Promised bonfire has been candle in wind
BONFIRE of the Quangos – as misleading a phrase as it was cliched, it now seems.
Abolishing around 150 quangos was one of the key Fine Gael manifesto pledges, but the pace of change since the Coalition assumed power has been less bonfire, more candle in the wind.
The most recent update on the Programme for Government agreed in 2011 showed that only 21 of these bodies have thus far been given the chop, with a rather loose and flabby timeframe for the scrapping of a further 82.
Some high-profile quangos have been abolished, such as FAS, and more are on borrowed time, but the National Consumer Agency (NCA) is just typical of the wider experience.
Quangos – continually held up as great symbols of Bertie-esque waste by Fine Gael and Labour – are easy targets but difficult to get rid of, especially if there is a seeming slippage in the political will to scrap them.
Along with many other issues, the Coalition's rhetoric in opposition on quangos has not been matched by action in power.
"Being in Government is different to saying easy things in opposition," a coalition source admitted.
You don't say.