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Donohoe, Paschal

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Public Service Pay Commission Reports

Was asked: when the Public Service Pay Commission will report on recruitment and retention in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Public Service Pay Commission Reports (Continued)

The Public Service Pay Commission has adopted a modular approach to its work programme for its present exercise focused on recruitment and retention issues in the public service. As the Deputy wil...More Button

In regard to the Defence Forces, I understand that written submissions have been received from both the employer and the staff associations. Oral presentations are scheduled for this week, follo...More Button

The reason is that my own Department has overall responsibility for pay policy. As a result, we are present or involved in the preparation of submissions to the pay commission. The Deputy will kn...More Button

It is a matter for the pay commission to determine when it will be able to complete the module. It is independent of my Department and reaches its own conclusions about the report and its processe...More Button

Public Procurement Tenders

Was asked: the extent to which he has issued guidance notes or oversight of the regulation of abnormally low tenders since 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Brexit Preparations

Was asked: if he has consulted the European Commission or other European bodies on the possibility of additional funding as a consequence of Brexit; the extent to which leeway will be given or is available wi...More Button

Making the case for supporting measures at an EU level that recognise where Brexit represents a serious disturbance to the Irish economy is a key pillar of the Government's response to Brexit. I a...More Button

Last March, the Tánaiste met EU budget Commissioner Oettinger when he visited Ireland and discussed with him the negative consequences to the Irish economy resulting from Brexit and the possibili...More Button

Officials at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and its agencies have been working closely with the European Commission and Directorate General for Competition since November 2...More Button

On 24 January 2019, the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, met the European Commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager. The focus of the meeting centred around the severe challenges that Irish bu...More Button

The Stability and Growth Pact provides flexibility for budgetary requirements in certain circumstances. One such provision relates to unusual events outside of the control of government which ha...More Button

We will be in a position to agree specifics with the European Commission as soon as we are clear on what the specifics of Brexit look like. At this point the Commission, through many Commissioners...More Button

It is not just what our future asks will be in the event of a disorderly Brexit but also recognition of what we have already done. There has been considerable effort to get ready for Brexit, with ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he can take steps to minimise the impact of Brexit on the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Central to the Government’s preparation for Brexit is the prudent management of the public finances so as to ensure the economy remains competitive in the face of future economic headwinds.  Dedica...More Button

Most recently, Budget 2019 ensures that the economy is prepared for the challenges of Brexit through continued prudent management of the public finances: by balancing the books; reducing the debt...More Button

It builds on other Government initiatives, namely investing in the future of the country through Project Ireland 2040; opening new markets for businesses through the Global Ireland 2025 strategy;...More Button

Budget 2019 contains specific measures aimed at making Ireland Brexit ready, including increased resources across a range of Departments and Offices; the introduction of the €300 million Future G...More Button

Brexit Preparations (Continued)

It puts into sharp focus the co-operation in Ireland to help the Government and the people respond to the great external risk we face. More Button

In response to the Deputy's question on whether we are clear on the options we might need to pursue in the light of Brexit in the different forms we could face in a few weeks' time, yes, I am cle...More Button

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Was asked: the flood relief schemes or capital projects that will be affected by the re-profiling of €3 million worth of investment under the flood risk management programme; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

Was asked: the work planned to protect residents from flooding in the Corbally area of County Limerick; when work will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the timeframe for the planning and construction of flood defences on the Abbey river in Limerick city; when works will commence; the projected timeframe for completion; and if he will make a statem...More Button

Departmental Staff

Was asked: his plans to review and revise guidelines on the accountability of public servants on State boards, in particular civil servants from his Department who are members of State boards; and if he will ...More Button

Circular 12/2010: Protocol for Civil Servants nominated to the boards of non-commercial State bodies lays down a detailed framework for civil servants who are board members to report to the relevan...More Button

The protocol is intended to contribute to greater accountability in the non-commercial State sector by providing further guidance for civil servant nominees on the boards of non-commercial State ...More Button

I have acknowledged and will do so again that the procedures and difficulties in the latter phase of the national children's hospital project will change and have to change for the future. I have ...More Button

Departmental Staff (Continued)

The view of my official, whom I have met to discuss this matter, is that the issue was being raised with the Department of Health. He could see this was being reported and he felt it was being dea...More Button

I never said I was happy with the processes that led to this outcome. I said I was satisfied with the operation of the circular. The Deputy either misinterpreted me, or she deliberately attribute...More Button

National Lottery Regulator

Was asked: if he has received an opinion from the regulator of the national lottery regarding the threat to the national lottery and the good cause fund posed by online, offshore bet-on-lottery operators; if ...More Button

I have not yet received a formal opinion from the national lottery regulator regarding this topic. As the Deputy may be aware, it falls outside the statutory remit of the Office of the Regulator o...More Button

I am aware of the issues in question. The topic has been raised in general discussions as part of the normal engagement my officials and I have with the regulator's office on matters pertaining ...More Button

The context for the operation of the national lottery has changed significantly since its original establishment in 1986. The national lottery remains an important asset. The level of moneys ra...More Button

While this is a dynamic and rapidly evolving market, the national lottery continues to deliver strong results. The most recent reports and financial statements of the current operator, Premier L...More Button

Against this background, there does not appear to be any evidence of a significant impact on the national lottery arising from online lottery betting at present. My officials will continue to en...More Button

I would like to put on the record of the Dáil some figures regarding the transfers that the national lottery has made to the Exchequer in recent years. I could take any year as a benchmark. In 20...More Button

National Lottery Regulator (Continued)

The Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, will be providing us with the report of the interdepartmental working group on gambling very soon. It appears to me that the only way in which we can deal wi...More Button

Public Sector Pensions Legislation

Was asked: if the report under section 3 of the Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018 will be published in March 2019; if the report will deal with potential proposals to remedy the posit...More Button

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Was asked: the flood defence measures which will be reprofiled.More Button

Was asked: the specific impact of the reprofiling of the €3 million from the flood risk management programme in the Office of Public Works, OPW, to pay for the national children’s hospital; the projects that ...More Button

Was asked: if funding will be removed from the flood relief scheme planned for Buncrana, County Donegal, due to the reprofiling of investment under the flood risk management programme of the OPW to defer €3 m...More Button

Was asked: if funds made available for minor flood works and coastal protection have been drawn down by Fingal County Council to tackle coastal erosion at the Burrow, Portrane.More Button

I am well aware of the coastal erosion at Portrane and I visited the area on the 18th October 2018 to view the commencement of the interim works. Local Authorities lead on identifyi...More Button

  Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 62.More Button

  Question No. 77 answered with Question No. 48.More Button

  Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 53.More Button

Capital Expenditure Programme

Was asked: the capital projects to be delayed or deferred in 2019 to 2022 as a result of the cost overruns in the national children’s hospital; when the details of these deferrals will be published; and if he...More Button

Was asked: if an assessment has been conducted with respect to the implications for capital expenditure projects in view of the cost overruns associated with the new national children’s hospital; and if he wi...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 48 and 77 together.More Button

On 12 February, I published how the €99 million necessary this year for the timely provision of the national children’s hospital will be accommodated with a minimum of disruption to the scheduled...More Button

In health, the scheduled drawdown of €24 million across both 2019 and 2020 will be amended to facilitate delivering the overall investment programme as set out in Project Ireland 2040. Even with...More Button

The remaining €75 million will be met by re-scheduling decisions around the A5 motorway, which is a project to which the Government remains completely committed; the re-scheduling of payments in ...More Button

Was asked: when he expects capital projects in County Kildare under Project Ireland 2040 to be progressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Was asked: the position regarding the timing of major capital projects in County Kildare under Project Ireland 2040; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 62, 76 and 84 together.

  In my role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform I am responsible for setting the overall capital allocations a...More Button

Was asked: the financial impact on the annual capital envelopes outlined in annex 1 of the National Development Plan 2018-2027 as a result of the increased costs associated with the national children’s hospit...More Button

Was asked: if the figures for the capital plan are subject to evaluation and examination by his Department before inclusion in the budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the way in which the capital plan is prepared and profiled; the regularity with which the budget is re-examined to identify changes required in provisioning for capital expenditure; and if he will ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which budgetary corrections in respect of capital expenditure need to follow in the wake of the overrun of costs for the national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 151 and 162 to 164, inclusive, together.More Button

My Government colleagues and I have examined all projects and programmes across government in order to meet the funding pressures accruing on the National Children’s Hospital project.  This has a...More Button

- re-scheduling of €27m arising in relation to the A5 Motorway in Northern Ireland;More Button

- re-scheduling of €10m arising in relation to the National Forensic Science Laboratory;More Button

- advance payment of a sum of €10m from the Department of Education and Skills in respect of higher education facilities at the National Children’s Hospital;More Button

- an updating of the scheduled draw-down of €16m from the two Project Ireland 2040 Regeneration Funds, which are being profiled for expenditure throughout the course of both 2019 and 2020 without...More Button

- re-profiling of payments of €4m under certain programmes of investment in Communications, Climate Action & Environment;More Button

- €3m from the re-profiling of investment under the Flood Risk Management Programme of the Office of Public Works to allow for capacity to be built up over the course of the NDP period;More Button

- revision of the schedule of drawdown of funding in the PER and Finance Groups of Votes totalling €3m; andMore Button

- €2m through changes to the timing of payments relating to certain capital works by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with full project delivery scheduled across both 2019 a...More Button

The Government has approved the proposals in this regard, which I announced on the 12th February.  The overall intention is to proceed with our very ambitious agenda of strategic infrastructure i...More Button

The National Development Plan (NDP) sets out the Government's commitment to capital investment up to 2027, and was prepared with substantial involvement by all relevant Departments and Agencies. ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which his Department has received communication from other Departments, bodies and agencies under their aegis seeking expenditure on such issues as upgrade of motorways, new roadworks...More Button

The capital allocations made in the Revised Estimates of Public Services and the National Development Plan 2018-2027 were informed by the extensive evidence base collated and published on the Depar...More Button

It should be noted, however, that while my Department is responsible for setting the overall allocations (capital and current) across Departments and for monitoring monthly expenditure at Departm...More Button

Capital Expenditure Programme (Continued)

It will also be met by revision of the schedule for the drawdown of funding in the public expenditure and reform and finance group of Votes, totalling €3 million; and with €2 million through change...More Button

I have always said we will manage the issue primarily through rescheduling and changing payments for projects. I have shared a list with the House and have previously outlined it publicly. The va...More Button

I will be able to provide clarity for the Deputy a little later in the year. As things stand, budget 2020 is a long way away. Decisions on the allocation of capital funding are many months away f...More Button

External Service Delivery

Was asked: the proposed changes to the external workplace investigation service framework; the firms providing services; and the cost of such services since 2012. More Button

The Office of Government Procurement, OGP, carried out a competitive tender process for the establishment of a framework agreement for the provision of external workplace investigation services ava...More Button

The OGP is facilitating competitions under the framework for both central government and non-central government public bodies. In that respect it acts in an advisory role, but the individual pub...More Button

The number of investigations undertaken by each company and the cost of each investigation are matters for the relevant contracting authority.More Button

The Office of Government Procurement is conducting a competitive tender for the establishment of a new framework agreement for the provision of external workplace investigation services to replac...More Button

The Deputy referred to neoliberal ideology. I am not a neoliberal, but I believe there is a role in looking at how we can achieve value for money and ensure a variety of organisations will bid for...More Button

External Service Delivery (Continued)

Yes, I intend to continue with this process. It is worth emphasising that if these bodies and organisations win the tendering process, they must be in compliance with Government policy. The polic...More Button

-----and that this be done in a way that is in accordance with Government policy. That is the objective that we as an employer want to meet.

  Every time I hear the Deputy talk ...More Button

-----maximum advantage from them. We, as an employer, want to treat people-----More Button

-----who work for us well and the companies that are employed in doing this will have to implement Government policy.More Button

National Children's Hospital Expenditure

Was asked: his views on whether public procurement processes are fit for purpose in view of the cost overruns at the national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The latest review of the public sector spending code is currently under way in my Department. The technical economic parameters for use and appraisal have already been updated. Work is ongoing in...More Button

I already have outlined to the House and to the Deputy the different changes that I want to see happen with regard to procurement policy for very large projects. It is the case that the majority...More Button

The Deputy made the point to me about a State construction agency. We already have in different parts of our economy or by policy area, bodies that are charged with the delivery of infrastructur...More Button

One point on which I am absolutely certain is that if we had found ourselves in a position where we had accepted a more expensive bid for the national children's hospital, we would now be facing ma...More Button

If I am going to take credit for what I believe we can do well, I will take responsibility for what goes wrong as well. That is the way I have handled this. I am under no illusion that if we ha...More Button

I answered the Deputy's question.More Button

We will have to agree to differ as to what might have happened. I have not come across a case yet where if a Government body had been involved in not selecting the lowest price option, that this w...More Button

As to what Deputy Boyd Barrett has put to me and the early part of his question that I did not have the opportunity to answer, we have many situations in which the State directly builds projects ...More Button

Was asked: his plans to review the cost overrun of the national children’s hospital project; his further plans to conduct an evaluation of the oversight role of his Department for major construction projects;...More Button

On the 12th of February, I published how the €99m necessary this year for the timely provision of the National Children’s Hospital will be accommodated with a minimum of disruption to the scheduled...More Button

I have also outlined the progress made delivering projects on time and on budget but it is clear that the experience of the National Children’s Hospital must be drawn upon, and lessons learned, t...More Button

National Children's Hospital Expenditure (Continued)

I am unsure of where the Deputy is getting the view-----More Button

-----from that we have ruled out the State delivering projects, given that it does and we are supportive of doing that. I remind the Deputy that the one time we tried to set up a new State body wh...More Button

Departmental Reform

Was asked: the extent to which he expects reform to feature in respect of policy affecting various Departments with particular reference to the need to ensure equity throughout all Departments; and if he will...More Button

I thank the Deputy for his question. I launched the current framework for public service innovation and development, Our Public Service 2020, in December 2017. This plan is a whole-of-public serv...More Button

Ensuring equity and consistency in the application of reform across the entire public service is central to the framework. I expect this to be achieved through a robust and innovative governance...More Button

The PSLB was established to lead the delivery of Our Public Service 2020. For the first time ever, civil and wider public service leaders will share ownership and work jointly to drive the refor...More Button

Our Public Service 2020 seeks to deliver better outcomes for the public by ensuring that the citizen is at the centre of all policies and services that we deliver. There are always ways to do th...More Button

They do that through the PSLB, a new organisation that we have put together. What is notable about it is that it involves leaders from our civil and wider public services. For example, it has the...More Button

That is a relevant question. During the economic difficulties, there was a necessity for change in how we did things. Indeed, those difficulties provided a burning reason for why things needed to...More Button

I am satisfied that there is the enthusiasm and drive to do this. That comes from two factors, the first of which is digitisation. There is a demand from citizens to be able to access services ...More Button

Community Sector High Level Forum

Was asked: if the community sector high level forum has met recently; the progress in regard to pension provision for supervisors and assistant supervisors of community employment schemes; and if he will make...More Button

Was asked: if the total amount of providing pension entitlements to community employment supervisors in line with the Labour Court proposal has been costed; if funding will be made available in the coming per...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 53 and 78 together.

  As the Deputies will be aware, this issue relates to a claim by community employment, CE, supervisors and assistant supervi...More Button

Community Sector High Level Forum (Continued)

We do know the size of it. I have shared with the House on a number of occasions the different figures that are involved in this. The key point I would make to Deputy Curran in response to the po...More Button

Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Continued)

I apologise to the Deputies for not being here for the start of the section but I believe I heard the points that were put.

  The first question was whether all of these sections...More Button

Any tax measure to which I am contemplating making a change is contained in this Bill. I am not considering any further measure beyond what has been indicated here.More Button

Deputy McGrath asked about the European Union. The vast majority, if not all, of the different measures contained in the Bill are through exercise of our national sovereignty in the tax area. T...More Button

We do not have that list. Any measure that we believe we need to change in our tax policy to maintain the status quo is contained in this Bill. I am trying to be helpful and I am doin...More Button

That is the case. Anything that is not contained in this Bill is not by an act of omission. It is because if we find ourselves dealing with a tax policy issue in the aftermath of a disorderly Bre...More Button

I move amendment No. 41:More Button

On a point of order, most of the questions the Deputies put to me refer to amendment No. 42 to section 61, which is the following amendment, but I can answer the questions-----More Button

On the questions put to me, Deputy Michael McGrath's interpretation of the amendment is correct. We will be making a decision and triggering what we are going to do when we are clear on what the U...More Button

The UK will have to legislate to deliver that objective. That is why I am introducing an enabling provision whereby, in the event of that happening, the Government can respond with a commencement ...More Button

Regarding the question of whether there has been other engagement with or contemplation by other member states on this matter, as far as we are aware, there has been little consideration of it be...More Button

As to the question on Northern Ireland, we anticipate that this scenario can only develop at ports and airports. Currently, we do not judge the duty free consequences of this measure across the ...More Button

There are two levels to this. Current EU directives do not permit duty free shops on the land frontier. Ireland may not, therefore, operate a duty free shop on a land frontier. This is why I tol...More Button

The next question relates to what the policy framework would be if we found ourselves in a situation where that did not apply. The policy framework operates on the basis of the World Customs Org...More Button

Yes, that is my current position in light of the significant passenger traffic between the UK and Ireland. That is what I will plan to do, but I wish to indicate that this section will be subject ...More Button

We have enough of an evidence base to know that, in the absence of this decision, there would be a significant tax base risk. It would not be appropriate for me to give an indication now, but if t...More Button

That would be dependent on whether any business interest or operator wanted to deal with any of those places.More Button

That in turn would require authorisation from the Revenue Commissioners. A process would have to be gone through whereby the Revenue Commissioners would need to form an assessment.More Button

In that kind of scenario, the customs authorities would need to work together to form a view on the matter.More Button

  Amendment agreed to.More Button

  Section 53, as amended, agreed to.More Button

  Sections 54 to 60, inclusive, agreed to.More Button

In reply to Deputy Michael McGrath's question, the Central Bank has the power to stop any insurance company from issuing new products. It is well aware of this issue and I am confident that it wil...More Button

Deputies Michael McGrath and Pearse Doherty asked about our assessment of readiness in the industry and the products that are not covered by this legislation. I have discussed this issue with th...More Button

Deputy Pearse Doherty asked for an indication of the size of the market represented by these companies and the estimate is that they equate to 2% of the Irish gross written premium that was writt...More Button

On the question of consumer risk, if and when the Oireachtas ratifies this section, we do not believe there would be a consumer risk. Our analysis is that we will have dealt with the potential f...More Button

The Central Bank will have to be notified by an insurance company and my expectation is that it will publish some form of index or other publication detailing the companies that have not taken suff...More Button

Assuming this provision is enacted, there will be no issue in this period in relation to claims or the operation of policies. The whole purpose of this section is to ensure the maintenance of the ...More Button

Later on in the year, if we find ourselves in such an awful situation, I will consider asking the Central Bank if it could give notice to a small number of consumers that they have a run-off period...More Button

  Sections 68 to 71, inclusive, agreed to.More Button

Equality Proofing of Budgets

Was asked: if consideration will be given to disability proofing the next budget and all budgets thereafter; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Following a commitment in A Programme for a Partnership Government to ‘develop the process of budget and policy proofing as a means of advancing equality, reducing poverty and strengthening economi...More Button

The measures identified in the pilot related mainly to gender equality but as I outlined in my budget statement in October equality budgeting remains a priority for the coming year and I am there...More Button

The Revised Estimates Volume 2019 (REV), published last December, includes performance information across all Government Departments. To provide greater visibility on the many areas of spend that...More Button

  Questions Nos. 46 to 53, inclusive, answered orally.More Button

Public Service Stability Agreement

Was asked: his plans to remove members of a union (details supplied) from the provisions of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The provisions of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 apply to those unions who have confirmed in writing to the Workplace Relations Commission that they agree to be bound by the terms...More Button

The union referenced by the Deputy, (INMO), has subscribed to the Public Service Stability Agreement and is currently considering a Labour Court Recommendation to resolve an industrial dispute. T...More Button

The Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides for a range of benefits for those public servants who have accepted and comply with the terms of the PSSA including an accelerated and more a...More Button

Was asked: the consequences for trade unions that are not covered by the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, specifically the loss of increments and proposed pay rises for non-covered public servant...More Button

Sections 3 and 23 of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 and Section 5 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act No. 2 of 2009 (as amended) provide, taken together, fo...More Button

  Question No. 80 answered with Question No. 72.More Button

Departmental Budgets

Was asked: the extent to which he has been alerted to potential budgetary overruns in respect of various Departments; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Expenditure Report 2019 set out total gross voted expenditure of €66.6 billion for 2019. Of this, €59.3 billion is gross voted current expenditure, while €7.3 billion is gross voted capital expendi...More Button

The effective and efficient delivery of public services within budgetary allocations is a key responsibility of each Minister and Department. In relation to spending, the Department of Public Exp...More Button

At end-February, gross voted expenditure of €9,787 million was €141 million, or 1.4 per cent, below profile. In year-on-year terms, this is €725 million (8.0%) ahead on the same period in 2018. G...More Button

National Monuments

Was asked: the status of improvement works at the Hill of Tara, County Meath.More Button

The Office of Public Works has responsibility for the management of the Hill of Tara National Monument site and operates a seasonal Guide service based at the former Church of Ireland building on t...More Button

Tara is clearly an important historical site which is popular with many visitors, domestic and foreign and safeguarding it is, and will continue to be, a high priority for OPW. Currently, the fo...More Button

As the Deputy is no doubt aware, the various parties centrally involved at Tara are currently engaged in the final stages of preparing a new Conservation Management Plan for the site and its futu...More Button

Public Service Contracts

Was asked: his plans in relation to public contracts and low-balling firms as stated in Dáil Éireann on 12 February 2019. More Button

The period immediately following the introduction of the public works contracts in 2007 was marked by a severe contraction in construction output in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. In ad...More Button

In 2014 the performance of the public works contracts was reviewed and, given the challenging tender environment preceding the review, the issue of price and its impact on the award and performan...More Button

With the increase in activity in the construction sector in recent years, tender prices are recovering to a level that more realistically reflects current construction costs. Indeed inflation in...More Button

The measures that have already been introduced since 2016 to ensure contracting authorities have a better understanding of the price returned in a tender include:More Button

1. The standing of the bill of quantities was increased for the traditional contract type. This measure increases the focus of the design team in preparing more comprehensive design information t...More Button

2. A mechanism to directly tender specialist works was also introduced so that these critical work elements are priced directly by the specialist market thus reducing the extent of the contract s...More Button

3. The greater use of the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) was also a recommendation in the report and while this measure does go some way to addressing the issue of low pricing, wher...More Button

These measures will be further enhanced by requirements for the adoption of Building Information Modelling once these are finalised by the Office of Government Procurement and implemented on a ph...More Button

In order to avail of the long standing provisions that are set down in the EU procurement directives for dealing with abnormally low tenders it is vital that projects are adequately defined so th...More Button

Public Sector Pay

Was asked: his plans to review public service pay in view of the recently agreed deal with nurses; his further plans to open pay negotiations with trade unions and other social partners; if so, when; and if h...More Button

Was asked: his views on the likely gross and net cost of the recent pay agreement with nurses; his plans to examine and review likely pay implications for other public sector workers and the wider economy; an...More Button

Was asked: the estimated cost in 2019 and 2020 of resolving the nurses' dispute; his plans to achieve pay equality in the health and education sectors in 2019 and 2020; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

Was asked: his plans to consult with public sector unions in respect of public pay negotiations; if the recent negotiations with nurses will have a knock-on implication for other employees in the Civil Servic...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 58, 71, 74 and 165 together.

  The Labour Court decided to intervene in the nursing dispute due to the grave and extensive implications for our h...More Button

Was asked: the efforts that have been made to incorporate retired public servants into the wider public pay discussions; if there are legislative reasons trade unions cannot represent retired public servants;...More Button

As I informed the Deputy in my response to his written question of 27 November 2018 (PQ Ref: 49185/18), there is no formal mechanism to include recipients of public service pensions within the indu...More Button

However, I can assure the Deputy that the interests and concerns of public service pensioners have been regularly articulated in meetings between the Alliance of Retired Public Servants, myself a...More Button

I would again emphasise that over the past number of years there have been notable pension improvements for many public service pensioners. More Button

First, pensions in payment are benefiting significantly from the substantial reversal of the cuts to public service pensions above specified thresholds which were originally imposed by way of the...More Button

Second, as part of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018 – 2020, the Government agreed a time-limited, conditions bound, return to the non-statutory, pay-linked method of pension adjustment...More Button

In conclusion, both I and my Department are fully committed to maintaining the well-established dialogue with the Alliance of Retired Public Servants. Through ongoing recourse to that dialogue pr...More Button

Heritage Sites

Was asked: his plans for the Brú na Bóinne visitor centre, County Meath.More Button

The Brú na Bóinne complex is one of Ireland's major visitor attractions and one of two UNESCO World Heritage sites in the State. The investment at Brú na Bóinne, supported by the Department of Cult...More Button

The Visitor Centre acts as the admission point to Newgrange and Knowth and as a management hub for a range of nearby monuments, providing information and interpretation of these important sites. ...More Button

The new facilities at Knowth celebrate the megalithic art at the site and will be open to visitors during the coming season. The state of the art exhibition currently being developed at the Knowt...More Button

The project at Newgrange Monument will focus on bringing the former Tourist Office at the site back into use together with changes to traffic management and landscaping. This work is currently ...More Button

I am satisfied that once all of these proposed projects have been completed, we will not only deliver a state-of-the-art entry point to the World Heritage site via Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre bu...More Button

Customs and Excise Controls

Was asked: when the detailed action plan on the requirements of Rosslare Europort in advance of Brexit is due for publication and-or finalisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

While ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement is still the Government's priority, we will continue our preparations for all scenarios. On 11 December 2018, the Government decided to give greater i...More Button

In a no deal scenario, goods entering the EU from the UK would be treated as imports from a third country and goods leaving the EU to the UK will be treated as exports. All relevant EU legislati...More Button

The Government is committed to working with the European Commission and our EU partners to ensure that any potential disruption to connectivity as a result of necessary additional checks and cont...More Button

Further to agreement by Government, OPW, working with key stakeholders, are now progressing arrangements for new customs, health and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements at ports and air...More Button

Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: if a review has been carried out into monitoring systems for capital and current expenditure across Government in which there has also been a review of his Department’s invigilation of these expend...More Button

Managing the delivery of public services within allocations and meeting our budgetary targets forms a key part of the responsibilities of every Minister and Department. My own Department is in regu...More Button

Monthly expenditure profiles for each Government Department for 2019 were recently published and included in the February Fiscal Monitor. The drawdown of funds from the Exchequer is monitored thr...More Button

A public investment management assessment (PIMA) mission to Ireland was undertaken by the IMF in July 2017, which assessed our management of public capital resources compared with what would be e...More Button

The PIMA report concluded that, overall, Ireland manages its public infrastructure relatively well.More Button

It highlights both strengths and weaknesses and contains a number of recommendations to improve future performance in terms of the efficiency of public capital investment. The national developmen...More Button

A number of reforms were implemented in 2018 based on the PIMA recommendations in order to ensure the efficient, coordinated and timely implementation of Project Ireland 2040. In particular, an I...More Button

Public Private Partnerships Cost

Was asked: the annual cost of public private partnerships through unitary payments; and the reason total unitary payments are greater than the contractual value of projects.More Button

A breakdown of the annual cost of unitary payments by individual project can be found on the PPP website. The cost of unitary payments for 2018 is in the region of €260 million.More Button

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are partnerships between the public and private sectors for the purpose of delivering a project or service. Some of the advantages associated with PPPs are tha...More Button

The contracts tend to be long-term arrangements, typically spanning 25 years or more, and can be Design-Build-Finance-Maintain (DBFM), Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM) and Concession...More Button

Design-Build-Finance-Maintain (DBFM): DBFM projects require the PPP Co to provide and maintain the asset/infrastructure but not to operate it. This is likely to be used to provide schools and si...More Button

Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (DBFOM): DBFOM PPPs effectively require the private sector to replace the public sector for the duration of the contract. These PPPs require the private sec...More Button

Concessions: Concessions differ from other PPPs in how they provide a financial return to the private sector. Unlike other PPPs the private sector achieves its financial return by levying a user...More Button

The capital cost consists of all the costs (including VAT) associated with the construction or acquisition of the physical assets to the point of it becoming available for use. The public sector...More Button

Hence, unitary payments cover more than the construction cost of the asset. They comprise the full availability payments entailed to deliver the required service level.More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Was asked: if he has received costed proposals from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in relation to the indexation of social welfare allowances and benefits; and if he will make a st...More Button

Indexation of social welfare allowances and benefits is a matter in the first instance for my colleague, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.More Button

Public Procurement Contracts

Was asked: the consideration given to using a remeasurable contract in the decision making process in selecting a fixed price contract under the contract works management framework in relation to the national...More Button

Department of Finance Circular 33/06 requires all public works projects that are delivered under the Exchequer-funded element of the Government's capital plan to be procured in accordance with the ...More Button

Section 7 of Circular 33/06 provides for a derogation from the use of the standard forms of contract by means of an application to the Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC). Thi...More Button

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) commenced their formal engagement with the GCCC in May 2014 with a view to securing a derogation from the requirement to use the standar...More Button

It is important to note that a derogation, if agreed, does not approve the approach or strategy of the contracting authority, but simply acknowledges that the circumstances are such as to warrant...More Button

The response provided by my colleague the Minister for Health, Simon Harris T.D. to a similar question posed by the Deputy (PQ 109, 27/2/19 refers) sets out the procurement and contracting strate...More Button

Was asked: his plans to review the public procurement process in view of the cost overruns at the national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform requires those charged with the delivery of public works projects to comply with the Public Spending Code and the Capital Works Management Framework ...More Button

The Public Spending Code sets out the high level principles which apply in relation to project governance and, in particular, the procedures that must be followed by bodies with delegated sanctio...More Button

A review of the Public Spending Code is currently underway in my Department. As elements of the review are completed, the associated updated guidance will be published. Work is ongoing on updatin...More Button

The Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF) represents the tools that a public body must use to procure and manage the external resources necessary to deliver a public works project that is to ...More Button

The performance of a key component of the CWMF; the public works contract, was reviewed in 2014 and a series of recommendations that apply to the conditions of contract have been implemented sinc...More Button

The review will incorporate consultation with industry and the public bodies charged with the delivery of public works projects on a broad range of issues such as risk management, information qua...More Button

Pension Provisions

Was asked: his plans in respect of outstanding pension restorations that resulted as a consequence of reduction in pensions during the economic crisis; when pension reductions in respect of public sector work...More Button

As the Deputy is aware the unwinding of the emergency FEMPI legislation commenced with the Lansdowne Road Agreement 2016-2018 and will be mostly unwound under the Public Service Stability Agreement...More Button

Government Construction Contracts Committee

Was asked: the role of the Government Contracts Committee for Construction in derogations from standard forms of public contract; the person or body ultimately responsible for approving the public contract us...More Button

Department of Finance Circular 33/06 requires all public works projects that are delivered under the Exchequer-funded element of the Government's capital plan to be procured in accordance with the ...More Button

Section 7 of Circular 33/06 provides for a derogation from the use of the standard forms of contract from the Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC). This process may be used for...More Button

A derogation, if agreed, does not approve the approach or strategy of the contracting authority, but simply acknowledges that the circumstances are such as to warrant a different approach than th...More Button

The GCCC was established under Section 11 of Circular 40/02. It is a forum for the discussion and development of public policy in the tendering and contracting of all aspects of construction pro...More Button

The OGP provides the functions of Chair and Secretariat to the GCCC. The membership of the GCCC includes representatives from the main capital spending bodies and departments with a significant ...More Button

Relevant departments and bodies nominate representatives with either technical or administrative backgrounds and these nominees may change from time to time. Special advisors/consultants or other...More Button

  Question No. 71 answered with Question No. 58.More Button

Cross-Border Projects

Was asked: the outcome of the most recent discussions his officials have had with their counterparts in Northern Ireland in relation to funding for cross-Border projects post-2020; and if he will make a state...More Button

Was asked: the outcome of the most recent discussions he has had with his British counterpart in relation to the funding of cross-Border projects post-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has held discussions with the European Commission in relation to the possible allocation of additional funding for the Border region in view of the particular challenges that will arise in th...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 72, 80 and 83 together.

  Ireland and the UK are currently partners in two EU-funded cross-border Cooperation Programmes – PEACE and INTERREG – w...More Button

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Was asked: the way in which he plans to apply a new revised cost of carbon in the National Development Plan 2018-2027; and the new analysis that will be carried out before the cost is agreed. More Button

Facing challenging and legally binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, it is imperative that the assessment of public investment projects include an appropriate valuation of the cost tha...More Button

  Question No. 74 answered with Question No. 58.More Button

Departmental Funding

Was asked: the policy regarding emergency funding for homes at immediate risk due to coastal erosion. More Button

Strategic policy responsibility for the coast, including coastal erosion, is a matter for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Local Authorities are responsible for the manage...More Button

My Office has responsibility for co-ordinating government policy on flood risk management for fluvial flooding and coastal protection, including where that coastal flooding arises from coastal e...More Button

The OPW also operates the Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme. The purpose of this Scheme is to provide funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation work...More Button

Under the Scheme, applications from Local Authorities are considered for projects that are estimated to cost not more than €750,000 in each instance. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available...More Button

When severe weather causes flooding on a widespread scale, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may activate the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme. The scheme aims to provide ...More Button

Office of Government Procurement

Was asked: the companies the public service can procure services from in the area of industrial relations and human resource support specifically for industrial relations investigations relating to disciplina...More Button

The Office of Government Procurement on behalf of the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform carried out a competitive tender process for the establishment of a Framework Agreement for the pr...More Button

  Question No. 83 answered with Question No. 72.More Button

  Question No. 84 answered with Question No. 62.More Button

Public Private Partnerships Data

Was asked: the number of procurement officials within the NTMA or across Departments charged with managing and overseeing public private partnership contracts; the average annual cost of salaries in this rega...More Button

As I have no responsibility for assigning individual roles in other Departments I am unable to provide the Deputy with a breakdown of procurement officials or salary costs in that regard as it woul...More Button

Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme

Was asked: the steps he is taking to reduce the cost of flood insurance for areas which require flood relief works as prescribed by the Office of Public Works under the CFRAM scheme but which are not included...More Button

I am conscious of the difficulties that the cost of flood insurance cover can cause to homeowners and businesses, and that is one of the reasons the Government has been prioritising investment in f...More Button

However, you should be aware that the provision of insurance is a commercial matter for insurance companies, which has to be based on a proper assessment of the risks they are willing to accept. ...More Button

The above mentioned limitations means that addressing the cost and availability of flood insurance must be addressed from a different angle.  In this regard the core strategy for addressing areas...More Button

Therefore, Government policy in relation to flooding is focused on the development of a sustainable, planned and risk-based approach to dealing with flooding problems. This in turn should lead to...More Button

A key part of the overall strategy is ongoing communication between the OPW and the insurance industry, in order to reach a better understanding about the provision of flood cover in marginal are...More Button

Finally, you should be aware that a consumer can make a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman in relation to any dealings with a Financial Services or Insurance provider during which they...More Button

Insurance Costs

Was asked: if the recommendations of the cost of insurance working group will be implemented as a priority; if a national claims information database and anti-fraud unit will be established within An Garda Sí...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) is chaired by the Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Mr. Michael D’Arcy T.D., and has produced two primary re...More Button

The eighth such Progress Update has just been published and concentrated in particular on outlining the definitive position in relation to all of the 33 recommendations from the Motor Report, as ...More Button

In respect of the EL/PL Report, 24 out of the total of 26 action points which were due for completion during 2018 overall have been accomplished. More Button

Taking the two specific issues highlighted by the Deputy in turn, I can confirm that the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill 2018 completed all stages in the Oireachtas on 20...More Button

Regarding the other matter raised by the Deputy, the latest Progress Update confirms that the Garda Commissioner has undertaken to further consider the establishment of an insurance fraud investi...More Button

It should be reiterated that an industry-funded Garda unit was a single mechanism proposed as a potential means by which to implement the intent behind the relevant recommendation, the wording of...More Button

Finally, the Deputy should be assured that Minister of State D’Arcy and the Working Group will continue to push for the completion of all outstanding recommendations and action points, as well as...More Button

Climate Change Adaptation Plans

Was asked: the status of the progress of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, 2018 was signed into law by the President on 17 December 2018. It became effective immediately, once enacted and prohibited the ISIF from having direct investment in...More Button

 Within weeks of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act being signed into law, the ISIF advised me that it had divested from all required companies within the meaning of the Act – a total €72 million of ...More Button

Mortgage Lending

Was asked: if there are guidelines in relation to the way in which banks treat mortgage applicants who receive their principal employment income in a non-Euro currency such as sterling; and if he will make a ...More Button

The European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016 (which transpose the 2014 Mortgage Credit Directive into Irish law) sets out, in respect of the credit agreements which fal...More Button

Investor Compensation Company Limited

Was asked: the position in relation to compensation for investors who lost significant amounts arising from their investment in a fund (details supplied); the position of the Central Bank in relation to the i...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware this matter is the focus ongoing legal action before the courts. As such it would not be appropriate for me as Minister or for my Department to comment.

 ...More Button

Brexit Issues

Was asked: the number of applications made by businesses to register for an economic operators registration and identification number to enable the import or export of goods into or out of the European Union ...More Button

I am advised by Revenue that there has been a significant increase in registrations for Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers in 2019. An EORI number is a basic requirem...More Button

Was asked: the impact Brexit or a crash out will have on Irish persons who## are paying into private pensions in the United Kingdom. More Button

I am assuming that the question is in reference to occupational pension schemes.More Button

In that context I would like to clarify that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) is responsible for occupational pensions policy. Additionally, the Pensions Authori...More Button

Firstly, regarding Irish persons paying into approved private pension schemes in the UK, tax relief is available on contributions into and on the growth of the investment under our Exempt, Exempt...More Button

The question of whether or not a UK Company Scheme Pension will be paid into an Irish bank account post-Brexit is a matter for the relevant scheme provider. If the pension provider is an insuranc...More Button

In relation to the making of or receiving financial payments. SEPA is the Single Euro Payments Area which enables payment transfers in euro between accounts in SEPA countries. The UK Government h...More Button

In the event that the UK is excluded from SEPA some additional costs may arise for transfers in euro moving between accounts in the UK and accounts in the EU, and they may take longer than they c...More Button

Finally, the impact of Brexit, and in particular a hard Brexit, on markets and the euro/sterling exchange rate is difficult to estimate with any certainty but may have an impact on the beneficiar...More Button

Tax Credits

Was asked: if the case of a person (details supplied) will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by Revenue that it has reviewed the person’s tax situation and is satisfied that the position regarding their tax credits and rate band entitlements for 2019 is correct and is not rela...More Button

The reduction in the person’s tax credits for 2019 was correctly applied to take account of the tax liabilities on a full year payment of the State Contributory Pension by the Department of Emplo...More Button

Flood Risk Insurance Cover Provision

Was asked: if he is satisfied that homesteads that have flood defences in place can secure home insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am conscious of the difficulties that the absence or withdrawal of flood insurance cover can cause to homeowners and businesses, and that is one of the reasons the Government has been prioritisin...More Button

However, you should be aware that the provision of insurance is a commercial matter for insurance companies, which has to be based on a proper assessment of the risks they are willing to accept.More Button

Consequently, neither the Government nor the Central Bank can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products or have the power to direct insurance companies to provide flood cover to...More Button

Government policy in relation to flooding is focused on the development of a sustainable, planned and risk-based approach to dealing with flooding problems.  This in turn should lead to the incre...More Button

- prioritising spending on flood relief measures by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and relevant local authorities;More Button

- development and implementation of plans by the OPW to implement flood relief schemes; and,More Button

- improving channels of communication between the OPW and the insurance industry, in order to reach a better understanding about the provision of flood cover in marginal areas.  More Button

The above approach is complemented by a Memorandum of Understanding between the OPW and Insurance Ireland, which provides for the exchange of data in relation to completed flood defence schemes w...More Button

Finally, you should be aware that a consumer can make a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman in relation to any dealings with a Financial Services or Insurance provider during which they...More Button

Departmental Reports

Was asked: if he has received a report (details supplied).More Button

I wish to inform the Deputy that I received a detailed response from the Office on 30th August 2018.  I am advised further that a copy of the response was also sent by that Office to the Committee ...More Button

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Was asked: the way in which a contributory old age pension is treated for taxation for a person that is paying class S PRSI; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, for individuals to qualify for the Contributory State Pension they must be over the age of 66. If an individual is over the age of 66, they are exempt from paying PRSI ...More Button

However, in relation to the tax treatment of the State Contributory Pension and the taxation of self-employed persons in the context of the question asked by the Deputy, I am advised by Revenue t...More Button

The State Contributory Pension is chargeable to income tax under Schedule E by virtue of section 19 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.  The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protectio...More Button

Generally, individuals who are self-employed, and under the age of 66, pay Class S PRSI.  Self-employed individuals are required to file an annual income tax return.  The annual income tax return...More Button

Insurance Industry Regulation

Was asked: the legal framework that applies for the establishment of a mutual insurance fund; when this process was last reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

At the outset the Deputy should note that, as the term ‘mutual insurance fund’ is not one which is used within the Irish legal framework as it relates to life and non-life insurance, I am making th...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, as Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation. In this regard you should note that the Solvency II Di...More Button

As I have no role in the day to day supervision of insurance companies, I consulted the Central Bank on the Deputy’s query.  In response the Bank has advised that any insurance or reinsurance und...More Button

In summary therefore in principle the same legal framework applies to a mutual insurer as applies to a non-mutual insurer.More Button

Home Renovation Incentive Scheme

Was asked: his plans in relation to the reopening of the home renovation incentive scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Section 477B of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provided for the Home Renovation Incentive (HRI), which was introduced in Budget 2014 and terminated in accordance with its sunset clause on 31 Dece...More Button

Under my Department's Tax Expenditure Guidelines, the introduction of new tax incentive measures should only be considered in circumstances where there is a demonstrable market failure and where ...More Button

The HRI was introduced in 2014 at a time when there was considerable loss of employment within the construction sector, with the aim of addressing this market failure by stimulating increased act...More Button

Furthermore, in light of the current housing supply shortage, and the need to deliver 25,000 additional housing units per annum over the period 2017-2021, there is a risk that the HRI could lead ...More Button

Revenue advise me that, as of 2 January 2019, the cost to the Exchequer of the HRI was c. €105 million, with a further €65 million worth of credits yet to be claimed in respect of the incentive. ...More Button

Finally, the Deputy makes reference in the details appended to the question to homeowners claiming back VAT under the HRI. I should clarify that the incentive operated as a relief from Income Tax...More Button

Tax Data

Was asked: the number of Irish citizens living here that do not pay income tax; the percentage of wage earners living here that do not pay income tax; the number and the percentage of wage earners living here...More Button

I am advised by Revenue that taxpayers are not required to declare their citizenship on Income Tax returns, therefore statistics relating specifically to Irish citizens are unavailable.

&n...More Button

VAT Rate Increases

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied) in relation to the VAT rate changes for health food supplements; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the standard rate of VAT applies to food supplements in general while a concession allows the zero rate to be applied to certain types of vitamins, m...More Button

The operation of this concession became extremely problematic as a result of efforts by certain businesses in the industry to extend the concession beyond the scope permitted. Consistent challeng...More Button

Revenue has since deferred this date to 1 November 2019 in order to allow time for my Department to examine the policy and legislative options for the taxation of food supplements ahead of Budget...More Button

Independent of Revenue’s decisions on interpretation, I agreed during the recent Finance Bill to put in place a process that will conclude in the 2019 Tax Strategy Group Paper to examine some of ...More Button

Tax Reliefs Availability

Was asked: his views on the provision of tax relief on childcare services for families; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has primary responsibility for Government policy in relation to childcare. As the Deputy may be aware, parents are exempted from any income tax liability...More Button

The tax code also provides certain tax reliefs and incentives in this general area including the scheme of Accelerated Capital Allowances for employers that incur capital expenditure in providing...More Button

With regard to the Home Carer Tax Credit, a review of this measure will be carried out by my Department in 2019 as part of First 5, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and...More Button

In relation to taxation more generally, I have no plans at present in relation to the question of possible further income tax relief for parents for childcare services. In this regard, I note th...More Button

The Interdepartmental Working Group also made some initial estimates of the potential costs of such a tax credit based on available data. Tentative costings, based on estimates of average childca...More Button

Stamp Duty

Was asked: the amount of stamp duty liable for a purchase of agricultural land to the value of €150,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by Revenue that, in the normal course of events, stamp duty is chargeable on the purchase of agricultural land at the rate of 6%. Land valued at €150,000 would therefore be liable to s...More Button

Public Sector Pensions Levy

Was asked: the number of persons paying the pension-related deduction in each year since it was introduced; the revenue received in each year since it was introduced; the number and references to each circula...More Button

The Pension Related Deduction (PRD) was introduced in March 2009 under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 (as amended) and was a temporary deduction from the salary of...More Button

Public Sector Pensions

Was asked: the timeline and publication date for the report as per section 3(6) of the Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018 which commits to a report being laid before the Houses of the ...More Button

The Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018 provides for an increase to age 70 in the compulsory retirement age of most public servants recruited before 1 April 2004. More Button

Public servants who reached the compulsory retirement age of 65 before the new legislation was enacted were required to retire in accordance with the statutory compulsory retirement age in effect...More Button

Section 3A(6) of the Act provides that I, as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform shall, within three months of the passing of the Act, prepare and lay before the Oireachtas a report on the...More Button

Work on the report is under way in accordance with the terms of Section 3A(6).  Under that provision, publication of the report is required within three months of the passing of the Act on 26 Dec...More Button

It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the content of a report which is currently under preparation, not completed and which I am statutorily obliged to lay before the Oireachtas.    More Button

Was asked: his plans to abolish parity-based public service pension schemes and replace them with pension schemes linked to the consumer price index; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have no plans to abolish existing public service pension schemes. In accordance with the policy adopted when the Single Pension Scheme (SPS) was introduced for new entrants to the public service ...More Button

As the member may be aware, the SPS is a career average pension scheme which provides that both the referable amounts that are accrued by serving staff while in employment, as well as pensions in...More Button

The legislation that introduced the SPS includes a provision that allows for the extension to the pre-existing pension schemes of the policy of uprating pensions in line with changes in the consu...More Button

As part of the Government’s commitment under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, the pension increase policy that is currently in place in respect of the pre-existing pension scheme...More Button

Garda Stations

Was asked: if a vacant Garda station (details supplied) in County Kerry is for sale; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Garda Station Refurbishment

Was asked: the position regarding the upgrade of Tubbercurry Garda station in County Sligo; when approval for works will be granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Office of Public Works, working with Garda Estate Management, has identified options for the upgrade of Tubercurry Garda Station. A decision on the approval and prioritisation of these works is...More Button

Information and Communications Technology

Was asked: if Ireland has set up its electronic data exchange system known as e-cohesion; and if not, the reason.More Button

The eCohesion ICT system went live last year, March 2018.More Button

Was asked: if Ireland has implemented a national information technology system to meet the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds requirements; and if not, the amount of funding which has either b...More Button

The eCohesion ICT system, a regulatory requirement for 2014 - 2020 ESIF, went live last year, March 2018.

   With regard to the Deputy's question on drawdown, I would like t...More Button

Was asked: if Ireland has implemented a national information technology system to meet the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds requirements; and if not, the reason therefor.More Button

The eCohesion ICT system, a regulatory requirement for 2014 - 2020 ESIF, went live last year, March 2018.More Button

Was asked: the estimated conclusion date for the implementation of a national information technology system to meet the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds requirements.More Button

The eCohesion ICT system, a regulatory requirement for 2014 - 2020 ESIF, went live last year, March 2018. More Button

Was asked: the name of the company which won the tender for the contract to develop and implement the national information technology system to meet the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds requ...More Button

Following a tendering process organised by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP), the contract was awarded to SugarCRM Inc., / Provident CRM Limited. More Button

Office of Public Works

Was asked: if the Office of Public Works, OPW, will consider buying a property (details supplied); the process for potential sellers to contact the OPW relating to property sales; and if he will make a statem...More Button

Office of Public Works Projects

Was asked: the reason the Office of Public Works, OPW, has not secured ownership of the 25% section of a site (details supplied) by requiring Wexford County Council to also obtain a new folio for this part of...More Button

Garda Station Closures

Was asked: the progress to date in regard to the reopening of Rush Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Departmental Programmes

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

Was asked: his priorities in order to achieve best economic practice for Ireland in the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if the extent to which reforms throughout the public sector are likely to yield improved economic performance in 2019 has been quantified; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 169, 175 and 176 together.More Button

Managing the delivery of public services within allocations and meeting our budgetary targets forms a key part of the responsibilities of every Minister and Department. The Department of Public E...More Button

As set out in the most recent Fiscal Monitor, total gross voted expenditure at end-February 2019 was €9,787 million. This is €141 million, or 1.4% below profile. Gross voted current expenditure o...More Button

A number of budgetary reforms have been implemented in the last number of years to improve transparency and accountability around the Budget process, while also facilitating best economic practic...More Button

In addition to this, the third Public Service Performance Report will be published in quarter 2. This report aims to strengthen focus on what is being delivered with public funds. Performance tar...More Button

Economic Competitiveness

Was asked: the role he expects for reform throughout the public sector to impact on economic performance in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the most effective reforms undertaken throughout the public and private sectors over the past number of years which have contributed substantially to economic progress; and if he will make a statem...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 170 and 172 together.

  I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the significant public service reforms that this Government has undertaken in rece...More Button

Was asked: the degree to which he in the context of reform has introduced new criteria in view of the international and global trading challenges; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy suggests, we live in a world that is uncertain and in which Ireland faces many challenges, including the international and global trading challenges to which his question refers. Cent...More Button

 In the particular context of reform, a series of initiatives taken by this Government since 2011 have made the work of the civil and public services more transparent, decision-making more accoun...More Button

Certain of the eighteen specific actions set out in Our Public Service 2020, such as accelerating digital delivery of services, driving efficiency and effectiveness and promoting a culture of inn...More Button

Questions Nos. 175 and 176 answered with Question No. 169.More Button

House Sales

Was asked: the action he will take in terms of public expenditure and reform with a view to ensuring that the domestic customer has a reasonable chance of purchasing a home notwithstanding the competition fro...More Button

As part of Budget 2019, I announced a significant increase in expenditure to the Serviced Site Fund (SSF) to enable the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government to deliver additional affo...More Button

As housing policy, including policy in relation to affordable housing, falls under the remit of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, additional information on the SSF and othe...More Button

Question No. 172 answered with Question No. 170.More Button

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

Was asked: the full extent to date of recruitment throughout the public sector in the context of economic recovery; the expectation in respect of future recruitment throughout the sector in 2019 and thereafte...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware from previous replies, in my role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, I have overarching responsibility for workforce planning in, and recruitment to, the Civ...More Button

In Budget 2015, it was announced that there would be a targeted programme of recruitment into the Civil Service to address service needs and a shortfall in key skills. The Deputy will be aware th...More Button

I understand from the Public Appointments Service, who are the independent recruiter for the Civil Service, that since the lifting of the moratorium, approximately 10,700 civil servants from open...More Button

In the Civil Service in 2019, a Clerical Officer competition for Dublin only has been advertised.  Competitions for Assistant Principal and Principal Officer may be held later in the year.More Button

Apart from competitions already advertised, it is too early to say at this stage what competitions will be held for all of 2019. Factors such as the demand from Departments/offices from existing ...More Button