Central Fund (Ireland)

The Central Fund is the main accounting fund used by the government of Ireland.[1][2] It is a bank account held at the Central Bank of Ireland, managed by the Minister for Finance as head of the Department of Finance.[1] It is informally called the exchequer by analogy with the UK Exchequer.[1]

Statutory basisEdit

The current (1937) constitution states:[3]

All revenues of the State from whatever source arising shall, subject to such exception as may be provided by law, form one fund, and shall be appropriated for the purposes and in the manner and subject to the charges and liabilities determined and imposed by law.

The previous (1922) constitution had a similar provision,[4] and an ancillary statute named the fund "The Central Fund of Saorstát Eireann" and replaced "Consolidated Fund" accordingly in UK laws retained by Saorstát Eireann (the Irish Free State).[2] The fund was renamed "the Central Fund" when the 1937 constitution renamed the state "Ireland".[5] A new Central Fund Act was passed annually in March between 1923 and 1965,[6] to authorise the Minister for Finance to issue money from the Central Fund in accordance with budget estimates until the Finance Act and Appropriations Act were finalised in July to handle the rest of the financial year.[7] The Central Fund (Permanent Provisions) Act 1965 gave permanent authority to the minister, obviating the need for annual Central Fund Acts.[7][8]

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was separated from the Department of Finance in 2011, both to split the finance portfolio between a minister from each party in the Fine Gael–Labour coalition, and to facilitate implementation of austerity measures in response to the post-2008 downturn.[9] The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has no direct access to the Central Fund; rather, the minister formulates spending policy and directs the Minister for Finance to allocate monies from the Central Fund accordingly.[10] In the 2016–2020 government, Paschal Donohoe held both portfolios, making the distinction practically irrelevant.

Other fundsEdit

Non-exchequer government funds include:[1]

Social Insurance Fund
Pay Related Social Insurance contributions for distribution by the Department of Social Protection.[11] The fund, comprising a transaction account and an investment account,[11] was created in 1953, initially from four earlier funds.[12][13][nb 1]
National Training Fund
established in 2000 for further education[18]
Ireland Strategic Investment Fund
a sovereign wealth fund established in 2014 and administered by the National Treasury Management Agency. It replaced the National Pensions Reserve Fund, a pension fund for state and public-sector pensions established in 2001.[19]
National Surplus (Exceptional Contingencies) Reserve Fund
a rainy day fund established in 2019.[20]

Local government authorities also have funds.[1]


  1. ^ The funds were:[12]
    • Funds established in 1923 as Free State components of the corresponding UK funds:
      • National Health Insurance Fund[14]
      • Unemployment Fund[15]
      • Insurance Fund of the Incorporated Insurance Industry Unemployment Insurance Board[16]
    • Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Fund (1935)[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "Appendix E: The General Government Sector" (PDF). Fiscal Assessment Report. Dublin: Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. November 2016. pp. 102–103.
  2. ^ a b "Adaptation of Enactments Act 1922 s.1". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Constitution of Ireland, Article 11". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) Act 1922, First Schedule, Article 61". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  5. ^ "Constitution (Consequential Provisions) Act 1937, s.6(1)". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  6. ^ "Search for Acts of the Oireachtas with "Central Fund" in title". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Central Fund (Permanent Provisions) Bill, 1965: Second Stage". Dáil Éireann (18th Dáil) debates. Oireachtas. 1 December 1965. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Central Fund (Permanent Provisions) Act 1965". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  9. ^ "Fine Gael & Labour to form next Government". RTÉ News. 6 March 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2020.; "New Finance split modelled on UK". RTÉ News. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2020.; MacCarthaigh, Muiris (2017). "A Ministry for Public Sector Reform". Public Sector Reform in Ireland: Countering Crisis. Springer International Publishing. pp. 59–90. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-57460-8_3. ISBN 978-3-319-57460-8.
  10. ^ "Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2011, s.18". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 15 February 2020.; "Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill 2011: Explanatory Memorandum" (PDF). Oireachtas. 18 May 2011. pp. 3–4, Section 16. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Social insurance". Citizens Information Board. 16 January 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  12. ^ a b Department of Social Welfare (November 1957). "Social Insurance Fund; I Current Account; Part II; Receipts; Amounts transferred under Section 67 of the Social Welfare Act 1952". Accounts of the Social Insurance Fund : 5th January, 1953 to 31st March, 1953 : together with the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General thereon (PDF). Official publications. Pr.4243. Stationery Office. p. 2. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  13. ^ Meaney, Kevin (November 2015). "Staff Paper 2015: Vote Management and the Social Insurance Fund" (PDF). Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service. pp. 4–5, §1.1 "Legislative Context for the Social Insurance Fund". Retrieved 15 February 2020.; "Social Welfare Act 1952 s.67". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  14. ^ "National Health Insurance Act 1923, s.15". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Unemployment Insurance Act 1923, s.8". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  16. ^ "S.R. & O. 13/1923 — The Insurance Industry Unemployment Insurance Scheme (Insurance Fund) Order, 1923". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Act 1935, s.41". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  18. ^ "National Training Fund Act, 2000". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  19. ^ "National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF)". National Treasury Management Agency. Retrieved 15 February 2020.; "S.I. No. 113/2001 - National Pensions Reserve Fund Act, 2000 (Establishment Day) Order, 2001". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). 29 March 2001. Retrieved 15 February 2020.; "National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2014 s.38". electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB). Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  20. ^ MacNamee, Garreth (31 October 2019). "Paschal Donohoe establishes Rainy Day Fund with initial €1.5 billion in the kitty". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 15 February 2020.