Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government not seeking to reform public service – it just wants to downsize it

25 November, 2008

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD today criticised the government for seeking to implement a series of job cuts through its public service reform package noting "The so called modernisation of the public service is being used by government to cloak job cuts, which is the real objective behind the government's strategy. Job cuts and a redundancy scheme will not reform the public service; such measures will simply serve to down size it."

Speaking from Leinster House Deputy Morgan said:

"Fianna Fáil and the Greens with the support of Fine Gael have sought to present the current inefficiencies and wastage throughout the public service as simply a need to reduce the numbers of people working within it. This is a limited analysis that does not fundamentally tackle the shortcomings of critical services such as education, health and housing.

"Fianna Fáil is cynically engaging in a blame game in an effort to absolve itself from a shameful record of reduced public service delivery in the good times and the bad. Incomprehensibly the Green's and Fine Gael are assisting them in perpetuating this myth.

"In April of this year a report by the OECD (Ireland - Towards an Integrated Public Service) stated that the public service over the last decade has developed in a manner that is uncoordinated and without strategic vision reflecting poor competence at a senior level. The report also noted that Ireland has a traditionally small public sector, describing the increased numbers of those working within the service as 'catching up' to typical OECD levels. It is also acknowledged that public service funding by government is small as a percentage of total GDP, compared with OECD countries.

"The difficulties the state has in delivering public services efficiently and effectively is the fault of government. They have downgraded it, demoralised it and are now seeking to scapegoat it. Many of the inefficiencies are a direct result of government policy decisions to outsource services such as health to private interests.

"Fianna Fáil has never accepted that it is the role of government alone to fund and deliver the states public services. It is this absence of political vision and responsibility to the people by successive Fianna Fáil led governments that have left us with a public service that is under resourced and in disarray.

"Plans to abolish the distinction between the civil service and other state agencies are to be welcomed. In Sinn Féin's pre budget submission to the Finance Minister I called for a restructuring of the state's enterprise boards under one agency and budget whilst keeping their individual areas of expertise. I argued for the rationalisation of appointees to state boards and an efficiency drive to bring down expenses. Sinn Féin also called for a review of the operations and budget of FÁS in its pre Budget submission." ENDS

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