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Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 3 March 2021

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Questions (609)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

609. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the reason for the difference between the estimated cost and actual cost of the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters; the breakdown of the estimated spend versus actual spend disaggregated by staff, overheads and other costs in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11924/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

In accordance with the provisions of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, the relevant Department is required to produce a statement of costs when establishing a Commission. In the case of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission, the then Government noted that pay and non-pay costs for the inquiry, and associated additional demands on the Department, were estimated to cost €21.5m. A statement of costs was published in Iris Oifigiuil on this basis. This statement was updated when the Commission was granted extensions of time to complete its final report.

The estimate of €21.5m was developed in consultation with the chair designate prior to the Commission being established in law. My understanding is that a good deal of flexibility was built into the initial estimates, so that financial constraints would not limit the workings of the Commission. It is essential to note that the estimate was developed in advance of the Commissioners being appointed, and the subsequent operational decisions of the independent Commission in the performance of its statutory functions.

From its establishment, actual expenditure of approximately €11.9m was directly incurred by the independent Commission. Funding was allocated annually to support salaries, professional fees and other operational costs relating to the work of the Commission and its engagement with former residents and other witnesses. The Commission was provided with a delegated sanction to directly recruit and appoint the staff, experts and specialists it deemed necessary to assist its investigations.

A breakdown of the Commission's spending to date is as follows:

Year

Pay (€m)

Non-Pay (€m)

Total (€m)

2015

0.844

0.651

1.495

2016

1.114

0.959

2.073

2017

1.109

1.045

2.154

2018

1.078

1.152

2.230

2019

0.873

1.242

2.115

2020

0.576

1.003

1.579

2021*

0.118

0.122

0.234

Totals

5.712

6.174

11.886

*until 19 February 2021

In addition, my Department separately incurred costs of approximately €2.6 million to the end of February 2021 in supporting this work and responding to the Commission's interim reports. This includes the processes to complement the Commission's work by facilitating former residents of these institutions to engage on the issues of concern to them and their families.

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