We will discuss that issue in private session because we will be discussing how we proceed with the work that we have carried out to date on that matter. We note and publish this letter from Robert Watt.
No. 2199B is from Maurice Buckley, chairman of the Office of Public Works providing information, including costs incurred, requested by the committee regarding public infrastructure at Bellurgan, Dundalk, County Louth. We note and publish this and we will send the response to the correspondent who raised the particular matter.
No. 2201B is from Robert Watt, Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, enclosing a minute from the Minister for Finance and for Public Expenditure and Reform on our periodic report No. 5, September-November 2018. I welcome the prompt response to our last periodic report and I want to hold over the publication of this until we discuss it at our next meeting. There is quite a bit in it and we could take quite a bit of time to deal with it this morning. We have a few other things we want to do. We will ensure that we deal with it next week. The one item I might refer to as we go along relates to other correspondence relating to that, but I will hold over the publication of that until the next meeting.
No. 2206B is again from Robert Watt, dated 4 June, providing a further update to information requested by the committee previously regarding the single public service pension scheme. We will note and publish this. When the new single public service pension scheme was introduced, the Department responsible for the public sector and which sponsored the legislation did not know what public bodies were going to be covered by this. It took it several years after the passage of the legislation to work out which public bodies were included in this. We had a detailed discussion on this and I believe we referred to it in a previous report or perhaps it was to be included in our next report. We received a report in February 2019, when we were dealing with this, showing that the Department was still not quite sure about quite a number of bodies some three years after the passage of legislation.
Mr. Watt has given us an update now as to where the Department stands on this issue. At this stage, there are four issues in respect of all the public bodies that the Department believes should be included in this. One issue is that three organisations, namely, the Residential Tenancies Board, the Health Products Regulatory Authority and the National Standards Authority of Ireland, submitted cases to the Minster for Public Expenditure and Reform explaining the difficulties they would face in meeting the arrears. When this legislation came in, which was effective from three years ago, those organisations which had not provided the employer contribution in respect of the public service pension scheme were going to be asked to pay the arrears for the three years that they did not cover. These three organisations said that they would operate the scheme from now on but that they did not have the resources to pay the arrears. The Minister has accepted the case. Accordingly, a ministerial direction was given quite recently to the three bodies under the 2012 Act to enable the bodies to retain the moneys owed in respect of the single pension employer contributions for the prior years.
The three public service bodies have started to remit the single scheme employer contributions due from 1 January 2019 onwards. Essentially, the argument was the funding provided by the Department to them did not allow them to cover for arrears in previous years. It will not affect the employees' scheme when they come to retire. It is a pity it came to this.
There is one other issue. We also mentioned the Dental Council. It has arrears of €7,000. That figure has now been agreed but has not yet been paid. It is the only organisation that has not paid its arrears where the Department is insisting the arrears be paid. The Department of Health, which was engaging with the Dental Council, has confirmed the Dental Council's agreement to remit the required contribution in the near term. We take it this will be wrapped up and paid by the Dental Council. At the end of the day, three organisations did not pay the arrears. This was because the Department did not have its house in order when the Oireachtas passed the legislation and it took three years to get on top of the legislation the House had passed. The lesson is that, in future, any Department asking the Oireachtas to pass legislation must have arrangements in place to implement the legislation on the due date. We will note and publish this. At least we have now concluded this matter.
No. 2222B is from Mr. Maurice Buckley of the Office of Public Works, providing information requested by the committee regarding the costs, oversight and procurement process of the Kevin Street Garda station project. This matter arose at our recent meeting with An Garda Síochána on 9 May 2019. The OPW came back with a letter. We will note and publish this. It seems to have dealt with the issues with regard to control of the project.