John Callinan, the new Secretary General of the Department of Taoiseach, is facing calls to appear before the Oireachtas Committee


The new secretary-general of the Taoiseach Department, John Callinan, is being asked to appear before an Oireachtas committee about his appointment without open competition.

r Callinan will succeed Martin Fraser as the country’s most powerful civil servant with an annual salary of up to €215,998 after an agreement was reached in Cabinet yesterday on the recommendation of the Taoiseach.

The appointment was made without an open selection process. Instead, last month the officers were asked to express their interest in the position in an email to Mr Fraser, along with a brief CV and brief statement of their suitability.

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan said Wednesday it would be “helpful” if Mr Callinan appeared before the Oireachtas Finance Committee, which oversees the Department of the Taoiseach, “so that the public can understand how this important public position was filled.” . .

The Dublin Bay South TD told “He may be the most suitable candidate but top positions in the public and civil service should be advertised rather than arranged by senior officials.”

The appointment has caused unrest among government and opposition backbenchers, with Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, the chair of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, saying it was “further evidence that insiders are in control”.

Sinn Féin has said it will ask the Dáil’s powerful Public Finance Committee to investigate the matter.

Micheál Martin’s spokesman last night defended the appointment, saying it was the Taoiseach’s “prerogative” but they had no details on how many people applied for the position or whether applicants were interviewed.

Mr Callinan has served as Second Secretary General in the Department of the Taoiseach for International, EU and Northern Ireland Departments since 2016.

He played a central role in the Brexit negotiations as the Sherpa of the Taoiseach, or senior EU adviser, on the UK’s protracted exit from the EU.

Having worked closely with five consecutive Taoisigh, the Trinity graduate and former finance and EU official will hold the country’s highest civil service position from May 3, reporting directly to the Taoiseach.

Mr Fraser is leaving the country after 11 years as Secretary General of the Ministry of the Taoiseach to take up the post of Irish Ambassador to the UK in December. John Callinan, the new Secretary General of the Department of Taoiseach, is facing calls to appear before the Oireachtas Committee

Fry Electronics Team

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