Real public service reform most unlikely

FORGIVE my cynicism when I hear pay levels are likely to be restored in the public service once reforms have been achieved.

We have seen such “reforms” in the past, but actual improvements in efficiency and service levels have not followed. No doubt there will be cutbacks, but reforms are another matter altogether.

Real reform is just too bitter a pill for either the public service unions or the Government to swallow, but it is essential if we are ever to get our affairs in order and provide value for money for taxpayers.

In particular, we cannot consider reform of public services unless we tackle the sacred cow of local government.

Why, for instance, do we need a county manager and associated support staff in a county like Leitrim when it, combined with the adjoining county of Sligo, is still smaller in area and population than neighbouring Mayo?

Using current logic, we should have at least two county managers in Mayo and maybe three in Donegal. Why does every village with more than two shops seem to need a local council that gives expenses-driven official sanction to what is no more than a glorified residents’ association?

Maybe reform would help, but will we get it? On past performance, it’s unlikely; cutbacks are simpler.

John Mulligan



Co Roscommon

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