Central Bank of Ireland

Ceisteanna (145)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

145. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Finance the engagement he has had with the Central Bank on the increased levy being imposed on certain credit unions in view of the vital role of the credit union movement in providing financial services to communities and the voluntary nature of its commitment to providing that service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39679/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

My officials meet with officials from the Central Bank on a regular basis to discuss the funding of financial services regulation by industry, while also ensuring that the commitment to transparency on the cost of regulation is met.  Agreed recommendations from these meetings are submitted to me as Minister for my review and agreement.

In 2015, a joint Department of Finance Central Bank public consultation ‘Funding the cost of Financial Regulation’ put industry representatives on notice that it was the Central Bank’s and my predecessor's intention to move towards full industry funding on a phased basis. 

Against a backdrop of a significant increase in the cost of Financial Regulation and increases in recovery rates, certain industry bodies set out a number of concerns in relation to the increased costs they would have to bear, in particular the continually increasing cost, the performance of and the accountability of the Central Bank.  Overall, industry were not supportive of the proposal but set out that a phased movement would be preferable. 

To answer the concerns of industry, the Central Bank and the Department of Finance issued a joint Feedback Statement.  This feedback statement set out that the Central Bank would bring greater clarity and transparency to the levy model through the Bank’s Annual Performance Statement and that there would be greater targeting of resources at the areas of highest priority.  

These commitments have been addressed by the Central Bank publishing its Annual Performance Statement which provides an evaluation of the Bank’s performance under a number of key areas such as Regulatory Performance, Financial Institutions Supervision, Markets Supervision, Consumer Protection and Enforcement. The statement also includes detailed information on the levy process and its cost control and budgetary processes, including Commission approval of annual budgets, and oversight of quarterly outturns against those budgets. 

Each phased increase required my or my predecessor's approval of the annual industry funding regulations.  In 2017, the then Minister for Finance approved a phased increase to 100% industry funding commencing with an increase from 50% to 65% in 2017 (S.I. No. 442/2017 - The Central Bank Act 1942 (Section 32D) Regulations 2017).  In 2018, I agreed to an increase in recovery rates from 65% to 80% (in certain categories) with corresponding increases in other categories (S.I. No. 445 of 2018 - The Central Bank Act 1942 (Section 32D) Regulations 2018).

At the time of this increase, the Central Bank issued a Funding Strategy and Guide to the 2018 Industry Funding Levy. This guide provides significant detail on the levy strategy and the plans to 2021.  The move towards full funding is part of a wider levy strategy, which includes moving to levying in arrears in the next levy cycle.  This will eliminate significant prior year shortfalls and surpluses which resulted in volatility in the past.  No levies will issue in 2019 as actual costs will be levied on an arrears basis in mid-2020.

Earlier this year, I agreed to the phased increase of all financial sectors to 100% funding by 2024.  However, I specifically provided for an exception for Credit Unions so they will only reach 50% funding by 2021.  This has been well flagged to the sector and I have also agreed to not increase credit union regulatory funding beyond 50%  until the impact of the move to 50% is reviewed and a further public consultation is undertaken.

Budget 2020

Ceisteanna (146)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

146. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider reliefs for the haulage industry in budget 2020 by not increasing carbon tax for licensed hauliers; if he will introduce measures to reduce fuel costs for licensed hauliers by doubling the rebate level allowed under the diesel rebate scheme from 7.5c to 15c and reducing the floor at which the rebate starts from €1.00 to 85c; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39813/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware, it is a longstanding practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment, in advance of the Budget, on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.

Budget 2020

Ceisteanna (147)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

147. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider no increase in motor tax, VRT or other taxes on the licensed haulage sector in budget 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39815/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware, it is a longstanding practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment, in advance of the Budget, on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.

Budget 2020

Ceisteanna (148)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

148. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance if he will address matters (details supplied) regarding fitness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39818/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware, it is a longstanding practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment, in advance of the Budget, on matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.

Property Tax Administration

Ceisteanna (149)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

149. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 55 of 19 September 2019, if he will address issues (details supplied). [39833/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Deputy has raised several issues in his question concerning the answer I supplied to PQ No. 55 of 19 September 2019 about surcharges for those self-employed who fail to make a local property tax return or pay their LPT. As I set out in that response, as with other taxes and duties, penalties can be imposed for various offences such as failure to submit returns or other documentation or the provision of false information.

Section 38 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) provides for the imposition of such surcharges for the late payment of Local Property Tax. The challenge of compliance is particularly significant for LPT owing to the nature of the tax itself and the wide demographic liable for the tax, a significant proportion of which are not taxpayers to whom the standard collection and enforcement methods could be applied. Compliance is not just about ensuring the submission of returns and the payment of outstanding tax liabilities; there is also a timing aspect to compliance.  Returns must be submitted and payments must be made by a specified date(s).  The suggestion in the Deputy's question, of reducing a penalty to nil following the late submission of returns or payments, would only serve to incentivise such late submission. Likewise, as outlined in my previous response, a surcharge is designed to act as a deterrent and, when there is a late compliance, the income tax surcharge is capped at the amount of the LPT liability: this considered a fair and proportionate deterrent given the size of LPT liabilities.  

In relation to comparisons between the treatment of PAYE workers and the self-employed, unlike self-employed taxpayers, PAYE taxpayers are not generally required to submit an annual income tax return. Therefore, it is not possible to impose a surcharge on PAYE taxpayers for failure to submit a return on time. Revenue’s compliance actions are tailored according to the type of taxpayer involved and the most effective way to ensure compliance. This is illustrated by the use of the facility to collect LPT liabilities through mandatory deduction at source from a PAYE taxpayer’s salary or pension, which is considered to be a fair approach in the context of the surcharge on income tax that can apply to self-employed taxpayers who fail to meet their LPT liabilities.  Moreover, all taxpayers who fail to submit an LPT return, or who submit an incorrect LPT return, are liable to a penalty of the amount of the LPT that would be payable with a correct return, subject to a maximum penalty of €3,000.

Adding  the LPT liability to a self-employed person’s income tax liability, as the Deputy suggests, would not, of itself, ensure that the LPT was actually paid. This would not be a similar treatment to a PAYE taxpayer who has no choice about when, or how much of, his or her LPT liability is paid, where deduction at source by the employer or pension provider is made mandatory.

Finally, it should be noted that the vast majority of property owners pay their LPT on time. There is no reason for property owners to put themselves in a position where they become liable to a surcharge.  If an individual has particular financial circumstances which cause difficulties in meeting his or her LPT liability, he or she may be entitled to a deferral of the tax or may avail of one of a number of payment methods to discharge the liability evenly over the course of the year.

Property Tax Data

Ceisteanna (150)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

150. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance the revenue generated in each year since the introduction of the local property tax under the penalty charge to self-employed for non-payment in tabular form. [39835/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that surcharges have been raised in just over 62,000 cases since LPT commenced, of which approximately 70% were mitigated following remedial action by the property owners. The total amount surcharged to date is €5.5m, including in respect of arrears of Household Charge (HHC). The year by year breakdown between Income Tax (IT), Corporation Tax (CT) and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is set out in the table below (the surcharged amount becomes a liability in the relevant IT, CT or CGT tax-head rather than in LPT/HHC).

Period

 IT surcharges Paid €,000

CT Surcharges Paid €,000

CGT Surcharges Paid €,000

Total Surcharge Amount Paid €,0000

2012

370

 

 

370

2013

770

33

129

932

2014

1030

72

85

1187

2015

992

13

93

1098

2016

780

121

96

997

2017

654

48

68

770

2018

79

25

9

113

Total

4,675

312

480

5.470

Capital Expenditure Programme

Question No. 152 answered with Question No. 129.

Ceisteanna (151)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

151. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the final agreed tender price, the date of the tender for the contract and the final overall amount paid and the date of the final payment in respect of each capital expenditure project completed since 1 January 2014 by his Department or an agency under the remit of his Department and which ended up costing €10 million or more in tabular form; the reason the final amount paid exceeded the final tender price; the details available in respect of projects in which construction is not complete to date or in which the final settlement account has not been agreed to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39924/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I can confirm that my Department has had no contracts with a value in excess of €10 million or more since 1 January 2014 up to and including today's date. 

There are 17 bodies under the aegis of my Department, 15 of which had no capital expenditure project completed since 1 January 2014 and which ended up costing €10 million or more. These are the Office of the Comptroller and Audit General, Credit Review Office, Credit Union Advisory Committee, Credit Union Restructuring Board, Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman, Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal, Home Building Finance Ireland, Investor Compensation Company DAC, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, the National Asset Management Agency, Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and the Tax Appeals Commission.

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has provided the following information in respect of a contract awarded in 2018:

Body Name  

Project Name

The final   agreed tender price and the date of the tender for the contract

The final overall amount actually paid and the date of the final payment

The reason the final amount paid exceeded the final tender price

NTMA

Treasury Dock

€24.745m (ex. VAT); contract awarded in April 2018. Closing date for receipt of tenders was in February 2018.

Amount paid to date: €24.554m (ex. VAT).

 

Final payment amount expected to be paid (ex. VAT): €0.85m

€0.659m above the original contract price relates to variations ordered in accordance with the agreed contract variation mechanism.

The agreed contract price for the fit-out contract of NTMA’s premises at Treasury Dock was €24.745m excluding VAT. The contract amount paid to date is €24.554m. Total final contract payments are expected to be €25.404m excluding VAT. The €0.659m additional expenditure relates to variations ordered in accordance with the agreed contract variation mechanism.

It was not possible for 1 body, the Central Bank, to respond to this information request in the time available and therefore I will make arrangements to provide a response in line with Standing Orders.

Question No. 152 answered with Question No. 129.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (153)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

153. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when his Department will issue a notice of determination to an appeal of determinations issued by trustees of schemes (details supplied) on foot of a complaint submitted to the defined benefit schemes administrator pursuant to the schemes internal dispute resolution procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39334/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

This appeal case relates to the awarding of pension increases by the company concerned. A request from the Trustees of the scheme seeking a pension increase is being considered at the moment by my Department. The outcome of this request may feed into the deliberations on the determination in this case. Notwithstanding the outcome of the pension increase request I can confirm that the Appeals Officer has now contacted the complainant directly with a view to making a determination as soon as possible.

Coastal Erosion

Ceisteanna (154)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

154. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding the need for a permanent solution to the coastal erosion in The Burrow, Portrane, County Dublin; when he will receive a recommendation from Fingal County Council on the preferred permanent solution to address the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39425/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I am advised, in respect of coastal erosion at the Burrow, Portrane, County Dublin, that Fingal County Council is leading on this issue, as it is a matter for local authorities in the first instance to assess and address problems of coastal erosion in their areas.  Where necessary, Local Authorities may put forward proposals to relevant central Government Departments, including the OPW, for funding of appropriate measures depending on the infrastructure or assets under threat.

In 2018, in response to serious coastal erosion problems at The Burrow, Portrane, Fingal County Council implemented temporary interim emergency measures to protect properties at risk.  Funding of €456,464 was approved under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for these works.

Consultants appointed by Fingal County Council are currently assessing options for a longer term permanent solution for the Portrane Penisula/Rogerstown Outer Estuary area. I have also been informed by Fingal County Council that the assessment of options will be followed by extensive public consultation, and environmental assessment and consent processes, which are likely to take several months to conclude.  The Council has further confirmed that it is probable therefore that the study, and the associated approved plan for the peninsula, will take at least until the middle of 2020 to complete.

If a viable option is identified, the Council may submit a further application for funding to the OPW or other Government Departments as appropriate.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Ceisteanna (155)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

155. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the timeline for the planned works and-or upgrading to be carried out to the Garda station in Greystones, County Wicklow; if such works are contingent on the Coast Guard moving from its current location beside the Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39432/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The refurbishment of Greystones Garda Station is included in the "Capital Works Programme 2016-2021" for An Garda Síochána.  Planned works include the refurbishment of the existing Station and redevelopment of adjacent buildings.  These works are contingent on the Coast Guard moving from its current location in the adjacent buildings beside the Garda Station. 

It is envisaged, following a deliberative process with An Garda Siochana, that during the overall programme timeframe, the planned works will be undertaken at the Station.

Election Expenditure

Ceisteanna (156)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

156. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the estimated cost of running each of the four bye-elections being suggested for November 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39584/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Practice in recent times has been that bye-elections are held on the same day. The cost of the 2014 Bye Elections in Dublin South West and Leitrim/Roscommon held together on the 10 October 2014 was €0.548m and €0.564m respectively.

While no two election events would be the same and allowing for some costs increasing over time the cost today if an election were called could be approximately €0.700m for each bye-election.

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (157)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

157. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way in which the hypothecated fund will be realised; and the way in which fuel poverty will be protected when carbon taxes are introduced. [39634/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

In the recent Climate Action Plan the Government committed to implementing a carbon tax rate of at least €80 per tonne by 2030, accompanied by a trajectory of increases over successive annual Budgets. This commitment will send a strong signal to householders and firms of the need to invest in low-carbon alternatives, where possible.

As has been noted publicly, it is my intention that any new revenue raised from any increase in the carbon tax in 2020 will be ring-fenced and used to fund new climate action measures and to ensure a just transition for those most impacted by the transition to a low carbon economy.  As the Deputy will appreciate, I cannot comment further on any possible taxation changes or the use of any associated revenues beyond what I have already said, in advance of Budget Day.

Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme

Ceisteanna (158)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

158. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there are proposed works to be carried out on a river (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39306/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The watercourse and the bridge at the location referred to by the Deputy does not come under the auspices of the Office of Public Works.

Local flooding issues are a matter, in the first instance, for each local authority to investigate and address. For areas not covered by the OPW's Arterial Drainage Maintenance Programme, the OPW operates a Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. It is open to all Local Authorities to submit a funding application under the Scheme. This administrative Scheme’s eligibility criteria, including a requirement that any measures are cost beneficial, are published on the OPW website, www.opw.ie.

Any application received is considered in accordance with the scheme eligibility criteria, and having regard to the overall availability of resources for flood risk management.

Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (159)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

159. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position in relation to an application by Cork County Council to the OPW for funding for a project (details supplied) in County Cork; the timeline for the adjudication on the application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39343/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I have been advised by the Office of Public Works (OPW) that an application has been submitted by Cork County Council under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for a project at the location mentioned in the Deputy’s question.

Assessment of the application is ongoing and the Council will be advised of the outcome when this is completed.  

Departmental Meetings

Ceisteanna (160)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

160. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the dates, attendees and agendas of all meetings between his Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport regarding all forms of the sports capital programme from 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [39413/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The information the Deputy seeks will take some time to collate and my Department will be unable to respond by Tuesday 1 October 2019.

I will provide the Deputy with a response as soon as possible. 

Irish Coast Guard Issues

Ceisteanna (161)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

161. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if it is planned to move the Greystones Coast Guard from its current location to Greystones Harbour; if so, the timeline for the work; if not, the plans for the existing Coast Guard station, including timelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39434/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) and the Irish Coastguard Service (IRCG) are responsible for the financing of Coast Guard Station Projects. The Office of Public Works (OPW) provides advice on the design of such projects and manages their delivery in line with the requirements of the two bodies concerned.

It is envisaged that the Coast Guard Station will move from its current location to a new facility  at Greystones Harbour.  The OPW has presented several potential options for the design of the new Station to DTTAS and IRCG.  The most recent proposal, a single storey design, has been accepted by IRCG.  While it was expected that the existing planning permission would suffice for the new design, the OPW has been recently advised by Wicklow County Council that a planning application will need to be lodged for the new design.   The OPW is currently working on this and it is expected that the application will be lodged in the coming weeks.

Energy Schemes

Ceisteanna (162)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

162. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin 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 that are at a loss due to the cessation of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39503/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As I have already noted in responses to Parliamentary Questions on this topic, 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.

Public Service Stability Agreement

Ceisteanna (163)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

163. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the outstanding allocations for the Public Service Stability Agreement and other public pay agreements in each of the years 2018 to 2020 by vote, Department and agency. [39504/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The cost of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018 – 2020 (PSSA) was estimated at €887m for the period from 2018 to 2020; €178m in 2018, €370m in 2019 and €339m for 2020.

In addition, the final year of the Lansdowne Road Agreement 2016 – 2018 (LRA) and the first year of the PSSA ran concurrently in 2018 with an estimated cost of the LRA in 2018 of €287m.

In addition a number of other costs have arisen in respect of the PSSA including the following:  

New Entrants under the PSSA

Under section 4 of the PSSA there was a commitment to examine remaining salary scale issues in respect of Post 2011 recruits at entry grades. In September 2018 agreement was reached with the Public Services Committee of ICTU. Costs associated with the agreement are estimated at €27m in 2019 and €46.6m in 2020

Public Service Pay Commission Recommendations under the PSSA

Under Section 3 of the Public Service Stability Agreement, the Public Service Pay Commission was tasked with examining certain areas of identified recruitment and retention difficulties. In fulfilment of this mandate the PSPC made a recommendation with a full year cost of approximately €20m in respect of Nurses and Midwives and a further recommendation with a full year cost of approximately €10m in respect of the Defence Forces.

Labour Court Recommendations under the PSSA

Within the Public Service Stability Agreement the Labour Court issued recommendations on both the Nursing and Midwifery dispute and Health Support Grade Dispute. Costs associated with these recommendations are currently being examined through the estimates process.

Pay Bill Estimates by Vote

The breakdown of the paybill by Vote for 2018 and 2019 can be accessed on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Databank at http://databank.per.gov.ie/ and on budget documents accessible at http://www.budget.gov.ie . Increases in the pay bill are a result of both the pay agreements mentioned above and additional recruitment in the public service (public sector employee numbers have increased 4.6% from 320,758 in Q4 2017 to 335,593 in Q2 2019)

A break out by Vote for 2020, taking account of all pay factors, will be published as part of Budget 2020.

Departmental Projects

Ceisteanna (164, 165, 166, 167)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

164. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of projects supported by his Department in County Kildare in each of the past five years; the value and status of each project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39506/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

165. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of projects supported by his Department in County Laois in each of the past five years; the value and status of each project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39507/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

166. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of projects that were refused funding by his Department in County Kildare in each of the past five years; the reason for the refusal; the status of each project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39508/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

167. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of projects that were refused funding by his Department in County Laois in each of the past five years; the reason for the refusal; the status of each project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39510/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 to 167, inclusive, together.

Due to the nature of its role, my Department has not funded projects outside of public service bodies in Laois and Kildare from its own Vote in the last five years. The main purpose of projects and associated investment undertaken by my Department is to support greater effectiveness and efficiency across the Civil and Public Service. While all counties ultimately benefit from this, project expenditure is primarily invested in the Department's ICT systems that develop and support the ICT function across Government. However, the Deputy will be pleased to note that three public service bodies based in Kildare (the Teaching Council, Confey College and the Maynooth and Mountjoy Prison Collaboration) recently received funding from the pilot Public Service Innovation Fund.