At a Glance...

Public sector and civil service

This sector is essential for a functioning ecomony and society. And as countries do not run themselves, they need to be managed. This management takes place through the Public Service, under the direction of public policy.

Public decision-making takes place at Local, at National, European and International levels, bringing a wide range of career opportunties across these areas.

The Civil and Public Service is made up of the various Departments and Offices. These offices and departments work with the Government to create and implement new policies and services, dealing directly with the public or even providing market research information.

They provide people the opportunity to work in a wide variety of roles as well as opportunities to work nationwide in any of the Government offices which are based throughout the country or even work abroad.

Career areas include education, health services, transport, finance, library services, fire service, IT, community based opportunities, arts and leisure opportunities and many more.

To become a part of the civil service there are three streams:

Administrative grades – general service grades or generalists who may serve in any Department and Departmental Grades.

Professional grades – These will graduate with particular specialisms and generally will remain in these specialisms throughout their career, working their way up the ranks.

Industrial civil servants – These would be professions such as gardeners or craftsmen etc.

There is also a wide range of professional and technical positions in the Civil Service, the wider Public Service and Local Authorities:

  • Accountancy/Audit
  • Agricultural Science
  • Architecture
  • Barrister
  • Chemistry and Applied Science
  • Engineering
  • Inspector
  • Law Clerk
  • Marine Biologist
  • Planner
  • Psychologist
  • Scientist
  • Solicitor
  • Veterinary Surgeon

With over a hundred local authorities and councils to be a part of in Ireland, they all constitute the local government system. They each deliver a wide range of important services to every town, city, and village across the country.

The intention of having a Local Government is to ensure that the local people are provided services for themselves, to exercise some control over their affairs and also to make decisions through the democratic process.

How it works is the Local Residents elect individuals to represent them on the Local Authority. These people elected then make decisions on behalf of their constituents. Their job is part-time and usually involves attending meetings to deal with various issues concerning the public. Some of these decisions may be with regard to by-laws, development plans, planning applications and budgets.

The Authority carries out a broad range of activities that make a significant contribution to the development of local communities which include:

  • Physical Planning and Development
  • Roads
  • Sanitary Services
  • Housing
  • Waste Management
  • Fire Services
  • Libraries and Museums
  • Environmental Protection
  • Parks, Amenities and the Arts

Institute of Public Administration

The Institute of Public Administration is Ireland’s only public service development agency focused exclusively on public sector development. It delivers its service through:

  • education and training, building people’s capability to meet challenges
  • direct consultancy, solving problems and helping plan and shape the future
  • research and publishing – understanding what needs to be done and making these findings readily available.

We tailor our services to the particular needs of the public service. Our blend of skill and experience means that we can develop and offer a service which meets public service needs precisely and effectively. Whilst our services are delivered mainly to clients in the Irish Public Service, we have a strong reputation and demand for our services internationally also.


The Public Appointments Service is the centralised provider of recruitment, assessment and selection services for the Civil Service, Local Authorities, the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána and other public bodies. The Public Appointments Service also aims to provide an open, efficient and effective gateway and process to identify top quality people for consideration by Ministers for appointment to State Boards. The website is the channel used by the Public Appointments Service to both inform the public of vacancies on State Boards and to collate expressions of interest in those roles for the Minister.

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EPA Story of your Stuff Competition



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