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Appointments to State Boards

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 17 April 2018

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Questions (1506)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

1506. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on whether it is a conflict of interest that a person (details supplied) is also a board member of an organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15022/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) is governed by the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 – 2016.  Section 153 of the Act provides that the members of the Board shall be appointed from time to time as occasion requires by the Minister.  The Act requires that Board members shall be persons who, in the Minister’s opinion, have experience in a field of expertise relevant to the Board’s functions.

In accordance with the Government Decision regarding appointments to vacancies on State Boards, with effect from 1 November 2014, such vacancies must be advertised openly on the State Boards portal, www.stateboards.ie, operated by the Public Appointments Service (PAS).

The Government believes that putting in place a system for appointments to State Boards that is open, accessible, rigorous and transparent, will yield additional applications from accomplished, experienced and qualified individuals who wish to make a commitment to public service that might not have previously been identified as available for appointment to State Boards.  One of the core elements of the model agreed by Government is the operation by PAS of an independent, expert, rigorous and transparent system of assessment.

On appointment, RTB Board members are required to sign and adhere to the code of practice for Board members as detailed on the RTB website at the following link:

https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/images/uploads/general/Code_of_Conduct_for_Board_Members_2017.pdf .

As outlined in the Code, the activities of the Board must be conducted in an objective manner. Board members must also comply with the requirements of section 170 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2004 in relation to disclosure of interests and must disclose outside business or employment interests in conflict or in potential conflict with the business of the RTB.  A conflict of interest may arise where a board member’s relationships, interests (including business, professional and/or employment interests) or attitude influences or might be perceived as influencing his/her decision in relation to a matter or being in conflict with the objectives and activities of the Board. Conflicts may arise generally in relation to the Board’s activities or in relation to particular matters that are subject to Board decisions.

Board members must submit all declarations of interests statements required under the provisions of the Ethics in Public Office Acts. Where a Board member has an actual or perceived conflict in relation to a matter to be considered by the Board or by the Director and officers of the RTB, then it is expected that:

- The interest and its nature be disclosed in advance;

- He/she does not influence or seek to influence a decision to be made in relation to the matter;

- He/she absents him/herself from any meeting or part of a meeting at which the conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest is discussed;

- He/she does not vote on any matter in which they have a conflict of interest;

- The disclosure of the interest will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting at which it is considered

I am satisfied the RTB is committed to maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance, in compliance with the Codes of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.

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