Country Idealist Profiles

Ireland – The State Agencies

Posted in Ireland, Ireland - Local Administration by blopote on August 14, 2008

In Ireland there are a series of state agencies which provide services for and on behalf of the government.  These agencies generally operate at regional or county level.   Listed below is a sample of some of the key services and the agencies that provide these services:

  • Health: The Health Services Executive (HSE) is responsible for providing Health and Personal Social Services for everyone living in the Republic of Ireland. Its objective is to provide services that improve, promote and protect the health and welfare of the public.   The HSE provides thousands of different services in hospitals and communities across the country.  These services range from public health nurses treating older people in the community to caring for children with challenging behaviour; from educating people how to live healthier lives to performing highly-complex brain surgery; from planning for major emergencies to controlling the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Social Security: Department of Social and Family Affairs (DSFA).  The Department formulates appropriate social protection policies and administers and manages the delivery of statutory and non-statutory schemes and services. It is responsible for the delivery of a range of social insurance and social assistance schemes including provision for unemployment, illness, maternity, caring, widowhood, retirement and old age.
  • Education: (Primary, Second Level, Third Level, Adult Education)  [See Ireland Education System for more detail].
    • The Irish primary education sector consists of state-funded primary schools, special schools (schools for children with special needs including residential care units, schools for children with disabilities, young offenders, children at risk, children with specific learning disabilities and emotionally disturbed children) and private primary schools.  State funded schools include religious schools, non-denominational schools, multi-denominational schools and Gaelscoileanna (schools which teach through the medium of Irish.)
    • The secondary-level education sector in Ireland comprises secondary, vocational, community and comprehensive schools.
    • The higher education system (Third Level) in Ireland is broad in scope and encompasses the university sector, the technological sector, the colleges of education and private, independent colleges.
    • The term ” Further Education” embraces education and training which occurs after second-level schooling but which is not part of the third level system. Post Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs) take place in schools, colleges and community education centres around the country and lead to awards validated by the Irish government’s awards agency – Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC), as well as awards validated by a range of Irish, UK and other international awarding bodies. The Vocational Education Committees (VEC) are local education authorities in each county. Each VEC manages the further education colleges in its area and is responsible not only for the provision of PLC courses but also a comprehensive range of quality education programmes and supports designed to meet the needs of young people and adults.  In addition, a number of Irish semi-state agencies are involved in providing industry specific training. The two main such agencies are : FÁS and Failte Ireland.  FAS – the Training and Employment Authority – runs a wide range of training schemes and is responsible for apprenticeship training in Ireland. Fáilte Ireland – the national toursim agency – provides courses in tourism and catering.
  • Policing: An Garda Síochána  – Ireland’s National Police Service
  • Employment:
    • FÁS (Foras Äiseanna Saothair) –  As the National Training and Employment Authority, FÁS anticipates the needs of, and responds to, a constantly changing labour market which employs over 2 million people. Through a regional network of 66 offices and 20 training centres, FÁS operates training and employment programmes; provides a recruitment service to jobseekers and employers, an advisory service for industry, and supports community-based enterprise.
    • Enterprise Ireland is the government agency responsible for the development and promotion of the indigenous business sector.
    • IDA Ireland – Ireland’s inward investment promotion agency, IDA Ireland (Industrial Development Agency) is responsible for the attraction and development of foreign investment in Ireland. IDA Ireland (Industrial Development Agency) is an Irish Government agency with responsibility for securing new investment from overseas in manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors. It also encourages existing investors to expand and develop their businesses.
  • Agriculture / Food: Teagasc – the Agriculture and Food Development Authority – is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities. It was established in September 1988 under the Agriculture (Research, Training and Advice) Act, 1988.
  • Tourism: Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority was established under the National Tourism Development Authority Act, 2003 to guide and promote tourism as a leading indigenous component of the Irish economy. The organisation provides strategic and practical support to develop and sustain Ireland as a high – quality and competitive tourist destination. In this context, our mission is broadly:   Fáilte Ireland works in strategic partnership with tourism interests to support the industry in its efforts to be more competitive and more profitable and to help individual enterprises to enhance their performance.

A full list of all state organisations operating in Ireland can be viewed at


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