Tax Credits

Ceisteanna (172)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

172. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the cost in income forgone of the research and development tax credit. [36934/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

It is assumed the Deputy is referring to the tax cost of the research and development tax credit.

I am advised by Revenue that information in respect of the research and development tax credit, including the tax cost up to 2017 (the most recent year for which comprehensive data are available), can found in the research and development tax credits area of their website at: https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/tax-expenditures/index.aspx.  Information in respect of 2018 will be published in 2020 when the returns have been filed and analysed.

Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (173)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

173. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of a Garda station (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34744/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The OPW actively manages a portfolio of some 2,500 properties throughout the country, that ranges from office accommodation to heritage properties, visitors centres, Garda stations, among others.  At any given time it is normal that a number of properties are vacant.  In the case of the OPW portfolio, there are 98 properties currently vacant, reduced from over 200 that were vacant in 2014. 

The majority of these are former Garda stations closed under the 2012/13 closure programme.  As these stations were subject to examination under the recent policing review, the OPW was specifically requested not to dispose of them.  Now that this review is completed, the future of the remaining stations will be determined.  

When a property is deemed suitable for disposal, the OPW will, in the first instance, offer it for use to other public bodies (e.g. local authorities, LDA, HSE etc.) prior to it being placed on the open market.

Following the conclusion of the reviews of closed Garda stations, and when it was confirmed by An Garda Síochána that the property remained surplus to its requirements, the Office of Public Works recommenced the process of identifying alternative State use for the property, in line with the OPW’s disposal policy on surplus vacant property. 

The OPW policy with regard to non-operational (vacant) State property, including the former Garda station at Brosna is to:

1. Identify if the property is required/suitable for alternative State use by either Government Departments or the wider public sector.

2. If there is no other State use identified for a property, the OPW will then consider disposing of the property on the open market if and when conditions prevail, in order to generate revenue for the Exchequer.

3. If no State requirement is identified or if a decision is taken not to dispose of a particular property, the OPW may consider community involvement (subject to a detailed written submission, which would indicate that the community/voluntary group has the means to insure, maintain and manage the property and that there are no ongoing costs for the Exchequer). 

The Brosna Heritage Society contacted the OPW by phone in 2014 and again in 2017 indicating their interest in the property.  The OPW wrote to the Society explaining the criteria required in order for the Commissioners of Public Works to licence the former Garda Station to a community group and requesting a business case.  No business case has been received to-date.   

If there is no alternative State interest in the former Garda station at Brosna, the OPW will proceed to dispose of the property in line with the above policy.

Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (174)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

174. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will address a matter regarding a former Garda station (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34775/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The OPW actively manages a portfolio of some 2,500 properties throughout the country, that ranges from office accommodation to heritage properties, visitors centres, Garda stations, among others.  At any given time it is normal that a number of properties are vacant.  In the case of the OPW portfolio, there are 98 properties currently vacant, reduced from over 200 that were vacant in 2014. 

The majority of these are former Garda stations closed under the 2012/13 closure programme.  As these stations were subject to examination under the recent policing review, the OPW was specifically requested not to dispose of them.  Now that this review is completed, the future of the remaining stations will be determined.  

When a property is deemed suitable for disposal, the OPW will, in the first instance, offer it for use to other public bodies (e.g. local authorities, LDA, HSE etc.) prior to it being placed on the open market. 

The OPW policy with regard to non-operational (vacant) State property, including the former Garda station at Moyvane is to:

1. Identify if the property is required/suitable for alternative State use by either Government Departments or the wider public sector.

2. If there is no other State use identified for a property, the OPW will then consider disposing of the property on the open market if and when conditions prevail, in order to generate revenue for the Exchequer.

3. If no State requirement is identified or if a decision is taken not to dispose of a particular property, the OPW may consider community involvement (subject to a detailed written submission, which would indicate that the community/voluntary group has the means to insure, maintain and manage the property and that there are no ongoing costs for the Exchequer).

The OPW is in discussion with Kerry County Council who have expressed an interest in the property.

If Kerry County Council decide not to proceed with the acquisition of the property and there is no other State requirement for the property, the Commissioners of Public Works will consider the business plan submitted by the Community Group.

Equality Proofing of Budgets

Ceisteanna (175)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

175. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department will prepare an annual equality budget statement to be read by him alongside the Budget Statement as recommended by the Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight. [34983/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The ongoing work regarding Equality Budgeting in Ireland follows the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to ‘develop the process of budget and policy proofing as a means of advancing equality, reducing poverty and strengthening economic and social rights’. The National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 also contains a related commitment.  

The elements that make gender and equality budgeting work such as impact analysis and evaluation are important in any good budgetary process. Gender and equality budgeting should not to be seen as something separate from the budget process, the intention is to embed a gender and equality perspective throughout the budgetary process, with a whole of year budgetary focus.  

A pilot programme of equality budgeting was introduced for the 2018 budgetary cycle, anchored in the existing performance budgeting framework. International experience has shown the importance of setting specific and measurable targets. This approach works well in terms of transparency around objectives and measuring progress. For the first cycle of equality budgeting, a number of diverse policy areas were selected with associated objectives and indicators published in the Revised Estimates Volume (REV) 2018. Progress towards achieving those targets was reported on in the Public Service Performance Report 2017.  

Responsibility for proofing expenditure programmes, the selection of indicators, and making progress towards achieving the high level goals articulated is a matter for the individual spending Departments in the first instance. The role of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is to facilitate the initiative and provide support for Departments to fulfil the Programme for Government commitment.

Following the achievements of the pilot programme, Equality Budgeting was expanded in 2019 to further develop the gender budgeting elements and to broaden its scope to other dimensions of equality including poverty, socioeconomic inequality and disability. In addition to the six equality objectives identified in the pilot (Phase 1), a further eight objectives were added for 2019 (Phase 2). This means nine Government Departments are now actively engaged with Equality Budgeting. An update in the Public Service Performance Report 2018 outlined progress in the pilot.

To further guide the roll-out of equality budgeting, an Equality Budgeting Expert Advisory Group was established, holding its first meeting in September 2018. The group has to date met on five occasions. This group is comprised of a broad range of relevant stakeholders and policy experts to provide advice on the most effective way to advance equality budgeting policy and progress the initiative.

My Department, in liaison with the Department of Justice and Equality have commissioned the OECD to undertake a Policy Scan of Equality Budgeting in Ireland. This will take stock of actions taken to mainstream equality considerations as part of the budget process. It will also provide options and recommendations on future directions for Equality Budgeting in Ireland, in light of international experience. This report is expected to be finalised in September 2019.

Once the final report has been received from the OECD, my Department will decide how best to progress Equality Budgeting. Along with the findings of the OECD, this process will enjoy input from the Equality Budgeting Expert Advisory Group.

Public Sector Staff Retirements

Ceisteanna (176, 228)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

176. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has issued the report as per section 3A(6) of the Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 as inserted by section 3 of the Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018 on the public servants forced to retire between 6 December 2017 and the commencement of the Act due to reaching 65 years of age; if appropriate remedies to assist this cohort have been found; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35051/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

228. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which accommodation has been or can be reached in respect of returning public servants who have expressed a wish to remain in employment for some time after their anticipated retirement age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36725/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 176 and 228 together.

As the Deputies are aware, on 5 December 2017, the Government made the decision to increase the compulsory retirement age to 70, for public servants recruited prior to 1 April 2004. Primary legislation was necessary in order to bring that change into effect. It was made clear at the time that until such legislation was enacted, the compulsory retirement age of 65, which applied to the vast majority of this cohort, remained in effect and pre-2004 public servants reaching that age would be required to retire.

Interim arrangements were provided for the cohort of public servants who reached their compulsory retirement age of 65 between the date of the Government Decision and the enactment of the legislation because, while they would be aware of the Government’s decision, they would be unable to avail of it. The interim arrangements permitted these individuals to be rehired post-retirement for a period of 1 year until they reached the age of eligibility for the State Pension (Contributory). Without those specific arrangements, they would have been required to cease working on reaching the age of 65.

The Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018 was enacted on 26 December 2018. Under the Act, any relevant public servant who had not already reached their compulsory retirement age of 65 before that date has a new compulsory retirement age of 70.

Enactment of the legislation had no effect on those public servants who retired at 65 prior to the 26 December 2018 and who availed of a one year contract under the interim arrangements. Their contract terms continue to apply and they cease working when they reach the age of 66, as previously provided for.

Section 3 of the 2018 Act also provides that I, as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, within three months of the passing of the Act, would prepare and lay before the Oireachtas a report on the public servants who were forced to retire between 6 December 2017 and the commencement of the Act, due to reaching the age of 65 years, and on potential remedies to assist this cohort of worker. This Report was laid before the Oireachtas on 26 March 2019 and is publicly available on the www.gov.ie website and in the Oireachtas Library online catalogue.

Having considered all of the issues outlined in the Report, I am satisfied that the interim arrangements were an appropriate temporary policy response at the time of the Government Decision, pending enactment of the legislation. The terms of those arrangements were clear, unambiguous and made known to those who availed of them. Accordingly, for the reasons set out in the report, I decided not to make any changes to those terms.

Individual public servants who wish to clarify issues regarding their retirement age are advised to contact their employer's HR office who are best placed to assist them.

Public Sector Pensions Legislation

Ceisteanna (177)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

177. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when he plans to remove the public service pension reduction from public service pensioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35631/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Financial Emergency Measures in Public Interests (FEMPI) Act 2015 and the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 (the 2017 Act) substantially lessened the impact of the public service pension reduction (PSPR) by way of changes which have occurred or are due to occur on 1 January in each of the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. These changes mean that, as of 1 January 2018, most public service pensions have not been subject to the PSPR.

The PSPR rates applying in 2019 and from 2020 are set out as follows. When the PSPR amelioration provisions in the 2017 Act are fully in place from 1 January 2020, only a small number of public service pensions will remain affected by the PSPR. Section 27 of the 2017 Act states that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform will, no later than 31 December 2020, issue an order which will specify a date for the full removal of the PSPR from that residual group of PSPR-affected pensions. The date so specified in the order will effectively be the date of the complete abolition of the PSPR.  

Pensions awarded pre-March 2012: The PSPR position with effect from 1 January 2019 and 2020 is as per the following table.

Annualised amount of public service pension

Reduction

Up to €39,000 (€54,000*)

Exempt

Any amount over €39,000 (€54,000*)  but not over €60,000

12%

Any amount over €60,000 but not over €100,000

17%

Any amount over €100,000

28%

* Effective 1 January 2020

Pensions awarded in the period 1 March 2012 to 1 April 2019: The PSPR position with effect from 1 January 2019 and 2020 is as per the following table.

Annualised amount of public service pension

Reduction 2019

Reduction 2020

Up to €60,000

Exempt

Exempt

Any amount over €60,000 but not over €100,000

3%

1%

Any amount over €100,000

8%

6%

Pensions awarded in respect of retirements after the FEMPI 2013 grace period, which expired on 1 April 2019, have not been subject to PSPR.

Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (178, 217)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

178. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the delivery of a Garda station for Bailieborough, County Cavan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36261/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

217. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when new accommodation will be provided at a Garda station (details supplied); the timescale for the provision of new modern and adequate accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36404/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 178 and 217 together.

The Planning process for this project was completed in December 2018 and a  full Design Team is now in place. Tender documentation is being prepared and it is envisaged that this will take a number of months to complete.  It is not possible at this early stage of the project to be definitive about a completion date.

Public Procurement Regulations

Ceisteanna (179)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

179. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to amend the public sector procurement system in order that organisations can procure supplies locally; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that while in theory local suppliers can tender for procurement business, in practice the system favours larger companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36553/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Government recognises the importance of the SME sector and continues to enhance the already substantial measures to support SMEs in accessing the public procurement market. Significant work has been undertaken by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) to ensure that public procurement is accessible by all businesses, including SMEs. My colleague, Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan, in accordance with the Programme for Government, chairs quarterly meetings of the SME Advisory Group so that the voice of industry is heard at first hand by Government.

The OGP have developed a suite of measures aimed at assisting SMEs to access public procurement opportunities (circular 10/14). These include:

- employing proportionate turnover requirements with turnover limited to twice the contract value,

- the division of public contracts into lots,

- the provision for “consortia bidding” to assist SMEs to participate in procurement procedures where they would not have the relevant capability or scale, and

- requiring public bodies to advertise contracts for goods and services valued above €25,000 (ex. VAT) on the national eTenders portal

Other measures include undertaking market analysis prior to tendering to understand the competitive landscape and encouraging businesses to register on eTenders, the Government’s national tendering platform. Specific supports are also provided by InterTrade Ireland (ITI) and Enterprise Ireland (EI) to assist SMEs in preparing for public tenders.

There is a commitment in the Programme for Government to “Refine the new procurement structures in place, such as the OGP, as they bed down and make adjustments according to best international practice and in conjunction with Irish businesses”.  This review of the Procurement Reform Programme is currently underway and the views of SMEs have been sought from industry representatives which sit on the SME Advisory Group including IBEC, ISME, Small Firms Association (SFA), Construction Federation of Ireland (CIF) and Chambers Ireland. Their contributions, as well as those received from Government Departments (including bodies under their aegis) are now being considered.  The views of the Health, Education, Local Government and Defence Sectors and opposition spokespeople on public procurement have also been sought in this process. The feedback from this engagement will inform the future direction and shape of public procurement.

Public Sector Pay

Ceisteanna (180)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

180. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of payments made to former Ministers who lost their seats in the 2011 general election or who did not contest the 2011 general election in tabular form. [35297/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to former Ministers is contained in the 2011 Finance Accounts as published at the following link; https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/48b743-finanace-accounts-2011-statement-14-annuities-pensions-etc-for-forme/

It should be noted that severance payments for Ministers were abolished under the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) Amendment Act 2014 and no members of the current Government will receive such payments.

Ministerial Advisers Data

Ceisteanna (181)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

181. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the name of each person employed as an adviser or special adviser to him and the Ministers of State in his Department; the salary of each in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34851/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I wish to inform the Deputy that Ministerial appointments in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are made in line with “Instructions to Personnel Officers - Ministerial Appointments for the 32nd Dáil”, which include “Guidelines on staffing of Ministerial offices” issued by my Department.

The details requested by the Deputy on Special Advisers in my Department are shown in the following table.

   Special Adviser  

  Salary  

   Deborah Sweeney

   €101,114

  The cost of this post is shared equally with the Department of Finance.     

  Niamh Callaghan

  €90,920

Special Advisers are appointed under Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997. A Special Adviser to a Minister or to a Minister of State, as in the case may be, shall

(a) assist the Minister or Minister of State, as the case may be, by –

(i) providing advice,

(ii) monitoring, facilitating and securing the achievement of the Government objectives that relate to the Department, as requested by the Minister or the Minister of State, as the case may be, and

(iii) performing such other functions as may be directed by the Minister or the Minister of State, as the case may be that are not otherwise provided for in this Act and do not involve the exercise of any specific powers conferred on the Minister or the Minister of State as the case may be or any other office holder by or under any other Act.

The appointments of Advisers are kept under review given the breath of my responsibilities across two Departments.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (182)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

182. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department or the Office of Public Works can search for the record of employment in the 1950s of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34925/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works has undertaken a comprehensive search of its employment records and has no record of employment of the person, in County Kerry, for whom details were supplied.

Equality Proofing of Budgets

Ceisteanna (183)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

183. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the review of the gender budgeting pilot in his Department has been conducted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34960/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The ongoing work regarding Equality Budgeting in Ireland follows the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to ‘develop the process of budget and policy proofing as a means of advancing equality, reducing poverty and strengthening economic and social rights’. The National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 also contains a related commitment.  

The elements that make gender and equality budgeting work such as impact analysis and evaluation are important in any good budgetary process. Gender and equality budgeting should not to be seen as something separate from the budget process, the intention is to embed a gender and equality perspective throughout the budgetary process, with a whole of year budgetary focus.  

A pilot programme of equality budgeting was introduced for the 2018 budgetary cycle, anchored in the existing performance budgeting framework. International experience has shown the importance of setting specific and measurable targets. This approach works well in terms of transparency around objectives and measuring progress. For the first cycle of equality budgeting, a number of diverse policy areas were selected with associated objectives and indicators published in the Revised Estimates Volume (REV) 2018. Progress towards achieving those targets was reported on in the Public Service Performance Report 2017.  

Responsibility for proofing expenditure programmes, the selection of indicators, and making progress towards achieving the high level goals articulated is a matter for the individual spending Departments in the first instance. The role of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is to facilitate the initiative and provide support for Departments to fulfil the Programme for Government commitment.

Following the achievements of the pilot programme, Equality Budgeting was expanded in 2019 to further develop the gender budgeting elements and to broaden its scope to other dimensions of equality including poverty, socioeconomic inequality and disability. In addition to the six equality objectives identified in the pilot (Phase 1), a further eight objectives were added for 2019 (Phase 2). This means nine Government Departments are now actively engaged with Equality Budgeting. An update in the Public Service Performance Report 2018 outlined progress in the pilot.

To further guide the roll-out of equality budgeting, an Equality Budgeting Expert Advisory Group was established, holding its first meeting in September 2018. The group has to date met on five occasions. This group is comprised of a broad range of relevant stakeholders and policy experts to provide advice on the most effective way to advance equality budgeting policy and progress the initiative.

My Department, in liaison with the Department of Justice and Equality, commissioned the OECD to undertake a Policy Scan of Equality Budgeting in Ireland. This Scan has been conducted during the past three months, with the final report expected from the OECD during September 2019. The report will examine actions taken to mainstream equality considerations as part of the budget process. It will also provide options and recommendations on future directions for Equality Budgeting in Ireland, in light of international experience. In addition to guidance from the Equality Budgeting Expert Advisory Group, this report will inform the future development of Equality Budgeting in Ireland.

Office of Public Works Properties

Ceisteanna (184)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

184. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the Office of Public Works owned and-or managed and-or leased properties that have and are not being used and-or are vacant and-or are not yet assigned to a body by status, location and duration of vacancy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35069/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The OPW actively manages a portfolio of some 2,500 properties throughout the country, that ranges from office accommodation to heritage properties, visitors centres to Garda stations, among others.  At any given time it is normal that a number of properties are vacant.  In the case of the OPW portfolio, there are 98 properties currently vacant, reduced from over 200 that were vacant in 2014. 

The majority of these are former Garda stations closed under the 2012/13 closure programme.  As these stations were subject to examination under the recent policing review, the OPW was specifically requested not to dispose of them.  Now that this review is completed, the future of the remaining stations will be determined.  

When a property is deemed suitable for disposal, the OPW will, in the first instance, offer it for use to other public bodies (e.g. local authorities, LDA, HSE etc.) prior to it being placed on the open market.

Closed Garda Stations   

An interim report of the Policing Authority identified six stations for re-opening on a pilot basis.  These were -

- Ballinaspittle, Co. Cork  

- Bawnboy, Co. Cavan 

- Donard, Co. Wicklow 

- Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow 

- Rush, Co. Dublin 

- Stepaside, Co. Dublin 

This second review, carried out by the Garda Inspectorate, was published in December 2018.  Following the publication of the review, the OPW and An Garda Síochána engaged in discussions to determine the future use of the former Garda stations.  Following these discussions, An Garda Síochána advised the OPW in May 2019 that 47 of the former Garda stations are surplus to requirements. The OPW is now processing these properties in accordance with its disposal policy. 

The OPW’s policy on disposal of surplus State property is as follows:  

- Identify if the property is required/suitable for alternative State use by both Government departments and the wider public sector.  

- If there is no other State use identified for a property, the OPW will then consider disposing of the property on the open market if and when conditions prevail, in order to generate revenue for the Exchequer.  

- If no State requirement is identified, or if a decision is taken not to dispose of a particular property, the OPW may consider community involvement (subject to detailed written submission, which would indicate that the community/voluntary group has the means to insure, maintain and manage the property and that there are no ongoing costs for the Excheque 

Sites  

Sites in State ownership (OPW) range in size from a plot of ground measuring 300 square metres to one site of 31 acres.  These sites were acquired over the years for a variety of uses including: customs posts, met stations, sites for the Courts Service or An Garda Síochána.  They also include sites acquired for the purposes of the Government’s decentralisation programme for Government Departments/Offices.   

The majority of these sites have been identified as being suitable for transfer to other State bodies or are being retained for future State development.  The future use or disposal of the remainder is under consideration.    

As a matter of policy, no property or site is disposed of until there is absolute certainty that there is no alternative State use for it.  

Alternative State use, in accordance with the OPW disposal policy, has been explored for each of those properties and sites identified as being prepared for disposal.   

Leased Property 

There is one vacant leased property at Clare Street, Dublin 2.  The lease expires in January 2020 and will not be renewed.  

Properties and sites not allocated or assigned 

The following table identifies properties and sites that are not currently allocated to other State Bodies and excludes properties and sites that are being assigned for alternative State use, for transfer to other State Bodies and are under consideration for community use.  

 List of vacant Properties and Sites not assigned  

County 

Location 

Property Type 

Size of Site 

Current status 

Year of last use 

Cavan 

Redhills 

Former Garda station  

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2013 

Cavan 

Stradone 

Former Garda station  

 

Being prepared for disposal 

2002 

Cavan 

Ballyconnell 

Former Customs Post Site 

0.3 acres 

Alternative State use being examined. 

 

Cavan 

Farnham Road, Cavan Town 

Decentralisation Site 

10.8 acres 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2006 

Clare 

Broadford 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Clare 

Doonbeg 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Clare 

Inagh 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Clare 

Lahinch 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Clare 

Quin 

Former Garda station 

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Cork 

Woodville, Blarney 

Residence 

 

Being prepared for disposal 

2010 

Cork 

Adrigole 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Cork 

Ballyfeard 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2012 

Cork 

Ballygurteen 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2012 

Cork 

Clonakilty   

Former Agricultural Offices 

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2014 

Cork 

Crosshaven (cottage No. 4) 

Former Coastguard Cottage 

 

Being prepared for disposal 

1995 

Cork 

Crosshaven (cottage No. 5) 

Former Coastguard Cottage 

 

Being prepared for disposal 

2005 

Cork 

Crosshaven (cottage No. 7) 

Former Coastguard Cottage 

 

Being prepared for disposal 

Pre 1983 

Cork 

Crosshaven (cottage No. 8) 

Former Coastguard Cottage 

 

Being prepared for disposal 

Pre 1983 

Cork 

Crosshaven (cottage No. 9) 

Former Coastguard Cottage 

 

Being prepared for disposal 

Pre 1983 

Cork 

Crosshaven (cottage No. 10) 

Former Coastguard Cottage 

 

Being prepared for disposal 

Pre 1983 

Cork 

Crosshaven (cottage No. 11) 

Former Coastguard Cottage 

 

Being prepared for disposal 

1996 

Cork 

Crosshaven 

Site 

1 acre 

Being prepared for disposal 

 

Cork 

Goleen 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2012 

Cork 

Knocknagree 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2012 

Cork 

Rathduff 

Former Garda station  

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2013 

Cork City 

McCurtain Street 

Former Garda station  

 

Being prepared for disposal 

2013 

Cork City 

St Luke's, Ballyhooley Road 

Former Garda station  

 

Being prepared for disposal 

1992 

Donegal 

Ballyshannon  

Former Customs Post Site 

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

 

Donegal 

The Mall, Ballyshannon 

Residence 

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2013 

Donegal 

Bunbeg 

Former Garda station  

 

Being prepared for disposal 

2008 

Donegal 

Buncrana 

Former Garda station  

 

Being prepared for disposal 

2007 

Donegal 

Castlefin 

Residence 

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

Early 1990s 

Donegal 

Castlefin 

Site 

0.2 acres 

Alternative State use being examined. 

 

Donegal 

Malin 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Dublin 

10-11 Castle Street 

Building 

 

Retained for strategic purposes. 

1999 

Dublin 

44 O'Connell Street 

Building 

 

Options being considered. 

2018 

Dublin 

45 O'Connell street 

Building 

 

Options being considered. 

2018 

Dublin 

Dalkey 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2012 

Dublin  

Spruce House / Leeson Lane 

Site 

0.5 acres 

Planning for new office development secured. 

 

Dublin 

Kill O'The Grange 

Site 

1 acre 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2007 

Dublin 

Halston Street. (Former Debtors' Prison). 

Building 

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2006 

Dublin 

Hawkins House 

Building 

 

Options being considered. 

2018 

Dublin 

Kill O'The Grange 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2012 

Galway 

Eyrecourt 

Site 

0.8 acres 

Being prepared for disposal 

 

Galway 

Ballymoe 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Galway 

Corrandulla 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2012 

Galway 

Kilconly 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Galway 

Kiltullagh 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Galway 

Leenane 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Galway 

Maam 

Former Garda station  

 

Being prepared for disposal 

2004 

Galway 

Letterfrack 

Site 

c. 0.84 acres 

Being prepared for disposal 

 

Galway  

New Inn 

Site 

0.82 acres 

Being prepared for disposal 

 

Galway 

Portumna 

Former DSP Office 

 

Being prepared for disposal 

2013 

Kerry 

Killarney (Muckross Road) 

Site 

0.62 acres 

Alternative State use being examined. 

1981 

Kerry 

Ballylongford 

Residence 

 

Being prepared for disposal 

2012 

Kerry 

Camp 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Kerry 

Kilgarvan 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Kildare 

Rathangan  

Former Garda station  

 

Advertised for sale. 

2003 

Laois 

Portlaoise 

Decentralisation Site 

9 acres 

Alternative State use  

2007 

Leitrim 

Dromahair 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Leitrim 

Drumkeeran 

Former Garda station 

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2012 

Leitrim 

Glenfarne 

Former Garda station  

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2013 

Leitrim 

Keshcarrigan 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Limerick 

Castletown Conyers 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Limerick 

Galbally 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Limerick 

Kilfinane  

Former Garda station 

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Limerick 

Shanagolden 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

22012 

Longford 

Ardagh 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Longford 

Ballinalee 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Louth 

Ferryhill 

Former Customs Post Site 

0.3 acres 

Alternative State use being examined. 

 

Louth 

Carrickarnon 

Former Customs Post Site 

10 Hectares 

Alternative State use being examined. 

 

Mayo 

Claremorris 

Decentralisation Site 

2.7 acres 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2007 

Mayo 

Knock 

Decentralisation Site 

2.4 Hectares 

Being prepared for disposal 

2007 

Mayo 

Ballina 

Former Garda station  

 

Being prepared for disposal 

2005 

Mayo 

Ballyglass 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Mayo 

Bellacorrick 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2012 

Mayo 

Blacksod 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Mayo 

Hollymount 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Monaghan 

Castleblayney 

Former Customs Post Site 

3.6 acres 

Alternative State use being examined. 

 

Monaghan 

Scotstown 

Site 

0.42 acres 

Alternative State use being examined. 

 

Monaghan 

Clontibret 

Former Garda station  

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2012 

Monaghan 

Clontibret 

Residence 

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2012 

Monaghan 

Corrinshigagh 

Former Garda station  

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2013 

Monaghan 

Newbliss 

Former Garda station  

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2013 

Monaghan 

Smithborough 

Former Garda station  

 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2012 

Offaly 

Edenderry 

Decentralisation Site 

2.1 acres 

Alternative State use being examined. 

2007 

Offaly 

Birr 

Former Met Station  

 

Being prepared for disposal. 

2009 

Roscommon 

Knockcroghery 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Roscommon 

Tarmonbarry 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2012 

Sligo 

Ballymote 

Former Garda station  

 

Being prepared for disposal. 

2009 

Sligo 

Cliffoney 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Tipperary 

New Inn (Tipperary) 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Tipperary 

Rearcross 

Site 

0.5 acres 

Being prepared for disposal. 

 

Waterford 

Ardmore 

Building 

 

Being prepared for disposal. 

2010 

Waterford 

Ballyduff 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Wexford 

Roche's Road 

Former Garda station  

 

No alterntive State interest.  Community interest. 

2017 

Wicklow 

Ashford 

Former Garda station  

 

Options being considered. 

2003 

Wicklow 

Hollywood 

Former Garda station  

 

OPW disposal policy following reviews of closed Garda stations 

2013 

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (185)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

185. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the 1984 Civil Service superannuation scheme constitutes discriminatory treatment for disabled civil servants according to the 2002 Institute of Public Administration report (details supplied); if consideration will be given to refunding contributions to officers who retire single; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35085/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Civil Service Spouses’ and Children’s Contributory Pension Scheme provides pensions to the spouse and children of members who die in service, or after they have qualified for pension (or preserved pension). Membership of the Scheme was made compulsory for male established civil servants appointed on or after 1 January 1969 and for female established civil servants appointed on or after 1 June 1981. Officers serving prior to the relevant dates were given options to join.

Following discussions with staff interests, a ‘revised’ scheme was introduced in 1984 which provides for a wider range of beneficiaries than under the 'original' scheme. In order to meet the additional costs of the wider definition of beneficiaries, the contribution refund arrangements were made more restrictive than in the original scheme. The revised scheme was made compulsory for all civil servants joining after 1 September 1984, while serving staff, including those who were members of the original scheme, had the option to join.

Regarding the Spouses’ and Children’s Schemes contribution arrangements, I am in agreement with the Commission on Public Service Pensions, which found in its Final Report (2000) that the schemes are structured on a group insurance basis and that member contribution rates take account of the fact that payment of benefits will not arise in respect of all members; accordingly, the Commission did not recommend any change in the refund arrangements for membership contributions.

I have no proposals to amend the revised scheme rules to provide for a refund of contributions where a member is single on retirement, including in the context raised by the Deputy. I am satisfied that the Revised Civil Service Spouses' and Children's Contributory Pension Scheme meets the requirements of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 – 2015 in relation to all of the grounds of discrimination set out in the legislation, including on grounds of disability.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (186)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

186. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which a pension for a person (details supplied) will be restored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35114/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

It is not possible to provide a precise response to the Deputy’s question.  Based on the information provided, the situation potentially involves a number of measures to which different rules and policies apply.

Insofar as the potentially relevant measures may apply, the position is as follows:

1. In general, a person employed in the public service in the period in question would have been subject to the pension related deduction (PRD), a deduction from the taxable remuneration of public servants with an entitlement to, or in receipt of, a public service pension.  PRD refunds only apply where an individual had no public service pension benefit in the current or any previous public service employment.  If the person to whom the question relates was employed in a pensionable capacity or had an entitlement to a public service pension benefit from any public service employment, he would be subject to PRD in accordance with the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009.  In such circumstances, partial refunds might arise where the individual had not reached relevant thresholds.  The individual’s main public service employer is responsible for making such refunds.

2. If that person had an entitlement to a separate public service pension, the pension in payment may have been considered for abatement in accordance with the Pensions Abatement Act 1965. 

3. Finally any pensions in payment would have been subject to the public service pension reduction (PSPR), a reduction applicable to public service pensions in accordance with the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010.

In the circumstances, I would suggest that, in the first instance, the individual should seek a more detailed explanation from their employer as to the reason for the deduction applied in this case.

Departmental Websites

Ceisteanna (187)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

187. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason links from search engines or other sources to documents found on the website of his Department now link to a Department home page rather than the document itself; his plans to rectify the situation; the advice taken before the change was implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35330/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Government department websites are currently undergoing a significant change in how they present online content to citizens and businesses, with a view to making them easier to use and more accessible to all members of society.  Over time, department websites are being moved to one single website, gov.ie, giving people a one stop shop for accessing information on government services and organisations.

It is generally seen as best practice to pursue the consolidation of public service information into one consistent accessible website. The most digitally advanced countries within the EU (see the EU eGovernment Benchmark 2018 - Denmark, Estonia, Austria, Latvia and Malta), have already moved to a single digital gateway approach. Furthermore, a 2016 market research exercise carried out by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer within the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform found that the concept of a single, online portal for government was positively received by both the general public and representative bodies alike. This view was again confirmed by a subsequent market research exercise carried out in late 2018.

Following a government decision to migrate all ministerial department websites to gov.ie, work has proceeded on this basis.  So far, 5 departments have moved their website content to gov.ie - the Departments of the Taoiseach; Public Expenditure and Reform; Rural and Community Development; Transport, Tourism and Sport; and Finance.

As a part of the migration to gov.ie, content from websites are reworked and moved into the gov.ie website (for example, efforts are made to make the services content easier to understand through the use of plain English).  Post migration, the internet addresses for the new content within gov.ie is different from the addresses of the content, including documents, on the old websites.

The migration of a website to a new one with a different address necessarily breaks links to the old website content from external sources.  This is suffered for all website migrations, including the department websites in question.  This issue is temporary in nature as search engines re-index content on the internet, and also as external sites (that are not search indexes) update their links to point to the new location of content.  Over time, the issue of finding broken links and being redirected to a department’s homepage on gov.ie will become less and less frequent, and will eventually cease to occur.

To reduce the impact of the temporary ill effects caused by these website migrations, the occurrence of visitors to broken links within gov.ie is monitored via site analytics. In conjunction with each department’s content manager, work is continuously being undertaken where possible to redirect such broken links to the correct and new location within gov.ie. Furthermore, prior to website migration into gov.ie, work is undertaken to pre-emptively set up such redirects to popular content so as to reduce the likelihood of this issue arising.

Between search engine re-indexing and the ongoing efforts based on website analytics, the user experience of gov.ie in regards to the matter the Deputy refers will improve over time.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (188)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

188. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount expended on the renewal of licences (details supplied) by his Department since 2009 to date in 2019; the amount projected to be spent on the renewal of such licences by his Department over the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35346/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My Department uses Lotus Notes for a small number of legacy systems for which perpetual licences were purchased prior to 2009.  Accordingly, the Lotus Notes licences held by my Deparment have not been renewed in the period 2009 to date.  Therefore no expenditure on licences has been incurred during this time, nor are there currently any plans to do so. 

Tionscadail Oidhreachta

Ceisteanna (189)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

189. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe an raibh comhráití idir Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblí agus Comhairle Contae na Gaillimhe maidir leis an ngá atá ann cur leis na saoráidí páirceála do rothair, busanna agus trapanna ag Cill Mhuirbhigh gar don áit a bhfuil oifig de chuid Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblí le freastal ar na daoine a thugann cuairt ar Dhún Aonghasa; ar pléadh an fhéidearthacht go bhféadfadh an dá eagraíocht iarratas a dhéanamh faoin gCiste um Athghiniúint agus Forbairt Tuaithe de chuid na Roinne Cultúir Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [35350/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Tá Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblí ag iarraidh na deacaireachtaí páirceála a réiteach in Ionad Cuairteoirí Dún Aonghasa le tamall anuas.

Tar éis comhairliúcháin le páirtithe leasmhara áitiúla í 2018, reachtáladh cainteanna le bainistíocht sinsearach i gComhairle Chontae na Gaillimhe maidir le oibreacha beartaithe don bhóthair phoiblí in aice láimhe a chuirfeadh feabhas ar rochtain do bhusanna.   Ni dhearna aon phlé maidir le áiseanna páirceála rothar nó cóiste capaill mar tá an limistéar atá i gceist faoi úinéireacht phríobháideach faoi láthair. 

Níor phléadh an cheist maidir le maoiniú do na hoibreacha seo go mion leis an gComhairle Chontae, mar sin níor tháinig saincheist iarratais ar thacaíocht an gCiste um Athghiniúint agust Forbairt Tuaithe  chun cinn.

Office of Public Works Projects

Ceisteanna (190)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

190. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 78 of 28 March 2019, the status of the historical gates to the Phoenix Park removed in summer 2018; when the original gates will be restored and returned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35405/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works obtained permission, under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act 2000-2002 (as amended), for the temporary removal of gates and ancillary structures at eight separate vehicular and pedestrian entrances at the perimeter of the Phoenix Park and for their repair and reinstatement at their existing locations.

These works were required in order to facilitate the free and safe movement of people and vehicles for the Papal visit to the Phoenix Park in connection with the World Meeting of Families in August 2018.  Seven pairs of gates and ancillary structures were finally deemed necessary for removal. 

 The painstaking process to engage the required specialist ironwork expertise, which is not available in-house to OPW, is nearing completion.  A notice was published on eTenders, the Irish Government’s electronic tendering platform administered by the Office of Government Procurement on Friday 30 August 2019 inviting tenders from ironworks specialist contractors for the refurbishment of the seven pairs of gates and, in addition, in situ works to the gates at the Knockmaroon Hill entrance plus other related repairs to railings near all of the gate locations.  It is expected that a contract for these specialist works will be awarded by end October/early November with immediate commencement of the refurbishment works in the appointed contractor’s own workshop.

Once all the gates have been refurbished and returned into the possession of the OPW, a separate contractor will be appointed to carry out masonry repairs to adjoining historic walls and piers, at each gate location where necessary and to remove the temporary gates currently in place.  The final rehanging of all gates will then be carried out by the specialist ironworks contractor who restored the gates.  

Once clarity is obtained from the appointed ironworks specialist contractor on the expected duration of restoration works (currently estimated at 6-9 months), this information will be posted on the Phoenix Park website (www.PhoenixPark.ie).

Departmental Properties

Ceisteanna (191)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

191. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if property valuations received by the Office of Public Works regarding 44-45 O'Connell Street, Dublin 1, since it acquired the properties to date will be required; the amount it originally paid for the properties; if the Office of Public Works has been offered off-market sums and-or land and-or property swaps to dispose of the properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35408/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The building at 44 O’Connell Street was acquired by the Commissioners of Public Works (OPW) in 1941 for a price of IRL£7,440.  The title to 45 O’Connell Street was assigned to the Local Government Board of Ireland in 1877 and passed to the Minister for Finance under the 1954 State Property Act.  There was no payment involved.  In 2008 the Minister for Finance conveyed title to the OPW for a nominal fee of €10.

Given the length of time the State has owned these properties considerable research is required in relation to historical valuations.  OPW will revert to the Deputy directly on this as soon as possible.

These adjoining buildings are now vacant and are in a poor state of repair.  In recent years OPW was approached by adjoining owners in relation to the possible acquisition of OPW’s interest in the properties.  However as the future use of the properties is still under active consideration by the OPW the details of any discussions, including valuations etc. is highly commercially sensitive at this time.

Departmental Schemes

Ceisteanna (192)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

192. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date on which he was consulted regarding the closing of applications for the deep retrofit scheme; if he has engaged with the Ministers for Housing, Planning and Local Government and Communications, Climate Action and Environment on the issue of the closure of the scheme; if he has received a request to provide further funding for the scheme and-or compensation for applicants who are a loss due to the cessation of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35566/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Responsibility for the deep retrofit scheme rests with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment. There was no consultation with my Department regarding the closure of the scheme. 

In June of this year, officials in my Department provided sanction to allow the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment to allocate an additional €19.65m in capital funding to subhead C.4 "Sustainable Energy Programmes" in 2019 from savings in other areas of that Department's Vote.  That subhead provides funding for all of the DCCAE-operated energy efficiency schemes. 

In relation to compensation for applicants, while this is also a matter for the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, I note that the Minister has announced that all applications to the scheme that were made before the July deadline will be assessed and honoured in line with the existing terms and conditions of the scheme.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (193)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

193. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the names of external consultancies that delivered and continue to deliver advice and training on all aspects of GDPR in the context of preparedness and ongoing upskilling of staff regarding the regulation; the cost expended on the external advice and training on same to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35581/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.   

2017

 

 

Data Protection Training

Allone

€700.00

Data Protection Training

Allone

€675.00

Data Protection Training - GDPR

Public Affairs Ireland

€1,030.00

2018

 

 

Certificate in Data Protection Course

UCD

€1,600.00

GDPR Essential - Level 1

Public Affairs Ireland

€3,960.00

Certificate in Data Protection - GDPR 

IPA

€1,350.00

Certificate in Data Protection - GDPR 

IPA

€1,350.00

Certificate in Data Protection - GDPR 

IPA

€2,200.00

0.5 Day Training x 3

IPA

€1,650.00

1 Day Training   x 3

IPA

€3,300.00

DPER Specific GDPR Training 

IPA

€8,300.00

Certificate in GDPR and Data Protection

IPA

€1,100.00

Certificate in GDPR and Data Protection

IPA

€1,100.00

Certificate in GDPR and Data Protection

IPA

€1,350.00

Certificate in GDPR and Data Protection

IPA

€1,350.00

Certificate in GDPR and Data Protection

IPA

€1,350.00

2019

 

 

GDPR -  A Project Management Approach

IPA

€720.00

Certificate in GDPR and Data Protection

IPA

€1,350.00

GDPR - DPO Training Programme

IACT

€888.00

Certificate in GDPR and Data Protection

IPA

€1,350.00

Certificate in GDPR and Data Protection

IPA

€1,350.00

Certificate in GDPR and Data Protection

IPA

€1,350.00

GDPR Awareness Briefings and Training

IPA

€1,100.00

GDPR Awareness Briefings and Training

IPA

€550.00

 

Total

€41,023.00

Public Sector Pensions

Ceisteanna (194)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

194. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of pension restoration measures for civil and public servants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35614/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I understand that when the Deputy refers to pension restoration, he is referring to the amelioration or reversal of the public service pension reduction (PSPR), the progressive reduction affecting certain public service pensions above specified amounts which was introduced on 1 January 2011 as part of the Government’s response to the financial emergency.  The Financial Emergency Measures in Public Interests (FEMPI) Act 2015 and the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 substantially lessened the impact of PSPR, by way of changes which have occurred or are due to occur on 1 January in each of the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. These changes mean that, as of 1 January 2018, most public service pensions are not subject to PSPR.

The Deputy will appreciate that while I exercise a policy role over public service pensions, my responsibility with regard to implementation relates to civil service pensions. The National Shared Services Office, who pay civil service pensions and some public service pensions, has informed me that the implementation of the PSPR reversal to these pensions is ongoing. It has been delayed to an extent, primarily due to impaired data that has prevented automatic processing. A dedicated project team continues to work full time reviewing each file for every pension potentially impacted, to correct any data inaccuracies in their records and ensure all arrears due are paid as soon as possible. The status at end of August 2019 was that in excess of 95% of the PSPR reversals due before 2019 have been applied, and over 90% of the PSPR reversals due in 2019 have been applied. Work continues on the remaining outstanding cases

In relation to specific public service pensions, I would advise the Deputy to contact the relevant Minister responsible for the administration of such schemes.

Departmental Customer Charters

Ceisteanna (195)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

195. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of complaints his Department received under the customer service charter in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; if his attention has been drawn to issues and-or problems in having complaints registered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35649/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My Department is very conscious of the need to provide the highest level of service to our customers.  All staff in my Department are committed to ensuring that the twelve principles of Quality Customer Service are embedded in everything we do.   

The number of complaints received in the years in question is shown in the following table. 

Year

Number of Complaints Received

2017

3

2018

2

2019

1

My Department is unaware of any issues with complaints being registered.

My Department has published our new Customer Service Charter for 2019-2022 which includes clear procedures for any individual who may wish to raise a complaint. Complaints against my Department are treated very seriously and if an individual is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation by the Quality Customer Service Officer, details of appeal mechanisms are also available.

The Department's Customer Service Charter, Customer Service Action Plan and Customer Complaints Procedures are available on the my Department's website on Gov.ie.

Departmental Contracts

Ceisteanna (196)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

196. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way in which contracts are awarded to a company (details supplied) when previous school projects were found to have structural defects; the procedures which allow for previous work to be taken into account in awarding contracts for capital projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35673/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Public Procurement is governed by EU legislation and National rules and guidelines. The aim of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money.

Public procurement procedures require applicants to meet certain standards when applying for public contracts.  The criteria upon which contracting authorities may exclude applicants from the award procedure of public contracts are set out in Regulation 57 of S.I. No. 284 of 2016 – European Union (Award of Public Authority Contracts) Regulations 2016 on public procurement.

The grounds for exclusion that apply are stated up front in the pre-qualification documents.  Certain exclusion grounds apply to all procurements; these include criminal convictions for specified offences and non-compliance with tax and social welfare obligations.  There are other exclusion grounds which can be deployed at the discretion of the contracting authority.  The choice will depend on the particular procurement – poor past performance of a public contract is one such ground for exclusion.

The circumstances that would lead to exclusion on the grounds of poor past performance are significant or persistent deficiencies in a prior public contract.  These deficiencies must be material and have led to termination, damages or other comparable sanctions.  It is not sufficient for a contracting authority to merely be dissatisfied – they must have taken steps to deal with the poor performance at the point at which it became evident by applying the provisions of the contract up to and including termination where necessary.

Where a contract has been terminated or damages successfully applied, a contractor may be excluded from subsequent tender competitions for up to three years from the date of the termination or the application of damages unless the contractor can demonstrate that they have taken the steps necessary to remedy their performance. 

When making a submission a tenderer must consider whether any of the exclusion grounds listed in the procurement documents apply to them.  Should any of the grounds apply, they must advise the contracting authority accordingly and, they are excluded in relation to certain breaches, they may make a case and provide supporting evidence as to why they should not be excluded.  The contracting authority must arrive at a decision based on evidence rather than hearsay or dissatisfaction and must consider the principle of proportionality in its deliberations.