Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (139)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

139. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of capital projects within the remit of his Department; the amount spent on each project to date; and the anticipated completion date. [34203/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The total capital allocation for my Department in 2019 across its two Votes - Vote 27: International Co-operation and Vote 28: Foreign Affairs and Trade - is €21 million. The corresponding 2018 capital allocation, in the first year of Project Ireland 2040/National Development Plan 2018-2027, was €13 million.

Capital investment in 2019, as was also the case in 2018, is focussed on (a) the cost of constructing and maintaining State properties overseas under Global Ireland 2025, (b) the ongoing Passport Reform Programme, (c) Ireland’s participation at EXPO 2020 and (d) the continuing investment in ICT to support the Department’s global ICT network.

The projected breakdown of the 2019 capital allocation of €21 million, across the various areas referred to above, is as follows:

-

2019

State properties overseas  

€8.5 million  

Passport Reform Programme  

€5.5 million  

EXPO 2020  

€4.0 million  

ICT

€3.0 million  

Total

€21 million

Insofar as the 2019 budgets for State properties overseas are concerned, details of the major current projects follow. The main building works at the Permanent Mission to the UN in New York were recently completed and it is anticipated that these will come in within the budget cost of €5.6 million. Preliminary site works are under way to facilitate the construction of a new Embassy/Ireland House in Tokyo. This project is currently under tender for design and management with construction tendering expected to be completed in 2020.  Tendering for the construction of new Chancery and Official Accommodation buildings in Abuja, Nigeria, is expected to take place in 2020. In 2018, the Department purchased a building adjacent to the Washington D.C. Chancery to facilitate its expansion. This project is under design and development.

Under the ongoing Passport Reform Programme, the main projects due for completion in 2019 will be the automated mailing project, the business process automation project, the bedding-in of the improvements to the online renewals service, ongoing improvement to customer systems, and the commencement of the Passport Integrated Processing System. The overall budget for the Passport Reform Programme of €21.4 million, for the period 2015-2021, is on target, in line with the business case.

An allocation of €4 million in 2019 is provided for building costs associated with Ireland’s participation in EXPO 2020 in Dubai.  Ireland’s national Pavilion is being designed by the Office of Public Works.  The total capital cost of the pavilion will be €5 million and is expected to come in on budget. EXPO 2020 is expected to attract some 25 million visitors.  In a competitive global environment, participation will promote increased awareness of Ireland in the UAE and other key markets as a place to do business and as a destination for FDI post-Brexit.  Ireland’s presence will also aim to support trade and tourism opportunities for Ireland in the UAE and wider Gulf region.

For 2019 there are also smaller planned capital projects in respect of ICT Services comprising infrastructure upgrades, roll-out of new business systems and improved communications technology. Provision is also being made for ICT services to new Missions under Global Ireland 2025.