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 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2013: First Stage
 Header Item Tribunal of Inquiry into the Fatal Shootings of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Robert Buchanan: Motion
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2013

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath] Does the Minister know if the meeting took place and, if not, when it will? When is he due to meet him?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett When is the Bill? I am not dealing with meetings on the Order of Business.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath On the companies (miscellaneous provisions) Bill-----

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin There is no date for that.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Public expenditure and reform is the Minister's own area. I appeal to him-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Do not appeal. There are 15 seconds left and four Deputies want to get in.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Where is the reform when we see the shambolic way the House has been treated over the past 24 hours? It is disgraceful.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I do not know what that question is. There can be no reply to it.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I want a reply. It was shambolic.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett This is the Order of Business. Please, read Standing Orders.

Deputy Brian Walsh: Information on Brian Walsh Zoom on Brian Walsh The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs published the Children First guidelines to give effect to the heads of a Bill over a year ago. I understand that she has engaged in a consultation process. When is it expected that the Bill will come before us?

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy When is the legislation on the pyrite levy likely to be published and when will it go through the House? It is critical to commencing the remediation of homes. I understand the assisted decision-making (capacity) Bill was before the Cabinet this week. Will it come before the House and be concluded in the next session?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy Healy-Rae is next. No statements, please.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae The Water Services Bill, also known as the water torture Bill-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Please use the official Title.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae ----is the subject of Government proposals for amendments to torture people by turning down their water pressure if they are unable to pay.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Sit down, for goodness sake. That is wasting the time of the House.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae It is a sensitive issue for people whose water pressure will be turned down.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett It has nothing to do with the Order of Business. Do not play act.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae It has. It is the Water Services Bill. There is legislation on it.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan A commitment was made in the budget to introduce legislation to deal with an anomaly in respect of the Leaders' allowance and its payment to Independent Deputies. When will that legislation be brought before the House?

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis When will the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill come before the House? It was due yesterday and today. I reiterate what Deputy Mattie McGrath said about a man who has been on hunger strike for 26 days, Mr. Tony Rochford.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Please, do not. Resume you seat.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis The Taoiseach said he would meet with him. It is very important. The man is getting very weak. Perhaps we could convey that to the Taoiseach.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly When is the President expected to sign into law, assuming it is passed by the Seanad, the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill?

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin It was hoped to have the Children First Bill during the current session. Extensive work has been undertaken by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and it will probably not be available in the next two weeks. It should be available very soon thereafter. Drafting of a pyrite Bill is concluding and it will be taken next session. The assisted decision-making (capacity) Bill has been approved by Government and will be taken during the next session. The Water Services Bill will be taken later this year. I am dealing with the issue of leaders' allowances myself. The legislation is being drafted and will be taken next session. We will try to find time for the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill next week. I cannot give Deputy Donnelly an actual time when the President will sign the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill but amendments from the Seanad should be taken here next week. The Oireachtas should have concluded it next week. It will then be sent to the President for his consideration.

Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2013: First Stage

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to amend the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to strengthen the independence and functions of the Office of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and to provide for the establishment of a body to be known as the Garda Síochána Independent Board with monitoring, oversight and supervisory functions over an Garda Síochána.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is the Bill opposed?

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Tribunal of Inquiry into the Fatal Shootings of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Robert Buchanan: Motion

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I move:

That Dáil Éireann resolves that the terms of reference contained in the Resolution passed by Dáil Éireann on 23 March 2005 and by Seanad Éireann on 24 March 2005, as amended by the Resolutions passed by Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann on 1 June 2011, the Resolution passed by Dáil Éireann on 16 November 2011 and by Seanad Éireann on 17 November 2011, the Resolutions passed by Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann on 23 May 2012 and the Resolutions passed by Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann on 24 October 2012, pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2011, be further amended in paragraph (IV) by substituting 'not later than 30 November, 2013' for 'not later than 31 July, 2013'."

  Question put and agreed to.

Estimates for Public Services 2013

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I move the following Revised Estimates:

Vote 1 — President’s Establishment (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €3,062,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Secretary to the President, for certain other expenses of the President’s Establishment and for certain grants.

Vote 2 — Department of the Taoiseach (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €22,148,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Department of the Taoiseach, including certain services administered by the Department and for payment of grants and grants-in-aid.

Vote 3 — Office of the Attorney General (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €14,317,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Attorney General, including a grant-in-aid.

Vote 4 — Central Statistics Office (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €39,758,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Central Statistics Office.

Vote 5 — Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €37,414,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Vote 6 — Office of the Chief State Solicitor (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €29,916,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Chief State Solicitor.

Vote 7 — Office of the Minister for Finance (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €33,187,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Finance, including the Paymaster-General’s Office, for certain services administered by the Office of the Minister and for payment of certain grants and grants-in-aid.

Vote 8 — Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €5,977,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Vote 9 — Office of the Revenue Commissioners (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €322,705,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, including certain other services administered by that Office.

Vote 10 — Office of the Appeal Commissioners (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €442,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Appeal Commissioners.

Vote 20 — Garda Síochána (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €1,272,077,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Garda Síochána, including pensions, etc.; for the payment of certain witnesses’ expenses, and for payment of a grant-in-aid.

Vote 21 — Prisons (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €311,391,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Prison Service, and other expenses in connection with prisons, including places of detention; for probation services; and for payment of a grant-in-aid.

Vote 22 — Courts Service (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €58,324,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for such of the salaries and expenses of the Courts Service and of the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Special Criminal Court, the Circuit Court and the District Court and of certain other minor services as are not charged to the Central Fund.

Vote 23 — Property Registration Authority (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €31,232,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Property Registration Authority.

Vote 24 — Justice and Equality (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €320,072,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Probation Service staff and of certain other services including payments under cash-limited schemes administered by that Office, and payment of certain grants and grants-in-aid, and that a sum not exceeding €287,000 be granted by way of the application for capital supply services of unspent appropriations, the surrender of which may be deferred under Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004.

Vote 25 — Environment, Community and Local Government (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €1,130,116,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, including grants to Local Authorities, grants and other expenses in connection with housing, water services, miscellaneous schemes, subsidies and grants, and for the payment of certain grants under cash-limited schemes, and that a sum not exceeding €43,000,000 be granted by way of the application for capital supply services of unspent appropriations, the surrender of which may be deferred under Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004.

Vote 26 — Education and Skills (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €7,926,906,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Education and Skills, for certain services administered by that Office, and for the payments of certain grants and grants-in-aid, and that a sum not exceeding €19,000,000 be granted by way of the application for capital supply services of unspent appropriations, the surrender of which may be deferred under Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004.

Vote 27 — International Co-operation (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €495,929,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for certain Official Development Assistance, including certain grants-in-aid, and for contributions to certain International Organisations involved in Development Assistance and for salaries and expenses in connection therewith.

Vote 28 — Foreign Affairs and Trade (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €173,843,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and for certain services administered by that Office, including grants-in-aid and contributions to International Organisations, and that a sum not exceeding €400,000 be granted by way of the application for capital supply services of unspent appropriations, the surrender of which may be deferred under Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004.

Vote 29 — Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €173,395,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, including certain services administered by that Office, and for payment of certain grants and sundry grants-in-aid, and for the payment of certain grants under cash-limited schemes, and that a sum not exceeding €10,400,000 be granted by way of the application for capital supply services of unspent appropriations, the surrender of which may be deferred under Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004.

Vote 30 — Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €995,068,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, including certain services administered by that Office, and of the Irish Land Commission and for payment of certain grants, subsidies and sundry grants-in-aid and for the payment of certain grants under cash-limited schemes, and that a sum not exceeding €6,000,000 be granted by way of the application for capital supply services of unspent appropriations, the surrender of which may be deferred under Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004.

Vote 31 — Transport, Tourism and Sport (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €1,220,582,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, including certain services administered by that Office, for payment of certain grants, grants-in-aid and certain other services.

Vote 32 — Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €760,589,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, including certain services administered by that Office, for the payment of certain subsidies, grants and a grant-in-aid, and for the payment of certain grants under cash-limited schemes, and that a sum not exceeding €25,000,000 be granted by way of the application for capital supply services of unspent appropriations, the surrender of which may be deferred under Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004.

Vote 33 — Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €250,235,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, including certain services administered by that Office, and for payment of certain subsidies, grants and grants-in-aid, and that a sum not exceeding €1,200,000 be granted by way of the application for capital supply services of unspent appropriations, the surrender of which may be deferred under Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004.

Vote 34 — National Gallery (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €7,677,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the National Gallery, including grants-in-aid.

Vote 35 — Army Pensions (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €208,812,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for retired pay, pensions, compensation, allowances and gratuities payable under sundry statutes to or in respect of members of the Defence Forces and certain other Military Organisations, etc., and for sundry contributions and expenses in connection therewith; for certain extra-statutory children’s allowances and other payments and for sundry grants.

Vote 36 — Defence (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €638,757,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Defence, including certain services administered by that Office; for the pay and expenses of the Defence Forces; and for payment of certain grants-in-aid, and that a sum not exceeding €900,000 be granted by way of the application for capital supply services of unspent appropriations, the surrender of which may be deferred under Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004.

Vote 37 — Social Protection (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €13,085,236,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Social Protection, for certain services administered by that Office, for payments to the Social Insurance Fund and for certain grants, and that a sum not exceeding €1,050,000 be granted by way of the application for capital supply services of unspent appropriations, the surrender of which may be deferred under Section 91 of the Finance Act 2004.

Vote 38 — Health (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €243,742,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Health and certain other services administered by that Office, including miscellaneous grants.

Vote 39 — Health Service Executive (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €12,312,471,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Health Service Executive and certain other services administered by the Executive, including miscellaneous grants.

Vote 40 — Children and Youth Affairs (Revised Estimate).

That a sum not exceeding €434,072,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2013, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, for certain services administered by that Office and for the payment of grants including certain grants under cash-limited schemes."

I am pleased to have this opportunity to appear before the House to reflect on the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2013, which have been considered by the relevant committees over the last number of weeks. The Revised Book of Estimates sets out gross voted expenditure of €54.6 billion for 2013. The document also sets out an unprecedented level of information about the performance of Departments and offices in their use of last year's funding and the impact that this year's funding will have.

  To begin, it might be useful to outline the economic background the Government had to consider in order to formulate the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2013. Following three years of contraction, the Irish economy began to recover in 2011, with strong GDP growth of 2.2% recorded. While growth slowed somewhat in 2012, it remained in positive territory. However, the fragility of the outlook is evident in the recent quarter 1, 2013 national accounts data, which show the economy contracting slightly due to weakness in external demand with domestic demand remaining subdued. More encouragingly, the Irish labour market appears to have stabilised and is now showing tentative signs of recovery. Employment has grown in annual terms for the second successive quarter. In June the unemployment rate was 13.6%, down from 15.1% at the beginning of 2012. It is still at an untenably high level and the Government is determined to continue its stance of helping those who are unemployed by putting job creation at the forefront of all policy measures.

  The Government's primary aim in relation to the public finances remains the correction of the excessive general Government deficit by 2015. We have met all our interim deficit targets and this Government remains committed to bringing the deficit below 3% of GDP within the stated time horizon in 2015. The reducing deficit coupled with actions to aid our cash flow means we can look with growing confidence to exiting the EU-IMF programme and returning to a sustainable market-based funding. The actions taken include promissory note restructuring and the extension of maturities for European financial stability facility, or EFSF, and European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, or EFSM, loans. Growing confidence is shared by investors. We have seen the return of Irish Life to the private sector, the recovery of €1 billion of the taxpayers' investment in Bank of Ireland and the yield on Government bonds returning to levels last seen before the economic crisis. Once the excessive deficit is corrected, fiscal policy in Ireland will be framed in line with the requirement to progress towards the medium term budgetary objective of a balanced budget in structural terms and to keep public debt on a downward path.

  Since mid-2008, very difficult action has been taken to tackle the imbalances in the public finances. A series of across the board revenue-raising and expenditure-reducing measures have been introduced. These measures have been wide-ranging and have affected all members and sectors of society. Since July 2008, eight separate policy announcements outlining significant budgetary consolidation have been made and budgetary adjustments designed to yield approximately €28 billion, or close to 17% of 2012 GDP, have been implemented on both tax and expenditure. On the spending side, this has led to a slow-down in the growth of day-to-day public, or gross voted current, expenditure. Spending increased by 12.1% in 2007 but is estimated to contract by just under 2% this year.


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