Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Departmental Staff Recruitment (Continued)
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2017: Message from Select Committee

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 962 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page

  2 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar] We have extensive expertise across Departments and it does not need to be replicated in mine. My Department's role is to co-ordinate the work of Government, to run the Cabinet committees and drive the programme for Government forward, and to engage in troubleshooting and controversy management on a daily basis.

The total budget for the Department of the Taoiseach will be lower in 2018 than it was in 2017. It is one of the few Departments where the total budget is being reduced.

In terms of politically appointed staff, those appointed by me, the total number I have - this, of course, includes staff who are assigned to the Independents and includes civilian drivers - is 19, as against 23 for my predecessor. I have fewer staff than my forebear had politically appointed and he had many fewer, and they cost much less, than his forebears, the former taoisigh, Mr. Brian Cowen and Mr. Bertie Ahern. One is seeing a reduction in the number of politically appointed staff in the Department and a reduction in the cost to the taxpayer of politically appointed staff, which is something that is worth at least putting on the record of the Dáil.

In terms of capacity, we have extended the capacity in the EU and international affairs section of the Department to deal with Brexit but we also have the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. More so than ever before, my Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are working hand in glove. I am working with the Minister, Deputy Coveney, hand in glove. We have all the resources of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including all of the embassies and the Permanent Representation in Brussels, at our disposal. That amounts to hundreds of staff. We are not short-staffed when it comes to dealing with the enormous challenge presented by Brexit.

In terms of the gender divide, it is certainly predominantly male at assistant secretary level and PO level.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I often found myself the only women. It is a little bit lonely.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I am increasingly conscious, when I go into a meeting or am on a panel, as to what the gender balance is. I make a point of ensuring that I notice. There are a lot of meetings one goes to where it is all male or there is only one woman, and that is not optimum in terms of good decision-making. It is something that needs to change.

In terms of my own staff, I have appointed a senior press person, Ms Sarah Meade, and Ms Angela Flanagan on the policy side. I am giving consideration to further appointments on my own side so that, at least when it comes to the staff who I can appoint and who are around me supporting my work, there will be greater gender balance than there is now. I do not have a role when it comes to the Civil Service end of the Department. It is definitely something that we need to have regard to, as vacancies arise and as people apply for positions in the Department, that we have greater gender parity and greater diversity because that means better decisions would be made, which is most important.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Can we now conclude questions? We do not have time.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Yes.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher We either do or we do not.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton A follow-up?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin No.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher If there is going to be none, I gave everybody an opportunity. We are due to take a sos now for 60 minutes.

    Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.

Estimates for Public Services 2017: Message from Select Committee

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Select Committee on Justice and Equality has completed its consideration of the following revised Estimate for public services for the service of the year ending 31 December 2017 - Vote 24 (Justice and Equality).

  Sitting suspended at 2.04 p.m. and resumed at 3.04 p.m.


Last Updated: 12/02/2020 14:46:03 First Page Previous Page Page of 90 Next Page Last Page