Admit Mistakes



Independent TD for Roscommon-South Leitrim Michael Fitzmaurice

Last night, Independent TD for Roscommon–South Leitrim Michael Fitzmaurice spoke during the debate on the motion of no confidence against Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton.

It followed her appointment of former leader of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions David Begg as chair of the Pensions Authority – a process which did not involve the official public service advertising or appointments process.

Grab a tay.

Michael Fitzmaurice: “Yesterday evening I came in to listen to the debate, but all I heard from the across the floor was what Fianna Fáil did in its last five years. The following contributor then spoke about people who had connections with bankers and what they did and said during those years. I am not long here, but I have seen all of that on television and it is all history now. A government is like a football team. It should take up the mantle and go forward and should not keep blaming the opposition for losing the match.”

The reason this motion has been put forward is simple. It is because of cronyism. It is not because of what Fianna Fáil did in its last five years in government. It is not because of what Deputy Shane Ross did or did not say in those years. It is not a blame game, but simply because of cronyism, an issue we heard about on radio in 2011. We were told then there would be no more cronyism, no more nods and winks, and that politics would be done in a new way.”

“Anybody in business who wants to take on a new employee goes through a system. They advertise the position, people apply for and submit CVs. The employer examines the CVs and whittles the numbers down to the eight or ten most suitable people for the job and interviews them. Employers do not just take people in on a nod and a wink. Nobody suggests that the person in question in this case is not suitable. What they are saying is that due process should take place.”

Derek Keating: “Some are. The Deputy should have been here earlier.”

Seán Barrett: “Quiet please.”

Michael Fitzmaurice: “Everybody can make a mistake, but the sad thing about people in politics is that we are not able to put up our hands and admit them. The people have great respect for those who admit they made a genuine mistake, that they should not have done it and will change it.”

Let us not hide behind a line in legislation. We can have all the legislation in the world, all the dos and don’ts and can hide behind the provisions, but we must still be able to look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves whether we did it right, whether it was fair, whether we did it for the people of Ireland, whether we did it for the future of pensions and whether we did for our country.”

Arthur Spring: “Yes.”

Joan Burton: “Absolutely, I did.”

Fitzmaurice: “One thing the Tánaiste cannot say when she looks in the mirror is that she did it for the people of Ireland. It is cronyism at its best. This is what peeves people. In a poll yesterday evening, 80% of people said it was cronyism. Are they wrong…”

Finian McGrath: “That is right.”

Fitzmaurice: “…or are we not in touch with the people?”

Burton: “The Deputy is out of touch.”

Fitzmaurice: “Listening to the people on the ground, they are fed up with what is going on in politics – the nod and the wink. I am not long here, but I have seen appointments of judges and appointments to different boards. This is happening day after day.”

Burton: “Who has been appointing judges?”

Fitzmaurice: The way these appointments are being made is completely wrong. If mistakes are made, let us change the system. Let us not continue with the hoodwink system that is going on. If the Tánaiste or if I make a mistake, let us be brave, let us stand up and be counted and admit it. Let us not hide behind the curtain or veil of the protection of others. One of the members of the Tánaiste’s party admitted openly their disagreement with the appointment. We need honesty.”

“The people will judge each and every one of us in the next month or six weeks and there will be no protective curtain in front of us. There will be no veil to protect us. We will have to be open, honest and transparent and they will judge what has gone on here.”

Previously: Labour Movement

Etc, Etc

Transcript via

36 thoughts on “Admit Mistakes

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Definitely lacking in self awareness. She doesn’t seem to have any idea that she’s a complete hoophole.

      1. theCitizen

        True though on the basis of evidence.

        Statistically better to obfuscate, deny and/or go to ground than own up to anything if you want to get reelected.

        I have a source somewhere.

        Very hard to defend Burton but she is at least experienced and pragmatic – if she went we’d have Alan “AK47” Kelly as a potential Tanaiste. Nothing would be achieved – good or bad. AK47 – when you want to piss off every motherf&*^$r in the whole goddamn room.

  1. phil

    He sounds like a sensible person , as Im sure Burton once sounded, but what would happen if he were in power ?

    I hope he would do as he said …

  2. Cian

    Businesses employ people without full interview processes all the time, despite what he’s claiming. First three jobs I had (all PAYE, legit employment) were family or family friends firms, no interview no CV. Current employer did hire me via openly advertised interview but has piles of younger staff taken on “on a nod and a wink”

    If he’s never done similar with his business I’d be astounded. He’s either hypocritical or very unaware of the world

      1. classter

        It isn’t always cronyism.

        Depending on the role, it can be more cost effective & reliable to go with somebody you know or know of (either professionally or personally!) than to go through a longer, more convoluted process to fill a specific role.

        Do directors have open casting calls for every single role in a film?

    1. Sam

      If you run your own business, you can employ your family or your mate without interview and most people won’t think it out of line.
      If it’s funded by the taxpayer ________________________

      Can you finish the sentence?
      Do you see the difference?

      1. classter

        Exactly the point.

        State-funded bodies need to operate by a different, more transparent set of rules than private bodies, even if this makes them slightly less nimble & more bureaucratic.

        1. jungleman

          I don’t get why he made that error in argument at all. It would be so easy to base the argument on the difference between the public and private sector requirements.. Very big omission.

    2. Lorcan Nagle

      I’ve worked in the corporate sector for pretty much all my career, and that never happens here. Top level positions frequently require multiple interviews and vetting by a panel. There’s a massive difference between hring someone for a job in a small business and hiring someone to chair the Pensions Authority. It may well be that Begg is the best person for the job, but the other eligible candidates should have gottne their chance to prove otherwise.

    3. Clampers Outside!

      What Dav said…. Jaysus! You’re defending cronyism FFS!! A high paid govt job is not the same as collecting glasses in the local pub owned by a friend of the family. Cop on.

      1. Cian

        No, I’m not. I’m pointing out that his argument is very, very poorly made despite being treated as some wonderThat’s all

  3. rotide

    Does yer man really think that everyone in business goes through the system he describes for every appointment?

    1. Cup of tea anyone?

      Not everyone goes through this process. but not everyone should be held to a higher standard than the rest.

      In this case the person who was hired may be suitable for the job, However the government needs to do things by the book so that others do not get positions they are not entitled to.

      1. rotide

        Saying they need to be held to a higher standard is fine, but he’s saying ‘its done this way in the business world [when it demonstrably isn’t], it should be done this way in politics too’

        1. ivan

          Well it quite possibly is done ‘the right way’ in lots of businesses; I suspect you wouldn’t get far with that job application to Google because your mum plays bridge with the HR director’s mother…sure, ‘pull’ happens a lot in smaller businesses and that’s accepted, even if it’s not really ‘right’.

          however, whatever about what Fitzmaurice has to say about business – and i reckon he’s a bit out by the side of it myself – that howler isn’t enough, surely, to take away from the fundamental point he makes about cronyism, is it?

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Of course not but if you’re going to make sound, reasonable arguments which cast Joan and Enda in a bad light, there has to be *some* angle to discredit you and divert attention away from the bad things being said about our two Dear Leaders.

          2. rotide

            I also suspect that google don’t advertise for position of CEO or CFO or CTO that often. They target people they want and headhunt them.

            I’m not arguing that the appointment Joan made was or wasn’t cronyism. I haven’t a clue and to be perfectly honest, I don’t really care. There’s bigger issues to be worried about with this government. However, His basic premise that ‘its this way in business’ is flawed.

          3. Lorcan Nagle

            “I also suspect that google don’t advertise for position of CEO or CFO or CTO that often. They target people they want and headhunt them.”

            No and yes. Leaving aside CEO, which tends to be an elected position, senior roles are absolutely advertised, but they’ll be advertised internally and in industry publications. People will get headhunted as well, but it’ll be a case where a number of attractive people will all get contacted to see if they’re interested in a meeting.

            In each case, the nominees will still have to be interviewed and assessed. You’re not just going to call up Joe Bloggs in company B and say “do you want this job?”, because if he says no you’re back to square 1, and if he says yes he might be a terrible fit for the job. 50% of an interview is figuring out if you think the candidate is a good fit for the people they’ll be working with. The other 50% is figuring out if they lied on their CV.

            Beyond that, headhunting doesn’t just happen at the top level of business, it happens at every level other than entry. About a year ago I got a linkedin connection request from a recruiter in McAffee. 10 minutes after I accepted, she phoned me to check my availibility for work and my interest in a role. And lI’m good at what I do and I’ve got good experience and skills, but I’m an IT engineer/network admin, it’s not like I’m particularly unique in Ireland.

            The other thing to consider is that corporations are under legal requirements to be above board in their hiring practices. Employment law is huge and arcane. And for Board-level positions there are further requirements if you want to publically trade on the US stock exchange. Go look up any public company’s SEC-14a filings to see the sort of things they have to declare.

            “However, His basic premise that ‘its this way in business’ is flawed.”

            Only in as much as he didn’t clarify to say “It’s this way in business, small businesses excepted”. To concentrate on unethical behavious by small business is to miss the point entirely.

  4. Truth in the News

    When Joan got capsised couple a weeks ago, the water must have leaked into
    her brain as well as her backside, if David Begg had any backbone he’d up
    sticks and resign, and not alone him but a good few Judges too, do they think
    we are all blind, dumb and deaf….eveyone in power would need to realise that
    all this type of behaviour rests now with Haughey and O’Mara in the grave.
    Well done to Micheal Fitzmaurice and we need sores of Public Repsentatives
    like him.

Comments are closed.