§ Mr. Robert McCartney
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what factors led to her recent decision to appoint as Under-Secretary in her Department a candidate not proposed by the Appointments Board convened for that purpose; which individuals in which Civil Service positions constituted that board; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Paul Murphy
[holding answer 26 February 1998]: The appointment in question was a transfer to a new senior post in Central Secretariat to meet the growing and prospective workload generated by the political talks and the associated need to prepare for a devolved administration. Given that the responsibilities of the post include the provision of support and advice to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and her Ministers, it was decided, exceptionally, that the appointment would be subject to her endorsement. After an interview with the candidate recommended to me the Secretary of State decided not to endorse his appointment. The Chairman of the selection panel then submitted the name of a second suitable candidate whom the Secretary of State also interviewed. The Secretary of State then endorsed his appointment. The selection panel was chaired by John Semple (Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service), and its members were Pat Carvill (Permanent Secretary, DENI) and Clive Gowdy (Permanent Secretary, DHSS).