New structures for appointing top civil servants have been announced.

A majority of members of the committee that fills top positions will now be drawn from outside the civil service.

Up to now, the Top Level Appointments Committee has been made up of four Secretary Generals and one outside member.

But Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has announced the committee will have four civil servants and five outside members, one of whom will be the chairperson.

In a statement, Mr Howlin said the new committee will also make extra efforts to attract external candidates for top jobs.

The element of 'headhunting' will be used if necessary.

'It is essential the right people capable of taking on the complex challenges our country faces now, and in the future, are in place,' he says.

The changes were promised in the Programme for Government and Minister Howlin will bring proposals on the new members of the committee to Cabinet later.