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Thursday 18 January 2018

Taoiseach: departments too insulated

Fionnan Sheahan and Michael Brennan

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has said he is going to work with ministers to ensure they deliver the commitments in the Programme for Government.

It came after the Irish Independent revealed Mr Kenny was going to take personal charge of driving reforms in the departments controlled by Health Minister James Reilly and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.

This will be done by drawing up an action plan to monitor the progress of change in two key areas they are responsible for – reforming the health system in the case of Dr Reilly, and helping unemployed people find jobs in the case of Ms Burton.

Speaking during his St Patrick's Day visit to Washington, Mr Kenny said he had a responsibility to work with ministers to implement the Programme for Government.

"For too long, we've had the situation in years gone by where departments were insulated and isolated. This is about people and the country, and therefore it requires a whole of government response," he said.

Under the action-plan model, specific deadlines are set for implementing policies and there is constant pressure on ministers and civil servants to ensure no slippage.

Mr Kenny chairs progress meetings where ministers are grilled if they are not meeting targets.

But it is understood officials in Ms Burton's department are already preparing targets for providing job and training opportunities for people on the live register under her Pathways to Work plan.

Irish Independent

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