Countries do not run themselves - they need to be managed. In Ireland, public decision-making takes place at two key levels: National and Local.
Decision-making at national level happens through the National Parliament or Oireachtas which consists of the President and two houses of Parliament: Dáil Éireann (The House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (The Senate).
Dáil Eireann has 166 elected members known as TDs. They attend parliament and deal with the country's social, legal and economic issues. Laws are prepared and debated before they are passed. These decisions or laws are then filtered down and put into action through the various public service sectors such as the Department of Education and Skills or the Department of Finance.
There are 60 members elected or appointed by Government to Seanad Eireann. The members of Seanad Eireann play a supportive role in revising laws that are sent to them by the Dáil.
The Civil Service
The Civil or Public Service consists of over thirty different Departments/Offices which provide services for and on behalf of the Government. It is well worth referring to the Government of Ireland website and taking the time to cast your eye over the A to Z of Services provided. This gives an indication of the broad range of work that is carried out on behalf of the Government.
The Civil Service is staffed by public services sector officials. Their role is vital to the economic and social life of Ireland, implementing policies and delivering services to the public.
The Civil Service offers a huge range of job opportunities, employing circa 30,000 people. It’s role includes working with the Government to create and implement new policies and services, dealing directly with the public or even providing market research.
Career areas in the civil service include education, health services, transport, finance, library service, fire service, IT, community based opportunities, arts and leisure opportunities and many more.
Occupations in the Civil Service are extremely diverse, ranging from accountancy to HR to customer services. Clerical, administrative, management, technical and specialist staff all have significant roles to play.
Recruitment for all jobs in the Civil Service is undertaken by the Public Appointments Service.
[see 'Ask the Experts' panel 'Public Appointments Service' for detailed information on this sector].
There is curently a recruitment and promotion moratorium in place in the public service, but decisions in respect of future recruitment campaigns are taken in the context of the business needs of the relevant organisation. There are however, many opportunities available to work in the European Union.
Free movement of labour, the growing harmonisation of standards and mutual recognition of qualifications means that there are many career opportunities available in the EU. Apart from the opportunity to work in any of the 27 Member States, the European Institutions are significant employers providing permanent, temporary and contract opportunities.
To apply for jobs in the EU click here.
To view a video on working in the EU click here.
There are over a hundred local authorities in Ireland that constitute the local government system, which delivers a wide range of crucially important services to every city, town and village in the country. The purpose of Local Government is to enable people at local level to provide services for themselves, to exercise some control over their affairs and to make decisions through the democratic process.
[see 'Ask the Experts' panel 'LGMA' for detailed information on this sector]
Local Residents elect individuals to represent them on the Local Authority for their area. The elected County Councillor then makes decisions on behalf of constituents. A total of 1,627 County Councillors are elected from their own localities. Their job is part-time and involves attending meetings to deal with various decisions. These decisions may be with regard to by-laws, development plans, planning applications and budgets.
The Local Authority levvies local taxes to fund service provision. The Authority carries out a broad range of activities that make a significant contribution to the development of local communities. These services include:
- Physical Planning and Development
- Sanitary Services
- Waste Management
- Fire Protection
- Libraries and Museums
- Environmental Protection and
- Parks, Amenities and the Arts.
In Ireland the people elect politicians to represent them in government, to act on their behalf and to protect their interests. Both Councillors (Local Government) and TDs (National Parliament) are elected by the public every 5 years. Getting elected by the public requires someone to be well known and well regarded for work in their local community.
The most common route into politics is to join a local branch of a political party such as Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour, The Green Party, Sinn Féin. You will need to become as active as possible and help out, especially at election time. People are usually elected firstly as Councillor to a County Council before they proceed to trying to get elected as a TD for the National Parliament (Oireachtas).