I propose to take Questions Nos. 17 to 19, inclusive, together.
Prior to the start of the general election campaign the Government decided that ministerial private office appointees who worked in the election campaign should take annual leave. This decision was conveyed in a letter issued by the Department of Finance to all Departments stating that where such appointees worked in campaign offices during the general election, the following arrangements should apply: staff who moved to work in campaign offices during the election period should take annual leave to cover the period of unpaid voluntary work in question; staff not involved in campaign offices who remained in their Departments and continued to perform their official duties, should continue to do so on the same basis; where staff were on annual leave to work in the election campaign, arrangements could be made to interrupt annual leave – and election campaigning – if this became necessary for the purpose of attending to official duties.
In complying with these arrangements the following contract staff in my Department availed of paid annual leave during the general election campaign to avoid the conflicting demands of official business.