Wednesday 22 November 2017

Dan O'Brien: Real danger of cynicism replacing our goodwill

The Government's failure to ensure value for taxpayers in relation to voluntary organisations is part of CRC scandal

Dan O'Brien
Dan O'Brien
GIFT OF GIVING: Willian Fry staff participate in raising funds for Daffodil Day. From left, Sarah O'Mahony, Liam O'Sullivan, and Kate Conroy, from the Irish Cancer Society. The most recent World Giving Index found Irish people to be among the most generous contributors to charity. Fundraisers like those above deserve to know where the money they raise is going. Photo: Colm Mahady/Fennells
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

We govern ourselves amateurishly. The Irish State and its institutions function haphazardly. Decisions on what government should do and the activities it should support have too frequently been taken on a willy-nilly basis.

Ensuring value for taxpayers' money has traditionally been a low priority for politicians. Civil servants have done considerably less than their counterparts in peer countries to evaluate the effectiveness of public spending programmes.

Often, very important policy choices are made with very little thought and on the most arbitrary of bases -- how tax breaks have been granted, for instance, has depended mostly on making a half-way plausible case if one was fortunate enough to have the ear of the sitting finance minister.

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