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2 News: Reorganization of early work of government departments

Ministers continued to make announcements about the changes in government departments since the new government was formed in March.  The Taoiseach informed the Dail that the government had established the following sub-committees:

Economic recovery and jobs, convened by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation

Social policy, convened by the Minister for Social Protection

Climate change and the green economy, convened by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government

European affairs, convened by the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Economic infrastructure, convened by the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport

Irish and the Gaeltacht, convened by the Minister for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht

Public service reform, convened by the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform.

The Ceann Comhairle reminded the Dail that members may not make enquiries of discussions at these committees (Dail Eireann, Debates, 10th May 2011, 733-5).

The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, gave more details of the transfer of functions of government departments then taking place (Dail Eireann, Debates, 11th May 2011, 141-2).  This is a summary of the main developments:

  • The drugs strategy has been transferred from the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs to the Minister for Health and Children.
  • Social inclusion has been transferred from the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs to the Department of Social Protection.
  • The community, waterways and charities functions have been transferred out of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.
  • The Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs is a shell comprising family affairs and the Family Support Agency and will be renamed the Department of Children and Youth Affairs from 2nd June.  Primary legislation will be required to underpin the new department, especially in relation to the Child Care Act, 1991.
  • The Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will transfer to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on 3rd June.  At this point, its former department will be renamed the Department of Health, its original iteration.

The Minister of State at the Department of Education & Skills, Ciaran Cannon, told Aodhan O Riordain (Lab, Dublin NC) that the new Department of Children would take over the functions of the National Education & Welfare Board (Dail Eireann, Debates, 3rd May 2011, 197).

Asked by Aengus O Snodaigh (SF, Dublin C) would he transfer the local development companies to the city or county development boards, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, told the Dail that he had no immediate plans to do so, but that his department would continue to work for more efficiencies to bring about the more effective delivery of services.  The boards already had a key role in endorsing the strategic plans of the local development companies which ensured complementarity and avoided duplication of work (Dail Eireann, Debates, 10th May 2011, 918).

Later, the minister, Phil Hogan, told Noel Grealish (ind, Galway W) that funding for national voluntary organizations currently funded under the scheme operated by the previous department would be rolled over until the end of June 2011 so as to give time for a final decision on the new scheme (Dail Eireann, Debates, 17th May 2011).

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, told Tom Fleming (ind, Kerry S) that his department was now working on the establishment of the new Register of Charities and the Charities Regulatory Authority, but there was a substantial body of work to be carried out first – in other jurisdictions it had taken a number of years to achieve this and that would be the case here too (Dail Eireann, Debates, 12th May 2011, 314).