Bord Snip – How The Irish Government Has Been Wasting Your Money

(image by rileyroxx, used under a Creative Commons License)
Many of you will doubtless be aware of the reports just published in Ireland which outline how the government intends to save the taxpayer €5.3 billion euros. A good news story, eh?
However, a closer reading of the actual reports (something most so-called Irish journalists won’t bother their fat, lazy press-release parroting arses to do) reveals a rather different story. Let’s start with just one tidbit on how Irish taxpayers money was being spent. Section 2.12 of the first report (located on page 34) details how:

‘Information and Communications Technology (ICT) represents a particular sub-set of activities for
which shared services solutions should be actively explored. Approximately 1,300 staff work in
ICT in the civil service at an estimated cost of €65m a year.’

So far, so reasonable. But then, wait for it, the killer line:

In addition, the civil service spends just under €200m a year on external ICT resources (consultancies, contractors and external service providers) and on ICT support and maintenance services.

I’m sorry. Can we go back over that one more time please? You’re telling us that you have been spunking €200 million a year on IT consultants and contractors? Is that correct?
How is this possible? What in Beelzebub’s unholy name have they been at? What in the name of all that is sacred can these lowlifes have charged €200 million clams for?
Are the 1,300 ICT staff employed by the government (at a cost of €65 million a year) so staggeringly incompetent, so utterly useless at their jobs, so cluelessly out of date that it required a bunch of consultants to tell them how to do it?
Or is it simply the case that the middle-management goons in government were too arrogant, too up their own holes with rank and bureaucracy considerations that they couldn’t listen to their own staff and had to bring in consultants to tell them what they already knew?
Any organisation that has to spend a sum of cash in excess of double the salaries of the staff they hired to do the job in the first place, is simply not fit for purpose and should be allowed to politely and quickly die. But of course we’ve seen how the Irish Government responds to such situations: if they were willing to prop up the banks at a time when they should have been left to rot in their own filth, they’re hardly likely to address the gobsmacking uselessness of their own organisation, are they?
More than anything else this whole fiasco brings to mind an observation that a senior Irish Civil Servant shared with me many years ago, that the word “consult” is a combination of the words “con” and “insult”.
I couldn’t agree more.
You’re free to explore the two reports yourself at the following links. Please leave a comment should you find any other examples of Irish taxpayers money being pissed up the wall in a similar manner.
Report Part 1
Report Part 2



  1. “… they couldn’t listen to their own staff and had to bring in consultants to tell them what they already knew, had they had the gumption to listen?”
    – From my experience inside the civil service of another certain country, YOU’RE RIGHT ON THE MONEY THERE.

  2. Before I’d be getting annoyed with that number I’d want to know exactly what it was used on. It could be a case of them not being able to even employ the people they want. I recently met a guy who’s been contracted to the Revenue for the last 3 years because they can’t hire anyone to replace him (very specialised skill set). I’ve also seen a lot of tenders over the years for government websites which would make sense to do rather than keeping them in house. It’d make me suspect that they just keep the day to day running of stuff in house and get in contractors to develop stuff for them. Easier to get rid of the contacted devs at the end of project then rather than having them hang around doing nothing while waiting for another project.

  3. external ICT resources (consultancies, contractors and external service providers) and on ICT support and maintenance services

    It may be far worse than you think: it could well be the money is being spent on nothing at all, nothing more than the ‘right’ to use last-year’s software.
    Considering the figure, I would say someone should look into the amount that heads directly to Redmond Washington in the guise of NT Server and MsOffice licenses. I know the average School Board here in Canada can spend six to seven figures on these ‘services’, and globally there are a great many free software education projects trying their best to illuminate the license-blind. Where such projects succeed, we’re regularly seeing figures on the order of 200M.
    btw, speaking of geeks giving us shite, I get an error on the preview: “Publish error in template ‘Comment Preview Template’: Error in tag: Error in tag: The MTCommentFields tag is no longer available; please include the Comment Form template module instead.” Informative as always.

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