Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Public Expenditure and Reform Sean Fleming has criticised the Government for preventing the Oireachtas Public Expenditure Committee and the Dáil itself from adequately overseeing government poor performance on capital expenditure projects.
Deputy Fleming said, “The government is seeking approval for €111,768,000 of unspent capital money in 2015 to be carried forward into 2016. Shockingly there is an underspend of €41,078,000 by Minister Alan Kelly primarily on housing. No wonder there is a housing and homelessness crisis. There is €7,000,000 unspent on flood risk management by the Office of Public Works. It’s no wonder we have a flooding crisis. There is also €6,644,000 unspent by the An Gardai Siochana on their capital program. Again it is no wonder crime is out of control.
“In hard pressed economic times, when the Dáil agrees to allocate money for vital these projects, it represents gross mismanagement of the public finances that the government cannot utilise the money approved in these important areas.
“Each year government departments are permitted to carry over some unspent capital expenditure to the following year. There is a long standing practice whereby the Oireachtas Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform oversees the re-allocation of this money. The purpose of this is to obtain proper explanations in public as to why the government did not fully utilise the expenditure that was approved by the Dáil.
“However the government has today announced that not only is the Oireachtas Committee not to be allowed examine and debate this issue, but the Dáil itself is being denied the right to debate this as the government wants to ram its motion through without a debate on Thursday.
“If after five years this is the government’s idea of political and Dáil reform then they should be ashamed of themselves. Preventing a debate on the government’s own financial incompetence on matters under its own control sums it all up.”