I propose to take Questions Nos. 112 to 114, inclusive, and 119 to 121, inclusive, together.
The Government is making good progress on achieving all of our targets and priorities, as articulated in the Government Programme. We are bringing public expenditure back to a sustainable level and driving forward the public service reform agenda to ensure that efficiencies and reformed work practices play a full part in contributing to the overall budgetary consolidation effort.
As regards discussions with the Troika regarding the achievements made to date, there has been a series of meetings held with the Troika to appraise all the elements of the Programme covering fiscal developments, the macroeconomic outlook, progress on commitments regarding restructuring of the financial sector and structural reform. A substantial number of actions – over 200 taking into account Q1 2013 - have now been completed. Ireland’s continued strong implementation record has been recognised by our European Partners, by the IMF and by the financial markets despite the continuing deterioration of the international economy and the recent return to uncertainty. The Programme remains well financed and we have already started to regain market access as envisaged with a number of successful initiatives this year. As we have said repeatedly, the Government remains focused on achieving our commitments as set under the EU/IMF programme, including the fiscal targets.
With regard to cost cutting measures, the Government began its process of medium-term expenditure management with the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) exercise in 2011, which was carried out by all Departments to identify ways of reducing expenditure, in line with commitments under the Joint EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland. Ministerial expenditure ceilings for 2012 - 2014 were introduced in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report, published in December 2011, which were set in line with consolidation targets over the medium term. The arrangements for these three-year ceilings will be put onto a statutory footing following the enactment of the Ministers & Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2012 later this year.
While good progress has been made on delivering savings and implementing change, it remains a matter for each Minister and their Departments to ensure that the Vote-level allocations are adhered to and at the same time ensure that they continue to provide essential services and respond to increasing demands.
The annual detail Revised Estimates Volume (REV) 2013 sets out details of the financial allocations for each Department and, as part of our expenditure reform initiative, it also contains performance information on the key outputs and outcomes being delivered by Departments through the use of public funds. This information has been built into the heart of the budgetary documentation. Through performance budgeting, Dail Committees will in future know what public service outputs and outcomes are being delivered with public funds and this can inform their work and discussion.
The REV 2013 (published yesterday) shows, for each key area of Government spend, output and performance information for 2012 and targets for 2013.