Fraser to take up post of top civil servant next week

Wed, Jul 27, 2011, 01:00

THE STATE’S most senior civil servant has been named as Martin Fraser by the Government.

The new secretary general to the Government and secretary general of the Department of the Taoiseach is currently the department’s assistant secretary. He begins on August 1st.

The Cabinet also approved the appointment of current head of the Irish Prison Service Brian Purcell as secretary general of the Department of Justice and Defence.

He replaces Seán Aylward, who is stepping down after seven years. Mr Purcell was appointed as director general of the Irish Prison service in July 2004 also succeeding Mr Aylward who headed up the prison service.

Mr Fraser has been assistant secretary since 2007 during which time he served as head of the Northern Ireland and international affairs division, the corporate affairs division and the economic and social policy division.

Mr Fraser was previously director of the Northern Ireland division. Highly regarded by colleagues, he joined the Department of the Taoiseach 12 years ago, as finance officer in 1999. He has served in the Departments of Social Welfare, Foreign Affairs and Agriculture and Food. Mr Fraser joined the Civil Service in 1986.

He holds a bachelor of commerce degree from University College Dublin and a master of science degree in economics from Trinity College Dublin.

On appointment he will also become the chairman of the National Economic and Social Council, which advises the Taoiseach on strategic issues regarding economic and social development.

Dermot McCarthy is retiring after more than 11 years as secretary general to the Government and 10 years as secretary general to the Department of the Taoiseach.

He was centrally involved in social partnership during his time.

In April he informed colleagues of his intention to step down. However, in June the Government asked him to postpone his retirement while they searched for his successor.

The position in the Department of the Taoiseach is in the gift of the Government. However the position of secretary general in the Department of Justice and Defence is based on the recommendations of the top-level appointments commission.