The Irish State’s Board of Equalisation is a panel of representatives appointed by the Government to review any economic policy proposal submitted by the Irish Government.
The panel consists of five members appointed by Ministers of Finance, State Administration and Health.
This is the group that has been the source of controversy in recent days after it was revealed that one of the members was a director of a company that has an interest in the sale of land to developers for public infrastructure.
The Board has been criticised by the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee for not taking any action to protect the interests of taxpayers, who are being forced to foot the bill for the work.
A spokesperson for the OSC has said the group will continue to work in partnership with Government on improving the delivery of public services.
The spokesperson said that, while the decision to appoint the members to the board was “unprecedented”, they will continue their work in this area.
However, some have called for the appointment of a second group of independent experts to review the Board’s decisions.
This was announced in a letter from Minister of State for Finance Michael Noonan last week.
The letter states that “in addition to its other statutory powers, the Board of OSC also has other powers of oversight to ensure that the Board acts in the best interests of the Irish taxpayer, as well as the Irish economy.”
The letter also states that the board will meet twice a year to review proposed policy changes.
It states that this will allow the board to examine the impact on the Irish Budget and ensure that changes are in the public interest.
In addition to the chairperson of the Board, the Minister has also said that the panel will be chaired by the Minister’s Chief of Staff, and the Minister will appoint the other two members.
However the letter does not indicate who these members will be.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said in a statement to the Irish Times that he welcomed the appointment.
“The appointment of independent members of the board of equalisation will enable the board’s work to be further reviewed and improved,” he said.
“I am looking forward to having these important meetings, which will provide a much-needed input into how the board works and the Government’s policies, to ensure the best possible outcome for the State and our citizens.”
Minister for Health Simon Harris said that he was “pleased” that the appointment was made.
“We recognise the importance of the role that the Irish State plays in our economy and our economy is one of our main objectives,” he added.
“In the short term, this appointment will provide more clarity about how the government will be involved in the management of the economy.”
Minister of Social Protection Frances Fitzgerald said that it was important that the appointments were made.
She said that she had already had discussions with the Government and that they would continue to meet to discuss the matters.
“It is essential that the work of the boards be carried out in the most transparent way possible, to deliver a sound and effective approach to economic management,” she said.
In a statement, Minister for Jobs Seán Sherlock said that there would be no further comment until the appointments are confirmed by the Taoiseach.
The Government has said that they will not be commenting further until the final decision is made.
In his statement, the Taoisay said that Minister Sherlock’s decision to remove the board members from the decision making body would not be a departure from the Government.
“No one has been removed from the board as a result of this announcement,” he continued.
“This is not a political decision, it is a fundamental one, and a decision that has the backing of the Government, the State, the people and the businesses of the country.”
The Government’s decision on the appointment will be published on Thursday afternoon.
It is likely to be followed by a series of cabinet ministers meeting in the coming days to discuss changes to the appointments process.