I accept that. This is probably the first time ever and the Bills Office was surprised to find somebody putting forward amendments, probably for the first time ever. I am proud of that, because the Government should be answerable to the Chamber. I expect the Minister of State would agree with that.
My first amendment asks for the Minister, within 12 days of the passing of the Act, essentially the end of the year, to publish a report providing a breakdown of the savings in 2014 - we are talking about the 2014 appropriation accounts - arising from the Haddington Road agreement on a Vote by Vote basis. The reason I have asked for this is simple; the Minister has said time after time that the Haddington Road agreement will deliver savings of €1 billion over three years. This is simply not true. The Minister has never backed this up and has never shown the savings on a Department by Department basis or shown how the figures add up. He speaks about €200 million for this, €100 million for that or €160 million for something else. He has never provided a breakdown and I say that is because he knows that the savings promised have not been delivered.
The majority of the savings in the public sector pay bill have come about as a result of retirements, not as a result of the Haddington Road agreement, yet, the Minister continually attributes the reductions and the savings to the agreement. This is not true as they are attributable to the normal ebb and flow of people and retirements from the public service. Last year, there were approximately 850 retirements. This year, we are told the figure is 1,300 plus, which is why we had a Supplementary Estimate. This is the reason the public sector pay bill will reduce over the lifetime of the agreement, from 2013 to 2016.
When I have asked about these issues previously, the Minister - the Taoiseach has confirmed this - has told us the figures on savings are masked in the overall Estimate, cannot be identified separately and are unidentifiable on a Vote by Vote basis. This amendment has been submitted to call the Minister's bluff. I do not believe he is capable of delivering the figures, but he will give me some answer or other. He cannot provide a breakdown, even if he had from now until Christmas 12 months to provide a breakdown of the savings adding up to €1 billion on a Vote by Vote basis.
Because I believe this to be true, I wrote to every Secretary General and Accounting Officer of the various Departments during the summer, asking each of them to provide me with a breakdown for his or her Department as a result of the Haddington Road agreement and asking for specifics as to whether these savings related to salaries, reduction in hours, change in pension payments for people on salaries over €32,500. Before that, I had submitted a parliamentary question to every Minister, but each of them referred the question back to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. They were afraid to respond because they knew they did not have the answer. The Department says there is €1 billion in savings, but that is a nonsense answer. I should have complained to the Ceann Comhairle about my questions not being answered, but I am accustomed to not getting a proper response from the Minister, Deputy Howlin.
When I wrote to every Secretary General, two, three or four of them made a genuine effort to provide some information, but the majority did not reply to me, the main Opposition spokesperson on public expenditure. I know why they did not reply; it is because they do not have the figures. Therefore, I raised the issue again during our discussion on the Supplementary Estimates and asked for a breakdown from the Minister's Department on Vote 12. I asked how much of the savings in the Supplementary Estimates - we had this debate last Tuesday week - was attributable to the Haddington Road agreement. I wanted to get a figure, but the Minister bluffed in his reply. He told me the savings from the Haddington Road agreement were not relevant to the Vote or the Supplementary Estimates. His response was shocking.
He then said he would provide information "tomorrow". Three times he said on public record that he would provide the information. "Tomorrow" was last Wednesday. We then voted here on Thursday, without the information having been provided. I am used to getting a snide remark from the Minister, who seems aggravated when people ask about taxpayers' money. He said he briefed the media. That reply was issued by the Minister's office to the Clerk of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform on 15 December and is a public document. It says more about the Minister and the people he has doing his bidding for him that he accused me of issuing this. It was a public document that had been issued to the committee on Tuesday, or perhaps Monday, 15 December, but it only came one week after the Vote when we had sought it.
I would like a quick reply from the Minister of State on this amendment - as I want to add a supplementary question - and on whether he can provide a breakdown on a Vote by Vote basis of the savings from the Haddington Road agreement. I have provided time for this, until the end of the year, but the information should already be in the system. I know it will not be possible to produce the information if it is not in the system, but the Minister keeps telling us there have been savings. He mixes up savings happening in the public payroll area, savings that would have happened in any event, with or without an agreement, and masks these savings as a result of the Haddington Road agreement.
I am all in favour of the changes that have happened in the public service, difficult and all as some have been. The biggest cuts were made by Fianna Fáil and minor ones came later. We introduced the various emergency measures and the Government has added to our legislation. All I am asking for is simple information. I am not querying whether the cuts should or should not have been made. They were accepted by the trade unions and their representatives, so there is no argument about them. All I want is a breakdown of the savings, but the Minister gets hostile when asked for a breakdown. He promotes himself as a Minister who supports freedom of information, but he gets hostile when asked to provide information regarding Government expenditure. Perhaps the Minister of State can provide the information I am looking for.