Varadkar reveals hidden cost of Seanad: 344 staff-hours in 1 Dept in 1 year

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Equal to 9 weeks’ work costing €15,000 for Assistant Principal

In response to media queries, Leo Varadkar has revealed that the Seanad imposes hidden costs on every arm of government including his own Department, which devoted 344 staff-hours to Seanad business in the last 12 months.

“The Seanad imposes hidden costs on every part of government. The servicing of Seanad business took up 344 hours in my own Department alone over the last year. This equates to nine weeks’ work for one individual at Assistant Principal grade. This time was mainly spent duplicating work which had already been done in the Dáil,” he said.

This included in the last year:
• Two Bills in the Seanad – Taxi Regulation and CIE borrowing. The requirement for the Seanad process added a total of 236 staff-hours;
• 19 Adjournment Debates – around 76 staff-hours in total;
• Motions on Shannon Airport and statements on Smarter Travel – 32 hours total preparation time.

“The Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport is a small government department with a small legislative workload. But other Departments like Justice or Public Expenditure & Reform have to devote much more time to the Seanad,” he said.

“So it’s likely that the Seanad uses up between 5,000 and 10,000 staff-hours in the entire civil service every year. This is an unnecessary and inefficient burden on the civil service which adds little or no value to the democratic system. It can be removed overnight with a Yes vote.”

Note to Editors

In line with the McKenna judgment, the Government has a right and duty to give information, to clarify situations, or to give explanations and deal with unforeseen matters and emergencies.