Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (109)

Eoghan Murphy


109. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the eGovernment strategy. [26680/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (3 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Public)

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for the latitude he afforded earlier. I was worried that we would not get to the question. We will not get enough time to discuss it. The Minister of State has already answered the question by saying the new strategy will be updated in the first quarter of next year. I know it might not seem like a very important matter, but so many of my constituents are now dealing with Government services and local authorities via electronic means such as email. When it does not work out for them it gets very difficult. We as Deputies should not have to be the middlemen between our constituents and Government services. A great strategy was in place for this important area. I had some involvement in it years ago.

The private sector is adopting a lot of new technologies which open multiple pathways of communication. One feature of private sector practice which I do not like is the use of algorithms or bots to answer questions so that a customer does not actually deal with a real person. I do not think public services should go down that road because it will not be to the satisfaction of the people involved.

We are not quite at the point of bringing in bots to answer questions here.

Hopefully not, but it is happening in the private sector. I have only found it to be a frustrating experience. When people interact with public services and public bodies they should interact with an individual where possible, including through the use of email and phones. That new strategy is very important. It is great to see a new Minister of State who is able to take charge and drive that strategy, because in small ways it has a big impact on lots of people throughout the country.

The Dáil adjourned at 11.05 p.m. until 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 30 September 2020.