I propose to take Questions Nos. 377 and 378 together.
The three statutory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department are the Social Welfare Tribunal, the Citizens Information Board and the Pensions Board. In addition, the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman comes under the remit of the Department but it does not have a Board.
Social Welfare Tribunal
The Social Welfare Tribunal consists of a Chairperson and four ordinary members, two on the nomination of Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and two nominated by Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC). One of the ICTU members of the Tribunal resigned in 2011 and on the nomination of ICTU, a replacement member, Ms Chris Rowland was appointed commencing 24 October 2011.
The vacant position on the Board was not advertised on the Departments website as the positions of the four ordinary members are subject to nomination by ICTU and IBEC.
Citizens Information Board
I have made two appointments to the Citizens Information Board since coming into office.
Mr. Eugene McErlean was appointed with effect from 7 September 2011. This followed a public request for expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced individuals which was advertised on the Department of Social Protection website in July 2011. On foot of this request, 172 applications were received and his appointment was made following a rigorous selection process in accordance with the legislation governing appointments to such a board.
On 1 November 2011, I appointed Ms Fiona Ward as a member and as she is the Department's representative on the board, the vacancy was not publically advertised.
There are currently two vacancies on the Citizens Information Board and appointments will be made following consideration of the responses received following the public request for expressions of interest in July 2011.
I have made no appointments to the Pensions Board since coming into office. There are currently two vacancies on the Pensions Board. No decision has been made on advertising these vacancies, pending the completion of the Critical Review of the amalgamation of the regulatory function of the Pensions Board with the Financial Regulator, under the Public Service Reform programme.
The chairpersons of these Boards were all in place before I came into office in March 2011 and therefore, the matter of newly appointed chairpersons appearing before the relevant Oireachtas Committee has not arisen in the case of bodies operating under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection.