Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (190)

Dan Boyle

Question:

305 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Finance if the regulations that apply to civil servants being prohibited from contesting local elections should apply to those working with agencies such as the Meteorological Service and the Central Statistics Office; and the plans he has to alter these regulations. [1104/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

Department of Finance Circular 7/99: Civil Servants as Candidates for Local Authority Elections sets out the rules governing civil servants who wish to consider standing for election to local authorities. The Minister for Finance is responsible for the terms and conditions of employment of civil servants, including the rules on seeking election to local authorities and on involvement in politics generally by civil servants.

The Meteorological Office and the Central Statistics Office are an integral part of the Civil Service. The staff who work in these two Government offices are civil servants and as such, the rules regarding civil servants standing as candidates in local authority elections, as stated in Circular 7/99, apply to them as they do to civil servants in Departments-offices generally.

The Deputy will note that staff in some grades in the Civil Service can stand in local elections. Under the terms of Circular 7/99 the position as regards the candidature of civil servants for election to local authorities is as follows: State industrial employees and civil servants in manipulative, sub-clerical and manual grades may stand for election to local authorities; civil servants in clerical grades and in non-manipulative and sub-professional grades in similar salary ranges may stand as candidates at local elections, subject to the condition that the Minister for Finance may, on the recommendation of the Minister in charge of a particular Department, declare that officers engaged in a particular category of work may not so stand; and all other civil servants remain completely barred from standing for election. However, this rule does not apply to a civil servant who holds a position which, after 17 May 1974, has been upgraded through the general restructuring of his or her grade and as a result of which carries a salary maximum above that of clerical officer.

These rules do not apply to personal assistants and special advisers in Minister's offices. The Minister has no plans to amend Circular 7/99 regarding civil servants as candidates for local authority elections.