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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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...

5. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to outline his plans to reform freedom of information legislation. (Question 53245/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Freedom of Information Legislation)

Deputy Mick Wallace: The questions relate to the current freedom of information legislation. Is the Minister satisfied that the legislation is functioning properly? Will the Minister consider amending section 44 of the Act so that he can instruct the Information Commissioner to carry out a review of the operation of the Act?
My interactions with numerous freedom of information departments, State bodies and Departments lead me to believe the legislation is not working. I do not believe this so...

6. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the progress of flood defences in an area (details supplied); the next step in the works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53473/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Flood Prevention Measures)

Deputy Aindrias Moynihan: I have raised this issue of concern for Baile Bhuirne residents time and again in the House. They are concerned about flooding from the Sullane river anytime there is heavy rain. Residents need to see some progress. The issue has been ongoing since 2011, when we saw the initial designs, yet six years on, no works are in place. We need to see a plan of the works. The issue with the pearl mussel has already been set aside and resolved. There needs to be work and act...

7. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way in which he will ensure that public servants who opt to work until 70 years of age will be doing so out of a desire to work as opposed to feeling compelled to do so for economic reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53259/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Public Service Retirement Age)

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: The Deputy will be aware that last week the Government decided to increase the compulsory retirement age from 65 to 70 for public servants recruited prior to 1 April 2004. I announced this on Wednesday last with the Ministers of State, Deputies O’Donovan and Moran. The decision to remain at work beyond the age of 65 will be completely voluntary on the part of the employee. There will be no change to the minimum pension age, that is, the age at which a public servant ca...

9. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has satisfied himself with the functioning of the freedom of information system in place under the Freedom of Information Act 2014; if he will consider amending section 44 of the Act to confer power on the Minister to instruct the Information Commissioner to carry out a review of the operations of the Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53475/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Freedom of Information Legislation)

Deputy Mick Wallace: The questions relate to the current freedom of information legislation. Is the Minister satisfied that the legislation is functioning properly? Will the Minister consider amending section 44 of the Act so that he can instruct the Information Commissioner to carry out a review of the operation of the Act?
My interactions with numerous freedom of information departments, State bodies and Departments lead me to believe the legislation is not working. I do not believe this so...

10. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department provides funding to organisations (details supplied) to facilitate pay restoration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53432/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Voluntary Sector Remuneration)

Deputy Joan Burton: This question relates to workers paid out of the public purse, particularly in hospices but also in other section 39 organisations, who voluntarily took pay reductions during the country’s darkest hour when the economy crashed. As these salaries are entirely funded out of the public purse, what are the Minister’s plans to make a declaration on providing properly for pay restoration for these people who took a hit in the public interest? When will the Minister restore their ...

11. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on whether the guidelines for public procurement are being applied consistently throughout the public service; the specific measures that have been implemented to ensure that there is adherence to the rules on public procurement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53462/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Public Procurement Regulations)

Deputy Dara Calleary: The Minister and I have had several discussions on procurement and particularly on making it a friendlier process for small business. Is he happy that the guidelines for public procurement are consistent across the public service? Is he happy that those rules are being applied? Will he comment on an issue that arose overnight, the spending of €135,000 by the Central Bank on a lighting installation in its new headquarters? Is that a good use of taxpayers’ money?
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12. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which, in the context of the capital review programme, he expects to be in a position to make provision for the projects previously identified as being integral to crucial infrastructure investment; if he will extend the remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53471/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Capital Expenditure Programme Review)

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: In the context of the capital review, what is the extent to which the Minister has managed to identify the most critical elements of infrastructure with a view to completing them in a reasonable period?
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13. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the Civil Service People Strategy 2017-2020 and on the way in which this is being delivered to create a high-performing Civil Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53255/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Civil Service Reform)

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Obviously, we have all been reading Our Public Service 2020-----
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14. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the development of the Enniscorthy flood defence scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53251/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Flood Relief Schemes Status)

(Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): The River Slaney-Enniscorthy flood relief scheme is being progressed by Wexford County Council as the contracting authority, with funding by the Office of Public Works.
Good progress is being made in advancing the scheme and a significant amount of the necessary ground work to inform the detailed design of the scheme has been carried out to date. Further work is required on the technical and cost aspects before the scheme is ready to be brought to a public informatio...

17. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the flood relief projects undertaken in 2017; the projects planned for 2018; the status of CFRAM; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53461/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Flood Relief Schemes Data)

Deputy Dara Calleary: I ask the Minister of State to provide an update on the status of CFRAM and on the major projects that are planned. I do not want a long list of everything the Minister of State has done, which I am sure he had planned to give, just an update on CFRAM and the major projects planned for 2018.
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18. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has satisfied himself that section 27 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 is functioning properly; if all agencies that come under freedom of information legislation following the Act are applying fees and charges for FOI requests in an open and transparent manner; if guidelines are issued to the agencies with regard to calculating fees and charges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53476/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Freedom of Information Legislation)

Deputy Mick Wallace: The questions relate to the current freedom of information legislation. Is the Minister satisfied that the legislation is functioning properly? Will the Minister consider amending section 44 of the Act so that he can instruct the Information Commissioner to carry out a review of the operation of the Act?
My interactions with numerous freedom of information departments, State bodies and Departments lead me to believe the legislation is not working. I do not believe this so...

20. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which his Department plans to incorporate further reforms throughout the services with a view to achieving better value for money, improved economic impact and delivery of services to the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53472/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Public Sector Reform Implementation)

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Since the first public service reform plan was published in 2011, a comprehensive programme of reform has been implemented and this continues to be a key priority. This is important as the performance of the public service has major implications for the management of our finances and for economic development and employment creation.
The public service reform plan for the period 2014 to 2016 put the public ever more to the centre of what we do, both in terms of service de...

21. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress by his Department in acquiring the new site identified in recent months for Bailieborough Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53256/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Office of Public Works Projects)

(Deputy Patrick O’Donovan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 33 together.
The Office of Public Works and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office continue to progress the acquisition of the preferred site for this project as a high priority and expect the process to reach a conclusion shortly. The Minister of State, Deputy Moran, is happy to confirm that the contracts for sale have been executed by both parties and final completion of the acquisition process will take a number of weeks. Until...

33. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans for the Office of Public Works to purchase property for State organisations in counties Cavan and Monaghan; the stages in negotiation for each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53257/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Office of Public Works Projects)

(Deputy Patrick O’Donovan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 33 together.
The Office of Public Works and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office continue to progress the acquisition of the preferred site for this project as a high priority and expect the process to reach a conclusion shortly. The Minister of State, Deputy Moran, is happy to confirm that the contracts for sale have been executed by both parties and final completion of the acquisition process will take a number of weeks. Until...

157. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which investment in infrastructure is likely to remain part of reform within the public sector while meeting necessary objectives to facilitate economic requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53942/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Capital Expenditure Programme Review)

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: In the context of the capital review, what is the extent to which the Minister has managed to identify the most critical elements of infrastructure with a view to completing them in a reasonable period?
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1. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach the matters he intends to raise at the next meeting of the European Council. (Question 51688/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, together.
I will attend a series of European Council meetings in a range of formats in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
I will of course report back to the House as usual after the European Council.
The draft agenda for the main meeting consists of security and defence issues, including permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, and social, educational and cultural matters, where we expect a report on the recent Gothenburg social su...

2. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the forthcoming European Council meeting. (Question 51727/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, together.
I will attend a series of European Council meetings in a range of formats in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
I will of course report back to the House as usual after the European Council.
The draft agenda for the main meeting consists of security and defence issues, including permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, and social, educational and cultural matters, where we expect a report on the recent Gothenburg social su...

3. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with Mr. Donald Tusk; and the issues that were discussed. (Question 51993/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, together.
I will attend a series of European Council meetings in a range of formats in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
I will of course report back to the House as usual after the European Council.
The draft agenda for the main meeting consists of security and defence issues, including permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, and social, educational and cultural matters, where we expect a report on the recent Gothenburg social su...

4. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent engagements with European leaders in advance of the next European Council meeting in December 2017. (Question 51999/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, together.
I will attend a series of European Council meetings in a range of formats in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
I will of course report back to the House as usual after the European Council.
The draft agenda for the main meeting consists of security and defence issues, including permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, and social, educational and cultural matters, where we expect a report on the recent Gothenburg social su...

5. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with the European Council President, Mr. Donald Tusk. (Question 52882/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, together.
I will attend a series of European Council meetings in a range of formats in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
I will of course report back to the House as usual after the European Council.
The draft agenda for the main meeting consists of security and defence issues, including permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, and social, educational and cultural matters, where we expect a report on the recent Gothenburg social su...

6. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent telephone conversations with the European Commission President, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker on Brexit. (Question 52883/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, together.
I will attend a series of European Council meetings in a range of formats in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
I will of course report back to the House as usual after the European Council.
The draft agenda for the main meeting consists of security and defence issues, including permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, and social, educational and cultural matters, where we expect a report on the recent Gothenburg social su...

7. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach the agenda for the upcoming European Council meeting; and if, in future, his Department will provide a briefing to Opposition leaders in advance of such meetings. (Question 52885/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - EU Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 12, inclusive, together.
I will attend a series of European Council meetings in a range of formats in Brussels tomorrow and Friday.
I will of course report back to the House as usual after the European Council.
The draft agenda for the main meeting consists of security and defence issues, including permanent structured co-operation, PESCO, and social, educational and cultural matters, where we expect a report on the recent Gothenburg social su...