New Public Expenditure Databank

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has launched a new databank, improving access to data on public expenditure back to 1994, with extra data to be added over time.

The website for the databank is  here.

More details here.

26 replies on “New Public Expenditure Databank”

Have a look at the table here:

Environment, Enterprise, Sport, Tourism and Culture have taken the biggest hits.

I am not sufficiently familiar with the what the Environment spend was to comment – though what the Greens think would be of interest.

Enterprise, Sport, Tourism and Culture are precisely the things Ireland is world class at and/or need to build on.

These are areas of relatively modest spending, have taken their lumps and should now be supported.

This is ok but — unless I’ve missed it — it doesn’t present the breakdown of public spending by type (pay, transfers, capital spending, interest, other) that would be really helpful for public debate.

So here’s my suggestion. Let’s get the same guys working on producing a long and more detailed set of series of the most useful breakdown of expenditure and revenue — the one provided in the Stability Update, e.g. second last page of this

Follow up due to “Don’t post multiple links” rule.

I think I’ve read and heard about 50 examples of the “government revenue is €30 billion” fallacy that I discussed here

since I wrote that post.

The proposal above, combined with regular releases based on this presentation of the public finances, would do wonders for improving the quality of the public debate about our public finances.

This is very welcome, and moreso than anything, I expect to to show gross deficiencies in quality of management and financial information for the PS. From experience in working with them, they’ve a startling gap with the private sector here

@Karl Whelan
Indeed and since some government departments also have separate sources of income and likewise the councils, it would be helpful for public discourse to have these broken down too.

What, for example, is the full income of the Health service when direct charges and charges to private insurers are taken into account? Two and a half million people are covered by private insurance, at an average of 400 euro each, that’s a billion euro. How much of it is actually goes directly to the health system?

How much have the changes to vehicle tax cost/gained? How much of what the universities get is accounted for by registration fees?

My point being it is not enough just to look at the spending side, the income side has to be assessed too to see what ‘functions’ are not paying for themselves – i.e. where there is an element of self-funding, how much more of it would be required to be completely or mostly self funding?

On the spending side, how much of the non-pay bill for, for example, education is capitation grants? How much is spent on portacabins? What accounts for the increase of over a billion in HSE non-pay spending since 2006?

Welcome newly available data of any kind. Pity it doesnt use the same interface as the CSO databank..

Good start but not very useful unless the data is given at a more granular level.

I would like to know how much each department spends on I.T, stationary, consultancy fees, pay, over time etc etc etc

Then we can really see where the money is being spent.

spend breakdown is not enough….you need to see spend per ‘service/product line’…not full ‘activity based costing’ but akin to it. Also ‘spend’ v ‘service activity’ needs to be tracked…etc…etc.

Great Bill Still video on what Ireland should do. He sums it up into five good points at the end of the short video.

Great write-up on Greece:

“What is going on in Athens at the moment is resistance against an invasion; an invasion as brutal as that against Poland in 1939. The invading army wears suits instead of uniforms and holds laptops instead of guns, but make no mistake – the attack on our sovereignty is as violent and thorough. Private wealth interests are dictating policy to a sovereign nation, which is expressly and directly against its national interest. Ignore it at your peril. Say to yourselves, if you wish, that perhaps it will stop there. That perhaps the bailiffs will not go after the Portugal and Ireland next. And then Spain and the UK. But it is already beginning to happen. This is why you cannot afford to ignore these events. […]

This is why the matter concerns you directly. Because this is a battle between our right to self-determine, to demand a new political process, to be sovereign, and private corporate interests which appear determined to treat us like a herd, which only exists for their benefit. It is the battle against a system which ensures that those who fuck up, are never those that are punished – it is always the poorest, the most decent, the most hard-working that bear the brunt. The Greeks have said “Enough is enough”. What do you say?”

Nigel Farage: EU growth package puts Greece on road to 3rd bailout. Great, great video (and just a few minutes long). He speaks with passion and intelligence.

@Desmond Brennan
I think we need to see both and more.

Spend per service/product and then detailed spend breakdown within that.

We have a secret service that costs us a grand total of 1 million per year???
Or maybe it costs more but that part is a secret?? Dun Dun Dun!

@Karl – you are right – a good start but can do more. All the budget/Estimates data should be as easily available in a format like Excel.

I have been keeping track of the planned capital expenditure. The cuts there have at least to some degree reflected the economic necessity of investments i.e. the cuts were not of the ‘lawnmower’ variety, which is good.


To compare events in Greece with Poland 1939 or Greece 1941 is completely hyperbolic. In fact just drop the “hyper” and substitute a “x” at the end.

The Troika does not have any tanks, is not dive bombing Athens and thus far the only people who have died have been bank employees, killed by protestors.


Cue a 500 message thread on GDP. JTO and his posse will look at the 8% SAAR in GDP and proclaim the worst is over. On the other hand (there always is) the GNP shows a decline close on one third on a SAAR so the doom porn merchants will point to the continued descent in Dante’s Inferno. Some will also chime in that we are being bled dry by “furriners”.

“Under starters orders and there off”

The ‘Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes – July 2009’ – otherwise known as the McCarthy Report – Bord Snip 2 – detailed papers etc – surely there is more than enough there for decisive action to be taken?
What’s missing?


Unfortunately (for him), JtO decided 3 months ago that GNP was the only measure that counts…..

“Pity it doesnt use the same interface as the CSO databank..”

Joined up thinking is still some way off .

This openness is to be welcomed but where does it fit in the clientelist system ? Would it be possible to have a breakdown of total spending on the orders of the 166 TDs and how much is clinic related?


That is what happens if you become a prisoner of the tyranny that is consistency. Irish G*P matters not a jot when the European Banking system is on “Code Red” according to Trichet.

The plucky Hellenes appear to have called the Troika bluff and gone for a slower pace of fiscal consolidation. The opposition wants a package of tax cuts and the PAsok backbenchers want less/no privatisation. All this will not go down well with the True Finns.

Seafoid, Dreaded and a couple of others have already commented on the data quality, format and depth…it is disappointing so let’s hope it’s just a start.

My main thought is to read this data alongside the recent slides from the DoF’s own seminar on fiscal reform ( and to conclude that they really don’t have a very good understanding – and certainly not a managerially useful understanding – of where all the money is going.

Would it not be accurate to say that between 65 and 80 per cent of expenditures are on remunerations and pensions in the big spending depts who also account for the bulk of disp

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