It is regrettable that the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Barrett, has refused to permit a question requiring the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, to explain to the Dáil the information available to the Economic Management Council (EMC) regarding write-downs of state assets since 2011.

The oral question tabled for tomorrow, Thursday the 2nd of July by Deputy Broughan was as follows:

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report to Dáil Éireann on his role as a member of the Economic Management Council regarding tax and revenue expenditure due to write-downs of state assets during sales of loans and other assets by IBRC, NAMA, AIB, PTSB and other fully or partially controlled state financial institutions during the lifetime of this government; whether his Department raised any concerns at the levels of expenditure and income forgone since 2011 and on the impacts of those expenditures on the funding of each government department in each budget since 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Ceann Comhairle informed me that “The Minister has no official responsibility to Dáil Éireann for this matter, as it impinges upon the principles of Cabinet confidentiality.”

But the key element of this question is the role of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to tax and revenue expenditures due to the sale of loans and other assets by financial institutions under state control.

Minister Howlin’s government has left the Irish people with a national debt interest payment of over €42 billion down to 2020 (almost the size of a single years total departmental expenditure). So the question posed is fully relevant to the members of Dáil Éireann and the general public and should not (like many others I have posed) have been disallowed.