Why has crisis committee met just once in 7 months?

Niall O'Connor

A government committee tasked with reforming the public sector has met just once in the last seven months, the Herald can reveal.

The Cabinet is under fire after it emerged members of its much-hyped committee for public sector reform had not held a meeting since July.

Opposition TDs today labelled the committee as "pointless" and "decorative" and called the Minister of Public Sector Reform to set regular monthly meetings. The committee consists of a number of Cabinet ministers and is chaired by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Minister Brendan Howlin admitted it was envisaged that the group of ministers would meet "regularly", however only one meeting has been held since its establishment in April.

The minister claimed in the Dail this week that he could not divulge what was discussed at its July meeting due to "Cabinet confidentiality".

However opposition deputies slammed the committee -- claiming that meeting once will not address the challenges in the public sector.

Fianna Fail spokesperson Sean Fleming told the Herald: "This Government is great at talking the talk -- but this is a prime example of how they aren't working to achieve anything tangible. It has been in existence from May and it has only met once. But what's worse is they tell you they can't reveal what's discussed at these meetings due to 'Cabinet confidentiality' -- well that's a very clever way of not telling the public anything."

And People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett labelled the committee as "pointless" due to our EU/IMF agreement.

"This so-called committee is nothing short of a decoration and pretty pointless. It is there to make the Cabinet look in charge when really any decision in relation to our public sector is being made by the Troika."

A spokesperson for the Department of Public Sector Reform told the Herald: "Cabinet sub-committees are subject to normal Cabinet confidentiality so we do not disclose the content of the agendas, what items are discussed at such meetings or what decisions are made at the meetings."