On the one hand you have James Reilly and his henchmen in the Department of Health desperately scrambling to find almost €1 billion in savings in the HSE’s budget, including a reduction in staff by 2,000 before 2015.
On the other you have the embryonic Irish Water, whose start-up costs now look to exceed €180 million, who have appointed costly consultants without undertaking a tender process, whose MD is tainted by his tenure as Dublin City Manager overseeing the farcical Poolbeg Incinerator project which is set to cost the tax payer over €100 million and whose staff are already being promised massive bonuses.
The HSE exemplifies all that is wrong with the Irish public sector and is so bloated, inefficient and convoluted that they will find it almost impossible to rehabilitate. Irish Water looks like it’s heading down the same road.
Given the government’s rhetoric about reform, transparency, the abolition of quangos, the end to corruption and cronyism; it seems that the inception of Irish Water presented a great opportunity to realise those very promises and show how an efficient, fit-for-purpose national organisation could be built from the ground up.
Instead, however, it appears they have followed the established blueprint for state bodies in this country, look after your mates, reward each other handsomely, pay outrageous sums to consultants with very little to show for it, blow your budget secure in the knowledge that the tax payer’s always good for a few quid and when taken to task about all these shortcomings, blame someone else.