Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 3 Dec 1997

Vol. 484 No. 1

Written Answers. - Central Statistics Office.

Trevor Sargent


11 Mr. Sargent asked the Taoiseach the way in which he intends to develop the Central Statistics Office as the premier data collection agency in this country in view of the decreasing provision of resources being allocated to it. [19602/97]

The Deputy is presumably referring to the allocation provided for the CSO in the 1998 Estimates which in gross terms reflects a decrease of 14 per cent on the 1997 forecast outturn. The original 1997 allocation for the CSO reflected the carry-over cost of processing the 1996 census of population. When account is taken of this cost however there is, in fact, a small increase in net allocations between 1997 and 1998.

It is worth noting that gross expenditure for the CSO rose from some £13.8 million in 1995 to £23.8 million in 1996 to cover the cost of the conduct and initial processing of the census.

Gay Mitchell


12 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Taoiseach if he will review the role of the Central Statistics Office in order to extend its remit to the measurement of criminal justice statistics, including court statistics, crime statistics, prison statistics and related statistics. [20247/97]

Criminal justice statistics are the responsibility of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána and, in the case of crime, prisons and probation statistics, are published in annual reports. Some statistics on the criminal justice system are also published annually by the Central Statistics Office in its statistical abstract.

Under the Statistics Act, 1993, the Central Statistics Office has the authority to co-ordinate statistics compiled by other public authorities. However, its right to access the records of public authorities does not extend to the records pertaining to a court, the Garda Síochána or the prison administration. While administrative records provide valuable information on reported crime, it is the view of the CSO that estimates of actual, as distinct from reported, crime could be based only on national representative surveys.

In September, the CSO launched the new quarterly national household survey, which will be an important source of statistics about the population, households and the labour market. It involves surveying 39,000 households per quarter throughout the country. Consideration is being given to including a module on crime in this survey for a future quarter.

I might add that the 1998 Estimates for the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform included a specific provision of £250,000 for research. In the circumstances, I see no need to review the role of the Central Statistics Office in respect of criminal justice statistics.