93. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the paper “Equality Budgeting - Proposed Next Steps in Ireland” is the document he referred to in his budget 2018 speech when he spoke of the development of a policy document which was published on 13 October 2017; if this paper is Government policy; the timeframe for its implementation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44262/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Equality Proofing of Budgets)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The paper ‘Equality Budgeting: Proposed Next Steps in Ireland’ was published alongside Budget 2018. The paper is the policy document which provides an overview of the concept of equality budgeting, the progress made in integrating equality budgeting into expenditure management and the estimates process, and the proposed next steps for the introduction of equality budgeting in Ireland. The paper sets out the pilot approach tha...

94. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44291/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Flood Prevention Measures)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): Refurbishment of flood defence embankments commenced at Gurrane on 27/07/17. The proposed works was extended further downstream on the Maine Estuary due to deterioration of the flood defence embankment over the last 12 months. Consequently this resulted in additional work on the project consuming substantially more subsoil material to construct this section of embankment than was anticipated which ...

154. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the costs of all referenda held since 2001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43579/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Referendum Data)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The approximate costings for all referendums since 2001 are set out in the table with the exception of the referendums held in 2004 and 2011. 
 Month/Year Referendum Approximate Cost  June 2001 Prohibition of Death Penalty €11.1m International Criminal Court   Treaty of Nice March 2002 Protection of Human Life in Pregnancy €10.8m October 2002 Treaty of Nice €15.0m June 2004 Citizenshi...

155. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the costs incurred in 2016 and to date in 2017, the estimated costs expected to be incurred by the end of 2017 and the estimated expenditure to be incurred in 2018 in respect of the decision to re-open Stepaside Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43674/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Garda Station Closures)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): I propose to take Questions Nos. 155 and 165 together.
Stepaside Garda Station is in the full ownership of the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland and it was closed on 14th March 2013 as part of the rationalisation programme of An Garda Síochána, as announced in the 2013 Policing Plan. 
I am advised that the Commissioners appointed a company called Camelot to manage and maintain the property at...

157. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 99 of 4 October 2017, the process and method regarding the way in which a closed Garda station was repurposed and assigned to a body or group; if there was an application process; if the closed stations were publicly advertised as being available for alternative uses; if planning permission was sought for change of use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43433/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Garda Station Closures)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): I am advised by the Commissioners of Public Works (CPW) that the policy with regard to non-operational (vacant) State property, including the former Garda stations is to: 
1. Identify if the property is required/suitable for alternative State use by both Government departments and the wider public sector. 
2. If there is no other State use identified for a property, the Office of Public Works (OPW...

158. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43443/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Flood Prevention Measures)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The Interdepartmental Flood Policy Co-ordination Group is considering the potential costs and benefits associated with the introduction of any potential individual property protection scheme. The Group is being informed by two different pilot projects, which are currently underway in Thomastown and Graiguenamanagh in County Kilkenny and Crossmolina in County Mayo. 
In respect of the Kilkenny pilot, ...

159. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department has carried out investigations of flooding on a river (details supplied) in County Donegal; if there are plans to carry out works at this location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43454/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Flood Risk Assessments)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The river referred to by the Deputy does not form part of any Arterial Drainage Scheme, which would fall under the remit of the Office of Public Works (OPW) under the 1945 Arterial Drainage Act. The OPW therefore has no responsibility for the maintenance of this river.
Local flooding issues are a matter, in the first instance, for each Local Authority to investigate and address, and Donegal County C...

160. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of lands he has presented for sale in the past ten years that were previously subject to seizure by the Criminal Assets Bureau under the Proceeds of Crime Acts; the number of lands that were eventually sold; the amount of money that was raised from the sales; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43461/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Criminal Assets Bureau)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 160 and 161 together.
The objectives and functions of the Criminal Assets Bureau are set out in sections 4 and 5 respectively of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996.  In summary, they require the Bureau to: 
(i) identify and investigate the proceeds of criminal conduct; 
(ii) take action under the Proceeds of Crime Acts 1996-2016 to deny and deprive people of the benefit of assets that are the p...

161. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of properties he has presented for sale in the past ten years that were previously subject to seizure by the Criminal Assets Bureau under the Proceeds of Crime Act; the number of properties that eventually sold; the amount of money that was raised from the sales; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43462/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Criminal Assets Bureau)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 160 and 161 together.
The objectives and functions of the Criminal Assets Bureau are set out in sections 4 and 5 respectively of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996.  In summary, they require the Bureau to: 
(i) identify and investigate the proceeds of criminal conduct; 
(ii) take action under the Proceeds of Crime Acts 1996-2016 to deny and deprive people of the benefit of assets that are the p...

162. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the properties and land owned by the Office of Public Works, by county. (Question 43520/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - State Properties Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The information sought by the Deputy is currently being collated. A detailed response will issue to the Deputy directly.
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163. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if payment of an early retirement sum is available to deferred pensioners within the Civil Service pension scheme who have left employment in the service prior to reaching early retirement age but have a deferred entitlement (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43584/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Pension Provisions)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Cost Neutral Early Retirement (CNER) is a facility which allows qualifying officers who wish to retire up to ten years before preserved (or minimum) retirement age to apply to receive immediate payment of lump sum and pension, as an alternative to preserved benefits. The lump sum and pension are reduced to make them the equivalent, in actuarial terms, of preserved benefits. Departments/Offices must consider applications for C...

164. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount allocated to flood relief measures in each of the past four budgets and budget 2018; the amount that was spent during each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43653/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Flood Relief Schemes Expenditure)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The following table sets out the budget allocation and expenditure in the Flood Risk Management area since 2014. The capital figures relate primarily to expenditure on the OPW’s capital works programme on major and minor flood relief projects. The current figures relate primarily to expenditure on the OPW’s programme of maintenance on completed arterial drainage schemes. The 2018 allocation shows ...

165. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the costs incurred by the Office of Public Works to date in 2017, the expected costs to be incurred in the remainder of 2017 and the estimated costs to be incurred in 2018 in respect of the reopening of Stepaside Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43675/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Garda Station Closures)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): I propose to take Questions Nos. 155 and 165 together.
Stepaside Garda Station is in the full ownership of the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland and it was closed on 14th March 2013 as part of the rationalisation programme of An Garda Síochána, as announced in the 2013 Policing Plan. 
I am advised that the Commissioners appointed a company called Camelot to manage and maintain the property at...

166. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the waiting list in the Office of the Ombudsman for cases to be dealt with; the different waiting lists for different categories of complaints, that is, in respect of local authorities, health issues, social welfare issues and each Government Department; the length of times it takes in each of these categories for the cases to be assigned to a person and an investigation to commence, where it is deemed necessary to have such an investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43880/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Office of the Ombudsman Data)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised that in 2016 the Office of the Ombudsman examined 3,110 complaints.  I understand that 79% of these were completed within 3 months and 96% were completed within 12 months.
The Office of the Ombudsman sets itself annual case turnaround targets and progress against targets is closely monitored by senior management. The deployment of staff and case handling structures and procedures are regularly reviewed by the Offi...

167. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the make up of the community sector high level forum; the members of the forum; the chair of the forum; the remit and the schedule for the forum reporting to his Department; if it is examining Labour Court recommendation 19293 regarding pension provision for community employment supervisors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43939/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Community Sector High Level Forum)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 to 169, inclusive, together.
The Community Sector High Level Forum was reconvened in 2015 to give consideration to a number of issues including the issue to which the Deputy refers. Meetings took place on 24 February and more recently 7 April 2017.  The minutes of these meetings await formal approval by the parties to the Forum and will on such approval be publicly available on my Departmen...

168. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason the Labour Court recommendation 19293 regarding pension provision for community employment supervisors has not yet been implemented; the barriers to implementation; the cost of implementation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43940/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Community Sector High Level Forum)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 to 169, inclusive, together.
The Community Sector High Level Forum was reconvened in 2015 to give consideration to a number of issues including the issue to which the Deputy refers. Meetings took place on 24 February and more recently 7 April 2017.  The minutes of these meetings await formal approval by the parties to the Forum and will on such approval be publicly available on my Departmen...

169. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when he expects the community sector high level forum to report on the Labour Court recommendation 19293 regarding pension provision for community employment supervisors; if the minutes of the forum’s meetings are available; the cost of running the forum; when he expects it to complete its work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43941/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Community Sector High Level Forum)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 to 169, inclusive, together.
The Community Sector High Level Forum was reconvened in 2015 to give consideration to a number of issues including the issue to which the Deputy refers. Meetings took place on 24 February and more recently 7 April 2017.  The minutes of these meetings await formal approval by the parties to the Forum and will on such approval be publicly available on my Departmen...

69. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding Government employees in a scheme called non-contributory pension scheme for non-established State employees; the level of gratuity available after 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years service respectively based on their service and their pension entitlements for each of those years of service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43204/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Public Sector Pensions Data)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): For members of the Non-contributory pension scheme for non-established State employees benefits are calculated based on length of service (to a maximum of 40 years’ service) and the individual’s final pensionable remuneration.
Pensionable Remuneration is the aggregate of pensionable salary and pensionable emoluments held on the last day of service.
- Pensionable salary is, generally, the annual salary of a member on the last da...

70. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of a proposed building project (details supplied); when this project will proceed to the next stage; the timeframe for invitation of tenders and for construction to commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43285/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Office of Public Works Projects)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The OPW and the CSSO continue to progress the acquisition of the preferred site for the proposed project as a high priority and expect the process to reach a conclusion shortly. It is not possible to provide exact timelines for the procurement and construction of the new station until the site acquisition process is complete.
 ...

71. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the funding streams available from his Department which can assist a community with the clean up of a river (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43307/17 asked on 12 Oct 2017 - Flood Relief Schemes)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): Local flooding issues are a matter, in the first instance, for each local authority to investigate and address.
If this issue relates to the recent flood event in Donegal and subsequent clean-up, financial assistance with the cost of the clean-up is a matter, in the first instance, for Donegal County Council.
The Office of Public Works’ (OPW) Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme...

89. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has received a report independently commissioned by an organisation (details supplied) carried out by persons that are experts in flood management and climate change; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43108/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Flood Relief Schemes)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The Office of Public Works (OPW) has received in recent days a copy of a report by HR Wallingford commissioned by the “savecorkcity” group to support that group’s claims that a tidal barrier for Cork City would cost in the region of €140 million. The report is being considered by the OPW and its technical advisers. The OPW would note that the report addresses the estimated cost of the particular ti...

90. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Skellig Michael island season will be extended (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43139/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Heritage Sites)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): As I have indicated in response to the Deputy’s previous PQ on this subject on 11th September, I have requested the Office of Public Works to review the position with regard to the opening season at Skellig Michael. This process is underway at present and I would expect that it will be concluded within the next few weeks.
 ...

91. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 103 of 26 September 2017, the reason the purchaser of property sold by the State cannot be identified; the reason so many properties are sold by private treaty rather than auction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43053/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Office of Public Works Properties)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): For the most part, the Commissioners of Public Works (CPW) dispose of State owned property by way of public auction. However, there are occasions when Estate Agents / Auctioneers advise the CPW that private treaty is a more suitable approach to sale. In addition, there can be special purchase arrangements with, for example, Local Authorities, the Health Service Executive and adjoining landowners.
T...

92. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of planning applications the OPW has made regarding telecoms masts located on sites that were formerly used as Garda stations by location in each of the past 10 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43057/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Office of Public Works)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): Under the terms of the licences granted by the Commissioners of Public Works (OPW) to third parties in relation to the installation of telecommunications equipment on the masts at Garda Stations, the Licensees are responsible for any planning applications. OPW has not made any applications for planning permission in respect of telecommunications masts at former Garda Stations.
 ...

93. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if flood prevention funding for Killybegs which was requested through the catchments flooding risk assessment will be approved; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that if funding had been approved the recent flooding of the Bridge sStreet district could have been avoided; when these works will be carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43070/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The core strategy for addressing areas at potentially significant risk from flooding is the Office of Public Works (OPW) Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme. The Programme, which is being undertaken by engineering consultants on behalf of the OPW working in partnership with the local authorities, involves the production of predictive flood mapping for each location, the d...