A TD has raised concerns over the appointment of the ‘Just Transition’ commissioner Kieran Mulvey to a new expert group, suggesting that it would detract focus from the role he currently has.

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan said yesterday evening (Monday, April 10) that it was proposed to appoint Mulvey as the chair of a new government expert group that will examine public sector pay and unpaid working hours.

She noted that Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath is due to bring a memo to cabinet this week, apparently to propose Mulvey’s appointment.

“When the Just Transition commissioner was first appointed there was a general sense that this was a welcome signal from government and that it was taking the issue of transition in the Midlands seriously.”

Nolan claimed: “Since then however, we have all come to see the utter failure of the process in terms of protecting communities and generating real employment or in fact any employment.

“The only thing that has been successfully achieved is an undermining of the economic integrity of counties like Offaly,” she added.

Nolan highlighted: “The role of the commissioner is extremely far-reaching in that he is tasked with engaging with all relevant stakeholders, including local community organisations; Bord na Móna; the ESB; the Midlands transition team; local authorities and public representatives; and relevant trade unions and workers’ representatives.

“I feel then that it is only reasonable at this point to raise concerns around Mulvey’s appointment to yet another expert group tasked with dealing with some of the most protracted and complicated pay disputes of the last decade.”

The TD asked: “Does the Midlands really need a part-time commissioner, or does it need a commissioner whose sole focus should be on delivering a genuinely just transition?

“Is a part-time commissioner perhaps an insight into this governments part-time commitment to the Midlands?,” she remarked.

Nolan did highlight Mulvey’s “fine record of public service” in his career.

“Since he has already been tasked with overseeing one of the most seismic economic shifts in the history of the Midlands then it may not be the most appropriate option to appoint him to this new and time demanding role,” she concluded.