Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

‘That is very, very rare’

January 17th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Equality, Irish Politics

Niall Crowley, former CEO of the Equality Authority has given an interview in today’s Irish Times to Kathy Sheridan.  It says everything some of us knew already – the campaign against Equality and civil and human rights in this country is a very dirty business.

‘…The “storm clouds? had been gathering since September 2007, when the entire 12-member board was replaced. “That is very, very rare . . . Then during 2008, legislation was brought in to increase the size of the board and four new members were brought in, including for the first time, a Departmental official. That was certainly odd. Shortly after that, there was the merger proposal. And shortly after that, a €400,000 budgetary cut.?

In the meantime, the new chairperson of the all-new board, Angela Kerins, managed to swing a brand new stipend for her board members [€9,000 each], from the Department of Finance. Whose idea was that? “It’s the chairperson’s prerogative and the department’s. It certainly emerged as a significant burden for us because of the €400,000 cutback in the same year. The stipends would have added up to at around €115,000 [or around €145,000 when the full 16-member board is paid]. When you compare the sting in that in terms of the spend on Portmarnock, it’s kinda strange . . . ?

He consoles himself with a sense that the “spin hasn’t stuck, that the mainstream media has spotted the spin?. But that figure of €220,000 for PR has stuck, for one. He gives a wintry laugh. “I have no idea where that figure came from. None. We don’t buy in PR support. We do our own.?

And the €100,000 for consultants? “What we do is provide consultant services to small and medium enterprises, to help put in place equality policies. We weren’t engaging them to tell us how to run our business. That’s a different notion of consultants.?

And that soaraway budget, from €378,000 to €5.8 million in just eight years? “They are inaccurate figures. The €378,000 was for setting-up costs. The operational budget for 2000, our first full year, was actually €3.8 million.?

Read the full interview here.

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