Nearly 50 quangos to go in 2012
But Fine Gael had promised to cull 145
THE Government is to shut down 48 quangos next year -- which is less than a third of the number promised by Fine Gael during the General Election to "save billions".
None of the 4,300 staff will lose their jobs. Under the Croke Park Agreement, the staff cannot lose their jobs or move farther than 45km from their base.
Many will be affected, however, with some having to move to new offices and others coming under new management.
The cull is far short of the 145 quango closures promised by Fine Gael. And Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin admitted that the savings of €20m per year from the first wave of closures was modest.
"The idea is to drive efficiencies, to ensure that things are done better and to avoid duplication," he said yesterday.
Almost all of the newly defunct quangos are being merged with bodies or departments working in similar areas.
For example, the State's five employment rights bodies are being merged into one body.
Mr Howlin said the Government would rationalise another 46 quangos in the next seven months, which would bring the number of closures to 92.
The only quango being shut down is the Dormant Accounts Board, which no longer has any staff and whose funds will now be controlled by Environment Minister Phil Hogan.
Three well-known arts institutions -- the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Ireland and the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork -- will keep their names but be combined into one body overall.
The National Roads Authority is merging with the Railway Procurement Agency.
Fianna Fail public expenditure spokesman Sean Fleming commented yesterday: "There's a major reduction and a rowing back especially by Fine Gael, who were going to kill quangos."