Committee Reports::Report - First Annual Progress Report of the Dáil Committee on Public Expenditure::02 October, 1984::Orders of Reference

I am pleased to produce the First Annual Report of the Public Expenditure Committee of Dáil Éireann. Details of the Committee’s work and activities are set out in the following pages. The challenge confronting the Public Expenditure Committee is a very major one, involving the review and assessment of virtually all of the monies spent by the State on behalf of the people of Ireland, and the making of recommendations on how such a process can be made more efficient, the proposing of cost-effective alternatives, the elimination of waste and unnecessary duplication and the proposing of structural, qualitative and any other possible improvements in this area.

Devising a methodology for our approach to our work was the first challenge and this is set out in the body of the Report which follows. Our approach to our work involved a very wide span of inquiry during these initial months and a very large number of inquiries was embarked upon in one form or another. This involved the Committee in many hundreds of contacts with Government Departments, State and semi-State Agencies, groups of one kind or another and members of the public.

In particular, a detailed analysis of key issues affecting all of the Government Departments and State bodies under our jurisdiction was commenced. A systematic and detailed analysis of Departmental spending and the structures and processes underlying that expenditure has now been embarked upon. The Committee are very pleased to be able to report progress on all of these enquiries, to have made a number of specific reports to Dáil Éireann and to be able to say that many of the enquiries embarked upon will now come to real fruition over the next six months. During that time, detailed and intensive assessment of inquiries set in train with Government Departments and Agencies will come on stream and the Committee’s work will fall more clearly into a productive, coherent pattern.

The spirit in which the Committee has pursued its work has been in all cases to assert our desire to help and in conjunction and co-operation with Public Servants to bring about whatever improvements may be possible. The Committee believe it to be vital to have the active support and co-operation of the Public Service and would like to place on record our most grateful appreciation of the co-operation and courtesy which has been extended to us by all of those members of the Public Service with whom contact has been made. Such a spirit augers well for the future work and reports of this Committee.

On behalf of my colleagues on the Public Expenditure Committee of Dáil Éireann I am pleased to have the honour of laying before Dáil Éireann our First Annual Report.




Michael Keating, T.D.





21 June, 1983:- Ordered

(1) That a Select Committee (which shall be called the Committee on Public Expenditure) consisting of 17 members be appointed to review the justification for and effectiveness of ongoing expenditure of Government Departments and Offices and of State-sponsored Bodies not included in the Schedule to the Order establishing the Joint Committee on Commercial State-sponsored Bodies in such areas as it may select and to report thereon to the House recommending cost effective alternatives and/or the elimination of wasteful or obsolete programmes, where desirable.

(2) That the Committee have power to appoint sub-committees and to refer to such sub-committees any matter comprehended by Paragraph (1) of this Order.

(3) That the Committee and any of its sub-committees shall, unless they decide otherwise, hold their meetings in public under the conditions specified in Standing Order No. 74.

(4) That the Committee or any of its sub-committees have the power to send for PERSONS, papers and records and, subject to the consent of the Minister for the Public Service, the Committee have power to engage the services of persons with specialist or technical knowledge to assist it or its sub-committees.

(5) That every report which the Committee proposes to make shall, on adoption by the Committee, be laid before the House forthwith whereupon the Committee shall be empowered to print and publish such report together with such related documents as it thinks fit.

(6) That the Committee or its sub-committees, shall refrain from publishing confidential information regarding the activities and plans of a Government Department or Office, if so requested by a Member of the Government, or of a State-sponsored Body, if so requested either by a Member of the Government or by the State-sponsored Body concerned.

(7) That the Committee present to Dáil Éireann an Annual Progress Report on its activities and plans.

(8) That Members of the Government and Minister of State be notified of meetings and be allowed to attend and take part in proceedings without having a right to vote.

(9) That the quorum of the Committee shall be 5 and that the quorum of each sub-committee shall be 3.

That, not withstanding anything in Standing Orders and unless the Dáil shall otherwise order, if the Committee on Public Expenditure lays before the Dáil a report, three hours shall be set aside for debate on a Motion, that Dáil Éireann takes note of the report, to be taken on a day not later than the twelfth day on which the Dáil shall sit after the day on which the report shall have been laid before the Dáil and at such time as shall be announced on the Order of Business for that day by the Taoiseach; provided that where a division has been demanded on the Motion or any amendment proposed thereto the Ceann Comhairle shall postpone the taking of the division until 8.30 p.m. on the next Wednesday on which the Dáil shall sit until that hour.

II Members of the Committee on Public Expenditure


Michael Keating - Chairman

Michael O’Kennedy - Vice-Chairman

Bernard Allen

Michael Bell (a)

Paudge Brennan

Richard Bruton

Hugh Byrne

Hugh Coveney

Joe Doyle

John Farrelly

Liam Fitzgerald (b)

Colm Hilliard

Liam Hyland

John Kelly

John Ryan

Noel Treacy

John Wilson

(a) Replaced Mr. Séamus Pattison T.D.

(b) Replaced Mr. George Colley T.D.