Ireland: Public Services and Bureaucracy

The history and culture of Ireland, reflected in its independency, unwillingness to external influences, and difficulties in communication between individual agencies (in the past, districts), left a trace on the composition of Irish bureaucracy. At the same time, several historical and cultural factors (the Great Famine, for instance) brought the collective idea of centralization despite communication issues. The contemporary Irish bureaucratical sector was born during the 1950s, when the Industrial Development Authority, the forerunner of contemporary entrepreneurial Ireland, was established (D’Arcy & Nistotskaya, 2019).

The export tax rebate provided in 1956 is where the low corporation tax regime got its start (D’Arcy & Nistotskaya, 2019). Some of the fundamental institutional developments that generated the contemporary Irish economy occurred in the 1950s. The bureaucracy of the period was in charge of analyzing the costs and advantages of new suggestions and deciding whether or not they might be put forth for political consideration and in what form.

In the late 1990s, the impact of new public administration initiatives (NPMs) began to be felt in Ireland. The Strategic Management Initiative (SMI), which was launched in 1994, promised a lot in terms of management efficiency, speed, and consistency (Ongaro et al., 2018). The implementation was overseen by a Coordinating Group of Secretaries-General, who was also responsible for formulating a detailed plan for civil service reform dubbed “Ensuring Better Governance” (DBG) in 1996 (D’Arcy & Nistotskaya, 2019).

The national and worldwide financial and economic crises have shifted the landscape for public administration reform. In the handling of the situation, the government signed agreements with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to give financial assistance and IMF funding. As part of the economic measures needed to address the problem of excessive spending on current sources of revenue, the government has also decreased the size and pay levels of the civil service, dubbed the “Public Service Agreement” (Ongaro et al., 2018). Four primary reform topics identified in the Civil Service Reform Plan 2014-2016 are attaining improved results, reform dividends, digitization, and accountability (Ongaro et al., 2018).

The central government controls and administers the majority of the major public administration. The local government has been given more of a coordinating role in local economic and communal development in recent years. The Irish public administration is not politicized, and there are no changes in civil service employees as a result of government changes. There is an increasing tendency away from civil servants working in a very confined setting and toward more open recruitment of experts (Ongaro et al., 2018). Traditional competencies and skills in areas like policy analysis and human resource management, on the other hand, have been re-emphasized. The civil service is altering, although the extent and nature of the changes are still being determined.

Unlike the US and the UK, Ireland’s public bureaucracy is more centralized and serves a more coordinating function, with a high autonomy threshold. The administrative reform initiative is overseen by the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy and Civil Service Reform, which is led by the Prime Minister (D’Arcy & Nistotskaya, 2019). The Civil Service Management Council, which is made up of general secretaries from all ministries, is in charge of managing civil service reform, including coordination (Ongaro et al., 2018). The Board is a significant innovation that looks to be a successful framework for strengthening inter-ministerial collaboration and coordination.

Ireland has had severe budget limitations and particularly high consolidation pressures in recent years, owing to the financial crisis, as compared to the United States or the United Kingdom. Its advancement in the public administration bureaucracy aids in the required reforms that excessive centralization still necessitates. Historical processes, societal pressures, and geopolitical ramifications, in general, can all be used to explain this.


D’Arcy, M., & Nistotskaya, M. (2019). The Irish Tax State and Historical Legacies: Slowly converging capacity, persistent unwillingness to pay. In Taxation, Politics, and Protest in Ireland, 1662–2016 (pp. 331-355). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Ongaro, E., Thiel, S. V., Massey, A., Pierre, J., & Wollmann, H. (2018). Public administration and public management research in Europe: Traditions and trends. In The Palgrave handbook of public administration and management in Europe (pp. 11-39). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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DemoEssays. 2023. "Ireland: Public Services and Bureaucracy." October 3, 2023.

1. DemoEssays. "Ireland: Public Services and Bureaucracy." October 3, 2023.


DemoEssays. "Ireland: Public Services and Bureaucracy." October 3, 2023.