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McGrath, Michael

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Public Service Pay Bill 2020: Second Stage (Resumed)

That is right. I am resuming from where I left off a number of weeks ago. At that point, I had referred to the need for this legislation to progress a range of pay reform matters. I had just beg...More Button

In summary, the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act of 2009 provides that no change can be made in the pay of a public servant without legislative amendment, a court o...More Button

Turning to the details of the legislation, the Bill amends or appeals sections 4 and 5 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act of 2009, section 12A of the Ministers...More Button

Section 1 sets out a definition of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009 as the "Act of 2009".More Button

Section 2 amends section 4 of the Act of 2009 to provide that in addition to changes to pay arising from an Act of the Oireachtas, an order of the civil courts, an order of the Labour Court or a ...More Button

Section 3 amends section 5 of the 2009 Act to provide for retrospective application, up to the date on which this proposed Act is enacted, of a provision allowing for amendment of contracts of em...More Button

Section 4 amends section 16A of the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2011 to ensure that where a contract of employment is amended in accordance with section 4 of the 2009 Act, as amende...More Button

Section 5 amends section 24(3) of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 to align the date for repeal of certain restrictions on increases to public service pay with the date on which the p...More Button

Section 6 provides that the Short Title of the proposed Bill is the Public Service Pay Act 2020.More Button

Concluding the repeal of the financial emergency legislation is an important milestone in the history of the State. Underpinning this achievement and the new public service pay agreement is the ...More Button

Labour market conditions are also expected to improve next year with employment growth of 3.2% and 3.6% projected for 2022 by the Central Bank and the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. As a result ...More Button

Our approach is about balancing the need for pay restraint, stability and certainty in the delivery of public services with the need to support ongoing public service reform. Key areas of our pu...More Button

Public Service Pay Bill 2020: Second Stage (Resumed) (Continued)

I thank Deputies Mairéad Farrell and O'Reilly for their contributions. Hopefully, they will be in a position to support the Bill.More Button

I look forward to the Bill being progressed in the weeks ahead, particularly as it is needed to give effect to the Building Momentum pay agreement. The latter is a very fair agreement. It invol...More Button

We did not have such a fund in place all along to deal with those particular issues outside of the general round of pay increases. Work on the implementation of the fund and the identification of ...More Button

In addition to that work, as colleagues know, we now have a process in place to deal with the Haddington Road agreement hours. An independent body will set out its analysis of what would be invo...More Button

This Bill is needed, not just for building momentum but also for the implementation of the Sláintecare consultant contract in the health service, which is a key part of the reform of the public h...More Button

I look forward to continuing to work with colleagues on progressing the Bill. I hope it will pass Second Stage and proceed to Committee Stage. I would like to see that happening relatively quic...More Button

Public Service Pay Bill 2020: Referral to Select Committee

I move:More Button

Public Sector Staff

Was asked: if pre-retirement courses containing financial advice will be offered to public service provider employees who retire before 65 years of age.More Button

OneLearning has responsibility for the provision of the Pre-Retirement Planning Programme for the Civil Service. OneLearning is the Civil Service Learning and Development (L&D) Centre, which is...More Button

Brexit Negotiations

Was asked: the status of negotiations on the EU Brexit adjustment reserve; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Brexit Adjustment Reserve represents an important response by the European Union to the challenges posed by the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU. Ireland played a leading role in securin...More Button

The purpose of the Reserve is to help counter the adverse economic and social consequences of Brexit in the sectors and Member States that are worst affected. It will provide support:More Button

- to economic sectors, businesses and local communities, including those dependent on fishing activities in UK waters;More Button

- to employment, including through short-time work schemes, re-skilling and training;More Button

- to ensure the functioning of the required checks and controls as well as communication, information and awareness raising for citizens and businesses.More Button

It is generally acknowledged that Ireland is the Member State most impacted by Brexit and so we expect to be a significant beneficiary of the Reserve. Ireland has already expended a considerable...More Button

Discussions on the Reserve are continuing in the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. Ireland’s view is that the Commission’s proposed allocations are relevant, appropriate and fair...More Button

Ireland remains actively engaged in the ongoing discussions at political and senior official level and hopes that agreement on this proposal can be concluded quickly, so that funding can start to...More Button

Project Ireland 2040

Was asked: the steps he will take to ensure that all projects funded under Project Ireland 2040 are properly assessed for their full, long-term and life-cycle climate impacts; the conclusion of the recent rev...More Button

My Department is responsible for setting the overall multi-annual capital expenditure ceilings for each Ministerial Vote Group as set out in the National Development Plan and Project Ireland 2040. ...More Button

The role of public investment in delivering on Ireland’s climate targets is being assessed as part of the ongoing review of the National Development Plan. Climate was an important consideration i...More Button

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 t...More Button

Was asked: if he will include climate policy and environmental expertise in the reformed Project Ireland 2040 delivery board to bring additional independent expert knowledge into the process; and the other ar...More Button

As a matter of good governance, I will be appointing four new members to the Project Ireland 2040 Delivery Board to provide it with additional external expertise and to enhance the 'challenge funct...More Button

Office of Public Works

Was asked: the estimated completion date of the construction works on the Lady Justice arch in Dublin Castle; the percentage of work that has been completed to date; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

Was asked: if a proposal which was sent to the Office of Public Works by a group (details supplied) has been received; the action being taken on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: 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 ...More Button

Was asked: 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 t...More Button

Was asked: 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 f...More Button

Departmental Legal Cases

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to instances of litigation or the threat of litigation arising from the inclusion of social clauses in public procurement contracts in each of the years from 2017 to...More Button

My attention has not been drawn to any instances of litigation where there is a realistic prospect of a formal legal challenge being commenced in 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020 arising from the inclusion...More Button

Public Sector Pay

Was asked: if he has considered the review of the impact of the financial emergency measures in public interests legislation on retired members of An Garda Síochána; when the decision will be implemented; if ...More Button

I understand the Deputy is referring to the policy in relation to pension increases for retired members of An Garda Síochána focusing in particular on the impact of changes in the treatment of rent...More Button

With effect from January 2017 there was an increase of €500 in the rate of rent allowance and this allowance was simultaneously consolidated into the salary scale for serving members of An Garda ...More Button

I can inform the Deputy that my Department issued a communication in January 2021 which allows the Department of Justice to calculate and pay the appropriate pension increases, taking account of ...More Button

The effective date is 1 September 2017 (the date from which the new pension increase policy agreed by Government came into effect). However, the exact date on which any individual pensioner will ...More Button

Arrears of pension will be calculated and paid to qualifying pension recipients as appropriate. The Department of Justice is responsible for processing these increases.More Button

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

Was asked: 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 ...More Button

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 approva...More Button

Was asked: 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 tha...More Button

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...More Button

Was asked: 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 agenci...More Button

Was asked: 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...More Button

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.

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Was asked: 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.More Button

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, submiss...More Button

  Question No. 416 answered with Question No. 414.More Button

Was asked: 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 approv...More Button

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 advi...More Button

Equality Proofing of Budgets

Was asked: the steps he is taking to implement equality budgeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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 ...More Button

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...More Button

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...More Button

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 Performanc...More Button

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 B...More Button

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...More Button

Remote Working

Was asked: 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 stateme...More Button

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 ...More Button

Pension Provisions

Was asked: 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.More Button

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. More Button

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 ...More Button

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 work...More Button

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, cons...More Button

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 Protectio...More Button

Was asked: 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...More Button

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. More Button

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 ...More Button

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 work...More Button

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, cons...More Button

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 Protectio...More Button

Covid-19 Pandemic

Was asked: 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).More Button

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 8...More Button

Irish Sign Language

Was asked: 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.More Button

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 gener...More Button

Commencement of Legislation

Was asked: 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.More Button

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

More Button

Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: 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.More Button

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 mon...More Button