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Tech-mad State shamefully tardy

THE previous government was big into the 'smart economy' and the current one is mad for its 'tech clusters' as it brings nearly every major computing firm into the country.

It's a little curious, then, that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is only now appointing a chief information officer.

The fabulously named Bill McCluggage looks to be eminently qualified for the job, however. A former CIO for the Northern Ireland Executive, he was also deputy CIO for the UK cabinet office where he "led a multi-disciplinary team, which developed the Government's national ICT strategy".

Before the wags down the back start joking about the Government announcing its new head of tech support, Mr McCluggage's job will be much more overarching than hands on.

In his new role, he will be in charge of the Government's overall strategy for its IT systems, and will supervise the eGovernment and cloud-computing strategies.

It does make you wonder what took the Government so long to fill this position, however. The CIO is now a key appointee for any major corporation and governments should be no different in that regard.

For a State so overtly focused on technology as a way to stimulate employment and cut costs within the State, it would be nice to see the Coalition practise what it preaches. Better late than never, we suppose, but still embarrassingly late.

Irish Independent