Press Release

Irish Blood Transfusion Service Ministerial Appointments

Mr Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children, today (1st September 2000) rejected claims by Deputy Gay Mitchell that he had politicised appointments to the Board of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service.

The Minister is responsible for the appointment of only 6 of the 12 member board, the other 6 having been appointed by two previous Ministers, Brian Cowen and Michael Noonan.

Minister Martin said that he had followed the precedent set by previous Ministers, including Deputy Michael Noonan, in appointing persons with a range of skills – medical, scientific, financial and management – in order to secure good governance of the Organisation.

The Minister said that with one exception he did not know the political affiliation, if any, of the members. “All of the members have skills and experience that are an asset to the Board; they have a difficult job to do and I have full confidence in their ability to oversee the operation of the National Blood Transfusion Service”, said the Minister.

“It has never been the practice of any Minister to appoint a representative of each of the Health Boards and I do not consider it necessary to do so” said the Minister.

The Minister went on to point out that members of the board receive no remuneration. “They are all very busy people and they give up their time freely in the public interest. They should be commended for the sense of public duty rather than being dragged by Deputy Mitchell into political controversy. Deputy Mitchell’s allegations are factually incorrect. 6 of the 12 members of the board are based in Dublin. He got his numbers wrong.”