Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (21)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

21. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he is making the necessary preparations to combat the effects of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5913/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Extensive Brexit preparedness and contingency planning has been underway across Government since before the UK referendum on EU membership.

In the aftermath of the referendum a Contingency Framework was published by the Government that identified the key policy issues to be managed by Departments. The Contingency Framework was central to the development of Ireland’s position in the negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement and also served as the basis for the work that has been underway across all Departments and Agencies to prepare for Brexit. This has included the preparation of Preparedness Action and Contingency Plans by all Departments, including my own. These plans identified key challenges and the associated mitigation approaches.

At its meeting on 11 December 2018 the Government decided to give greater immediate priority to the preparations for a no-deal Brexit. This is being co-ordinated by the Department of the Taoiseach in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, and involves all Government Departments and agencies.

As I know the Deputy will agree, central to our preparations for Brexit is a sound economy. Since the UK referendum in 2016, all of our national Budgets have been framed to prepare for the challenge of Brexit. The economic and fiscal policies that we have pursued mean that the economy is now in a better position to weather the impacts of Brexit. The possibility of a no-deal Brexit has influenced policy decisions made in relation to the public finances in terms of our stated aim of balancing the books and investing in capital infrastructure.

Public Private Partnerships

Ceisteanna (22)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

22. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the expected role public private partnerships will play in capital projects under the National Development Plan 2018 to 2027; and if projects will be designed and tendered on that basis. [5956/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Since the late 1990’s, significant infrastructure projects have been delivered on behalf of the State using the PPP approach, including the Pilot Schools Bundle (2002), the National Maritime College (2004), the Cork School of Music (2007), the Criminal Courts Complex (2009), the National Conference Centre (2010), further Schools Bundles and of course a number of major motorway projects from 2005 onwards.

In July 2012, the Government announced plans for a major new €1.4 billion PPP programme (as part of a €2.25 billion stimulus programme of investment in public infrastructure projects). This comprised 8 new PPP projects across the Health, Justice, Transport and Education sectors. This was followed up with a second phase of the PPP programme announced in 2014, to deliver 1,500 social housing units with a value of c€300m, and a third phase announced in 2015, to deliver projects to a value of c€500m across the Higher Education, Health and Justice sectors. These projects are, and will be, pursued under the PPP model.

As outlined in the National Development Plan, PPPs will continue to feature as a procurement option available to Government for appropriately structured projects which demonstrate value for money over a traditional procurement option and which meet the robust and rigorous tests for project appraisal that apply to all public investment projects under the Public Spending Code.

As also outlined in the NDP, all potentially suitable large scale projects within the Plan are to be assessed, as part of the Public Spending Code requirements, in terms of the optimal procurement option for the project – traditional or PPP.

Accordingly, decisions on pursuing further projects by PPP, over and above the existing pipeline of future projects already mentioned, will in future be taken on a case by case basis rather than as a specific programme of PPP projects - based on the merits of using PPP in the case of each individual project as compared with the alternative traditional procurement option.

Brexit Staff

Ceisteanna (23)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

23. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the Brexit preparations under way in his Department in the event of a hard Brexit; the number and grade of staff assigned to Brexit issues; the qualifications held by the staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5801/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Government’s Contingency Action Plan which was published in December 2018 sets out the comprehensive, cross-Government preparations that have been underway since before the UK referendum on EU membership in 2016. This work is continuing at both a national and EU level, and on 30 January 2019 the Government published an update outlining the progress that has been made since the original Plan was published.

Central to preparations within my own Department is ensuring that the overall approach of prudent financial management is maintained to strengthen the resilience of Ireland’s economy against the backdrop of heightened uncertainty, including from Brexit. Since the UK referendum in 2016, all of our national Budgets have been framed to prepare for the challenge of Brexit. The economic and fiscal policies which we have pursued mean that the economy is now in a better position to weather its impacts.

Budget 2019 introduced specific measures to ensure that Ireland is in the best possible position to respond to Brexit. Budget announcements include investment to build on initiatives aimed at supporting those sectors most affected.

Within the Department, Brexit issues are coordinated by a dedicated Unit dealing with Brexit and EU issues. The Unit supports me in my work on Brexit, leads work across the Department and its agencies, and represents the Department on the various groups that coordinate the Government's response to Brexit. Brexit issues are addressed by staff with relevant experience in areas across the Department.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (24)

James Browne

Ceist:

24. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the detailed action plan on the requirements of Rosslare Europort in advance of Brexit is due for publication and or finalisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5806/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

On the 19 December 2018, the Government published its Contingency Action Plan which gives an overview of the comprehensive, cross-Government preparations that are underway. This includes putting in place the infrastructure required at ports and airports as a consequence of the UK leaving the EU.

The Office of Public Works has been mandated to secure the property required Rosslare Harbour and to undertake the necessary work to ensure that the additional infrastructure required as a consequence of the UK leaving the EU becomes operational in a timely manner. This work is ongoing.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (25, 28)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

25. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the engagement to date his Department has had with the European Commission regarding flexibilities and additional supports from the EU through EU funding programmes and capital investment in view of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5960/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

28. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the actions in place to secure additional emergency funding from the EU in the event of a no-deal or hard Brexit; the key areas of additional expenditure across each Department which may be necessary in the event of a very disruptive Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1095/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 28 together.

Making the case for supporting measures at an EU level that recognise where Brexit represents a serious disturbance to the Irish economy is a key pillar of the Government’s response to Brexit. I am satisfied that there is a firm understanding at an EU level of the unique and disproportionate impact that Brexit will have on Ireland. As far back as last March the Tánaiste met EU Budget Commissioner Oettinger when he visited Ireland and discussed with him the negative consequences to the Irish economy resulting from Brexit and the possibility of EU assistance. In November, in its Contingency Action Plan, the Commission confirmed that it would support Ireland in finding solutions addressing the specific challenges of Irish businesses. Last month, on a visit to Dublin, Commissioner Vestager emphasised that the Commission stands ready to act urgently in mitigation against the impacts of Brexit on Irish firms.

At his meeting with the Taoiseach in Brussels yesterday President Juncker was clear that the Commission stands ready to support Ireland in finding solutions answering the specific challenges that Ireland and Irish citizens, farmers and businesses will face and that it will work closely with Ireland to this end over the coming weeks.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (26)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

26. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the key areas administered by his Department in circumstances in which emergency legislation may be necessary in the event of a no-deal Brexit or a hard Brexit; if such legislation has been prepared and is ready to be presented to the Houses of the Oireachtas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1094/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has published the general scheme of legislative measures required in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The draft Omnibus Bill focuses on measures protecting our citizens and supporting the economy, enterprise and jobs, particularly in key sectors of the economy. The Bill complements the steps currently underway at an EU level to prepare for the UK’s withdrawal, notably the implementation of the European Commission’s Contingency Action Plan and the associated legislative measures.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, areas administered by the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform will be covered by EU legislation. In particular, the Commission has brought forward a proposal for a Regulation that will enable the PEACE and INTERREG programmes to continue even in the event of no-deal.

Estimates Process

Question No. 28 answered with Question No. 25.

Ceisteanna (27)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

27. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the work carried out in improving annual expenditure forecasting models across each Department; his views on the level of Supplementary Estimates in 2018; his plans for 2019 in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1097/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Managing the delivery of public services within allocations and meeting our budgetary targets forms a key part of the responsibilities of every Minister and Department. My own Department is in regular contact with all other Departments and Offices to ensure that expenditure is being managed within the overall fiscal parameters. Monthly expenditure profiles for each Government Department for 2019 will be published this month. The January Fiscal Monitor, published this week, presents a year-on-year comparison. From February on, as is usual, the drawdown of funds from the Exchequer will be reported on each month against expenditure profiles, in the Fiscal Monitor published by the Department of Finance.

Due to the scale of Government expenditure and the cash basis of Government accounting, the need for Supplementary Estimates can arise for a number of reasons, including policy decisions, timing issues and overspends. Supplementary Estimates are an important element of our expenditure management toolkit, allowing for the proper alignment of resources with allocations. However, they can only be provided within the context of our overall fiscal parameters.

In 2018, Supplementary Estimates made provision for additional funding in a number of areas, including for:

- Overruns in the Health sector;

- Superannuation pressures in Education;

- Garda pay and overtime;

- Overseas Development Aid;

- Housing and homelessness services;

- A 100 per cent Social Welfare Christmas Bonus;

- Costs relating to the Papal visit;

- The Community Childcare Scheme; and

- Army pensions.

In some cases, there were underspends within Vote groups that could be used to offset overspends in other areas. After taking account of additional expenditure funded by way of Supplementary Estimates, the net voted expenditure outturn for the year of €50.4 billion, published in the December 2018 Fiscal Monitor, was €0.8 billion above the level set out in the Revised Estimates Volume (REV) 2018, but close to the 2018 net voted expenditure amount set out in Expenditure Report 2019 published on Budget day last October. Taking into account the various moving parts within the overall tax and spending figures reported in the end-year Exchequer returns, based upon the Exchequer figures, a small general government surplus is now possible for 2018. A modest deficit of 0.1% was projected for 2018 in the recent Budget last October.

In setting out the proposed allocations for 2019, published in the Expenditure Report 2019, account was taken of the ongoing impact into 2019 of the increased level of resources that it was proposed to allocate to Departments by way of Supplementary Estimate in 2018. Given this context and the increased allocations set out in REV 2019 it is important that Departments manage the delivery of services this year within these allocations.

Question No. 28 answered with Question No. 25.

Public Private Partnerships

Ceisteanna (29)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

29. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has carried out a review of the cause of the recent collapse of public private partnership contracts; if he has reconsidered the approach to such contracts to ensure the appropriate protection of subcontractors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5804/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My Department has already given a commitment to the Oireachtas to review any PPP policy issues that might be highlighted by the impact of the recent collapse of Carillion, and the subsequent liquidation of Sammon, on the Schools Bundle 5 PPP project. The commitment indicated that the review will be timed to take account of the final outcome of that particular PPP project, and as such will take place in the latter part of 2019.

However, as an interim step in that process, a ‘learnings’ workshop involving the NDFA, the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was held in Tullamore, on Tuesday, 15 January 2019, to review the experience to date with the Schools Bundle 5 PPP project and the difficulties encountered with it. (The NDFA had already, previously, conducted its own internal review, specifically in relation to the impact of the Carillion/Sammon liquidation on the project, subsequent to the first three schools being delivered in September 2018, but clearly a wider review with all relevant stakeholders needed to be conducted and the January ‘learnings’ workshop is the first step in that process.)

While the construction process on the remaining schools is now progressing well, the fact is that there are still 3 schools within the Schools Bundle 5 PPP project which have yet to be completed and handed over by the PPP partner. It would therefore be premature to seek to reach any definitive conclusion in relation to learnings from this PPP project at this point. The final review exercise will be completed once these remaining schools have also been delivered and are fully operational. This is currently expected to be in Quarter 2 of 2019 and a final review will be conducted thereafter.

With regard to the Deputy's reference to the collapse of PPP contracts, I am not aware of any Irish PPP contract ever collapsing. In accordance with international best practice, Irish PPP contracts are particularly robust and typically include detailed provisions that apply in the event of the liquidation of a consortium member of the PPP company, or an entity under the contract, to protect the State and ensure that the project proceeds to completion.

Under the terms of such PPP contracts, in the case of the liquidation of a consortium member, or an entity under the contract, the PPP consortium’s funders and remaining shareholders are required to intervene and implement rectification measures to ensure that the project is completed to the satisfaction of the State. Liquidation of a company involved in delivering a public infrastructure project is an unfortunate and unforeseen development but would impact on any project where a supplier became insolvent during the delivery process, regardless of whether the project was being procured by PPP or by traditional means.

Finally, with regard to the issue of protection for subcontractors, this is not a matter that is intended to be addressed in a PPP contract, as the State does not negotiate or hold contracts with subcontractors in relation to such PPP contracts. However, there is already legislation in place which was introduced to protect subcontractors under construction contracts, which is applicable to all contracts entered into since July 2016. The Construction Contracts Act imposes minimum terms on all construction contracts, public or private, whether they be written or oral and provides the tools necessary to enforce payment. While the legislation does not apply to a contract between a State authority and its partner in a PPP arrangement, it does apply to all contracts that are subsequently awarded by the private partner to any subcontractors.

Public Sector Staff

Ceisteanna (30, 37)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

30. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps he is taking to facilitate more civil servants who wish to relocate out of Dublin to other locations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5809/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

37. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps he is taking to encourage greater staff mobility within the wider public service; the progress made in 2018 to achieve same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5808/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 37 together.

As the Deputy is aware, the Civil Service Mobility scheme which comes under the remit of my department, and is administered through HR Shared Services, National Shared Services Office, offers an opportunity for staff members to apply for mobility through an open and transparent system. The establishment of the scheme fulfils one of the requirements of Action 15 of the Civil Service Renewal Plan; and Action 14 of the People Strategy for the Civil Service, which calls for the further expansion of a coherent mobility policy to facilitate staff development and strategic alignment with other HR policies, builds upon this.

The scheme is being introduced on a phased basis. Phase 1A of the scheme is for the general Civil Service grades of Clerical Officer (CO) and Executive Officer (EO) to apply for mobility between and within 46 zones - excluding mobility within Zone 46 (Dublin) which will be included in Phase 1B.

There has been a high level of interest in the scheme since Phase 1A opened for applications on 13th November 2017 with c. 3,800 staff members (22% of the 17,000 participating staff members - 60% CO : 40% EO) applying for mobility and making an average of 10 organisational choices. Over 50 moves have taken place since the operational launch of the scheme on 10th September 2018.

The location choices in the scheme are divided into mobility zones rather than county or province. An applicant may express a preference for mobility for a maximum of 3 zones from the list of 46 zones with a choice of any or all organisations in each zone (a full list of zones and organisations per zone can be viewed at www.hr.per.gov.ie). Staff members can apply for mobility within their current zone (excluding Phase 1B, Zone 46 Dublin) as well as other zones. A number of mobility zones also have an option to include or exclude a choice of satellite towns.

There are currently 855 staff members based in zone 46 (Dublin) that have applied for mobility to other zones. This equates to 12% of the 7,000 participating staff members in Dublin (55% CO: 35% EO), while 88% wish to remain in their chosen location.

It should be noted that the Mobility scheme launched following an era of moratorium and low levels of staff transfers in the Civil Service and these factors would contribute to the initial high surge of interest in the scheme.

It should also be noted that over 50% of the staff members who were made offers of mobility since the operational launch have now declined the offer. Therefore with regard to the percentage of declines of offer, I am confident that the actual number of staff members who want to move from Dublin to other zones is lower than the reported figure of 855, which shows those who have put in an initial request.

Following the full roll out of the Civil Service Mobility Scheme, it is the intention to review and extend mobility over time to provide additional development opportunities and enable greater mobility across the Public Service.

Public Sector Reform Review

Ceisteanna (31)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

31. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which reforms throughout the public sector remain in place to ensure accountability, collective responsibility and good value for money; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5914/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As I have previously informed the House, significant public service reforms have occurred in recent years that continue to deliver improved services and value for money across a range of specific areas such as governance, accountability, procurement, shared services, organisational reform and property management.

The current phase of public service reform - Our Public Service 2020 , which I launched in 2017 – represents a whole-of-public-service initiative designed to build on these previous reforms while expanding the scope of reform to focus on collaboration, innovation and evaluation. This new policy framework has been designed to deliver better outcomes for the public and will ensure that the citizen is at the centre of policies and service delivery across the whole of the public service.

As Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform I must ensure that our fiscal and public expenditure policy is prudent and sustainable. There are a number of budgetary reforms introduced in recent years to guide my decisions on overall fiscal policy in this regard, including fiscal rules, expenditure ceilings and spending reviews. The actions in Our Public Service 2020 will ensure that the focus of the public service is very much on delivery of quality public services, while operating within these prudent limits.

A Public Service Leadership Board (PSLB) has been established to lead the delivery of Our Public Service 2020 . For the first time, both civil and public service leaders and managers will work jointly to drive the reform programme. This will ensure there is shared ownership for the actions on reform right across the public service.

Our Public Service 2020 contains an added focus on evaluation and on the importance of building a reform evaluation culture and in developing indicators to support an outcomes focus. With this goal in mind, within my Department we have established a Reform Evaluation Unit to focus on monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of reform as well as creating greater links between expenditure and reform.

Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (32)

Michael Collins

Ceist:

32. Deputy Michael Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress made in the reopening of Ballinspittle Garda station (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49979/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The reopening of Ballinspittle Garda Station is scheduled for mid-2019. The Office of Public Works is about to tender for the necessary works that are based on the approved Garda Síochána 'brief of requirements'.

It is an operational matter for An Garda Síochána to determine Garda numbers and policing needs for the area.

EU Directives

Ceisteanna (33)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

33. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the plans of the OPW and the Department for Infrastructure Rivers in Northern Ireland to advance their work on a cross-Border basis to implement the EU floods directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5950/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The EU ‘Floods’ Directive came into force in 2007, and requires the Member States to undertake a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment to identify the areas of potentially significant flood risk within their territories, to prepare maps of the flood hazard and risk for these areas, and then to prepare Flood Risk Management Plans setting out measures aimed at managing and reducing the flood risk within these areas. The ‘Floods’ Directive also requires Member States to exchange information and coordinate in undertaking these steps in cross-border river basins.

It was agreed in 2009 by the Office of Public Works and the Department for Infrastructure, Rivers of Northern Ireland that a Cross-Border Coordination Group, supported by a Cross-Border Technical Coordination Group, would be established to facilitate the exchange of information and coordination in the implementation of the Directive. The Group has met on a number of occasions, and has ensured that information has been exchanged as necessary, and that there is a good mutual awareness of the approaches to implementation in both jurisdictions. In particular, for areas of potentially significant flood risk that are on or near the border such as Lifford in Co. Donegal and Strabane in Northern Ireland, the two organisations have liaised closely to ensure a common understanding of the risk and the appropriate measures for such areas.

In addition, representatives from the OPW have attended and participated in relevant meetings in Northern Ireland during the implementation of the Directive. Similarly, representatives from the Department for Infrastructure, Rivers have been members of the Steering Groups for the relevant Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Projects, and are also members of the National Floods Directive Coordination Group that is chaired by the OPW. This has helped ensure coordination and exchange of information on a regular basis at the strategic and operational levels.

The matter of joint, cross-border activity was considered by the Group during its early meetings, and it was concluded that due to legacy work and for technical and administrative reasons, the implementation of the Directive would not be undertaken by joint action. The Department for Infrastructure, Rivers and the OPW have however coordinated closely in the implementation of the Directive within their respective jurisdictions, as previously noted, and have also liaised in more detail on particular matters such as flood forecasting and hydrometric monitoring.

Further, more general cross-border coordination has also been ongoing in the field of flood risk management through bilateral meetings of the two organisations for many years, and through the Irish National Hydrometric Working Group and Joint National Committee of the International Hydrological Programme and the International Commission for Irrigation and Drainage that the Department for Infrastructure, Rivers are members of.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Ceisteanna (34)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

34. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the timeline for works on Rush Garda station; the date the station is scheduled to be reopened by; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4361/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

On 6th December 2018, An Garda Síochána (AGS) confirmed final agreement to proposed plans for the reopening of Rush Garda Station. The Office of Public Works is now progressing with the procurement of the required works and these are expected to be completed and handed over to AGS by mid-2019.The actual opening date will be an operational matter for An Garda Síochána.

Public Procurement Contracts

Ceisteanna (35)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

35. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to ensure detailed oversight of public contracts for building works in view of the recent closure of publicly built schools; if he has had contact with the Departments affected including the Department of Education and Skills; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5803/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

All public works projects that are delivered under the Exchequer-funded element of the Government's capital plan must be procured in accordance with the provisions laid down in the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF). The CWMF is maintained by the Office of Government Procurement in consultation with the Government Contracts Committee for Construction.

The CWMF is mandated for use on all capital funded construction projects. The provisions include the conditions of the Public Works Contract which outline the functions of the contract administrator; the Employer's Representative (ER) during the construction stage of a project and dedicated guidance on the management and oversight of the project once works commence.

The conditions of the public works contract provide the contractual tools necessary to ensure that a contractor completes a project to the required standard. These include:

- Provision for inspections of the works whether they are executed on or off site;

- A prohibition on the covering up of work without notification to the ER in advance;

- A requirement for all the materials and products that are to be incorporated into the works to be fit for their intended purpose and to meet the required standards;

- A fitness for purpose obligation on the works themselves in design and build contracts;

- The requirement for a detailed inspection notification framework and testing plan;

- An obligation on the contractor to keep the ER up to date on all matters related to the management and supervision of the works;

- To instruct the removal or replacement of works that are not completed in accordance with the specification;

- Where work is not completed in accordance with the specification, to withhold payment until the matter is rectified; and

- To appoint another contractor to rectify the works where the contractor fails to respond in a timely fashion.

The extent to which these tools are utilised and the resources associated will vary depending on a project’s scale and complexity and is a matter for the Contracting Authority with responsibility for the delivery of the project.

In relation to the recent structural issues of schools I understand that there has been engagement between officials from my Department and officials from the Department of Education.

Outdoor Events Licensing

Question No. 37 answered with Question No. 30.

Ceisteanna (36)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

36. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the plans of the Office of Public Works to host large scale concerts and events in the Phoenix Park during 2019; his plans to ensure that local residents have adequate access during such events to and from their homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5805/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works will host 'Bloom in the Park,' which is presented by An Bord Bia, on the June bank holiday weekend. Aside from this, no other large-scale public events or concerts are planned for the Phoenix Park in 2019.

As in previous years, the Phoenix Park will host a number of active events such as cycling races, road races and charity walks.

All Road Closure Orders relating to roads within the Phoenix Park are notified to stakeholders, Park institutions, local resident associations and sporting bodies. This information is also available on www.phoenixpark.ie and through our social media channels.

The management of traffic on roads surrounding the Phoenix Park is a matter for the local authority and An Garda Síochána.

Question No. 37 answered with Question No. 30.

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Ceisteanna (38)

James Browne

Ceist:

38. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans for flood relief schemes in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5760/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As the Deputy is aware, the River Slaney (Enniscorthy) Flood Relief Scheme is at an advanced stage of planning and design, and it is hoped to proceed to formal Exhibition as required under the Arterial Drainage Acts (ADA) in late March/early April this year, following which, if the scheme proposals are generally well received, the design will be finalised and all required documentation will be submitted to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, requesting formal confirmation of the scheme under the ADA. It is hoped therefore that the tender process for contractors to construct the scheme will begin in June 2019, and if all goes well, it is hoped to commence construction in late 2019/early 2020.

Works are also ongoing and/or planned in a number of other areas in County Wexford –

Wexford Town

The Flood Risk Management Plan for the South East River Basin District includes proposed structural flood relief measures for Wexford town. These will consist of building hard defences and improvement of channel conveyance. These measures for Wexford were included in the initial tranche of investment which I announced on 3rd May 2018 with €257m funding for 50 new projects to proceed to detailed project level design and construction. Work on the Wexford project has commenced with Wexford County Council (WCC) leading on its implementation and a Project Steering Group has been established.

New Ross

Flood defence works have been carried out by contractors on behalf of WCC and some funding for these works has been provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW). Additional works in the area require to be carried out by WCC to ensure protection to the 1 in 200 year standard, and funding for this will be provided by the OPW.

Rosslare

The flood and erosion risk in the Rosslare area north of the seaport and the options for mitigating that risk are under consideration by WCC. A meeting was held between WCC and its consultants RPS and the OPW in December 2018 in this regard.

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Ceisteanna (39)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

39. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the outline design stage for the construction of the flood relief works on the Sullane River at Ballyvourney, County Cork; if the preferred options for the scheme are finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5958/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I am advised by the Commissioners of Public Works that the Baile Mhúirne and Ballymakeera Flood Relief scheme is currently at outline design stage, and the preferred options for the scheme are in the process of being finalised.

The River Sullane has a history of freshwater pearl mussels, which have protected status as an Annex II listed species under the EU Habitats Directive. An environmental survey was carried out to establish the status of the population and the likely impact of any works.

Given the impact the proposed works could have on the Fresh Water Pearl Mussel population, a proposal to translocate Fresh Water Pearl Mussel from the River Sullane and reintroduce them post works was submitted to, and has now been approved by, the NPWS and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, allowing the scheme preparations to progress to site investigation, which will inform the preferred options for the scheme. A site investigation was completed in Q3 2018 and the results will further assist in determining the preferred options, and in refining construction cost estimates.

The emerging preferred option was presented to members of the public and relevant stakeholders at a second Public Information Day in March 2018. A public exhibition of the preferred scheme is expected to take place in Spring 2019.

When these stages are successfully completed and, subject to the proposals being accepted by the public and the stakeholders, and the scheme being technically, environmentally and economically viable, the scheme will then proceed to formal Confirmation by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945 and 1995, and then move onto detailed design stage, following which the scheme can progress to construction stage.

In the interim, the OPW has approved funding of €187,248 for temporary flood defence works in Ballymakeera under its Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme. In addition, OPW environmental consultants (RPS) for the Scheme have prepared a Preliminary Invasive Alien Species Management Plan (IASMP) for the OPW in response to the findings of ecological survey work undertaken during 2017 and 2018. This plan identifies the presence and location of invasive species around or close to the works area of the FRS. These include Giant Knotweed, Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Knotweed.

The preliminary IASMP has been prepared in order to commence treatment of Invasive Species in the immediate vicinity of the proposed scheme works area in advance of interim and main scheme works and has been provided to Cork County Council, who have agreed to undertake treatment of invasive species for the Scheme on behalf of the OPW.

The optimal time to begin treatment of knotweed will be late summer / early autumn 2019.

My Office continues to liaise with Cork County Council and local representatives on this Scheme.

Brexit Preparations

Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 16.

Ceisteanna (40)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

40. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the work carried out to cost and estimate additional expenditure for the actions outlined in preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 29 March 2019, a contingency action plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1096/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Since the UK referendum on EU membership in 2016, all of our national Budgets have been framed to prepare for the challenge of Brexit, and Budget 2019 set out specific measures aimed at making Ireland Brexit ready.

Work across Government has identified key issues arising in each Brexit scenario, in particular based on the Withdrawal Agreement and in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

At its meeting on 11 December 2018 the Government agreed that, while work on Brexit preparedness based on the Withdrawal Agreement should continue, greater immediate priority should be given to preparations for a no-deal Brexit, in light of ongoing political uncertainties and the Brexit deadline of 29 March 2019.

Following this, the Government published its Brexit Contingency Action Plan on 19 December 2018. This set out detailed sectorial analyses and approaches to mitigating the impacts of a disorderly Brexit. Since the publication of the Contingency Action Plan, the Government has continued to intensify its preparations for a no deal scenario across a range of sectors. This work is ongoing and an Update to the Contingency Action Plan was published on 30 January 2019.

Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 16.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (42)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

42. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the capital projects to be delayed or deferred in each of the years 2019 to 2022 as a result of the cost overruns in the National Children’s Hospital; when the details of these deferrals will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5953/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

In my role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform I am responsible for setting the overall capital allocations across Departments and for monitoring monthly expenditure at a Departmental level. Decisions on how and where those allocations are invested by Departments are a matter, in the first instance, for my Ministerial colleagues.

My Department is engaging with the Department of Health on the topic of the National Children’s Hospital, and how the increased costs of the project will be managed within the overall agreed NDP capital allocations. To that end, the Government has decided that in relation to the 2019 increased costs, €50 million will have to be found within the existing 2019 capital allocation for the Department of Health, with the remaining €49 million to be met by reallocation from within the overall €7.3 billion capital allocation for 2019.

To put this amount into context, the 2019 capital allocation has increased by €1,325 million or just over 22% above the 2018 provisional outturn figures. The Deputy will appreciate that, even with this adjustment, all sectors will still receive substantial additional resources in 2019 to pursue their priority projects. Public investment this year will reach 3.5% of national income (GNI*) compared to an EU average in recent years of 2.7% (GDP).

My officials are currently engaging with the Department of Health on the funding requirements for the National Children's Hospital over the period to 2022. When that engagement is complete, I expect to revert to Government with proposals in relation to how the increased costs of the project will be met, within the existing agreed annual NDP ceilings.

Finally, a major capital projects tracker is available on my Department’s website. The tracker sets out details of the key projects being implemented under the National Development Plan, including expected commencement dates. My Department is currently in the process of updating this projects tracker, informed by the latest information available from Departments, which information will then assist me in developing my proposals for meeting the increased costs of the National Children's Hospital within existing agreed annual NDP ceilings.

Protected Disclosures

Ceisteanna (43)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

43. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the resources put in place to support the work of a panel of barristers to assess protected disclosures by members or former members of An Garda Síochána. [5768/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The request for sanction from the Department of Justice and Equality on this matter estimated total expenditure of €22,000 on fees for the independent panel. This is based on a payment structure which sets a fee per case depending on the level of complexity and takes into account the current level of protected disclosures on hand. The fees range from €300 to €1,000 per case. However, the maximum amount payable to counsel is €1,000 per case.

Overall, the Department of Justice and Equality estimates that maximum annual costs would fall to €5,000 - €6,000 in future years. It is a matter for the Department of Justice and Equality to fund panel fees as well as any other administrative supports within existing resources.

Finally, as regards the establishment of the independent panel, I gather the motivation of the Minister for Justice and Equality was to ensure disclosures can be dealt with in a proper, fair, professional and independent manner.