I can take this question in reference to my Department. It would be the same anywhere. If the Deputy is asking whether the independence and probity of the Civil Service should be maintained, I agree with that and that should be enshrined in the legislation. I have no difficulty with that. However, the Deputy should look beyond that issue. The same standards in recruitment will be required in my Department.
Under the present system, the Department of the Taoiseach might seek to recruit someone for the European division. On his or her first day, a person might be sent by the Civil Service Commission to the Department of the Taoiseach. He or she might be interested in and have considerable knowledge of education, and he or she might have come from a household where education was the major issue. His or her parents might have been teachers. While the person might want to be in the Department of Education and Science, he or she is sent to the European division of my Department. The system that has been in place for years is not a good match.
In this case, at least at local level, the powers of recruitment are given to the Department. This takes nothing away from the standards, probity and independence, but it is common sense. In my Department I imagine it will be a matter for the civil servants to work it out. They would obviously want to interview the people.
In semi-State bodies like IDA Ireland, VHI and the Environmental Protection Agency, recruitment agencies are used and have been since the establishment of these agencies. I do not imagine the Deputy suggests that people recruited to these bodies, because they came through agencies, are unfit to sign the Official Secrets Act or other legislation.
The sense of this is updating the 1924 legislation. What was good in 1924 may have been very good in 1974, but it does not mean it is still good in 2004. This legislation has been carefully examined. Clearly it will have to be approved and go through the procedures. I do not try to detract from the point the Deputy makes about independence and probity. I have no argument that it should be the case. That said, we need to get away from the idea that, on recruitment, a public servant is sent to the last place he or she wants to be and told to make a career there until there is an opportunity to get out.
That is why we lose so many young people and what is wrong with the system. We need to change it so that people have an opportunity. If somebody wants to be in the Department of the Taoiseach, he or she should be located there. If someone does not want to have sight of Government Buildings or anything to do with it, he or she should have an opportunity to go elsewhere. Those with an interest in environmental or educational issues should be allowed to work in those areas. Let us not try to closet people into a system that was made for another generation.