Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (712)

Anne Rabbitte


712. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health if he or his officials or political staff were recipients of tickets and-or hospitality from an organisation (details supplied) during the term of office of a person; the details of each occasion tickets and-or hospitality was provided by the organisation during this period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18764/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I am regularly invited to attend games by the organisation and I have attended on one occasion. From my recollection, it was Ireland V Austria in June 2017. My political staff have not received tickets and or hospitality from the named organisation.

Civil servants who occupy positions which are "designated positions" for purposes of the Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995 and 2001 (the Ethics Acts) have certain statutory obligations in relation to disclosure of interests. Those obligations are additional to any which apply generally to civil servants under the provisions of the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour.

In summary, established civil servants at Principal Officer level and upwards are affected by the provisions of the Ethics Acts. The Ethics Acts also apply to a range of less senior positions (e.g. posts dealing with contracts or in commercially sensitive areas), and to advisors who are appointed personally by Ministers, and who serve as unestablished civil servants for the length of their Minister's tenure of office.

In general under the Ethics Acts and Civil Service Code all office holders are expected to adhere to the fundamental principle that an offer of gifts, hospitality or services should not be accepted where it would, or might appear to, place him or her under an obligation.

On five occasions, officials from the Health and Wellbeing Programme in the Department of Health have received invitations to attend Republic of Ireland national team matches, as part of attendance at conferences or other events which officials attend in the course of cross - Government activity to improve levels of physical activity. These were:

15 October 2013: FAI Stakeholders Conference “Positive Partnerships” followed by the Republic of Ireland Vs Kazakhstan;

18 November 2014: Launch of Project Futsal research report followed by Republic of Ireland vs USA;

08 October 2015: FAI Positive Partnerships Conference followed by Republic of Ireland vs Germany;

6 October 2017: FAI Stakeholders Conference “Positive Partnerships” followed by the Republic of Ireland vs Moldova;

16 October 2018: meeting of the “More Than A Club” Steering Committee, followed by Republic of Ireland vs Wales.