Taoiseach's Communications

Questions Nos. 103 and 104 answered with Question No. 73.

Ceisteanna (102)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

102. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his telephone call with Prime Minister May on 26 February 2018. [11289/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

I spoke with Prime Minister May by phone on the evening of 26 February. We discussed Brexit and in particular, the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

I re-iterated our preference that a solution on the border be found within the overall future relationship between the EU and the UK. At the same time I pointed out the necessity from the EU side to have the detail of the backstop option spelled out in the draft legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement, to apply in the event that a better solution is not agreed.

We also took stock of the latest situation in Northern Ireland and our recent contacts with the parties.

I welcome that real progress has been made, since that phone call, between the EU and UK negotiating teams on parts of the Withdrawal Agreement.

On Monday last, the UK agreed that a backstop solution for the border will form part of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The UK has also agreed that all the issues identified in the EU text will be addressed to deliver a legally sound solution for the border.

Prime Minister May confirmed these agreements in her letter to President Tusk last Monday, in addition to reiterating the UK's commitment to agreements reached last December on protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and the gains of the peace process, including the overarching guarantee on avoiding a hard border.

Questions Nos. 103 and 104 answered with Question No. 73.

Strategic Communications Unit

Question No. 106 answered with Question No. 73.

Ceisteanna (105)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

105. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the corporate governance structure of the SCU in particular with regard to its budget allocation; and if there is much involvement with the Department of Finance regarding same. [11292/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

The programme of work for the Strategic Communications Unit is part of the Civil Service Renewal Programme, which is overseen by the Civil Service Management Board (CSMB). A subgroup of the CSMB has been established to deal with this initiative. This subgroup has met twice.

An effective system of internal financial control is maintained and operated in my Department. Formal reporting arrangements have been established at all levels where responsibility for financial management has been assigned. The financial functions of my Department are also subject to regular audit by both internal audit and the Officer of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Each month, my Department, along with all other Government Departments, provides details of expenditure incurred under various subheads to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. This information feeds into the Exchequer Statements which are published on a monthly basis.

Question No. 106 answered with Question No. 73.