Dáil Éireann - Volume 446 - 02 November, 1994

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - National Statistics Board.

4. Ms McManus asked the Taoiseach if the members of the National Statistics Board have yet been appointed; if not, when they will be appointed; the reason for the delay in view of the fact that membership of the old board lapsed in January 1994; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [697/94]

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Mr. Dempsey): A number of administrative arrangements had to be made before the Statistics [1464] Act, 1993, could be brought into operation and these were only recently brought to a conclusion. The Act was brought into effect yesterday, 1 November. In accordance with section 18 of the Act the Taoiseach also appointed the members of the National Statistics Board for a two year period with effect from yesterday. The chairperson of the board is Professor Frances Ruane of Trinity College, Dublin.

Ms McManus: As I am sure the Government is aware, the trade figures from the Central Statistics Office have been subjected to ridicule and there has been a loss of confidence for some time because of their inaccuracy. This is not a reflection on the staff of the Central Statistics Office but the figures are distorted.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is anticipating the reply to Question No. 5 in the name of her colleague, Deputy Rabbitte.

Ms McManus: The question relates to the National Statistics Board. Does the Minister of State agree that the delay of eight months has fuelled a further loss of confidence? Will he state that the issue of gender balance within the board has finally been resolved and that he has been able to fulfil the Government's commitment to ensure a proper balance?

Mr. Dempsey: I do not accept there has been a loss of confidence in the statistics from the Central Statistics Office but I will deal with that matter in greater detail when we reach the next question. On the question of the membership of the board and the need to ensure gender balance, the Taoiseach has two nominees and nominated Professor Frances Ruane and Mr. Michael Crowley. This means that there is a gender balance as far as Government nominees are concerned. The other members of the board are nominated by the social [1465] partners. There are also a number of exofficio members who fill specific positions.