DEERING Furious at O’ Connor Appointment as Eirgrid Chief.

20th November, 2013

Carlow Fine Gael TD, Pat Deering, is furious at the appointment of former Bord Pleanála Chairman John O’ Connor to the position of Chairman of Eirgrid. Eirgrid is responsible for the transmission of electricity and is currently involved in the controversial process of trying to erect pylons through County Carlow.

“There are two issues here, firstly there is the perceived conflict of interest, where the former Chair of Bord Pleanála, the same same authority that has the final say regarding permission for these highly contentious pylons, has now been appointed Chair of the company applying for permission. This doesn’t seem right to me, and where as I’m not for a minute questioning his ability or his integrity, it does seem strange and I can see why people are angered by this and why they consider it as a conflict of interest.

“Secondly, Mr O’Connor retired from his position in Bord Pleanála in 2011 with a very generous retirement package. Almost two years ago to the day, in November 2011 I described as ‘extraordinary’ the severance package offered to Mr O’ Connor and other retiring executives in state organisations. Mr O’ Connor received a golden handshake of over €364,000 and an annual pension of €121,539. I was shocked at the time, but I am even more so now.

“I think this sends out the wrong message – to pay such a generous retirement package and then to re employ him such a short time later. He is also Chair of the Pyrite Resolution Board.