The budget allocations for 2013 will be considered in the context of the gross expenditure ceilings that were allocated to all Departments for the period 2012 - 2014 under the Government’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework. The Government’s decision on the expenditure ceilings was taken in order to strike a balance between needs and priorities in all Government Departments on a multi-annual basis, to meet the requirements of the overall fiscal commitments which are firmly focused on returning the public finances to a sustainable path and to reduce the General Government Deficit by end 2015. Budget 2013 will be framed in this framework.
The preparations for the 2013 Estimate are currently underway and all budget lines in my Department’s Vote are being examined critically as part of that process. Under the expenditure ceilings, the funding allocation for my Department has been reduced by €114m in 2013 compared with 2012. Very difficult choices will have to be made again in order to remain within the reduced allocation.
The schemes and services operated by the Department are subject to a range of external factors such as demand from beneficiaries, market and economic factors, animal disease incidence, and the pace of completion of capital investment and research projects as well as the need to adhere to important issues of governance, legal and contractual obligations, including compliance with national and EU operational rules and requirements. I will be taking full account of the competing priorities when compiling and allocating the funding available for 2013.