to appoint the staff of the board, the board would, in some way, lose its power to dismiss its staff. That, of course, is not so. The Local Appointments Commissioners, like the Civil Service Commissioners, are merely a recruiting body. They recruit civil servants or the servants of local bodies, but when these servants have been appointed they are dismissible in the ordinary way. This particular tourist board would not be subject to the restrictions which are imposed upon the Executive in dismissing civil servants. A servant appointed through the machinery of the Local Appointments Commissioners may be dismissed the following day or the following week, if found unsuitable. There is nothing in the amendment which will in any way take from the board power over its own servants.
It was stated in Committee that this board was going to be a business concern, and that it could not appoint its staff in any other way but in the way in which an ordinary business appoints its staff. The chairman of an ordinary board of directors invests his own money, or some of his own money, in the company. This particular board will be working with public money, and not with money belonging to the board or to the chairman of the board, nor will the board be responsible to a public meeting of shareholders, as the boards of public companies are. It seems to me, therefore, that since they will have public money, and since that public money will be used to pay the staff, the machinery which offers competition should be used as distinct from appointment merely by the particular circle in which the chairman or members of the board may happen to be moving, without putting it any worse than that. The people who give their children education at the present moment are entitled to a fair run for jobs in the Civil Service—whether of the lower character, or of the higher character in the administrative grades. That applies also to positions under local bodies. There is no reason why the same people should not have a fair run for positions of this kind. What is going to happen however, is that, while we have the principle of "no patronage" applied to entry into the Civil Service, to a very large degree, we are—under this board and under other boards of the same character—creating a service the same as the Civil Service but reserving the positions for patronage and not for competition.
We are spending a good deal of money in granting scholarships from the primary schools to the secondary schools and from the secondary schools to the universities: we are spending a lot of money in grants to schools and in grants to universities. The least we might do, I think, is to allow the people who come out from these schools and those universities a fair run and no favour for posts under this Bill and under Bills like it.
I would like to see, further—though it is not in the present amendment— the names of persons who are appointed under this board published in Iris Oifigiúil so that it will be possible for them to be copied in the usual way into the ordinary newspapers and the public may know exactly who is being appointed.
I can see no difficulty which would prevent the board obtaining its staff through the Appointments Commissioners. The headquarters' staff will be people who will need to have administrative experience and there is no difficulty in the board stating what they want to the Local Appointments Commissioners and getting what they need without any undue delay. The same applies to the inspectors. With regard to the clerical and typing staff, it would be simple and cause no delay whatever to take those people from the lists available to the Civil Service Commission. As is well known, when the Minister for Finance issues a notice regarding examinations for clerical officers and typists and says that there are, say, 30 posts, the number called up is very often increased to 40 or 50. Those who are unsuccessful, however, include a very substantial number of persons who are absolutely first class. There is no doubt that some of these could be taken and given positions under the tourist board, rather than some person who never competed before and whose competency is in doubt. I feel that the objections which were made in Committee to the wider amendment do not apply to this one and I am confident, therefore, that the Minister will accept it.