Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (236)

Robert Troy

Question:

236. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the personal injuries payouts will be published for properties under the ownership of her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [53785/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Department does not own any property.

Accommodation for my Department and its Offices is provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in buildings which are either State owned or leased by the OPW on our behalf. Typically, the Department and its Offices are in shared accommodation, either with other Departments, public bodies or the private sector. The current staffing cohort of the Department and its Offices totals 925 staff in 11 locations across the country.

The Department works closely with OPW colleagues to ensure the provision of appropriate, fit-for-purpose accommodation that complies with health and safety legislation for our staff, external contractors and visitors to our buildings including members of the public.

My Department has a dedicated Health and Safety Unit, with designated responsibility at Principal Officer level. The unit’s role is to provide advice to all staff on matters relating to health and safety at work, undertake frequent audits of our occupied buildings and to advise senior management on or take any precautionary action(s) it deems fit in order to minimise the likelihood of accidents on our premises. In any organisation of such a scale which also interacts with the public, there will invariably be periodic slips, trips, falls and other accidents on or in the environs of our occupied premises. Such accidents may result in personal injury claims being taken.

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) is the State body which provides asset and liability management services to Government. The NTMA is designated as the State Claims Agency when performing the claims management, risk management and legal cost management functions delegated to it under the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2000 and the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2014.

Therefore, all management of alleged injury claims are a matter for the State Claims Agency. My Department’s role in the handling of cases is to provide information as requested by the State Claims Agency in cases of alleged accidents on Departmental occupied premises. Such cases typically take several years to run their course, particularly where contested through the courts. There are six cases ongoing which are of relevance to my Department.

Where cases are settled in favour of the plaintiff the State Claims Agency bears the initial costs involved and then recoups from the relevant Department. The recoupments made by the Department to the State Claims Agency the over the period 2016 to date are set out in the following table.   

Year  

Recouped to State Claims Agency   

2016

Nil

2017

Nil

2018

€159,785

To date in 2019

€52,101