Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny

A new report claims that the coalition partners in the new Irish government have engaged in Fianna Fail style cronyism since they took office after the February elections.

Both Fine Gael and Labour Party have appointed supporters to State boards despite pre-election promises to end political patronage.

The Irish Times reports that the appointments include ‘at least 20 past or present party members, strategists or donors’.

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The paper also reports that five out of six judges nominated by the government have links to Fine Gael or Labour. So too do two of the three members of the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board appointed by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

An examination by the Irish Times of appointments made since March also reveals that half of all departments have yet to recruit board members through public advertisement – another promise made by the incoming government.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has made three new appointments to the Road Safety Authority, including Ronan Melvin, who lives in the Minister’s constituency and was nominated a Fine Gael candidate in the 2009 local elections, and Young Fine Gael activist Seán Finan.

The report also states that just last week the Coalition appointed four new directors to state board Pobal, including Labour councillor Mae Sexton and former Labour election candidate Siobhán McLoughlin. Sexton has since said she will not be taking up the post.