Business of Select Committee

Vice Chairman

Apologies have been received from Deputies Dara Calleary, Pat Deering and John Paul Phelan. On behalf of the committee I send our congratulations to Deputy John Paul Phelan on his appointment as Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

No. 1 on the agenda is the minutes of the meeting of 14 June. Are they agreed? Agreed. Are there any matters arising from those minutes?

I wish to raise section 39 health organisations. This is still a critical issue. Is it the case that we will meet the not-for-profit organisations about this, that it will make the full presentation to us on the restoration of funding and that we can consider it in the context of the Budget Statement in 2018?

Vice Chairman

That is agreed.

That is the situation.

Vice Chairman

We will do it before the budget. It will probably be in September.

Chairman, do we have more scope to invite other groups to appear before us to provide evidence to us? What time is available for us to hear from other groups?

Vice Chairman

I am told we have some time in September. Does the Deputy have an interest in hearing from a group?

I think it would be prudent to hear from groups on Brexit and on the terrorist attacks in the UK in recent weeks in order that as a budget committee we would discuss our defence budget. In that context, it would be prudent to hear from one of the Army representative associations or both, that is, RACO and PDFORRA, and they could present to the committee. We have one of the lowest spends in terms of defence capabilities in the European Union. We are now dealing with a new scenario in terms of Brexit. Clearly, events in the UK and in Waterford have highlighted the need to discuss our current budget spending on defence. Members may feel it is adequate but I do not. As a committee, we need to have that conversation. I would be eager to have that conversation in advance of our report for this year.

Vice Chairman

We will take that suggestion on board and come back to the Deputy on it.

I thank the Chair.

Vice Chairman

No. 2 is our work programme. An updated work programme has been circulated to members. It is possible that a meeting will be held on Tuesday, 18 July to review the summer economic statement and the mid-year expenditure report.

We await confirmation of the publication of these reports by the Department of Finance. I ask any member who has suggestions for changes to the programme to contact the clerk to the committee.

With regard to the National Economic Dialogue, I remind members that we are scheduled to attend the NED on Wednesday 28 June and our meeting with the European Investment Bank is scheduled for Thursday 29 June. Will members please confirm their attendance at NED to Ted, our clerk to the committee?

Before we return to public session with witnesses, is there any other business that members wish to raise?

I have a further proposal on the defence issue. If it is not appropriate or not considered necessary to hear from the representative associations, as an alternative might we hear from the Minister of State with special responsibility for defence, Deputy Paul Kehoe? Perhaps he would brief the committee on his Department's work in that regard.

We will consider that. Are there any further views on that? No. We will invite in our witnesses.