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There is now an ideal opportunity open to Ireland to re-invent itself, Fine Gael Deputy leader and Finance Spokesman Richard Bruton told the AEJ’s February lunch in Dublin.

Quoting President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who once said “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste”, he said Ireland could use the current economic crisis to create new standards and new ways of doing things.

In the past and during the boom years, he said Ireland had been low on scrutiny, soft on policy and partisan in regulation. In future, all organizations including all parts of the public service should be made accountable and only paid for delivery of service. There should be competition at all levels in organizations to be at the top level in being awarded contracts and delivering excellence in service.

He disagreed with the notion of a national government in the current climate saying there was a danger in agreeing compromise when what was needed was tough and often unpopular decisions.