€80m forked out to rehire retired public servants

Kevin Doyle

HUNDREDS of ex-public servants are being rehired by Government departments on temporary contracts that have cost millions.

A ban on public sector recruitment is being ignored by a line of departments who have forked out almost €80m on short-term employees.

The Herald can reveal that the Government has routinely sanctioned short-term or temporary contracts – often to retired public servants who are already benefiting from a pension.

The figures suggest that a significant portion of the costsaving achieved through the non-replacement of workers in the Civil Service has been used up bringing in temps.

Fine Gael's Lucinda Creighton has criticised the practice, which she claims exposes the lack of a cohesive plan for public sector recruitment.

“What this shows is that despite promises and agreements of reform, the public service is still unable to work with the resources available to it,” she said.

The total cost of such staff in 2009 was €39.9m, while in 2010 the figure was €37.6m.

Ms Creighton said that “a very small percentage” of the monies involved accounts for expenditure on internships and work placements.

In a series of Parliamentary Questions she asked each minister the number of staff employed by their department n a short-term, temporary or consultative basis.24

The Department of Foreign Affairs was the biggest spender, shelling out €24.8m on such staff this year. The Department of Social Protection came in second, spending a total of €5.9m or €11.6m over the two years. Almost half of the temporary staff employed by Social Protection were previously employed in the public service in either a temporary or permanent capacity.


Ms Creighton said: “The vast amount involves bringing in staff to supplement the existing workforce.

“The costs involved here are significant. To ensure we stop spending these sums in future, it is vital that we urgently provide for a unified public service labour market as specified by the Croke Park Agreement.

“This would mean that staff could be easily and quickly moved to where they are needed within the public service.”

She argues that there is “no sense” in a department hiring staff for one division when other areas in the same office or another department have spare staff.

“A unified public service labour market is just the start of what we need to do to radically reform the public sector in this country. Fine Gael is the only party with a comprehensive plan to do this, as set out in our Reinventing Government document.”