Climate Minister Eamon Ryan has said that the Irish state needs to be “bigger” and that significantly more civil servants should be hired for the sake of the economy.
The comments were made by the Green Party leader this week on the Irish Times’ Inside Politics podcast.
We need thousands of additional civil servants to deal with the challenges facing a growing country.
So says Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan on this week's Inside Politics podcast with @harrymcgee and @hlinehan.https://t.co/UBUMY6tv4S
— Irish Times Podcasts (@IrishTimesAudio) April 27, 2023
“What the employers and the unions are saying, in unison, is that the State needs to be bigger,” said Ryan.
“The success of our country and the economy, which has seen a massive almost one million additional people in the workforce, has not been matched by a similar extension in the public service.”
Asked how many extra civil servants were needed, he replied “Oh, we’re talking thousands.”
The Minister said that he believed the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis – during which time the Green Party was in government – had left a legacy where governments were “terrified” of budget deficits, and that there was an “ideological prejudice” against state intervention in the economy. However, he added that this had since changed.
“There’s a clear understanding and agreement that our state needs to be bigger,” he said.
“We need more people working in An Bord Pléanala. We need more people working in our local authorities.”
While Ryan conceded that the state had “problems,” he said that in other areas, like broadband and motorway networks, it is “delivering” and “transforming the country.”
“Within five years, we will have fibre to every home,” he said.
“We will have one of the most advanced, digitally-connected countries in the world, connected to one of the most advanced renewable countries in the world.”