by MUIRIS MacCARTHAIGH (June 25, 2010)
The role, governance and political accountability of state agencies has generated a lot of political and media attention recently. Much of this commentary, however, is conducted in the absence of any agreement of how many of these organisations there actually are, and what the overall trends in the agency population are or have been in Ireland.
A new study published by the IPA identifies 249 non-commercial agencies in Ireland and also finds that while the overall number of agencies has begun to decline for the first time (due in large part to the agency rationalisation process announced in Budget 2009), the pace of change is slow and with futher agency rationalisations now inevitable (as part of future current expenditure cuts) there are lessons to be learned from the experience to date. The report also identifies that there are over 2000 positions on the boards and governing authorites of these organisations, a large number of which are politically appointed. (See also here).