Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Questions (403)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

403. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the actions that will be taken to redress reported reductions in staff numbers at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission; the current number of vacancies at the commission; and when these posts will be filled. [11601/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission that their current whole time equivalent staffing level is 76.6. This figure does not include the three members of the Commission or members of the Garda Síochána on secondment with the Ombudsman Commission.

The Moratorium on Public Service Recruitment applies to the Ombudsman Commission and, like all areas of the Civil/Public Service, it is subject to staffing restrictions. Accordingly the Ombudsman Commission is expected to manage and prioritise work and to seek efficiencies where they can. Exceptions to the Moratorium have been granted to the Ombudsman Commission for key priority areas on a number of occasions, particularly in the operations area.

Decisions on requests for exceptions to the Moratorium for the Ombudsman Commission are made by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. My Department acts as a conduit for requests from the Ombudsman Commission (as well as a number of other bodies under the aegis of the Department) in the contacts with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The factors to be considered in filling posts would include whether the post is essential to meet the business needs of the organisation, the achievement of the overall reduction in public service numbers and the application of the additional hours available from the Haddington Road Agreement. These additional hours represent the equivalent of an additional 6.5% staff in full time equivalent terms. My Department will continue to liaise with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to requests from the Ombudsman Commission for exceptions to the Moratorium.