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Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Howlin scales back plans for abolition and merging of State agencies

Though 47 measures will go ahead by the end of this year, almost half of mergers or abolitions have been deferred or postponed.

MINISTER FOR PUBLIC Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin has said all but one of the 48 actions planned for State agencies in 2012 will go ahead but almost half of abolitions or mergers for 2013 have been delayed.

Howlin said yesterday that the government has decided not to proceed with the absorption of the National Cancer Registry into the Department of Health at this time. However he said 47 out of the 48 measures will be completed in a “legislative or administrative basis resulting in the rationalisation/merger if 101 bodies”.

Savings of €20 million will be achieved, the Minister said, adding that no separate funding will be made available for these bodies not merged unless in an agreed rationalisation programme.

The number of vocational education committees has been reduced from 33 to 16 while 37 enterprise boards will be abolished.

24 critical reviews have been earmarked by Howlin for full implementation of mergers by the end of 2013. Ten reviews do not recommend proceeding and Howlin has asked departments to engage further with his department “with a view to exploring shared services and other operational synergies”.

Three reviews are described as “ongoing and another eight have been deferred due to “external factors”.

Yesterday the Green Party criticised the merging of the Digital Hub into Dublin City Council, saying it showed “a lack of any initiative” from the Government in promoting the internet economy.

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