Fine Gael on Reforming the Public Service with Politics Taking the Lead

The public service is part of Fine Gael’s 5 Point Plan. Fine Gael is convinced that the public sector has a key role to play in rebuilding Ireland. Fine Gael’s plan ‘Reinventing Government’ will bring about the change that Ireland needs and that public servants are crying out for

Reducing the cost of Government is necessary to stop increases in income tax which is how other parties will have to fund the existing public service level.

The political system leading the change
• We will set a salary cap of €200,000 across politics and the public sector.
• We will, among other things, seek the people’s support for a smaller, effective, single chamber Oireachtas that cuts the number of politicians by 35%, including abolition of the Seanad.
• We will halve the cost of the provision of State cars to current and former State officials through the introduction of a Government Car Service Pool arrangement.
• The pay reductions for the 650 most senior public servants recommended by the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in 2009 – will be implemented.

Reinventing the public service:
• Saving over €5 billion, or €1 in €10 spent by public bodies, by confronting waste, duplication and inefficiency;
• Externally recruiting new high level specialists in banking, taxation and macro economic forecasting to improve the Dept. of Finance’s capacity to deliver on key tasks;
• At least one-third of all appointments at a senior level in the Public Service (above PO level) will be made from outside the current system for a period of five years;
• The abolishing of over 145 state bodies and quangos including the dismantling of the HSE and FAS and their replacement with better, more cost effective alternatives;
• All lobbyists will have to be registered with the Standard’s in Public Office Commission and recent restrictions to the Freedom of Information Act will be reversed.
• We will establish an Independent Fiscal Council to advise Parliament on issues such as borrowing levels, debt reduction and taxation planning.

Important note on public service pay and numbers:
• The overall size of government needs to fall. To be clear:
o We will protect frontline workers. This means teachers, nurses, Gardai, etc
o We estimate 30,000 administrative positions can be reduced by natural wastage, voluntary redundancy and relocation. No forced redundancies.
• Fine Gael does not want to reduce core pay. We fully supported the Croke Park deal to protect the public sector from more pay cuts in exchange for the types of reform we have outlined.
• The IMF deal contains commitments to reduce the cost of running the Government. There are only two ways to reduce the cost and that is either by reducing numbers or pay.
• It is worth remembering that in Budget 2010, Fine Gael put forward a plan to protect the first €30,000 of every public servant’s pay but was ignored by Government who introduced broad cuts on everyone that saw the lower paid taking a heavier burden.