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Public sector to be cut by 25,000

THE number of employees in the public sector has fallen below 300,000 for the first time in five years.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan (right) has committed to cutting the numbers by 25,000 by the end of 2015 as part of its Programme for Government.

The figures will be published in conjunction with proposals for public service reform, including plans for shared services and e-government due to be discussed by Cabinet.

It is understood that up to 50 quangos are set to be merged, abolished or reformed next year. The Government is looking at scrapping more than 106 state agencies, in addition to the 30 currently being rationalised, but the final figure will be around 50.