Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 718 No. 3

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  153.  Deputy Lucinda Creighton  Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs which recommendations contained in  Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin   the McCarthy report pertain to his Department; the detail of each and proposed savings relating to his Department; which of these have been implemented to date and the expected savings to be achieved on each of these in one calendar year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36985/10]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheál Martin): Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  The Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes (The McCarthy Report) made a number of recommendations to Government in respect of my Department. These were considered in the context of this year’s budget and public service estimates and it was decided to implement a number of them in full or in part.

Recommendation in the report of the Special Group Comment
Overseas Missions savings A reduction of €17 million in the Administrative Budget allocation to the Department and the moratorium on staff recruitment has included savings on the running costs of the Department’s network abroad.
Some refocusing of resources has been implemented in the current year, including a trial of a new, lighter model of overseas representation.
The number of Missions headed at Assistant Secretary level has been reduced during 2010.
Given the important contribution that is being made by our diplomatic network in promoting our key objectives abroad, in particular, support for our economic recovery, I have not taken the step of reducing the number of our Missions but have sought to achieve savings through reduced running costs.
Reduce Staff Numbers by 65 The staffing complement of the Department is currently 73 below the number which was authorised at the introduction in March 2009 of the moratorium on recruitment and promotion. Savings on the reduction of staff numbers are included in the Administrative Budget savings above.
Cease funding the European Movement in Ireland and the Ireland United Nations Association This has been implemented for the Ireland UN Association at a saving of €60,000.
Reduce allocation for Contributions to International Organisations by €5 million The 2010 allocation has been reduced in line with the recommendation of the Special Group, although it is at this stage evident that it will not be possible to cover mandatory contributions due in 2010 from the amount allocated.
Cease expenditure to EU and other European States under Subhead K This has been fully implemented with savings of €1 million.
Maintain allocation for Vote 29 at 0.39% GNP in 2010 and extend timeframe for reaching UN target until 2015 Vote 29 ODA for the current year was set at 0.42% of GNP in order to ensure that Ireland exceeds its EU commitment as a Member State to spend 0.51% on overall ODA in 2010.
Given changes in the reference GNP levels, savings of €35 million, which is in excess of those recommended by the Special Group report, were achieved.
The alignment with the EU timeframe of 2015 to meet the UN target has also been agreed.
Reduce expenditure on Support for Irish Emigrant Services This was implemented in 2010 with a reduction of €2.2m
Remove free passport scheme for those aged-65 years and older This recommendation has not been implemented.

The report of the Special Group, which foresees a multi-annual implementation period, continues to inform decisions being taken by me in terms of the allocation of resources within my Department.

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