I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 and 39 together.
The Government continues to make good progress in achieving all of our deficit targets and priorities, as articulated in the Government programme. We are bringing public expenditure back onto a sustainable path and driving forward the public service reform agenda to ensure that efficiencies and reformed work practices play a full part in contributing to the overall budgetary consolidation effort, which is essential to achieving our annual deficit targets. To date, all quantitative fiscal targets set as part of the EU-IMF programme of financial support have been met in full.
The expenditure report 2013, published on 5 December 2012, includes further well-specified expenditure savings measures across every area of government spending. While the Government's structural economic and budgetary reforms will bring a return to prosperity and growth in the medium term - indeed, the economy grew in real terms in 2011 for the first time since 2007 - the current international economic position, combined with a high level of uncertainty across the world's financial markets, will require Ireland to maintain fiscal discipline into 2014.
Regarding the monitoring of the performance of various Departments, it remains a matter for each Minister and his or her Department to ensure that the Vote-level allocations are adhered to while ensuring that it continues to provide essential front-line services and manages increasing demands. With this in mind, the new medium-term expenditure framework aims to incentivise Departments through the implementation of a new carryover facility for those that exceed targets and successfully manage their allocations within budget in any year so that they can use those savings in the following year. There will be no pressure on them to spend. The Departments that are proactive in driving reform, innovation and structural planning will be best-placed to avail of this facility. Departments that exceed their current expenditure ceilings in any given year will consequently bear an offsetting adjustment in their envelopes for the following year. They will be required to devise appropriate policy measures to live within their reduced allocations. It will be a matter for Ministers and heads of Departments and offices to devise forward-looking plans and policies and to ensure that the ministerial expenditure ceilings are adhered to.