The Finance Minister is defending the appointment of former minister Katherine Zappone to a senior taxpayer-funded role without advertising the position.
Cabinet today agreed to appoint Ms Zappone to the newly-created position of UN Special Envoy for Freedom of Opinion and Expression.
Speaking after the appointment, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said she would be paid a salary equivalent to a “middle-management” position at the Department of Foreign Affairs.
He defended the decision to appoint her without advertising the position.
“I think it is appropriate that there are some roles that if the Government believes are important, they can put those roles in place and then select the individual to do them,” he said.
“The Government believes that Katherine, because of her experience in human rights and the work she has done as a member of Government, is eminently qualified to do the work.”
Ms Zappone previously served as the Government’s special envoy for Ireland’s campaign for election to the UN Security Council.
Minister Donohoe said she has devoted her life to human rights work and has a “deep understanding” of the Government’s position on the causes the role will deal with.
He rejected accusations the appointment amounted to ‘jobs for the boys’ – claiming the former minister would only be known to a few members of Cabinet.
The two-year position will be funded through the department’s existing budget.