Ireland’s green image symbolises the island and much of this department’s work is geared towards making sure that is kept up and improved.
Its roots go back to the Department of Local Government in the first Dáil Éireann, renamed as a ministry by the Free State. It took on health and welfare services from 1924 to 1947, before reverting to its original job and title. The new name of Department of the Environment in 1977 reflected that area’s growing importance; ‘local government’ was added in 1997, followed by ‘heritage’ in 2003.
Headquartered in the Custom House, it is one of two Green briefs in the Cabinet. A TD since 1997, Minister John Gormley previously ran the Academy of European Languages and has continued as party leader.
Gormley is assisted by Fianna Fáil’s Michael Finneran (Minister of State for Housing and Local Services), based in the department, and also two ‘roving’ junior ministers: Áine Brady (Older People and Health Promotion, Fianna Fáil) and Ciarán Cuffe (Sustainable Transport, Horticulture, Planning and Heritage, Green).
They are shadowed by Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan and two Labour deputies: Joanna Tuffy for environment and heritage, and Ciarán Lynch for housing and local government. All ministers and spokespeople are TDs.
Geraldine Tallon is Secretary General, overseeing five main divisions: environment; heritage; housing; local government; and water and planning.
A €2,174 million budget for 2010 was split between €1,509 million in capital spend (more than half goes on housing) and €665 million for current expenditure. Capital spending will drop to
€1,253 million next year; current spending will be outlined in the December Budget.
Major public bodies include An Bord Pleanala, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency.
Areas of responsibility:
• Building standards
• Emergency planning
• Fire safety
• Local government
• Motor tax
• Natural environment
• Nuclear safety
Tags: Departmental dossier
Date posted: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 10:13 am