Red tape sickness

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Joe McHugh TD has told the Dáil that bureaucracy is the ‘single biggest sickness’ in the country, and that red tape is holding back people in business, and preventing decisions being taken in reasonable periods of time.

In the Dáil this week Deputy McHugh cited the problem facing a Donegal teacher who has been told that she will have to wait 16-18 weeks for Teaching Council accreditation. The accredition is necessary for her in order to start a job that she has been offered and he says the delay is as an example of red-tape inefficiency that is standing in the way of employment recovery across the country.

Deputy McHugh told the Dáil on Tuesday: “The single biggest sickness in the country in the past 20 years has been the increase in bureaucracy and red tape. This difficult nettle must be grasped, because the priority must be efficiency and providing responses to the public in reasonable time.

In the real world, there is an expectation for same-day or 24-hour or same-week responses for most services. That is the world in which many people in the private sector live, it is expected of politicians by people who contact us, and it is a working principle for many people who work within our public service.

“Yet there is a bureaucratic sickness in Ireland: we live through an unemployment crisis, and a qualified Donegal teacher who has been offered a job will remain on social welfare because an official can recite over the telephone that it will take 16 to 18 weeks to sort out a simple problem that could be dealt with more quickly.

That sends out a message about the lack of efficiency and initiative on the part of officials in such positions.

“The single biggest challenge for the Dáil is to tackle the sickness of bureaucracy and red tape.

The first week of March will mark this government’s first year in Office, and in those 12 months Government Ministers have gone about their business proactively and efficiently.

However, the bureaucracy and red tape that are holding back people in business and preventing decisions being taken in reasonable periods of time, must be tackled. That responsibility rests on both Government and Opposition.”