Former president of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns is to step down from a senior role on the board of the National Maternity Hospital (NMH).
Mr Justice Kearns, who was the deputy chair of the NMH board, said he made the decision to stand down late last year, while a spokesman said he informed the board in May.
He confirmed the move to step down this month just three weeks after a fractious meeting in which he clashed with Dr Peter Boylan in exchanges which have caused controversy amongst governors of the hospital, it has emerged.
Dr Boylan said that in the past there had not been full consultation about the terms of the deal to move the hospital from Holles Street to the St Vincent’s campus.
Mr Justice Kearns said this was “a complete untruth”, sources said, adding that all terms were brought back repeatedly to the board.
Following the exchange, a governor of the hospital wrote to Mr Justice Kearns and said she was “shocked” at his language and asked him to reflect on the handling of the meeting.
The letter was written by Dr Frances Meagher and was circulated to all governors of the hospital last week. Sources have said that Mr Justice Kearns’s decision to step down was not linked to the letter or the annual general meeting.
Dr Meagher said “it was clear that neither question nor comment was welcome” during the agm of the hospital in which questions were raised about the planned relocation from Holles Street to Elm Park.
“This is not the way to generate an inclusive debate/discussion. You did not appear at all interested in what those present were thinking,” wrote Dr Meagher, who was formerly married to Dr Boylan and is a daughter of former NMH master Declan Meagher.
She added: “Our Lord Mayor, Alison Gilliland, put forward five important questions and indicated that there were other points on which she would also like clarification during the meeting, but you did not invite her, subsequently, to raise any of these. In fact, the meeting ended quite precipitously. No indication was given at the start of the meeting regarding the duration, which would be normal practice.”
It is understood that Ms Gilliland asked specifically about the planned relocation of the hospital and asked why the hospital will not be fully publicly owned.
A spokesman for the NMH said that Mr Justice Kearns was stepping down after six years in the role, having informed the board of his intention to step down in May 2021.
In a statement, Mr Justice Kearns said: “I wish to thank the board and staff of the National Maternity Hospital for their unstinting support during my period as deputy chairman. It has been my privilege to work with wonderful colleagues at all levels of the hospital. I commend them for their commitment and hard work, and in particular for their Herculean efforts throughout Covid-19 in delivering exceptional care within the constraints of the current Holles Street location.
“I decided late last year it was an opportune time to hand over the reins, and I am confident that the succession plans put in place will ensure the role is in excellent hands. I wish the board every success in the important journey that lies ahead.”
Dr Boylan said he welcomed the resignation, “which I called for last year”. Of the future of the NMH, he said: “It is now up to the Government to find a solution acceptable to the women of Ireland. That will require State ownership of the land on which the new hospital is to be built.”
IRFU must shoulder some blame for state of women’s rugby in Ireland
Watching the distressed female Irish players trying to console each other after Saturday’s heartbreaking, last-ditch defeat by Scotland in Parma which wrenched World Cup qualification aspirations from their grasp made for a very uncomfortable, almost invasive, watch. It was a relief when the RTÉ cameras panned back to the studio.
Watching Sene Naoupu embracing a tearful Ciara Griffin, it’s a wonder that Naoupu had kept her own emotions under control. Representing Ireland at a World Cup in her native New Zealand would have been such a fitting finale to her stellar career.
Q&A: Can foreigners become civil servants in Spain?
For many Spaniards, landing a stable, paper-pushing civil servant position is the dream.
They know it’s not going to be exciting or to make them rich but they see funcionario work as ‘a job for life’ in a country where the unemployment level is notoriously high and much of the job market is based on temporary summer positions in tourism.
They also like the fact that civil servant jobs pay a decent salary compared with the national average and often work fewer hours too.
Funcionario positions in Public Administration, Social Security and Defense were paid an average of €29,580 gross per year in 2020.
This is higher than the national average gross salary of €24,395 per year, according to stats released by Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), although that’s not to say some civil servants get paid considerably less than the above mentioned salary.
So, if jobs in the civil service are so popular then how can you get one as a foreigner?
Can foreigners in Spain get civil service jobs?
The main answer is yes, you can get a job in the civil service in Spain as a foreigner, however, there are a few requirements.
Those eligible for civil servant jobs in Spain include EU nationals and those who are married to Spanish or EU nationals. You must currently be married and not divorced.
Children of EU nationals who are eligible to work in Spain (over 16 years old) and who are under 21 can also apply, as can those who are over 21 but who are financially dependent on their parents.
Third-country nationals with work and residence permits in Spain may also apply for civil service jobs.
Does this apply to all jobs in the civil service?
No, the only jobs that foreigners can’t apply for and that you must have Spanish nationality for are those which “directly or indirectly imply participation in the exercise of public power or in the safeguarding of the general interests of the State and Public Administrations” according to the Spanish government.
What qualifications do I need?
While some civil service jobs in Spain require a university degree, there are several that don’t.
Whatever types of qualifications you have, however, will have to go through the homologación (recognition) process so that it’s validated and accepted in Spain. Keep in mind that this can take months, and for non-EU qualification holders even longer.
You may also be required to show other proof and certificates.
According to the Spanish government: “This requirement will not apply to applicants who have obtained recognition of their professional qualification in the field of regulated professions, under the provisions of Community law”.
It also goes without saying that you will need a high level of Spanish to get a job as a civil servant and you may need certificates to prove this too. If you’re trying to get a job in Catalonia for example, you may also be required to know Catalan, as well as Spanish.
What are oposiciones?
Oposiciones are the entrance exams you’ll need to sit to become a civil servant in Spain. Each type of position will have its own requirements, some easier and some harder, which involve a series of exams to test your abilities and suitability.
Some positions may require practical exams, while others such as for the police force will require a physical test.
Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP
Is there anything that will prevent me from getting a civil servant job in Spain?
Yes, foreigners should not have received disciplinary action or been fired from similar roles in public service in their own countries.
Also, those who are applying for jobs where they will be in contact with children may have to show a police check from their home country to prove that their record is clean.
What are the advantages of being a civil servant in Spain?
- A decent salary
- You have the right to take holiday days in addition to personal days off
- Your social security is automatically deducted, giving you healthcare and pension rights
- It’s a stable job that you are less likely to be made redundant from
- You have the possibility of transferring to different departments
READ ALSO: The downsides of moving to Spain for work
What are the disadvantages of being a civil servant in Spain?
- It’s a big investment in time and effort to get a job as a civil servant
- The need for qualifications, extra tests, and exams
- The extensive number of requirements and paperwork that needs to be filled out
- Complicated systems as well as old-fashioned and bureaucratic work models
- Monotonous work, where you’re unlikely to face new challenges
- Little to no opportunities for remote employment
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