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Estimates for Public Services 2015

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Estimates for Public Services 2015

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Estimates for Public Services 2015

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Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin)

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Snippet Contents:

I move the following Revised Estimates:
Vote 1 — President’s Establishment (Revised Estimate)
Vote 2 — Department of the Taoiseach (Revised Estimate)
Vote 3 — Office of the Attorney General (Revised Estimate)
Vote 4 — Central Statistics Office (Revised Estimate)
Vote 5 — Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Revised Estimate)
Vote 6 — Office of the Chief State Solicitor (Revised Estimate)
Vote 7 — Office of the Minister for Finance (Revised Estimate)
Vote 8 — Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (Revised Estimate)
Vote 9 — Office of the Revenue Commissioners (Revised Estimate)
Vote 10 — Office of the Appeal Commissioners (Revised Estimate)
Vote 11 — Public Expenditure and Reform (Revised Estimate)
Vote 12 — Superannuation and Retired Allowances (Revised Estimate)
Vote 13 — Office of Public Works (Revised Estimate)
That a sum not exceeding €369,848,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2015, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of Public Works; for services administered by that Office including the National Procurement Service, for payment of certain grants and for the recoupment of certain expenditure.
Vote 14 — State Laboratory (Revised Estimate)
Vote 15 — Secret Service (Revised Estimate)
Vote 16 — Valuation Office (Revised Estimate)
Vote 19 — Office of the Ombudsman (Revised Estimate)
Vote 20 — Garda Síochána (Revised Estimate)
Vote 21 — Prisons (Revised Estimate)
Vote 22 — Courts Service (Revised Estimate)
Vote 23 — Property Registration Authority (Revised Estimate)
Vote 24 — Justice and Equality (Revised Estimate)
Vote 25 — Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Revised Estimate)
Vote 26 — Education and Skills (Revised Estimate)
Vote 27 — International Co-operation (Revised Estimate)
Vote 28 — Foreign Affairs and Trade (Revised Estimate)
Vote 29 — Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Revised Estimate)
Vote 30 — Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Revised Estimate)
Vote 31 — Transport, Tourism and Sport (Revised Estimate)
Vote 32 — Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Revised Estimate)
Vote 33 — Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Revised Estimate)
Vote 34 — Environment, Community and Local Government (Revised Estimate)
Vote 35 — Army Pensions (Revised Estimate)
Vote 36 — Defence (Revised Estimate)
Vote 37 — Social Protection (Revised Estimate)
Vote 38 — Health (Revised Estimate)
Vote 39 — Office of Government Procurement (Revised Estimate)
Vote 40 — Children and Youth Affairs (Revised Estimate)
I am pleased to have this opportunity to present the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2015, which have been considered in great deal by the relevant select committee over the past number of weeks. In line with the revised budgetary timetable introduced as part of the two pack, the Revised Estimates were published on 18 December 2014 and this has allowed for much earlier consideration of them by Members than has been the practice during my time in the House. The revised Book of Estimates for 2015 sets out gross voted expenditure amounting to €53.2 billion. In addition, the book sets out the performance targets and outputs for all Departments for the coming year which will allow for greater oversight and accountability to ensure public resources are having the desired impact. This is an innovation to ensure we are not simply considering the money allocated but also what we expect the outcome of those allocations to be.
I will outline the economic and fiscal background against which the Revised Estimates were drafted. The recovery in the economy has firmly taken hold and we expect that the momentum generated last year will continue this year. While the Central Statistics Office will publish the quarterly national accounts for the fourth quarter of 2014 over the coming weeks, in the period to the end of September 2014 our economy grew by 5% in real terms compared to the same period in 2013. This means that Ireland became Europe's fastest growing economy last year and our latest economic forecasts suggest that we will continue to grow strongly in 2015.
As economic recovery continues to broaden, the labour market has made substantial progress in regaining the devastating employment losses following the economy's collapse in 2008. Unemployment, having peaked at more than 15% in 2012, has been reduced to just over 10% as of February 2015. There is every expectation that if it has not reached single digits already, it will do so early this year. The number of people signing on the live register, having peaking at more than 470,000 in 2011, fell by a further 40,000 last year to stand at 360,000. As a clear sign that the Government's prioritisation of job creation is paying dividends, an additional 30,000 jobs were created in 2014, an increase of 1.5% over the previous year. Overall, employment has increased every year since 2012 with the result that almost 115,000 new jobs have been created in the economy since then. However, while we recognise that the Government has made significant progress in returning the unemployed to work, joblessness in Ireland remains too high and our efforts will focus on lowering it further over the short and medium term.