Labour Councillor and former Progressive Democrats TD, Mae Sexton has rubbished suggestions this week that her refusal to take up a position as a Director on the board of Pobal could see Longford losing out.
Cllr Sexton was speaking to the Leader after it emerged she was offered the position on the Pobal board last week in a phone call from the Department of the Environment, without receiving prior notification of the appointment.
“I do not believe that it will do Longford one bit of harm by me not being on that board,” she fumed, adding that her opponents would suggest otherwise.
“I got a phone call last week from an official in the department who indicated to me that he was checking out my phone details and the likes and when I asked him why he was doing that, he announced to me that I had been appointed to the board of Pobal.”
Cllr Sexton claims that she knew nothing of the appointment prior to the call and says that she now feels utter disillusionment with the coalition government because of what she describes as “a legacy of cronyism that is still continuing”.
“The day after that call, I rang the department and I told an official there that I would not be taking up the position with Pobal,” the local area representative said. “I honestly believed that when this government took over it would get rid of political patronage and look where we are at now. I look at those appointment to Pobal and I honestly feel that they are blatantly political appointments.”
When asked if her refusal to take up the position would have an adverse effect on Co Longford, the former deputy said: “I believe that Longford is entitled to what it is entitled to and that nothing should be provided by the political affiliation of the people on that board.
“Every project should be evaluated on spending money wisely and whether or not the project in question will work and therefore I do not believe that it will do Longford one bit harm by me not being on that board.”
Cllr Sexton went on to say that it was her belief that Longford’s inability to attract technological and manufacturing industries was at the root of the county’s difficulties and that political influence on the board of Pobal was “not going to change that”.
“There are people in Longford who would be far better at evaluating projects than I would be and would therefore be much better placed on that board,” she said. “You have to wonder about these committees sometimes; I was under the firm belief that this government was going to stamp out this type of appointments to boards,
“I thought it would be a government that would be honest and open and I look at this situation and I do not see honesty or openness. All there is, is a legacy of broken promises and it is the young people who will end up picking up the pieces.
“I am a little concerned at this stage about a government that promised so much and has delivered so little.”