Sinn Féin spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Mairéad Farrell has welcomed the government announcement of some of the major projects which are set to receive funding as part of the €750 billion EU Pandemic Recovery Fund.
Ireland is to receive an allocation of €915 million to be spent on the likes of an electronic system for sharing medical records, regional work hubs and the retrofitting of state buildings. Another major project being given consideration is a shared government data centre for state bodies.
Speaking this afternoon, Teachta Farrell said:
“I am glad to see that the government took on board a number of the recommendations Sinn Féin made as part of our submission to the Recovery and Resilience Fund.
“An electronic system for sharing medical records, regional work innovation hubs and a major retrofitting programme were three of our main recommendations.
“There is much merit in the idea of a shared data centre for state bodies. Consideration should also be given to the improvement of data collection, analysis and review around public procurement.
“Around €12 billion a year is spent by government departments, county and city councils, and public bodies in procuring goods, services and capital works. But it remains an underdeveloped area of research.
“In the coming years, the manner in which the state spends money though procurement will attract greater scrutiny and rightfully so. Around €12 billion a year is spent on public procurement which is almost the same size as the cost of the PUP, EWSS and TWSS to date.
“The state is the largest purchaser in the economy and it is no longer enough to know how much money we are spending through procurement or where it is being spent.
“What we need to know is in what manner the money is being spent. In other words, is this money being spent in a way that helps to achieve social and environmental goals?
“We can use public spending to help tackle the problems we are facing. be they socio-economic and/or environmental. But in order to do so, we need to drastically improve our public procurement data collection, analysis and review.”