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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 88-102
 Header Item EU Funding
 Header Item EU Funding
 Header Item EU Regulations
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Departmental Staff
 Header Item Banking Sector
 Header Item Departmental Data
 Header Item General Data Protection Regulation
 Header Item Tax Reliefs
 Header Item Departmental Data
 Header Item Departmental Correspondence
 Header Item State Claims Agency
 Header Item EU Regulations
 Header Item Public Procurement Contracts

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1005 No. 6
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 78 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 88-102

EU Funding

 88. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the gross liability for Ireland in relation to the EU recovery and resilience facility; the amount it varies from €18.7 billion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17796/21]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As the Deputy will be aware, on 21st July 2020, Heads of State and Government reached agreement on the €1.074 trillion Post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and €750 billion recovery plan “Next Generation EU” (NGEU), totalling €1.82 trillion. The centrepiece of the NGEU is the Recovery and Resilience Facility, made up of €312.5 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans.

In order to avail of funding under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, all Member States must submit a National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan must be submitted to the European Commission by 30 April 2021 and will set out a package of both reforms and public investment projects which will be implemented by 2026. The Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, working with the Departments of the Taoiseach, Finance and Enterprise, Trade & Employment, are responsible for the preparation and coordination of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Reforms and Investments attracting funding under the NRRP will be paid on a performance basis through the Recovery and Resilience Facility, in other words, when agreed milestones and targets are achieved, drawdown of funding can happen.

In May 2020, the European Commission produced a needs assessment underpinning the proposed NGEU. In this needs assessment the European Commission estimated that Ireland’s contributions to the NGEU package would be in the region of approximately €18.7 billion over the next thirty years. However, this estimate was inaccurate for a number of reasons and was intended only as an illustrative example of what might be and was not based on real budget figures.

At this time of crisis, the Covid recovery funds are needed now, and will be received by Member States up to 2026, but will be paid back over 30+ years. These repayments are not expected to begin for a number of years yet, and the contribution Ireland will make has yet to be determined and will depend on our share of the overall EU budget over the course of those repayments. They will also depend on what new Own Resources are agreed at EU level. It is not possible to give an accurate overall figure at this time.

EU Funding

 89. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the amount in grants Ireland will receive from the EU recovery and resilience facility; if the figure of 0.989 or 186 billion on Annex IV is accurate at time of passing the regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17797/21]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe As the Deputy will be aware, on 21st July 2020, Heads of State and Government reached agreement on the €1.074 trillion Post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and €750 billion recovery plan “Next Generation EU” (NGEU), totalling €1.82 trillion. The centrepiece of the NGEU is the Recovery and Resilience Facility, made up of €312.5 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans.

  Under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, Ireland’s current grant allocation is €914.6 million (current prices). Under the Recovery and Resilience Facility regulation, 30% of the total grant element will be kept on hold until 2023, to then be disbursed to Member States using a revised allocation methodology based on actual GDP output. Latest Commission estimates suggest that this additional allocation to Ireland may be approx. €74.6 million (current prices), but this figure will not be confirmed until 2022.

EU Regulations

 90. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the way in which the new EU environment taxonomy will impact on future regulation of the financial sector and projects put forward for funding under green bond funding. [17868/21]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe In the past number of years, and in particular following the launch of the European Commission’s Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth in March 2018, we have witnessed significant progress at EU level in the area of sustainable finance, with Ireland engaging constructively on the related legislative proposals. This includes agreement on the Taxonomy Regulation in June 2020, which together with the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, will be the cornerstone of the EU’s sustainable finance regulatory architecture.

  In particular, the application of the Taxonomy Regulation, which establishes a harmonised classification system for environmentally sustainable activities, will have a significant role in supporting the mobilisation of capital towards sustainable investments. Through providing common definitions to companies, investors and policymakers on what constitutes an environmentally sustainable economic activity, it can create security for investors and protect private investors from greenwashing. Additionally, it can assist companies in planning for the low-carbon transition.

The EU taxonomy will be an important driver in supporting implementation of the Green Deal, which will simultaneously support the development of the sustainable finance sector. As the Deputy will be aware, the Irish Government has long recognised the importance of sustainable finance as well as its associated opportunities. Reflecting this, sustainable finance is a horizontal priority within the Government’s strategy for the further development of the international financial services sector, ‘Ireland for Finance’. The strategy strives to make Ireland a true leader in the field of sustainable finance, in particular through further enhancing and deepening the base of expertise and activity in sustainable finance. It is important that the financial sector is prepared for the new regulatory regime, and in this vein, the Ireland for Finance Action Plan 2020 contained an action focussed on the development and delivery of educational programmes on sustainable finance, including on the EU taxonomy. Through Action 32: Deliver training programmes in sustainable finance and responsible investment supported by the Sustainable Finance Skillnet  , Action Plan 2021 continues this focus on skills development.

  Green bonds also play an increasingly important role in financing assets needed for the low-carbon transition. However, currently there is no uniform green bond standard within the EU. Establishing such a standard was a recommendation in the final report of the Commission High-Level Expert Group on sustainable finance. It was then included as an action in the 2018 Commission Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth. A legislative proposal is expected to be delivered later in 2021.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 91. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his plans to remove the present €5,000 weekly cap on payments under the Covid restriction support scheme due to the reality that many larger hotels will only at the best case scenario do very limited trade in 2021 and therefore have sustained significant losses over 2019 and 2020 in view of the continuing lockdown of the economy and the effect Covid-19 is having on the tourist economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17887/21]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) is a targeted support for businesses significantly impacted by restrictions introduced by the Government under public health regulations to combat the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The support is available to companies, self-employed individuals and partnerships who carry on a trade or trading activities, the profits from which are chargeable to tax under Case I of Schedule D, from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions introduced in line with the Living with Covid-19 Plan. The details of the scheme are set out in Finance Act 2020 and guidelines on the operation of the scheme, including the eligibility criteria, are available on the Revenue website

  The CRSS applies to businesses carrying on trading activities from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions, which requires the business to prohibit or considerably restrict customers from accessing their business premises and as a result, is operating at less than 25% of turnover in 2019.

  The €5,000 cap is designed to ensure that, while any size business may access the scheme, the main beneficiaries of CRSS are SMEs and high turnover/low fixed costs businesses do not disproportionately benefit.

  The CRSS has provided substantial support for over 21,600 eligible businesses. Up to 29 March, CRSS payments of €410m have been made to businesses since the inception of the Scheme, approximately €260m of which has been paid in the first quarter of 2021. The hospitality and tourism sector (bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels and other accommodation providers) has received approximately €240m in CRSS payments since last October and €105 million of these payments have been made by Revenue in the first quarter of 2021.

The CRSS is an additional measure for businesses in a region subject to significant Covid-19 restrictions, and   supplements other Covid-related supports such as the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

  There are no plans to change the eligibility criteria for the CRSS or the €5,000 cap. The purpose of the CRSS is to provide additional support to the businesses who have had to close temporarily or significantly restrict access to their premises as a direct result of public health Regulations.

  The Government will continue to assess the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and I will continue to work with Ministerial colleagues to ensure that appropriate supports are in place to mitigate these effects.

  I have confirmed that the CRSS and EWSS will be extended until June 2021, and as I have outlined previously, consideration is being given to the fact that continued support could be necessary out to the end of 2021 to help maintain viable businesses and employment and to provide businesses with certainty to the maximum extent possible. Decisions on the form of such support will take account of emerging circumstances and economic conditions as they become clearer.

Departmental Staff

 92. Deputy Claire Kerrane Information on Claire Kerrane Zoom on Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will provide a breakdown of the higher executive officers, administration officers, assistant principal officers, principal officers and assistant secretaries in his Department by gender in tabular form. [17909/21]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I wish to advise the Deputy that the table below details the gender breakdown by Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the grades of Assistant Secretary, Director, Principal Officer, Assistant Principal Officer, Administrative Officer, and Higher Executive Officer in my Department at end-March 2021:

Summary Grade Female Male
Assistant Secretary 1.00 6.00
Director   1.00
Principal Officer 8.30 17.00
Assistant Principal Officer 34.00 47.80
Administrative Officer 37.30 49.00
Higher Executive Officer 9.23 13.00
Sub Total 89.83 133.80

Banking Sector

 93. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he or his officials have held meetings with a bank (details supplied) in relation to the recent announcement of 88 branch closures; if so, when these meetings occurred; and if he asked for and received assurances from the bank that there is a viable post office within 500 metres of a branch the bank plans to close as mentioned in his response to the bank announcement. [17940/21]

 96. Deputy Johnny Mythen Information on Johnny Mythen Zoom on Johnny Mythen asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will request the regulator of the Central Bank to defer the closure of bank branches (details supplied) for the duration of Covid-19; if he will request that the bank provide a financial and impact statement for the branches earmarked for closure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18013/21]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 and 96 together.

As the Deputy may be aware, as Minister for Finance, I have no role in the commercial decisions made by any bank in the State. This includes banks in which the State has a shareholding.

  Decisions in this regard, including the management of branch networks, are the sole responsibility of the board and management of the banks, which must be run on an independent and commercial basis. The independence of banks in which the State has a shareholding is protected by Relationship Frameworks which are legally binding documents that cannot be changed unilaterally. These frameworks, which are publicly available, were insisted upon by the European Commission to protect competition in the Irish market. The Bank of Ireland Relationship Framework can be found at the following link:

www.gov.ie/en/publication/fc36e6-bank-of-ireland-relationship-framework-march-2012/  .

Notwithstanding this, Bank of Ireland provided me with a briefing in advance which was consistent with its announcement on the matter on 1st   March.

  Some of the key points contained in the announcement were:

  - The decision to close these branches is in response to changing customer behaviour with a significant acceleration in digital banking.

  - The branches closing are predominately self-service locations which do not offer a counter service.

  - To preserve local access to physical banking for those who want it, the bank has agreed a new partnership with An Post which will allow personal and business customers use their local post office for a range of banking services – including to withdraw cash and make cash and cheque lodgements – at no additional cost. The closing Bank of Ireland branches all have a post office within, on average, less than 500 meters.

  - The bank confirmed that the new partnership with An Post will be available to all Bank of Ireland customers before any branch closes.

  - Furthermore, the bank stated that there will be no closures for six months.

  On staff, the bank commented that it will be working closely with all colleagues at these branches and will be setting out a range of options which include relocating to a different branch, moving to a new role in the bank, or voluntary redundancy for those who choose it.

  The full Bank of Ireland announcement on the matter can be found at the following link:

  www.bankofireland.com/about-bank-of-ireland/press-releases/2021/bank-of-ireland-announces-significant-changes-to-branch-network-and-local-banking-services/.

Departmental Data

 94. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if a schedule will be provided of the data sets, databases and file types his Department has shared with the Department of Health since 2000. [17972/21]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am advised by my officials that the Department of Finance has shared the following datasets containing personal data with the Department of Health:

Data Shared Data is shared with: Reason for sharing of data
Names, email address and telephone numbers of Department of Finance staff based in the Miesian Plaza office premises Directly with the Department of Health’s Facilities Unit, who are the lead tenant of the office premises Health and Safety – Department of Health are the lead tenant for Miesian Plaza – shared under Article 6 (1)(c) of the General Data Protection Regulation
Ministerial Representations Where appropriate, Representations that relate to Department of Health policy areas are forwarded to the Department of Health Ministers Office Shared under section 40 of the Data Protection Act 2018


  With regard to data management and data processing, my Department has internal Records Management policies and electronic systems in place to ensure good governance in records management, and we are mindful of our obligations under the Data Protection Act 2018.

General Data Protection Regulation

 95. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the number of complaints his Department has received from members of the public under the heading of GDPR and data information requests since 2018 to date in 2021; the number of data information requests that have been refused and accepted, respectively; the number of GDPR requests refused; and the basis on which they were declined in tabular form. [17990/21]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Since 2018, my Department has not received any complaints from a member of the public with regard to GDPR and data information requests, neither directly to the Data Protection Officer or the Customer Services Officer.

  All data information requests, also known as Subject Access Requests, have been accepted and fully processed as follows:

Year Data Information Requests received(Subject Access Requests)
2018 0
2019 4
2020 2
2021 to date 0


  My Department has published information on our website advising members of the public as to the process of making a ‘Subject Access Request’ under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as well as a privacy notice which includes information about data subject rights and access to personal data, as well as contact details for our Data Protection Officer.

  Question No. 96 answered with Question No. 93.

Tax Reliefs

 97. Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne Information on Violet-Anne Wynne Zoom on Violet-Anne Wynne asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the way in which the tax relief for working from home can be claimed when there are multiple persons in a household working from home but the bills are only in one person’s name yet they all contribute as a family or in cases in which the person who is claiming the tax relief does not have the household bills in their name; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18018/21]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Where e-workers incur certain extra expenditure in the performance of their duties of employment remotely or from home, such as additional heating and electricity costs, there is a Revenue administrative practice in place that allows an employer to make payments up to €3.20 per day to such employees, subject to certain conditions, without deducting PAYE, PRSI, or USC. Revenue have confirmed that PAYE workers using their primary residence as a workplace during Covid-19 restrictions qualify as e-workers for the purposes of this practice.

In circumstances where an employer does not pay €3.20 per day to an e-worker, or indeed where an employee incurs costs in excess of the €3.20 per day paid by the employer, I am advised that the employees concerned retain their statutory right to claim a deduction under section 114 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 in respect of actual vouched expenses they have incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of their employment. PAYE employees are entitled to claim costs such as additional electricity, heat and broadband in respect of the number of days spent working from home, apportioned on the basis of business and private use.

If an expense is shared between two or more people, the allowable cost being 10% of electricity and heat and 30% of broadband, can be apportioned based on the amount paid by each individual. To claim an allowable e-working expense, the employee must have incurred the cost and it is the responsibility of the employee to retain proof of payment.

PAYE workers can claim e-working expenses by completing an Income Tax return at year end. Revenue advise that the simplest way for taxpayers to claim their e-working expenses and any other tax credit entitlements is by logging into the myAccount facility on the Revenue website.

Finally, Revenue has published detailed guidance on this subject and on the question of how claims for e-working expenses should be calculated and submitted in the Tax and Duty manual TDM 05-02-13 e-Working and Tax, which is available on the Revenue website.

Departmental Data

 98. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath if a list will be provided of approved travel agencies for all public servant trips that are booked abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17739/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath My colleague the Minister for Transport and the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) have primary responsibility for regulation and licensing of the travel trade in Ireland.

  The Office of Government Procurement (OGP), an office within my Department, engages with CAR and ensures that appropriate licensing requirements are included in its central arrangements for travel agency services.

  Having regard to the above, OGP established a Framework Contract for the Provision of Travel Management and Ancillary Services in August 2017. This was awarded to Club Travel HRG Ireland Ltd. The Framework Contract is available to all public sector bodies to use. It is Government policy that public bodies, where possible, should make use of central arrangements or provide a value for money justification for not doing so.

Departmental Correspondence

 99. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath when a letter (details supplied) referred to the Office of Public Works for attention and reply will be replied to; the reason for the delay in this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17847/21]

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 Due to restrictions on movement between units and buildings and the current regime of home working, delivery of physical post to units has not always been entirely reliable during lockdown. I regret to say that that the letter referred to has not been received by the appropriate staff at Dublin Castle. The Deputy may wish to inform his correspondent that the letter should be emailed to:

  hugh.bonar@opw.ie

  or posted to:

  Hugh Bonar

  National Historic Properties

  Dublin CastleDame StreetDublin 2.

  D02 R866

State Claims Agency

 100. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath if dossiers similar to that exposed in a programme (details supplied) have been compiled and held by the State Claims Agency on any other person or groups of persons involved in legal actions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17864/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath While I acknowledge the Deputy’s question, I wish to advise that questions relating to the State Claims Agency (SCA) are a matter for the Minister for Finance to respond to it in the first instance.

The NTMA is a State body which provides asset and liability management services to Government and is designated as the State Claims Agency when performing the claims management, risk management and legal cost management functions delegated to it under the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2000 and the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2014. It operates under the aegis of the Minister for Finance. Accordingly, I would suggest that the Deputy refers questions related to the State Claims Agency to the Minister for Finance in the first instance.

EU Regulations

 101. Deputy Richard Bruton Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath the way in which the new EU environmental taxonomy will impact on future procurement policy; and if it will be applied as an element in the current review of the National Development Plan 2018-2017. [17866/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath The new EU Environmental Taxonomy is a classification system providing appropriate definitions on economic activities which can be considered environmentally sustainable to help the private financial sector to navigate the transition and shift investments to a low-carbon, resilient, and resource-efficient economy.

The Taxonomy will not, therefore, directly impact on public procurement policy. However, public procurement will play an important role in addressing the same objectives as the EU Taxonomy i.e. climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources, transition to a circular economy, pollution prevention and control, and protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems. In 2019, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issued a Circular to public bodies to promote the use of environmental and social considerations in public procurement. As set out in the Programme for Government, we will develop and implement a sustainable procurement policy during the lifetime of this government, to minimise the environmental impact of products and services procured and will mandate the inclusion of green criteria in all procurements using public funds. Furthermore, the Office of Government Procurement will update its procurement frameworks in line with green procurement practice.

The National Development Plan sets out the investment priorities that will underpin the successful implementation of the National Planning Framework. The current review of the National Development Plan is considering the following fundamental elements:

Level: There will be an assessment of the economic and social case for the overall level of capital expenditure commitment into the future.

Share: This element will consider the share of capital expenditure across Departments or sectors and the need to adjust Sectoral allocations in order to successfully deliver on Government priorities.

Priorities: This will ensure alignment with the policy priorities in the Programme for Government, notably housing, health, climate action, transport and job creation and enterprise development.

Spatial Alignment: This will investigate whether the NDP aligns sufficiently with the spatial strategy set out in the National Planning Framework of compact growth as well as city and regional growth targets.

Governance: The final key area will assess whether the structures and rules for the management, governance and oversight of projects are in place to deliver on the ambitions of the revised NDP.

Climate was an important consideration in the development of the current National Development Plan and is also in the ongoing appraisal of projects and programmes. However, in recognition of the need for systemic change, there will be an overarching focus on climate action throughout the new National Development Plan. It is intended that Departments will be required to assess their spending proposals/allocations against a range of environmental outcomes to ensure that their investment priorities are aligned with Ireland’s climate and environmental objectives. To complement this sectoral assessment of the National Development Plan, my Department is proposing that the whole of the National Development Plan is assessed against a suitable climate/environmental methodology which is line with international good practices.

It is important to note that the National Development Plan is not a vehicle through which investment proposals are approved. All project and programme proposals included in the Plan are subject to the detailed rigour of the Public Spending Code. The Public Spending Code is not static. It is updated regularly to reflect lessons learned and international good practice. My Department has an ongoing body of work to strengthen the Public Spending Code requirements and guidance to support public bodies in their evaluation, planning and management of capital projects. This includes strengthening the consideration of environmental and climate factors in project appraisal, planning and delivery. In particular, I anticipate altering the shadow cost of carbon that applies to all projects once the higher targets envisaged in the draft Climate Action Bill are adopted. This will ensure that the amount of emissions a project may give rise to is quantified and a value placed on those emissions that reflects the cost the society will have to bear to eliminate these emissions in the future. This in turn allows the appraisal to determine if this future burden outweighs any benefits the project may bring.

Public Procurement Contracts

 102. 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 the ESRI, IPA and SEUPB have independent health and safety advisers at present; if so, if the procurement of such which was carried out in the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17890/21]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Michael McGrath): Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath In the first instance, the Deputy may wish to note the nature of the bodies referenced in his question. The Institute of Public Administration (IPA) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) are companies limited by guarantee who are in receipt of grant funding from my Department. The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) is a cross-border North South Implementation Body, established on foot of the Good Friday Agreement and jointly sponsored by my Department and the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland. The SEUPB operates under the policy direction of the North South Ministerial Council, and is headquartered in Belfast, with smaller offices in Omagh and Monaghan.

  The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table below.

Body Independent Health and Safety advisors present Services procured in the last 3 years
Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI) Yes – H&S Advice is currently provided as part of a facilities management service The ESRI tendered for its facilities management services in 2020 and a number responses were received. In the light of the continuing Covid restrictions, a risk assessment was carried out on the feasibility of changing provider during this period. Following the assessment, it was decided to cancel the process and extend the current service providers contract. A new procurement process will be held as soon as practical.
Institute of Public Administration (IPA) No independent Health & Safety advisors present. The IPA has a Facilities Officer in place who is the nominated competent person under the HSA’s legislation. This is supplemented by independent advice when deemed necessary. A fire safety assessment of the IPA building complex was carried out in 2020. This service was procured through relevant procurement guidelines.
Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) Yes The SEUPB uses the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) Framework to appoint external companies to provide Health and Safety Training such as First Aid and Fire Marshall Training. The SEUPB also has a contract with a workplace compliance company that provides online Health and Safety training to all SEUPB staff members.


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