Dáil Éireann - Volume 416 - 03 March, 1992
Written Answers. - Houses of the Oireachtas Estimate.
Mr. Howlin Mr. Howlin
76. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Finance the steps, if any, he proposes to take to provide the Houses of the Oireachtas with full independence and/or autonomy in the formulation of its budget on an annual basis, in order to demonstrate  the independence of the Houses from the Government of the day; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Finance (Mr. B. Ahern) Bertie Ahern
Minister for Finance (Mr. B. Ahern): I presume that the Deputy has in mind that the Houses of the Oireachtas should present its own Estimate to the Dáil. A similar question was put on 11 December 1990 and the position has not changed in the interim.
I cannot accept that any Department or Office should be exempted from the same constraints that apply to all other Departments and Offices. All Estimates are considered by Government in the context of the economic and budgetary constraints to which the Government of the day must have regard.
I should also remind the Deputy that Article 28.4.3 of the Constitution requires the Government to prepare the Estimates and present them to the Dáil for consideration. The Government cannot therefore waive their responsibilities in this regard as the Deputy proposes.
However, despite these comments the Deputy should not infer that the views of the Houses of the Oireachtas are not considered in the formulation of the Estimate. The Estimate for the Houses of the Oireachtas is prepared by the Houses in the normal way. Under arrangements instituted two years ago, any reductions to the draft Estimate proposed by my Department are forwarded to the Houses of the Oireachtas for written response in advance of the Government's consideration of the Estimate. I can then take this response into account before the Government discussion on the Estimate.
Dáil Éireann 416 Written Answers. Houses of the Oireachtas Estimate.