Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Questions (259)

Micheál Martin

Question:

259. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of staff working in the procurement area for major State infrastructure projects in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4584/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

Capital spend within my Department occurs across a wide range of schemes, including the town and village renewal scheme, outdoor recreation infrastructure scheme, the local improvement scheme, the rural regeneration development fund, and libraries investment.

Each of these schemes fund small and medium size capital projects to support rural and community development objectives. For example, under the town and village renewal scheme in 2018, funding for projects ranged in value from €20,000 to €200,000 with 224 areas benefiting. Projects funded by the Department are far below the threshold of a major project with, for example, the public spending code requiring cost benefit assessment or cost effectiveness assessment for capital projects valued at over €20 million. Consequently, there are no staff within the Department specifically dedicated to procurement of major infrastructural projects.

Whilst the projects are of a smaller scale value for money remains vital so as to ensure support for as many communities as possible. It is a condition of funding under these scheme that the relevant local authority, or other funded body, follows EU and national public procurement procedures so as to achieve best value for money.