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  In this week’s bulletin, read about the Irish Government’s latest announcements in the areas of pension auto-enrolment, and SME and entrepreneurship policy. Government announces plans to auto-enrol private workers in pension scheme The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has recently announced key elements of a new system of pension auto-enrolment, set to be implemented on a phased basis from 2022. Under the new system, Workers aged between 23 and 60 earning more than €20,000 a year, will be automatically enrolled in a pension scheme, if not already in one with their workplace. Contributions will start from 1.5 per cent of salary, rising to 6 per cent of salary in their tenth year of employment, giving workers more time to accommodate the increase. There will be opportunities to opt-out and take breaks from contributions, with contributions in the first six months being mandatory. Employers will be required to match contributions, with the Government’s contributions yet to be announced. Key elements of the new system are in line with the Institute’s November 2018 response to the Strawman Public Consultation on the process for an automatic enrolment retirement savings system for Ireland; mainly that automatic enrolment should supplement the state pension, and also complement the existing supplementary pension system. A further consultation process will take place following the finalisation of the remaining elements of the design.   OECD review on Irish SME and Entrepreneurship Policy published Under the Future Jobs initiative, the Irish Government has published a review undertaken by the OECD on SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Ireland. A roadmap has also been published which sets out priority areas for implementation.The OECD’s analysis will form the basis for a new Government strategy on SMEs and Entrepreneurship, which will be published by the end of the year following further consultation. Some of the main OECD recommendations cover areas such as broadening the remit of the Local Enterprise Offices, digital and automation skills, and engagement in areas of energy and environment.     Read all our updates in our Public Policy web centre.

Nov 04, 2019
Public sector

Read about the public policy issues making headlines this past week which include a look in more detail at the Irish government’s plans to achieve its climate-change targets and the outcome of the latest EU summit. Latest climate action plan unveiled 200 actions are included in plans to achieve climate-change targets in a Climate Action Plan published by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment last week.  Ireland is behind in the EU’s climate action targets of reducing carbon emissions by 2020 and faces fines of several hundreds of millions of euros per year until targets are achieved. Some of the measures proposed to reduce carbon emissions in Ireland include: Carbon tax will rise to €80 per tonne (from €20) by 2030 70 percent of all electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030 (it’s currently 30 percent) Regulations to curb the use of single-use plastics by end of 2021 and eliminate non-recyclable plastic 500,000 homes will be retrofitted Installing oil boilers will be prohibited by 2022 and the installation of gas boilers will be prohibited by 2025 on all new homes. A review on how to replace all oil and gas boilers in existing buildings will be completed this year. No new regulation will come into force before 2026. All buildings undergoing significant renovation must bring the rest of the building up to a minimum BER B2 rating Creating new, sustainable opportunities for family farms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture The cycling path network and park and ride facilities will be expanded A study looking at possible congestion charges will be undertaken by December 2019 In terms of transport, equalising duties on petrol and diesel, changing vehicle registration and motor tax will be considered in Budget 2020 A car scrappage scheme may be introduced in 2020 to encourage people to buy electric vehicles. More broadly, carbon budgets and targets in addition to the normal financial budgets will be established on a five year system.  Ministers of each government Department will be responsible for making targets and there will be penalties for failure to do so.   EU summit discusses climate action and cybersecurity EU leaders are met in Brussels last week to adopt the EU's strategic agenda for 2019-2024. The EU’s strategy focuses on four main priorities: protecting citizens and freedoms developing a strong and vibrant economic base building a climate-neutral Europe promoting European interests and values on the global stage. Talks also focused on the long-term EU budget, cyberattacks and external relations.  The EU leaders however failed to agree on a new President for the European Commission and will need to reconvene to decide. App Read all our updates in our Public Policy webcentre.

Jun 24, 2019

Earlier today, over 150 members attended a lunchtime briefing from Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD. Referring to the final negotiations expected to take place over the weekend between Prime Minister May and EU negotiators in advance of Sunday’s summit, the Minister said: “The (draft withdrawal) agreement satisfies our national priorities set out at the outset of the Brexit negotiations, namely to protect the Good Friday Agreement, maintain the common travel area and related benefits, reaffirm our place at the heart of the EU, and protect trade, jobs and the economy. “Of course, we cannot become complacent, as work is underway to ratify the final text by both the UK and the EU.  Irrespective of the future relationship between the UK and the EU, we will face a very different world once the UK does depart.  The UK will inevitably become a ‘third country’.  The status quo will change.” The Minister discussed a broad range of other issues including the improving economic outlook for Ireland, the Finance Bill which has this week passed through the Dail and now moves to the Seanad, international tax policy, and anti-tax avoidance measures, for which he asked for the input and support of the accountancy profession.  The Minister also noted the importance of the accountancy profession in providing certainty in decision making through the provision of reliable financial information and trusted advice. He said: “Accounting is the language of business. It is the communication of economic realities and the base upon which all sustainable and innovative economies are built.  The accounting, auditing and other services you provide allow Governments, investors, shareholders, employees and citizens to see the economic reality.” Today’s audience included delegates at the Institute’s inaugural CPD Blitz Day focused specifically on members in the Public Sector.  An impressive line-up of speakers included Robert Watt, Secretary General Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Aileen Hughes, CIPFA chairperson and Internal controls analyst, ESB. Topics covered included ICT, data analytics, GDPR and Brexit and its  impact on the public sector. Photos of today’s event are available to view HERE.

Nov 23, 2018

Ireland’s leading accountancy body, Chartered Accountants Ireland today (Wednesday, 12 Sept 2018) announced the launch of a new “Concise Guide of Ethics and Governance for the Charity and Not-for-Profit Sector” at its annual ‘Good Governance’ conference in Dublin. Today’s conference was attended by over 100 people working in and for the charity and not-for-profit sector including regulators, advisors, directors and leading charity representatives. The Institute’s free guide, the first of its kind compiled in Ireland, received support from the Irish Charities Regulator and the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, and will be an essential primer for anyone currently a trustee or aspiring to hold such a position in the future.  Attendees at today’s conference heard from speakers including Tom Ryan (Director General, GAA), Tom Malone (Head of Compliance, Charities Regulator), Shauna Greely (Past President, Chartered Accountants Ireland), Stephanie Manahan (CEO, CRC), and a panel of experienced leaders in the charity and not-for-profit sector. Welcoming the launch of the Ethics Guide at today’s conference, Institute President Feargal McCormack said: “Charities and not-for-profit organisations have a profound social and economic impact on the fabric of our lives in Ireland. For example, in relation to charities alone, according to 2018 statistics from the Irish Charity Regulator, registered Irish charities have an income of €14.5 billion, directly employ 189,000 people and are supported by 300,000 volunteers. In relation to not-for-profit organisations we only have to look to our own local communities to identify the sporting organisations, the drama societies and the many other organisations that serve to provide an important outlet or promote a cultural activity to society. “The Irish charity and not-for-profit sector has been subject to criticism over recent years, where the failures of a few have damaged the many thousands of fine charities that adhere to high standards. Thanks to the combined efforts of trustees, volunteers, government and regulators, governance standards are improving and trust is being restored, with a renewed commitment to the highest levels of ethical behaviour. “Chartered Accountants Ireland are proud of today’s publication and consider it an important resource upon which trustees, leaders and financial custodians can reference as an everyday tool. Níall Fitzgerald, Head of Ethics and Governance, Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “In order to run effectively and ethically, charities and not-for-profit organisations need the right people to step-up and become volunteer board members. It is vital for the sector that its trustees are as diverse as the organisations they manage. This involves the recruitment of trustees of all age groups, genders and backgrounds getting involved in order to refresh the membership of committees and boards of trustees. The Irish Charities Regulator welcomed Chartered Accountants Ireland’s initiative to produce this guide aimed at encouraging and supporting current and aspiring trustees.  Tom Malone, Head of Compliance, Charities Regulator said: “Charity trustees are the gatekeepers of governance and integrity in the sector. The clearer trustees are about their duties and the better guidance and support that they receive, the greater the sector will benefit. We believe trustees who are well-intentioned and well-informed, are key to increasing public trust and confidence in the sector.” The Concise Guide of Ethics and Governance for the Charity and Not-For-Profit Sector published by Chartered Accountants Ireland is available to download here. ENDS Reference:  Bryan Rankin, Marketing Manager, Chartered Accountants Ireland T: 01 637 7268 Note to editors:  Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s biggest and fastest growing professional accountancy body, with 26,500 members across the globe. It is the voice of the accountancy profession in Ireland.

Sep 13, 2018

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