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 Header Item Written Answers Nos 426-445
 Header Item Flood Relief Schemes Expenditure
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Departmental Websites
 Header Item Departmental Meetings
 Header Item Haddington Road Agreement Savings
 Header Item Flood Relief Schemes Expenditure
 Header Item State Bodies
 Header Item Public Sector Pensions
 Header Item Ministerial Staff
 Header Item Office of Public Works Projects
 Header Item Office of Public Works Staff
 Header Item Office of Public Works Projects
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Sick Leave
 Header Item Flood Relief Schemes Expenditure
 Header Item Programme for Government Implementation
 Header Item Office of Public Works Projects
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Enterprise Support Schemes

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos 426-445

  Question No. 426 answered with Question No. 415.

Flood Relief Schemes Expenditure

 427. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the consideration that has been given by the Office of Public Works to particular areas in County Wicklow that were subject to recent storm damage; if he will outline in tabular form the allocation his Department has provided the county, to the local authority or otherwise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13182/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): The Government decided on 11 February 2014 to make available up to €69.5 million for a programme of repair and remediation works to roads, coastal protection and flood defence and other public infrastructure damaged in the storms from 13th December 2013 to 6th January 2014 based on estimates provided by the local authorities concerned to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Of the total amount being made available, up to €19.6 million is available via the Office of Public Works for the repair of damaged coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure.

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has written to the local authorities involved indicating the amounts being made available to the Council on foot of the Government Decision. In the case of County Wicklow, the Department indicated that a sum of €26,329 was available from that Department towards the costs of response, clean-up works and necessary immediate works which were undertaken in the aftermath of the storms. However, based on the Council's submission to the Department, no provision was being made in relation to repair of damaged coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure in the County.

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

 428. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if the Commission for Public Service Appointments conducted an investigation into a complaint that solicitors were not eligible to apply for positions as advisory counsel in the Office of the Attorney General; if he will detail the outcomes and results of the investigation; the reason this report has not been published by the Commission for Public Service Appointments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13258/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I am advised by the Commission for Public Service Appointments (CPSA) that it examined a complaint concerning the eligibility requirements for recruitment to the position of Advisory Counsel (Grade III) in the Office of the Attorney General. The complaint was received from the Law Society of Ireland. Complaints made to the CPSA are confidential to the parties concerned   in this case the Law Society of Ireland and the Office of the Attorney General. The CPSA does not generally publish reports detailing the examination of complaints but does include summaries of such outcomes in its Annual Report.

  A summary of the outcome on this complaint was included in the CPSA Annual Report for 2011 in the section headed Complaints / Requests for Review and, in this particular instance, the CPSA issued a Press Release to highlight its findings.  The CPSA Annual Report 2011 is available atttp://www.cpsa.ie/en/Publications/Annual-Reports/2011-Annual-Report/cpsa_AR_2011_en/index.html

Departmental Websites

 429. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if the website of the Commission for Public Service Appointments is maintained and updated on a regular basis; if the freedom of information section 15 and section 16 manual is up to date and correct; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13256/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I have been informed by the Commission for Public Service Appointments that the CPSA website has been reviewed and redesigned during 2013. The website is maintained and updated on a regular basis.  The CPSA has also informed me that the FOI Section 15 and Section 16 manual is currently under review and the updated version will be published on the website when available.

Departmental Meetings

 430. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the number of times his Department received requests from Philanthropy Ireland to meet in 2011, 2012 and 2013; the number of times his Department met Philanthropy Ireland in those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13393/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In response to the Deputy's question I can confirm that no requests by Philanthropy Ireland to meet in 2011, 2012 or 2013 were received by my Department nor has my Department met with Philanthropy Ireland in any of those years.

Haddington Road Agreement Savings

 431. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will deal with the following matter regarding the Haddington Road agreement (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13515/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin As I noted in my original response to Mr. Timmons of 11 December, 2013, the Haddington Road Agreement will make a significant contribution of €1 billion to delivering on our fiscal targets.

While some of these monetary savings will be delivered through direct pay reductions, those reductions only apply to higher paid public servants those earning over €65,000 or 13% of workers, meaning that the core pay of 87% of public service workers has been protected.

In addition to direct pay reductions on higher paid workers, there are a significant number of measures set out in the Agreement which will fundamentally change the terms and conditions of employment for public servants.  In this context, I would highlight the provision of almost 15 million additional working hours annually across the Public Service, which will involve staff in all sectors having their working week extended.

As I noted in my response of 11 December, significant progress has been made in restructuring the Public Service in recent years.  The Agreement provides for a number of workplace changes aimed at developing a leaner and more efficient Public Service, through reductions in management numbers by increasing spans of control and grade rationalisation and more effective redeployment of staff both on a cross-sectoral and geographical basis.

The Agreement also contains a number of sectoral measures which involve changes to non-core payments such as changes in overtime rates and premium payments, as well as other workplace changes.

It is also worth noting that other changes to the conditions of employment of public servants are already being implemented outside of the Agreement, such as changes to sick leave and annual leave arrangements in the Public Service.

As well as reducing the pay and pensions bill, the Agreement will also be an enabler for the next phase of the Government's Public Service Reform programme, as set out in the Public Service Reform Plan 2014 2016, resulting in improved service delivery right across the Public Service.

Flood Relief Schemes Expenditure

 432. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will confirm that funding is in place for the flood prevention works along the Dodder River from Ballsbridge to Clonskeagh; the amount available; the amount that has been spent by the Office of Public Works in each year since 2002 along the Dodder; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13615/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The Office of Public Works commenced flood relief works on the River Dodder in 2007 after a report was completed by Dublin City Council into both tidal and fluvial flood risk from the River, with the Council taking the lead role in bringing the proposals through the planning process. Since then the OPW has completed works on the tidal area of the river, with the exception of the raising of the bridge parapets at Lansdowne Road which is due to be undertaken in the coming months. Much work has also been undertaken in the fluvially affected areas (Phase 2C) up to Ballsbridge with this section of the scheme due to be completed later in 2014.

  Works to the area up to Anglesea Road (Phase 2D) are due to commence shortly and are due for completion by mid-2015. Further works upstream, (Phase 2E) towards Clonskeagh are expected to be completed before the end of 2015.

  The OPW has expended approximately €13.677m up to the end of 2013 on these works, with a further €1.5m approximately to be spent in 2014. The works completed to date provide protection in the tidal-risk area against a 200 year tidal flood event. It is notable that the storms in the first few weeks of the year, which caused so much damage countrywide, caused no flooding to those areas protected by the OPW works, despite the tides being the highest ever recorded in Dublin.

  The OPW has made provision in it's Multi-Annual Budget profiles up to 2016 for the completion of the works.

  The table sets out the expenditure in each year since 2006.

20062007200820092010201120122013
€0.27m€1.688m€2.196M€2.765M€1.529M€0.79M€2.149M€2.29M

State Bodies

 433. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the salaries including pensions and any other bonus-related additions, including company cars, of chief executive officers of commercial State bodies under the remit of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13620/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In response to the Deputy's question I can confirm that the issue of salaries including pensions and any other bonus related additions including company cars of chief executive officers in commercial State bodies does not arise in relation to my Department.

Public Sector Pensions

 434. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the most up to date estimate of the accrued public sector pension liabilities facing the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13630/14]

 435. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform 

Written Answers Nos 426-445

  Question No. 426 answered with Question No. 415.

Flood Relief Schemes Expenditure

 427. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the consideration that has been given by the Office of Public Works to particular areas in County Wicklow that were subject to recent storm damage; if he will outline in tabular form the allocation his Department has provided the county, to the local authority or otherwise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13182/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The Government decided on 11 February 2014 to make available up to €69.5 million for a programme of repair and remediation works to roads, coastal protection and flood defence and other public infrastructure damaged in the storms from 13th December 2013 to 6th January 2014 based on estimates provided by the local authorities concerned to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Of the total amount being made available, up to €19.6 million is available via the Office of Public Works for the repair of damaged coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure.

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has written to the local authorities involved indicating the amounts being made available to the Council on foot of the Government Decision. In the case of County Wicklow, the Department indicated that a sum of €26,329 was available from that Department towards the costs of response, clean-up works and necessary immediate works which were undertaken in the aftermath of the storms. However, based on the Council's submission to the Department, no provision was being made in relation to repair of damaged coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure in the County.

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

 428. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if the Commission for Public Service Appointments conducted an investigation into a complaint that solicitors were not eligible to apply for positions as advisory counsel in the Office of the Attorney General; if he will detail the outcomes and results of the investigation; the reason this report has not been published by the Commission for Public Service Appointments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13258/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I am advised by the Commission for Public Service Appointments (CPSA) that it examined a complaint concerning the eligibility requirements for recruitment to the position of Advisory Counsel (Grade III) in the Office of the Attorney General. The complaint was received from the Law Society of Ireland. Complaints made to the CPSA are confidential to the parties concerned   in this case the Law Society of Ireland and the Office of the Attorney General. The CPSA does not generally publish reports detailing the examination of complaints but does include summaries of such outcomes in its Annual Report.

  A summary of the outcome on this complaint was included in the CPSA Annual Report for 2011 in the section headed Complaints / Requests for Review and, in this particular instance, the CPSA issued a Press Release to highlight its findings.  The CPSA Annual Report 2011 is available atttp://www.cpsa.ie/en/Publications/Annual-Reports/2011-Annual-Report/cpsa_AR_2011_en/index.html

Departmental Websites

 429. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if the website of the Commission for Public Service Appointments is maintained and updated on a regular basis; if the freedom of information section 15 and section 16 manual is up to date and correct; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13256/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I have been informed by the Commission for Public Service Appointments that the CPSA website has been reviewed and redesigned during 2013. The website is maintained and updated on a regular basis.  The CPSA has also informed me that the FOI Section 15 and Section 16 manual is currently under review and the updated version will be published on the website when available.

Departmental Meetings

 430. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the number of times his Department received requests from Philanthropy Ireland to meet in 2011, 2012 and 2013; the number of times his Department met Philanthropy Ireland in those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13393/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In response to the Deputy's question I can confirm that no requests by Philanthropy Ireland to meet in 2011, 2012 or 2013 were received by my Department nor has my Department met with Philanthropy Ireland in any of those years.

Haddington Road Agreement Savings

 431. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will deal with the following matter regarding the Haddington Road agreement (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13515/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin As I noted in my original response to Mr. Timmons of 11 December, 2013, the Haddington Road Agreement will make a significant contribution of €1 billion to delivering on our fiscal targets.

While some of these monetary savings will be delivered through direct pay reductions, those reductions only apply to higher paid public servants those earning over €65,000 or 13% of workers, meaning that the core pay of 87% of public service workers has been protected.

In addition to direct pay reductions on higher paid workers, there are a significant number of measures set out in the Agreement which will fundamentally change the terms and conditions of employment for public servants.  In this context, I would highlight the provision of almost 15 million additional working hours annually across the Public Service, which will involve staff in all sectors having their working week extended.

As I noted in my response of 11 December, significant progress has been made in restructuring the Public Service in recent years.  The Agreement provides for a number of workplace changes aimed at developing a leaner and more efficient Public Service, through reductions in management numbers by increasing spans of control and grade rationalisation and more effective redeployment of staff both on a cross-sectoral and geographical basis.

The Agreement also contains a number of sectoral measures which involve changes to non-core payments such as changes in overtime rates and premium payments, as well as other workplace changes.

It is also worth noting that other changes to the conditions of employment of public servants are already being implemented outside of the Agreement, such as changes to sick leave and annual leave arrangements in the Public Service.

As well as reducing the pay and pensions bill, the Agreement will also be an enabler for the next phase of the Government's Public Service Reform programme, as set out in the Public Service Reform Plan 2014 2016, resulting in improved service delivery right across the Public Service.

Flood Relief Schemes Expenditure

 432. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will confirm that funding is in place for the flood prevention works along the Dodder River from Ballsbridge to Clonskeagh; the amount available; the amount that has been spent by the Office of Public Works in each year since 2002 along the Dodder; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13615/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The Office of Public Works commenced flood relief works on the River Dodder in 2007 after a report was completed by Dublin City Council into both tidal and fluvial flood risk from the River, with the Council taking the lead role in bringing the proposals through the planning process. Since then the OPW has completed works on the tidal area of the river, with the exception of the raising of the bridge parapets at Lansdowne Road which is due to be undertaken in the coming months. Much work has also been undertaken in the fluvially affected areas (Phase 2C) up to Ballsbridge with this section of the scheme due to be completed later in 2014.

  Works to the area up to Anglesea Road (Phase 2D) are due to commence shortly and are due for completion by mid-2015. Further works upstream, (Phase 2E) towards Clonskeagh are expected to be completed before the end of 2015.

  The OPW has expended approximately €13.677m up to the end of 2013 on these works, with a further €1.5m approximately to be spent in 2014. The works completed to date provide protection in the tidal-risk area against a 200 year tidal flood event. It is notable that the storms in the first few weeks of the year, which caused so much damage countrywide, caused no flooding to those areas protected by the OPW works, despite the tides being the highest ever recorded in Dublin.

  The OPW has made provision in it's Multi-Annual Budget profiles up to 2016 for the completion of the works.

  The table sets out the expenditure in each year since 2006.

20062007200820092010201120122013
€0.27m€1.688m€2.196M€2.765M€1.529M€0.79M€2.149M€2.29M

State Bodies

 433. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the salaries including pensions and any other bonus-related additions, including company cars, of chief executive officers of commercial State bodies under the remit of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13620/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In response to the Deputy's question I can confirm that the issue of salaries including pensions and any other bonus related additions including company cars of chief executive officers in commercial State bodies does not arise in relation to my Department.

Public Sector Pensions

 434. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the most up to date estimate of the accrued public sector pension liabilities facing the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13630/14]

 435. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if it is now planned to revise, on a three year basis, the estimate of the accrued public sector pension liabilities facing the State in line with the recommendation in the Comptroller and Auditor General's report of 2009; when the next estimate of the accrued public sector pension liability will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13631/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I propose to take Questions Nos. 434 and 435 together.

As I have said previously my Department considers that the regular preparation and publication of actuarial assessments of public service pension provision is an important part of policy formation. The most recent C&AG actuarial exercise on the cost of public sector occupational pensions showed the accrued liability to have been €116bn as of December 2009. The work by my Department on updating this figure is nearing conclusion. This will estimate the position as of December 2012 and will take into account the relevant changes in public service pay and pensions in recent years. 

Under EU regulations the CSO will be required to compile a table showing the liabilities of Irish pension schemes as part of the National Accounts. This table will include estimates of the liabilities of all unfunded and funded pension schemes including the liability for public service schemes. Transmission of the table to Eurostat will be mandatory from 2017, based on a reference year 2015 and at 3-yearly intervals from that date.

Ministerial Staff

 436. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the number of civil servants engaged in constituency work on his behalf; and the salaries, accommodation costs and expenses involved or associated with these duties. [13689/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In response to the Deputy's question there are two civil servants engaged part-time in constituency work on my behalf.   The Salary Scales for the clerical officer grade are as follows:

GradeSalary Scale


Clerical Officer (CO)


€23,042 - €36,267


Clerical Officer (CO)


€23,177 - €37,341

Office of Public Works Projects

 437. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Information on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Zoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin when the restoration and repair of Ardara Bridge, Cadamstown, Birr, County Offaly will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13776/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The Ardara Bridge conservation project, has been, from the outset, technically very challenging due to the extremely fragile nature of the structure. It has also been affected by poor weather, resulting in high water levels in the river below, making conditions for workers hazardous. For operational reasons, there has been the need, at times, to divert resources to other conservation and maintenance projects ongoing in the district at the same time.

The best current estimate for final completion is end 2016.

Office of Public Works Staff

 438. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if additional permanent staff will be assigned to the Office of Public Works in County Kerry to deal with its workload; if he will provide details of staffing complements in County Kerry over the past ten years in tabular form, indicating seasonal and permanent positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13780/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes In line with all Government Departments and Offices, permanent staffing levels in the Office of Public Works (OPW) are governed by Government policy on the control of public service numbers and costs through the Employment Control Framework (ECF) system. The ECF maximum staffing level for the OPW is centrally determined and the Office must adhere to this. The staffing requirements for the OPW over the medium to long term are currently under review in the context of a Workforce Planning exercise covering all areas of activity within the organisation and the staffing needs of the flood risk management and arterial drainage maintenance areas are being assessed in that context.

  Table 1 shows staff resources for County Kerry on both the River Maine Catchment Drainage Scheme (CDS) and the River Feale CDS. The numbers reflect staff who are employed as excavator driver (channel maintenance), ranger (inspection of embankments), or on structures (repair or construction), and could be regarded as frontline staff. Those involved in a supervisory, mechanical and transport, and office/stores function are included under Other. In general Seasonal staff are employed for 6 months per year, from April to September. There can be some variation on the numbers in any given year due to presence of seasonal staff, sick leave, and temporary re-assignment etc. The numbers presented were taken at End of June in each year for consistency.

Table 1   

  Drainage Maintenance Staff Dealing with the OPW Schemes in Kerry

 Total PermanentTotal SeasonalTotal
200418 +1725 +1
200517 +1623 +1
200619625
200719928
200819827
200918624
201017623
201116622
201217623
201316420


+1 refers to member of staff on career break

Office of Public Works Projects

 439. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the reason the Office of Public Works does not do maintenance on the Brown Flesk River (details supplied). [13789/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Although the Brown Flesk River is situated in the River Maine catchment area, it was excluded on economic grounds from the Maine catchment drainage scheme carried out by the Office of Public Works between 1959 and 1963. The OPW’s responsibilities in the catchment area are now statutorily confined to the maintenance of the completed scheme works and do not include the maintenance of the Brown Flesk River.

It is open to the Local Authority to make an application for funding to undertake any necessary works under the OPW’s Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coast Protection Scheme. Any application received will be assessed under the Scheme's eligibility criteria, which includes a requirement that any measures are cost beneficial, and have regard to the overall availability of funding. Application forms and related guidelines are available on the OPW website under Flood Risk Management. It is also open to the Local Authority to carry out works using its own resources.

Public Sector Staff Sick Leave

 440. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin when he will lay before both Houses of the Oireachtas the new public sector sick leave regulations. [13882/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Public Service Management (Sick Leave) Regulations, SI 124 of 2014, were laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 6th March 2014.  Notification of the Regulations was published in Irish Oifigúil on 11th March 2014.

Flood Relief Schemes Expenditure

 441. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if a minor flood works grant will be provided in respect of a location (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14076/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The Government decided on 11 February 2014 to make available up to €69.5 million for a programme of repair and remediation works to roads, coastal protection and flood defence and other public infrastructure damaged in the storms from 13th December 2013 to 6th January 2014 based on estimates provided by the local authorities concerned. Of the total amount being made available, up to €19.6 million is available via the Office of Public Works for the repair of damaged coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure.

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has written to Kerry County Council, indicating, based on the estimate submitted by the Council to that Department, that up to €1,226,920 is being made available to the Council via the OPW to undertake the necessary repair works to damaged coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure.

Kerry County Council must submit an overall programme of works to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government detailing how it proposes to spend the total allocation that is being made available to it. It must also submit the relevant elements of the programme to each Department from whom funding will be made available for consideration of technical aspects of the proposed works. When Kerry County Council's programme of coastal protection and flood defence projects is received by the OPW it will be reviewed having regard to related guidance issued by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government to the local authorities. The OPW has written to the local authorities indicating that in order to assist them in a practical way and to avoid any potential cash-flow issues, it will consider requests for advance funding of up to 80% of the estimated cost of approved projects where a contract for works has been made.

  With regard to Cromane Lower, Killorglin, the OPW allocated funding to Kerry County Council of €100,000 under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme in February, 2012 for embankment strengthening works at that location. The Council has drawn down this funding.

Programme for Government Implementation

 442. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide an update in tabular form of the commitments in the programme for Government that relate to his Department; and the progress that has been made in the implementation of each commitment.  [14119/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In response to the Deputy's question, in the table below I have provided an update on the status of my Department's commitments under the Programme for Government. As can be seen from this update significant progress has been made in my Department.

  The progress identified to date clearly shows that the Government has focused its attention on the decisions and reforms needed to achieve economic and financial stability, which provide a platform for economic recovery. My Department is determined to continue to implement our Programme for Government commitments   to restore the public's confidence in our economy and to achieve a strong and sustainable economy.

  As I have advised the Deputy previously many of the reforms in the Programme are ambitious and need careful sequencing and expertly executed delivery plans. Some may take the whole lifetime of the Government to complete.

Programme for Government Commitments Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

CommitmentCurrent Status
We will draw up a new National Development Plan that reflects Ireland's changed economic circumstances, covering the seven-year period 2012-2019. The plan will be based on a comprehensive study of Ireland's public investment priorities over that period. Completed - (A new NDP was not undertaken but the five year Exchequer capital framework was laid out in "Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework" published in November 2011. A new five year framework will be set out as the period of the current framework comes to a close.)
In the initial years, when resources will be most heavily constrained, we will prioritise investment in school building, non-national roads, healthcare, and in job-creation. Completed
We will insist that major capital projects are subjected to proper cost-benefit analysis and evaluation, improving future productivity and growth prospects, and that the value-for-money obtained is significantly enhanced compared to the most recent period. Completed
The new NDP will be based on traditional exchequer capital spending, plus other resources to be invested from the National Pension Reserve Fund, on the basis of obtaining a return on investment and that does not impact the Government Balance Sheet. In Progress (no new NDP - see above but there is a 5 year Exchequer framework and a new PPP programme)
In developing the new NDP, we will re-examine the investment programmes of the semi-state companies to ensure that they are in line with new economic circumstances. Completed
In order to ensure that public enterprise plays a full role in Ireland's economic recovery, we will create a holding company to manage the state's holdings of the semi-states, and to co-ordinate investment in key priority areas identified by the Government, including energy, water and forestry. Completed
Over time, we also propose to finance the investment programme from the sale of certain state assets. We will target up to €2 billion in sales of non-strategic state assets drawing from the recommendations of the McCarthy Review Group on State Assets when available. Assets will only be sold when market conditions are right and when adequate regulatory structures have been established to protect consumer interests. A programme of State assets disposals is in progress.
Re-prioritise capital funding for smaller projects that deal with specific immediate problems. Smaller projects are more labour intensive and more likely to be carried out by local contractors increasing short-run domestic economic impact. Investment priorities will include education, health and science and technology.Completed
Conduct a Comprehensive Spending Review to examine all areas of public spending and to assess effectiveness of spending programmes and value for company.Completed
Accelerate capital works that are 'shovel ready' and labour intensive including schools and secondary roads.Completed
We will reform public procurement to become a tool to support innovative Irish firms and to allow greater access to Irish small and medium sized businesses. Completed
We will introduce new legislation to protect all small building subcontractors that have been denied payments from bigger companies. Completed
A referendum to amend the Constitution to reverse the effects of the Abbeylara judgement to enable Oireachtas committees to carry out full investigations.Completed
A referendum to protect the right of citizens to communicate in confidence with public representatives.In Progress
All appointments at Principal Officer level and above will be open to external competition and at least one-third of such appointments will be reserved for candidates from outside traditional civil service structures for a 5-year period. In Progress
Pin down accountability for results at every level of the public service from Ministers down with clear consequences for success and failure. Ministers will be responsible for policy and procurement and public service managers for delivery.In Progress
Where appropriate, agency boards will be scrapped and agency managers will report directly to Ministers and their Departments on performance against targets. Action Required
Put in place a Whistleblowers Act to protect public servants that expose maladministration by Ministers or others, and restore Freedom of Information. In Progress
There will be no more "golden handshakes" for public servants that have failed to deliver. Completed
Overhaul TLAC (Top level Appointments Commission), with the chairperson and the majority of members drawn from outside the public sector. Completed
Introduce a reformed incentive system for all grades within core Government departments to reward cross-departmental teams that deliver audited improvements in service delivery and cost effectiveness. Action required/Subject to Haddington Road Agreement
Go beyond the recommendations of An Bord Snip to rationalise core processes that are duplicated across the public service, by establishing shared back-office operations for information technology, human resource management, payments and entitlement applications, business inspections and procurement. In Progress
Review the Local Government Efficiency Review as part of our Comprehensive Spending Review.Completed
Make substantial cuts to the number of State bodies and companies.Completed
Instigate a Government-wide review to identify and eliminate non-priority programmes and outsource, where appropriate, non-critical functions. In Progress
Rather than giving fixed budgets to traditional public service providers like the HSE, VECs and FÁS, we will put resources into the hands of citizens to acquire services that are tailored to better suit their needs and less expensive for the taxpayer.In Progress
Establish a new model of financing social interventions called Social Impact Bonds that share audited exchequer savings with charitable and voluntary organisations.In Progress
Where appropriate we will open up the delivery of public services to a range of providers. In Progress
We will give schools, hospitals and other public service bodies new freedoms within strict budgets and new accountability systems to set their own staffing needs, automate routine processes and adapt work practices to local staff and customer needs.In Progress
We will legislate for a reformulated code of laws, replacing both the Ministers and Secretaries Acts and the Public Service Management Act, which will spell out the legal relationship between Ministers and their civil servants and their legal accountability for decisions and for management of Departments.In Progress
The system of implied general delegation of a Minister's statutory powers to civil servants will be abolished and replaced by a fixed and determined system of delegation of specified powers to specified officers. In Progress
Where a responsibility is delegated through several civil service grades, each grade will be held accountable for their element of it and departmental officials giving evidence to Oireachtas committees will be obliged to speak on their own behalf for their delegated responsibilities and, where appropriate, defend themselves and their actions. In Progress
Delegation orders will spell out the functions of the Minister in supervising the exercise of delegated powers: the Minister will be responsible for ensuring that adequate standards are maintained; outputs are delivered as determined or agreed; and procedures are in place to provide the Minister with the necessary and correct information to enable him or her to respond to problems of administration and to give an account of those problems, and of any necessary corrective action, to the Dáil and to the public.In Progress
We will bring to an end the unacceptable executive practice where no record is kept of ministerial involvement with an issue and resulting decisions.In Progress
We will review the grading structure of the civil service and public service and reduce number of management grades.Public service managers will be given greater autonomy in deciding how they use staffing budgets and resources to achieve agreed outcomes. In Progress
We will remove barriers to mobility across the public service. As part of this we will create a new tier of senior public service management structures, where senior officials are rotated across the public sector to nurture the collaborative culture needed to tackle the biggest cross-cutting social and economic challenges. Completed
High level strategic goals will be reflected in individual goals, in a new performance management and development system for staff. Staff recognition schemes will be developed and devolved, with particular emphasis on team awards. Staff will be encouraged to put forward suggestions for improving service delivery and organisation efficiency and effectiveness. In Progress
Government services websites, public offices, telephone services, and helplines will be reconfigured to facilitate access to a broad range of government services through a single point of contact. In Progress
Ministers' salaries will be reduced, political expenses vouched for and severance payments for ministers axed.Completed
No political pensions will be paid to sitting TDs and in future no retired politician will get a political pension until the national retirement age. Politics must be about service to the public, not financial gain for politicians.Completed
Amend the Constitution to Give Dáil committees Full Powers of Investigation: The Abbeylara Supreme Court decision currently limits the ability of Dáil committees to hold investigations into crucial issues of public concern, such as the banking crisis.Completed
A statutory duty on anybody established by or under statute, or with a majority ownership or funding by the State, to submit to the same parliamentary questions regime as applies to Government departments. This will involve a liability to provide answers to written questions within a specified number of Dáil sitting days. (We will however recognise the special position of bodies with a commercial mandate operating at arm's length from Government). In Progress
We will amend the rules to ensure that no senior public servant (including political appointees) or Minister can work in the private sector in any area involving a potential conflict of interest with their former area of public employment, until at least two years have elapsed after they have left the public service.In Progress
Restrictions on the nature and extent of evidence by civil servants to Oireachtas committees will be scrapped and replaced with new guidelines for civil servants that reflect the reality of the authority delegated to them and their personal accountability for the way in which it is exercised.In Progress
The Committee would be the formal channel of consultation and collaboration between the Oireachtas and the Ombudsman, responsible for receiving and debating her annual and special reports and for ensuring that her criticisms and recommendations are acted upon. For that purpose, she would attend as a regular witness before the committee.In Progress
We will legislate to restore the Freedom of Information Act to what it was before it was undermined by the outgoing Government, and we will extend its remit to other public bodies including the administrative side of the Garda Síochána, subject to security exceptionsIn Progress
We intend to end the heavy dependence on a very limited pool of extremely expensive private solicitors firms providing legal services to the State and agencies, look at ways to require agencies to seek legal advice from the CSSO and not from the private sector in order to save costs, and ensure that legal work at the bar for the State is spread more equitably rather than confined to a very limited pool as at present. In Progress
We will progress the Statute Law Revision Project in order to enhance public accessibility to the statute book.In Progress
We will extend Freedom of Information, and the Ombudsman Act, to ensure that all statutory bodies, and all bodies significantly funded from the public purse, are covered.In Progress
We will introduce Whistleblowers legislation.In Progress
We will introduce a statutory register of lobbyists, and rules concerning the practice of lobbying.In Progress
We will abolish the additional pay for Ministers who leave office. We will restrict the payment of pensions to politicians so that in future a member can only qualify for a pension at the national retirement age (currently 65) and upon leaving public life. We will cap taxpayers' subsidies for all future pension schemes for politicians (and indeed for everybody) that deliver income in retirement of more than €60,000.Part Complete/Part in Progress
We will legislate and change Dáil standing orders to ensure the absolute confidentiality of information entrusted to members of the Dáil by their constituents or informants, and ensure that such information cannot be compulsorily disclosed through the legal process except with the consent of the informant.In Progress
Every public body will set out clear and unambiguous long, medium and short term strategic priorities, which will be clearly communicated to public service and citizens. Strategic priorities will be translated into high level goals for all Departments, on a 'whole of government' basis, and in consultation with Ministers. In Progress
Performance indicators will be identified to monitor progress on high level priorities. Annual reports of departments and agencies will include output statements and audited financial accounts prepared on generally accepted accounting principles. The performance information provided in output and outcome-focused measurement will feed into the decision making process for future plans at political and senior management level. Completed
The reform process will provide for increased delegation of budgets, subject to detailed plans, relevant performance reporting and audited accounts compiled in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. In Progress
Detailed business cases will be required for major projects, with review and reporting requirements built in to the plan. Sanctions will be imposed at an early stage for significant overruns. Completed
We will change the current emphasis on performance reporting to performance management. All medium to long-term projects that involve significant public spending will be subject to cost benefit analysis, and to on-going evaluation. The results of programme evaluations will be published and programmes not meeting their objectives will be wound down. Completed
Performance and progress will be published in a new, audited annual Public Service Delivery Reports. Oireachtas Committees will expose any failure to hit milestones and targets. Each sectoral Committee will take on new powers, similar to those wielded by Public Accounts Committee, to hold Ministers and public servants to account for value for money. This will feed into Oireachtas consideration of the next Budget. In Progress
Where appropriate, agency boards will be scrapped and agency managers will be accountable directly to Ministers.Action Required
We will bring forward the annual Estimates cycle, so that it becomes more timely and relevant. It will in future start at the beginning of the preceding year and conclude by the summer. Completed
The annual Estimates will in future distinguish between monies being allocated to maintaining the existing level of service for existing programmes and money to support new programmes or policy decisions.Completed
The Book of Estimates will be accompanied by a detailed performance report on what the previous year's spending had achieved. It will also give details of the level of performance achieved by agencies under service delivery agreements with Government. In Progress
Oireachtas members will be given, from within existing resources, dedicated resources for the proper scrutiny of the Estimates. In Progress
We will give the Comptroller and Auditor General the extra powers needed to carry out value-for-money audits of State programmes.In Progress
We will publish cost-benefit analyses for major infrastructure proposals and "tax expenditures" in advance of Government approval. Completed
Public sector bodies will be required to publish balance sheets and to move to accruals from cash-flow accounting. In Progress
Every Purchase Order by a Government Department or agency for more than €20,000 will be published online. We will give the Comptroller and Auditor General and Oireachtas Committees the extra powers needed to carry out value-for-money audits of State programmes. Completed
Public bodies will be required to openly compete for budget resources by publishing pre-budget spending requests, and what they would deliver in return for such allocations to help deliver Programme for Government. Completed
We will conduct a Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) to examine all areas of public spending, based on the Canadian model, and to develop multi-annual budget plans with a three-year time horizon. This plan will be presented to the Dáil for debate. It will assess effectiveness in achieving desired outcomes, and value for money.Completed
The CSR will examine the number, range and activities of bodies funded significantly from public purse, including at local government level, and reduce numbers where appropriate. In future, when proposing a new agency, it will be necessary to prove that the proposed new functions cannot be carried out within the existing framework. Completed
We will, subject to there being no compulsory redundancies and to the protection of front line services: Reduce the total number of public sector employees by between 18,000 and 21,000 by 2014, compared to the total number at the end of 2010. Reduce this number by a further 4,000 by 2015. Completed
We will extend the remit of Ombudsman to third level institutions.In Progress


Review existing tendering processes for legal services by Government and State and semi-State agencies to ensure value for money and end anti-competitive practices.


In Progress
The Government directed that a robust analysis be carried out to evaluate how to give effect to a beneficial merger of Coillte with Bord na Mona to create a streamlined and refocused commercial state company operating in the bio-energy and forestry sectors

NewERA has been established based on the UK Shareholder Executive model (advising Ministers from shareholder perspective) rather than Holding Company model (where shares would transfer from Ministers to NewERA).
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NewERA manages the shareholder function in relation to ESB, Bord Gáis, EirGrid, Bord na Mona, and Coillte and provides specialist investment and financial advisory services to Ministers in relation to the corporate governance of these commercial State companies.
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NewERA is also working with Departments to develop and implement proposals for investment projects in the NewERA sectors of energy, forestry, water and telecommunications.
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An evaluation of how to give effect to a beneficial merger of Coillte and Bord na Móna in nearing completion.


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This is expected to be finalised shortly and will then be submitted to the relevant Ministers for their consideration.

Office of Public Works Projects

 443. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the position regarding an alleged breach of contract by the Office of Public Works (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14191/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The Commissioners for Public Works do not accept that there has been any breach of contract. The Commissioners will look into the matter and revert to the Deputy shortly.

Proposed Legislation

 444. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide an update on the drafting of the regulation of lobbying legislation; when it is expected to be published; when the regulatory structures contained within will be in operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14194/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Government's decision to proceed with the Regulation of Lobbying Bill 2014 marked a significant step in bringing greater openness to the important process of interaction between the political and administrative systems and all sectors of society who seek to influence specific policy, legislative matters or prospective decisions. 

The General Scheme of the Regulation of Lobbying Bill 2014 was submitted for pre-legislative scrutiny to the Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Committee (FPER) and their report has been received by my Department.  Drafting of the Bill by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel is advancing and it is anticipated that the Bill will be published following Government approval in quarter two of 2014.  Following publication it is intended to establish an Advisory Group composed of relevant experts and key stakeholders who will be in a position to provide information and guidance that will assist in the smooth implementation of the legislation.  A period of time will be required prior to commencement of the legislation to enable development of the IT and information systems which will support the registration process. The timeframe for the regulatory provisions of the Bill to come into operation will depend, in the first instance, on the timeframe for the enactment of the Bill by the Oireachtas following Government approval for its publication.    

By regulating lobbying activity through registration and reporting requirements  public confidence in politics and in the business of government can be strengthened and greater transparency can be achieved regarding the process of public policy making.

Enterprise Support Schemes

 445. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will seek to convert a number of bank retail units that have no other immediate viable retail opportunity into enterprise centres for start-up businesses for a nominal rent. [14165/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I understand from Enterprise Ireland that since the launch of the first Community Enterprise Centre scheme in 1989, €64 million has been approved by the agency for the development of CECs across the country. To date, there have been 4 capital schemes and 117 CECs have been completed.

In January 2012, Enterprise Ireland introduced a €2m fund to support the appointment of 46 Business Development Managers to sustain and scale up tenants and employment numbers within the Community Enterprise Centres that were previously funded by Enterprise Ireland.

There are no immediate plans from an Enterprise Ireland perspective to launch a scheme for capital funds for Community Enterprise Centres. However, I understand that Enterprise Ireland is considering its supports for Community Enterprise Centres and in a number of months, I expect them to report back on their future approaches to supporting these facilities.


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