A Quango is an acronym (variously spelt out as quasi non-governmental organisation, quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation, and quasi-autonomous national government organisation).
Ireland in 2006 had more than 800 quangos, 482 at national and 350 at local level, with a total of 5,784 individual appointees and a combined annual budget of €13 billion.1
Purpose of This Wiki
The purpose of this wiki site is to keep an up to date track record of all appointments made to boards of identifiable Quangos in Ireland, the purpose of the quango, the yearly expenditure and where this quango duplicates the functions of another. This can be an exhaustive process as:-
All of the quangos have to be identified.
All of the appointments made have to be identified.
All of the Annual Reports have to be found.
All of the pertinent Government Acts or Statutes have to be found.
The use of the term Quango exclusively may be slightly disengenuous, as ths scope of this wiki will include all prescribed public bodies, local authorities, charitable organisation, committee or board in receipt of public exchequer funds which is not governed directly by a Minister or Department. The appointments to boards of these Quangos go through no clear vetting or interviewing procedure and the process seemingly lacks clarity.This engenders cronyism and/or gives rise to the perception of the presence of cronyism in relation to Ministerial Appointments to these boards. In the case of the Republic of Ireland this has led to some major political gaffes including this contribution from former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
Well, you know, all I can say on that, they didn’t and never did they ask me. Em, they were not people that ever tried to get me to do something. I might have appointed somebody but I appointed them because they were friends, em, not because of anything they had given me and you know, and I think they appreciate that these were debts of honour, they gave them to me.2
— Bertie Ahern to Bryan Dobson RTE September 26, 2006
Which seemed to be in direct contradiction to the Codes of Conduct for Office Holders which was formulated by the Standards in Public Office Commission.
Subject to provisions in legislation or other formal requirements for the establishment of Government bodies or the filling of positions, appointments by members of the Government should be made on the basis of merit, taking into account the skills, qualifications and experience of the person to be appointed, as well as any other relevant criteria including, for example, requirements in relation to gender balance.3
— Standards in Public Office Commission, Codes of Conduct, Office Holders