Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Howlin, Brendan

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Budget Statement 2014 (Continued)

This budget and Estimates process sets out to deliver on this Government’s promise to the Irish people at the last general election to fulfil our commitments under the troika programme foisted on t...More Button

Some have argued that rather than seeking consolidation of our position with international support, we should have harnessed whatever remained of our resources and, with a final throw of a dice, sp...More Button

We have supported enterprise and job creation through direct investment and structural reforms, measures that are now demonstrably beginning to bear fruit. We have also sought and secured better t...More Button

This is in stark contrast to the previous Government, which oversaw a litany of disastrous decisions that failed-----More Button

-----the Irish people.

Real Consolidation

The progress we have made in bringing stability to the economy and meeting our fiscal targets must be viewed in the context of the...More Button

Medical card holders have increased by 540,000, or over 40%, an increase between 2008 and 2012 from 1.35 million to the highest level of medical card ownership in our history, currently at 1.89 mil...More Button

Over the course of the past five years, the public service has reduced in size by almost 10%. The cost of the pay bill has fallen even further, by some 17%, and the Haddington Road agreement which...More Button

However, as we reform and improve, there are immediate pressures that need to be addressed. In recent times I have come to the view that there are some areas of the public service where we simply ...More Button

-----is due to issue by the end of this month. A total of 13,000 direct and many more indirect jobs are expected to be created by this programme. Earlier this year I announced €150 million of dir...More Button

Investment in our recovery is, of course, not confined to central government. Commercial semi-State investment in the next three years is set to reach €5 billion. Through NAMA, as the Minister ...More Button

We are transforming the National Pensions Reserve Fund into the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to invest on a commercial basis in projects in Ireland rather than in projects across the globe, pr...More Button

Importantly, of these places, 94,000 will be reserved for the long-term unemployed, an increase of 78% on the 2012 provision. I am providing an additional €9 million in capital expenditure to comp...More Button

I am allocating a further €14 million to a youth guarantee fund, which will support additional activation places for people under 25. It is in this context that we are extending the €100 reduced...More Button

The reduced rate of €144 will apply to those reaching 25 from January 2014.More Button

It should be noted that the rate for those availing of the back to education scheme is €160 per week.   It is in education and training that our young people should be.More Button

We will also continue our support for employers across all sectors in creating and sustaining jobs. Our enterprise policies are continuing to secure new investments, employment and export growth. ...More Button

This is a first step in our programme to provide free GP care for all.More Button

I am also allocating €20 million for the development of community mental health services as envisaged under A Vision for Change. I have agreed to a much reduced headcount savings target of 1,000 t...More Button

New savings measures will include €50 million on drugs from generic substitution and reference pricing, €113 million from a review of all medical cards to remove ineligible and redundant cards ---More Button

Some €25 million will be saved by a lowering of the income thresholds for the over 70s medical cards to €900 per week for a couple and €500 for a single person and €30 million for private bed charg...More Button

The household benefits package remains a significant area of spending, accounting for over €280 million this year. In order to reduce costs, we have decided to discontinue the remaining telephone ...More Button

-----a measure that will save €44 million.More Button

We will standardise the rate of maternity benefit at €230 per week for new claimants from January. This will save €30 million in 2014.More Button

The number of waiting days for entitlement to illness benefit is being increased from three days to six days. This will save €22 million.More Button

However, I am pleased that, again, I can confirm there will be no reduction in the basic social welfare rates for people of working age or for pensioners.More Button

I am pleased to confirm that child benefit rates are being maintained at €130 per month.More Button

And finally, there will be no reduction in the rate or the duration of the weekly fuel allowance.

  Further details of the social welfare package are set out in the expenditure r...More Button

I am also making provision for the recruitment of more than 1,250 new classroom and resource teachers for the school system next year.More Button

A further €5 million will be allocated to extend the reach of the books-to-rent programme in primary schools.

Justice

  We will be providing additional funding to...More Button

Today, I am more than confident; I am certain. Yes, there will be difficult days ahead. Yes, there are still difficult decisions to be made, but we are now picking up speed and our goal is in sig...More Button

I would not rule out Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett.More Button

International Agreements

Was asked: the progress being made towards ratification of the Council of Europe convention on access to information; when ratification is anticipated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I understand based on the latest information available to my Department, that the Convention referred to in the Deputy’s question, which opened for signing on 18 June 2009, has been ratified by si...More Button

National Procurement Service Savings

Was asked: his position regarding the negative consequences of the national procurement service; the average size of a supplier to a State agency in 2012 and in each of the past five years; the total number o...More Button

I am keenly aware that public procurement can be an important source of business for Irish small and medium enterprises (SMEs). I am also aware of the need for Departments and Offices to make every...More Button

Flood Risk Insurance Cover

Was asked: the position regarding the discussions between the Office of Public Works and the Insurance Federation of Ireland on insurance for homes that flood or are risk of flooding; and if he will make a st...More Button

Flood Prevention Measures

Was asked: the reason remedial works on the River Clare in County Galway to prevent further flooding are not complete; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Recycling Policy

Was asked: the reasons the Office of Public Works is refusing Kerry County Council permission to locate a recycling bring bank on the site of a Garda station (details supplied) in County Kerry which is jointl...More Button

Office of Public Works Properties

Was asked: the visitor numbers to the Office of Public Works site the Casino in Marino, Dublin 3, in the years 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; if there are plans to refurbish same; and if he will make a...More Button

Flood Relief Schemes Applications

Was asked: the position regarding an application to the Office of Public Works from emergency flood relief work to the Cullawa river, Rathmore, County Kerry; and if the approval for commencement of works will...More Button