1. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding the progress of the capital review; the discussions he has had with the Minister for Health on health capital investment priorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2486/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Capital Expenditure Programme Review)

Deputy Dara Calleary: I am trying to get a sense of the timeline for the capital plan review. Has the Minister set a deadline for publishing it? I asked parliamentary questions of all of the Ministers, and I got no sense of major urgency in terms of their various priorities and negotiations with the Minister on the plan. This morning I want to focus specifically on the health element of the plan, bearing in mind the Minister for Health has said he intends to engage with the Minister on the ca...

2. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if additional use of public private partnerships, PPPs, in capital spending beyond the 10% cap will be ruled out in view of the lack of a systematic cost-benefit analysis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2405/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Public Private Partnerships)

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: I ask the Minister to rule out the use of PPPs in capital spending beyond the 10% cap in light of the review and given the lack of cost-benefit analyses.
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3. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of cases of bullying and sexual harassment that have been reported within a Government Department since 2011; the outcome of such cases; the steps he is taking to ensure the safety and dignity of all employees within the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2487/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Bullying in the Workplace)

Deputy Dara Calleary: Bullying and harassment at work has come into a new focus in recent weeks and months. I am conscious of the Minister’s Department’s Dignity at Work document. I want to know what engagement there is between his Department and other Departments on the issue of bullying and sexual harassment within each line Department.
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4. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the core priorities of his Department with respect to the ongoing challenges presented by Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2609/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Deputy Mattie McGrath: My apologies. I was attending a meeting of the Business Committee. What are the Minister’s priorities in respect of the ongoing Brexit debate? This issue is hugely worrying for many.
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6. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the drainage projects to be undertaken by the Office of Public Works in County Cavan in 2018; the estimated cost of same; the drainage projects to be undertaken by Cavan County Council with financial assistance from the Office of Public Works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2131/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Office of Public Works Projects)

Deputy Brendan Smith: Many parts of County Cavan are affected by severe flooding. Unfortunately, however, very little of the county is covered by the Arterial Drainage Act 1945. There is at times a huge burden on the county council to carry out flood relief and drainage works. Will the Minister of State ensure whatever proposals are put before the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform by Cavan County Council are given urgent and favourable consideration? Will he engage with the Ministe...

7. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress his Department has made on the report on pay equalisation as specified in the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017; the scope of the report; the timeframe involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2339/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Public Sector Pay)

Deputy Dara Calleary: We proposed an amendment to the Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill on pay equalisation and I want to ensure that this is working its way through the system.
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8. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to prioritise particular projects in the context of the capital review programme; the extent to which he expects to address issues in health, housing or other sensitive areas in this context; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2344/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Capital Expenditure Programme)

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: My question relates to the extent to which the Minister might find it possible, in the context of the capital review programme, to identify the most important items of infrastructure with a view to benefiting the economy.
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10. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to review and address recruitment and retention issues in various areas of the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2342/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Public Service Pay Commission)

Deputy Dara Calleary: During the course of last year there was a major issue in some areas of the public service. Once again the health sector was highlighted in the past few weeks owing to the difficulties faced in the recruitment of nurses and emergency doctors. Difficulties are also evident in the disability services. There was a debate in the House yesterday on section 39 organisations. What are the specific plans in place and the targets for recruitment campaigns in the next quarter to ...

11. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department will issue guidelines to other Departments regarding the engagement of private companies for contract work; if the working conditions of staff in these companies’ firms, including trade union recognition, will be considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2163/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Public Procurement Contracts)

Deputy Mick Barry: When other Departments engage private companies for contract work, will the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issue guidelines as to the regard to be given to the conditions of workers in those private companies, including trade union recognition? I am interested to hear a statement on that matter.
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12. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the actions taken in the event that spending projections across Departments are not met; if the €317 million underspend in net voted expenditure in 12 Departments announced in the December 2017 Fiscal Monitor will be returned to the central fund or if the funds will be kept in the Departments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2343/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Public Sector Expenditure)

Deputy Dara Calleary: I ask the Minister to confirm the end-of-year figures in terms of current and capital underspend. I note a total of €352 million, made up of €314 million and €38 million. Will that underspend be retained in each Department or go back into central funds?
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15. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the proposed legislation to increase the compulsory retirement age for public servants to 70 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2121/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Public Sector Staff Retirements)

Deputy John Brady: I want to ask the Minister about the announcement he made last December whereby he decided to increase the retirement age for public service workers from 65 to 70. That must be welcomed, although it does not go far enough. The Minister is aware that I put forward legislation to ensure no worker would be subject to a mandatory retirement age. However, there is some concern on this issue. With whom did the Minister consult regarding the interim arrangements he announced in a...

17. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the flooding projects undertaken in 2017; the status of the projects planned for 2018; the position regarding CFRAM; if his Department has a role in ensuring insurance companies process storm damage claims in a timely manner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2340/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Flood Relief Schemes Status)

Deputy Dara Calleary: We had a short discussion prior to Christmas about catchment flood risk assessment and management, CFRAM, and insurance. I know the Minister and his yellow jacket have been on tour around the country, along with various Fine Gael Ministers, since then. Where are we on the CFRAM issue? I understand the Minister is planning some big announcements in the next while. Where are we with insurance companies, in particular concerning the events in Galway and other places over C...

19. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to prioritise the flood defence needs of the State in the next capital plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2334/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Flood Relief Schemes Funding)

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: This is to ask the Minister of State about capital spending on flood defence projects and if he will make a statement on the priorities.
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30. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the measures that will be undertaken by the Office of Public Works in 2018 to alleviate flooding caused by the River Erne in County Cavan due to the damage caused by such flooding over recent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2130/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Flood Prevention Measures)

Deputy Brendan Smith: The River Erne, which rises in County Cavan and flows from County Fermanagh into County Donegal, causes major flooding in Cavan. One problem relating to drainage comes from a channel between upper and lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh. I urge the Minister of State to maintain ongoing contact with the authorities in Northern Ireland to bring forward a scheme which will benefit the citizens of both County Fermanagh and County Cavan.
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33. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress made in addressing the issue of pensions for community employment supervisors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2118/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Pension Provisions)

Deputy John Curran: I know time is short so I will be very direct. The issue of pension rights for community employment supervisors has been raised in the House, and time and again we are told that the high level forum in the Minister’s Department is dealing with the issue. Will the Minister advise us and update us on any progress that has been made recently.
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40. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason public service workers who wish to remain at work beyond 65 years of age will see wage cuts as per the terms and conditions set out for those wishing to remain at work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2349/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Public Sector Staff Retirements)

Deputy John Brady: I want to ask the Minister about the announcement he made last December whereby he decided to increase the retirement age for public service workers from 65 to 70. That must be welcomed, although it does not go far enough. The Minister is aware that I put forward legislation to ensure no worker would be subject to a mandatory retirement age. However, there is some concern on this issue. With whom did the Minister consult regarding the interim arrangements he announced in a...

66. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his Department’s position on the provision of pension entitlements to employees such as community employment personnel who have their entire salary provided by the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2180/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Community Employment Schemes Supervisors)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): An issue which has been under discussion by the Community Sector High Level Forum relates to community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors who have been seeking, through their union representatives, the allocation of Exchequer funding to implement a Labour Court recommendation relating to the provision of a pension scheme.
At the April meeting of the Forum, my Department outlined its intention to conduct a detailed...

67. Deputy Kevin O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a location (details supplied) in County Cork falls within the remit of the Office of Public Works for funding of works to trees which are dangerous and need to be removed. (Question 2187/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Office of Public Works)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The risk of trees falling into the Gouldshill Stream which forms part of the Mallow Flood Relief Scheme, and which could potentially cause an obstruction to the channel, comes within the maintenance remit for the Scheme. The Office of Public Works (OPW) consequently has responsibility for the removal of such debris under the Scheme’s maintenance programme to prevent a likely increased risk of floodi...

68. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 91 of 23 November 2017, the position regarding lands at a location (details supplied) for which Fingal County Council has sought a deed of waiver in order to transfer the land to Fingal County Council ownership; the timeframe for his Department to make a decision and respond to the council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2250/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - State Properties)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): Under section 28(2) of the State Property Act, 1954, land vested in or held in trust for a body corporate immediately prior to its dissolution, (other than land held by such body in trust for another person) becomes property of the State in the person of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The interest acquired by the Minister is described as a defeasible interest as it may be defeated b...

69. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his key priorities in regard to the forthcoming capital review; the projects submitted for priority inclusion in the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2295/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Capital Expenditure Programme Review)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As outlined to the Deputy in my response to his previous parliamentary question on this matter, the capital review was published on 14 September 2017 and I believe that all members of the Oireachtas received a hard copy on that date. To recap, the review of the Capital Plan highlighted some key themes which will closely inform and be incorporated into the analysis leading to the finalisation of the new ten-year plan for public...

70. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if bullying or sexual harassment claims have been lodged in his Department in each year since 2011; if so, the number of either complaints on an annual basis, in tabular form; if these complaints have been investigated; the outcome of each investigation; and the policies in place in his Department to combat bullying and sexual harassment. (Question 2321/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Departmental Data)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Since 2011, one complaint of sexual harassment has been lodged within my Department and I can advise the Deputy that my Department’s policy is that all complaints of bullying or sexual harassment are fully investigated by qualified investigators. The Department does not comment on individual cases and all parties are advised and assured of the importance of confidentiality in such matters. 
The Civil Service is committed to pr...

1. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the roll-out of the public service information and communications technology strategy; the amount that has been spent on it to date; the estimated amount to be spent; the security implications and data protection steps that have been taken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53464/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Information and Communications Technology)

Deputy Dara Calleary: I would like to ask the Minister about the status of the public service information and communications technology strategy, particularly the work being done to ensure citizens’ personal data are secure, especially at a time when data privacy is under such a threat.
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2. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his attention has been drawn to a report from the IMF (details supplied) that makes a range of recommendations regarding PPPs, including that the State begin using a cost benefit analysis of them. (Question 53507/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Public Private Partnerships)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I should first explain that Public Private Partnerships are already subject to a strong public investment management methodology, which includes appraisal. The Deputy may be referring to a recommendation made as part of the recent IMF PIMA report, to the effect that appraisals should be published on a more systematic basis.
The National Development Finance Agency was established in 2003 under the National Development Finance Ag...

3. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress of the capital review; if the ten-year plan will outline funding beyond the 2021 timeframe; the way in which it will co-ordinate with the national development plan; if it will it incorporate a review of the role of PPPs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53590/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Capital Expenditure Programme Review)

Deputy Dara Calleary: The capital review plan has been announced many times. Will the Minister provide an update on it? I am conscious that he intends to link the capital review with the national planning framework, a document which is extremely flawed. It is only in the consultation phase. Will the roll-out of the national planning framework delay the national capital plan?
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4. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to revise the national capital plan in view of the climate advisory committee’s report on the shortcomings of the national mitigation plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53817/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Climate Change Policy)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: To continue the conversation about the national capital plan, how are we going to make it green? How is the Government going to respond to the climate advisory committee’s damning criticism of our national mitigation plan? We are not doing anything, it seems. The latest Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, figures show our emissions rising across all sectors, particularly in transport. The plan within the national planning framework is all about inter-urban motorways. Th...