What and wherefore of Quangos

145 Quango-ing…going…gone

A key element of Fine Gael’s Five Point Plan to create jobs and get Ireland working is to slash waste and duplication in public spending in order to keep taxes low, according to Fine Gael Front Bench Spokespersons Leo Varadkar & Richard Bruton.

Speaking at the launch of plans to rationalise the number of State agencies, Deputy Varadkar said: ‘One of the essential measures in Fine Gael’s Five Point Plan is to abolish or rationalise 145 State agencies, Boards, committees, taskforces and public bodies, often referred to as quangos, to help us hit the deficit reduction target without affecting frontline services’.

“Fine Gael has the plan to create jobs and get Ireland working, keep taxes low, and eliminate waste to boost economic growth. Billions of euros of government spending are still being wasted. One of the most obvious areas is the huge number of quangos and agencies.”

Deputy Bruton said: ‘Fine Gael has been targeting a rationalisation and reduction size in the number of government agencies for years, and published proposals to cull the quangos in March 2008. There are almost 1,000 State agencies at national, local and regional level, far too many for a country of this size’.

“We believe a smaller number of State agencies could do the same job just as effectively, and far more cheaply. That is why Fine Gael is recommending abolishing 145 quangos and rationalising their backroom operations. Fine Gael, if elected to government, will:

• Merge the Competition Authority, National Consumer Agency and three utility regulators into a single Regulator;
• Transfer functions of city and county enterprise boards to enterprise units within local authorities;
• Restore Forfás to an office within the Department of Enterprise;
• Abolish the Dublin Docklands Development Authority;
• Discontinue the Dormant Accounts Fund Board;
• Merge all Prison Visiting Committees into one panel;
• Merge the National Roads Authority and Railway Procurement Agency;
• Rationalise Vocational Education Committees from 33 to 20;
• Merge the Pensions Ombudsman with the Financial Services Ombudsman;
• Merge the Local Government Audit Service within the aegis of the C&AG;
• Establish a public entitlements service to replace the dozens of offices currently carrying out means testing;
• Rationalise the many agencies that inspect businesses, and enforce employment law.

Deputy Varadkar concluded: ‘Successive Fianna Fáil Governments have created more than 200 new agencies since 1997. Many of them are largely unnecessary or have vague mandates. And almost all of them are unaccountable to the Oireachtas, with appointments to their boards done by Ministerial Order, rather than a transparent appointments system. Ireland cannot afford this level of waste. Irish people demand reform, transparency and value for money. That is why Fine Gael in Government will cull the quangos’.