In 2019, the public sector presence at the National Ploughing Championships (NPC) was co-ordinated by the Department of the Taoiseach as part of the Government's unified approach to the Championships. This approach focused on delivering supports and services that citizens need, in a format that was accessible and relevant for visitors. This aligns with the new ways of working central to Our Public Service 2020, the framework for development and innovation in Ireland's public service, and to the Civil Service Renewal Plan. These new ways of working seek to embed public service reform into operational and delivery systems through citizen-focused design.
This approach to the cross-Government presence brought an increased level of coordination, cohesion and alignment between Government Departments, agencies and State-supported bodies at the NPC. It also focused on maximising the value and quality of supports and services provided to NPC visitors. For the first time, over 150 exhibitors were located in the one area, “The Government of Ireland Village”, and Government stands across Departments, agencies and bodies were grouped in marquees and tents on the basis of the supports, services and policy areas they are responsible for.
While there was no dedicated Departmental stand during the period in question, a number of agencies under the remit of my Department had their own stands or were present at other stands, reflecting the broad range of work carried out in the Justice sector. I have referred your request to the relevant agencies for their direct response to provide further detail.
All of the Department’s online and offline advertising was developed internally and, as such, no additional external costs were incurred.
The NPC provides an important opportunity to provide advice and guidance to citizens about many issues under the remit of my Department including safety. This year, for example, at the NPC I formally launched the National Rural Safety Forum - a collaborative partnership between An Garda Síochána, my own Department and a wide range of partners including the IFA and Muintir an Tíre. Its objectives include information sharing and community engagement on crime prevention.
I attend the National Ploughing Championships every year including since I became Minister for Justice and Equality. The then Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. attended in 2016. Generally, the Minister is accompanied by their Private Secretary at the event. A member of staff from the Department's Press and Communications Office would also be present as part of their normal duties in connection with publicising the work of the Department and the agencies under its remit.
All staff in question are entitled to travel and subsistence payments in connection with their attendance in line with civil service guidelines.