Dáil Éireann - Volume 616 - 08 March, 2006
Written Answers. - Register of Electors.
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
25. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the action he intends to take to improve the accuracy of the electoral register; if he will implement a proper integrated system using voters PPS numbers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9463/06]
Mr. Quinn Mr. Quinn
34. Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the steps he is taking to ensure the integrity of the next general election in view of the fact that there are now 20% more names on the electoral register than people in the State; if he intends to provide resources and funding to local authorities to carry out their responsibilities in respect of the electoral register; and his views on using the census, due in April 2006, to compile an accurate and reliable register for the next general election. [9591/06
Mr. McGinley Mr. McGinley
41. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if, in view of the significant inaccuracies in the register of electors he will contract An Post to assist in the updating of the register of electors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9478/06]
Mr. Roche Mr. Roche
 Mr. Roche: I propose to take Questions Nos. 25, 34 and 41 together.
In law, preparation of the Register of Electors is a matter for each local registration authority. It is their duty to ensure, as far as possible and with the co-operation of the public, the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the register.
I share the concerns that have been expressed on the quality of the register. My Department wrote to registration authorities on 14 July 2005 and requested them to take all necessary steps to secure significant improvement in the quality of the register. A national awareness campaign was conducted in November 2005 associated with the work on preparation of the register under way at that stage. Also in November 2005, my Department completed work on new and updated Guidance for Registration Authorities on Preparing and Maintaining the Register. The aim of the guidance is to secure significant improvement in the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the register by setting out clearly the legal requirements in this complex area, and identifying best practice for registration authorities in their work on the register.
The draft guidance was circulated for comment to all registration authorities and returning officers and to the Joint Committee on the Environment and Local Government which, in December 2005, discussed the guidance. Following this consultation process, my Department is now finalising the guidance. However, in view of the importance of securing improvements in the register, registration authorities have also been asked to proceed to implement the draft guidance with immediate effect.
As regards funding, local authorities meet their general expenditure — including in relation to the register — from a variety of sources such as commercial rates, rents, fees, charges for services, and general purpose grants from the local government fund. In 2006, I allocated general purpose grants to local authorities totalling €875 million, an increase of €57 million or 7% over the amount provided last year. I will continue to keep these important issues, including proposals along the lines referred to in the questions, under close review.
Dáil Éireann 616 Written Answers. Register of Electors.