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All State services to be available on one number

A SINGLE telephone number for all public services is planned by the Government -- similar to a system in New York.

New York's 311 service is the phone number for all the US government's information and non- emergency services.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen visited the headquarters of the service in the New York Mayor's office earlier this year on a visit to the city and said he was impressed by the set-up.

Residents, businesses and even visitors can dial the number and access all the government services and information in the city.

The Irish Government is planning to introduce the number in an effort to improve customer services.

But it will take some time to set up as call centres will have to be created to handle the calls.

The New York service system helped inspire the idea.

On foot of the report on the reform of the public sector, Mr Cowen's Government is promising to undertake a major drive in the next months to improve the 24/7 access by the public to government services.

These will mainly focus on internet access, the so-called eGovernment initiatives, but will also take account of the lack of computer access and literacy levels.

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