Reforming the Irish public service: A multiple streams perspective

Muiris MacCarthaigh 1
  • 1 Queen’s University , Belfast, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


Following the Irish general election of 2011, a new ministry emerged which sought to combine public expenditure, industrial relations and public sector reform. The creation of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) represented a major departure in Irish administrative history, not least because it introduced a new actor at the heart of Irish government, but also for the range of tasks with which it was endowed. This article provides an administrative reform context for the creation of DPER before examining its work across three domains: industrial relations, financial management reform and administrative reform. Drawing on Kingdon’s ‘multiple streams’ model of policy change, the article argues that reform efforts across all three were made possible by the ‘window of opportunity’ presented by the department’s creation and the coming together of problems, policies and politics in respect of public service reform.

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