Europe

23,500 public sector jobs to go in the Irish Republic

Enda Kenny
Image caption Enda Kenny said the plans were the start of radical changes across government

The Irish government has announced plans to reform the public service by cutting staff numbers, culling the number of state agencies and axing a controversial decentralisation programme.

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the plans were the beginning of "radical changes" across government.

Currently around 297,000 people are employed in Ireland's public sector.

That figure will be reduced by 23,500 by 2015.

It represents a saving of 2.5bn euros on the public sector pay bill, according to government estimates.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said this would be achieved without any compulsory redundancies, but admitted the reform agenda may cause problems.

Staff will also be affected in some instances by changes to their leave arrangements.

In future, workers will get a maximum 32 days, and new entrants will have their entitlement capped at 30 days.

Previously, some staff were entitled to more than 40 days, with days off given to some members to attend local festivals or events, such as race days.

The decentralisation plan has also been abolished.

The plan, which was announced in 2003, was designed to move thousands of civil servants out of Dublin.

Enda Kenny described it as one of the most "ill-judged, badly planned ideas of the previous government".

Under the plans, 48 state agencies, or so-called quangos, will be merged or abolished by the end of next year, with a further 46 bodies reviewed next June.

The government could not put a figure on the total amount saved by these measures, which also include initatives in areas such as technology, procurement, property management and human resources designed to reduce costs and eliminate waste.

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