Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ceisteanna (82)

Brendan Howlin


82. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach the supports provided by his Department to Independent Ministers and supporters of the Government. [21243/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

My Department, as outlined in the Strategy Statement, provides support services for the Taoiseach and the Government, including the Independent Members of Government, through the Government Secretariat, the Parliamentary Liaison Unit, the Programme for Government Office and the Cabinet Committee structure to ensure Government business is managed to the highest standards. The Chief Strategist for the Independent Alliance and the Political Coordinator for the Independent Ministers in Government are also based in my Department.

The Business of Government is coordinated by the Government Secretariat, this includes the preparation of the Cabinet agenda, the circulation of papers and the communication of the Government's decisions to the relevant Ministers and Departments.

The Parliamentary Liaison Unit was established to help ensure that Ministers and Government Departments are properly informed of new responsibilities and procedures in the 32nd Dail. The Unit provides support to Ministers and their Departments on Oireachtas matters with a particular emphasis on assisting Departments with Private Members' Business.

In performing this function the Unit liaises on a regular basis with advisors to the Independent members of Government, to ensure that they are informed of Oireachtas issues and to assist them in engaging with the processes arising from Dáil reform.

In this regard the Parliamentary Liaison Unit provides detailed information on upcoming matters in the Dáil and Seanad and highlights any new Oireachtas reform issues.

The Programme for Government Office provides assistance to Government in delivering on its ambitious programme of work through monitoring the implementation of the commitments contained in the Programme for Government (PfG) across all Departments. The Office prepares progress reports and an annual report setting out progress made across all of Government in implementing the commitments in the Programme.

The Cabinet Committee system, which is an important part of the machinery of Government and a core part of the work of the Department, provides a whole of Government, co-ordinated approach to issues as necessary. The scope of the Cabinet Committee system encompasses the Government's national priorities and the challenges Ireland faces in the coming years.

The Government Press Secretary acts as a spokesperson for the Taoiseach and the Government and is supported by the Press Office in his role of co-ordinating the media relations of all Government Departments.

The Deputy Press Secretary, who is also based in my Department, is tasked with coordinating communications for all the Independents in Government.

My Department continues to adapt and strengthen these supports to ensure they are fully responsive to the requirements arising from Dáil Reform and to support effective minority government arrangements.