Fine Gael candidate Regina Doherty has stated that as part of our Four Year Plan, Fine Gael are looking to reduce Public Sector numbers in the region of 30,000. Quite a number of these will be by way of normal retirements and ordinary leavers, but the remainder will be part of a co-ordinated well thought out voluntary plan and will be rolled out over the next four years.
The fiasco around the recent attempt by Fianna Fail to reduce the numbers in the HSE is proof that any plan must be well thought out and accurately timed. Voluntary redundancy and early retirement offers have to be designed with a clear outcome in mind, protection of frontline service is a priority. It makes no sense whatsoever to offer early retirement or redundancy packages to a position which is essential. It is also paramount that staff be afforded sufficient time and provided with full details in order that they can consider all of their options. The recent redundancy package within the HSE was lacking both of these vital considerations, is there any wonder it failed.
Never before has it been more important to obtain best value for money within our public service and efficiency is key. We are only a small country and certain services can be dealt with in central locations, such as Means Testing which is presently being carried out at 1,500 locations around Ireland. Tackling inefficiency, waste and duplication in our Public Service is vital, overall reform can only lead to a more streamlined and cost efficient service which will benefit everyone now and in the future. For too long public sector workers have been tarred with the brush inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Under a Fine Gael government, respect and pride will be restored alongside improved services.