Friday 20 April 2018

Completing Census needs Dáil funding vote

Enda Kenny speaking at the launch of Census 2016. Photo: Tom Burke
Enda Kenny speaking at the launch of Census 2016. Photo: Tom Burke
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The completion of the 2016 Census will require a Dáil vote approving funding for the Central Statistics Office, the Cabinet has been told.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin has brought a memo to his Cabinet colleagues outlining how a number of government departments and agencies will soon exceed four-fifths of agreed spending for the year.

Passing that threshhold requires TDs to approve the entirety of their Budgets.

Revised estimates for funding the CSO this year - published last December - put the funds it needs at more than €80m, almost €30m more than in 2015 as the agency prepares to carry out the Census on April 24.

While a government spokesman said the process of collecting Census information would proceed as planned and all Census workers would be paid, completing the process of collating and analysing the information would require funds released by a Dáil vote.

The CSO will have reached the spending limit of four-fifths of its allocation around May or June due to the extra expenditure on the Census process.

He played down the significance of the deadline expressing confidence that the funding will be approved even in the absence of a new government.

"I don't think any politician is going to stand up and vote against the Census," the spokesman said.

Other Departments set to reach the four-fifths spending threshold requiring a Dáil vote include the Arts and Children.

A government spokesman could not say why these Departments are reaching the spending limit nor could he confirm that the 1916 Centenary Celebrations was the reason in the case of the Arts Department.

Irish Independent

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