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Monday 23 October 2017

Bonfire of the quangos burns 181 bodies - but just €15m in savings

Simon Coveney
Simon Coveney
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

THE Government's much-heralded "bonfire of the quangos" is saving just €15m a year - despite 181 bodies being culled.

This is still short of the €20m originally envisaged, although the Government insists it is planning to ramp up the savings to the public purse.

A progress report on the initiative, which will result in 181 fewer State agencies being in place than there was in 2011, says the plan is 90pc complete and saving the Exchequer €15.2m. However, it is promised that another €9m of annual savings can be delivered.

Further cuts are on the way through the non-replacement of departing public servants and further administrative efficiencies, according to the report by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

It said a final savings tally would be around €24.4m-a-year when the process is over.

However, officials insist there will still be a significant improvement in health, education and local government services despite the cuts.

There have already been 146 bodies merged into other structures.

Some 27 new entities have been created through mergers, to do work previously carried out by 62 different bodies.

According to the report, the biggest savings will come from:

* The merger of the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency, saving €3.4m each year;

* The joining together of the Valuation Office, the Property Registration Authority and Ordnance Survey Ireland, resulting in an annual saving of €2.6m;

* Merging the Affordable Housing Partnership, National Building Agency and Centre for Housing Research into the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency, with a €2.49m saving;

* The rationalisation of various employment rights and industrial relations bodies into the new Workplace Relations Commission, saving €2m;

* Merging the 33 vocational and educations committees into 16 education and training boards, saving €2m;

* The merger of the Local Government Computer Services Board, Local Government Management Services Board and An Chomhairle Leabharlanna into the Local Government Management Agency, with a yearly saving of €1.4m;

* The restructuring of Shannon Development, which will save €1m annually.

Smaller amounts are being saved by merging the Civil Defence Board into the Department of Defence, subsuming Forfás into the Department of Jobs, and absorbing the functions of Culture Ireland into the Department of Arts.

However, three agencies under the Department of Agriculture which had been set for abolition will be allowed to continue after proposals were examined by a review group.

It decided against merging the National Milk Agency into Bord Bia. Bord Iascaigh Mhara was also spared from being subsumed into the department, while the Irish Marine Development Office also survived the shake-up.

Irish Independent

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