Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Questions (269)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

269. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide details of the payment of bonuses or other performance related payments and or allowances made to the staff of agencies under the aegis of his Department with a yearly breakdown from 2008 outlining the overall amount paid in each year period and the number of staff that received such payments and or allowances. [10163/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the Civil Service Scheme of performance related awards for posts at the levels of Assistant Secretary and Deputy Secretary the Chief Executive Officers of both the State Examinations Commission and the National Council for Special Education were eligible for awards. This Scheme was terminated in 2009. Awards made to individual officers under this scheme for 2008 are not disclosed as they are confidential and personal to the officers concerned. Details of the operation of this Scheme are available on the Department of Finance website at www.finance.gov.ie. As the Deputy is aware responsibility for FÁS transferred from the then named Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation (D/ETI) to my Department with effect from 1st May 2010. A total of €142,642.75 in bonus payments was paid to top management staff in FÁS in 2008 in respect of work carried out in 2007. This scheme has been suspended indefinitely with no further bonus payments made after 2008.

The payments of increments to civil servants in bodies under the aegis of my Department are linked to performance and there is a minimum standard of performance required to be deemed eligible to progress to the next point of the pay scale appropriate to the grade of the staff member. The latest pay scales for General Service Grades which came into effect on 1 January, 2010, are set out in Circular 28/2009: Revision of pay of Civil Servants available at www.finance.gov.ie/documents/circulars. Because of the number of employees and payroll systems across agencies, providing detailed figures outlining each increment paid in each specific year would involve a disproportionate administrative burden as this information is not collated centrally by this Department.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Questions (270)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

270. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide details of payments made to the CEO or equivalent of all agencies under the aegis of his Department including details of any bonuses, pension entitlements or any other remuneration paid to him or her in 2012. [10180/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The information sought by the Deputy is being collated and will be forwarded as soon as possible.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (271)

Tom Fleming

Question:

271. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an up to date progress report in relation to the construction of new primary and secondary schools in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10278/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that there were four major projects in County Kerry announced under my Department's Five Year Capital Investment Programme.

The construction of new school buildings for Presentation School and Nagle Rice NS in Milltown has been devolved for delivery to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA). The NDFA has recently appointed a Design Team to advance these two projects which are currently scheduled for delivery during 2014/2015.

My Department is also delivering a Major School Building Project at SN Breandan Naofa, Blennerville which is currently at an early stage of Architectural Planning. This project is to progress to construction in 2015/16.

Furthermore, devolved funding for the provision of 8 Mainstream Classrooms in St. Oliver's N.S., Killarney has been approved under the Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme. The project is currently at tender stage.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (272)

Brendan Smith

Question:

272. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed building project for a school (details supplied) in County Cavan; the present stage of this project; when the project is likely to proceed to the next stage; the likely timescale for construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10345/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an early stage of architectural planning. A Revised Stage 2(a) Submission is currently with my Department for review. Once this Review is complete, and subject to no further issues arising, the project will progress to Stage 2b which includes applications for Planning Permission, Fire Safety Certification, Disability Access Certification and the preparation of tender documents.

Due to competing demands on my Department's capital budget, imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include this project in the five year construction programme.

Schools which have not been included in the five year construction programme, but which were announced for initial inclusion in the building programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to my Department in future years. The project referred to by the Deputy remains available to be considered for progression in that context.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (273)

Brendan Smith

Question:

273. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed building project for a school (details supplied) in County Cavan; the present stage of this project; when the project is likely to proceed to the next stage; the likely timescale for construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10346/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Major Building Project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an early stage of architectural planning.

The Stage 2a submission is currently with my Department for review. Once the review is complete, subject to no issues arising, the project will progress to Stage 2b which includes applications for Planning Permission, Fire Safety Certification, Disability Access Certification and the preparation of tender documents.

Due to competing demands on my Department's capital budget, imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include this project in the five year construction programme. Schools which have not been included in the five year construction programme, but which were announced for initial inclusion in the building programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to my Department in future years. The project referred to by the Deputy remains available to be considered for progression in that context.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (274)

Brendan Smith

Question:

274. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed building project for a school (details supplied) in County Cavan; the present stage of this project; when the project is likely to proceed to the next stage; and the likely timescale for construction. [10347/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Major Building Project for the school referred to by the Deputy is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning. The Design Team are currently working on Stage 2(b) of the project which includes application for Planning Permission, Fire Certification, Disability Access Certification (DAC) and the preparation of tender documents. Due to competing demands on the Department's capital budget, imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements, it was not possible to include this project in the five year construction programme announced last year. Schools which have not been included in the five year construction programme, but which were announced for initial inclusion in the building programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to the Department in future years. The project referred to by the Deputy remains available to be considered for progression in that context.

Courses Accreditation

Questions (275)

Seán Kyne

Question:

275. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the educational course (details supplied) is not a course recognised by his Department and if he appreciates the way this lack of recognition acts as a barrier to accessing educational or social welfare supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10351/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the Department's student grant scheme, eligible students may receive funding provided they are attending an approved course at an approved institution as defined in the scheme.

I understand that the course referred to by the Deputy does not meet these criteria.

The Deputy will appreciate that, in the current economic climate, I am not in a position to consider any extension of the list of approved institutions.

Eligibility for welfare support is determined and administered by the Department of Social Protection. Any changes to its qualifying criteria are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Social Protection.

Student Grant Scheme Appeals

Questions (276)

Finian McGrath

Question:

276. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a Student Universal Support Ireland appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9. [10422/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that the student in question appealed the original decision on his grant application to the appeals officer in SUSI and the original decision was overturned.

The grant application was reassessed and a letter issued to the student on 6th February 2013 requesting further documentation. When the requested documentation is returned the student will be notified directly of the outcome.

Departmental Strategies

Questions (277)

David Stanton

Question:

277. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way in which his Department oversees and monitors eGovernment development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9620/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Department for Public Expenditure and Reform is responsible for developing and coordinating the implementation of eGovernment Policy for the non-commercial public sector.

Since eGovernment 2012-2015 was launched in April 2012, my Department has been promoting awareness of the content of the Strategy, through bilateral meetings with Public Bodies to agree approaches to progressing and reporting on actions in the Strategy. My Department has also organised a series of events promoting elements of the Strategy, and will arrange further events during 2013.

The strategy contains 44 actions across eight key priority areas. The specific implementation of the actions is the responsibility of each Department and agency.

Action 45 of the Strategy sets out the governance arrangements to ensure that progress with eGovernment plans is appropriately monitored. To facilitate easier reporting by Public Bodies a new website, e.gov.ie, was launched on 23 January 2013. A first progress report under eGovernment 2012-2015 will be prepared by the end of the first quarter of this year. I intend to make this report publicly available.

Flood Prevention Measures

Questions (278)

John McGuinness

Question:

278. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans, if any, to provide a flood relief scheme for an area (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if the town has been surveyed for such a scheme; if so, the estimated cost of carrying out such major works; the timeframe for planning and completing such a scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9721/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

On foot of an application from Kilkenny County Council under the Minor Flood Works Scheme, the OPW allocated funding of €198,000 in 2010 for flood mitigation works at this location, consisting of channel cleaning and construction of a wall along the River Barrow. A total of €52,185 has been drawn down by the Council to date.

The Council reported in late 2012 that, following an initial investigation, it has been concluded that the design of appropriate mitigation measures would necessitate further examination by an expert hydrogeologist of the relationship between groundwater and river levels during flood events. Further site investigation and monitoring has been undertaken and the Council is awaiting the report of this assessment.

Further funding of €36,000 was allocated to the Council in 2011 for removal of silt from the River Duiske. This work has not been undertaken to date due to the location being within a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Telecommunications Services Expenditure

Questions (279)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

279. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the income the State receives from telecommunications companies in exchange for the siting of telecommunications masts on land space at Garda stations in each year since the arrangement was begun; the terms under which the masts were allowed to be constructed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9819/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The information sought by the Deputy in relation to the income to the state arising from telecommunication companies is currently being collated and a detailed response will issue within a week.

EU Funding

Questions (280)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

280. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way the European Regional Development Fund is operated; the number of companies here that have availed of direct aid to investment in companies in the last five years; the percentage of funding that can be availed of over and above any State funding particularly in the area of manufacturers developing or making more environmentally friendly products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9894/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Projects co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund are funded in the first instance by a public grant from a Public Beneficiary Body. The Exchequer may subsequently recoup an element of this public grant from the European Commission, subject to EU eligibility criteria. ERDF funding is not a direct aid to investment, however, nor does it supplement State funding. Full details of Ireland’s Structural Funds programme may be found at eustructuralfunds.gov.ie.

For the 2007-2013 ERDF funding period companies developing or manufacturing more environmentally friendly product may be assisted by the appropriate Public Bodies, i.e. County Enterprise Boards and Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Questions (281)

Jack Wall

Question:

281. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reasons the Office of Public Works has not engaged with any of the State agencies regarding ensuring places for an apprenticeship programme that would allow the many craftsmen within the OPW to be part of a training programme that would protect the crafts such as French polishing, cabinet making, carpentry, upholstery and so on that are a part of the OPW by the training of apprentices in such crafts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10024/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has a long and successful history of involvement with the State training agencies in the area of apprenticeships. Over the years the OPW has worked closely with the various bodies such as FÁS (previously ANCO), Teagasc and the colleges of technology in a variety of endeavours, ranging from the provision of training placements for redundant apprentices, to the development of craft curricula for different trades. A programme has operated to engage between 60 and 75 apprentices on a rolling basis over the last 3-4 years, with the final placement due to complete shortly. The OPW is currently reviewing its own apprenticeship requirements and should resources permit, may be in a position to recruit further apprentices later this year.

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Questions (282)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

282. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in view of a reoccurring flooding problem in Sneem, County Kerry which affects a number of properties and actually endangers public safety, if funding will be provided to carry out the work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10259/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Following an examination and inspections, the OPW has identified mitigation measures that may provide a solution to the flooding problem in Sneem. The OPW will carry out further analysis of the viability and effectiveness of these measures over the Summer including preliminary quantification of their costs and benefits with a view to discussing with Kerry County Council the appropriate way to proceed. The provision of funding for any agreed mitigation measures will be considered at that point, having regard to the overall availability of funding for flood risk management.

State Properties

Questions (283, 284, 285)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

283. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the extent, and estimated value, of property held in trust by the State further to Section 28 (2) of the State Property Act 1954, which provides that the State in the person of the Minister assumes responsibility for all personal property and land vested in or held in trust for a dissolved body corporate other than personal property or land held by such body in trust for another person immediately prior to its dissolution and that upon the dissolution of the body corporate, such property becomes State property; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9603/13]

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

284. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform at the time when function transferred in July 2011 to him under the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act, 2011 and S.I. No. 418/2011 Finance (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2011, the estimated extent and value of property held by the State under these provisions for upwards of twenty years; and, since the effect of Section 28 is that the Minister does not hold the assets of dissolved companies as beneficial owner, but holds them in trust, if the dissolved company is restored to the Register of Companies within twenty years of the date of its dissolution, and its property is automatically restored to it, the arrangements that apply if the title is not restored to the company / corporate body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9604/13]

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

285. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of occasions since June 1977 when the state, further to the State Property Act, Section 31 has waived the interest acquired under Section 28 of the Act; if he will publish a schedule of the beneficiaries of such waivers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9605/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 283 to 285, inclusive, together.

By virtue of section 28 of the State Property Act 1954 all real and personal property held by a company at the time of its dissolution (with the exception of property held in trust by a company for another person) is vested in the State upon the dissolution of a company subject to any incumbrances or charges affecting the property immediately before the dissolution.

Because the only persons with a complete view of the assets held by a company at the time of its dissolution are the directors and officers of the company, the Minister only becomes aware that assets have vested in the State upon notification by an interested party.

Section 31 of the Act confers on the Minister power to waive the interest that has vested in the State. Separately under the provisions of the Companies Acts, once a company is restored to the Register of Companies, it becomes entitled to its property as if it had never lost it. The total value of the personal property held by the Minister arising from the proceeds of bank accounts of dissolved companies, as represented by the balance in the State Property Miscellaneous Deposits Account, is of the order of €2.5m. No overall valuation exercise has been carried out on real estate that has vested in the Minister.

Records are not kept in a format that would facilitate the compilation of the statistics sought by the Deputy (for example, covering the period 1977-2013). In such circumstances, compilation would give rise to a gravely disproportionate expenditure of public service staff time. If the Deputy is interested in a particular case, however, I will endeavour to arrange for relevant details to be provided to her.

Prison Service Overtime

Questions (286, 297)

Robert Troy

Question:

286. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will ensure that workers of the Irish Prison Service, who consistently work unsocial hours, will not lose all payments for this work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9615/13]

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

297. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will state his policy that is in place in the event of failure to secure agreement in national discussions with trade unions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4040/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 286 and 297 together

Following intensive engagement in recent days between the public service management and public service staff representatives which was facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), the LRC has developed and recommended a set of proposals for consideration and agreement that seeks to secure the savings required by the Exchequer while ameliorating the impacts on public service staff to the greatest extent possible. These proposals include specific cost saving measures in the Prison Service. Public servants will be able to consider the full set of proposals by the LRC which will be available shortly and the public service staff representatives who remained in negotiations have indicated that these proposals will be subject to ballot by members. The Government will await the outcome to this process.

National Monuments

Questions (287)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

287. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on a matter regarding an Office of Public Works site (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9617/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The opening and closing dates of Skellig Michael for visitors in 2013 will be 17th May to 30th September.

As is normal, the effective operational date for the Monument is required to be approx 2 to 3 weeks in advance of the public opening and the Office of Public Works (OPW) staff will therefore be travelling to the island from approx late April/early May, weather permitting. This is so that the site can be prepared to receive visitors and significant Health and Safety preparations for the season carried out. In particular, the site will be fully assessed after the winter, any hazards cleared from public areas and any necessary repairs carried out.

Departmental Contracts

Questions (288)

Joan Collins

Question:

288. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total amount spent on outsourced security services in the State Laboratories for 2012; and if he will provide details of the companies providing these services. [9908/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Due to reasons of commercial sensitivity (given that the contract for provision of facilities management services for laboratories based at the Backweston Campus, Celbridge, Co Kildare, will shortly be going out to tender), it would not be appropriate for me to provide the Deputy with the information sought.

Departmental Contracts

Questions (289)

Joan Collins

Question:

289. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total amount spent on outsourced cleaning services in State Laboratories for 2012; and if he will provide details of the companies providing these services. [9909/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Due to reasons of commercial sensitivity (given that the contract for provision of facilities management services for laboratories based at the Backweston Campus, Celbridge, Co Kildare, will shortly be going out to tender), it would not be appropriate for me to provide the Deputy with the information sought.

Oireachtas Members' Remuneration

Questions (290)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

290. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the cuts that have taken place to Ministers and TDs salaries and allowances since the beginning of the crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10116/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Significant reductions have been effected to the pay, allowances and expenses of Ministers and TDs through a number of measures since 2009.

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts of 2009 introduced a progressive pension related deduction, to apply from March 2009, and a reduction in remuneration, effective from January 2010, respectively, for all public servants, including Ministers and TDs. Also in 2009, the Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Acts of 2009 abolished the payment of long service increments (LSIs) to members from the formation of the current Oireachtas. As LSIs are no longer payable, current Members of the Dáil and Seanad will not have LSIs included in their pension calculations, regardless of whether or not they had been at one time in receipt of those increments.

Under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010, a further reduction in pay was imposed on the remuneration of members of the then Cabinet. This Government itself imposed a policy of strong pay reduction and restraint since taking office in March 2011 with the pay of all members of the Government voluntarily reduced from its first day in Office. Section 6 (c) of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Amendment) Act, 2011 provided the legislative basis for these pay reductions from 1 January 2012. The effect of these reductions is that the gross annual salary of An Taoiseach has been reduced by nearly 30% since December 2009, and that of the Tánaiste and Ministers by nearly 25% from December 2009, excluding the impact of the pension related deduction.

In relation to allowances in the nature of pay, following reductions and abolitions by the previous Government to a number of allowances related to Committees, the system of allowances paid to Members was substantially overhauled by this Government in 2011 upon taking office. The rate of allowances paid to Chairpersons of Oireachtas Committees and to Commission Members were reduced further, representing reductions in the region of 50% on the June 2009 rates. The total estimated cost of the current measures in respect of these allowances is now less than €400,000, compared to a cost in 2008 of €1.436 million.

In the context of the Expenditure Estimates for 2013, I announced that a 10% reduction will be applied to the Party Leaders’ Allowance rates payable to qualifying leaders of political parties and to qualifying independent members. I also announced that severance payments payable to Ministers and other Officeholders upon cessation of Office are to be abolished. My Department has already commenced preparations on the changes to primary legislation necessary to effect those changes.

Prior to the introduction of the new Parliamentary Standard Allowance expenses regime from 1 March 2010, the previous expenses regime had been reduced by 10%, except for mileage which had been reduced by 25% in the case of mileage.

Since 1 May 2011, Cabinet Ministers with the exception of Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Law Reform now use their own cars on official business. Ministers of State have used their own cars on official business since 1984. It was estimated at the time that the saving to be achieved in not supplying State cars to Cabinet Ministers was of the order of €4m per annum.

In December 2012, I announced further cuts to the Oireachtas expense allowance regime as follows:

(i) reduced the rates of the Travel and Accommodation [TAA] element of the allowance by 25% for Dublin (less than 25km) and by 10% for the other bands,

(ii) eliminated the unvouched element of the Public Representational Allowance [PRA], subject to permitting monthly expenditure in the nature of “petty cash” for incidental expenses per month of €100 for each Deputy and €75 for each Senator [and subject to limits in (iii) below], and

(iii) reduced the vouched expenditure limits under the PRA to €20,350 for Deputies, €16,000 for Minister and Minister of Sate, and €12,225 for Senators.

It also reduced the monthly pre-paid envelope allowance for Deputies and Senators by 50%, to 625 for Deputies and 375 for Senators, and to eliminate the unvouched options of the secretarial support allowances.

All of these changes have resulted in, and will generate future, significant financial savings to the Exchequer. It is my intention to continue to ensure that the greatest value for money can be achieved in relation to payments made to members of the Houses of the Oireachtas on an ongoing basis.