Michael McGrath: 'More needs to be done on housing, homelessness and health'

By Eoin English
Irish Examiner Reporter

More needs to be done in housing, homelessness and health, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform said tonight as the 2019 public service performance report was published. 

The report, now in its fourth year, provides a comprehensive overview of the performance of the entire public service.

It gives a detailed breakdown of how investment in vital public services impacts those people who need them, by comparing targets to what was actually delivered.

The report showed that while several key health targets were exceeded, several were missed, including targets on residential places for people with a disability, the number of adult, child and adolescent referrals to mental health services, the figures attending National Screening Service including BreastCheck and CervicalCheck, and the number of intensive Home Care Packages, with 188 of the targeted 235 delivered.  

It also showed:

  • over 900,000 Irish passports were issued in 2019 – the highest in a single year and up 7% on the previous year - as the government prepared for Brexit. 

  • 49,685 UK driving licenses were exchanged in 2019 – up from 6,486 in 2018;
  • more than 1.5m people availed of a medical card;
  • 600 gardaí were recruited to bring the force strength to over 14,000;
  • nearly one million students were provided with primary and post-primary education;
  • and nearly 2,000 Defence Forces personnel were deployed overseas.

Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said: “It is critical that the public service in its entirety is focused on outputs that have a real impact for the people.” 

He also said the report includes a comprehensive section on ‘equality budgeting’ which is designed to ensure that government decisions are equality and gender proofed.

An expert advisory group has now been established to drive the roll-out of equality budgeting across the public service.