Government achievements overview

Government achievements overview

Fine Gael Government Achievements overview

‘The Government has Stabilised the Economy’ — Economic Depts

Growth & Sustainability have Returned                                                                   Department / Finance

Achievements

The economy has returned to growth, with 1.5% GDP growth in Q3 2013.Real GDP growth of 2.2% in 2011 and 0.2% in 2012, after 3 years of contraction.
Ireland’s general government deficit (excludes the banks) has decreased from €16.7bn in 2010 to a forecast €9.6bn in 2014.
The yield on Ireland’s 2020 bond is now under 4%, down from over 15% in July 2011.

Reform

We achieved this in 3 budgets that have not increased income tax, & maintained core social welfare rates of jobseekers benefit, carers’ allowance, & state pension.
Banking costs were limited from an initial €35bn (troika plan) to €16.5bn, through junior bondholder burden-sharing and securing private capital investment.
Anglo Irish & Irish Nationwide (IBRC) are gone. The promissory notes were exchanged for long-term government bonds, reducing our borrowing by €20bn for next 10 years.

Investment

NewERA provides €6.4bn for a stimulus in the economy, using the National Pensions Reserve Fund’s remaining ‘discretionary’ funds (excludes the stakes in the banks).

Government achievements overview continued

Employment is Growing                                                    Department / Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation

Achievements

Employment increased by 58,000 jobs in the last 12 months.  Private sector jobs are now increasing by 1,200/week, compared to the 1,600/week we lost in 2008-2010.

Reform

The 2013 ‘Action Plan for Jobs’ contains 333 job creation measures.  These include 7 high-impact ‘Disruptive Reforms’ aimed at areas such as ICT skills and retail.  Every government department is held to account quarterly, to maximise implementation.
31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) will for the first time combine the skills, experience and resources of Enterprise Ireland, County Enterprise Boards and local authorities to act as first-stop-shops to support businesses seeking information & support.

Investment

There are new schemes worth €2.5bn in new lending to business by end 2013: €850m of National Pension Reserve Fund for the SME sector; €700m seed & venture capital scheme; €450m credit guarantee scheme; & €225m in development capital.
Expanded the role of the Credit Review Office, which is overturning over 50% of banks’ decisions, by increasing the loan limit; and set up Micro Finance Ireland, which is lending up to €25,000 to micro businesses turned down for loans from the banks.

Government achievements overview continued

The Public Sector & Politics are being Reformed                 Department / Public Expenditure & Reform

Achievements

Public service numbers have been reduced by more than 30,000 (almost 10%) from a peak of 320,000 in 2008, to less than 290,000 in 2014.
The Exchequer pay bill has decreased by €3bn from €17.5bn in 2009 to €14.1bn in 2013 (net of Pensions Related Deduction).

Reform

PeoplePoint, the Civil Service HR and Pensions Shared Services Centre, has been implemented and is now serving over 15,000 employees across 13 organisations.
90 ‘Quangos’ have already been abolished or are close to abolition.  A range of back-office functions in other agencies’ have also been rationalised.
The Haddington Road Agreement will save a further €1 billion by 2016.
Legislating for the regulation of lobbyists, protection of whistle-blowers and expansion of the freedom of information framework.

Investment

€2.25bn investment in public infrastructure projects (July 2012).
In 2013, there was a further €150m exchequer capital investment, €250m in PPPs and €200m from the National Lottery Licence transaction.

Government achievements overview continued

Restoring our Economic Sovereignty and International Reputation                  Department / Taoiseach

Achievements

We exited the EU/IMF bailout as planned, without a new precautionary credit line.
The Government achieved greater than expected savings of circa €9bn from reduced interest rates on funding from the troika, in Summer 2011.
The maturities of our EFSF & EFSM loans were extended in June 2013. This will reduce our market refinancing requirement by €20bn over 2015-2022.
Established the 1st Constitutional Convention, which facilitates citizen involvement.

Reform

Cost of politics has been significantly reduced: the abolition of ministerial cars, ending of unvouched expenses, and significantly fewer special advisors. Corporate donations have been effectively banned.
Dail sittings are up 32% compared to the first 2½ years of the previous FF/Green govt.
Civic society & experts can influence Bills in their infancy at a new pre-legislative stage. Committees will play a much stronger role in law-making in future and will be able to scrutinise Depts’ budgets before any money is spent.

Investment

Taoiseach has actively partaken in trade missions abroad and hosted delegations at home, helping to secure key trade deals.

‘The Govt. has maintained and modernised key services’ — Spending Depts

Government achievements overview continued

Beginning the Overdue Reform of our Health System                                         Department / Health

Achieve

ments

30% reduction in no. of patients waiting on trolleys (since we took office).
99% reduction in no. of patients waiting over 8 months for inpatient & day case surgery (since 2011).
95% reduction in no. of patients waiting over a year for an outpatient appointment (since March 2013).  A reduction of over 100,000 patients in just nine months.

Reform

Six hospital groups have been created, radically devolving power and securing the future of small hospitals.  The biggest reorganisation of Irish hospitals in our history.
Medical consultants will now see, treat and discharge patients on a 24/7 basis.
The first phase of ‘Money-Follows-The-Patient’ will be rolled out 2014.

Investment

Non-pay spending has been maintained (€6.4bn in 2007 to €6.6bn in 2014), and demand pressures met (e.g. medical cards increased by 600,000 to 1.87m).
Funding for the new Children’s Hospital was secured in Budget 2014.
32 new primary care centres have been delivered since May 2011.

Government achievements overview continued

Making Work Pay & Protecting Supports                                             Department / Social Protection

Achieve

ments

The unemployment rate has decreased to 12.4% from a peak of 15.1% in Feb 2012. 
The Live Register (welfare claimants) is below 400,000 for the first time since 2009.
Saved over €1.2bn in the Social Protection budget from 2011 to 2014 (forecast).

Reform

New One-Stop-Shop Intreo Offices combine access to welfare payments and employment supports. 43 offices are now open, with 60 to be in place by end-2014.
New anti-fraud measures have saved €540m in 2011, €645m in 2012, €700m in 2013 and €740m in 2014 (forecast).

Investment

JobBridge has provided 25,000 interns with placements since its launch (July 2011). Independent research has shown 61% of participants progress into paid employment.
The Youth Guarantee worth €6bn was agreed under the Irish Presidency, involving a €200m budget for Ireland over 2014-2015.  Every young person will be offered a job, further education or work-focused training within 4 mths of becoming unemployed.

Government achievements overview continued

Delivering 21st Century Teaching & Learning                                        Department / Education & Skills

Achievements

Ireland’s 15-year-olds are 4th best in reading and significantly above OECD average in science (up 5 places to 9th) and maths (13th) (OECD PISA results, 2012).
97% of 47,000 parents in primary schools & 87% of 20,000 parents in post primary schools felt that teaching was good in their school (Chief Inspectors Report 2010-12).
Highest ever 2nd level education completion rate, at more than 90% (2012).
Action Plan on Bullying to be adopted by all 4,000 primary and post primary schools. Each school must now develop its anti-bullying policy. Strong emphasis on prevention strategies, cyberbullying and identity based bullying (e.g. homophobic bullying).

Reform

A new Junior Certificate Programme will be introduced on a phased basis from 2014 with a new school based approach to assessment.
VEC system restructured: from 33 VECs to 16 Education & Training Boards (ETBs) responsible for the delivery of further education and training.
Establishment of SOLAS, a new Further Education & Training Authority responsible for funding, planning and co-ordinating training and further education programmes.
National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011 to 2020 (published 2011).

Investment

Non-pay spending has been maintained (€1.9bn in 2007 to €2bn in 2014), & demand pressures met (primary & secondary students increased by 75,000 to 889,300).
Five Year €2bn Capital Programme to provide more than 100,000 permanent school places over the period 2012-2016.
€70m for school improvements in 2014; €37m in Prefab replacement in last 2 years.
1,400 new teachers for schools and 390 extra SNAs in 2014.

Government achievements overview continued

Bringing Children’s Interests to the Heart of Govt.                  Department / Children & Youth Affairs

Achieve

ments

Children’s Rights Referendum gave children explicit constitutional protections.
Introduction of Child Protection legislation.

Reform

First ever Cabinet Minister for Children & Youth Affairs.
Creation of Child and Family Agency, the most comprehensive reform of child protection, early intervention and family support services ever undertaken in Ireland.

Investment

Extra funding of €6.7m in 2014 for reform of child welfare and protection services.
Pre-School Quality Agenda — €4.5m to recruit additional pre-school inspectors; establish a pre-school mentoring service; and support staff training.
Tackling Child Poverty — €30m in 2013-2016 for the Area Based Childhood (ABC) programme, to improve outcomes in disadvantaged communities.

Government achievements overview continued

A Citizen-centred Approach to Justice & Equality                                   Department / Justice & Equality

Achievements

A reduction in crime by over 17,500 offences, in 12 mths to the end of Sept 2013.
Quirke Compensation Scheme for Magdalen Laundry Survivors.

Reform

The new Personal Insolvency Bill has been passed & the Insolvency Service of Ireland established. The first Personal Insolvency Arrangements are now in place (Jan 2014).
The duration of bankruptcy has been reduced from 12 years to 3 years.
Expansion of Supreme Court (two additional judges).
Successful passage of Referendum proposal to establish new Court of Appeal.
Introduction of Citizenship Ceremonies.

Investment

New programme of Garda recruitment — Garda strength to be maintained at 13,000.
€26m for Prison Building & Refurbishment in 2014.
Increase in Garda Vetting Unit Personnel from 93 to 176 (83% increase).

Government achievements overview continued

Investing in Transport & Growing Tourism                             Department / Transport, Tourism & Sport

Achievements

A special 9% VAT rate for the tourism industry was introduced as part of the 2011 Jobs Initiative and created at least 15,000 jobs.  This was retained in Budget 2014.
The Gathering exceeded all expectations with 5,000 separate gatherings and a 7.2% year-on-year increase compared to 2012, all at little cost to the State.

Reform

The Rural Transport Programme has been overhauled, restructured and placed on a more stable financial footing to protect it into the future.
10% of the public service obligation bus routes are being opened up to competition.
Shannon Airport was given independence, and has increased passenger numbers.

Investment

Reinstatement of Sports Capital Programme, with €40m in grants for 2014.
Work is underway on the N7 (Newlands Cross) and N11 (Rathnew) projects which, as a single contract, is the first transport PPP to get underway in 4 years.
Preliminary work on joining up the two Luas lines has begun.

Government achievements overview continued

Putting People First: a New Model of Local Govt                  Department /  Environ, Comm & Local Govt.

Achievements

Resolving Ghost Estates: a 56% decrease in the number of unfinished developments and a 72% decrease in number of vacant units in remaining unfinished developments (since 2010). Work is continuing on remaining 1,258 unfinished developments.
Creation of Pyrite Remediation Scheme (incl. a Pyrite Resolution Board).
Priory Hall Resolution Framework agreed in 2013.

Reform

‘Putting People First’ is the most far-reaching Local Govt reform since the 1890s.Reduction of over 650 councillors (from 1,627), with 114 local authorities replaced with 31 integrated authorities. More powers for councillors in planning, roads, traffic, housing, environmental services, recreation, amenity and community development.
Introduction of gender quotas for the next General Election: political parties to ensure that women make up a minimum of 30% of their candidates.
New Homelessness Strategy: includes €45m for accommodation in Budget 2014.

Investment

€79m for Housing Regeneration in Budget 2014.
€48m for the Local and Community Development Programme in Budget 2014.

Government achievements overview continued

New Infrastructure for Jobs & Growth    Department / Communications, Energy & Natural Resources

Achieve

ments

A next generation postcode system has been contracted. The public will use a 7-character code by the 1st half of 2015, with Dublin retaining postal districts numbers.
Successful sale of Bord Gais Energy in Dec 2013, generating €1.1bn.

Reform

Currently preparing a new Inland Fisheries Bill to modernise the overly complicated and outdated regulation of inland fisheries.
Established ‘GeoScience’, a business cluster involving the public and private sectors, to win work overseas and develop natural resources in a sustainable way.

Investment

All post-primary schools will have world class (100Mbps) broadband by end-2014.
Nat Broadband Plan commits to: 70-100Mbps broadband for over 50% of population by 2015, 40Mbps for next 20%, 30Mbps for remaining (more remote) population.
Grid25, a €3.2bn investment, will significantly upgrade our electricity transmission network, which has been neglected for decades. The govt has established an expert panel to examine undergrounding route options before proceeding.
Energy efficiency upgrades for over 30,000 homes in 2014 following the Govt’s extra €30m stimulus for the Better Energy/Warmer Homes Energy Efficiency Schemes.

Government achievements overview continued

Creating a Sustainable Future for Agri-Food & the Marine                    Department / Agriculture, F & M

Achievements

Irish food and drink exports approached €10bn for the first time in 2013, an increase of over €2bn or 26% since 2010.
Delivery of a reformed CAP under the Irish Presidency of the EU.
Delivery of a new CFP under the Irish Presidency of the EU.
8 new markets opened in 2013: UAE & Canada (sheep-meat), Libya (livestock), Australia (pig-meat), Iran & Japan (beef), GCC (beef & sheep-meat), China (salmon).
Growth in emerging markets with Asia now accounting for over 5% of exports (2012), including €323m China in 2012.  And also over €500m in agri-food exports to Africa.
6 Trade Missions since 2012 (China, Switzerland, Algeria, Gulf States and USA twice)

Reform

Ireland helped negotiate an end to the wasteful practice of discarding fish at sea.
New CAP includes reform of direct payments; greening components; special measures for young farmers; & the abolition of sugar quotas by 2017.

Investment

€40m for the Beef sector in 2014: a new €23m Beef Genomics scheme, €10m for Beef Data Programme; €5m for Beef Technology Adoption Programme.
€12.5bn allocated under CAP from the EU & Exchequer over the next 7 years

Government achievements overview continued

Investing in our Culture                                                             Department / Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht

Achievements

The new Philanthropy Initiative provides an incentive to arts NGOs to seek funding from sponsors. Exceeded all targets & generated over €4 for every €1 from taxpayer.
Established National City of Culture initiative. €6m has been allocated to Limerick, the inaugural host.

Reform

Expanded ‘one stop shop’ genealogy portal, www.irishgenealogy.ie, allowing users to search through digital census data, land records, military archives, Ellis island records.
Published Ireland’s first National Peatlands Strategy (Jan 2014) which sets out a long-term sustainable plan for our bogs. It conserves our network of bogs, opens up new turf-cutting opportunities for local communities and provides compensation where needed. It deals with the legacy left behind by FF and meets our European targets.

Investment

New €5m Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme will support a significant number of projects on protected buildings across the country.
Protected arts funding in a difficult climate. For every week of 2014, more than €2.3m will be invested in arts, culture and film.

Government achievements overview continued

Promoting Ireland’s Peace & Security Role                                                           Department / Defence

Achievements

Green Paper on Defence published & public consultation undertaken. White Paper due in 2014 to provide a policy framework for Defence for the next decade.
Irish PDF personnel are on 14 different missions throughout the world, with the largest deployment of personnel being to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Reform

Major re-organisation of the Defence Force (a new 2 Brigade structure) enabling the re-deployment of personnel from admin & support functions to operational units.
Savings of approx €10m p.a. are projected under the ‘Haddington Road Agreement’.

Investment

€898m allocation in Budget 2014: €677m for Defence and €221m for Army Pensions.
The arrival of the first of two new Naval Service Offshore Patrol Vessels is anticipated in early 2014, with the second ship to follow a year later.

Government achievements overview continued

Restoring Ireland’s International Reputation                                           Department / Foreign Affairs

Achievements

Global Irish Economic Forum events in 2011 & 2013 to support the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.
Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs was the lead negotiator on behalf of Member States in the negotiation of the €960bn EU Budget (MFF) for the next 7 years.
Irish Embassies supported 18 Ministerial-led Enterprise Ireland trade missions in 2013 involving Irish companies.

Reform

Review of the Government’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Strategy (2013).
Review of Ireland’s Foreign Policy and External Relations launched (Oct 2013).
New ‘One World, One Future’ policy (2013), focused on reducing hunger, building sustainable growth and good governance, in sub-Saharan Africa’s poorest countries.  It reconfirms our commitment to achieving the UN target of providing 0.7% of GNP for ODA, when economically feasible.
Review of Ireland’s Diaspora Policy announced (Oct 2013).

Investment

€600 million for Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2014 (slight reduction on previous year) but core priorities & programmes protected.
Extended diplomatic network to support trade & investment.  New embassies in fast-growing economies of Thailand (Bangkok) and Indonesia (Jakarta). New Consulates General in hubs of Hong Kong and Sao Paolo, and in tech hub of Austin, Texas.