Public Administration Reforms in Europe
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Public Administration Reforms in Europe

The View from the Top

Edited by Gerhard Hammerschmid, Steven Van de Walle, Rhys Andrews and Philippe Bezes

Based on a survey of more than 6700 top civil servants in 17 European countries, this book explores the impacts of New Public Management (NPM)-style reforms in Europe from a uniquely comparative perspective. It examines and analyses empirical findings regarding the dynamics, major trends and tools of administrative reforms, with special focus on the diversity of top executives’ perceptions about the effects of those reforms.
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Chapter 13: Riding the roller coaster: Ireland’s reform of the public service at a time of fiscal crisis

Richard Boyle


Ireland presents an interesting case of public administration reform at a time of turbulence. The country was dramatically hit by the international fiscal crisis with a GDP drop of 11 per cent in the three years prior to 2010. Both the state and its financial system became reliant on international support. The depth of the crisis raised concerns about the Irish political and administrative system, and prompted calls for fundamental public service reform. The attitudes of senior public executives to reform have therefore been heavily influenced by the national and international fiscal crisis. Interestingly despite the effects of the crisis, when compared to the COCOPS sample average, Irish senior public executives tend to be somewhat more positive in their assessment of how public administration has performed over the last five years. However, managing reductions in the size and cost of the public sector has caused significant challenges and difficulties for managers. The magnitude of the challenges faced and the endeavours to address them has been substantial.

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