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Morgan welcomes OECD report on Public Service Reform

20 May, 2008

Speaking in the Dáil today on the OECD report on Public Service Reform Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Economy Arthur Morgan TD said Sinn Féin's priority is to deliver increased quality and capacity within public services.

Deputy Morgan welcomed the report and said, "Firstly I want to make clear that discussion around public service reform cannot be used as a euphemism for cuts in the public sector. Past experience has made people justifiably concerned that this is what the Government is really getting at when it speaks of public service reform.

"A discussion on public service reform must be about how the state delivers better public services in a more efficient manner. It must be about how the state meets the needs of a growing population at a time when exchequer revenues are in decline. We need to have a discussion about the kind of public services we want - many people are deeply unhappy with the low tax low public services model that has been implemented over the last decade.

"Public spending here is the third lowest in the OECD as a percentage of GDP. Importantly the OECD report recognises the important role of the public sector in our economic achievements to date. However we need to be looking at the best model of public services delivery internationally and learning from them.

"A key priority that Sinn Féin, and I believe the majority of people in this state, is delivering increased quality and capacity within public services.

"Public services such as health and education are not meeting people's needs or expectations. We need to ensure that public money is used effectively to deliver improvements in public services - to deliver better and more efficient public services, to meet the needs of all our citizens.

"This report highlights the need for the Government to look again at the decentralisation process. Decentralisation was after all introduced at the whim of former Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy without any debate or discussion with the stakeholders such as trade union representatives or without consideration of the implication for the future of governance and the public service.

"Sinn Féin strongly agrees with the suggestion that what is needed is devolution of greater powers to local government. Many services would be better and more efficiently delivered by local government as is the practice in many other European states which have well developed local government systems." ENDS

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