Teachers, health staff and gardaí to be recruited next year

Howlin says initiative is a ‘reform dividend’

 

Additional staff are to be taken on in schools and hospitals next year while new gardaí will also be recruited, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has said.

He said funding would be provided to allow for the recruitment of 1,250 resource and classroom teachers next year.

The Minister also said that planned cuts to staffing levels in the health service would be revised so that there were 1,000 more personnel than originally earmarked.

He said this move was aimed at protecting frontline services.

Mr Howlin also said the Government would re-commence Garda recruitment next year alongside the independent review of the force agreed under the Haddington Road agreement.

He said there were parts of the public service which were facing “immediate pressures” that had to be addressed.

“ In recent times, I have come to the view that there are areas of the public service where we simply need to provide some additional staff, after five years of downsizing.”

“For this reason, the target for public service numbers next year has been adjusted to allow some scope for additional staff in our classrooms, hospital wards and for front line policing.”

The Minister said the funding to allow for the new recruitment represented “a reform dividend”.

He said this was “only made possible because of the savings being delivered across the system as a whole; and it can be done while still reducing the pay bill next year by over €500 million”.

The Minister said that the size of the public service had been reduced by almost 10 per cent over the last 5 years and the cost of the State’s paybill had been scaled back by 17 per cent.

He said the Haddington Road deal “will permit that cost to fall further again”.

Mr Howlin said that the savings in the public service which had been achieved over recent years had to be “ protected and sustained”.

He said that meant “we must continue to demand further efficiency in the system”.

“And we must ensure that public service managers across every sector make full use of the 15 million extra hours and the other hard-won workplace flexibilities agreed in Haddington Road.

Mr Howlin said he intended publishing a revised public service reform plan by the end of the year.

He said this would “build on what we have achieved and setting out new ambitions for reform”.

“That plan will focus on innovation in terms of service delivery and an increased focus on outcomes.”