Fine Gael TD for Dublin North Alan Farrell has today outlined his initial strategy as Chairperson for the Internal Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform.
“As the Chairperson of the Internal committee for Public Expenditure and Reform, I set out an initial strategic plan for the committee to liaise with key figures responsible for ensuring change within the public sector.
“My first priority was for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD to discuss with the committee the practical means by which his department will bring about change through constitutional reform and administrative structures within the public service.
“This was the first committee meeting of its kind to be addressed by a member of another political party, and illustrates how policy overrides politics when it comes to the working relationship between the two government parties. It was a very successful meeting. Members not only received a particularly useful insight into the workings of this new department, on which there are very high expectations, but also the terms of reference in which the Minister is carrying out reform, and how this committee can make an effective contribution.
“Last week I also set up a meeting with the Implementation Body of the Croke Park Agreement, attended by Chairperson PJ Fitzpatrick and members of the Body’s Secretariat, which will be critical to whatever decisions the Government makes in relation to reform and savings. It was therefore vital for the committee to meet with the organisation responsible for supporting the quality delivery of public services in the context of less money being available. It has been one year since the agreement was signed, and the conclusion of the most recent report pointed to big challenges ahead.
“The aim for this meeting was to discuss the potential of the Croke Park agreement, and what can be done within the parameters. The scale of implementation is huge as there are hundreds of agencies and a large number of departments involved; however I believe this large scale is an opportunity for large scale savings that will make a significant impact.
“Public Expenditure and Reform is one of the biggest challenges that this government will face in order to achieve significant reductions that has been set out in the Programme for Government. Going forward, my focus as chairperson of this committee is to ensure that we hit the ground running when it comes to building active relationships within the key groups, and our next step is to invite a senior representative from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to discuss the potentials of this agreement and how we can work with the unions in a positive and progressive manner.”