The Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes (also known as An Bord Snip Nua) was an advisory committee established by the Irish government in 2008 to recommend cuts in public spending. It was chaired by economist Colm McCarthy. It published two volumes of findings, commonly known as the McCarthy report, on 16 July 2009.
The committee, colloquially dubbed "An Bord Snip Nua" by newspaper journalists, was a committee with a similar remit to one established in 1987, known as "An Bord Snip". Bord Snip is a mix of English and Irish words that can be translated as "snip board". Bord Snip Nua means the new Bord Snip. The name is intended to be humorous. Many state agencies in Ireland have the words an bord (meaning "the board") in their title, such as Bord Iascaigh Mhara (the Irish Sea-Fisheries Board); "snip" refers to the cost-cutting remit of the group.
Due to the global financial crisis, a construction sector collapse and a fall in bank lending, an Irish financial crisis began in 2008. Tax revenue from value-added tax (a form of sales tax), stamp duty and capital gains tax fell sharply. An additional income levy on 1% and 2% was introduced to compensate for some of these falls. The government expected a €6 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year 2009.
Members of the group
- Colm McCarthy, economist at University College Dublin
- Donal McNally, Second Secretary in the Department of Finance
- Maurice O'Connell, former director of Depfa Bank plc and Governor of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland
- William Slattery, managing director, State Street Corporation (Ireland)
- Mary Walsh, former partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (Ireland)
- Pat McLaughlin, business consultant and former Deputy chief executive of the Health Service Executive
The Taoiseach Brian Cowen, stated that the: "Special Group's examination of all programmes funded through public expenditure will focus on whether scarce financial resources are being deployed to achieve priority policy objectives. The Group will identify options for savings in the context of the Government's fiscal objectives as set out in Budget 2009. It will also ensure that public expenditure is being used to address relevant priority policy objectives in the current fiscal environment."
- The group was charged with identifying cuts in spending and staff numbers, quangos (quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations) that could be merged or abolished, and ways to get better value for taxpayers' money.
- The group had scope to examine the terms and conditions, tenure and pension entitlements of new recruits to the public service.
- The group was charged with identifying expenditure programmes to be cut or stopped, with a view to eliminating the budget deficit by 2011.
In March 2010, Lenihan said that, of the report's 271 recommendations, the government had decided to implement 32 in full and 89 in part, with projected savings for the year estimated at €1.7b. In June, Lenihan said that the government had implemented 42 in full and 103 in part, and that the report remained under consideration. Later that year, various ministers answered Dáil questions outlining the savings made by their departments:
- Public service of the Republic of Ireland
- State-sponsored bodies of Ireland
- Economy of the Republic of Ireland
- Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes: Volume 1 (Prn. A9/0987); Volume 2 (Prn. A9/0988)
- 'Bord Snip' reveals €5.3bn savings plan RTÉ.ie 16 July 2009
- "Public service must be reformed". The Irish Times. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- "Members of An Bord Snip are named". Business World. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- "Taoiseach's Statement on Transforming Public Service". Department of the Taoiseach. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Written Answers – Departmental Reports Dáil debates, 10 March 2010
- Written Answers – Departmental Reports Dáil debates, 7 July 2010
- What is the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes? Transforming Public Services programme, Department of the Taoiseach