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 Header Item Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)
 Header Item Ábhair Shaincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Matters
 Header Item Teachtaireacht ón Seanad - Message from Seanad
 Header Item Message from Select Committee
 Header Item Ceisteanna (Atógáil) - Questions (Resumed)
 Header Item Departmental Operations

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 979 No. 6

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Deputy Michael Moynihan: Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan With the ongoing spiral in insurance costs, many businesses across the spectrum state they will have to close because they are not able to get insurance cover or operate without it. Many fine words were spoken about a new unit being established within An Garda Síochána for the referral to the Director of Public Prosecutions of false or misleading claims brought before the courts. Has the Government met the Garda Commissioner to discuss the resources needed by An Garda Síochána to ensure the unit will be set up without further delay? While the Minister for Justice and Equality will say it is an operational matter for the Garda, should that give me the impression that the Government is not taking the matter seriously and refusing to take a hands-on approach to dealing with it?

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan Deputy Moynihan is right that it is an operational matter for An Garda Síochána. However, I assure him and the House that I have raised it with the Garda at the highest level. I acknowledge the ongoing work being done to tackle fraud and fight white collar crime by the Garda National Economic Fraud Unit and assure the Deputy that I will continue to raise these issues with the Garda Commissioner and his team, albeit they are operational issues. The Garda is very conscious of the need to ensure every effort is made to fight fraud.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton There is a report in the Ireland edition of The Times today which I did not think could possibly be true. Perhaps the Taoiseach might clarify the position. The position of Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland will become vacant if, as expected, Philip Lane is appointed as chief economist of the European Central Bank on 21 March. It is reported that the name of a former Fine Gael special adviser is being floated in senior political circles as a possible replacement for Mr. Lane. I ask the Taoiseach whether the Central Bank is now to be politicised. Ultimately, it will involve a Government decision following a selection process. Will the Taoiseach clarify whether he intends to appoint Mr. Andrew McDowell to the position of Governor of the Central Bank? What procedure does the Government intend to follow in the selection process?

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I record my congratulations to Philip Lane on his pending appointment as chief economist at the European Central Bank.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary Hear, hear.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar It is a very important role and Mr. Lane will be one of only six people on the executive board. It is good to have an Irish person among the six key decision makers at the European Central Bank. He was a very good appointment to the Central Bank of Ireland a number of years ago. We have not yet had a chance to decide what procedure will be used to select a new Governor of the Central Bank. I anticipate that there will be a proper process involving an advertisement in order that people can apply for the job and that there will be a system of interviews, but the procedure to be used has not yet been decided.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl That concludes questions on promised legislation. Seven Deputies were not reached.

Ábhair Shaincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Matters

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I wish to advise the House of the following matters in respect of which notice has been given under Standing Order 29A and the name of the Member in each case: (1) Deputy Eamon Ryan - to discuss the purchase of High Island to preserve the archaeological and ecological importance of the island; (2) Deputies Sean Sherlock and Anne Rabbitte - to seek an update from the Minister on matters related to Scouting Ireland; (3) Deputies Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Thomas P. Broughan, Gino Kenny and Niamh Smyth - to discuss the need for a public inquiry into the death of Shane O'Farrell ; (4) Deputy Eamon Scanlon - capital funding for the approved new diabetes day unit at Sligo University Hospital; (5) Deputy James Browne - to discuss the provision of additional jobs and further IDA Ireland investment in County Wexford; (6) Deputy David Cullinane - to discuss the status of providing an Educate Together national school in Dungarvan; (7) Deputy Pat Buckley - to discuss the closure of respite care services in Midleton Community Hospital; (8) Deputy Michael McGrath - to discuss the provision of additional Garda resources for the Togher district and the station hours in Carrigaline and Douglas; (9) Deputy Darragh O'Brien - to discuss the costs incurred to date in planning the greater Dublin drainage project; (10) Deputies John Curran and Bobby Aylward - the failure to make the drug Spinraza available for children suffering from spinal muscular atrophy; (11) Deputy Joan Collins - the Labour Court recommendation in 2008 that community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors be provided with an employer sponsored occupational pension and the fact that these workers still do not have an occupational pension 11 years later; (12) Deputy Gerry Adams - to discuss the commitment given to support the Connors family following the tragic fire at Carrickmines; (13) Deputy Martin Ferris - to discuss the ongoing crisis in the beef industry; (14) Deputy Catherine Connolly - the Minister of Finance's failure to implement the Labour Court's 2008 recommendation that community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors be given access to an occupational pension; (15) Deputy Brian Stanley - to discuss with the Minister for Education and Skills the funding needed for a new building for Kolbe special school, Portlaoise, County Laois; (16) Deputy Mattie McGrath - the need to urgently increase Garda numbers in County Tipperary; (17) Deputy Michael Harty - the development of tourism projects in the Bunratty area by Shannon Heritage, and (18) Deputy Eugene Murphy - an update on the direct provision centre in Roosky.

The matters raised by Deputies Eamon Ryan; Darragh O'Brien; Michael McGrath; and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Thomas P. Broughan, Gino Kenny and Niamh Smyth have been selected for discussion.

Teachtaireacht ón Seanad - Message from Seanad

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Seanad has passed the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 2018, without amendment.

Message from Select Committee

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Select Committee on Justice and Equality has completed its consideration of the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2018 and made no amendments thereto.

Ceisteanna (Atógáil) - Questions (Resumed)

Departmental Operations

 1. Deputy Brendan Howlin Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will report on the work of the social policy and public service reform division of his Department. [5375/19]

 2. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will report on the work of the social policy and public service reform division of his Department. [6557/19]

 3. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he will report on the work of the social policy and public service division of his Department. [7980/19]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together.

The role of the social policy and public service reform division is to assist me as Taoiseach and the Government in delivering on the programme for Government objective of public policies and services which drive a socially inclusive and fair society and to assist in renewing and transforming the public service. The division assists the work of Cabinet committees B, E and G and the associated senior officials' groups. Cabinet committee B covers social policy and public services, including education, children, social inclusion, the Irish language, arts and culture and continued improvements and reform of public services. Cabinet committee E deals with issues related to health, including the delivery of health service reforms. Cabinet committee G provides for political oversight of developments in relation to justice and equality issues, including implementation of the Government's programme of reform in the areas of justice and policing.

The division also promotes the Civil Service renewal programme, including the Civil Service Management Board, and assists in the delivery of Our Public Service 2020 through membership of the Public Service Leadership Board and the public service management group. The division has departmental oversight of the National Economic and Social Council and advances Dublin's north east inner city initiative, including through its programme office, programme implementation board and oversight group. The division incorporates the programme for Government office monitoring the implementation of the commitments contained in the programme for Government across all Departments and ensures all departmental strategy statements reflect the programme commitments for which that Department is responsible.

In addition, a policing reform implementation programme office has recently been established within the division. The office will drive the implementation of the policing reform plan entitled, A Policing Service for the Future, which was approved and published by the Government in December 2018. The division also provides me with briefing and speech material on social policy and public service reform issues and participates in relevant interdepartmental committees and other groups.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I thank the Taoiseach for his reply. Among other things, the division handles health policy. I have a few particular questions in that regard. The Department of Health's acute policy unit was in communication with the division and the Taoiseach's officials on the national children's hospital contract from November 2018. The relevant emails have been released to us. Was it only after an awareness of escalating costs emerged in the public sphere that the unit asked for and received updates on cost overruns? Was there no monitoring or communication in advance of November 2018 on this major health and infrastructural project? The Taoiseach might explain to the House how the division monitors matters and ensures issues which should be brought to his attention and that of the Government are communicated.


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