Office of Public Works Projects

Ceisteanna (140)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

140. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the Office of Public Works plans to issue a response to the public consultation on the development plan for the Phoenix Park; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46012/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works is finalising its report and analysis of all the submissions received regarding the Draft Phoenix Park Visitor Experience Strategic Review and it plans to make this report available very soon. In this regard, it is hoped to meet with local members of Dail Eireann and other elected representatives to outline the findings of this non-statutory consultation process and to set out the future steps that will be taken to enhance visitor and user experience in the Phoenix Park.

Data Centres

Ceisteanna (141)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

141. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of expressions of interest received from contractors for the construction of the State data centre, Backweston, Celbridge, County Kildare, by the closing date of 11 October 2019; if tenders have now been invited; if so, the closing date for receipt of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46037/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Thirteen expressions of interest were received from Contractors for the prequalification to tender for the State Data Centre, Backweston, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. The submissions are currently being assessed by the Office of Public Works. The Commissioners are not in a position to advise on a tender date as yet.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (142)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

142. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number, date of publication and details of post-enactment reports published by his Department since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46097/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question Number 116 on 10th October 2019. The position is unchanged since this reply.

Public Sector Pensions Legislation

Ceisteanna (143)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

143. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is considering changes to the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46214/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 represents the delivery of key structural reform commitments agreed under the Troika programme of financial support for Ireland.

Among other things, it provided for the creation of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme, the extension of abatement across all the public service, the extension of the 40 years' (or equivalent) pensionable service cap across all public service pension schemes and the aggregation of public service pensions for the purposes of applying the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR).

The Single Scheme represents the largest ever reform to public pensions and remains critical to addressing the long-term sustainability of public service pensions in the face of significant demographic challenges over the coming decades. The Scheme will be instrumental in stemming the future growth in public service pensions expenditure by driving estimated savings of up to 35% over the long-term.

In this regard, the main provisions of Act relating to the Single Scheme are of key importance to the long-term stability and sustainability of the public finances and, as such, I have no plans to revisit them. However, its operations are of course subject to my Department's ongoing monitoring.

Departmental Offices

Ceisteanna (144)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

144. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of vacant desk spaces available in accommodation allocated to his Department in Civil Service accommodation outside Dublin city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46299/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform currently has one vacant desk available in Civil Service accommodation outside of Dublin.

The Office of Government Procurement, which is also part of the Department, has a number of offices outside of its headquarters in Dublin. The details of these office locations and the number of desks currently available at these locations are listed in the table below.

Office Location

Available Desks

Cork

5

Limerick

7

Sligo

6

Trim

7

Public Sector Pensions

Ceisteanna (145)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

145. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to replace parity-linked public service pensions with a consumer price index-linked scheme with effect from October 2020; if his attention has been drawn to opposition to this proposal by retired public servants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46348/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Pensions paid under the Single Pension Scheme (SPS) are uprated in line with changes in the Consumer Price Index. The 2012 legislation that introduced the SPS includes a provision that allows for the extension of the same method of uprating to the pre-existing pension schemes.

As I informed the Deputy on 5 March 2019 (PQ 10419/19), the Government committed in the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 not to invoke this legislative provision for the duration of the Agreement. That remains the position. The pension increase policy that is currently in place in respect of the pre-existing pension schemes represents a time-limited (expires end-2020), conditions-bound return to the non-statutory, pay-linked method of pension adjustment which prevailed until the onset of the financial emergency.

My officials and I engage with public service pensioners in relation to public service pensions issues, including the matter raised by the Deputy, through meetings with the Alliance of Retired Public Servants. The most recent such meeting took place with officials on 5th November.

Project Ireland 2040 Expenditure

Ceisteanna (146)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

146. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount spent on advertising for Project Ireland 2040 since its publication in February 2018 by category (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46458/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Project Ireland 2040 is the Government's long-term, overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country for all its people, integrating, for the first time, the national spatial and investment strategies. The projects under these plans which include roads, schools, primary care centres, housing, sporting and cultural amenities and business activation facilities impact villages, towns, cities and regions across the length and breadth of Ireland.

Responsibility for Project Ireland 2040 communications was assigned to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on 21 November 2018.

Since that date, €85,361.95 has been spent on public information measures involving three 2-week tranches of transit advertising on public transport networks throughout Ireland, with the specific aim of empowering members of the public to find out what is happening under Project Ireland 2040 in their local area. During each phase, the material was displayed on the Red and Green Luas lines as well as approximately 500 Dublin Buses, 50 Irish Rail carriages and 100 Bus Shelters in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and nationwide. The material directed the audience to gov.ie/2040. That website has received more than 50,000 hits in the period.

Project Ireland 2040 Expenditure

Ceisteanna (147)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

147. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the controls in place for local authorities and State agencies to undertake Project Ireland 2040 advertising and to spend funding in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46459/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

While my Department sets the allocations for Departments and the delegated sanction arrangements under which Departments make their spending decisions, the actual roll-out of particular projects and programmes is managed by the individual line Departments and their agencies who are responsible for project and programme delivery, and decisions regarding associated publicity and advertising in relation to these programmes would also fall to be considered in this context.

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (148)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

148. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the disclosures log made by his Department under Freedom of Information was last updated; if this is in line with the disclosure policy of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46473/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Freedom of Information disclosure logs are routinely published by my Department, as required by the Freedom of Information Act 2014. The Department's disclosure logs are published on a quarterly basis and currently cover the period up to 30th September 2019. These are available to view at this link: www.gov.ie/en/collection/ce2e67-foi-disclosure-log/.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Ceisteanna (149)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

149. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the Garda stations within the Donegal Garda division that were refurbished by the OPW in which the value of works was in excess of €5,000 in 2018 and to date in 2019; the details of the works carried out at the stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46482/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I can confirm that the Office of Public Works has carried out a number of works to Garda Stations within the Donegal Division in 2018 and 2019. Details of all works where the value was in excess of €5,000 are outlined in the table below and include works funded by both the Office of Public Works and An Garda Síochána.

Garda Station

Works

Year

Bundoran GS, Co Donegal

Upgrade Bathroom facilities

2018

Burnfoot GS, Co Donegal

Upgrade Oil Burner

2019

Burtonport GS, Co Donegal

Kitchen upgrade works

2018

Carrigans GS Co Donegal

Upgrade of Electrical Works

2018

Donegal Town GS, Co Donegal

Extension and Refurbishment of Station

2018/2019

Falcarragh GS, Co Donegal

Resurfacing and drainage works

2018

Killybegs GS, Co Donegal

Upgrade of Electrical Works

2019

Letterkenny GS, Co Donegal

Electrical Works and Kitchen Upgrade

2018

Letterkenny GS, Co Donegal

Re-surfacing of yard and planned fabric maintenance

2019

Milford GS, Co Donegal

Cell and Prisoner Processing Upgrade works

2018/2019

Milford GS, Co Donegal

Upgrade works to Sergeants office

2019

Milford GS, Co Donegal

Upgrade works to Public Office

2019

Moville GS, Co Donegal

Electrical Upgrade Works

2018

Raphoe GS, Co Donegal

Electrical Upgrade Works

2019

Public Sector Pensions Legislation

Ceisteanna (150)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

150. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on whether there is an anomaly in the treatment of pensions of retired public servants taking up employment again in the public service and those who take up employment in the private sector; his plans to amend the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 to address the anomaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46546/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The principle of abatement of a public service pension has always existed within the scheme rules of various public service pension schemes. Section 52(1) to 52(5) of the Public Service Pension (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 (the Single Scheme Act) extended abatement and provides that where a retired public servant, in receipt of a public service pension, is re-employed anywhere in the public service then no more of the pension when combined with the remuneration in the new job shall exceed the pensionable remuneration of the old job i.e. abatement shall apply.

It is important to note abatement is pro-rata and periodic i.e. account is taken of the work pattern and period of re-employment. The provision of abatement does not apply where an individual takes up employment in the private sector.

Overall, decisions taken by individuals to take up new public service positions after retirement are of course voluntary in nature. Abatement remains an important aspect of the Single Scheme Act.

Departmental Advertising Campaigns

Ceisteanna (151)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

151. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the role his Department is playing in the winter ready campaign; the expenditure his Department will incur in this campaign; and the details of expenditure on external consultancy and advertising or communication. [46634/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My Department is represented on the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning and fully supports the Be Winter-Ready campaign.

The 2019-20 campaign, jointly launched by a number of my Ministerial colleagues on 6th November, provides vital information and raises awareness about the particular challenges that winter can present and is a part of the ‘Whole of Government’ approach being taken annually to winter preparations. I note, in particular, that the emphasis this year is on explaining further and promoting the Met Éireann colour-coded weather warning system.

My Department has no direct role in the Be Winter-Ready campaigns but will provide support and assistance where required by any of the lead Departments or the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning.

There are, therefore, no expected expenditures by my Department for external consultancy and advertising or communication.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (152)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

152. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 172 of 17 September 2019, if the accommodation brief has been finalised; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46029/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Deputy will be aware that a building project for the school to which he refers is included in my Department's school building programme to be delivered as part of the National Development Plan.

My Department is continuing to engage with the school in this regard. The details of the accommodation to be provided as part of the project are expected to be determined shortly.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (153)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

153. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 97 of 24 October 2019, the closing date for receipt of tenders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46030/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

A major school building project to provide new accommodation for the school referred to by the Deputy has recently been authorized by my Department to proceed to tender for the appointment of a Building Contractor. The closing date for the completed tender returns is the end of November. Assuming no significant issues arise during the tender process, my Department expects that the project will progress to site in the first quarter of 2020 and the contract duration is 20 months.

Schools Site Acquisitions

Ceisteanna (154)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

154. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 173 of 17 September 2019, if there has been further progress in resolving the technical considerations; if a design team will be put in place for the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46031/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department continues to engage with the landowner and Kildare County Council in regard to the technical considerations crucial to the delivery of the site and the commencement of architectural planning.

It is a priority for my Department to commence the architectural planning process for this site at the earliest possible stage. For the time being, and as previously indicated - given the commercially sensitive nature of site acquisitions in general, I am unable to elaborate further.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (155)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

155. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 170 of 17 September 2019, if approval has now issued for the invitation of tenders for the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46032/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

This building project referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan.

The major building project is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning Stage 2b – Detailed Design, which includes securing Planning Permission, Fire Certificate and Disability Access Certificate and the preparation of tender documents.

The process of Pre-Qualification of contractors to compile a shortlist of suitable candidates is now complete. The next step for this project will be Stage 3 – tender stage. In that context, the Department will shortly be in contact with the school and Design Team to update them on the further progression of this major building project.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (156)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

156. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 84 of 26 September 2019, if the letter of acceptance has issued to the preferred contractor; if so, when the contractor will go on site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46035/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy is aware, the delivery of the project at Naas Community College has been devolved to Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB)

The letter of acceptance has now issued to the preferred contractor and it is expected that work will begin on site shortly.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (157)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

157. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 169 of 17 September 2019, if authorisation has issued to invite tenders for the project; if so, when tenders be invited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46036/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is currently at Stage 2(b) – Detailed Design.

The pre-qualification process to select a shortlist of suitable contractors has been completed and the Design Team is currently finalising the tender documentation.

Once this work is complete, my Department will be in contact with the Board of Management of the school regarding the progression of the project to the next stage of architectural planning, Stage 3 - tender stage.

School Staff

Ceisteanna (158)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

158. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the position of replacement principal will be advertised for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46038/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department allows for the appointment of Principals to new schools from 1 September of the school year prior to the opening of the school.

The recruitment and appointment of teachers, including Principals, to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, in this instance Kildare & Wicklow ETB, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012.

Student Grant Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (159)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

159. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a review will be carried out of a SUSI grant application by a person (details supplied). [46040/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The awarding authority has advised my officials that a review has taken place. The awarding authority is currently awaiting confirmation from the college regarding the student’s registration. Subject to confirmation from the college, it is anticipated that a revised letter will issue to the student in the coming days.