An interview in yesterday’s Irish Times quotes Brendan Howlin as sayingBut what’s the actual nature of the planned reform? Is the problem not, substantially, the way politics goes on?Private sector consultants to drive public service reform - The Irish Times - Sat, Jun 18, 2011
“We are going to recruit external consultants from the private sector who have driven reform. Conceptually we know what to do but I don’t believe we have the capacity within the public service to bring that from concept to reality.
“And we are going to do that by bringing in external help of change-makers who have carried out change in significant corporations externally.”
For example, take the recent story of Wexford Hospital. First, its not in the HSE capital programme.
Howlin vows hospital will get extensions - News, frontpage - Wexfordpeople.ie
Then, seemingly, Brendan Howlin intervenes, and suddenly its getting extensions worth €20 million at a time when public funds are scarce, and borrowed at an unaffordable interest rate.
Wexford Echo: Howlin fights for hospital
HOSPITAL FUTURE SECURE AS HOWLIN INJECTS €20 MILLION - News, frontpage - Goreyguardian.ie
One, but only one, of the problems that got us here was a supine public service that simply implemented whatever half-assed decisions came out of the political process, like decentralisation, regardless of cost.
What is Howlin seeking these external consultants to deliver? Is the objective to have a public service that won’t be as supine in the face of the kind of gombeenery that he seems to engage in himself?
I’ve no particular gripe with Howlin, let me say. I just think the sight of our Minister for ‘Reform’ engaging in the usual paddywackery over a county hospital paints more than a thousand words.