Four departments submit budget requests totalling €500m

Calls for extra funding come in addition to €680m supplement required for Health

Five Government Departments, including Health, have submitted supplementary budget requests for 2014 totalling more than €1 billion. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Five Government Departments, including Health, have submitted supplementary budget requests for 2014 totalling more than €1 billion. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Four Government departments have submitted supplementary budget requests for 2014 totalling almost €500 million, in addition to the record €680 required by the Department of Health.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has sought an additional €162 million for this year; Education has sought €103 million; while Agriculture, Food and the Marine has submitted a supplementary estimate for €177 million, although this is a technical request that relates to timing of receiving grant monies from the European Union.

The net effect of all the supplementary requests is that the Exchequer balance sheet for this year will include over €1 billion in spending not provided for at the beginning of the year. However, the net increase in spending will be balanced by reduced expenditure in other areas as well as increased revenues from taxes.

The Department of Social Protection, for example, may require less than its forecast spending because of consistent falls in the numbers on the live register this year.

The Department of Environment has sought an additional €34 million while almost €30 million will be required to cover shortfalls in pension provisions, including Army pensions.

The additional monies sought by Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe include €40 million from a stimulus package agreed last May. The spending on those projects included €33 million for roads; €5 million for a rural transport initiative; €1.6 million for Greenways: and €500,000 for the Lough Derg tourism development. A total of €20 million was spent by that department to repair storm damage.

The bulk of the extra spending in his department includes €99 million for public transport programmes including bus purchases and rail maintenance, as well as expenditure on the Luas.

The €177 million sought by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has been sought to cover a technical and timing issue related the Irish Rural Development Programme. The programme is covered by the EU but the payment will not be received until 2015, requiring the Exchequer to cover the cost in 2014.

In Education, there have also been over-runs in pensions totalling a net €25 million. A further €77m in funds is required to cover the cost of a timing issue: moving the January 2014 payroll payments from the end of 2013, into 2014.

Most of the additional funding required by Environment is to cover shortfalls in the Leader programme, as well as to cover repair works carried out throughout the country as a result of storm damage earlier this year.

Almost €5 million is required to cover a shortfall for Army pensions as the allotted funds proved insufficient. There is a further shortfall of €22.5 million to cover pensions in the wider public service. This is due to twice as many people retiring on age grounds in 2014 compared to 2013. As they are entitled to tax-free lump sums equalling one and a half times their final pay on retirement, the funding required was twice that which was forecast.

There were token supplementaries of €1,000 submitted by several Departments including the Department of Enterprise to cover administrative changes, new bodies and mergers. The Department of Justice was another of the big spending Departments that has not lodged an additional supplementary estimate for this year.