Fit for Purpose? Challenges for Irish Public Administration and Priorities for Public Service Reform

Muiris MacCarthaigh, Richard Boyle

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


    The depth of the current economic and fiscal crisis has raised concerns about the Irish political and administrative system, and prompted calls for fundamental reform of our structures of public governance. Both the state and its financial system are reliant on international support. This crisis requires a coherent response from our public administration. There is recognition that this change cannot simply be a repeat or extension of the public service reform programmes of the past. It will need to be more radical than this. Over the coming years, the numbers employed in the public service will continue to fall and expenditure will need to be restrained, targeted and prioritised. The Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 (the Croke Park Agreement) sets out a framework for change. But there is a need to look beyond the agreement to consider more fundamentally the future role of public administration in the context of the new economic and social dispensation in Ireland. Our public services need to adapt to this new environment if they are to continue to be fit for purpose.

    In this paper we set out the main challenges facing public administration and where we see reform as vital. We note what changes have taken place to date, including experience with previous reform efforts, and outline what should happen next. Where appropriate, we draw on national and international practice to provide exemplars of change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages58
    Specialist publicationState of the Public Service Series
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


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