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Public Expenditure and Reform | Emergency response funds and public supports

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he remains satisfied that spending across all Departments remains in line with projections, while retaining the capability of responding to emergencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he remains satisfied that levels of public expenditure in Ireland are adequately proofed to ensure the best outcome for the Exchequer and the taxpayer; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Total gross voted expenditure to end-October 2022 amounted to €66,531 million which is €80 million (0.1%) below profile overall. Gross voted current expenditure of €61,055 million is €1,262 million (2.1%) ahead of profile. Gross voted capital expenditure of €5,476 million is  €1,342 million (-19.7%) below profile.

There has been a number of developments in 2022 which have an impact on the level of current expenditure. These include the extension of the Building Momentum pay agreement, the response to the cost of living crisis, humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine and the ongoing recovery from the Covid pandemic.

The position of the gross voted current expenditure in some of the major spending Departments is as follows;

  • The Department Social Protection is ahead of profile by €517 million (2.7%). The position is mostly reflective of the payment of some cost of living measures in October which were announced as part of Budget 2023 but not included in the 2022 profile.
  • Gross current expenditure in the Department of Health is €581 million ahead of profile (3.3%).  This is largely due to higher Covid-19 related expenditure than anticipated due to the Omicron wave and the pandemic recognition payment.
  • Gross current expenditure in the Department of Education is €168 million (2.4%) ahead of profile, mostly due to increased costs associated with substitutions and payments of Covid-19 supports to schools for Term 3, as well as increased escort payments for school transport.
  • Gross current expenditure in the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science is €84 million (3.6%) ahead on 2021 and €115 million (4.6%) below profile.  This underspend versus profile is due to timing issues related to grant payments.
  • Gross current expenditure in the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is €345 million (20.0%) ahead of profile mostly reflecting expenditure associated with accommodation and other costs related to the provision of humanitarian support to people arriving from Ukraine.

The October Fiscal Monitor provides further information on the current spending position by Department and is available on the Department of Finance website – Fiscal Monitor – October 2022 (

My Department is currently finalising the supplementary estimates for 2022 to provide funding required for the additional 2022 developments set out above. A requirement for a supplementary estimate will always be evaluated against potential offsetting savings to ensure the best outcome for the taxpayer and the Exchequer.

Non Core Expenditure 2023

With regard to the Government capability to respond to ongoing emergencies, the successive external shocks that had, and continue to have an impact on our society in 2022 will carry through into next year. Budget 2023 set out the Government’s continued response to externally driven challenges; alongside substantial measures to alleviate the cost of living pressures being experienced by households and businesses.

Our fiscal policy has remained responsive by providing supports through non-core expenditure. This is temporary funding to respond to challenges facing our economy and society which are considered separately from core expenditure allocations.

Given the continued impact of Covid-19, Brexit and the war in Ukraine, funding will be provided to respond to these challenges. I provided for €4.5 billion in non-core expenditure in Budget 2023 (table below) and I have allocated over €1.8 billion of this funding to Departments thus far, with €2.7 billion held in reserve to allow Government to retain the capability to respond to emergencies. This approach facilitates responsive fiscal policy, providing supports to deal with emerging issues while protecting core day-to-day expenditure and investment.

Table 1: Non-Core Funding 2023.

Non Core Funding Area€ Billion
Non Core Funding Area€ Billion
Covid (Including National Recovery & Resilience Plan)1.7
Ukraine 2.0
Other (including Brexit Adjustment Reserve)0.8

Budgetary Reforms

Budgetary and expenditure reforms remain a key feature in terms of public expenditure and budgetary management throughout all Departments. This important goal is progressed in a number of ways including through day-to-day management of resources, regular engagement across Departments and through the public service reform programme. It is also progressed through a range of important budgetary reform initiatives including, but not limited to:

• The Public Spending Code;
• Performance Budgeting;
• Equality Budgeting;
• Green Budgeting
• Well-being budgeting; and
• The Spending Review Process.

These reforms place an emphasis on broadening the approach to how public expenditure is appraised, implemented and reviewed, and also the impact of public expenditure across different cohorts of society and different categories of expenditure. They work in tandem with broader initiatives, such as the establishment of the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES), to develop capacity and enhance the role of economics and value for money analysis in public policy making

While each reform may be considered in isolation, it is important to recognise that each represents one part of the overall reform process. Together, these budgetary reforms aim to provide a more comprehensive and thorough insight into how public services are supporting the Irish population.

It is with this more complete understanding that policymakers can work towards the achievement of value for money objectives in the context of the entire budgetary process, and enhance the impact of policies and programmes on the lives of people in Ireland.

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