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Public Sector Reform Plan an attack on frontline services

17 November, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Following the publication of the government’s proposals for Public Sector Reform this afternoon Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD has described the cutbacks in public sector jobs as a further attack on frontline services.

Deputy McDonald said:

“A plan for public sector reform from government is to be welcomed but what has been published today is scant on detail and deliverables. It is merely a very broad statement of intent. Naturally it is disappointing considering the government has been in place for nine months and has a whole department at its disposal to develop and progress in-depth public sector reform.

“Further cuts to public sector numbers are deeply worrying. The report commits to reducing the number of public sector workers to 282,500 by 2015, which will be a 12% drop since 2008. But the report does not tell from where these jobs will be lost. Frontline services have been decimated by the recruitment embargo and it appears crude job cuts are being applied with no concern for the experience, or indeed the skill sets that might be lost, causing further damage to service provision.

“The continuing public service recruitment embargo is deepening the crisis in our public health services. On Tuesday the Minister for State for Health Kathleen Lynch claimed that the moratorium would be breached in order to create 450 posts to implement the mental healthcare strategy 'A Vision for Change'. How is this to be reconciled with the cuts signalled in the Public Service plan? What front-line healthcare workers will be exempt from the continuing moratorium? The Public Service Plan does not tell us.

“Sinn Féin supports the rationalisation and amalgamation of state agencies however a simple cull or an ill thought out lobbing together of agencies is not the answer. In this context we will need to take some time to consider the rationalisation proposals in the document. Sinn Féin will be publishing a policy paper on state agencies in advance of the government’s review in June 2012.” ENDS

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