Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (96)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

96. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent engagements with the National Economic and Social Council. [23188/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) is an independent statutory agency operating under the aegis of my Department. The Council analyses and reports on strategic policy matters relevant to Ireland's economic, social, environmental and sustainable development.

In accordance with the NESDO Act 2006 I have certain functions such as appointing the members of the NESC, presenting reports to Government prior to publication, or prior to laying before the Houses as in the case of the Annual Reports.

NESC provides value as a forum where economic, social and environmental issues can be discussed on a multilateral basis across a variety of actors and sectors and with Government Departments. This is important for policy-making.

The work and associated reports of the NESC provide a unique analysis of the challenges facing Irish society and are an important contribution to policy development as they often have a focus on the strategic and longer-term view. For example, as part of Future Jobs Ireland 2019, NESC will develop policy recommendations for the operation of Transition Teams to manage the impact of economic transition on vulnerable workers and sectors. The project will provide a forward look at the economy in the context of a transition to a low-carbon and more digital future.

Recent reports published by the Council include:

- Climate Change Policy: Getting the Process Right;

- Transport Orientated Development: Assessing Opportunity for Ireland;

- Moving from Welfare to Work: Low Work Intensity Households and the Quality of Supportive Services; and

- Urban Development Land, Housing and Infrastructure: Fixing Ireland’s Broken System.

I brought these reports to Government in advance of publication.

Since becoming Taoiseach, I have made nine appointments to the NESC. Five appointments were made on the basis of nominations from sectoral organisations, as provided for in the legislation. In the independent category, I appointed four members following an open selection process conducted by the Public Appointments Service.

The Council is funded through my Department’s Vote and my Department also has governance responsibilities in relation to the Council.