Minister of State Alex White has defended the appointment of former Labour and Fine Gael politicians as board members at Bord na Móna, saying both are good people to appoint.

Former Fine Gael TD and councillor John Farrelly and former Labour councillor Denis Leonard were appointed by Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte.

Mr Leonard stood in the most recent local election and missed out on the last seat in the Mullingar-Coole LEA.

Mr Farrelly stood in the most recent local election and was unsuccessful in the Kells LEA.

A spokesperson for the department confirmed the appointments were made in the "last couple of weeks".

Mr White, who is hoping to become the next leader of the Labour Party, said as far as he knows both men have experience in the area.

He said in his limited experience in dealing with appointments to State boards, there is a difficulty in finding people to serve.

He said it is important to look at the quality and experience of candidates and said he is quite sure that is what Mr Rabbitte did in this case.