Saturday 16 December 2017

Insiders only told to apply for top civil service jobs

Thomas Molloy and Brendan Keenan

The Government is creating three €250,000 jobs but not offering them to anybody outside the civil service despite calls to recruit more outsiders and pledges to reform the public sector.

The new posts will be filled directly by the new Government without the usual interviews and advertising of jobs in newspapers and civil service websites. Only senior officials have been informed of the new posts, which are aimed at replacing the country's top civil servant and shoring up economic expertise within the civil service.

A letter seen by the Irish Independent was sent to senior officials in all departments earlier this month by the country's most powerful civil servant, Dermot McCarthy, urging them to apply before next Tuesday.

Reports into the civil service's handling of the crisis here have repeatedly urged the public sector to recruit economists and other senior figures from outside the usual departments to avoid 'group think' or the tendency for officials to approach issues in similar ways.


The Wright Report, which looked at the Department of Finance's performance during the past decade, concluded that the department "needs to remake itself" and went onto to say that it needs to change its "structure, professional capacity and internal working methods," as well as develop "a more outward looking attitude", which would include "a welcoming professional environment for new economists".

A Department of the Taoiseach spokesman said last night that the "posts in question form part of a small number of appointments" where normal procedures do not have to be followed. "The position is that all suitable officers in the civil service are being considered for these appointments prior to a decision being taken by the Government," he added.

The Government plans to appoint a secretary general to the new Department of Public Expenditure and Reform run by Brendan Howlin, as well as a second secretary general to the Department of the Taoiseach with responsibility for the government economic management council.

It also proposes to appoint a new secretary general to the Government and Department of the Taoiseach. All three jobs will attract salaries of around €250,000, as well as gold-plated pensions.

Irish Independent

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