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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 412-430
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Equality Proofing of Budgets
 Header Item Remote Working
 Header Item Office of Public Works
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic
 Header Item Irish Sign Language
 Header Item Commencement of Legislation
 Header Item Office of Public Works
 Header Item Office of Public Works
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Sports Facilities
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 136 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 412-430

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 412. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the bodies under his aegis which are non-commercial State agencies that have an annual budget expenditure of €5 million or greater and annual ICT expenditure of €100,000 or greater as per circular 02/2016; if any of these bodies are not compliant with their obligations under the circular; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that since 2016 no retrospective approval for expenditure for ICT over €25,000 was granted by his Department and that no incomplete or draft documentation was accepted by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16856/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath I wish to advise the Deputy that I am aware of the provisions set out in Circular 02/2016, which was issued by my Department, including those pertaining to completeness of documentation and approval in retrospect.

  The information requested by the Deputy regarding the bodies under the aegis of my Department is set out in the table below

Body Annual budget expenditure of €5 million or greater Annual ICT expenditure of €100,000 or greater as per circular 02/2016 Compliance with circular 02/2016
Office of Public Works Yes Yes Yes
National Shared Services Office Yes Yes Yes
Public Appointments Service

Yes
Yes Yes
Office of the Ombudsman Yes Yes Yes
State Laboratory Yes Yes Yes
Regulator of the National Lottery No No Not applicable

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 413. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath if all bodies under his aegis as defined under section 4b of Circular 02/2016 have submitted detailed plans to his Department of current year ICT-related expenditure; if any expenditure greater than €25,000 was approved by his Department prior to any advertisement on e-tenders or through any other competition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16857/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The information requested by the Deputy regarding the bodies under the aegis of my Department is set out below.

Office of Public Works 

The Office of Public Works (OPW) was notified by the Digital Government Oversight Unit (DGOU) in my Department on 23 March 2021 of a new electronic portal for submission of Start of Year and End of Year Returns for ICT expenditure and Requests for Specific Approval to the DGOU. The OPW was also informed that the deadline for submissions for 2021 has been extended to 30 April 2021. OPW is now in the process of preparing a submission in line with the requirements of Circular 02/2016.

ICT equipment, software or services greater than €25,000 for the OPW to date in 2021 were acquired through a competitive tendering process or use of an existing Office of Government Procurement (OGP) framework. The Office of Public Works uses OGP frameworks and competitive tendering when acquiring ICT equipment software unless no such framework exists.

National Shared Services Office


The National Shared Services Office (NSSO) was formally notified by the Digital Government Oversight Unit (DGOU) of my Department on 23 March 2021 of a new electronic portal for submission of Start of Year and End of Year Returns for ICT expenditure and Requests for Specific Approval to the DGOU. The NSSO was also informed that the deadline for submissions for 2021 has been extended to 30 April 2021. NSSO is now in the process of preparing a submission in line with the requirements of Circular 02/2016.

Expenditure greater than €25,000 by the NSSO has not been approved by my Department prior to any advertisement on e-tenders or through any other competition.

Public Appointments Service


The Public Appointments service (PAS) have not yet submitted detailed plans of current year ICT related expenditure to my Department but expect to be compliant with the revised deadline of the 30 April 2021.

No expenditure for PAS greater than €25,000 was approved by my Department prior to any advertisement on eTenders or through any other competition.

State Laboratory


As instructed by the Digital Government Oversight Unit (DGOU) in February 2021, the State Laboratory postponed submission of their 2021 plans to my Department, pending the roll-out of the eDGOU system. However, plans will be submitted before the revised deadline of 30 April.

No expenditure for the State Laboratory greater than €25,000 was approved by my Department prior to any advertisement on eTenders or through any other competition.

Office of the Ombudsman


The Office of the Ombudsman has made its 2021 submission to my Department under Circular 02/2016.

No expenditure for the Office of the Ombudsman greater than €25,000 was approved by my Department prior to any advertisement on eTenders or through any other competition.

Office of the National Lottery Regulator (ORNL)
  The ORNL is not required to submit ICT expenditure plans to my Department.

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 414. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the total expenditure on ICT services by each body under his aegis for each year from 2016 to 2020 inclusive; the total cost of ownership of each of the top two ICT projects of each of these agencies during that time frame; the percentage of total ICT expenditure of each body that was not spent through OGP frameworks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16858/21]

 416. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the annual expenditure on ICT for each body under his aegis that was not spent through an OGP framework or that was in excess of any agreed award through e-tenders since 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16860/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath I propose to take Questions Nos. 414 and 416 together.

The information requested by the Deputy regarding the bodies under the aegis of my Department is set out in the table below.

  In line with Standing Order 51A, I have been advised that the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the Public Appointments Service (PAS) will respond directly to the Deputy within the next 10 days.

Table

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 415. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath if staff costs or project staff costs are relevant to calculations of ICT expenditure under circular 02/2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16859/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath Circular 02/2016, issued by my Department, sets out arrangements for the oversight of Digital and ICT projects and initiatives across the Public Service. While staff costs are not included, submissions should include costs relating to external resources.

  Question No. 416 answered with Question No. 414.

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 417. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the total cost of annual expenditure in each year since 2016 on ICT contractors and ICT consultants for each body under his remit; the total cost of ownership of any new software systems not approved in advance by his Department; the total expenditure on ICT hardware not procured through an OGP framework; the reason it was not procured through the OGP; if all ICT consultancies were procured and processed in line with the appendix to circular 02/2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16861/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The information requested by the Deputy regarding the bodies under the aegis of my Department is set out in the table below.

  In line with Standing Order 51A, I have been advised that the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the Public Appointments Service (PAS) will respond directly to the Deputy within the next 10 days.

Table

Equality Proofing of Budgets

 418. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the steps he is taking to implement equality budgeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16949/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath Equality Budgeting is a way of approaching and understanding the budget as a process that embodies long-standing societal choices about how resources are used, rather than simply a neutral process of resource allocation. In practice, this means that equality budgeting attempts to provide greater information on how proposed or ongoing budgetary decisions impact on particular groups in society, thereby integrating equality concerns into the budgetary process. Providing greater information on the likely impacts of budgetary measures facilitates the integration of equality concerns into the budgetary process, helping to avoid unintended adverse outcomes and enhancing the Government’s decision making framework.

A pilot programme was introduced for the 2018 budgetary cycle, anchored in the existing performance budgeting framework. A number of diverse policy areas were selected, with associated objectives and indicators published in the 2018 Revised Estimates Volume (REV). A progress update was provided in the Public Service Performance Report 2018 (published in May 2019). Due to relatively good availability of gender-disaggregated data, the initial focus of Equality Budgeting was on gender. In subsequent budgetary cycles, the pilot initiative was extended to further develop the gender budgeting elements, and to broaden its scope to other dimensions of equality; twelve departments are now reporting Equality Budgeting metrics. An Expert Advisory Group was established to guide the development of Equality Budgeting policy. This group includes members from both within and outside of Government, and has met regularly since September 2018.

In 2019, the OECD completed a Scan of Equality Budgeting in Ireland, and published their report alongside Budget 2020. The scan provides 12 recommendations on how to drive this initiative forward; implementation is currently underway, guided by an ambitious work plan. In line with the OECD recommendation to develop an equalities data strategy, the CSO conducted a data audit, in cooperation with DPER, to ascertain the availability of public service data that is disaggregated by equality dimension. This work was guided by the Expert Advisory Group and the audit findings were published alongside Budget 2021.

Another recommendation of the OECD was the development of tagging and tracking functionality for departmental expenditure. In 2020, a project commenced to create a new architecture for Performance Budgeting, including Equality-, Green-, Well-being- and SDG-budgeting; this project is funded under the EU Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP). One key element of the project is to learn from best international practice to develop tagging and tracking of expenditure. DPER officials recently completed a two-day study visit (online) through the EU’s TAIEX programme to learn about the approach of the French government to tagging and tracking expenditure. The valuable insights gained will contribute to the development of this functionality in the context of Ireland’s budgetary cycle.

On March 9th 2021, the Government agreed several important points on progressing Equality Budgeting. A key point was the Government agreement to establish an inter-departmental group for Equality Budgeting, to facilitate the embedding of the initiative across all Government departments. The first meeting of this group is due to take place in the near future. This group, along with the existing Expert Advisory Group, will play a key role in guiding the continued implementation of the OECD recommendations for progressing Equality Budgeting.

The memo also highlighted the relevance of the equality budgeting agenda for the Programme for Government commitment regarding the introduction of a well-being framework. The introduction of this type of framework was also a key recommendation of the OECD Scan. The integration of a well-being perspective into the budgetary cycle will build upon progress to date on performance budgeting and will integrate and support the equality budgeting agenda.

Remote Working

 419. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath if he is facilitating requests for officials in Departments or persons employed in State agencies to work remotely full-time or part-time beyond Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17003/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The Government, has committed, in the Programme for Government, to mandating public sector employers to move to 20% home and remote working in 2021. In this context, My Department is, as a matter of priority, working with employers across the Civil Service to develop the longer term approach to remote working in the sector. My Department is also working closely with the wider public sector to ensure a consistency of approach. To this end the Department is working on a Blended Working Policy Framework for Civil Service Organisations which will assist those organisations in developing long-term remote working policies.

  It is proposed that remote working in the Civil Service, post pandemic, will be facilitated on a blended basis, subject to roles being deemed as suitable to be carried out remotely. The Civil Service Employee Engagement Survey carried out in September/October, 2020 indicated a preference among civil servants – 62% of respondents - for a blended approach to working remotely.

  https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/a61c1-minister-mcgrath-launches-the-civil-service-employee-engagement-survey-2020-covid-19-remote-working-report/

Office of Public Works

 420. Deputy Cathal Crowe Information on Cathal Crowe Zoom on Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath if he will undertake an urgent review of indoor cafeteria space for OPW staff based on the Scattery Island site, County Clare in order that high standards of safety during Covid-19 can be attained and upheld; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17211/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Patrick O'Donovan): Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan The Office of Public Works continues to adhere to all Government guidelines as they relate to COVID-19. In respect of Scattery Island, OPW will undertake a review of all documentation and last year’s operations once current circumstances deem it possible.

Pension Provisions

 421. Deputy Cathal Crowe Information on Cathal Crowe Zoom on Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the pension proposals for community employment scheme supervisors which is currently under consideration by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17233/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The Deputy will be aware that the matter of community employment schemes falls within the policy remit of my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection.

I have however a strong appreciation of the role of Community Employment Schemes in communities right across the country and I know this role could not be fulfilled without the leadership of the Scheme Supervisors. In this context I have taken the opportunity to meet with the relevant parties involved in these schemes to hear at first hand their issues of concern.

The particular matter raised by the Deputy is a complex one that raises significant policy, legal and exchequer cost issues. The Deputy may be aware that the State is not the employer of the workers concerned. A detailed scoping exercise was carried out in 2017 in order to comprehensively examine and assess the full potential implications, in both cost and precedent terms, of the issues involved. The outcome to the scoping exercise was that the matter has potentially very significant implications for the exchequer, particularly if consequential demands were to be made by all similar State funded Community and Voluntary organisations whose employees are in a similar position to the Community Employment scheme supervisors.

This is a factor which must be borne in mind in our approach to this issue. While CE Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors represent a small part of the wider community and voluntary sector, consideration must be taken for the potential liability to the State if similar claims are made by the many workers in the broader community and voluntary sector.

As the Deputy will appreciate, we are now facing major challenges in managing the public finances. However, in conjunction with my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection I am giving fresh consideration to all the issues involved in relation to this matter and will continue to engage constructively with the relevant stakeholders.

Pension Provisions

 422. Deputy Joe Carey Information on Joe Carey Zoom on Joe Carey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath if he has received a submission in relation to the payment of pensions to community employment supervisors; when he expects to make a decision in relation to this longstanding issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17289/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath  The Deputy will be aware that the matter of community employment schemes falls within the policy remit of my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection.

I have however a strong appreciation of the role of Community Employment Schemes in communities right across the country and I know this role could not be fulfilled without the leadership of the Scheme Supervisors. In this context I have taken the opportunity to meet with the relevant parties involved in these schemes to hear at first hand their issues of concern.

The particular matter raised by the Deputy is a complex one that raises significant policy, legal and exchequer cost issues. The Deputy may be aware that the State is not the employer of the workers concerned. A detailed scoping exercise was carried out in 2017 in order to comprehensively examine and assess the full potential implications, in both cost and precedent terms, of the issues involved. The outcome to the scoping exercise was that the matter has potentially very significant implications for the exchequer, particularly if consequential demands were to be made by all similar State funded Community and Voluntary organisations whose employees are in a similar position to the Community Employment scheme supervisors.

This is a factor which must be borne in mind in our approach to this issue. While CE Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors represent a small part of the wider community and voluntary sector, consideration must be taken for the potential liability to the State if similar claims are made by the many workers in the broader community and voluntary sector.

As the Deputy will appreciate, we are now facing major challenges in managing the public finances. However, in conjunction with my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection I am giving fresh consideration to all the issues involved in relation to this matter and will continue to engage constructively with the relevant stakeholders.

Covid-19 Pandemic

 423. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the level at which he deems it acceptable for staff to return to the office given persons are only due to return to their offices under level 1 or 2 restrictions (details supplied). [17320/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The Civil Service HR Policy Division within my Department regularly issues Guidance and FAQs for Public Service Employers during COVID-19. The most recent update was released on the 8th of March 2021. Section 1.1 of this document, which is based on public health advice and the Resilience and Recovery Plan 2021, provides guidance for employers in relation to who should attend the work premise during the pandemic.

The COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead   plan was published by the Government on 23 February 2021. Within the plan there is a Framework for Restrictive Measures with five levels. Below is the work-related information for each of the levels. It should be noted that the employer will determine the essential roles which need to attend the workplace throughout the levels, taking into account the differing requirements at each level of the Framework for Restrictive Measures (see outline of levels below). Regard should be had to any changes to work premises attendance that may be required at each level of the Framework and workplace attendance plans and requirements should be communicated with employees.

  The provision of services to society continues to be a priority for the public service during COVID-19. In addition, the Resilience and Recovery Plan identifies many public services as being essential during this time. Employers need to enable employees to be as productive as possible at all times, both in the work premises and in a blended and distributed workplace. Employers need to continue to be innovative in terms of new ways of working including maximising and fully exploring distributed and hybrid work models, where applicable. Employees have a role to play by cooperating with employers and in being proactive in identifying how they can increase value and how their roles can be performed effectively in the new and changing environment. During COVID-19, in order to ensure maximum efficiency, employees may be assigned work outside their usual core duties/given a new role.

  The Framework provides for home working to continue where possible. Home working will continue as and when deemed appropriate by the employer, having regard to the changes that may be required at each level of the Framework. Home working must be balanced with the requirement to continue to provide the most effective and efficient services to the public, in line with the provisions of the framework.

- Level 1:   Work from home if possible. Attend work for specific business requirements and on a staggered attendance basis.

- Level 2:   Work from home if possible. Attendance at work for essential on-site meetings, inductions and training.

- Level 3:   Work from home unless absolutely necessary to attend in person.

- Level 4:   Only essential or other designated workers should go to work.

- Level 5:   Work from home unless it is for work which is in essential health, social care or other essential service and cannot be done from home.

  Employers must ensure that all work premises have implemented robust pre-return to workplace procedures, where not already in place, and that all procedures comply with the Work Safely Protocol. These procedures should be clearly communicated to employees. The Protocol, which is a revision of the previous Return to Work Safely Protocol, was published on 20 November and incorporates current public health advice. It outlines the measures needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate the re-opening of workplaces following temporary closures.

  Employers should ensure that they have properly implemented the advice in the Protocol and ensure that it is tailored, where necessary, to meet the unique set of circumstances pertaining to each sector and workplace location.

  Some employers have continued to have employees in their work premises during the restrictions. Employers should ensure that the new Protocol is reviewed in respect of all employees i.e. employees required to return to the work premises and those employees who have continued to work on site. There may be additional issues to consider to ensure compliance with the Protocol for those employees who are already working onsite.

  All employees have a critical role in ensuring that the procedures of the Protocol are followed to suppress COVID-19 in their workplace. It is incumbent on all employees who are required to attend the workplace to fully comply with their organisation’s COVID response plan. Cooperation between employees, the lead worker representative(s) and the employer are fundamental to ensuring that the measures are adhered to.

Irish Sign Language

 424. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the way in which his Department and agencies under his remit are meeting obligations under the Irish Sign Language Act 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17432/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath My Department is committed to meeting all of its statutory obligations and providing the best possible service to relevant stakeholders. Due to the nature of its role, my Department does not generally provide services directly to the public or to businesses. The Department is currently in the process of completing a survey issued by the National Disability Authority on the operation of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 and will follow up on any actions arising from this.

  I am advised of the following with regard to the bodies under the aegis of my Department:

  Office of Public Works

  The steps taken by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in this regard include:

  - Provision of interpretation to persons seeking to avail of, or access, services through Irish Sign Language (ISL);

  - Provision of ISL tours at Heritage sites upon request. OPW also run a programme of scheduled ISL tours throughout the year on certain sites. In addition, the interpretation service upload an ISL video promoting the tour on the ISL vlogs and films Facebook page, where possible;

  - ISL interpreters engaged by the OPW are accredited in accordance with the accreditation scheme funded by the Minister for Social Protection; and

  - Training provided to OPW staff including Deaf Awareness Training and National Disability Authority (NDA) disability awareness training. Specific training on communicating with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and or persons whose first language is ISL along with funding for employees to attend ISL classes.

  Public Appointments Service

  The Public Appointments Service (PAS) has provided Irish Sign Language users with free interpretation when availing of PAS services (i.e. attending for assessments, including interviews, where required) prior to the enactment of this legislation.   PAS recently launched its ED&I Strategy and used a web-based translation service for all contributions. A full-time Disability Champion is on staff who service users (mainly prospective candidates) can contact to receive information about the supports PAS has in place to ensure that services are accessible to all. PAS staff are provided with Disability Awareness Training, including training provided by the NDA and Rehab. PAS is currently developing its own Disability Awareness Training for selection board members and staff.

  National Shared Services Office

  The National Shared Services Office (NSSO) is currently studying its obligations under the Act and considering the required next steps. The NSSO only provides services to Civil and Public Servants rather than the general public. All of its services can be accessed via email or webpages, and there have no requests to date for Irish Sign Language interpretation.

  Office of the Ombudsman

  As it currently stands, the Office of the Ombudsman has one staff member certified at Irish Sign Language QQI Award Level 4. Certification at this level provides a degree of fluency and an ability to engage in conversation with Irish Sign Language signers. A second staff member has also recently been identified for training in Irish Sign Language. They are currently enrolled in Irish Sign Language QQI Award Level 3. It is envisaged that, over time, these staff members will act as the first point of contact for any service users who look to engage through Irish Sign Language. A review is also underway of the Office’s need to engage external Irish Sign Language services than can be employed quickly when required.

  Once this is complete, an Irish Sign Language Policy will be drafted. This will outline the obligations under the Irish Sign Language Act 2017, the services available to customers and how they can avail of these. Once finalised, this will be published on each of the Office's websites. Relevant training on the policy will also be provided to any staff in a customer facing role.

  Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery

  The Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery (ORNL) does not provide any “statutory entitlements or services” as set out in Section 6(1) of the Act. Therefore, the public body duties under the Irish Sign Language Act do not apply to the ORNL.

  State Laboratory

  The State Laboratory provides a comprehensive analytical chemistry and advisory service to Government Departments and Offices. Therefore, the public body duties under the Irish Sign Language Act do not apply to the State Laboratory.

Commencement of Legislation

 425. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the details of the Acts falling under his Department which have been signed into law but have not been commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17450/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table below

Title of Act Date signed into law Current Position
Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019 4 March, 2019

Certain provisions of the Act were commenced by S.I. 189/2019, including parts 1 and 5, sections 9-12 and most of parts 6 and 10. It was originally planned to commence chapters 1.3 and part 9 of the Act to facilitate the establishment of the Data Governance Board with remaining provisions of the Act to be commenced in full thereafter. However, following extensive consultation with the Attorney General’s Office, it is now planned to commence the remaining provisions of the Act in a manner that will ensure a smooth transition for public bodies who may need to prepare data sharing agreements under the legislation. It is planned to commence the remaining sections of the Act as soon as is practicable.

Office of Public Works

 426. Deputy Colm Burke Information on Colm Burke Zoom on Colm Burke asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the reason for the delay in the transfer of lands at Castlefreke, Rosscarbery, County Cork from Coillte to the OPW which are required for the erection of facilities subject to planning for use by the Irish Coast Guard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17488/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Patrick O'Donovan): Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan The Commissioners of Public Works (OPW) are continuing to liaise with the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) and Coillte to progress the purchase of lands from Coillte for the provision of Coast Guard facilities at Castlefreke, Rosscarbery, County Cork. A draft contract for sale has been received and is under discussion between the Chief State Solicitor's Office, on behalf of OPW, and Coillte’s solicitors.

Office of Public Works

 427. Deputy Colm Burke Information on Colm Burke Zoom on Colm Burke asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath if funds have been set aside by the OPW to enable the purchase of lands from Coillte at Castlefreke, Rosscarbery, County Cork which are required for the erection of facilities subject to planning for use by the Irish Coast Guard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17489/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Patrick O'Donovan): Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan The Commissioners of Public Works (OPW) can confirm that funding to purchase lands from Coillte to provide facilities for Irish Coast Guard facilities at Castlefreke, Roscarberry, Co. Cork, subject to planning, will be provided by the Irish Coast Guard.

Departmental Expenditure

 428. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the spending for his Department on public procurement disaggregated by spending on goods, services and capital works in each of the years 2018 to 2020, in tabular form. [17539/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath I wish to advise the Deputy that under the EU Procurement Directives, different procurement thresholds apply in respect of the acquisition of works, services and supplies / goods. To facilitate monitoring and reporting in that regard, the Department records on an ongoing basis the value over their lifetime of all formal contracts, and informal contracts valued over €5,000, entered into on foot of its procurement processes, as well as whether such contracts were in respect of works, services or supplies / goods.

  The Department had no such contracts in respect of works for the years in question.

  The number and value over their lifetime of such contracts in place at the end of 2018, 2019 and 2020 are set out in the table below

Position at year ending Number of Services Contracts in place Value over their lifetime of Services Contracts€ Number of Goods Contracts in place Value over their lifetime of Goods Contracts€
2018 105 €21,443,226 40 €50,927,419
2019 145 €27,849,110 53 €67,090,481
2020 123 €25,495,554 59 €68,053,094


The classification of individual payments made on the basis of whether they were in respect of works, services or supplies / goods is not supported within the Department's existing financial management system.

Sports Facilities

 429. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin her views on a matter raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) regarding the access to physical activity for disabled persons in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16758/21]

Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Jack Chambers): Information on Jack Chambers Zoom on Jack Chambers The promotion and achievement of increased access to, and participation in, sport and physical activity by people with disabilities is a key priority of the National Sports Policy 2018-2027.

  Sport Ireland, the agency responsible for the development of sport in Ireland, has also developed a specific Policy on Participation in Sport by People with Disabilities, details of which are available on its website.

  Since 2007, Sport Ireland has also published every two years the Irish Sports Monitor, which contains important research information and data on participation in sport and physical activity by people with disabilities.

  I am arranging for Sport Ireland to provide a comprehensive outline of its activities in this area directly to the Deputy.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 430. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin the estimated cost of introducing a direct grant for businesses in which food and drink can be consumed on the premises to assist them in adapting their businesses for outdoor dining if a grant of up to €10,000 was available per business. [17616/21]

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Deputy Catherine Martin): Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin All tourism funding schemes are designed and operated by Fáilte Ireland as the National Tourism Development Authority. With specific regard to outdoor dining, Fáilte Ireland has today announced an Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme for developing outdoor dining capacity nationwide.

As the development and delivery of this Scheme is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland, I have referred the Deputy's question to the agency to supply further information. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.


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