Abstract: In recent years, the Irish Government has launched a number of
e-Government initiatives. The most ambitious of these is Reach, a project to
develop a Public Services Broker (PSB) which will at once be a public sector
portal, a public data vault, an inter-agency broker and an authentication
system. If successful, this development could result in certain public services
becoming virtual, i.e. being provided entirely from or by machines. The origins
of the PSB and both the assumptions and the philosophy behind it are explored.
A number of issues raised by the PSB are examined and its likely impact on
certain aspects of Ireland's public services is assessed.