Budget debates

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Savings in voluntary organization in the health services, partnerships

The Minister for Health & Children, Mary Harney, clarified the situation arising from a Health Service Executive (HSE) early warning notice to grant-aided voluntary organizations that public sector pay cuts would automatically apply to their staff (Dail Eireann, Debates, 11th February 2010, 106).  This was incorrect, for organizations funded under §39 of the Health Act, 2004 were not public bodies as defined in the Act, their employees were not public servants and they were not directly affected.  Nonetheless, §39 grant aid was subject to general efficiency savings and it was entirely appropriate that they take appropriate savings measures.  It was up to each individual employer to decide exactly what mix of actions should be taken to achieve that goal.  The 2010 budget required the HSE to generate non-pay savings of €394m, of which €106m was to be met through economies.  She anticipated that they would prioritize front-line services and examine all options to achieve savings in administration and overheads.

Asked about employment in local partnerships by John O’Mahony (FG, Mayo), the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Emon O Cuiv told the Dail that his department had no role in the internal operation of the companies, nor in employment nor remuneration, which were matters for the boards and employers.  He gave a figure for a cut of funding for Mayo of -13.8%.  It was a matter for boards to decide how to operate with reduced budgets and address issues of staffing and redundancy which might arise  (Dail Eireann, Debates, 10th March 2010, 820-1)