Written answers

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Department of Justice and Equality

Departmental Expenditure

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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169. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the annual saving to her Department if spending on education and training was reduced by 2.5%, 5% and 10%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26924/15]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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The total spend for my Department on training and development for 2014 was approximately €1,143,806. This would have included expenditure such as training courses provided internally and externally, refunds of educational fees, attendance at seminars and conferences and membership of professional bodies fees.

Using the 2014 figure for training spend as a baseline, the following table sets out the savings that would result from applying the various percentage decreases suggested by the Deputy. It should be noted, that budgetary constraints have resulted in a reduction in expenditure in this area over a number of years.

-Total Spend
Total expenditure on training and Development in 2014€1,143,806
Saving accruing from a reduction in spend of 2.5%€28,595
Saving accruing from a reduction in spend of 5%€57,190
Saving accruing from a reduction in spend of 10%€114,380

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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170. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the annual saving to her Department if spending on professional fees, including but not limited to legal, IT-related, accountancy and other advisory and consultancy was reduced by 10%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26953/15]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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A total of circa €56.3m inclusive of VAT in professional fees was paid over the period from 1st June 2014 to 31st May 2015, 95% of which was incurred in the operation of the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. The annual saving to the Exchequer of a 10% reduction in professional fees at this rate, would be in the region of €5.6m inclusive of VAT.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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171. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the annual saving to the Exchequer if the Minister's special advisers' salary was capped at the first point of the principal officer grade, that is €75,647; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26967/15]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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The combined salaries of my two Special Advisors amount to €169,412 per annum. If these salaries were to be capped at the first point of the Principal Officer salary scale, €75,647, the annual savings would amount to €18,118.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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172. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the annual saving to her Department and the bodies under its aegis if all the fees for all State agency, non-commercial State-sponsored bodies and commercial semi-State board members were reduced by 25%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26981/15]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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As the terms 'State agencies', 'State-sponsored bodies' and 'semi-State board' may include bodies with a wide range of functions, the Deputy's question has been interpreted as encompassing all bodies with the title "Board", irrespective of their functions, as well as other bodies with a governance remit whose title does not include the term “Board”.

I can advise the Deputy that the total cost at present for the type of fees referred to in her question is €652,376. A reduction of 25 per cent in this figure would result in a saving of €163,094.

The Deputy should be aware that Board fees are not payable in certain circumstances where Board members are appointed in their capacity as a staff representative or officer of the Minister; where a Board member opts to waive his/her fee or part thereof; or where the principle of "One person, one salary" (OPOS) is deemed to apply. The aforementioned figures are based on the current circumstances of existing Board members and could be subject to change if, for example, the OPOS principle was no longer applicable or if Board members changed their decision to waive fees in future.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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173. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the annual saving to his Department if spending on professional fees, including but not limited to legal, IT-related, accountancy and other advisory and consultancy work, was reduced by 10%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26944/15]

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Minister, Department of Health; Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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I would like to inform the Deputy at the outset that it is the policy of my Department to minimise to the greatest extent possible, professional fees.

For the purposes of this response I have taken professional fees to refer to accountable persons from whom Professional Services Withholding Tax is deductible in respect of professional services provided. Based on the spend in 2014 a reduction in spend of 10% would lead to a potential saving of €30795.00.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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174. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the annual saving to the Exchequer if the Minister's special advisers' salaries were capped at the first point of the principal officer grade, that is, €75,647; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26958/15]

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Minister, Department of Health; Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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I currently have two Special Advisers appointed to me in accordance with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Instructions for Ministerial Appointments. The Principal Officer standard scale applies to these appointments and provides for annual increments, subject to satisfactory performance and attendance. In accordance with the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013, and the provisions of the Haddington Road Agreement, the relevant adjustments to pay have been made to the Principal Officer standard, modified and PPC scales.

A combined annualised amount of €14,777 would be saved if both salaries were capped at the first point of the scale instead of being paid at their current rates.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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175. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the annual saving to his Department and the bodies under its aegis if all the fees for all State agency, non-commercial State-sponsored bodies and commercial semi-State board members were reduced by 25%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26973/15]

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Minister, Department of Health; Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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I am responsible for appointment of members to the boards of the Adoption Authority of Ireland, the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), Gaisce and the Board of Management for the Children Detention Schools in Oberstown, Co. Dublin. The following table sets out the total cost of fees for the current year. This takes account of members who have waived a fee or would otherwise not receive a fee. A 25% reduction in board fees would result in an annual saving of €45,828.75.

BoardTotals Fees paid per annum
Children Detention Schools0
Adoption Authority of Ireland€102,945.00
Child and Family Agency€80,370.00
GaisceNo Fees

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