We need a cabinet minister for public sector reform
The next government must set clear goals and avoid half-baked programmes and those dreaded 'reviews', writes Colm McCarthy
The budget legislation looks as if it will pass through the Dail and Seanad, barring accidents, and the Finance Bill will take a few weeks to process after its introduction in mid-to-late January, so a general election is on the cards perhaps about early March.
If a new government is then formed, the opinion polls suggest it will be a Fine Gael-Labour coalition, and with a large majority. Given the parameters now set for budgetary policy over the next three years by the terms of the EU/IMF programme, how should the new government go about the construction of a strategy for economic recovery?
The first suggestion I want to make is that a formal programme for government should be avoided like the plague. These documents, routinely negotiated by coalition partners in the weeks following an election victory, have become standard practice in recent times but it would be a real political reform to scrap this way of doing things.