16 July 2009

'Bord Snip' Report to be published today

The full report of the 'Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes', set up by the Irish government to identify possible savings in the public service, will be published at 2pm today.

The Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan (left), who commissioned the spending review, submitted its recommendations to the Cabinet yesterday (see yesterday's entry below) and the minsters had a brief discussion on details.
But there were no decisions on the implementations of the report made at yesterday's government meeting.

Lenihan, who is looking for savings of up to € 5 billion in next year's Budget to balance his books, is optimistic that the recommendations of 'An Bord Snip (Nua)' - as it is popularly called - will help him to reach this target.

He said yesterday that "the report will give an exact figure for the number of surplus staff in the public service", and that they "can be dealt with over time with minimal disruption".

There have already been plenty of leaks regarding the actual recommendations, and Ireland's three national daily newspapers have long articles on the matter.

One of the core points mentioned is the abolition of the Department for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, which would be a very reasonable step and long overdue. Ireland must be the only country in the world with the senseless luxury of having a full government department for an arcane and unpopular fringe language that is hardly ever used by anyone in daily life (despite the fact that every Irish child is forced to learn it in school for 12 years).

Other elements from the report mentioned in newspapers this morning are the suggestions to merge local government authorities, in particular the County Councils of counties Carlow and Kilkenny, and counties Sligo and Leitrim.

RTÉ Radio 1 will extend its 1pm news programme (normally 45 minutes long) today until 3pm, in order to cover the publication of the report and offer a first analysis and discussion of its many recommendations. (People who live abroad and are interested in listening to this programme are able to access it online, via the RTÉ website at www.rte.ie)

I will also write a further entry on this matter and offer my own analysis and comments as soon as all the facts and details are public knowledge. So you might want to come back this evening for more material on 'An Bord Snip (Nua)'.

The Emerald Islander

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