Friday 9 December 2016

If the crash can't change the civil service, nothing will

Robert Watt's call for the sacking of non-performing civil servants needs to be accompanied by a desire on the part of politicians for real change in the service.

Published 27/07/2014 | 02:30

Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Robert Watt
Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Robert Watt
Robert Watt

IT'S no go the Government grant, it's no go the elections: sit on your arse for fifty years and hang your hat on a pension.

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Strange lines, perhaps, from one of our greatest poets, but Louis MacNeice had spent 20 years at the BBC, itself modelled on the civil service. They encapsulate the popular view of officialdom and last week the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co. Donegal, joined MacNeice in saying the popular view may be correct.

In particular Robert Watt, Secretary-General of Brendan Howlin's Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (PER), raised eyebrows in Glenties - and, we may be sure, in Merrion Street - by saying civil servants who weren't performing should be sacked.

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