Tuesday 20 March 2018

Ministers to get report cards from Taoiseach on performances

Lyndsey Telford

GOVERNMENT Ministers are going to find out whose naughty or nice when Enda Kenny delivers his assessments in March.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is to write up report cards on his government ministers who will be forced to account for themselves before the public.

Every member of the coalition Cabinet will be individually hauled before the Taoiseach to explain their progress in meeting set tasks and targets within their departments.

Mr Kenny vowed to publish the assessments by the end of March so the public can judge whether each government minister is up to scratch.

"There will be some straight talking here about getting on with this business," he said in a private Christmas briefing in Government Buildings.

"We're not here to mess around."

The Taoiseach will sit down with each minister in January and hold them to account, determining what they have done for their department and what needs to be done in time for the end of the political year in March.

"This is a Programme for Government but obviously I want people to get on with it so that we can say we are following through our commitments," Mr Kenny went on.

"If there's an issue that can't be dealt with, I want to know the reasons behind that."

Mr Kenny said he would set up an office within the Department of Taoiseach - at no extra cost - to have the Programme for Government translated into actionable parts that refer to each minister.

"So that you can say to minister X, look here are 127 issues that need to be referred to your department and that are your responsibility for the Programme for Government," explained Mr Kenny.

The ministers will then have until the report's publication to focus on what else they need to deal with before the year's end.

"We'll be able to see what every minister has actually achieved in their individual departments," he went on.

"I will sit down with them all and say, 'Look, here's your list. There will be a full report made public at the end of March and I want to see you making your case. Are you measuring up to your responsibility?'"

Mr Kenny has maintained that the main focus of the Programme for Government is employment, the creation of jobs and getting people off the Live Register.

Unemployment levels are currently at 14.5% with almost 450,000 people across the country signing on to the dole.

"I'm only too conscious of the scale of the challenge ahead and the distance that we have to travel," the Taoiseach went on.

"Unemployment for me remains and will continue to be the central focus of what we have to do here.

"The answer to our country's problems is employment, job opportunities, career opportunities."

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