Chambers expresses disappointment over Budget Office delays

Key budget service won’t be fully functional until 2018

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo and member of the Budget Oversight Committee Lisa Chambers says the delays in setting up an independent Parliamentary Budget Office is extremely frustrating and disappointing. The office was due to be up and running this year so that TDs from across the Dáil could feed into the 2018 Budget.

Deputy Chambers explained, “The establishment of an independent Parliamentary Budget Office was one of the new features of the 32nd Dáil, and was designed to help parties and independents to feed into the budgetary process. It marked a sea-change in the way budgets would be put together, allowing for alternatives to be teased out by TDs and Senators. One of the key requirements to facilitate this new structure was the establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office.

“It is deeply frustrating that almost eight months after our committee first met, this independent office has still not been fully established. This essentially means that we are going back to the old way of doing business for Budget 2018. While I appreciate that it takes time to recruit staff with the required expertise, the delays to date are extremely disappointing.

“I understand that the recruitment process will begin in the next few weeks, and that the office will be up and running, albeit at a reduced capacity, by this September. However, the timeline will be too tight to have any significant input into Budget 2018, which will be announced in October. This office will play a key role in the formation of future Budgets, and is a welcome development. However, it is important that the recruitment process proceeds without any further delays so that future Budgets can incorporate policies of other parties and independents, not just the Government”.