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Thursday 22 February 2018

Lenihan ignores state jobs ban as 2,200 staff recruited

More than 2,200 positions filled in public service since embargo brought in

Paul Melia

FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan is approving 200 public service jobs a month despite the state sector recruitment ban.

More than 2,200 full-time jobs have been filled in the public service since the moratorium on new posts was introduced in March last year, new figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal.

Mr Lenihan has approved three in every five requests for new positions or promotions in the civil and public service, despite exceptions only supposed to be made in "very limited circumstances".

Some 520 of these positions will involve recruiting new staff. Another temporary positions including 276 staff for Census 2011 have been approved.

A total of 608 new posts were filled between June and September.

Sanction has been sought for 31 garda civilian staff for emergency call answering, and another 35 staff for the garda vetting unit. The requests are "under consideration".

But three administrative officers have been appointed to the Department of the Taoiseach to complete "succession planning" -- a process to identify and develop internal people to take over senior roles. They earn between €31,000 and €55,000.

Figures from the Department of Finance also show:

  • The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland sought three staff, but no decision has been made.
  • Some 36 positions in the National Gallery are under consideration.
  • There is no decision on a request from Galway University Hospital for permission to appoint a chief medical scientist, while just two general dental surgeons were sanctioned for the HSE when three were needed.
  • Some 22 positions in the Road Safety Authority were refused.

The filling of jobs comes despite the Government insisting that overall numbers in the public sector would be reduced by 25,000 by 2014. Some 12,000 of these jobs have already gone, and Fine Gael last night criticised the embargo as a "crude instrument" that was not working.

"The embargo really has surpassed its sell-by date," Leo Varadkar said. "They need a much more strategic approach and to identify the posts that need to be filled and eliminated. The reason they couldn't do that was because there was no deployment agreement but now there is with the Croke Park Agreement.

"We're saying we need another 30,000 more (job cuts). A lot of things can be outsourced."

Mr Lenihan said that requests for exemptions were not made for every vacancy.

Approval was based on a business case including consideration of statutory posts that had to be filled for legal reasons.

Overall, there had been a reduction of 6pc employed in the civil service since the ban was introduced.

Irish Independent

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