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 Header Item Mediation Bill 2017: Second Stage (Continued)
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2017: Message from Select Committee
 Header Item Ceisteanna - Questions
 Header Item Priority Questions
 Header Item State Properties
 Header Item Public Procurement Regulations

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 941 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald] The Legal Aid Board is, for example, already involved in the provision of a free family mediation service, the benefits of which are widely acknowledged.

This Bill is intended to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings. I believe that enactment of the Bill will speed up resolution of disputes, reduce legal costs associated with such disputes and reduce or avoid the stress involved in adversarial court proceedings for many people. It is an extremely worthwhile Bill and I hope it will get widespread support across the House. It offers great potential for people in the circumstances which I have outlined and is a very positive alternative to court proceedings for certain situations. It will not be universal and I have described the variety of areas to which it will not apply, but there is potential to help many people who would otherwise face costly adversarial court procedures. Many people have trained in this area and it is well established. I look forward to the mediation council for which the Bill allows. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.

Estimates for Public Services 2017: Message from Select Committee

Acting Chairman (Deputy John Lahart): Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart The Select Committee on Health has completed its consideration of the following Revised Estimate for Public Services for the service of the year ending 31 December 2017 - Vote No. 38.

Ceisteanna - Questions

Priority Questions

State Properties

 1. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the number of properties currently owned by the State or under a long-term lease to the State that are currently vacant; the attempts that are being made to fill them; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10593/17]

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary I want to get a sense from the Minister of the policy around properties, particularly commercial properties, leased by the State or owned by the State and empty. What work is under way to tidy the situation up? I do not want a list of every vacant property in the State but a sense of the policy, bearing in mind the need to get value for our property portfolio.

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Seán Canney): Information on Seán Canney Zoom on Seán Canney I am sorry the Deputy does not want a full list because that is what I have provided. The Commissioners of Public Works own 92 properties that are currently vacant and these are listed below. The majority of these properties are former Garda stations that were closed as part of the policing plans of An Garda Síochána in 2012 and 2013. The future use of the former Garda stations will be determined once the review of closed Garda stations, currently being undertaken as part of A Programme for a Partnership Government, has concluded.

  The OPW has a clearly defined policy relating to vacant State properties that are identified as surplus to requirements. The policy with regard to non-operational, or vacant, State properties and sites, including former Garda stations, is: to identify if the property is required or suitable for alternative State use by Departments or the wider public sector; if there is no other State use identified for a property, the OPW will then consider disposing of the property on the open market if and when conditions prevail, in order to generate revenue for the Exchequer; and if no State requirement is identified or if a decision is taken not to dispose of a particular property the OPW may consider community involvement subject to detailed written submission, which would indicate that the community or voluntary group has the means to insure, maintain and manage the property and that there are no ongoing costs for the Exchequer.

  The Commissioners of Public Works have engaged with key local authority stakeholders and other State bodies to ensure that property is not disposed of when it might be deemed suitable for alternative State use. Full details of both owned and leased properties are as follows:

List of vacant State owned or leased properties currently vacant and the plans for each of them.

Tramore Rd WaterfordFormer custom storeWaterfordLeased property – early surrender of lease to be explored with landlord.
BawnboyFormer Garda station CavanFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BallyconnellCustoms Post CavanFuture use under consideration.
RedhillsFormer Garda station CavanFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
StradoneFormer Garda station CavanBeing prepared for disposal. Not subject to the Policing Authority Review.
BroadfordFormer Garda station ClareFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
DoonbegFormer Garda station ClareFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
InaghFormer Garda station ClareFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
AdrigoleFormer Garda station CorkFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BallinaspittleFormer Garda station CorkFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BallyfeardFormer Garda station CorkFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BallygurteenFormer Garda station CorkFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
13 Woodville, BlarneyGarda ResidenceCorkBeing prepared for disposal.
ButtevantGarda ResidenceCorkBeing prepared for disposal.
No. 4 Crosshaven CoastGuard CottageCoastGuard CottageCorkAuction Q2 2017.
No. 5 Crosshaven CoastGuard CottageCoastGuard CottageCorkAuction Q2 2017.
No. 7 Crosshaven CoastGuard CottageCoastGuard CottageCorkAuction Q2 2017.
No. 8 Crosshaven CoastGuard CottageCoastGuard CottageCorkAuction Q2 2017.
No. 9 Crosshaven CoastGuard CottageCoastGuard CottageCorkAuction Q2 2017.
No. 10 Crosshaven CoastGuard CottageCoastGuard CottageCorkAuction Q2 2017.
No. 11 Crosshaven CoastGuard CottageCoastGuard CottageCorkAuction Q2 2017.
Clonakilty Agricultural College & OfficeCorkAlternative State use being examined.
GlenvilleFormer Garda station CorkFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
GoleenFormer Garda station CorkFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
KnocknagreeFormer Garda station CorkFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
RathduffFormer Garda station CorkFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
McCurtain StreetFormer Garda station Cork CityFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
St Lukes Former GS, Ballyhooley Rd, CorkFormer Garda station Cork CityBeing prepared for disposal. Not subject to the Policing Authority Review.
BuncranaFormer Garda station DonegalBeing prepared for disposal. Not subject to the Policing Authority Review.
CastlefinGarda ResidenceDonegalBeing prepared for disposal.
MalinFormer Garda station DonegalFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
Na Brocacha / CloghanFormer Garda station DonegalFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
91A George's Street, Dun LaoghaireBuildingDublinBeing retained for strategic purpose.
Debtors' Prison, Halston Street.BuildingDublinFuture use under consideration. Alternative State usage being actively considered.
10/11 Castle StreetBuildingDublinBeing retained for strategic purpose.
BallymoeFormer Garda station GalwayFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
CorrandullaFormer Garda station GalwayFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
KilchreestFormer Garda station GalwayFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
KilcolganFormer Garda station GalwayFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
KilconlyFormer Garda station GalwayFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
KiltullaghFormer Garda station GalwayFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
LeenaneFormer Garda station GalwayFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
MaamFormer Garda station GalwayBeing prepared for disposal. Not subject to the Policing Authority Review.
Tynagh Former Garda station & Garda ResGalwayFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
AbbeydorneyFormer Garda station KerryFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BallylongfordFormer Garda station KerryFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BrosnaFormer Garda station KerryFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
CampFormer Garda station KerryFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
CastleislandFormer Garda station KerryFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
Douglas Former National SchoolKerryBeing prepared for disposal.
MoyvaneFormer Garda station KerryFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
Rathangan Former Garda station KildareBeing prepared for disposal. Not subject to the Policing Authority Review.
CastlecomerFormer Garda station KilkennyBeing prepared for disposal. Not subject to the Policing Authority Review.
DrumkeerinFormer Garda station & Garda ResLeitrimFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
GlenfarneFormer Garda station LeitrimFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
KeshcarriganFormer Garda station LeitrimFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
Castletown ConyersFormer Garda station LimerickFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
Edward StreetFormer Garda station LimerickProperty swop with Limerick City and County Council under consideration.
GalballyFormer Garda station LimerickFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
Kilfinane Former Garda stationLimerickFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
Mary StreetFormer Garda station LimerickProperty swop with Limerick City and County Council under consideration.
Mayorstone ParkFormer Garda station LimerickProperty swop with Limerick City and County Council under consideration.
ShanagoldenFormer Garda station LimerickFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BallinaleeFormer Garda station LongfordFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BallinaFormer Garda station MayoBeing prepared for disposal. Not subject to the Policing Authority Review.
BallyglassFormer Garda station MayoFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BellacorrickFormer Garda station MayoFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BlacksodFormer Garda station MayoFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
LahardaneFormer Garda station MayoFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
HollymountFormer Garda station MayoFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
NavanGovernment BuildingsMeathFuture use under consideration.
EnfieldFormer ESB buildingMeathFuture use under consideration.
Clones Customs BuildingMonaghanFuture use under consideration.
ClontibretFormer Garda station MonaghanFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
CorrinshigaghFormer Garda station MonaghanFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
InnisshannonCustoms HutMonaghanFuture use under consideration.
NewblissFormer Garda station MonaghanFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
SmithboroughFormer Garda station MonaghanFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
ShantonaghFormer Garda stationMonaghanFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
TynaghFormer Garda station MonaghanFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BallintubberFormer Garda station RoscommonFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
BallyforanFormer Garda station RoscommonFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
KnockcrogheryFormer Garda station RoscommonFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
TarmonbarryFormer Garda station RoscommonFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
New Inn (Tipperary)Former Garda station TipperaryFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
No. 3 The Mall, TemplemoreGarda ResidenceTipperaryFuture use under consideration.
No. 4 The Mall, TemplemoreGarda ResidenceTipperaryFuture use under consideration.
No. 5 The Mall, TemplemoreGarda ResidenceTipperaryFuture use under consideration.
No. 9 Church Ave, TemplemoreGarda ResidenceTipperaryFuture use under consideration.
No. 10 Church Ave, TemplemoreGarda ResidenceTipperaryFuture use under consideration.
BallyduffFormer Garda station WaterfordFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.
ArdmoreBuildingWaterfordFuture use under consideration.
HollywoodFormer Garda station WicklowFuture use to be considered on conclusion of the review of closed Garda stations being overseen by the Policing Authority.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary The Minister of State might be getting a bit confused. Only one Member of this House has a specific interest in Garda stations at the moment, and that is the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross. The State has been paying rent since January on the Miesian Plaza on Lower Baggot Street. A 25-year lease was agreed but staff are not due to move in until the middle of the year after it has been fitted out. I want to know how much the State is paying in rent, for office buildings in particular. It is hard to understand why we do not have enough office space in Dublin owned by Government and which, with a bit of reorganisation, could be reused.

The Minister said previously that €44 million in annual rent was saved and that a national asset database was being put together to allow Departments to use any spare space. At what stage is the database and when will it be made public?

Deputy Seán Canney: Information on Seán Canney Zoom on Seán Canney Those questions were not in the original question and they involve much detail. I made a presentation to the finance committee last week but the Deputy is looking for a considerable amount of information. We will get that information for him as I do not have it to hand at the moment.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary I am looking for a sense of what the plan is. Are there areas in the State where empty properties are leased to the State, including to State agencies? Is there a need for property on the part of State agencies in those areas? What work is being done in the Department to root out a waste of money such as this and what is being done to regularise the situation?

Deputy Seán Canney: Information on Seán Canney Zoom on Seán Canney The Office of Public Works continually reviews its options regarding State properties and a review is ongoing of the properties we own and lease. Over the past number of years leases on properties have been given up to save money for the Exchequer and I will get the exact details of that for the Deputy. The overall aim is not to have vacant properties but there will be gaps when people relocate. We will endeavour to minimise those gaps. A fit-out is being done of the Miesian Plaza to make it ready for the staff who will be going there.

Public Procurement Regulations

 2. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe to outline the details of the review of public procurement oversight his Department has undertaken in view of the significant disclosures of material non-compliance with procurement rules involving contracts worth €500,000 or more that have been reported by the Comptroller and Auditor General in his annual report 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10495/17]

Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane I am inquiring as to whether the Department has carried out any review of public procurement rules. I have done some research into this issue and as a member of the Committee of Public Accounts, I can tell the Minister that non-compliance with public procurement rules comes up repeatedly. The Comptroller and Auditor General has reported on this consistently as a difficulty, particularly in the health area. Is the Minister aware of the levels of non-compliance?

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Public procurement is governed by EU and national rules.  The aim of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money.  It is a basic principle of public procurement that competitive tendering should be used other than in justifiably exceptional circumstances.

Under Department of Finance Circular 40/02, Accounting Officers of Government Departments and offices are required to complete and submit an annual report, signed off by the Accounting Officer, to the Comptroller and Auditor General in regard to contracts in excess of €25,000, exclusive of VAT, that were awarded without a competitive process.


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