Tuesday, 26 April 2005
Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
The Deputy raised a number of points. Most of the reports issued by the Department, including the social partnership reports, the annual reports and SMI reports, are published on the website straight away. However, I take the Deputy's point that this should be the case for all reports. On the issue of printing, there is a long tradition whereby hard copies are created of all the reports, including annual reports. They are circulated not only to Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas but also to many others throughout the country. I am sure they are looked at very attentively in many cases but it is probable that the majority are not. That is probably a valid point. I will check with my Department whether it publishes every report on-line. I have no difficulty doing that.
Projects such as the e-Cabinet project represent the best approach. I am told by colleagues that 5 kg less paper per Minister are coming to Government because of the e-Cabinet project. As it is extended over a number of years, as is intended, it will have a significant impact. I do not know about the merits of stopping the production of hard copies as I believe it leads to difficulties. In some areas, advertisements state that if one wants a report, one can seek it. I suppose that is the way things will move into the future.