43% reduction in Department’s Agencies – Hogan

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan T.D, today (Tuesday 11th October 2011) announced further rationalisation of State agencies in his Department. As part of a rigorous appraisal of the State agencies under the aegis of his Department, the number of agencies is being reduced by 43%, from 21 to 12.

In the latest decisions, the Minister is announcing that An Chomhairle Leabharlanna will be dissolved, with any key residual functions to be subsumed into an existing public body. The dissolution of An Chomhairle should result in savings in terms of annual operating costs of the order of €1m and could yield a once-off windfall through disposal of its headquarters in Dublin’s City centre. The staff of An Chomhairle will be redeployed in accordance with the terms of the Public Service Agreement.

Today’s announcement follows the recently announced decision in respect of Comhar, Sustainable Development Council, which is to be integrated into the National Economic and Social Council (NESC).

The Minister stated: ‘I am committed to the Programme for Government’s overarching objective of Public Sector Reform by making substantial cuts to the number of State bodies and companies. As part of the rationalisation programme the total number of State bodies within my Department’s remit will be reduced by 9 from 21 to 12.’

Overall, savings in the order of €1.9 million have been achieved to date in the agency rationalisation process and it is anticipated that this would rise significantly.  Across the Department’s group of agencies, staff numbers are currently 833 Whole Time Equivalents, compared to 951at end 2008 – a reduction of 118 (12%).  Ultimately, agency numbers are targeted to fall to 740 by the end of the rationalisation process.

While thanking the Boards and staff of the Agencies concerned for their dedicated service, Minister Hogan acknowledged that the rationalisation was a direct response to the current economic crisis, and a necessary means of contributing to the reduction of overall public sector costs through enhanced efficiency.  He will continue to keep the agency rationalisation/efficiency agenda under review insofar as other agencies under his remit are concerned.

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