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The overarching mission of the civil and public services (often referred to together as the public service) is to maintain and enhance the economic, environmental and social well-being, as well as the health, safety and security of the people of Ireland.

The civil service directly supports the three branches of the State – the Executive (through the various departments of government), the Legislature and the Judiciary – in fulfilling their mandate, which is to serve the people of Ireland.

The public service delivers a range of concrete public goods and services directly to the public, particularly in:

  • the healthcare sector
  • the education and training sector
  • local authorities
  • An Garda Síochána
  • Irish Prison Service
  • Courts Service of Ireland and other areas of the justice sector
  • defence forces
  • non-commercial state agencies

'Public servant' is a general term that refers to the individuals employed by the State to deliver government administration and services, either through government departments or public bodies. There are currently more than 300,000 public servants in Ireland. The total number of public servants can be found on the Civil Service Databank.

Public Service Reform Plan

The Public Service Reform plans have made the work of the public service more transparent, decision-making more accountable and service delivery more effective since 2011. Our Public Service 2020 is the current framework for reform.

Civil Service Renewal

The civil service carries out the work of Government and is responsible for delivering a range of public services. The civil service forms part of the wider public service. It comprises of approximately 36,500 staff while the public service in total comprises of approximately 300,000.

The programme of reform set out in the Civil Service Renewal Plan aims to strengthen capacity, capability, accountability and leadership across the civil service.

Quality Customer Service

Improving how the public service engages with its customers, and improving service design and delivery, is a core part of Public Service Reform. In 2000 a cross-Departmental network of customer service operators was established under the Quality Customer Service Initiative, to oversee the implementation of 12 Principles of Quality Customer Service.

Publications (110)

Temporary Assignments across the Civil and Public Service in response to the challenge of COVID-19

18 March 2020; Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Publication;

Government makes digital transformation a priority for the Public Service in 2020

27 December 2019; Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Press release;

Minister Donohoe welcomes publication of the First Progress Report on Our Public Service 2020

3 October 2019; Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Press release;