Dáil Éireann - Volume 653 - 08 May, 2008
Written Answers. - Budget Submissions.
Deputy Fergus O’Dowd Deputy Fergus O’Dowd
Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the date for each year since 2000 of pre-budget meetings held with the Department of Finance and the  Department of the Taoiseach; the attendees at such meetings; if an agenda was circulated in advance; if minutes of such a meeting were kept; if not the reason for same; if officials were directed not to keep minutes of such meetings; if so, by whom and the date of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter [17568/08]
Deputy Mary Hanafin Deputy Mary Hanafin
Deputy Mary Hanafin: I understand that the Deputy is, in particular, referring to bilateral meetings with the Minister for Finance or the Taoiseach in relation to the annual social welfare Budget as distinct from internal meetings within my Department relating to the Budget process generally.
Each year, the Minister for Social and Family Affairs normally meets with the Minister for Finance to discuss the social welfare budget package. These meetings take place at a relatively advanced stage in the formulation of the Budget and are generally also attended by officials from the respective Departments. In this context, the development of the Budget is a continuous, intensive and rolling process. The relevant officials are in ongoing interdepartmental contact throughout the year and are highly familiar with all of the relevant details and issues involved, including Government priorities. Accordingly, it is not necessary to prepare a formal agenda for such meetings.
Each year, the Minister for Social and Family Affairs normally meets with the Taoiseach in the weeks immediately preceding the Budget to review progress on the Government Programme and any other relevant issues. While this meeting is not specifically Budget related, priorities for possible progression in the context of the impending Budget may be discussed from time to time. The relevant officials who attend these meetings are in regular and frequent contact on a wide variety of issues on a continuous basis. Decisions arising from both sets of meetings are documented and form part of the Department’s records.
Dáil Éireann 653 Written Answers. Budget Submissions.