The Commission

As the Commission for Public Service Appointments, we are the principal regulator of recruitment and selection in the Irish public service. Our role is to ensure that appointments to the civil and public service are fair, transparent and merit-based.

The Commission was set up on 19 October 2004 under the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004. Its members are:

  • Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, Ceann Comhairle
  • Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman
  • Martin Fraser, Secretary General to the Government
  • Robert Watt, Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
  • Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe, Chairperson of the Standards in Public Office Commission

Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, Ceann Comhairle

Seán Ó Fearghaíl is the 19th Ceann Comhairle (chairman) of Dáil Éireann (lower House of the Irish Parliament). He was elected on 10 March 2016 in the Dáil’s first election by secret ballot.

Ó Fearghaíl was a senator for South Kildare from 2000 until he was elected a TD in 2002. He has held his seat since then. He was the Fianna Fáil party whip and party spokesman for Defence; Arts, Heritage and Culture; and Constitutional Affairs from 2011 to 2016. He was chairman of the Oireachtas Health Committee from 2009 to 2011.

Before becoming involved in national politics, Ó Fearghaíl was a member – and chairman – of Kildare County Council. He has been involved in community, educational and housing organisations in his home county for many years.

Peter Tyndall, Ombudsman

Peter Tyndall was appointed Ombudsman on 2 December 2013. He spent the previous five years as the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. He has also worked in a variety of senior positions in housing and social care – most notably developing housing and support services for people with learning disabilities. He has also been chief executive of the Arts Council of Wales and head of education and culture for the Welsh Local Government Association.

Tyndall was chairman of the British and Irish Ombudsman Association for two years and is a member of the world and European boards of the International Ombudsman Institute. He has spoken and published extensively on Ombudsman issues.

Martin Fraser, Secretary General to the Government

Martin Fraser has been secretary general to both the Government and the Department of the Taoiseach since 1 August 2011.

He joined the Department of the Taoiseach as finance officer in 1999. He became an assistant secretary in the department in 2007 and, during his time there, he was head of the Northern Ireland, corporate affairs and economic and social policy divisions.

He previously worked in the Departments of Social Welfare, Foreign Affairs and Agriculture and Food.

Robert Watt, Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Robert Watt is secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. He was assistant secretary in the sectoral policy division of the Department of Finance, where he was responsible for expenditure policy – including the comprehensive spending review, capital investment policy and managing the annual estimates.

Watt is an economist and has worked in a range of roles within the Department of Finance as well as in the private sector with Indecon Economic Consultants and London Economics.

Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe, Chairperson of the Standards in Public Office Commission

Retired High Court judge Daniel O’Keeffe was appointed chairperson of the Standards in Public Office Commission on 11 February 2014.

He was called to the Bar in 1964 after graduating from University College Dublin and King’s Inns. A qualified chartered accountant, he became a senior counsel in 1985 and practised at the Bar until he was appointed to the High Court in 2008.

O’Keeffe was chairman of the second report of the Public Service Benchmarking Body, which reported to the Minister for Finance in 2007. He was also chairman of the Irish Takeover Panel from 1997 to 2008.

Our team

Our work at the Commission is supported by a dedicated team led by Commission Director Elaine Cassidy and Secretary Liam Duffy. The Office of the Ombudsman also provides shared services in areas such as human resources, financial management and information and communications technology.