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Donohoe, Paschal

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Public Sector Pensions Data

Was asked: if his Department has compiled data from other European countries on the different ways public sector and civil servant pensions are administered, the amount they pay on average per employee and th...More Button

I thank the Deputy. I will answer the tabled question first, and I will then give him the update he seeks.More Button

My Department is responsible for Government policy on civil and public service pensions.  In that context, the Department monitors relevant pension developments outside the Irish public service, ...More Button

With regard to international public sector pensions, proactive data compilation as to the position in individual other European countries, including in respect of the scheme specifics referred to...More Button

We are a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and my Department is affiliated to the European Association of Public Sector Pension Institutions. These and other ...More Button

In that context, there are two particular reports that have been of great help. The OECD Pensions Outlook 2016 included a chapter examining the pension system for civil servants in OECD countrie...More Button

Comparisons like these are helpful. However, they have to be approached with a degree of caution given the significant diversity often present from country to country in regard to key pension-re...More Button

With regard to where we are in the current negotiations, I expected them to be difficult, and they are difficult. The Government has raised matters regarding productivity and pensions. I do not...More Button

On the Deputy's first question as to whether this work was done in advance of the Public Service Pay Commission and this process beginning, it was done in advance of it, but it would be fair to say...More Button

Regarding the Deputy's second question about what we have tabled, we have discussed proposals on pensions. There has been some comment about that publicly and in the media. I have to respect th...More Button

In terms of when I believe the process will end, it is a difficult enough process without me setting deadlines to which the Deputy will then hold me accountable. I am more focused on seeing if w...More Button

In terms of how we will deal with that body and people who are already pensioners, which is what the Deputy is referring to, I have met that body and had a discussion with it regarding issues on be...More Button

Public Sector Pay

Was asked: the progress his Department has made in costing a return to a single tier pay structure across the public sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his plans to provide for equal pay for new entrants into the public service; the timeframe he expects this to become a reality; the cost of implementing same; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 and 3 together.

  The 10% reductions in starting pay for certain new entrants were introduced in January 2011 as part of the national recovery ...More Button

Was asked: his plans for ending pay inequality across the public sector in the context of the public sector pay talks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his plans to address the issue of equal pay for equal work within the public sector and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 12 and 13 together.

  The 10% reductions in starting pay for certain new entrants were introduced in January 2011 as part of the national recover...More Button

Let us talk about some figures amidst the Deputy's comments. From 1 January 2017, under the measures I agreed alongside the Minister for Education and Skills for INTO and TUI members, a new entran...More Button

It is because the principle of fairness I must respond to is different from the one the Deputy is concerned with. I must be able to make sure I am fair to people who need services and to people wh...More Button

I am glad the Deputy acknowledged it there. If he can come up with a recipe for me as to how we can find €1.4 billion immediately while meeting all the other needs he raises with me on a regular b...More Button

Was asked: his plans to renew the FEMPI legislation at the end of June 2017 in view of the fact that the economy is no longer in a state of emergency; if so, the reason therefor; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

As the Deputy is aware I am obliged under the legislation to undertake  an Annual Review of the operation and effectiveness of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts (FEMPI) w...More Button

The most recent review, laid before the Oireachtas on 29 June last, found that there was a continued necessity for the measures provided for under the Acts. My decision at that time was informed...More Button

The Programme for Partnership Government committed the Government to establish a Public Service Pay Commission to examine pay levels across the public service. The Public Service Pay Commission ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to be able to maintain compliance with the Lansdowne Road Agreement or other pay agreements in the context of FEMPI, having particular regard to the need to reward th...More Button

Public servants, are widely and correctly recognised as having made a particularly valuable contribution to the State’s economic recovery through reductions in remuneration which facilitated the ne...More Button

The initial Report of the Public Service Pay Commission was published on Tuesday, 9 May 2017. For its initial report the Commission was asked to provide input on how the unwinding of the Financi...More Button

- The evolution of pay trends in the public and private sectors, based on published data;More Button

- A comparison of pay rates for identifiable groups within the public service with prevailing non-public sector market rates;More Button

- International rates and comparisons where possible; andMore Button

- The state of the national finances.More Button

The Commission was also asked to give consideration to other conditions of service of public servants, including tenure and pension, as well as recruitment and retention trends in the public serv...More Button

The findings of the Commission are contributing to and informing considerations in relation to Public Service remuneration by Public Service employers and staff interests in negotiations on an ex...More Button

The purpose of these discussions is to seek agreement with staff interests on an extension to the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA).  The discussions will also seek to secure and to provide a fair, ...More Button

Public Sector Pay (Continued)

This matter has been raised by the Deputy and a number of other Deputies for some time, and I and my officials instigated much work to clarify what that figure would be. We estimate, as I said, th...More Button

Regarding the principles of what the Deputy has just said to me, I will make a broad, two-fold point to him. First, as the pay commission pointed out, at current levels of remuneration, we are s...More Button

If one were to accept - and I do not - that we have a generalised recruitment issue within our public services, and if one were then to go on to argue that its main cause is insufficient pay, the l...More Button

I have always been very clear about recognising the huge contribution our public servants make to our State and our economy, and I am very happy to make that clear again. Deputy Calleary used the ...More Button

Then let us consider what is happening in the HSE at present. From November of last year to March of this year, the HSE recruited 500 persons per month to work in the different services the HSE pr...More Button

They will ask me what measures we are taking to improve services elsewhere. More Button

If we are going to do all of that, this has to be an agreement that is affordable and recognises that meeting all of the competing demands also has a cost. It is because I want to address the ne...More Button

Pension Provisions

Was asked: his Department's objectives regarding public sector pensions in view of the current pay talks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

When inviting the public services committee of ICTU last month to the public service pay talks which are now in progress, I indicated a separate process of consultation would take place with an ass...More Button

I should point out that a very significant part-unwinding of PSPR in three stages is taking place under FEMPI 2015, with PSPR affected pensioners getting pension increases via substantial restora...More Button

On 1 January 2016, all pensions of up to at least €18,700 became exempt from PSPR. From 1 January 2017, all pensions of up to at least €26,000 are now exempt from PSPR, and from 1 January 2018 a...More Button

All the Deputy is offering is hollow rhetoric. He stands up on issue after issue, and in respect of groups that have been affected by the decisions that were made and the calamity of the crisis th...More Button

Deputies stand in the House and say they want issues like pay restoration dealt with and that we should invest more in the here and now in our schools and hospitals. I agree there is a need to d...More Button

That may work on the Opposition benches, but it is the route to going back to the kind of crisis our country is trying to put behind us. Why do Opposition Deputies not recognise that by 1 Januar...More Button

As the Deputy knows, we need to bear in mind that the average level of pension payment for somebody in receipt of a pension is €23,000 for a former public service worker. The measures that we ha...More Button

The Deputy may declaim that he accepts the need to cut our choices according to the resources that are available, but I never see any evidence of this from Sinn Féin. I read the document to which ...More Button

Every member of the Deputy's party promises that every problem would be immediately fixable if more money was spent. That is not the case. We have a certain amount of revenue that we take in ev...More Button

We are able to borrow on top of that. We have to make choices available to us on the basis of the funding we have. If we do not do that-----More Button

I am very used to this. It does not make any difference. Again and again, I see that Sinn Féin is well able to dole it out but is not able to take it back. The only way it can respond to its arg...More Button

Pension Provisions (Continued)

I make the point again that we have seen regarding pensions and pay their efforts to promise to people money and resources which are not available now while ignoring the fact that we need to invest...More Button

European Investment Bank

Was asked: the interactions he has had with the European Investment Bank on the issue of capital investment; the persons he met with; if he discussed the relaxation of Stability and Growth Pact measures; and ...More Button

Responsibility for policy on the Stability and Growth Pact rests with my colleague, the Minister for Finance. Both the Minister for Finance and I visited the European Investment Bank, EIB, in Luxe...More Button

The EIB has now presented some suggestions on how the bank could provide new and innovative financing mechanisms for assisting small businesses and tackling infrastructure needs in ways that coul...More Button

I agree with some of the Deputy's analysis on the importance of infrastructure for Europe now. I contend that one of the great risks we face is that if we get the EU and the eurozone back on a tra...More Button

Yes, indeed. We are having significant technical discussions with the bank at the moment to see if there are new ways to address the project needs we have. We have to decide what the project need...More Button

No. I have a clear figure in mind as to where I think infrastructure investment needs to get. I am now working with all of my Government colleagues to decide what projects will get us there becau...More Button

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme

Was asked: his plans to increase off-balance sheet capital investment.More Button

Over the coming years, the Government intends to increase capital expenditure, as clearly outlined in our capital plan. When account is taken of the additional €5.14 billion now committed to capit...More Button

I am very strongly aware of the need to increase capital investment. I know the Deputy understands these matters very well, and the choice we have is regarding how we do this in a way that does no...More Button

It is not the voice of officialdom making these points, it is me. If we were in a situation where we ended up paying more for projects than we should, the Deputy would be in here immediately criti...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether the investment in infrastructure will allow Ireland to be Brexit-ready.More Button

Submissions from Departments on the utilisation of the additional capital funding available under the Capital Review have been received and are being scrutinised by my Department.More Button

Departments were asked to factor into their submissions relevant developments since the publication of the Capital Plan in 2015, including the new Programme for a Partnership Government; the prov...More Button

In that context it is a matter for each Department, in the first instance, to assess its sectoral capital plans in the light of critical issues such as Brexit, taking into account the analysis of...More Button

A public consultation process has also been undertaken, to ascertain the views of the public and key stakeholders on what our national infrastructure priorities should be, in light of issues incl...More Button

My Department's assessment of the submissions from Departments will be based on, for example, updated analysis of infrastructure capacity and demand as well as the new National Planning Framework...More Button

It is expected that the capital review process will be completed in Quarter 3 of 2017, to enable the Government to make final decisions in the context of the Budget on how the remaining additiona...More Button

I am satisfied that the approach I have set out to the review of the Capital Plan will help ensure that any particular infrastructure challenges posed by Brexit are fully encompassed in our capit...More Button

Was asked: if in the context of the growing needs of the recovering economy, he expects to be in a position to meet infrastructural requirements of the widest possible nature affecting economic performance; a...More Button

Was asked: if an audit has been undertaken in respect of infrastructural requirements such as housing, water, roads and or sewerage treatment facilities requiring urgent investment with a view to determining ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 134 and 143 together.More Button

Assessment of sectoral infrastructure, and management of resource envelopes to address urgent priorities, is a matter for the relevant line Departments in the first instance.More Button

The purpose of public spending guidelines, such as the Public Spending Code, is to support the process of directing available resources to the most efficient and effective solutions. More Button

The Capital Plan 'Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021' set out a €42 billion framework to address our priority infrastructure needs up to 2021.  Government has a...More Button

Increases in capital spend need to be sustainable, and at a level that the construction sector has the capacity to respond to with increased output. More Button

The Capital Plan is now being reviewed to ensure that capital spending remains strictly aligned with national economic and social priorities. More Button

Submissions in relation to the review, and the additional funding available for allocation, were sought from Departments in January and are currently under review by my Department.  Assessments a...More Button

A public consultation process was also held in April to ascertain the views of the public and key stakeholders on what our national infrastructure priorities should be.  This consultation also so...More Button

The review by my Department of the submission received from Departments and from the public consultation process will be informed by a macro-economic assessment of the context for capital spendin...More Button

Information and Communications Technology

Was asked: the progress made under the public service information and communications technology strategy; the amount of money spent on the strategy; the Departments to which it has been rolled out; if he is s...More Button

Public Private Partnerships

Was asked: his plans to review the current 10% limit on public private partnerships; his views on whether the 10% rule and the controls and systems in place are sufficient to ensure that public private partne...More Button

As I said earlier, PPPs offer an alternative way for delivering infrastructure. The question refers to the 10% rule and whether we are seeking to review that. The current requirement is that, tak...More Button

One of the challenges we must deal with when we debate the merits of PPPs is that because the funding is not located on a country's balance sheet a misconception begins to form that the money doe...More Button

We are reviewing their use with the process I outlined to Deputy Burton. I am aware of the costs that exist. Just because they might not reside on the sovereign balance sheet in a given year do...More Button

I will provide guidance on the role of PPPs as part of the capital plan review that is under way to allow agencies, if I believe it is appropriate, to deliver projects via the PPP model. The Deput...More Button

Public Private Partnerships (Continued)

On understanding the cliff, before the summer I will publish an analysis of where we are with the stock of capital investment in the country and our view on changes that need to be made in the futu...More Button

State Bodies Expenditure

Was asked: the nature, details and value of all accommodation contracts entered into between the OPW and Caranua; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the agreement between the OPW and Caranua on the renting of office space; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the agreement between the OPW and Caranua on the charging of rent for the use of office space; the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 24 and 41 together.More Button

The Commissioners of Public Works advise that the agreement in place with Caranua for its current accommodation in Frederick Court, Dublin 1, is an administrative arrangement by way of a simple e...More Button

As the lease on the Frederick Court building expired in 2016, the Commissioners of Public Works is disposing of the property and in discussions with Caranua on its future accommodation needs. It...More Button

The one question I cannot answer for the Deputy concerns the arrangement involving the OPW for the current building. I do not have the information required but will find it for her.More Button

On the other question the Deputy asked me, the Department of Education and Skills replied to a parliamentary question on 9 May 2017 addressing the responsibilities of Caranua as an independent st...More Button

On the Deputy's question on the role of the OPW, its remit is to provide accommodation for central government bodies. There are several agencies outside that remit that recoup rent to the OPW fo...More Button

On the question the Deputy asked me about the accommodation on Talbot Street, I will find the information make it available to her.More Button

I am not ignoring the Deputy's question, nor am I attempting to do so. She asked me about the rental agreement between Caranua and the Commissioners of Public Works. I have provided for her all o...More Button

Flood Relief Schemes

Was asked: when flood defence construction works will advance in Baile Mhúirne and Ballymakeera.More Button

I am advised by the Commissioners of Public Works that the Baile Mhúirne and Ballymakeera scheme is at outline design stage, on which the preferred options for the scheme are being finalised. The ...More Button

To respond to the Deputy's specific question, tenders have been received for a site investigation contractor, with the contract expected to be placed in June 2017, or this month. It is proposed ...More Button

Was asked: the status of the flood relocation scheme; and when farmers that have been severely affected by flooding can expect to be included on this scheme in order to relocate their farm enterprise.More Button

Flood Relief Schemes (Continued)

When these stages are successfully completed, provided the proposals are broadly accepted by the public and the stakeholders and the scheme is technically, environmentally and economically viable,...More Button

My office continues to liaise with Cork County Council and local representatives on this scheme. As I said, I expect the site investigation contractor to be in place this month.More Button

With regard to the different questions the Deputy has put to me, due to the presence of the pearl mussel in some stretches of the river and its protected status, the scheme could not progress, whic...More Button

There are two questions there. From a funding point of view, €74,000 has been expended on this project to date. The project budget will be finalised before exhibition, but we expect that the appr...More Button

With regard to Deputy Calleary's question, the changeover in officeholder will take place at midnight tomorrow night.More Button

Capital Expenditure Programme

Was asked: the reason local authorities were not consulted or asked to submit their views regarding his Department's review of the capital programme 2016-2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Submissions in relation to the mid-term review and the additional funding available were sought by my Department in January and have now been received.More Button

Submissions were not sought at that time by my Department directly from local authorities as we do not allocate funding directly to local authorities nor was it envisaged that the review would se...More Button

The allocation from central government to local authorities is determined by the relevant Government Department with responsibility for particular aspects of infrastructural spending, for example...More Button

The short answer to this is that many of the infrastructural needs that local authorities will be raising are raised, I expect, by the Government Department that has responsibility for that area....More Button

I do not think the process we have put in place makes a lie of us. The way in which we handle expenditure is by making the funding available to Government Departments, as the Deputy has just said....More Button

The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government will be the deciding body on how it handles funding between the local authorities for which it is responsible for. That being sa...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to be in a position to make adequate provision for vital infrastructural projects over the next four years with particular reference to housing, road and rail network...More Button

There is a plan in place to respond to many of the different needs referred to by Deputy Durkan. As set out in the Estimates 2017, it is projected that capital expenditure will increase by almost ...More Button

Capital Expenditure Programme (Continued)

It is going to be challenging, because we have many different competing demands. We are working hard to see how we can identify new funding. We have already made progress on this by the identific...More Button

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.More Button

Public Sector Pensions

Was asked: his plans to address the anomaly of those public sector workers who pay the pension levy but do not receive a public sector pension; if his attention has been drawn to the number of persons impacte...More Button

The public service Pension-Related Deduction (PRD) is provided for under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009. PRD applies to the pay, including any non-pensionable pay ...More Button

Specifically, section 2(1)(b) of the 2009 Act provides that any public servant who is a member of a public service pension scheme or who is entitled to benefit under such a scheme or receives a p...More Button

Across the public service certain cohorts of employees in a few specific occupations are not members of a public service pension scheme, but may instead qualify for a one-off non-recurring gratui...More Button

It is understood that the possibility of qualifying for such a gratuity would exist in particular for certain retained firefighters and for certain home help workers.  The overall number of such ...More Button

The payment of such a one-off non-recurring gratuity at retirement to qualifying public service workers constitutes a payment in lieu of pension scheme membership. On that basis the pay received...More Button

It should however be noted that in practice many of those employees may already be free of PRD, or may be paying much less PRD than previously, on account of the significant amelioration of PRD p...More Button

Fiscal Policy

Was asked: the extent to which he expects to be in a position to maintain prudent fiscal management while at the same time meeting requirements in terms of rejuvenation of the economy and wage restoration; an...More Button

2015 marked the turning point where expenditure reductions were no longer required to meet our fiscal targets. In the three year period 2015 to 2017 there is annual average growth in gross voted ex...More Button

The Government continues to prioritise investment in economic and social infrastructure to underpin the economy’s growth potential. The Revised Estimates Volume 2017 provides an additional €0.3b...More Button

Within a context of increasing resources, managing the delivery of public services within Budgetary allocations remains a key responsibility of each Minister and their Department, and important m...More Button

Turning to public service pay the Government Expenditure Ceiling for 2018 includes a provision of €0.3 billion relating to pay commitments arising under the Lansdowne Road Agreement. As the Depu...More Button

Given the many competing priorities and demands for resources, the Spending Review currently underway will support prudent fiscal management and assist with prioritising between policy initiative...More Button

Was asked: the degree to which each Department continues to maintain good practice in terms of expenditure in keeping with both the effects of the economic recession and the growing demands of the recovery; a...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he remains satisfied of being able to continue to meet the targets set by his Department in the context of spending and reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the degree to which each Department achieved the targets set by his Department in the course of the past six years; the extent to which this now becomes the basis for reward throughout; and if he w...More Button

Was asked: the scope for reforms throughout the public and private sectors which may still have a role to play in economic performance in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which pay demands in the public and private sectors are likely to impact on the growing economy to a negative or positive extent in the future; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 135 to 139, inclusive, together.More Button

The effective management of expenditure was crucial in ensuring Ireland met or exceeded its key fiscal targets over the past number of years. This resulted in Ireland successfully leaving the EU...More Button

2015 marked the turning point where expenditure reductions were no longer required to meet our fiscal targets. An amount of €58.1 billion has been allocated to gross voted expenditure in 2017 br...More Button

As the Government looks to continue with its policy of providing for prudent and sustainable increases in expenditure, once account is taken of calls on expenditure relating to demographics, the ...More Button

Looking at pay in the public and private sector, data released by the CSO recently highlighted modest growth in private sector average weekly earnings in the year to 2017.  The Government Expendi...More Button

On an ongoing basis, managing the delivery of public services within Budgetary allocations is a key responsibility of each Minister and their Department, and important measures are in place to he...More Button

A new phase of public service reform, to cover the period 2017-2020, is currently being developed and last September I invited the members of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditu...More Button

Capital Expenditure Programme Review

Was asked: when the review of the capital plan will occur; and if key preliminary projects will be prioritised such as the extension of the N4 from Mullingar to Rooskey and the provision of a motorway serving...More Button

Was asked: the levels of capital expenditure which will be allocated for infrastructure projects for Kildare North; the timeframe for these allocations; the projects for which funding will be provided; and if...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 18 and 39 together.More Button

The Mid-Term Review of the Capital Plan is still currently ongoing. This process will result in capital allocations being made by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to other Governm...More Button

The Deputies will appreciate that it is a matter for each Department, in the first instance, to identify its sectoral priorities and projects in their submission for any additional funding under ...More Button

Submissions in relation to the review and the additional funding available for allocation were sought from Departments in January and are currently under review by my Department.  More Button

Assessments and recommendations made by each Department will play an important role in ensuring that the additional funding is aligned with priorities in terms, for example, of overall economic a...More Button

A public consultation process was also held in April to ascertain the views of the public and key stakeholders on what our national infrastructure priorities should be.  This consultation also so...More Button

My Department's assessment of the submissions received as part of the Capital Review will be based on, for example, an Infrastructure Capacity and Demand Analysis carried out by the Irish Governm...More Button

My Department is also liaising closely with the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in order to ensure close alignment with the new National Planning Framework due to ...More Button

This work being carried out by my Department will ensure that the additional capital resources available are targeted on priority public capital infrastructure required to support Ireland's mediu...More Button

It is expected that the review process will be completed in Quarter 3 of 2017, to enable the Government to make final decisions in due course on how the remaining additional capital funding shoul...More Button

Was asked: when he will publish submissions made by Ministers and Departments with regard to the mid-term capital review; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As part of the Mid Term Review of the Capital Plan, which is currently ongoing, my Department wrote to all Government Departments in January inviting submissions. These submissions were to include...More Button

While submissions are still being received from Departments, my own Department has already commenced the process of engaging on a bilateral basis with Departments that have furnished submissions ...More Button

My Department's assessment of the submissions received as part of the Capital Review will be based on a number of pieces of research, for example, an Infrastructure Capacity and Demand Analysis c...More Button

It is my intention to publish all of the submissions received from Departments once the current deliberative process is complete. More Button

The Deputy may wish to note that a public consultation in relation to the Review was held in April to ascertain the views of the public and key stakeholders on what our national infrastructure pr...More Button

EU Funding

Was asked: if he has held discussions with the European Commission on the possible allocation of cohesion funding for the Border region post-2020 in view of the particular challenges that will arise in that a...More Button

Was asked: if he has discussed with the European Commission the need to maintain the maximum possible level of financial support for cross-Border programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will raise at the European Council the possibility of having cohesion funds made available for infrastructural development in the Border region post 2020, in view of the particular challenges...More Button

Was asked: if he will ensure that the possibility of having cohesion funds made available for infrastructural development in the Border region post-2020 will be given urgent consideration, in view of the chal...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 19, 33, 127 and 128 together.More Button

I can assure the Deputy that I share his appreciation for the contribution that EU-funded cross-border programmes make to the border region and the importance of ensuring continued funding for th...More Button

Ireland takes part in two cross-border programmes with Northern Ireland, namely the PEACE Programme and the INTERREG Programme, the latter which also involves Western Scotland.  The programmes ha...More Button

As part of my Department's contingency planning for Brexit the risks to these cross-border programmes, which are 85% funded by the EU, were identified.  The Irish Government has been clear about ...More Button

Last October the Northern Ireland Minister for Finance, Máirtín Ó Muilleor, and I were able to announce that, following intensive discussions with the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland, a...More Button

Now that that short term objective has been achieved, the medium term objective is to ensure the full and successful implementation of the programmes out to 2020, during a period in which the UK ...More Button

In that context I raised the impact of Brexit on the two programmes at last month’s meeting of the General Affairs Council devoted to Cohesion Policy in Luxembourg.  While in Luxembourg I also to...More Button

My officials and I are continuing to work to ensure the successful implementation of the current programme as well as successor programmes post 2020.More Button

Was asked: the potential investment projects regarding education, research, development and innovation his Department has submitted to the Department of Finance for the European Fund for Strategic Investment.More Button

I should begin by pointing out it is the Department of Finance - rather than my Department  - that is the lead Government Department in relation to European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) or ...More Button

Where the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) advise that EIB or EFSI support for a project should be sought, it is the responsibility of individual Departments, in the first instance, to ...More Button

I understand that the EIB is involved in financing a number of projects included in the Capital Plan including the Luas Cross City project; the redevelopment of Dublin Port; €200m support for inv...More Button

Finally, I should also take the opportunity to clarify that, while EIB funding may help in reducing the cost of finance for some projects, it will not increase the overall envelope available to G...More Button

Public Procurement Regulations

Was asked: his plans to support the passage of the Public Services and Procurement (Social Value) Bill 2017 which passed Second Stage, and was referred to select committee on 22 February 2017; the measures he...More Button

Whilst the reform of public procurement has been a key element in the ongoing Government reform programme, care has been taken to ensure it is carried out in a manner that encourages SME participat...More Button

- financial capacity criterion is less demanding and generally limited to twice the contract value;More Button

- there is discretion to divide public contracts into lots;More Button

- there is a provision for "consortia bidding" to encourage SME involvement; andMore Button

- there are reductions in the time limits for receipt of tenders;More Button

Moreover, Government Policy as set out in Circular 10/2014 updated and strengthened measures aimed at facilitating SME participation in Public Procurement.More Button

My colleague, Minister of State Eoghan Murphy TD, in accordance with the Programme for Government, chairs the SME Advisory Group which meets quarterly and seeks to enhance the measures already in...More Button

In terms of assessing involvement of SMEs, data from the Public Service Spend and Tendering Analysis Report for 2014, published by the OGP indicates that 95% of the analysed expenditure is with I...More Button

In relation to the Bill, you will be aware that it was not opposed by the Government in the Dáil.  However, care must be taken not to disproportionately impact on SME's bidding for public contrac...More Button

Social clauses impose additional costs on both the State and suppliers in meeting their requirements and demonstrating and verifying compliance.  In general, the inclusion of social clauses in a ...More Button

In conclusion, the reform of public procurement across the public service is on-going and will continue to provide opportunities to the SME sector to win business.  The OGP will continue to work ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which public procurement procedures remain an asset or an obstacle in the context of economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Procurement reform is a key element of the Government's overall reform programme and is aimed at delivering increased value for money, more accurate and timely data and improvement in the capacity ...More Button

The central procurement frameworks and contracts established by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) have been designed to optimise benefits including savings to the State through the strat...More Button

The reform of public procurement in Ireland is being carried out in a manner that recognises the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises in this country's economic recovery.  The aim is ...More Button

Given the budgetary pressures facing the public service, public procurement enabled savings can support the dual objectives of meeting our fiscal targets and of maintaining/improving services for...More Button

The Government has committed in the Programme for Partnership Government to refining the new procurement structures in place and to make adjustments according to best international practice and i...More Button

Public Service Pay Commission Reports

Was asked: when he expects to receive the report of the Public Service Pay Commission; his priorities in respect of restoration of pay levels in the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

The initial Report of the Public Service Pay Commission was published on Tuesday, 9 May 2017. For its initial report the Commission was asked to provide input on how the unwinding of the Financial...More Button

Was asked: the discussions he has had with the Department of Health with regard to the findings of the Public Service Pay Commission that retention is a key issue within the health sector with pay a significa...More Button

The matters raised by the Deputy are the subject of deliberation between the management side in the context of pay talks which are currently under way with the relevant union side interests.  The R...More Button

Was asked: the discussions he has had with the Department of Defence with regard to the findings of the Public Service Pay Commission that retention is a key issue within the Defence Forces with pay a signifi...More Button

The matters raised by the Deputy are appropriate for deliberation by the management and staff side associations involved in the pay talks which are currently underway under the auspices of the Work...More Button

Freedom of Information Legislation

Was asked: his plans to amend the current legislation governing freedom of information to include a requirement that all freedom of information requests and responses be published as is the position in the UK...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 obliges FOI bodies to prepare and publish a publication scheme, setting out information that they will publish as a mat...More Button

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Was asked: the status of essential maintenance works along the River Shannon; and his plans to remove the silt deposits and pinch points along the river downstream of Athlone.More Button

Was asked: when flood defence construction works will advance in the upper Lee area for Inchigeelagh and Ballingeary.More Button

Was asked: the status of the flood prevention programme; the key projects that will be carried out in 2017; the key projects that have been completed in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Was asked: his plans to resolve the ongoing issue of pension entitlements for those who supervise community employment schemes.More Button

The Community Sector High Level Forum (or Working Group) (previously the Informal Forum) was convened in 2015 and 2016 to examine certain issues pertaining to the Community Employment sector having...More Button

It does however continue to be the position that state organisations are not the employer of the particular employees concerned and that it is not possible for the State to provide funding for su...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 162 of 10 May 2017, the position regarding the progress of discussions on the issue of pension provision for community employment supervisors which is currentl...More Button

The Community Sector High Level Forum (or Working Group) (previously the Informal Forum) was convened in 2015 and 2016 to examine certain issues pertaining to the Community Employment sector having...More Button

It does however continue to be the position that state organisations are not the employer of the particular employees concerned and that it is not possible for the State to provide funding for su...More Button

Was asked: if his Department has produced costings in respect of extending pension entitlement to all community employment scheme supervisors and assistant supervisors; if he will provide details of same; and...More Button

The Community Sector High Level Forum (or Working Group) (previously the Informal Forum) was convened in 2015 and 2016 to examine certain issues pertaining to the Community Employment sector having...More Button

It does however continue to be the position that state organisations are not the employer of the particular employees concerned and that it is not possible for the State to provide funding for su...More Button

Public Sector Pensions Levy

Was asked: his plans to fully restore public service pensions for persons over the threshold of €34,132 (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the frustration of persons who face further reduc...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the particular measure affecting public service pensions under the financial emergency legislation is the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR), which was introduced on 1 ...More Button

PSPR reduces the value of those public service pensions which have pre-PSPR values above specified thresholds. It does so in a progressively structured way which has a proportionately greater ef...More Button

A very significant part-unwinding of PSPR in three stages is taking place under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2015, with PSPR-affected pensioners getting pension inc...More Button

This three-stage part-unwinding of PSPR is delivering significant pensions increases to PSPR-affected pensioners.  On 1 January 2016 all pensions of up to at least €18,700 became exempt from PSPR...More Button

Under section 12 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013, I as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform am required to review the necessity of the FEMPI legislation ...More Button

Was asked: his views on the basic inequity of plans to apply the public sector pension levy at a higher rate to the pensions of persons that retired before 2012 from January 2018; his plans to address this; a...More Button

There is no levy on public service pensions. It is assumed that the Deputy's question is concerned with the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR).More Button

PSPR was introduced on 1 January 2011 under terms set out in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010.  It applies as a progressively structured decrease in the value of a...More Button

Following its introduction on 1 January 2011, PSPR originally applied only to those public service pensions with values above €12,000 which were already in payment or which were afterwards awarde...More Button

Later-awarded public service pensions, that is to say pensions awarded in respect of retirements after end-February 2012, only became liable to PRD from 1 July 2013, under terms set out in the Fi...More Button

The PSPR burden on pensioners is now being significantly alleviated as provided for under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2015. This substantial part-reversal of PSP...More Button

The cost of this very substantial PSPR amelioration under FEMPI 2015 is estimated at about €90 million on a full-year basis from 2018. More Button

PSPR has at all times had a greater impact, in terms of applicable exemption thresholds and reduction rates, on pensions awarded in respect of retirements before end-February 2012, by comparison ...More Button

Under section 12 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013, I as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform am required to review the necessity of the FEMPI legislation ...More Button

Public Procurement Contracts Data

Was asked: the work that has been outsourced by the OPW which was traditionally carried out by OPW staff in the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Flood Relief Schemes Expenditure

Was asked: the progress made to date in 2017 on investing in flood defences; the amount committed to projects in 2017 and over each of the next five years; and if additional resources will be committed in the...More Button

Office of Public Works Properties

Was asked: the reason the OPW stopped collecting rent on a property (details supplied) in 2009 having collected the rent in the prior years.More Button

State Bodies Data

Was asked: his plans to introduce new legislation or regulations under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and the National Archives Act 1986 which would require all public bodies and Departments to create an...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, there are a number of general policies governing the recording of activity within public bodies.  Specifically related to the creation and maintenance of official records th...More Button

  Question No. 39 answered with Question No. 18.More Button

Public Expenditure Policy

Was asked: further to recent revelations as to the way in which public money may have been misspent and the way in which there may have been a lack of governance in this spending in some third level instituti...More Button

All Government Departments and public bodies in receipt of public funding must comply, as appropriate, with the relevant requirements of the Public Spending Code. The Public Spending Code sets out...More Button

In addition to the financial reporting requirements, principles and procedures established in legislation and set out in Public Financial Procedures, new and updated requirements for the manageme...More Button

The Accounting Officer has a key role in the system of accountability for public moneys.  The Role and Responsibilities of Accounting Officers are set out in the Memorandum for Accounting Officer...More Button

I am satisfied that a detailed and comprehensive governance framework for public expenditure has been put in place by my Department to ensure that there is economical, efficient and effective use...More Button

  Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 9.More Button

Legal Costs

Was asked: the oversights in place in terms of the expenditure of publicly funded bodies on legal defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Chief State Solicitor’s Office (CSSO) acts on behalf of central Government in the conduct of the defence of litigation, excluding the defence of those claims handled by the State Claims Agency ...More Button

The Chief State Solicitor is the Accounting Officer and, pursuant to section 3(5) of the Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Compellability, Privileges and Immunities of Witnesses) Act 19...More Button

The main legal expenditure within the Office is in regard to fees paid to Counsel and the Office has a rigorous process in place to ensure value for money. More Button

Oversight on legal spend by Central Government is a matter for the Comptroller and Auditor General. The CSSO has no visibility of defence litigation expenditure where it is not the solicitor on ...More Button

The State Claims Agency provides legal defence in respect of personal injury matters for 145 public bodies. It is mandated to contain the cost of claims to the lowest achievable level and, in re...More Button

In addition, the Office of Government Procurement, which commenced operations in 2014, has taken responsibility for the procurement of Professional Services and has developed a sourcing strategy ...More Button

Public Sector Reform Implementation

Was asked: his plans for outsourcing in the public service; and if the cost of labour will continue to be excluded from the business case for outsourcing of public services.More Button

The Government is committed to using alternative models of service delivery, including outsourcing, as part of our ongoing drive to provide the most efficient and effective services to the public. More Button

External Service Delivery formed a key component of previous Public Service Reform Plans published in 2011 and 2014 respectively.  To meet the obligations set out in these plans, Departments and ...More Button

Officials at my Department are currently in the process of preparing a successor to the Public Service Reform Plan which is intended to cover the period up to 2020. I expect that alternative mod...More Button

Nevertheless, I wish to stress that decisions to outsource functions are reached on a case-by-case basis by the organisation that manages the service in question.  The Department of Public Expend...More Button

In line with existing expenditure policy, public bodies are generally required to look at a number of different factors when exploring the potential to outsource a function. These factors includ...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, in concluding the Lansdowne Road Agreement in the summer of 2015, a limitation was placed on the ability of public bodies to outsource existing services. In particula...More Button

As I have stated, this restriction only applies in respect of existing services; that is services that are currently being provided directly by the State or its agents.  It does not apply in resp...More Button

In respect of the second aspect of the Deputy's question, these matters are currently under deliberation by the management and staff association parties in the context of the ongoing pay talks.  ...More Button

Insurance Data

Was asked: the expenses incurred by his Department in relation to insurance of all types in each of the past five years; the cost of each insurance policy held by his Department over the same time period per ...More Button

In response to the Deputy's question, my Department and the bodies under its aegis operate under State Indemnity, a self-insurance model whereby the State bears the financial risk associated with t...More Button

The National Treasury Management Agency is designated as the State Claims Agency (SCA) when performing the claims and risk management functions delegated to it under the National Treasury Managem...More Button

Local Authority Staff Remuneration

Was asked: when a decision will issue on the application by a person (details supplied) for a supplementary pension from Dublin City Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department provided the necessary advice on this matter to the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government on Monday, 29 May 2017.More Button

Brexit Issues

Was asked: the degree to which his Department monitors the impact of Brexit on the public and private sectors with a view to addressing such issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Brexit issues in my Department are coordinated centrally by the Department's Brexit/EU/North South Unit.  The Unit oversees Brexit work across the Department and acts as the contact point with the ...More Button

Clearly Brexit will pose significant challenges right across the economy.  The Government is committed to addressing these challenges, to mitigating the impacts and to maximising the available op...More Button

In the short term, the Minister for Finance and I were able to deliver a Budget for 2017 setting out our approach to Brexit and to building a national economic response.  For the third year in su...More Button

In the longer term, the design of this year's Spending Review reflects the changed economic and fiscal context, including Brexit.  Of course, while moderate and sustainable expenditure growth is ...More Button

The Capital Plan Building on Recovery sets out a €42 billion framework to address our priority infrastructure needs up to 2021.  Government has already committed to increase capital expenditure u...More Button

As signalled with the recent publications of its position paper on Brexit, the Government is intensifying its focus on the economic implications of Brexit and will produce a further paper on the ...More Button

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

Was asked: the full extent to date in 2017 of recruitment throughout the public sector in the context of economic recovery; the expectation in respect of future recruitment throughout the sector by the end of...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, in my role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, I have overarching responsibility for workforce planning and recruitment to the Civil Service.

 ...More Button

Question No. 143 answered with Question No. 134.More Button

Coastal Protection

Was asked: the funding which will be made available to local authorities in 2017 to prepare comprehensive coastal protection studies; the number of individual projects nationwide this funding would cover; and...More Button

Drainage Schemes Status

Was asked: if the OPW will liaise with a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Was asked: if funding will be provided for a location (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button