Committee Reports::Report - Service of Public Debt::01 July, 1985::Appendix


The role of the Oireachtas in relation to the National Debt

Under existing legislative arrangements the payment of interest and principal on the Government’s debt is not subject to annual approval by the Oireachtas in the way that most other types of expenditure are. The Oireachtas has enacted broad enabling legislation to empower the Minister for Finance to borrow money on the domestic and foreign markets without further reference to the House as to the amounts and terms of the loans. Legislation is enacted from time to time to ensure that the Minister is empowered to avail of whatever new borrowing instruments emerge on the capital markets. The legislation is updated periodically as warranted by developments in the markets.

The Finance Accounts which are published annually give details of all service payments on the Government’s debt as well as information on all borrowings raised by the Government. They also give a statement of the Government debt outstanding at the end of the year, with a maturity profile and, in the case of foreign debt, an indication of the currencies in which it is held.

During the course of the year an Exchequer statement is issued for the end of each week showing the broad categories of Government receipts, expenditure, borrowing and debt repayment. The information on the borrowing and debt repayment transactions shown in this statement is to a considerable extent in aggregate form and does not itemise each individual loan. Deputies may table Parliamentary Questions on any aspect of the Government’s public debt policy. All transactions relating to the Government’s debt are subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General who reports directly to the Dáil.