Legislative Measures

Questions (169)

Barry Cowen

Question:

169. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the civil service regulation (amendment) Bill will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44763/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Civil Service Regulation (Amendment) Bill has priority status for publication this session. While this is a relatively short Bill, there are a number of legal matters that need to be resolved before the Bill can be finalised for publication. Officials in my Department and in the Office of the Attorney General are working on the drafting of this Bill. When this drafting process is finalised I will seek Government approval to publish the Bill.

State Bodies Data

Questions (170)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

170. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount collected by way of dividend from commercial semi-State companies in each of the past five years to date by amount and company in tabular form; the policy in respect of dividend payments to the Exchequer from commercial semi-State bodies; the way in which they are redistributed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44833/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Historically, there have not been comprehensive central guidelines for State companies regarding dividend policy although, traditionally, dividends of approximately 30% of profits after tax have been sought and expected from most commercial State companies.

NewERA, in conjunction with the relevant Government Departments, has developed a Shareholder Expectations Framework which is intended to provide clarity and guidance for each of the companies within its remit in relation to the Government's strategic priorities, policy objectives, and financial performance and reporting requirements. One of the key areas addressed as part of this shareholder expectations framework is dividend policy.

Dividends, when received, are lodged to the Central Fund from where they are used to fulfill the commitments outlined through the annual Budget and Estimates process. Dividends received for the last five years are set out in the following table.

€'millions

10 months to 31/10/2019

12 months to 31/12/2018

12 months to 31/12/2017

12 months to 31/12/2016

12 months to 31/12/2015

Bord na Móna

Note 1

0.00

0.00

2.33

3.76

10.14

Coillte

Note 2

0.00

15.00

8.00

7.20

4.00

EirGrid plc

4.00

4.00

4.00

3.50

3.00

Ervia

Note 3

54.40

139.09

148.44

134.66

151.03

ESB

Note 4

4.77

33.06

109.97

82.17

258.72

daa

40.00

37.40

29.10

18.30

0.00

IAA

Note 5

19.52

19.46

9.25

7.43

6.54

Dublin Port

Note 6

0.00

12.17

11.71

10.91

8.80

Port of Cork

0.25

0.71

0.69

0.67

0.65

Shannon Foynes

0.35

0.30

0.25

0.20

0.10

Port of Waterford

0.33

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

Note 1: The Exchequer receives 95% of Bord na Móna dividends paid and Bord na Mona ESOP receives 5% in line with their respective shareholding percentages.

Note 2: Coillte have typically paid dividends to the Exchequer in December of each year.

Note 3: Ervia's dividends are comprised of ordinary and special dividends. Special dividends relate to the proceeds of the disposal of Bord Gáis Energy ("BGÉ"). See the table below for an analysis of Ervia's dividends between ordinary and special:

Ervia Dividends

10 months to 31/10/2019

12 months to 31/12/2018

12 months to 31/12/2017

12 months to 31/12/2016

12 months to 31/12/2015

Ordinary

54.4

49.1

48.4

34.7

51.0

Special (BGÉ)

-

90.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Total

54.4

139.1

148.4

134.7

151.0

Note 4: The Exchequer receives c.95% of ESB dividends paid and ESB ESOP receives c.5% in line with their respective shareholding percentages. ESB's 2015 dividends paid was comprised of €58m ordinary dividends and €214m special dividends. Special dividends paid related to the disposal of non-strategic assets.

Note 5: In 2019 IAA paid a normal dividend of €7.5m and special dividend of €12m. Similarly, in 2018 IAA paid a normal dividend of €7.5m and a special dividend of €12m.

Note 6: The Board of Dublin Port Company declared a dividend of 10% of 2018 PAT equating to €4.1m during H2 2019.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (171)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

171. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of full and part-time staff employed in his Department; the number of such staff being paid at the minimum wage rate of pay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44851/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I wish to inform the Deputy that none of the staff in my Department are being paid at or less than the National Minimum Wage rate of pay that currently stands at €9.80 per hour.

Office of Public Works Properties

Questions (172)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

172. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the action taken by the OPW in circumstances in which a wall which is its responsibility has fallen into the river Thonogue at Ballylooby, County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44964/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

My officials are making inquiries into the issue raised by the Deputy and I will respond to the Deputy directly on this matter.

Forensic Science Ireland Laboratory

Questions (173)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

173. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if construction works on the new Forensic Science Ireland Laboratory at Backweston, County Kildare has commenced; if not, when construction works will commence; and the budget allocated for same. [44995/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Forensic Science Ireland Laboratory Project at the Backweston campus, the delivery of this project is managed by the Office of Public Works. A preferred Main Contractor has been identified. The reserved specialist tender submissions were received on 27th September 2019. Currently, these tender submissions are been assessed which is expected to be complete in early November 2019. As with the Main Contractor, a Letter of Intent has to be issued with a 14 calendar day standstill period from the date of this letter.

Please note that no contract will be awarded until that process is complete and the necessary pre-contract meeting takes place and required assurances are subsequently received. It is anticipated this process will be complete in Q4 2019. It is anticipated that construction will start by the end of Q4 2019 with a view that construction be complete in late 2021/early 2022.

Office of Public Works Projects

Questions (174)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

174. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount the OPW has spent on Transaer House, Dublin Airport to date; and the date on which the OPW will and-or has handed this building over to An Garda Síochána. [44996/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The annual expenditure to date on Transaer House, Dublin Airport by the Office of Public Works is approximately €4.4 m and comprises of all project expenditure including design team fees, surveys, opening up works, per cent for art allowance, construction works and VAT. The project reached substantial completion and was handed over to An Garda Síochána on 29th April, 2019.

Garda Stations

Questions (175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

175. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a budget was established regarding the new Kevin Street Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45014/19]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

176. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there were investigation contracts carried out in relation to the new Kevin Street Garda station; if so, the number of such contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45015/19]

View answer

Catherine Murphy

Question:

177. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a pre-tender estimate was prepared in relation to the new Kevin Street Garda station; if so, the number of pre-tender estimates assembled; and if the project was fully predesigned. [45016/19]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

178. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the value of the accepted tender in relation to the new Kevin Street Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45017/19]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

179. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date of tender regarding the new Kevin Street Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45018/19]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

180. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the out-turn cost regarding the new Kevin Street Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45019/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 175 to 180, inclusive, together.

The new Kevin St. Garda Station was procured in two phases. The first phase involved the demolition of existing buildings, deep excavation and piling. In addition to detailed geotechnical site investigations, adjoining building surveys were completed and an extensive programme of archaeological investigations was also carried out as part of that project.

The second phase, which involved the construction of the new station, was tendered on 1 August 2014. A pre-tender cost exercise was carried out in 2014 and it was fully designed prior to tenders issuing. The contract was subsequently awarded on 30 January 2015 in the sum of €27,480,604.70 excluding VAT. The project budget was fully established at that stage.

It is not possible, at this stage, to disclose the final cost of the project as agreement could not be reached with the contractor and the matter has now been referred to conciliation.

During the 2012-2014 period, the project was being procured as part of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract. A cost plan exercise was carried out during this period in 2010, however the project did not proceed as a PPP contract. The project was on hold prior to the PPP procurement process.

Departmental Contracts Data

Questions (181)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

181. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of contracts of €25,000 or more that have been awarded by his Department or bodies under his aegis that were found to be non-compliant with procurement guidelines in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45069/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

As the Deputy may be aware, my Department has confirmed as part of its Appropriation Accounts for 2017 and 2018 that it has ensured, among other things, that there is an appropriate focus on good practice in purchasing and that procedures are in place to ensure compliance with all relevant guidelines. The Comptroller and Auditor General has carried out reviews of a broad sample of procurements valued over €25,000 in the context of the audits of the Department’s Appropriation Accounts in respect of those years and no substantive issues arise.

In respect of 2017 and 2018, the Department noted in its Appropriation Accounts that it was unable to follow standard public procurement policy with two procurements due to unique circumstances, for which the procurement policy allows. It was required in 2017 to modify an IT system at short notice to safeguard EU funding and, in both 2017 and 2018, it had to use a data centre’s own supplier within its secure environment.

The Deputy may also wish to note that my Department updated its Internal Procurement Policy in January 2018 to reflect the OGP procurement guidelines published in July 2017. The revised procurement policy, among other things, provides for the carrying out of randomly chosen internal reviews by my Department’s Procurement Officer to ensure that the policy is being complied with. In this context, all procurements processes have been found to be compliant with my Department’s procurement policy for 2019.

With regard to the bodies under the aegis of my Department, I am advised that the Office of Public Works will respond directly to the Deputy.

The position on this question in respect of the other bodies under the aegis of my Department is set out in the following table.

Public Appointments Service

2017

Oracle annual software maintenance

For this contract, no competitive tender process was possible as this is the sole provider of support and maintenance on proprietary database.

2018

Oracle annual software maintenance

For this contract, no competitive tender process was possible as this is the sole provider of support and maintenance on proprietary database.

Emerald Facility Services

Existing contract extended as tender put on hold pending decision on long term status of premises by OPW.

Grant Thornton – Consultancy Services

A second extension of €22,250 on this contract was found to be outside the terms of the contract and therefore non-compliant, the total expenditure on the contract for the year was €219,550.

2019

Oracle annual software maintenance

For this contract, no competitive tender process was possible as this is the sole provider of support and maintenance on proprietary database.

Emerald Facility Services

Existing contract extended as tender put on hold pending decision on long term status of premises by OPW

National Shared Service Office

2018

Professional Training and Consulting

RFQ process followed as value was expected to be less than €25,000. However, new recruitment necessitated an additional rollout of the training at short notice, in what was a specialised subject matter. Given the increased value of the contract, an RFT process should have applied.

Ernst & Young - 'Quality Assurance & Risk'

Contract procured according to procurement guidelines, however, the estimated contract value was exceeded. The NSSO continued the engagement due to the critical nature of the work being done, which was at an advanced stage. Returning to the market would have presented an economic disadvantage due to duplication of costs and resulted in a significant loss in value for money.

State Laboratory

2017

Gas Suppliers

Supply of laboratory gases following expiry of the contract in March 2017. There was a delay in establishing a Framework Agreement for this requirement.

2018

Gas Suppliers

Supply of laboratory gases following expiry of the contract in March 2017. There was a delay in establishing a Framework Agreement for this requirement.

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Questions (182)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

182. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the level of funding issued for flood defence schemes in each county from 2009 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45083/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The following table sets out the level of capital expenditure invested in the flood risk management area from 2009 to date. The figures, which total approximately €434m, include expenditure on major flood relief schemes, contributions to Local Authorities under the Office of Public Works' (OPW) Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection (Minor Works) Scheme and payments to Local Authorities in 2014 and 2015 for the repair of damaged public coastal defence infrastructure following the storm which affected the western seaboard in December 2013 and January 2014. The figures do not include expenditure on non-county specific flood risk management measures and programmes primarily the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme.

County

Level of Expenditure (rounded to nearest €0.5m in most cases)

County

Level of Expenditure (rounded to nearest €0.5m in most cases)

Carlow

€6.0m

Cavan

€0.5m

Clare

€39.0m

Cork

€148.0m

Donegal

€2.5m

Dublin

€42.0m

Galway

€27.5m

Kerry

€5.5m

Kildare

€6.5m

Kilkenny

€2.0m

Laois

€0.2m

Leitrim

€1.5m

Limerick

€8.5m

Longford

€1.0m

Louth

€1.5m

Mayo

€7.0m

Meath

€9.0m

Monaghan

€1.5m

Offaly

€2.5m

Roscommon

€2.0m

Sligo

€1.0m

Tipperary

€39.0m

Waterford

€21.5m

Westmeath

€4.5m

Wexford

€9.5m

Wicklow

€44.0m

Expenditure on flood risk management by the OPW underpins a comprehensive programme of investment in capital works and other non structural measures which aims to address the most significant areas of flood risk nationally. 44 major flood relief schemes have been completed since 1995, 11 schemes are currently under construction, 80 projects are at active design/planning stage while a further 62 projects will be advanced through design over the coming years. In addition, over 550 localised projects nationwide have been completed by Local Authorities under the Minor Works Scheme. Overall, the Government's National Development Plan 2018-2027 provides for investment of up to €1 billion on flood risk management with the aim of providing protection to 95% of properties assessed to be at risk.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (183)

Michael McGrath

Question:

183. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the meetings he has attended since his appointment in relation to the national children’s hospital; the date of each meeting; the persons in attendance; the subject matter of each meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45102/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Since my appointment as Minister in summer 2016, I have had numerous meetings at which the National Children’s Hospital may have been discussed. These include meetings with my officials, with officials from the Department of Health, with political colleagues and, of course, with the Minister for Health, with whom I have met at least 50 times in Government Buildings during this time according to my official diary. The National Children’s Hospital would have been discussed at some of these meetings.

I am happy to tell the Deputy that work continues to progress on the St. James’ hospital site. Once completed, the new National Children’s Hospital will provide the highest possible standard of treatment and care to children, young people and their families who require access to national tertiary and quaternary paediatric services.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (184)

Michael McGrath

Question:

184. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of meetings he has attended since his appointment in relation to the national broadband plan; the date of each meeting; the persons in attendance; the subject matter of each meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45104/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is a major infrastructural project. It aims to radically change the broadband landscape in this country, will involve State investment of up to €3bn, and will reach over half a million premises covered by the "Intervention Area".

As such, since my appointment as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in May 2016, and particularly over the last 12 months, I have had numerous meetings that would have included a discussion on the topic of the NBP, either formally or informally - such as on the margins of Cabinet or other meetings.

In particular, my Department and I have engaged on an ongoing basis with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, and officials of that Department, throughout the process in relation to the economic appraisal of the NBP, as well as the cost and affordability of the project. However, meetings have also taken place with the Taoiseach and his officials, with other Ministerial colleagues, including at Cabinet, and with Oireachtas Committees, amongst others.

Against this background, the Deputy will appreciate that it would be impossible for me to try to provide a comprehensive list of every time I discussed this major project at any meeting I attended since my appointment as Minister.

Garda Accommodation

Questions (185)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

185. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding will be made available without delay to ensure that remedial works can be carried out at Emyvale Garda station; the timeline for the expected completion of the works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45264/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Public Works is working with the Garda Authorities on the provision of accommodation for Emyvale Garda Station. The existing damaged station has been demolished and works are underway in the former married quarters to provide accommodation for the Garda, as an interim measure. It is expected that these works will be completed in a matter of weeks.

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Questions (186)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

186. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date he last met officials in relation to the Glanmire flood relief works. [45311/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Public Works, under the provisions of the Arterial Drainage Acts, has submitted the proposal for the Glashaboy Flood Relief Scheme to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for formal Confirmation.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has made regulations entitled European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Arterial Drainage) Regulations 2019. These were published in Iris Oifigiúl on 27 September 2019. On foot of these Regulations the Minister will undertake an environmental assessment of the proposed scheme in line with required legislative requirements, and this will involve public consultation.

The procurement and appointment of a Contractor will be progressed for this scheme following formal Ministerial Confirmation. The flood relief scheme will be funded from within the allocated €1 billion for flood risk management over the period 2018-2027. Provision for the cost of the Scheme is included in the Office of Public Works' multi annual capital allocation.

OPW are committed to funding this project and attends monthly steering meetings to offer every assistance to Cork City Council to ensure a speedy progression of the process to engage a contractor and have works commence as soon as possible.

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Questions (187)

Robert Troy

Question:

187. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the provision of flood defences for Athlone town. [45356/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Westmeath County Council (WCC) working in conjunction with the Office of Public Works (OPW) is advancing proposals to deal with the flooding issues in Athlone . WCC is the Contracting Authority and the OPW is funding the costs of the flood relief works for the town in addition to undertaking the construction works using its own direct labour.

Engineering consultants were appointed in April 2017, to identify appropriate flood risk alleviation measures for Athlone. The Options Appraisal Report identified eight discrete cells of flood defence works. These flood cells are each being progressed individually under Part 8 or Part 10 of the Planning and Development Regulations with works being undertaken by the OPW’s own workforce, as a direct managed scheme. The current status of each flood cell is set out in Table 1 below

Table 1:

Flood Cell

Status

FC1 – Deerpark

Part 8 planning granted in September 2018. Works commenced in Q2 2019. Recent works include sheet piling works which are being undertaken in the showgrounds section. Anticipated completion Q4 2021.

FC2 – The Strand

Part 8 planning granted in May, 2018. Construction works commenced in Q2 2019. Ongoing works at Wolfe tone and Burgess park section. Anticipated completion Q3 2021

FC3 – The Quay

Part 8 planning granted September, 2017. Construction works commenced May, 2018 with 95% of the flood wall now complete and flood gate threshold construction works ongoing. Anticipated completion Q4 2020.

FC4 – Brick Island

Part 8 planning granted January, 2018. Construction works commenced in April, 2018 with Priory Park flood wall complete along with associated land drain. Also complete are the Jolly Mariner and Brick Island flood defence wall and gate thresholds. Reinstatement works at Jolly Mariner have commenced. anticipated completion Q2 2020.

FC5 – Marine View

Part 8 planning granted March, 2018. Construction works commenced in Q3 2019 with embankment works at Wansboro field 75% complete; continuation of embankment work is weather dependent. Anticipated completion is Q4 2020.

FC6 – Iona Park

Construction is complete.

FC7 – River Al (Cregan)

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is currently in hand. Planning approval and subsequent construction commencement dates are dependent on EIA findings.

FC8 – Golden Island

Part 8 planning granted September, 2018. Detailed design is being reviewed prior to the commencement of construction works. It is expected works will commence next year and take 15/16 months to complete.

It is anticipated that all the construction works for the Athlone Flood Alleviation Scheme will be completed in 2022. When completed, the project will provide flood protection to approximately 560 homes.

State Properties

Questions (188)

James Browne

Question:

188. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the case of a person (details supplied) with the Chief State Solicitor's Office regarding the transfer of funds from a liquidated company to the former shareholder will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45400/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Property (including funds in bank accounts) which remains in the ownership of a liquidated company when it is dissolved becomes State property by virtue of Section 28 of the State Property Act, 1954.

If Directors wish to regain property which has become State property in this manner, they are generally advised to restore the company.

The Minister may, in accordance with Section 31 of the Act, waive his entitlement to such property. However the Minister waives his ownership only in exceptional cases; he does not generally waive to former Directors; and he does not do so to rectify mistakes or matters overlooked by Directors, advisors or liquidators in the dissolution of a company.

There was correspondence with my Department in 2015 regarding an application for a waiver for the funds referred to by the Deputy. A Waiver Pack was issued by my Department. Such Waiver Packs are issued to establish if a Waiver is justified. Given the work involved in administering such requests, fees are charged where a Waiver is granted.

Neither my Department nor the CSSO appears to have received a completed Waiver Pack in this case.

Based on the details provided, it seems unlikely that a Waiver would be given in this case. However my Department will consider any additional details which the applicant may wish to provide.