Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 3 March 2015
Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform: Select Sub-Committee on the Department of the Taoiseach
Estimates for Public Services 2015
Vote 1 - President's Establishment (Revised)
Vote 2 - Department of the Taoiseach (Revised)
Vote 3 - Office of the Attorney General (Revised)
Vote 4 - Central Statistics Office (Revised)
Vote 5 - Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (Revised)
Vote 6 - Office of the Chief State Solicitor (Revised)
This meeting has been convened to consider the supplementary information received in respect of the 2015 Revised Estimates for public services from the Department of the Taoiseach's Vote group.
The Dáil ordered on 18 December 2014 that the following Revised Estimates for public services be referred to this sub-committee for consideration: Vote 1 — President's Establishment; Vote 2 — Department of the Taoiseach; Vote 3 — Office of the Attorney General; Vote 4 — Central Statistics Office; Vote 5 — Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions; and Vote 6 — Office of the Chief State Solicitor. This sub-committee met the Taoiseach on 18 February to consider the Revised Estimates for 2015. As some members requested further information arising from the discussions that day, it was agreed to await such further information before completing our consideration of the Revised Estimate for Votes Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive and before sending a message to that effect to the Clerk of the Dáil, in accordance with Standing Order No. 87. In response to this committee's request, supplementary information was provided and has been circulated to members. Are there any comments?
We have received a very comprehensive reply from the Taoiseach on the matters raised. I wish to refer briefly to the issue of Irish Water and its classification in terms of the market corporation test. The assumption up to now was that we would know by March how that would work out, that is, whether Irish Water would pass that test. However, in the Taoiseach's letter to the Chairman, he says that the CSO is working to finalise its report in the next two to three weeks; hopefully it will be done by the end of March. He goes on to say that the assessment will then be provided to EUROSTAT and that the CSO has been advised that the final response from EUROSTAT is likely to take at least two months from the date of receipt of the assessment. At this stage it looks like it will be at least June - possibly later - before we get a final decision on the market corporation test for Irish Water. This is significantly at variance with what we understood and I am pleased to get that information on the record. That is the only point in the Taoiseach's letter to which I wished to refer.