Written Answers

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 7 to 29, inclusive, postponed.
Questions Nos. 30 to 36, inclusive, answered orally.

Proposed Legislation

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

37 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Finance when the legislation for the jobs initiative will be presented to Dáil Éireann; if the jobs initiative will be presented to Dáil Éireann before or after the Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting on the 15 and 16 May 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9642/11]

Gerry Adams

Question:

40 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance the way he will stimulate the economy when the jobs initiative will be fiscally neutral; if he has conducted an analysis of the effects of the measures to be introduced as part of the jobs initiative; if he has conducted an analysis of the effects of the counter-balancing measures to be introduced to compensate for the measures under the jobs initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9643/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 37 and 40 together.

The Government is strongly committed to implementing a jobs and growth strategy. We intend announcing a Jobs Initiative as committed to in the Programme for Government on the 10th of May. I would anticipate that any necessary legislation to give effect to the measures outlined in the Jobs Initiative, will be published shortly thereafter.

The Programme for Government sets out in broad terms the measures that will be implemented as part of this Initiative. The measures are designed to lift public morale and confidence in the economy, to provide jobs, to provide suitable job placement for unemployed persons and to encourage spending by consumers.

In terms of the specific detail, officials from my own and Minister Howlin's Department are working closely with other Departments in preparing the proposals and assessing the quantitative and qualitative impacts. As has been previously signalled any costs arising in connection with the Jobs Initiative will have to be counter-balanced by the implementation of offsetting measures. This will ensure that we will continue to underpin our fiscal sustainability while also bringing forward policies to assist economic growth.

Officials are continuing to assess the compensatory measures to be introduced to fund the Jobs Initiative. In order to ensure the Jobs Initiative is successful, we want to ensure the measures, while fiscally neutral overall, have the least negative economic impact possible. All of the measures we will introduce will be costed as accurately as possible to ensure that the requirement for budgetary neutrality is respected and that is why we are closely examining a range of options.

In terms of the effect of the measures being introduced as part of the Initiative, getting people back to work is the number one priority of this Government.

Fiscal Policy

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

38 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance his views on the comments of a person (details supplied) of the European Central Bank expressed in an article that Ireland’s taxpayers must share the pain. [9703/11]

While the opinion piece in question was headed "Ireland's taxpayers must share the pain" the bulk of the article dealt with the author's views on a number of issues in the area of banking supervision and crisis resolution. The piece is one of a number of recent public statements by the individual concerned in connection with Ireland. There was for instance a lengthy interview withThe Irish Times in January last when he set out his perspective on, amongst other things, the events that led to Ireland availing of the EU-IMF Support Programme. The author laid the blame for our current difficulties on the policies pursued by the previous Government and the failures in regulation of the financial sector it had presided over. The current Government is determined that Ireland will rectify the public finances in a way that is fair to taxpayers and citizens and that will enable Ireland to continue to meet its obligations. I do not support the author’s inference that Irish taxpayers somehow deserve the austerity that is now necessary to put the country’s finances on a proper footing. We are acutely conscious of the serious impact on our citizens of the unprecedented measures we have to undertake which are designed to restore our country’s economy and reputation as quickly as possible.

On banking matters in particular, the Government is taking decisive steps to address the difficulties in the Irish banking sector. In my Statement of 31 March last, I announced the significant reorganisation of the domestic banking sector with the creation of two pillar banks. This will be accompanied by the significant recapitalisation of the remaining institutions well in excess of currently accepted international norms in order to provide complete confidence in relation to the stability of the remaining domestic institutions.

Deputies will be aware that the ECB has welcomed the recent stress tests assessing the capital needs of Irish banks and indicated its support for the Government's commitment to ensure that the capital needs of the institutions are met in a timely manner.

Finally the article also suggests that the integration of independent prudential supervision at European or at least at Eurozone level may well be a necessary development to address the issues that given rise to the current difficulties in the financial sector. While there is no doubt that there has been a lot of convergence between Member States in the area of financial supervision, there is no appetite across Member States as a whole at this stage for a single EU Regulator. It is worth bearing in mind that the de Larosière Report specifically stopped short of such a recommendation and the Commission's proposals did not include any such provision. The most important issue at this stage is to ensure that a system is established to provide greater oversight of the financial system. The European Systemic Risk Board and the European Supervisory Authorities will achieve this.

State Assets

Michael McGrath

Question:

39 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his plans for the sale of State assets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6730/11]

The Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities published its report on 20 April 2011. The Government will now study the findings of the report and its extensive recommendations in detail.

Questions No. 40 answered with Question No. 37.

Insurance Industry

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

41 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Finance the extent of his or any other Department or agency’s consideration of the Quinn Group proposals, recently presented, for the future of Quinn Insurance Ltd in administration; if any consideration was given to the likely negative impact on trading of the Quinn Group manufacturing concerns following on from the removal of the Quinn family members and the Senior managers from their employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9661/11]

The Joint Administrators announced last week the acquisition by Liberty Mutual Direct Insurance Company Ltd (LMDI), a joint venture between Liberty Mutual (LM) and Anglo Irish Bank, of certain assets and liabilities of Quinn Insurance Limited (in administration) (QIL). They see this as the best option for the policy holders of QIL. A twelve to fourteen week transition process will now commence, during which time LMDI will obtain all the necessary regulatory consents from parties, including the Central Bank. At the outset, it should be noted that, under the sales process of QIL, neither I as Minister for Finance, nor the Government, had any role in assessing the Quinn Group proposals recently presented for the future of Quinn Insurance Ltd (QIL) in administration, as this was a matter solely for the Joint Administrators, who were appointed by the High Court. Deputies will be aware that this sales process was conducted by MacQuarie Group on behalf of the administrators.

The Joint Administrators have indicated to my Department that the Quinn proposal was only received recently, several months after the closing date for submission of interest. They say that the proposal was highly conditional in nature as it depended on amongst other things on the State intervening to facilitate the transfer of €2.8bn of debt from Anglo to one of the viable banks and to require that bank to provide a further €500m loan to the Quinn Group, as well as agreement with the bondholders. As such they saw no likelihood for such a proposal being facilitated in the current economic climate, as the taking on of such loans by other banks was likely to compound their already difficult position and in addition would also be likely to contravene European State Aid rules. They were also of the view that reaching agreement with the bondholders in relation to the releasing of the guarantees over QIL assets was going to be extremely difficult if not close to impossible.

The decision in relation to the appointment of the Share Receiver by Anglo is very much a commercial one and I in my role as Minister for Finance had no input into this matter. While I understand the concern being raised on whether this decision will have a negative impact on the trading of the Quinn manufacturing group following the removal of the Quinn family members and the senior managers from their employment, I am informed that other scenarios might well have prompted court action to put the Group into receivership with the potential for immediate significant job losses. By comparison the appointment of a Share Receiver gives the Group grounds for considerable hope of a viable future. This viable future however depends to a large degree on the willingness by everybody, particularly those engaged in several recent negative events, to engage wholeheartedly with the new ownership arrangements, because if this does not materialise then over time this is likely to negatively impact on the trading performance of the Group.

Overall, I share the view that the recent steps taken to sell the QIL business to LMDI and to appoint a share receiver to the wider group as being positive and will do a lot to protect jobs in the border region — the protection of which is important for the state and for the local economies in these communities. The proposal put forward by the Quinn Group was not in the economic or financial interests of the state.

National Asset Management Agency

Billy Kelleher

Question:

42 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Finance his views following comments by the Chief Executive of the National Asset Management Agency to a newspaper (details supplied) of his plans to push through the sale of at least €2.5bn of UK commercial property in the next three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9701/11]

NAMA has a commercial remit and it is a matter for its Board, as informed by property market expertise, to determine the scale and timing of proposed assets sales and its strategies in the various markets in which it operates. The actual level of sales achieved over the coming years will depend on market conditions as they evolve. To the extent that NAMA can realise cash from the sale of UK assets, it will be in a position to make corresponding reductions to its debt. The Board has a stated target of achieving 25% of debt reduction by 2013 and this includes assets across its entire portfolio.

EU-IMF Fund

Seán Crowe

Question:

43 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Finance the additional public expenditure commitments or amendments to the November 2010 EU-IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland Memorandum of Understanding that he has agreed with the troika; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9664/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has successfully concluded the first and second quarterly programme review mission with the Troika, that is, the EU Commission, the ECB and the IMF, which took place between the 5th and 15th April 2011. The purpose of the quarterly review mission was to evaluate performance against targets to date on all the elements of the programme of financial support for Ireland including fiscal developments, the macroeconomic outlook, progress on commitments in the restructuring of the financial sector and structural reform.

The Government is pleased that the Troika mission assessed the Irish Programme to be on track and in their view the targets in the Programme have been met.

During this programme review, a number of Government members along with senior officials, met with representatives from the Troika and assured them of this Government's commitment to the fiscal targets set out in the EU/IMF Programme.

In the negotiations with the Troika, the Government set out measures that we would be seeking to include in the revised Programme. During the negotiations, it became clear that there was sufficient flexibility within the Programme to allow us to include these important policy measures, while respecting the overall fiscal parameters and goals of the programme. The revised Memorandum of Understanding will now include, amongst others, measures dealing with the Jobs Initiative, the minimum wage and the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure.

No fiscal consolidation targets were changed including the elements related to public expenditure. During the programme review, the Troika were informed of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure which will be completed in September 2011. Based on the outcome of the Review and in consultation with the Troika, the Government will introduce budgetary changes which will aim to fully realise efficiencies identified, while securing the overall budgetary consolidation for 2012 to which Ireland is committed.

This Government is committed to promoting growth and creating jobs which is central to any recovery strategy. The Troika has agreed to the Government's plan to implement a Jobs Initiative. The initiative will promote confidence to provide opportunities for people to go to work and for employers to be able to get credit and invest in their business and to stimulate the Irish national economy. The Jobs Initiative may result in compositional changes between expenditure and tax which will be done on a fiscally neutral basis. The details of the Jobs Initiative will be announced in the Dáil on 10th May 2011.

The Review will be formally completed with the consideration by Eurogroup, ECOFIN and the IMF Executive Board of the reports by their various staffs on progress to date — and the proposed amendments. The final documents will be made publicly available when final approval occurs on 15th and 16th May.

As agreed, the Government will continue to consult with the IMF, the European Commission and the ECB on any changes to the policy measures outlined in the agreed support programme.

Fiscal Policy

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

44 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Finance the plans he has submitted as part of the Stability Programme to the European Commission; if he will publish these plans and present them before Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9641/11]

The Stability Programme Update was laid before the House on Friday last and subsequently submitted to the European Commission. This document is also available on the Department of Finance website. The Stability Programme takes account of Budget 2011, the Programme for Government and the Joint EU/IMF Programme. It includes an update of the economic and fiscal outlook for this year and next, along with medium-term macroeconomic and budgetary projections. In summary terms, GDP is projected to increase by 0.8% this year, accelerating to 2.5% next year. A General Government Deficit of 10% of GDP is forecast for this year; on the basis of consolidation measures amounting to €3.6bn and the current macroeconomic outlook, the deficit is projected to decline to 8.6% next year. As with all forecasts, this matter will continue to be kept under revision up to when I present my Budget in December.

Banking Sector Regulation

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

45 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Finance if there will be a review into the fitness and probity of public interest directors of banks which have received State assistance; if the review will proceed or impinge upon the announcement by him to remove all directors in banks who were in place before 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9646/11]

Pearse Doherty

Question:

51 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the review being taken by the Central Bank into the fitness and probity of all existing executive and non-executive directors of banks which have received State assistance; if the review will precede or impinge upon the announcement by him to remove all directors in banks who were in place before 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9647/11]

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

53 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Finance when he will restructure and replace the board of directors of the six guaranteed Irish banks, as per his announcement after the publication of the Nyberg Report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9645/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 45, 51 and 53 together.

The Deputies will be aware that on 22 March 2011, the Central Bank of Ireland published a consultation paper proposing the implementation of new statutory fitness and probity powers for the financial services industry. In this regard, the Central Bank is seeking views on proposed new statutory grounds which are identified in the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 and will set the requirements for entry into and removal from a senior position within regulated firms. This Act provides additional criteria on when the Central Bank can use its powers to refuse an application to appoint an individual to a senior position or remove someone, views are being sought on what senior positions should be subject to the new regime. The Central Bank expects the new regulations and statutory standards implementing the regime will come into effect from September 2011. The Central Bank has requested interested parties to submit their proposals by 20 May 2011.

In addition, the Head of Financial Regulation, Mr. Matthew Elderfield, announced that the Central Bank is planning to review the fitness and probity of all existing executive and non-executive directors of banks which have received State support. The Central Bank will assess any incumbent directors who plan to be in post after 1 January 2012 against the new standards, including competence and track record in the period leading up to the financial crisis.

The Deputy will be aware that in my statement on the Nyberg Report in this House on 20 April 2011, I set out a number of measures designed to strengthen Bank boards and bank management. These measures provide that the Chairman of each institution provides me and the NTMA with a Board Renewal Plan, each institution will also be asked to provide a Management Renewal Plan. The Board Renewal Plan will set out for each institution the steps to ensure that the skills and competence levels of board members are fully adequate to meet the demands of the current and future banking system. In this regard, a programme of rotation of board members, commencing with board members appointed before September 2008 will be expected as part of the plan. This will ensure a smooth process which will ensure the succession of incumbent board members who were in place before September 2008. I expect this succession to be completed by 2012.

In addition, my Department recently placed advertisements in the national papers seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified persons for inclusion among those to be appointed or nominated to Boards of Directors of Banks. This gives all persons who are interested in and qualified to act as Directors the opportunity to advise the Minister of their interest. The advertising for expressions of interest should ensure a high calibre field from which Directors may be chosen and makes the process more open and transparent. It is part of the commitments given in the Programme for Government to re-structure bank boards and replace directors who presided over failed lending practices. Closing date for receipt of expressions of interest is Thursday 12 May. These measures will complement the Central Bank's review of the fitness and probity of the public interest directors in the banks and ensure that people operating at senior levels in financial institutions are fit and proper to undertake their roles.

Fiscal Policy

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

46 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance when it is envisioned that he will go back to the bond markets; the rate at which this would be unsustainable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9649/11]

As the Deputy is aware, the majority of the State's financing needs over the period 2011 to 2013 will be met through the funding provided under the EU/IMF programme of assistance. However, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) is planning to return to the markets before the end of the term of the programme once conditions have become more receptive. The NTMA is in constant contact with market participants and will advise me when it feels that the time is right to re-enter the markets. While the interest rates at which we can borrow will obviously be a key determinant in this decision, they will not be the only factor. In any event, it would not be wise to speculate about what these rates may be as this would harm the State's ability to access funds at the most competitive rate possible.

The best means to ensure that we can re-enter financial markets at favourable rates is by convincing investors of our determination to restore stability to our public finances and implement policies that will see us return to sustainable economic growth. In this regard, the Government is committed to implementing the measures necessary to bring our deficit below 3 per cent of GDP by 2015. The upcoming Jobs Initiative will underline our commitment to a policy of consolidating the fiscal position while also providing support to the labour market, thereby assisting both household and business confidence which will in turn help support economic recovery.

National Asset Management Agency

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

47 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of moneys lent by the National Asset Management Agency to complete projects here and in the UK; and the profit made from the sale of these projects. [9702/11]

All approvals of working and development capital are subject to a credit decision-making process which has been approved by the Board of NAMA. I am advised by NAMA that, up to the end of March 2011, NAMA had approved advances of €771m of working and development capital. Of this, it is estimated that €280m relates to projects which are based in the UK. Only a small number of the projects involved have yet been completed and offered for sale and it is not yet possible to estimate any profits that may arise from their future sale.

State Banking Sector

Sandra McLellan

Question:

48 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Finance when will the European Commission have finalised its examination of the restructuring plan for Anglo Irish Bank; the details for the restructuring plan for Anglo Irish Bank; when the details for the orderly work out of Anglo Irish Bank will be made public; the timeframe envisioned for the work out of Anglo Irish Bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9658/11]

As the Deputy may be aware, a joint restructuring and work out plan for Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society was submitted to the European Commission on 31 January for approval under State Aid rules; this was in line with the timelines agreed under the terms of the EU/IMF Programme. In accordance with Government policy, the plan provides for the work out of the assets over a period of time that remain in these institutions after transfers to NAMA in a manner that seeks to protect the financial system as a whole and also to minimise the capital losses associated with this work out. The sale of deposits and corresponding assets, which has now taken place, is included as a first step in the plan. The plan also provides for the merger of Anglo and INBS.

It is the Government's intention that while the plan envisages a wind down of the combined entity over 10 years that if possible this will be achieved earlier than that but this depends on a number of variables including market appetite for the assets.

The exact timeframe for a decision on this plan is a matter for the European Commission in the first instance. However, I announced in my Statement on 31 March that an assessment of the capital requirements of both institutions will be available in May and it is likely the European Commission will await the outcome of this before making a final decision. The national authorities continue to engage closely with the European Commission and the other bodies on this plan and it is expected that the restructuring plan process will be finalised with the European Commission in the coming weeks.

Economic Regulators

Dara Calleary

Question:

49 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance if he plans to bring all regulatory bodies covering State agencies under the direction of one Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9695/11]

The Programme for Government gives a commitment to rationalise regulators to strengthen consumer regulation and protect the consumer interest. The recently published Report of the Review Group on State Assets makes a number of recommendations for reforming the economic regulators, including transferring responsibility for their supervision and performance measurement to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation on account of its responsibility for competition policy. The Government is considering these and other options for reform of the economic regulators in light of current circumstances.

Departmental Agencies

Robert Troy

Question:

50 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance the key priorities of the State Claims Agency; the payments made and to be made in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9708/11]

The State Claims Agency (SCA) is the name used by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) when carrying out its claims and associated risk management functions. I have been informed by the State Claims Agency (SCA) that the key priorities of the Agency are as stated below:

(i) To ensure that the State's liability in relation to personal injury claims, and the expenses of the Agency in relation to their management, are contained at the lowest achievable level.

(ii) To implement the Agency's Employers' and Public Liability and clinical risk work programmes, including the elimination and reduction of litigation risk factors in State Authorities and Health Enterprises, and the implementation and audit of health and safety quality management systems.

(iii) To assist the Department of Justice and Equality to introduce a statutory Periodic Payment Order Scheme concerning the payment of compensation in catastrophic injury cases as an alternative to the current system of payment of compensation in the form of a lump sum.

(iv) To participate in the deliberations of the Medical Negligence Working Group — Module II — concerning the necessary amendments to the Rules of Court and any other Regulations to facilitate the case management of clinical negligence cases by the Courts.

State Claims Agency (SCA) Expenditure — 2011

A. Clinical Claims:

Clinical claims payments (January-April 2011)€37m

Clinical claims anticipated payments (May-December 2011) €60m

——

Clinical claims anticipated total payments in 2011€97m

B. Non-clinical claims:

Non clinical claims payment (January-April 2011)€4m

Non clinical claims anticipated payments (May-December 2011)€11m

——

Non clinical claims anticipated total payments in 2011€15m

A+B = €112m

Question No. 51 answered with Question No. 45.

Insurance Industry

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

52 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Finance the full extent of the guarantees he has received from Liberty Mutual regarding the future for all existing job holders in Quinn Insurance Ltd; the assurances he has received regarding all existing locations and on both sides of the Border; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9660/11]

Frank Feighan

Question:

177 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Finance the steps he will take to ensure the jobs in the Quinn Group will be protected after the Liberty Mutual Anglo takeover. [9903/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 52 and 177 together.

The Joint Administrators announced last week the acquisition by Liberty Mutual Direct Insurance Company Ltd (LMDI), a joint venture between Liberty Mutual (LM) and Anglo Irish Bank, of certain assets and liabilities of QIL. A 12-14 week transition process will commence immediately during which time LMDI will obtain all the necessary regulatory consents from parties including the Central Bank of Ireland.

As Minister for Finance I have had no direct dealings with Liberty in relation to this transaction including the issue of the future of all existing job-holders. However, I have been informed by the Joint Administrators that aside from the redundancies in Manchester all the 1570 in the QIL have been protected for at least two years. Many of these jobs are in the border areas both north and south and their protection is important for the local economies in these communities. The Joint Administrators have also advised that existing locations will be maintained aside from Navan. I understand that the Navan jobs will be redeployed to Cavan and Blanchardstown.

What is also reassuring is that the business has being purchased by a company which has an impressive track record in the insurance industry and which is also very conscious of the importance of ensuring competition in the Irish insurance market and appreciates its central role in providing employment and economic development in the border region and further afield.

It should be noted that LMDI have purchased the front and back Irish book. The Joint Administrators are confident that all the UK business written since their appointment is profitable, and therefore in order to encourage Liberty/Anglo to take over this portion of the business (UK front book) they have agreed to continue to write profitable motor policies until 31 December 2012. Liberty Mutual will administer all aspects of any new and existing policies (including claims handling) and will have the option to purchase the UK front book from QIL at any point up 31 December 2012.

Question No. 53 answered with Question No. 45.

Departmental Staff

Timmy Dooley

Question:

54 Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Finance the number of staff sanctioned by him in 2011 despite the recruitment moratorium; their grade; the organisation they work for and the number of applications that have been refused to date in 2011. [9707/11]

The moratorium on recruitment and promotion, introduced by the Government at the end of March 2009 allows for certain general exemptions in the Education and Health Sectors for the filling of certain key posts as well as for the Local Authorities in relation to certain key posts. Information in relation to the posts covered by these general exemptions may be sought from the relevant Ministers. While Departments have been implementing the moratorium in respect of themselves and the bodies under their aegis, there are occasions where a Department needs to fill a post, in either the case of a civil service post or in relation to a public service post in a body under the aegis of the Department. Such exemptions to the moratorium require the sanction of the Minister for Finance.

Each request for an exception is assessed on a case by case basis. Approval to fill posts is based on the business case made including consideration of, for example:

a. statutory posts which have to be filled for legal reasons;

b. safety related posts where a failure to fill them could leave the state open to potential legal liabilities or for security reasons;

c. in order to ensure the continuity of essential services;

d. where the failure to fill a post could result in a breach of EU/international regulations etc.;

e. some specialist/technical posts are required to ensure continuity of core operations e.g. legal officers; laboratory staff, maritime safety, etc.;

Departments and Offices do have to exhaust other possibilities such as redeployment, the re-assignment of staff or the re-organisation of work before applying for an exception to the moratorium.

In addition, as part of the Employment Control Framework 2011-2014 for the Health Sector, the HSE has discretion to fill a limited number of posts on exceptional grounds to support the development of integrated health care and its transformation programme. However, as part of this facility, posts of equivalent value in non-frontline areas must be suppressed for any exception made.

Details of the individual exemptions sought by each Department in respect of Civil Service and Public Service posts this year are set out in tables 1 and 2, respectively.

Civil Service

Table 1 sets out the details of exceptions to the moratorium which have been sought in respect of the Civil Service.

Since my appointment on March 9 2011, exceptions have been sought to fill 134 posts of which 13 were refused and 9 are still under consideration. Of the 112 approved, however, only some 14 of these posts will in time involve recruitment of extra staff.

In addition sanction has also been given for some 40 temporary posts to the CSO for Census 2011 and there has also been sanction, as is normal, for various temporary "summer relief" type posts.

Public Service

Table 2 sets out the breakdown of exceptions to the moratorium which have been sought in respect of the wider Public Service. My Department has received 6 requests resulting in 20 posts being sanctioned.

Dept/Office Title

Exception Sought1

Grade

No of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment Sought

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

8

Approved

10-Mar-11

8

Ministerial Appointments

Appointment of AP

AP

1

Approved

21-Apr-11

1

15 APs retired in the previous 2 years. Consequential HEO vacancy will not be filled

Attorney General’s Office

Executive Officer

Executive Officer

1

Approved

28/01/2011

1

Business needs of office

Special Advisor

PO

1

Approved

29/03/2011

1

Ministerial Appointment

CO

CO

1

Approved

15/04/2011

1

Long term sick leave case

Chief State Solicitor’s Office

CO

CO

1

Approved

13-Apr-11

1

Business needs of office

Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

6

Approved

31-Mar-11

6

Ministerial Appointments

Energy Division PO

PO

1

Higher duty Allowance

01-Jan-11

1

Progress made on achieving numbers reduction targets in the Department

Director of GSI

PO

1

Refused

01-Jan-11

EO

1

Approved

28-Feb-11

1

CO Post Suppressed in lieu

Dept/Office Title

Exception Sought1

Grade

No of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment Sought

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers special advisers

3

Approved

21-Mar-11

3

Ministerial Appointments

Acting up allowance to PO level at Coimisinéir Teanga

AP

1

Approved

01-Mar-11

1

Until September 2011 only

To allow substantive AP grade for 4 HEOs who have been on acting up basis for 3 years

AP

4

Approved

09-Mar-11

4

Duration of acting up period.

Family Support Agency

Appointment of mediators

HEO equivalent

4

Approved

25-Jan-11

4

Statutory function to provide family mediation service — sanction for 1 year. Supports a pilot project to be jointly implemented by the FSA and Legal Aid Board and the Courts Services for the integrated delivery of mediation services

Comptroller and Auditor General

Trainee Auditor

Trainee Auditor

1

Approved

28/04/2011

1

To replace Auditor recently deceased, during busiest period for auditing.

Defence

Prof. Accountant Grade I (Tempoary)

Prof. Accountant Grade I

1

Approved

24-Mar-11

1

Business critical case

Director of Public Prosecutions

Legal Researcher (temp.)

Legal Researcher (temp.)

1

Approved

13-Apr-11

1

Business critical case

Dept/Office Title

Exception Sought1

Grade

No of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment Sought

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Education and Skills

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

2

Approved

07-Apr-11

2

Ministerial Appointments

Director of Operations, State Exams Commission

Director

1

Approved

17-Feb-11

1

Busines criticl case (Junior and Leaving Certs)

SEC

Director (HEAD)

1

Approved

09-Mar-11

1

Busines critical case (Junior and Leaving Certs)

Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

5

Approved

Various 10 March 2011 to 21 March 2011

5

Ministerial Appointments

Met Éireann appointment of Assistant Director

Assistant Director

1

Approved

28-Jan-11

1

Addressing management gap caused by retirements. Consequential vacancy suppressed

Enterprise, Trade and Innovation

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

13

Approved

Various 10 March 2011 to 11 April 2011

13

Ministerial Appointments

Labour Relations Commission

To re-appoint 8 Rights Commissioners

Rights Commissioners

8

Approved

19/7/10 and 26/10/10

8

Re-appointments are necessary for the working of the Labour Relations Commission

Labour Court

To appoint a replacement workers member of Labour Court

Workers member Equivalent to penultimate point of the PO (Higher) scale.

1

Approved

10/11/2010

1

Statutory Post

Filling of 1 AP vacancy by internal promotion

AP

1

Approved

10/11/2010

1

Business critical post.

Employee Appeals Tribunal

Filling of 1 AP vacancy by internal promotion

AP

1

Approved

10/11/2010

1

Business critical post.

Patents Office

Request for temporary Acting Up allowance from EO to HEO

HEO

1

Approved

04/02/2011

1

Business critical post and the office is reorganising to cover additional vacancies.

WAM project — temporary placement

Graduate

1

Approved

15/03/2011

1

Temporary replacement for 6 months- administered by the Association of Higher Education Access Disability (AHEAD)

ODCE

Reappointment of Director

Assistant Secretary

1

Approved

01/10/2010

1

Statutory post. In public interest.

Finance

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

3

Approved

03-May-11

3

Ministerial Appointments

Manager of the Civil Service Employee Assistance Service by interdepartmental competition

AP

1

Approved

23/02/2011

1

Filling of post necessitated by need to make more effective and to centralise the Employee Assistance Service within the Dept of Finance

Foreign Affairs

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

8

Approved

Various 29 March 2011 to 8 April 2011

8

Ministerial Appointments

Health/Children

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

12

Approved

Various 10 March to 18 April 2011

12

Ministerial Appointments

Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

3

Approved

24-Mar-11

3

Ministerial Appointments

Dept/Office Title

Exception Sought1

Grade

No of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment Sought

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Garda Civilians

Head of HR strategy

PO

1

Not Granted

-

0

Business Critical

Head of Garda Infor Services centre

PO

1

Not Granted

-

0

Business Critical

IT staff 9

Various

9

Part Granted

19-Apr-11

4

Business Critical

Head of legal affairs

PO higher

1

Approved

19-Apr-11

1

Business Critcal

OSCAM

Various

4

Part Granted

19-Apr-11

2

Business Critical

GISC

HEO

3

Approved

19-Apr-11

3

Business Critical

Accident Damage Manager

HEO

1

Not Granted

19-Apr-11

0

Business Critical

Vehicle inspectors

EO

2

Part Granted

19-Apr-11

1

Business Critical

Doctor

Doctor

1

Not Granted

19-Apr-11

0

Business Critical

HR manager

HEO

2

Approved

19-Apr-11

2

Business Critical

Crime analyst

HEO

2

Not Granted

19-Apr-11

0

Business Critical

Property Registration Authority

CEO replacement

Assistant Sec

1

Approved

10-Feb-11

1

Business Critical

Prison Service

Prison Doctor

Doctor

1

Approved

14-Feb-11

1

Prison operational reasons.

OPW

Clerical support in Culture and Built Heritage area

CO

1

Approved

24-Jan-11

1

Part of limited overall sanction for the OPW

Management vacancies

PO

2

Approved

24-Jan-11

2

Part of limited overall sanction for the OPW

Appointment of Minister of State Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers

4

Approved

Various 10 March 2011 to 25 March 2011

4

Ministerial Appointments

Public Expenditure and Reform

Appointment of Ministerial

Personal Secretary, Civilian drivers

3

Approved

20-Apr-11

3

Ministerial Appointments

Appointment of Secretary General

Secretary General

1

Approved

26-Apr-11

1

Government appointment

Social Protection

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary

1

Approved

20-Apr-11

1

Ministerial Appointment

Dept/Office Title

Exception Sought1

Grade

No of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment Sought

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Taoiseach

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

9

Under Consideration

Ministerial Appointments

Transport

Appointment of Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary, Assistant, Civilian drivers, special advisers

14

Approved

Various 10 March 2011 to 26 April 2011

14

Ministerial Appointments

Total

165

141

Table 2 — Requests for Exceptions in the Public Service

Department of Social Protection

No. of requests

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

Pensions Board

Staff required due to developments in the pensions arena

1 PO4 APs4 HEOs3 EOs

12

Sanction was given for the transfer of 6 posts from the Department of Social Protection’s ECF by end-2012; Sanction was given for 6 posts to be recruited on fixed-term contracts for a period of no more than 3 years.

12 (6 posts to be transferred from DSP and 6 posts to be recruited externally on a three year fixed-term contract)

11 March 2011

1

Citizens Information Board

This was to fill the position made vacant by the resignation of an administrator who was acting up into an ICT project management role until 31 March 2011

Grade 4 ICT Administrator Post

1

1

31 March 2011

To fill a Grade 7 (HEO) ICT vacancy for the duration of 11 months until November 2011

Grade 7 (HEO) ICT area

1

1

2 March 2011

Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government

No. of requests

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

An Bord Pleanála

To fill Chairperson Post

Equivalent to High Court Judge subject to the provisions of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts 2009

1

Statutory PostPost advertised stating that pay is being reviewed and may be subject to downward revision prior to appointment

1

14th February 2011

To fill Deputy Chairperson Post

Point 2 of former Assistant Secretary Scale at 12/12/09 minus 8%

1

Post to be filled for one year while re-grading of An Bord Pleanála Board member posts is being examined

1

18th February 2011

Department of Education and Skills

No. of requests

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

NEWB

1 x director of services1 x director of integration1 regional manager2 x education welfare officer1 x clerical officer post

Various

6

1 EWO post extended by 6 months

1 extension

24 Mar 2011

1 post extended as due to expire 29 March 2011

1

Co. Mayo VEC

Temp extension pending VEC amalgamation

Acting Education Officer

1

Approved until 30 Sept 2011

1

29 Mar 2011

Temporary extension of essential post until VEC rationalisation

1

Teaching Council

Renew contracts of 5 Temp Cos to complete registration of existing and new teachers for 2011/2012 academic year

Clerical Officer

5

Approved until 31 August 2011 only

5

31 Mar 2011

To finalise registration of existing and new teachers in time for September 2011 academic year.

FÁS also received sanction on the 11th of March to recruit 40 temporary clerical officers of 100 sought as cover for staff availing of the Shorter Working Year scheme

Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport

No. of requests

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

Irish Film Board

To enable CEO post to be filled

Principal Officer, Higher Scale

1

Grant

1

4 February 2011

1

National Gallery

To enable the post of Director to be filled

Principal Officer, Higher Scale

1

Grant

1

10 January 2011

1

Irish Museum of Modern Art

To enable the post of Director to be filled

Principal Officer, Standard Scale

1

Grant

1

28 April 2011

1

The Arts Council

To enable the post of Director to be filled

Principal Officer, Standard Scale

1

Grant

1

17 February 2011

Fáilte Ireland also requested 80 seasonal Tourist Information Officers (clerical) to staff its Information Offices for the tourist season.

Sanction granted on 20th of April. Shannon Development was also granted 12 Tourist Information Officers on the same basis.

Such sanctions are given on the understanding that the pay can be met from within existing budgetary resources.

Tax Code

Seamus Healy

Question:

55 Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Finance his plans to abolish the universal social charge, introduced by the previous Government, in view of its impact on the income of low and middle income families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6051/11]

The position is that there is a commitment in the new Programme for Government to carry out a review of the Universal Social Charge (USC) and I would anticipate that the review will be completed in time for Budget 2012. I would encourage all interested parties to join the review of the USC by way of submission to my Department. My Department is currently accepting submissions from interested parties, however, if changes to the USC are being proposed I would request well thought-out and workable solutions to fill any revenue gaps created. The focus must be on maintaining the €4 billion yield.

I should point out that the USC is progressive and when all charges on income are taken together we have a highly progressive taxation system. Ireland has one of the most progressive taxation systems in the entire OECD.

Finally, we must have a sustainable, robust taxation system going forward and the USC is part of that system.

Insurance Industry

Sandra McLellan

Question:

56 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Finance the full extent of the State commitment to the Anglo Irish Bank-Liberty Mutual preferred bid for Quinn Insurance Limited in either direct cash terms, guarantees or underwriting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9659/11]

The Joint Administrators announced last week the acquisition by Liberty Mutual Direct Insurance Company Ltd (LMDI), a joint venture between Liberty Mutual (LM) and Anglo Irish Bank, of certain assets and liabilities of QIL. A 12-14 week transition process will commence immediately during which time LMDI will obtain all the necessary regulatory consents from parties including the Central Bank of Ireland. It should be noted that there is no State commitment which is specific to the Liberty Mutual Direct Insurance Company Ltd (LMDI) preferred bid for the business of Quinn Insurance Ltd in direct cash terms, guarantees or underwriting.

The Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) is however available to cover the deficit which is expected to arise in the run-off of the remaining parts of QIL not purchased by LMDI.

In this regard, I in my role as Minister for Finance may on the recommendation of the Central Bank advance to the ICF under Section 5 of the 1964 Insurance Act such sums as I think appropriate to enable payments out of the fund to be made expeditiously. Any sums of this nature are recoupable over time through the placement by the Central Bank of a levy on the insurance industry.

I will consider such a request if it should arise in the same way that I would consider any request of this type no matter who the preferred bidder was.

Banking Sector Regulation

Brian Stanley

Question:

57 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Finance the action being taken by him in the investigation into the role of auditors in banks which have received State assistance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9656/11]

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

61 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Finance as the sole shareholder in Anglo Irish Bank and acting on behalf of the State, the actions he will take against the external auditors who gave Irish banks unqualified audit reports in the months preceding the bank guarantee in 2008; the measures he will put in place to ensure that external auditors can beheld to account in any future banking crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9663/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 57 and 61 together.

As the Deputies will be aware the Nyberg Commission of Investigation recently published its Report. The main findings of the Commission, in relation to the role of auditors, were:

auditors' commentary regularly focuses only on issues which they consider relate to the accuracy of the historic accounts

in the absence of an express requirement for the auditors to do so, there appears to have been no challenging dialogue with the covered banks on their business models and their growing property and funding exposures. Such dialogue could have highlighted the business model risks and might have influenced the banks in relation to their growing vulnerabilities as the Period progressed.

that it was unfortunate that sufficient, timely and challenging auditor dialogue was not used to influence the banks' business models and lending practices.

These findings and recommendations raise a number of issues for the audit profession concerning how it sees its own role and its relationship to both client firms and to external statutory and other stakeholders.

It is clear however that the Commission of Investigation generally accords with the view that the audit profession should be able to contemplate an enhanced role in co-operation with supervisory authorities, while recognising their respective statutory functions. This is a view which I generally support and indeed I understand that the Central Bank has commenced a process of engagement with the audit profession to explore the potential for enhanced, regular dialogue between auditors and supervisors and how the profession can best assist the Bank in carrying out its supervisory functions.

I also welcome the fact that the representative body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, is itself seeking to actively engage in this debate and is currently undertaking an industry-level review of the role of statutory audit which is considering issues such as the scope of the audit; how the audit profession interacts with and reports to shareholders and the information included in such reports; relationships between auditors and supervisors; and how the profession is regulated. This review of course extends beyond the audit of financial institutions.

In addition, I am aware that the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) has a statutory role for the supervision of the accountancy bodies' regulation and monitoring of their members. In this role, the IAASA has contacted the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (the Institute) with a view to establishing the Institute's regulatory response to the emergence of issues into the public domain in December 2008. Subsequent to this, the Institute's Complaints Committee, which is the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board (CARB), appointed a Special Investigator to examine the role that any of its members or member firms may have played in events at Anglo Irish Bank.

Separately, in 2010, CARB also initiated a review of the 2008 audits by member firms of the "covered" financial institutions. The scope of this review, which takes place under the CARB Quality Assurance remit, was approved by its Board following consultation with IAASA.

The review is focusing on the application of appropriate procedures during the audit of accounts for 2008 year end, specifically in respect of loan valuations and provisions for impairments of those loans. The CARB Board appointed an independent expert to oversee the review and I have been informed that the Board expects to publish a report in the summer of 2011.

National Pensions Reserve Fund

Timmy Dooley

Question:

58 Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Finance the current value of the National Pensions Reserve Fund; the commitments on the funds in respect of payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9705/11]

The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) was established on 2 April 2001 under the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000 for the purpose of meeting as much as possible of the cost to the Exchequer of social welfare pensions and public service pensions to be paid from the year 2025 until the year 2055, or such other year as may be specified by order. Subsequent amendments to the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act provide that the Minister for Finance may direct the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission to invest in certain credit institutions, to buy Government bonds and, until 2013, to provide money to the Exchequer for capital purposes.

The total value of the National Pensions Reserve Fund, according to its most recently-published figures, was €23.2 billion at 31 March 2011. This figure included €7.9 billion invested in Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks on the direction of the Minister for Finance.

On foot of a Ministerial direction, €5.5 billion in cash was set aside as the first part of a phased de-risking of the NPRF in February 2011 in anticipation of its contribution required under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland. This left some €9.8 billion in the Discretionary Portfolio (the assets available for investment at the discretion of the NPRF Commission) at end-March 2011 values. The table below shows the composition of the Fund at end-March 2011:

End-March 2011 (€billion)

Directed Investments

Banks

7.9

Set aside for EU/IMF Support Programme

5.5

Discretionary Portfolio

9.8

Total Fund

23.2

Following a second Ministerial direction in April 2011, a further €4.5 billion was realised from the Discretionary Portfolio. This increased the amount set aside for the EU/IMF Support Programme from €5.5 billion to €10 billion.

Banking Sector

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

59 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance if he will name the bondholders of the Irish banks who were repaid between 29 September 2008 and to date in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9713/11]

The Central Bank has advised me that the process of issuing new bonds is normally through underwriting, where one or more securities firms or banks form a syndicate buying the entire bond issue from the issuer and then re-selling to investors. Primary issuance is arranged by these syndicates who contact potential investors and advise the bond issuer in terms of timing, tenor and pricing of the bond issue. The bond issuer will likely have little knowledge of the original owners of the bonds; also these initial investors may over time sell the bonds to other investors. Bonds are usually issued in bearer form which means that the purchasers of the bonds are unknown, with the bonds usually held by a securities depository company (e.g. Euroclear and Clearstream). When paying interest and principal the bond issuer will transfer the required funds to the securities depository company who in turn will pay the funds through to the bondholders.

The function of the securities depository company is to receive the appropriate interest or principal payment for the entire bond issue from the issuer and to distribute the required amounts to the individual bondholders. This is a standard process for all such issuances.

Therefore throughout this entire process the bond issuer is unaware of the individual bondholders' details.

EU-IMF Fund

Martin Ferris

Question:

60 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Finance if he has had discussions with the EU and the International Monetary Fund in relation to the lowering of personal income tax bands and credits; if he will bring forward measures to offset the measure in the EU-IMF programme to further lower personal income tax bands and credits for the 2012 budget in view of the fact that the programme for Government states that it will maintain current bands and credits; if this issue was discussed with the external partners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9650/11]

The position is that the issue of maintaining tax credits and bands at their current rates was discussed with the European Commission, IMF and ECB Troika during the recent Review Mission of 5 April to 15 April 2011. As the Deputy is aware, the Government has initiated a Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) to provide the Government with a set of decision options to meet the overall fiscal consolidation objectives and re-align spending with the Programme for Government priorities. The CRE is due to be completed by end September 2011.

When this review is complete, the Government will examine the findings and based on these findings and consultation with the Troika will introduce fiscally neutral changes to the detail of the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland while maintaining the overall commitment to fiscal consolidation.

Question No. 61 answered with Question No. 57.

Tax Code

David Stanton

Question:

62 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider introducing incentives such as VAT refunds for farmers who install and operate renewable energy microgeneration equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9715/11]

Farmers who are registered for VAT account for VAT in respect of all their taxable activities, whether those activities consist solely of farming or both farming and other activities such as the generation of electricity for provision to the national grid. In turn they are entitled to claim input credit for VAT charged on the installation of renewable energy microgeneration equipment for use in their taxable activities. In so far as farmers who are not registered for VAT are concerned, they are not in the normal course entitled to credit for, or repayment of, VAT incurred by them on their business inputs. The Value-Added Tax (Refund of Tax) (No. 25) Order, 1993 provides for refunds to unregistered farmers for tax borne on the "construction, extension, alteration or reconstruction of any building or structure which is designed for use solely or mainly for the purposes of a farming business". However, while the installation of renewable energy microgeneration equipment may be the construction of a structure, such a structure is not "designed for use solely or mainly for the purposes of a farming business". It is designed rather to generate electricity for wherever required. Consequently, the installation of alternative energy generators does not come within the scope of the VAT refund order.

Banking Sector

Brian Stanley

Question:

63 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Finance the preparatory steps being taken in 2011 to set up the strategic investment bank; the assessments or analysis being undertaken; the models of funding being explored to set up and run this bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9657/11]

The Programme for Government contains a clear commitment to creating a Strategic Investment Bank that will become a provider of finance to large capital projects, a conduit for venture capital and a lender to SMEs. As I indicated in a reply to PQ 5399 on 23 March, the Government will only be in a position to decide on the timing and the structure for setting up the Strategic Investment Bank when the necessary detailed assessment and planning work has been done. Therefore it would be premature to discuss its functions and responsibilities at this stage. For the same reasons the Government Legislation Programme for the summer session which was published on 5 April does not contain legislation in relation to the Strategic Investment Bank.

Fiscal Policy

Pearse Doherty

Question:

64 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance in view of the fact that the external partners, including the IMF, all reported in advance of 2007 that Ireland’s fiscal policies were sound and that the banks had adequate capital, his views that Ireland should be reliant therefore on the advice, direction and diktat of these partners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9667/11]

One of the key lessons from the crisis — both internationally and domestically — is that not enough attention was paid to the inter-relatedness of credit, construction, indebtedness, and the real economy. From an Irish perspective, it is also fair to say that insufficient weight was given to contrarian views, a point which was made recently in the Nyberg report. While our external funding partners must be consulted —they are after-all providing significant funding to us —I would stress that the policies currently being followed are those of the Irish Government. These policies are about restoring stability and repairing our international reputation. The Government is also proceeding with a Jobs Initiative in May, designed to underpin the labour market and help restore confidence.

State Bodies

Dara Calleary

Question:

65 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance if he plans to amalgamate State agencies; if so, the agencies involved; the potential savings to the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9696/11]

Micheál Martin

Question:

171 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance the number of State bodies he intends to abolish; the time line for achieving same; if a provisional list of State bodies to be abolished has been drawn up; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5907/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 65 and 171 together.

The Government is committed to reducing and rationalising the plethora of state bodies. In accordance with the Programme for Government we are now undertaking a Comprehensive Review of Expenditure of all aspects of public expenditure and in this context we will be critically examining all state bodies to see if there is, in fact, a continuing need for them. Where there is a rationale for maintaining a function, we will consider whether bodies can usefully be amalgamated or absorbed back into their parent Departments.

As well as giving rise to Exchequer savings in time, I would see these measures as forming part of the wider reform of the public service agenda because it is very important that there is proper accountability for public expenditure to this House.

In addition to these new measures there are also a number of amalgamations and rationalisations already under way which are set out in the table below:

Rationalisation of State Bodies currently in train

Department of Education and Skills

1. Amalgamation of the Further Education and Training Awards (FETAC), the Higher Education and Training Award Council (HETAC) and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI).

2. Rationalisation/reduction of the number of Vocational Education Committee's from 33 to 16.

Department of Enterprise Trade and Innovation

Merge Competition Authority and National Consumer Agency

Department of Environment

Formal Merger of Local Government Management Service Board and Local Government Computer Services Board into Local Government Services Board

Department of Finance

Formal Merger of Commission on Public Service Appointments with the Ombudsman Office.

Department of Health

1. Merge the National Council for Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery intoAn Bord Altranais.

2. Merge the following Bodies into Health and Social Care Professionals Council:

—National Social Work Qualification Board;

—Opticians Board;

—Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council

3. Merger National Cancer Registry Board into the HSE.

Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport

1. Combine Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Crawford Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Ireland, while retaining their separate identities.

2. Merge the National Archives and the Irish Manuscripts Commission into the National Library.

State Assets

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

66 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Finance if he will name the commercial semi-State bodies from the report of the review group on State assets and liabilities that he has discussed and-or is actively considering selling a whole or part of; the timeframe he will begin this sale process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9662/11]

Niall Collins

Question:

81 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the timeframe in which he envisages that the sale of State assets will commence. [9698/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 and 81 together.

The Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities published its report on 20 April 2011. The Government will now study the findings of the report and its extensive recommendations in detail. As set out in the Programme for Government, non-strategic assets up to a value of €2 billion will only be sold when market conditions are right and when adequate regulatory structures have been established to protect consumer interests. No specific bodies have, therefore, been identified for sale at this stage and no binding timeframe has been set. The Group itself cautions against a hastiness to sell such assets.

Public Private Partnerships

Sean Fleming

Question:

67 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the proposals under consideration by the National Development Finance Agency in respect of public private partnerships; the position regarding public private partnerships; if he will indicate the projects that are expected to be at the approved stage in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9704/11]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

111 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he will report to Dáil Éireann on the current position regarding public private partnerships in 2011; and if he will indicate which PPPs will proceed in 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9946/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 67 and 111 together.

The procurement of individual Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) is a matter for individual Departments. The National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) provides financial, insurance and risk analysis advice to State Authorities in order to assist in determining the most appropriate procurement mechanism. I understand that to date in 2011 there are five PPPs at various stages of the procurement process of which the NDFA is acting as the procuring authority for three in the education sector. There are a further four PPP projects in the pipeline.

State Assets

Brian Lenihan

Question:

68 Deputy Brian Lenihan asked the Minister for Finance if he will confirm if the proceeds of the sale of State assets will be used to fund a jobs programme as promised in the Fine Gael NewERA document or if the proceeds of the sale of State assets will be used to pay off the national debt. [9693/11]

Michael McGrath

Question:

161 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if the EU-IMF-ECB agreed during the recent review of the funding programme that the proceeds from the sale of certain State assets could be invested in job creation initiatives instead of paying down the national debt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9739/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 161 together.

Both policy options are available in this regard for Government decision in due course in relation to any asset sales that might take place. The draft agreement with the EU/IMF does not preclude the use of the proceeds in this way and the matter is for further discussion with the EU/IMF as the occasion arises.

Industrial Sites

David Stanton

Question:

69 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 72 of 29 March 2011, if the final report of the working group on Haulbowline, County Cork, has now been completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9714/11]

The Working Group, established by Government, to develop a structured and coherent approach to the future management and development of the former Irish ISPAT site at Haulbowline, County Cork, is concluding its deliberations.

It is expected that the report will be available in May 2011.

Decentralisation Programme

Seán Crowe

Question:

70 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Finance if he will proceed with the previous Government’s decentralisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9665/11]

Sean Fleming

Question:

73 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the developments regarding decentralisation in 2011 in particular the programme for acquisition of new office accommodation where decentralised staff are in temporary rented accommodation and if he will list which priority projects will proceed. [9706/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 70 and 73 together.

The Government has not yet taken any decision in relation to either the programme or individual projects.

The Government recently agreed to conduct a Capital Expenditure Review with the focus on programmes and projects that will best support economic recovery. This may have implications for the availability of capital funding for decentralisation projects. The requirement to reduce public service numbers by some 24,000 in the period to 2015 and the moratorium on the filling of vacancies also needs to be taken into account.

As regards developments in 2011, the Property Registration Authority moved into permanent accommodation in Roscommon in January and a new building is under construction in Tipperary Town for the Department of Justice and Equality where that Department already has an advance office in place.

State Assets

Brian Lenihan

Question:

71 Deputy Brian Lenihan asked the Minister for Finance if a detailed valuation process of State assets will commence; if such a process will take into account debt and pension fund deficits that may exist in some State companies; the persons who will carry out such a review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9694/11]

The Report of the Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities set out a detailed assessment of the assets and liabilities, including pension fund deficits, of all the main commercial State-sponsored bodies. It was based on book values but a valuation would have to be undertaken in the case of any sale. As set out in the Programme for Government, non-strategic assets up to a value of €2 billion will only be sold when market conditions are right and when adequate regulatory structures have been established to protect consumer interests.

Jobs Fund

Barry Cowen

Question:

72 Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Finance the funding that has been allocated to the jobs fund outlined in the programme for Government. [5792/11]

The Government is committed to resourcing a Jobs Fund within its first 100 days in the Programme for Government. The details of individual measures are currently being considered by the Government for the purpose of delivering on this commitment.

Question No. 73 answered with Question No. 70.

National Asset Management Agency

Billy Kelleher

Question:

74 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Finance if he will outline the National Asset Management Agency's plans to start lending to buyers in the residential property markets; when such funding will be available; the amount that will be available; when the necessary legislation will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9700/11]

NAMA has been established as a fully commercial agency to operate under the direction of a Board of Directors. I recently met with the Board and explained that I expect it to review all options in terms of regenerating activity in the Irish property market as soon as possible. In that context, the Chairman of NAMA has recently stated that the Agency is exploring ways by which it can provide finance for commercial and residential property deals in line with its objective of reinvigorating the Irish property market. The Chairman has stated that he envisages that NAMA will work with the two pillar banks to identify solutions which will increase access to residential mortgages for its Irish residential portfolio.

I understand that the Agency is currently preparing detailed plans and that it proposes to enter into discussions with the two pillar banks shortly. There are no proposals at present to change the legislation.

Departmental Expenditure

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

75 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance the cost to the Exchequer of commissioning and publishing the Honohan, Regling-Watson and Nyberg reports; the money paid to each of the four drafters involved; the cost of additional researchers and personnel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9648/11]

The previous Government announced the establishment of an investigation into the banking crisis on 19 January 2010. There was a two-stage process. For the first stage, the Government commissioned two separate preliminary reports. One report was prepared by Professor Patrick Honohan, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, entitled "The Irish Banking Crisis — Regulatory and Financial Stability Policy 2003-2008". There was no cost to the Exchequer in relation to this report as all costs were met by the Central Bank of Ireland. A second report was prepared by Mr. Klaus Regling and Mr. Max Watson who were appointed by the Minister for Finance entitled "A Preliminary Report on the Sources of Ireland's Banking Crisis". The total cost of this report was €124,398.

The second stage of the inquiry was the establishment of a Statutory Commission of Investigation, pursuant to the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004. On 7 July 2010, the previous Government announced its decision to establish a Commission of Investigation into the banking sector in Ireland. The Commission was formally established on 21 September 2010 by Government Order, and Mr. Peter Nyberg was appointed as the sole Member of the Commission.

The Commission of Investigation reported to me on 22 March 2011. While there are a small number of payments outstanding in relation to the Commission, it is expected that the overall cost of the Commission of Investigation will be in the region of €1.2 million and includes staffing, accommodation, equipment and legal costs. Final costs will be available in the coming weeks when all remaining invoices have been received.

Dessie Ellis

Question:

76 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Finance the total value of fees paid directly by him in respect of all services provided by a company (details supplied) for the years 2009 and 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9654/11]

My Department made no payments to the company mentioned by the Deputy during the years 2009 and 2010.

National Debt

Michael McGrath

Question:

77 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance taking account of the additional bank recapitalisation following the recent bank stress tests, the amount of interest he anticipates will be paid on the national debt for each of the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015; and the percentage of the total tax take that will be accounted for by such payments for each of those years. [9692/11]

The recently conducted banking stress tests identified €24 billion of additional support as being required by the banking sector. However, it is not expected that the State will provide this full amount and the debt forecasts which are contained in the Stability Programme Update recently submitted to the European Commission are predicated upon the State providing €20 billion in capital support, some €10 billion of which is due to come from the National Pensions Reserve Fund and was already factored into the debt forecasts at budget time. The additional €10 billion which has now been identified will add to the level of debt and this has been taken account of in the Stability Programme Update which was laid before the Dáil on 29 April 2011. Based on these assumptions, the Stability Programme Update projections of debt interest costs and those costs as a percentage of total tax receipts are outlined in the below table:

Stability Programme Update Projections

2012

2013

2014

2015

National Debt Interest (€ bn)

7.2

8.0

8.7

9.2

Tax Revenue (€ bn)

37.5

39.9

42.3

44.3

Debt Interest as % of Tax Revenue

19.2

20.1

20.7

20.8

At almost 21 per cent, the proportion of tax revenues going towards debt interest in 2015 is undoubtedly at a significant level. However, it is worth bearing in mind that it is well below the ratios experienced in the mid-1980s when around a third of the tax revenues generated in the State went towards servicing the interest on the national debt.

There is now a general appreciation at European level of the importance of debt sustainability considerations in the pricing of EU and euro area financial assistance loans to Member States. In this regard, the Heads of State or Government of the euro area decided on 11 March last that the "pricing of the EFSF (loans) should be lowered to better take into account debt sustainability of the recipient countries, while remaining above the funding costs of the facility, with an adequate mark up for risk, and in line with IMF pricing principles."

The European Council also decided that the interest rate on the loans to Greece will be adjusted by 100 basis points. The position in relation to the pricing of Ireland's loans was also considered in the context of wider political discussions but the Council did not take any decision in the matter. The pricing of Ireland's loan is being pursued vigorously by myself and my Department at European level. The decision on this will be made by Eurogroup and ECOFIN Ministers, and it is being addressed through that forum. However, every opportunity to present our case on the interest rate is being taken — including the EU/IMF quarterly review which took place last month.

National Development Plan

Robert Troy

Question:

78 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance his priorities under the national development plan; the projects which will proceed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9699/11]

The Government has approved the preparation of a new capital investment framework for the period post 2012. This will be prepared by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, in conjunction with other Departments and key stakeholders. It will be carried out in parallel with the comprehensive review of current expenditure, and will help us to identify programmes and projects that will best support economic recovery. The key objectives will be to: (i) align capital investment allocations with Programme for Government priorities within the overall fiscal consolidation objectives; and (ii) to ensure that allocations are directed towards investments which can have the greatest economic and employment impact.

The review will allow the Government to critically examine all areas of capital investment expenditure to ensure that investment is focused on pressing economic and employment challenges.

European Stability Mechanism

Michael Colreavy

Question:

79 Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Finance the criteria that will be used for the debt sustainability analysis under the European Stability Mechanism; the person that will be conducting this review; the provisions being made for situations when post 2013 the ESM find that a country’s debt burden is unsustainable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9644/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, the European Council has agreed on the need for euro-area Member States to establish a permanent stability mechanism: the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). The ESM will be activated by mutual agreement if it is indispensable to safeguarding the financial stability of the euro area as a whole. The ESM will assume the role of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) in providing external financial assistance to euro-area Member States after June 2013. Access to ESM financial assistance will be provided on the basis of strict policy conditionality under a macro-economic adjustment programme and a rigorous analysis of public-debt sustainability, which will be conducted by the Commission together with the IMF and in liaison with the ECB. The beneficiary Member State will be required to put in place an appropriate form of private sector involvement, according to the specific circumstances and in a manner fully consistent with IMF practices.

The criteria for the debt sustainability analysis to be conducted under the ESM are not set out in the Term Sheet for the ESM which was agreed by the European Council and sets out the main elements relating to the establishment, governance, funding and functioning of the ESM. There is no definitive means of determining debt sustainability as it is predicated on a range of factors, including assumptions regarding future economic growth, the stock of debt and interest costs. A key determinant in the stabilisation of the debt ratio will be the narrowing of the gap that currently exists between revenues and expenditure through further fiscal consolidation.

Semi-State Sector Remuneration

Niall Collins

Question:

80 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance if he plans to reduce salaries in semi-State companies following a review into the matter; and if he will do so prior to the sale of any State company. [9697/11]

The agreement of both the relevant Minister and the Minister for Finance is, under various statutes, required in relation to the remuneration of CEOs of Commercial State companies. There are no such statutory provisions in relation to the remuneration of other staff. The current arrangement for setting the remuneration of these CEO posts is based on comparative analysis with posts in the private sector — the last such review took place in 2007. I understand that my colleague, Minister Howlin, intends to give further consideration as to how best to effect reductions in the remuneration of CEOs of Commercial State Companies — while acknowledging that there may be contractual issues in relation to current incumbents — and to bring proposals on the matter to Government shortly.

Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 66.

Oireachtas Members’ Remuneration

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

82 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance the cost to the Exchequer of payments to former Deputies and Ministers excluding pension costs; if he will provide this data in tabular form in terms of cost per month and per person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9653/11]

Further details of what is required by the Deputy are necessary. My officials will be in touch with the Deputy to clarify the position.

Ground Rents

Gerry Adams

Question:

83 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if he continues to pay ground rent on iconic buildings to absentee landlords; if this includes his Department in Government Buildings; the other iconic buildings on which ground rents are paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9264/11]

Gerry Adams

Question:

125 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if ground rents are paid in respect of any Government property, including Government Buildings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6043/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 83 and 125 together.

The Office of Public Works pays Ground Rent on 50 properties including Government Buildings. The following table schedules the properties involved and monies are generally paid to the agents/solicitors acting for the Landlord.

Location

Property

County

CARLOW

Carlow Agriculture Office

Co Carlow

SWANLINBAR

Swanlinbar GS+Cust Post + RAX

Co Cavan

LISSYCASEY

Lissycasey GS + MQ

Co Clare

COBH

Cobh Custom House

Co Cork

CORK

Cork C&E Parnell Place

Co Cork

CORK

Cork Custom House

Co Cork

CORK

MacCurtain Street GS

Co Cork

CROSSHAVEN

Crosshaven 12 Hses incl GS+MES

Co Cork

FERMOY

Fermoy GS

Co Cork

GLENGARRIFF

Glengarriff/Garinish+M/land Pl

Co Cork

YOUGHAL

Youghal Fmr Military Barracks

Co Cork

BUNDORAN

Bundoran GS + MQ

Co Donegal

KILMACRENNAN

Kilmacrennan GS

Co Donegal

DUBLIN 01

O’Connell Street Upper 11-13

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 01

O’Connell Street Upper 14-15

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 01

O’Connell Street Upper 44

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 01

Thomas Lane 1-2

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Burgh Quay 13-14

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Dublin Castle

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Fitzwilliam Pl 31 Advanced Stud

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Government Buildings

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Kildare Street 23-28

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Kildare Street 4-5 Library

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Row 7-9

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Square 16 Red Cross So

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Square 5 Inst/Advan St

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Square 6A(Fenian St)

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Street Upper 14-16

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

St Stephen’s Gr 50-51

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 02

St Stephen’s Gr 78-81 Iveagh Hse

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 04

Burlington Road 10

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 06

Cathal Brugha Barracks

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 06

Terenure GS + Tel Exch + RAX

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 07

Four Courts

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 09

Botanic Gdns

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 14

Dundrum Central Mental Hospital

Co. Dublin

DUBLIN 15

Abbotstown Farm

Co. Dublin

KILLARNEY

Killarney National Park + Offi

Co Kerry

TRALEE

Tralee Music School

Co Kerry

TRALEE

Tralee SWO — Godfrey Place

Co Kerry

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise Decentral Site

Co. Laois

LIMERICK

Limerick Custom House Hunt Mus

Co Limerick

LIMERICK

Limerick Henry/Cecil/Glentwort

Co Limerick

LIMERICK

Limerick OPW Regional Office

Co Limerick

DROGHEDA

Drogheda Government Offices

Co Louth

BIRR

Birr GS

Co Offaly

WATERFORD

Waterford Gov Off-Catherine St

Co Waterford

WATERFORD

Waterford OPW Office

Co Waterford

NEW ROSS

New Ross Fmr GS

Co Wexford

WEXFORD

Wexford Gov Off — Anne Street

Co Wexford

Consultancy Contracts

Micheál Martin

Question:

84 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the public affairs, public relations and advertising contracts that have been advertised by his Department since he has taken office. [8594/11]

My Department has advertised no public affairs, public relations or advertising contracts since I have taken office.

Oireachtas Committees

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

85 Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Taoiseach his plans to establish a human rights committee as a stand-alone committee within the new Oireachtas committee system. [9015/11]

I am currently preparing proposals for a Committee system for the 31st Dáil, for consideration by the Government. Once the Government has approved proposals, I will consult with the Opposition Whips in relation to them.

In view of this, I am not in a position at present to comment on the detail of these proposals.

Ministerial Staff

Brendan Smith

Question:

86 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Taoiseach the detail of all permanent Civil Service or non-established positions who are in place in his Department in relation to assisting Ministers with constituency work; the monthly salaries for these positions; and if any further appointments are envisaged. [9144/11]

The table below outlines all permanent civil service and non-established positions which are in place in my Department in relation to assisting me and the Ministers of State assigned to my Department with constituency work.

Constituency Office

Grade

Monthly Salary

Taoiseach’s Constituency Office (Castlebar)

1 Personal Assistant (non-established position)

*

1 Personal Assistant (non-established position)

*

Taoiseach’s Constituency Office (Government Buildings)

1 Personal Assistant (non-established position)

*

1 Personal Secretary (non-established position)

*

1 Executive Officer (permanent Civil Servant)

4,181

Government Chief Whip’s Constituency Office (Enniscorthy)

1 Personal Secretary (non-established position)

*

Government Chief Whip’s Constituency Office (Government Buildings)

1 Staff Officer (permanent Civil Servant)

3,544

*The terms and conditions of employment for the staff who work in the constituency offices at non-established positions are not yet finalised.

The Minister of State for European Affairs has her constituency office located in Government Buildings. The staff consists of one Personal Secretary (non-established position) and two Clerical Officers (permanent Civil Servants). All three staff are paid by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

There is one clerical vacancy to be filled in my constituency office. The Government Chief Whip has one Personal Assistant vacancy yet to fill.

Ministerial Appointments

Brendan Smith

Question:

87 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Taoiseach if he will list the details of all State appointments open to direct choice by him on 10 March 2011. [9158/11]

The new National Economic and Social Council was appointed on 20 January 2011 and its term of office is for 3 years. Its membership is made on the basis of nominations received from representatives of trade unions, business and employers, farmers' organisations, environmental sector, community and voluntary sectors, key government departments and independent experts. No remuneration is payable for membership of the Council.

I have yet to appoint the 8 independent members to the Council.

National Statistics Board (NSB)

On 10 March 2011 there was one vacancy on the National Statistics Board. There are 8 members on the Board — the Director of the CSO is an ex-officio member.

Programme for Government

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

88 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Taoiseach if in view of his statement to Dáil Éireann that he has set specific targets for each Minister and Minister of State to deliver during the Government’s first 100 days in office, if he will provide details of these specific targets. [9516/11]

John McGuinness

Question:

89 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Taoiseach the specific proposals in the programme for Government for which he is responsible; the target dates which he has agreed in relation to the delivery of these proposals; and if he will publish an implementation schedule. [9590/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 88 and 89 together.

As I have previously indicated to the House, the Programme for Government was adopted by the Government at its first meeting as the framework for its work over coming years. It sets out the policies and initiatives to be progressed over the term of the Government to tackle the many and varied challenges facing the country.

My Department will be supporting the implementation of the Programme as a whole and it will do this with a more explicit focus on its role as a Cabinet Office.

The procedures to reflect the new focus are being developed and will be announced shortly. However, it is not my intention that the Department will exercise executive functions with regard to the Programme for Government generally.

My Department will have specific responsibility in supporting the Chief Whip in advancing the Programme's proposals for Dáil reform and setting in train the necessary legislation for a referendum to abolish the Seanad.

As regards the Governments first 100 days, the Programme for Government specifies that the Government will produce a Jobs Initiative within the first 100 days. Work is well advanced on this initiative with policy plans being developed by multiple Departments and Ministers. Full details will be announced shortly.

It should be noted that the Government has already made substantial progress in meeting its commitments under the Programme for Government. For example:

the quarterly review mission under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland has been successfully concluded. The mission assessed the Programme to be on track and that the targets in the Programme have been met, and agreed to changes to reflect provisions in the Programme for Government.

following completion of the solvency stress tests, decisions on the recapitalisation of financial institutions have been made and a comprehensive strategy to reorganise and reform the domestic Irish banks has been adopted.

an integrated decision-making structure for dealing with the financial crisis, in the shape of the Government Economic Management Committee, has been established.

the Nyberg Report has been published and the Government has committed to holding a referendum before the end of the year to strengthen the powers of Dáil Committees to inquire into crucial issues of public concern, such as the banking crisis.

Ministerial salaries have been reduced, as has the cost of Ministerial transport.

legislation is being prepared on political donations and to enable the number of TDs to be reduced.

the number of Dáil sitting days has been increased through sitting during St. Patrick's week and shortening the Easter and summer breaks.

the process of initiating a Comprehensive Spending Review has been initiated; and

the Top-Level Appointments Committee is being revised so that its chairperson and the majority of its members are drawn from outside the public sector.

Parliamentary Questions

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

90 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach the areas of policy on which he will answer questions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9682/11]

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

91 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach the areas of social and economic policy on which he will answer questions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9683/11]

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

92 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach the areas of European affairs on which he will answer questions and if these include discussions, agreements and pacts with our EU partners and EU institutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9684/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90 to 92, inclusive, together.

I am responsible to the Dáil for the general activities of my Department and parliamentary questions addressed to me must relate to public affairs connected with my Department, or to matters of administration for which I am officially responsible.

However, there are specific activities undertaken by officials of my Department for which I do not have official responsibility e.g. decisions made in relation to freedom of information applications or matters concerning release of files under the National Archives Act.

My responsibilities in relation to European Affairs include my participation in meetings of the European Council and other key European summits, as well as bilateral meetings and foreign visits.

Questions relating to international agreements and pacts, including those with EU partners and institutions, generally fall for answer by the relevant Minister.

I am also accountable to the Dáil in a limited way in respect of a number of State offices, for example, the legal offices of the State and the Central Statistics Office. By and large, I answer questions in the House in relation to matters of administration connected with those offices.

Similarly, the nature of my responsibility to the House in respect of any Tribunal or Commission established "under the aegis" of my Department is confined primarily to the arrangements relating to their establishment and ongoing administration.

The specific nature of my accountability in respect of my Department and those bodies operating within its policy area has long been established by precedent in each.

Official Engagements

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

93 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach if he will provide a schedule of all his forthcoming foreign engagements, meetings with foreign political leaders and meetings with EU representatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9685/11]

I have met with representatives of the IMF on the following occasions: Wednesday 16 March 2011; and Tuesday 12 April 2011.

As regards future meetings, none have been specifically scheduled but it would be reasonable to expect that I will meet with IMF representatives during their future review missions to Ireland under the EU/IMF Programme. Currently, quarterly review missions have been provisionally scheduled for:

Mid-July 2011;

Mid-October 2011; and

Mid-January 2012.

It is likely that I will also attend the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington D.C., which takes place in the Autumn each year.

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

94 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach if he will be meeting with representatives of industry, business, trade unions and representatives of civil society specifically to discuss job creation and economic recovery; the persons he is scheduled to meet and the dates of the meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9686/11]

As I indicated in my reply in the Dáil on 30 March, I intend to meet with the representative groups of social partnership in due course to outline the Government's approach to dealing with our current economic challenges and to explore how their activities can enhance economic and social progress. These meetings have not yet been scheduled.

The Government values dialogue with the social partners, whether within the framework of a formal agreement or otherwise, and recognises the contribution that social dialogue can make to maximising common understanding across all sectors of society as we respond to the many challenges facing the country.

Foreign Conflicts

Finian McGrath

Question:

95 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs in view of the fact that the new Santos Administration in Colombia has shown itself to be open to pursuing a peace process in Colombia if he will propose that the UN appoint a special adviser on Colombia with experience in peace processes in other parts of the world, in order to support and advise the Colombian Government in the development of a peace process. [9017/11]

The Government of Colombia has repeatedly stated its determination to bring an end to violence in Colombia within the framework of the Justice and Peace Law, which provides an overall legal framework for the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration of illegal armed groups into Colombian society. Since 2004, the Organization of American States (OAS) Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia has provided verification and advisory support to Colombia on this process and has supported peace efforts undertaken by Colombian institutions and communities. Ireland is fully supportive of efforts to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Colombia, and to that end, has provided significant financial support to the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia, including a grant of €100,000 in May 2010. In order to succeed, a peace process in Colombia must tackle the various social and economic elements underlying the conflict. Our approach, and that of the UN and the EU, is to assist and influence the Colombian Government in a manner that results in economic and social development while progressively improving human rights standards.

In his inauguration speech on 7 August 2010, President Santos set out clearly the conditions for the opening of dialogue with illegal armed groups, including the FARC, namely the renunciation of the use of violence and terrorist acts; the unconditional release of all hostages, the release (and no further recruitment) of child-soldiers; and an end to the laying of antipersonnel mines. However, the FARC continue to carry out kidnappings and attacks, including the shooting dead of two Colombian soldiers as recently as 22 April.

In light of the developments I have outlined above, I do not consider it appropriate to seek the appointment of an UN official to advise the Government of Colombia on the development of a peace process in that country.

The Government will continue to monitor the situation in Colombia through our Embassy in Mexico City, which is accredited to Colombia, as well as in cooperation with our EU partners with resident diplomatic missions in that country.

Passport Applications

Terence Flanagan

Question:

96 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding an Irish passport in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9085/11]

The Passport Service has no record of a passport application for the person concerned.

Ministerial Staff

Brendan Smith

Question:

97 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the detail of all permanent Civil Service or non-established positions which are in place in his Department in relation to assisting Ministers with constituency work; the monthly salaries for these positions; and if any further appointments are envisaged. [9140/11]

The following are the intended staffing arrangements and associated monthly salary costs by grade for my constituency office and those of Ministers of State O'Sullivan and Creighton. These arrangements are in line with the Government's decision of 15 March 2011 to reduce maximum permitted constituency office staffing levels for Ministers of the Government and Ministers of State. Clerical Officers are established Civil Servants. Personal Assistants and Personal Secretaries occupy non-established posts.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Number/Grade

Average monthly salary by grade

1 Personal Assistant

4,157

1 Personal Secretary

2,982

2 Clerical Officers

2,314 Standard Scale

2,522 PPC Scale

Minister of State for Trade and Development

Number/Grade

Average monthly salary by grade

1 Personal Assistant

4,157

1 Personal Secretary

2,982

1 Clerical Officer

2,314 Standard Scale

2,522 PPC Scale

Minister of State for European Affairs

Number/Grade

Average monthly salary by grade

1 Personal Secretary

2,982

2 Clerical Officers

2,314 Standard Scale

2,522 PPC Scale

Personal Pension Contribution (PPC) scales apply to officers employed since 6 April 1995 who pay the Class A rate of PRSI and also make a personal pension contribution.

Ministerial Appointments

Brendan Smith

Question:

98 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he willlist the details of all State appointments open to direct choice by him on 10 March 2011. [9154/11]

There are four bodies operating under the aegis of my Department to which I make appointments as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. These are: the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange (the Fulbright Commission); the Development Education Advisory Committee, the Irish Aid Expert Advisory Group, and the Emigrant Services Advisory Committee.

The Fulbright Commission, while not a State body, was established on a statutory basis in 1991. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has certain specific statutory responsibilities in respect of the Commission, including the appointment of four of its eight member Board for a two-year period. In October 2010, the then Minister appointed three members to the Board. The fourth board member’s term expires shortly.

The Government’s Emigrant Services Advisory Committee was set up in 1984 to advise the Government on the welfare of the Irish community in Britain. The Committee has a membership of twelve persons. The Chair and Secretary are both officers of the Embassy in London, while the ten other Committee members serve in a voluntary capacity. Following the expiration of the term of the previous Committee on 31 December 2010, I appointed the ten voluntary members to the Committee on 11 April 2011, in consultation with Embassy London and the Irish Abroad Unit in my Department.

The Development Education Advisory Committee (DEAC) was established in 2003 following the recommendations of the Ireland Aid Review Committee. It has ten members, eight of whom are appointed directly by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and two appointed on the nomination of other bodies. Its purpose is to advise the Minister, Minister of State and Irish Aid on policy regarding development education. In April 2010 the membership of the Committee was renewed by the then Minister for a further two-year term.

Acting on a recommendation contained in the Irish Aid Management Review adopted by the Government in 2009, anIrish Aid Expert Advisory Group (IAEAG) was established in 2010. The Group consists of seven members, six of whom are appointed directly by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and one on the nomination of another body. The role of the Group is to offer independent expert advice to the Minister and Minister of State on the strategic direction of the aid programme. Members of the Advisory Group were appointed by the then Minister in July 2010 for a three year term.

Military Neutrality

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

99 Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs his understanding of the concept of military neutrality; the way this differs from neutrality and the extent to which both these concepts must evolve in relation to our membership of the European Union post entry in to force of the Lisbon treaty. [9529/11]

In the strict sense of international law and practice, the question of neutrality does not arise during peacetime but only during a state of war, when the neutrality of a state would be embodied in an attitude of impartiality towards the belligerents. Ireland is one of a number of States which proclaims to pursue a policy of neutrality or non-alignment in peacetime. It is a matter for each of these States to determine the nature and characteristics of its policies. Ireland's traditional policy of military neutrality, which has been pursued by successive Governments, is characterised by non-participation in military alliances.

This is not a policy of isolationism and is fully consistent with Ireland's foreign policy of active international engagement. The values on which our traditional policy of military neutrality rests inform Ireland's broader foreign policy, including through our participation in international peacekeeping, our contributions to conflict resolution and peacebuilding, our work for human rights and development, and our efforts to promote disarmament and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.

Indeed, it is these very same values which have underpinned and motivated Ireland's long and distinguished record of support for and participation in military operations sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council in the cause of international peace and security.

The EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), as set out in the Lisbon Treaty, is an integral part and operational arm of the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The CSDP is entirely consistent with Ireland's values and interests, including the primacy of the United Nations in the maintenance of global peace and security. While the CSDP is an evolving process directed towards the achievement of ever-greater effectiveness, successive Treaties since the Maastricht Treaty have stipulated that Union policy in this area shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain member States.

Ireland's participation in a European common defence is prohibited by Article 29.4.9 of the Constitution. Any change in that position could take place only with the approval of the people in a referendum to amend the Constitution.

Programme for Government

John McGuinness

Question:

100 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the specific proposals in the programme for Government for which he is responsible; the target dates which he has agreed in relation to the delivery of these proposals; and if he will publish an implementation schedule. [9586/11]

The Programme for Government contains a number of proposals that are wholly or partly the responsibility of the Department of Foreign Affairs. These include proposals related to repairing Ireland's reputation in the EU and the wider international community; Ireland's Overseas Development Aid programme and its review; matters relating to Northern Ireland; and consideration of the transfer of the passport service to the Department of Justice. Details on how these proposals are being addressed are outlined below. While the majority of the proposals will span the lifetime of the Programme, where target dates are applicable these have been included. The Programme for Government contains an explicit commitment to restore Ireland's standing as a respected and influential member of the European Union and the wider international community. This work is already underway and implies the need for a broad effort, across Government and administration, of engagement with EU institutions and with EU partners bilaterally, as well as with our international partners.

At Government level, Ministers have been availing, in particular, of opportunities to meet their EU colleagues and with representatives of the European institutions. These efforts will intensify in the coming months. The channels open to us through membership of wider European-level political groupings are also being exploited.

I have availed of meetings of EU Foreign Ministers to meet High Representative Ashton and to establish personal contacts with my EU colleagues. Similarly my colleague, Minister of State Creighton has availed of visits to Brussels and Luxembourg to meet representatives of the institutions and her counterparts. Over the months ahead we will continue to maximise all opportunities arising from our presence at the scheduled meetings of the Council of Ministers to arrange bilateral exchanges with key interlocutors, both among the member States and in the institutions and bodies including the Commission, European Parliament and European External Action Service.

On 19 April I invited EU Ambassadors to Iveagh House to set out the Government's analysis of the economic situation facing the country, seek the understanding and support of partners for our course of action, and also to underline the desire of the Government to engage constructively and more widely on the range of issues on the European agenda. I will be meeting non-EU Ambassadors later this week.

The Irish embassy network plays a crucial part in the process of national recovery. Irish embassies are tasked on the one hand with transmitting the Government's economic message, and the context for it, to key decision-makers in the EU and beyond; on the other hand they provide vital insights on the views and policies of partners. I have called a conference of all Irish Ambassadors to be held on 1 and 2 June in Dublin, which will have an emphasis on economic and commercial themes, both in an EU and wider international context. The conference is being organised in conjunction with the main State Agencies in the economic and trade promotion sector.

Embassies are already actively engaged in emerging markets, and in the BRIC countries in particular, in-line with the current Strategy for Trade, Tourism and Innovation. Embassies and State Agencies in these countries have detailed market plans and are actively pursuing specific targets. This effort will be strengthened with the transfer of responsibilities for foreign trade promotion to my Department. Discussions between officials regarding the practical arrangements for the transfer are well advanced and it is anticipated that they will be completed shortly.

In recognition of the important role the Global Irish Network can play in our economic recovery, I wrote to all members of the Network on 20 April drawing their attention to the priorities set out in the Programme for Government. My letter acknowledged the contribution made by network members in assisting Embassies and State Agencies in the trade and economic area, and indicated that I would be interested in any specific proposals which members may have which would facilitate job creation in Ireland or would enhance the export potential of our indigenous companies.

In relation to overseas development assistance, we have made a commitment to review the 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid. I expect that the review will be carried out over the coming year. It will involve consultation with the public and with all interested parties, and will take account of the achievements of the aid programme to date and the changes in the national and international context since 2006.

With regard to the proposal to unite NGOs providing humanitarian aid, officials from my Department have already met representatives of Irish-based humanitarian NGOs to discuss the proposal to establish a disaster and emergency committee in Ireland. We have also begun discussions with the Irish development NGOs regarding opportunities for job seekers to share their skills in developing countries.

The Programme for Government states clearly our commitment to the 0.7% GNP target and to seeking to achieve it by 2015. This is in line with the long-standing UN target for Official Development Assistance, and with the commitment of the European Union. It is clear that, in current circumstances, this will be a challenging target to meet. However, the Government was elected to face up to the challenges of rebuilding our society and our economy, of restoring economic growth and our international reputation. I believe that we can do this without undermining our work to improve the lives of some of the world's poorest people.

Minister of State O'Sullivan recently met representatives of Shannon Airport to discuss the proposal that it be made a hub for the storage and distribution of emergency humanitarian supplies. We will continue to discuss the issues involved with Shannon Airport and to facilitate contact between Shannon and the relevant international humanitarian agencies as the proposal is further advanced in the months ahead.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I also have responsibility for leading on implementation of the Northern Ireland sections of the Programme for Government. The Government looks forward to working with the new Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly, following its election in the coming weeks, to advance progress on the full implementation of all Agreements and to drive forward the North-South agenda. We will have an early opportunity to take forward this important agenda at the first meeting of the North South Ministerial Council with the new Executive scheduled for 10 June.

Lastly, with regard to the possible transfer of the Passport Service to the Department of Justice to operate as an Independent Executive Agency under the aegis of that Department, officials in my Department are currently examining the issues associated with this commitment and I expect to take a position on this matter within the coming months.

Passport Applications

John Lyons

Question:

101 Deputy John Lyons asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding the renewal of a passport in respect of a person (details supplied). [9782/11]

The passport application was submitted at the end of January through the ordinary post, rather than the recommended Passport Express Service operated by An Post. When examined the photographs supplied did not meet the Passport Service photo guidelines, which are based on internationally accepted standards. The Passport Service wrote to the applicant requesting new photographs, which have been received. I can confirm that the passport application was approved on 28 April and the passport has now issued to the applicant.

Motor Taxation

Mary Mitchell O'Connor

Question:

102 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider including road tax in the price of fuel in order to ensure that those who drive more pay more and bearing in mind the environmental benefits and the opportunity for better use of Garda time by removing the need to check tax discs and oversee the prosecution of those not in possession of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9031/11]

The Deputy's proposal favours tax revenue being solely based on usage of a car, through fuel consumption, rather than ownership upon which motor tax is determined. This is often argued as the most favourable option from an environmental perspective as it embraces the ‘polluter pays principle'. In an Irish context motor tax revenue is allocated to local authorities so this complicates the proposal somewhat.

In addition, motor tax (and VRT) have been reformed in recent years in order to stimulate interest in low emission cars which in turn has led to enhanced sales of more fuel efficient vehicles. This development has been welcomed by both motorists and the motor trade. Consequently it would seem premature to effectively reverse this significant policy change at this early juncture. Furthermore, replacing the revenue collected from motor tax would require a significant increase in excise duty on petrol and auto-diesel.

Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products

Brendan Griffin

Question:

103 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance his plans to tackle the problem of the counterfeit tobacco trade here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9242/11]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners, who are responsible for the collection of tobacco products tax and for tackling the illicit trade in cigarettes and tobacco products, that Revenue employs a multi-faceted strategy to deal with the problem of such illicit trade. This enforcement approach does not by its nature differentiate between counterfeit tobacco product and contraband product on which duty has not been paid in the State. The strategy involves ongoing analysis of the nature and extent of the problem, developing and sharing intelligence on a national, EU and international basis and ongoing review of operational policies. It also includes the development of analytics and detection technologies and the optimum deployment of resources at points of importation and inland in order to intercept illicit product and to prosecute those involved.

Revenue enforcement officers are deployed at all key ports and airports. Personnel deployed at these locations are regularly supported by additional staff from other areas when specific operations are taking place. Interception at the point of importation is achieved through a combination of risk analysis, profiling, intelligence, and the screening of cargo, vehicles, baggage and postal packages.

Revenue enforcement officers also target this illicit trade at post-importation level by carrying out intelligence-based operations as well as random checks at retail outlets, markets and private and commercial premises. Revenue and An Garda Síochána also carry out regular multi-agency operations, particularly in relation to large maritime importations and in checks at inland markets.

In July of last year Revenue launched a nationwide tobacco operation, which concentrated additional Revenue resources at ports, airports and at various retail points for the purpose of identifying illicit tobacco products. This resulted in 561 seizures totalling 13.7m cigarettes and 195 kgs of tobacco in the course of the two-week period of the operation. Two subsequent 3-day operations during 2010 resulted in the seizure of over 1.76m cigarettes and 175 kgs of tobacco. In two similar operations carried out in 2011, a total of 580 seizures were made, comprising 7.4m cigarettes and 167kgs of tobacco.

The Revenue Commissioners have established a high level internal group, chaired at Commissioner level, to examine the risks related to tobacco products tax and to oversee and optimise the detection of counterfeit and contraband tobacco products. This group has promoted a number of initiatives aimed at counteracting the illicit trade in tobacco. These include improved profiling of passengers and freight to identify tobacco smugglers and the establishment of a confidential tobacco hotline via which members of the public and the retail trade may report illicit trade. It also co-ordinates national blitz-style operations.

In terms of detection equipment, a second mobile X-ray container scanner, to augment the one first deployed in 2006, was commissioned by Revenue in January 2010 and is now fully operational. Smaller baggage/parcel scanners are deployed at all major ports, airports and postal depots. In addition to the X-ray equipment, Revenue also uses a tobacco detection dog.

This strategy has resulted in the seizure of a total of 178.3m cigarettes (111m of which were determined to be counterfeit) with a retail value of approximately €75.3m and 3,369 kgs of tobacco with a retail value of approximately €1.2m during the period January to December 2010.

In addition, during the period January to March 2011, a total of 29.7m cigarettes (19.5m of which were counterfeit) and 818 kgs tobacco were seized by Revenue.

Official Engagements

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

104 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a schedule of all his meetings with International Monetary Fund representatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9685/11]

I have met with representatives of the IMF on the following occasions: Wednesday 16 March 2011; and Tuesday 12 April 2011.

As regards future meetings, none have been specifically scheduled but it would be reasonable to expect that I will meet with IMF representatives during their future review missions to Ireland under the EU/IMF Programme. Currently, quarterly review missions have been provisionally scheduled for:

Mid-July 2011;

Mid-October 2011; and

Mid-January 2012.

It is likely that I will also attend the annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington D.C., which takes place in the Autumn each year.

State Agencies

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

105 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance if he has any responsibility vis-à-vis State and State sponsored bodies to ensure their accountability to both Government and the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9687/11]

The Government is committed to ensuring that State agencies are accountable to the Government, the Oireachtas and the public. As the Deputy may be aware, the Programme for Government sets out a number of reforms that will be undertaken in this area. These include issues such as appointments to State boards, the role of boards, the extension of the Parliamentary Question system, the introduction of a requirement that chief executives attend the relevant Oireachtas committee on a regular basis to answer questions, and the extension of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Acts. The Annual Output Statements were introduced in 2007 to provide a means of setting out information on the performance of organizations, alongside the presentation of their financial resource requirements in the annual Estimates process. The Government Programme includes a commitment to improve upon these processes and to sharpen the focus upon performance and accountability. It is not enough for organisations and State agencies to be transparent about what they are spending; the public are entitled to know what they are delivering, and this is what the Government is determined to bring about. I will be developing models for progressing this aspect of the reform agenda in the near future with a view to early implementation.

In terms of financial accountability, many of the non-commercial state bodies are accountable, on a legislative basis, to the Public Accounts Committee. In addition, the Orders of Reference from Dáil Éireann have given the Public Accounts Committee powers to "send for persons, papers and records", which gives the Committee considerable scope to enquire in detail into public spending and related matters of public interest.

In the case of agencies with no specific legislative requirements for accountability to the Dáil, any amendment of legislation would be a policy matter for the relevant Ministers in the first instance. I will, however, keep the matter under review and would generally agree that, as legislation relating to individual State agencies is renewed, the question of formally designating CEOs as accountable persons to the Dáil should be considered.

Departmental Staff

Michael McGrath

Question:

106 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of all the senior civil servant posts that will not fall under the remit of the Top Level Appointments Committee; the rationale for excluding such posts from the committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9743/11]

The following senior civil service posts are filled by the Government and do not come within the TLAC arrangements:

Secretary General to the Government and of Department of the Taoiseach;

Secretary General, Department of Finance;

Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform;

Secretary General, Department of Foreign Affairs;

Secretary General to the President;

Chairman, Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

Because of the particular characteristics of these posts it is considered that the Government should have full discretion in deciding who to appoint to them and not be confined to a short list drawn up by the Top Level Appointments Committee. This has been the approach adopted by Government since the establishment of the TLAC in 1984.

Tax Code

Clare Daly

Question:

107 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance his views on the retention of the VAT exempt status of printed books; his plans to abolish the VAT rate on e-books; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9769/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law with which Irish VAT law must comply. In so far as the supply of printed matter is concerned, three different rates may apply. The general position is that books are zero-rated, newspapers and periodicals are subject to VAT at the reduced rate (currently 13.5%) and stationery and other printed matter are liable at the standard rate (currently 21%). The zero rate applies to printed books, including atlases, children's picture, drawing and colouring books and books of music. The reduced rate applies to newspapers and periodicals, including sectoral publications (sports, fashion, etc.), holiday brochures, prospectuses, catalogues and maps. The standard rate applies to a wide range of printed goods, including stationery, calendars, greeting cards, diaries, yearbooks and posters. Under the EU VAT Directive, all digitised publications, regardless of their rate when printed (for example, a book liable at zero rate), are treated as the supply of a service liable at the standard rate of VAT. E-books, online newspaper subscriptions and online information services purchased via download over the Internet are also considered the supply of services liable for VAT at the standard rate. The EU position is that digital information services are not the direct equivalent of traditional printed products, including books. Even where the content is similar, the additional functionality (e.g. search facilities, hyperlinks, archives etc) associated with electronic content produces a fundamentally different product.

Local Authority Charges

Clare Daly

Question:

108 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance the way he will deal with the implementation of the new rateable valuation system for calculating local authority rates. [9770/11]

The Valuation Act 2001 which came into effect on 2nd May, 2002, provides for the revaluation of all commercial and industrial property. The Commissioner of Valuation has sole responsibility for all valuation matters under the Valuation Act 2001, which includes the implementation of the revaluation programme on a nationwide basis.

The revaluation programme began in November 2005 in the South Dublin County Council area and has since been rolled out to the areas covered by Fingal and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Councils. The revaluation of South Dublin was completed in December 2007, Fingal was completed in 2009 and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown was completed in 2010. In the next phase, the revaluation of the Dublin City Council area will commence with the signing of the valuation order on 5th May, 2011. This will entail the valuation of circa 25,000 properties and the new list will be published in December 2013. It is intended to roll out the programme to further local authority areas later in 2011 and the necessary process of consultation, as provided for under the Act, is under way with the local authorities of Waterford, i.e. Waterford City and County Council and Dungarvan Town Council. Preliminary work is also under way on the revaluation of Limerick City.

The Commissioner is actively reviewing options which might hold potential for accelerating the delivery of the revaluation programme within a shorter timeframe. My officials are also reviewing various provisions of the Valuation Act, such as streamlining the appeals process, to see if greater efficiencies can be achieved.

National Anthem

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

109 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance if the copyright to the National Anthem expires on 31 December 2012; and if the State holds the copyright to the various Irish language translations that have been made since 1917. [9874/11]

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

110 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance his views on the fact that the currently used translation of the Soldiers Song by Peadar Kearney has explicit party political connotations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9875/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 and 110 together.

In response to the Deputy's question, my Department holds the copyright in the National Anthem. The principal reasons for holding the copyright are to ensure that it is freely available, to prescribe that performance fees are not to be charged or collected in respect of the use of the National Anthem, and to ensure that it is not used in an inappropriate context and without due deference, such as to render it an object of scorn or derision.

Statutory Instrument No. 158 of 1995 European Communities (Term of Protection of Copyright) Regulations provided for the extension of the term of protection of literary, dramatic and artistic works to the lifetime of the author and a period of 70 years after the author's death irrespective of the date when the work is published or otherwise lawfully made available to the public''. As Peadar Kearney's death took place in November 1942 copyright on the national anthem will expire in December 2012.

The state does not hold copyright in respect of the various Irish language translations that have been made since 1917. I am however satisfied that the current version of the National Anthem as published on the Department of the Taoiseach's website is the appropriate and correct interpretation of the words as composed by Peadar Kearney.

Question No. 111 answered with Question No. 67.

Fiscal Policy

Michael McGrath

Question:

112 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance in view of the downward growth forecasts for the economy here, if the required fiscal adjustment for 2012 remains at €3.6 billion in accordance with the EU-International Monetary Fund programme or if it has been adjusted to reflect the less optimistic growth predictions. [9752/11]

The Stability Programme Update submitted to the European Commission and published on my Department's website on Friday last, 29th April, forecasts the 2012 General Government deficit at 8.6% of GDP. This forecast is based on the implementation of a budgetary adjustment of €3.6 billion in 2012. This is consistent with the Joint EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland and is in accordance with this Government's commitment to adhere to the aggregate budgetary adjustment for the combined period 2011/2012, as set out in that Programme.

This updated forecast of the 2012 General Government deficit is somewhat higher than the Budget 2011 forecast for 2012, reflecting the cost of additional borrowing associated with the banking recapitalisations announced in March, the weaker economic outlook and its impact on potential tax revenue generation.

However, the forecast 2012 General Government deficit is within the terms of the revised EDP Recommendation issued by the ECOFIN Council in December 2010.

The 2012 General Government deficit forecast will of course be subject to further revision later this year as more up-to-date economic and fiscal data become available. Taking into account all information — both positive and negative — I will then bring forward my Budget for 2012 in December as is the norm. At this point, I see no reason to change the aggregate amount of consolidation needed.

Banking Sector Regulation

Shane Ross

Question:

113 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Finance if he is satisfied with the decision of AIB public interest directors to approve the payment of a €3 million compensation package to the last chief executive (details supplied) of AIB; if he intends to support their continuation in office; and when he intends to make further appointments to the boards of banks. [9900/11]

The Taoiseach has already made clear to the House the Government's very serious concerns regarding the payments made to the former Managing Director of the bank, particularly in light of the huge commitment of public resources made to support the bank and the public interest obligations which arise from that support. My officials are investigating a number of issues relating to the circumstances in which these payments were approved by the Board and made to the Managing Director. The Deputy will, I hope, appreciate that in order to ensure that these investigations are not prejudiced in any way I do not wish to say anything further on these matters at this stage. However, I will of course advise the House of the findings of this process in due course. I also wish to advise the Deputy that following a request from my Department the National Treasury Management Agency, which has legal responsibility for managing the State's shareholder relationship with the banks, has recently written to all the covered institutions requesting that they undertake a review of remuneration practice, that they have further discussion with the Department of Finance ahead of any commitment to additional redundancy payments, and that the bank does not commit to further termination payments until after the review is completed. An analysis of severance entitlements has also been requested. In addition, the Deputy will be aware that in my statement on the Nyberg Report in this House on 20 April 2011, I set out a number of measures designed to strengthen Bank boards and bank management. These measures provide that the Chairman of each institution provides me and the NTMA with a Board Renewal Plan. Each institution will also be asked to provide a Management Renewal Plan. The Board Renewal Plan will set out for each institution the steps to ensure that the skills and competence levels of board members are fully adequate to meet the demands of the current and future banking system. In this regard, a programme of rotation of board members, commencing with board members appointed before September 2008, will be expected to be part of the plan. This will provide for a smooth process which will ensure the succession of incumbent board members who were in place before September 2008. I expect this succession to be completed by 2012.

Finally, my Department recently placed advertisements in the national papers seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified persons for inclusion among those to be appointed or nominated to Boards of Directors of Banks. This gives all persons who are interested in and qualified to act as Directors the opportunity to advise me of their interest. The advertising for expressions of interest should ensure a high calibre field from which Directors may be chosen and makes the process more open and transparent. It is part of the commitments given in the Programme for Government to restructure bank boards and replace directors who presided over failed lending practices. The closing date for receipt of expressions of interest is Thursday 12 May.

Tax Code

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

114 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding an application for a refund of stamp duty lodged in respect of a person (details supplied) in accordance with the stamp duty exemption to young trained farmers scheme during 2010. [9019/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that on 27 April 2011 they last contacted the representative in this case requesting a correctly completed return. Following receipt of the return, the application for the refund will be considered.

John Lyons

Question:

115 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding an application for a reassessment of tax in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. [9023/11]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they have received correspondence recently from the person concerned in relation to this matter. A PAYE Balancing Statement (P21) for the year 2010 will issue to the person concerned shortly.

An tSeirbhís Phoiblí

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

116 D’fhiafraigh Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Airgeadais cé mhéid airgid a shábhálfadh an Stát dá laghdófaí tuarastal chuile dhuine sa tseirbhís phoiblí atá ag saothrú níos mó ná €80,000 de 10%; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [9101/11]

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

117 D’fhiafraigh Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Airgeadais cé mhéid airgid a shábhálfadh an Stát dá laghdófaí tuarastal chuile dhuine sa tseirbhís phoiblí atá ag saothrú níos mó ná €100,000 de 10%; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [9102/11]

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

118 D’fhiafraigh Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Airgeadais cé mhéid airgid a shábhálfadh an Stát dá laghdófaí tuarastal chuile dhuine sa tseirbhís phoiblí atá ag saothrú níos mó ná €110,000 de 10%; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [9103/11]

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

119 D’fhiafraigh Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Airgeadais cé mhéid airgid a shábhálfadh an Stát dá laghdófaí tuarastal chuile dhuine sa tseirbhís phoiblí atá ag saothrú níos mó ná €150,000 de 10%; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [9104/11]

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

120 D’fhiafraigh Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Airgeadais cé mhéid airgid a shábhálfadh an Stát dá laghdófaí tuarastal chuile dhuine sa tseirbhís phoiblí atá ag saothrú níos mó ná €200,000 de 10%; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [9105/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 to 120, inclusive, together.

Cheana féin, in 2009 agus 2010, tá laghdú shubstaintiúil gearrtha ar phá Sheirbhísigh Phoiblí. Mar a d'iarr an Teachta tugtar anseo thíos, an coigilteas measta de bharr laghdú de 10% a ghearradh ar thuarastail atá níos airde ná an táirseach tuarastail.

Coigilteas de bharr laghdú de 10% i leith Seirbhísigh Phoiblí, ar theact isteach os cionn:

Meastachán

2009

2010

€m

200,000

1.4

150,000

49

110,000

62

100,000

97

80,000

213

Faoín gCómhaontú PS 2010-2014, tá an Rialtas tiomanta nach gcuirfear aon laghdú breise ar phá sa tSeirbhís Phoiblí i bhfeidhm, a fhad a dhéanfar na gealltanas um athruithe, atá luaite sa Chómhaontú, a chomhlíonadh.

Tax Reliefs

Finian McGrath

Question:

121 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding tax credits in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9. [9110/11]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they have been in touch with the individual concerned with a view to facilitating his claim for additional relief due in respect of increased bin charges since 2007.

Departmental Properties

Brian Stanley

Question:

122 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Finance the premises the State is renting or leasing in each of the Twenty-six Counties for each Department; the amount of rent paid for each premises; if the premises are occupied; if not, the period they are vacant; the cost of unoccupied premises to date; if the premises are subject to an upward only rent review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9114/11]

The Office of Public Works, based on current indicative information, rents 332 buildings for the purposes of providing office accommodation for various Government Departments throughout the 26 counties. This involves a stock of some 396 leases, which involve part or whole building, with certain buildings attracting multiple leases. 140 of these leases are subject to an "Upward Only" rent review clause.

OPW is currently collating information on vacant space and this information will be forwarded to the Deputy when the details are available.

The following table schedules this information including County, Location, Building Name, Rent per Annum and an "Upward Only" rent review identifier.

County

Location

Building Name

Rent PA

Upward Rent RVW

CARLOW

CARLOW

Carlow Education Office

27,500.00

CARLOW

CARLOW

Carlow Government Office Church Street

37,500.00

CARLOW

CARLOW

Carlow Probation & Welfare Service

18,030.28

CARLOW

CARLOW

Carlow Temporary Decentralisation Office (D/ETE)

69,436.00

Y

CARLOW

CARLOW

Carlow Vehicle Registration Office

60,967.50

CAVAN

BAILIEBOROUGH

Bailieboro SWO

13,250.00

CAVAN

CAVAN

Cavan Driver Testing Centre

20,500.00

CAVAN

CAVAN

Cavan Government Office Elm House

38,750.25

CAVAN

CAVAN

Cavan Government Office Elm House

18,958.50

CAVAN

CAVAN

Cavan Government Office Elm House

21,312.55

CAVAN

CAVAN

Cavan Government Office Elm House

34,188.00

CAVAN

CAVAN

Cavan Government Office Elm House

29,920.00

CAVAN

CAVAN

Cavan Government Office Newcourt Shop Centre

122,200.00

CLARE

ENNIS

Ennis Education Office

50,000.00

CLARE

ENNIS

Ennis Education Office

50,000.00

CLARE

ENNIS

Ennis Justice Welfare

13,205.28

CLARE

KILRUSH

Kilrush Decentralised Revenue Office.

85,050.00

Y

CLARE

KILRUSH

Kilrush SWO

1,650.66

CLARE

SHANNON

Shannon Driving Test Centre

4,950.00

CLARE

SHANNON

Westpark Business Campus Build 4000

32,480.00

CORK

BANDON

Bandon School Inspectors Office

26,750.00

CORK

BANDON

Bandon SWO

15,300.00

CORK

BANTRY

Bantry Customs and Excise

28,000.00

CORK

BANTRY

Bantry SWO - 6 Main Street

5,000.00

CORK

BANTRY

Bantry SWO - 7 Main Strret

24,000.00

Y

CORK

CARRIGALINE

Carrigaline DSFA Office

103,940.00

Y

CORK

CASTLETOWNBERE

Castletownbere SWO

12,220.00

CORK

CLONAKILTY

Clonakilty SWO

9,500.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Airport CSO

2,295.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Customs & Excise Centre Park House

48,000.00

Y

CORK

CORK

Cork Customs & Excise Centre Park House

110,000.00

Y

CORK

CORK

Cork Customs & Excise Centre Park House

43,940.00

Y

CORK

CORK

Cork Education Office

240,000.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Environment Office

76,773.52

Y

CORK

CORK

Cork Government Office Connolly Hall

17,000.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Government Office Connolly Hall

28,000.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Government Office Hibernian House

321,500.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Government Office Hibernian House

21,000.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Government Office Hibernian House

20,677.48

CORK

CORK

Cork Government Office Irish Life Building

190,800.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Government Office Irish Life Building

61,448.00

Y

CORK

CORK

Cork Government Office Irish Life Building

69,914.52

Y

CORK

CORK

Cork Government Office Irish Life Building

14,250.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Government Office Irish Life Building

205,933.00

CORK

CORK

Cork HIQA Decentralised Office

370,420.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Marine Office

58,500.00

Y

CORK

CORK

Cork Marine Office

53,320.00

Y

CORK

CORK

Cork Probation & Welfare Service Cove Street

300,368.00

CORK

CORK

Cork Probation & Welfare Service Grattan Street

9,523.04

CORK

CORK

Cork SWO - ESB Premises

120,000.00

Y

CORK

DUNMANWAY

Dunmanway SWO/CSO Office

15,250.00

CORK

FERMOY

Fermoy Education Office

3,500.00

CORK

FERMOY

Fermoy SWO - Connolly Street

15,300.00

Y

CORK

MACROOM

Macroom Bowl Road SWO

11,400.00

CORK

MALLOW

Mallow Farm Devopment Service

11,000.00

Y

CORK

MALLOW

Mallow SWO

33,846.14

CORK

SKIBBEREEN

Skibbereen Forestry Office

11,700.00

Y

CORK

SKIBBEREEN

Skibbereen Driving Test Centre

5,873.81

CORK

YOUGHAL

Youghal SWO - Main Street

12,000.00

DONEGAL

BALLEYBOFEY

Ballybofey SWO

15,000.00

DONEGAL

BALLYSHANNON

Ballyshannon Marine Office

10,234.09

DONEGAL

BALLYSHANNON

Ballyshannon Maritime Office

25,000.00

Y

DONEGAL

BALLYSHANNON

Ballyshannon Maritime Office

3,380.00

DONEGAL

BUNCRANA

Buncrana Government Offices

11,935.54

DONEGAL

BUNCRANA

Buncrana SWO

33,000.00

DONEGAL

DONEGAL

Donegal Driver Testing Centre

23,260.00

Y

DONEGAL

DUNFANAGHY

Dunfanaghy SWO

22,000.00

DONEGAL

FALCARRAGH

Falcarragh SWO

10,400.00

DONEGAL

GLENTIES

Glenties Marine Forestry Office

7,000.00

DONEGAL

GREENCASTLE

Greencastle Marine Office

2,310.92

DONEGAL

KILLYBEGS

Killybegs Government Office

12,000.00

DONEGAL

LETTERKENNY

Letterkenny Driving Test Centre

15,000.00

Y

DONEGAL

LETTERKENNY

Letterkenny Education Office

41,896.00

DONEGAL

LETTERKENNY

Letterkenny Probation & Welfare Main Street

80,000.00

DONEGAL

LETTERKENNY

Letterkenny Revenue Office

58,000.00

DONEGAL

MOVILLE

Moville Education Office

9,500.00

DUBLIN

BALBRIGGAN

Balbriggan DSP Office Temp

49,588.00

DUBLIN

BALBRIGGAN

Balbriggan Passport Office

553,669.50

Y

DUBLIN

BLACKROCK

Blackrock Trident House

678,500.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Abbey Street Upper 26 - 30

1,206,096.51

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Abbey Street Upper 26 - 30

994,569.76

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Abbey Street Upper 26 - 30

211,542.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Abbey Street Upper 26 - 30

672,175.55

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Amiens Street (Gandon House)

75,500.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Amiens Street (Gandon House)

655,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Amiens Street (Gandon House)

500,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Arran Quay (Arran Court)

165,337.23

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Capel Street 89 -94

689,321.76

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Frederick St NorthFrederick Crt

702,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Great Strand St Millennium Hse

265,675.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Irish Life Centre Block 1

970,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Irish Life Centre Block 1

215,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Irish Life Centre Block 2

1,335,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Irish Life Centre Block 5/7

1,110,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Irish Life Centre Block D E & F

900,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Kings Inn House SWO

208,275.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Kings Inn House SWO

558,200.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

O’Connell St 29-32

345,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Parnell Sq 13-15 Parnell House

1,830,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Parnell Sq 16

1,493,644.72

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 01

Parnell St Parnell Business Centre

45,801.99

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Adelaide Rd 65A (Davitt House)

1,680,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Adelaide Road 29-31

2,970,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Andrew St 10-12

340,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Bishops Square

1,525,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Bishops Square

1,495,500.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Bishops Square

1,120,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Clare Street 12

112,500.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Clonmel Street [Clonmel Place]

804,500.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Dawson St 18A Royal Irish Academy

41,900.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

D’Olier Street (D’Olier House)

1,085,626.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Earlsfort Terrace Earl Centre Block C

1,210,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Earlsfort Terrace Earl Centre Block J

195,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Earlsfort Terrace St Stephen Green House

1,024,229.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Earlsfort Terrace St Stephen Green House

365,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Earlsfort Terrace St Stephen Green House

205,270.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Ely Place 7-8 Ely Court

711,322.50

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Frederick St South Frederick House

197,200.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Harcourt Road 4-5

1,260,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Harcourt Road Dun Sceine

850,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Harcourt Sq Garda Block 1

1,300,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Harcourt Sq Garda Block 2

105,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Harcourt Sq Garda Block 2

1,832,500.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Harcourt Sq Garda Block 3

1,278,800.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Harcourt Sq Garda Block 4

417,250.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Harcourt St Harcourt Cntre Block 2

228,500.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Harcourt Street 75-78

1,010,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Hatch Street 13-15

460,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Holles Street Holbrook House

174,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Kildare Street 43-44

1,174,500.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Leeson Street Lower Ossory House

900,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Leinster St Sth 6-9 Phoenix Hse

218,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Lombard St East 8 - 11 Joyce Hse

560,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Row 2 - 4

472,500.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Square 24

269,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Mespil Road 43-49

1,637,756.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Molesworth Building Setanta Centre

114,388.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Molesworth Building Setanta Centre

2,267,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Molesworth Street Government Publications

80,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Mount St Lr 73-79 Ballaugh House

933,500.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Mount St Lr 79-83 Timberlay Hse

1,149,615.70

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Mount St Upr 36

200,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Mount Street Lower 85 - 93

1,743,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

688,600.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

278,600.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

792,144.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

469,680.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

716,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

797,940.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Nassau St Special Olymics

87,622.06

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Pearse St 212-213 Oisín House

1,493,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Revenue Castleview Georges st

1,827,522.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

St Stephens Green 67-71Hainault Hse

600,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

St Stephens Green 94

408,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

St Stephens Green 94

612,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Statoil Building

373,500.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Tara Street Apollo House

560,750.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Tara Street Apollo House

453,120.20

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Tara Street Apollo House

185,600.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 02

Wilton Place Fitzwilton House

205,500.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 04

Claremont Road Revenue Office

655,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 04

Shelbourne Road 21Shelbourne House

1,018,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 04

Waterloo Road St Martins House

570,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 05

Kilbarrack SWO

145,500.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 06

Canal Road (Canal House)

370,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 06

Rathgar Driving Test Centre

36,822.40

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

Blackhall Place Smithwick Tribunal

333,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

Bow Street Government Office

450,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

Manor St Nursing Council

85,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

Navan Road Ashtowngate

1,550,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

Navan Road Ashtowngate Block B

254,401.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

North Circular Road Park House

92,778.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

North Circular Road Park House

340,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

North King St 90 Georges Court

655,940.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

North King St 90 Georges Court

1,353,509.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

Ormond Quay Ormond House

282,750.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

Ormond Quay Upper 19

99,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

Smithfield Office of Film Class

255,955.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 07

Smithfield Probation Service

1,188,070.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 08

Conyngham Road Phoenix House

365,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 08

Garden Lane Probation & Welfare Office

55,980.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 08

The Chancery Building

543,880.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 08

Thomas Street 126 - 127

244,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 10

Ballyfermot Probation & Welfare Service

39,500.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 11

Finglas Driver Testing Centre+Revenue Store

45,520.15

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 11

Finglas Probation & Welfare Service

66,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 11

Finglas Shopping Centre FÁS

39,500.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 12

Park West Business Park Block 43

212,585.90

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 13

Donaghmede Probation & Welfare Service

160,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 14

Churchtown Driving Test Centre

13,800.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 14

Clonskeagh Belfield Office Park

1,160,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 14

Nutgrove SWO

144,480.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 15

Blanchardstown Government Office

157,907.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 15

Blanchardstown Government Office

157,907.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 15

Blanchardstown Government Office

638,678.25

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 22

Clondalkin Education Office

25,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 22

Clondalkin Education Office

25,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 22

Clondalkin SWO Ninth Lock Rd

215,000.00

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 24

Tallaght Education Office

113,658.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 24

Tallaght Government Office Plaza Complex

500,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 24

Tallaght Government Office Plaza Complex

380,000.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 24

Tallaght Government Office St Johns House

722,501.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 24

Tallaght PIAB

188,553.75

Y

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 24

Tallaght Probation & Welfare Service

92,057.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN 24

Tallaght Revenue Commissioners

107,500.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN AIRPORT

Dublin Airport International House

11,308.40

DUBLIN

DUBLIN AIRPORT

Dublin Airport Pier B

14,599.20

DUBLIN

DUBLIN AIRPORT

Dublin Airport Pier B

5,212.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN AIRPORT

Dublin Airport Terminal Building

14,340.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN AIRPORT

Dublin Airport Terminal Building

16,086.00

DUBLIN

DUBLIN AIRPORT

Dublin Airport Transaer House

565,235.00

DUBLIN

DUN LAOGHAIRE

Dun Laoghaire Probation & Welfare Service

85,999.36

Y

DUBLIN

DUN LAOGHAIRE

Dun Laoghaire Vehicle Registration Office

47,500.00

DUBLIN

LUCAN

Lucan SWO - Chapel Hill

16,671.66

DUBLIN

LUCAN

Lucan SWO - Main Street

12,697.38

DUBLIN

MALAHIDE

Malahide SWO

15,871.73

Y

DUBLIN

SWORDS

Swords Agricultural Inspectors

8,253.30

Y

DUBLIN

SWORDS

Swords Business Campus Unit 4

634,852.53

Y

DUBLIN

SWORDS

Swords Business Campus Unit 5/6A

231,443.68

Y

DUBLIN

SWORDS

Swords Business Campus Unit 5/6C

173,226.50

Y

DUBLIN

SWORDS

Swords Business Campus Unit 5/6D

181,490.55

Y

DUBLIN

SWORDS

Swords Temp DSFA Office

30,000.00

GALWAY

BALLINASLOE

Ballinasloe Government Office

14,195.67

GALWAY

CLIFDEN

Clifden Driving Test Centre

6,032.00

GALWAY

CLIFDEN

Clifden Environment Office

27,500.00

GALWAY

GALWAY

Ballybane Garda Community Office

6,500.00

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway DAF Dockgate

922,250.00

Y

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Driving Test Centre

31,500.00

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Education Office

90,000.00

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Environment Office

48,000.00

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Garda Office

76,000.00

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Garda Training

31,420.00

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Government Office Hynes Building

235,000.00

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Government Office Hynes Building

222,425.00

Y

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Government Office Ross House

88,000.00

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Irish Water Safety

41,722.00

Y

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Liosbaun Garda Unit 1B

25,987.50

Y

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Probation & Welfare Service

31,144.00

Y

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Probation & Welfare Service

9,595.00

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Probation & Welfare Service

42,334.50

Y

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway Revenue Fairgreen

1,214,221.40

GALWAY

GALWAY

Galway SWO - Island House

15,768.00

GALWAY

GORT

Gort SWO

8,735.00

GALWAY

LOUGHREA

Galway Millenium House

19,407.50

Y

GALWAY

LOUGHREA

Loughrea Agriculture Offices

13,865.54

GALWAY

LOUGHREA

Loughrea Agriculture Offices

26,600.00

GALWAY

LOUGHREA

Loughrea DSFA Office

20,800.00

GALWAY

LOUGHREA

Loughrea SWO - PMPA Building

23,000.00

GALWAY

LOUGHREA

Loughrea Transport & Road Safety Authority Temporary Office

56,187.50

Y

GALWAY

LOUGHREA

Loughrea Transport & Road Safety Authority Temporary Office

51,837.50

Y

GALWAY

LOUGHREA

Loughrea Transport & Road Safety Authority Temporary Office

31,225.00

Y

GALWAY

OUGHTERARD

Oughterard Environ Office

6,500.00

GALWAY

SPIDDAL

An Coimisinéir Teanga

45,981.00

GALWAY

TUAM

Tuam Driver Testing Centre

10,500.00

GALWAY

TUAM

Tuam Government Offices

29,500.00

GALWAY

TUAM

Tuam Ordnance Survey Office

22,000.00

KERRY

KENMARE

Kenmare SWO

19,000.00

KERRY

KILLARNEY

Killarney Park Court

40,000.00

KERRY

KILLARNEY

Killarney Park Court

76,369.20

KERRY

KILLARNEY

Killarney Park Court

61,200.00

KERRY

LISTOWEL

Listowel Revenue Office

244,923.70

Y

KERRY

LISTOWEL

Listowel SWO

81,263.24

KERRY

TRALEE

Blennerville Agriculture Engineers Office

55,800.00

KERRY

TRALEE

Tralee CSO (Temporary)

20,500.00

KERRY

TRALEE

Tralee Education Office

69,000.00

KERRY

TRALEE

Tralee Garda Training Centre

18,000.00

KERRY

TRALEE

Tralee Probation and Welfare Service

35,000.00

KILDARE

ATHY

Athy Revenue Temporary Decentralisation Office

231,553.95

KILDARE

ATHY

Athy SWO

12,500.00

KILDARE

KILDARE

Kildare Heritage Office

20,761.00

KILDARE

MAYNOOTH

Maynooth Agriculture Office

940,625.68

KILDARE

NAAS

Naas Agriculture Office - Poplar House

95,696.00

Y

KILDARE

NAAS

Naas Agriculture Office - Spring Garden House

41,000.00

KILDARE

NAAS

Naas Driving Test Centre

11,000.00

KILDARE

NAAS

Naas Government Office

254,034.00

KILDARE

NAAS

Naas SWO - Rathasker Square

23,000.00

Y

KILDARE

NAAS

Naas Vehicle Registration Office

38,000.00

KILDARE

NAAS

Willow House Millennium Park Block 6

119,163.00

Y

KILDARE

NEWBRIDGE

Newbridge SWO - Henry Street

20,500.00

LAOIS

PORTARLINGTON

Portarlington Decentralised Office

73,500.00

Y

LAOIS

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise Agriculture Office - Eircom

191,000.00

LAOIS

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise Agriculture Office - Gandon Court

67,245.00

Y

LAOIS

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise Agriculture Office - Gandon Court

70,500.00

Y

LAOIS

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise Agriculture Office - Gandon Court

76,050.00

Y

LAOIS

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise DAF Appeals Office

84,051.49

Y

LAOIS

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise Environment Office

9,945.00

LAOIS

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise Grattan Business Centre

264,640.00

LAOIS

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise Grattan House

46,860.00

LAOIS

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise Grattan House

75,000.00

LAOIS

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise NCCA & Equality (Temporary)

60,961.50

LEITRIM

BALLINAMORE

Ballinamore SWO

12,220.00

LEITRIM

CARRICK ON SHANNON

Carrick-on-Shannon Decentralised SWO

800,000.00

Y

LIMERICK

KILMALLOCK

Kilmallock SWO

12,000.00

LIMERICK

LIMERICK

Limerick Decentralised Office DFA

900,000.00

Y

LIMERICK

LIMERICK

Limerick Driving Test Centre

15,000.00

LIMERICK

LIMERICK

Limerick Education Office

255,000.00

LIMERICK

LIMERICK

Limerick Estuary House

197,000.00

LIMERICK

LIMERICK

Limerick Government Office Houston Hall

373,568.00

Y

LIMERICK

LIMERICK

Limerick Probation & Welfare Service

45,262.00

LIMERICK

LIMERICK

Limerick Probation & Welfare Service

45,262.00

LIMERICK

LIMERICK

Limerick Revenue Office

615,000.00

LIMERICK

LIMERICK

Limerick SWO - Plassey

42,050.00

LIMERICK

LIMERICK

Moyross Garda Clinic

1,269.74

LIMERICK

NEWCASTLEWEST

Newcastlewest Probation & Welfare Office

39,613.16

Y

LONGFORD

GRANARD

Granard SWO

6,602.64

LONGFORD

MOYNE

Moyne Wildlife Office

9,500.00

Y

LOUTH

ARDEE

Ardee SWO

14,000.00

LOUTH

DROGHEDA

Drogheda Education Office

62,000.00

LOUTH

DROGHEDA

Drogheda Probation & Welfare Service

66,000.00

Y

LOUTH

DROGHEDA

Drogheda SWO Singleton House

70,533.00

Y

LOUTH

DUNDALK

Block 1 Finnabair Business Park

96,000.00

LOUTH

DUNDALK

Dundalk Education Office

14,544.00

LOUTH

DUNDALK

Dundalk Garda Office

2,800.00

MAYO

BALLINA

Ballina Road Safety HQ Unit 2

151,641.00

MAYO

BALLINA

Ballina Road Safety HQ Unit 3

121,250.00

Y

MAYO

BALLINA

Ballina Road Safety HQ Unit 4

121,937.50

Y

MAYO

BALLYHAUNIS

Ballyhaunis SWO

4,571.06

MAYO

CASTLEBAR

Castlebar DTC

11,500.00

MAYO

CASTLEBAR

Castlebar National Education Physchology Service

23,000.00

MAYO

CASTLEBAR

Castlebar Probation & Welfare Service

38,259.80

Y

MAYO

CASTLEBAR

Castlebar SWO - Humbert Mall

38,000.00

MAYO

CLAREMORRIS

Claremorris Agriculture Office

37,000.00

MAYO

CLAREMORRIS

Claremorris SWO

8,913.56

MAYO

CLAREMORRIS

Claremorris Temporary Decentralised Office

68,712.00

MAYO

SWINFORD

Swinford DSFA Office

18,840.00

Y

MEATH

KELLS

Kells SWO

18,500.00

MEATH

NAVAN

Navan Athlumney House

439,921.00

Y

MEATH

NAVAN

Navan Government Office Kilcairn

573,700.00

Y

MEATH

NAVAN

Navan Revenue Abbey Mall

575,360.00

Y

MEATH

NAVAN

Navan SWO

230,000.00

Y

MEATH

TRIM

Trim NCSE

87,645.60

MONAGHAN

BALLYBAY

Ballybay District Veterinary Office

11,427.64

MONAGHAN

BALLYBAY

Ballybay Livestock Office

42,000.00

MONAGHAN

CARRICKMACROSS

Carrickmacross SWO

27,000.00

MONAGHAN

CASTLEBLAYNEY

Castleblaney Credit Union House

14,250.00

MONAGHAN

CASTLEBLAYNEY

Castleblayney SWO

9,903.96

MONAGHAN

MONAGHAN

Monaghan Revenue MTEK

181,830.00

OFFALY

BIRR

Birr Forestry Office

4,951.98

OFFALY

BIRR

Birr Government Offices

6,900.00

OFFALY

BIRR

Birr Government Offices

5,577.00

OFFALY

TULLAMORE

Tullamore Probation & Welfare Service

8,862.50

OFFALY

TULLAMORE

Tullamore SWO Castle Buildings

204,044.80

Y

ROSCOMMON

BALLAGHADERREEN

Dillon House CRAGA Office

3,174.34

ROSCOMMON

BOYLE

Boyle Education Office

5,760.00

ROSCOMMON

BOYLE

Boyle SWO

9,063.21

ROSCOMMON

CASTLEREA

Castlerea SWO

2,750.00

SLIGO

SLIGO

Beulah Building

124,448.00

SLIGO

SLIGO

Lough Arrow Field Study Centre

33,430.00

Y

SLIGO

SLIGO

Marino House

57,640.15

Y

SLIGO

SLIGO

Marino House

57,642.00

Y

SLIGO

SLIGO

Sligo Driving Test Centre

109,220.00

SLIGO

SLIGO

Sligo Garda Welfare Office

11,732.38

Y

SLIGO

SLIGO

Sligo Government Office - Westward Town Centre

31,000.00

SLIGO

SLIGO

Sligo Government Office - Westward Town Centre

34,752.73

SLIGO

SLIGO

Sligo Government Office - Westward Town Centre

53,250.00

Y

SLIGO

SLIGO

Sligo Government Office - Westward Town Centre

42,260.00

Y

SLIGO

SLIGO

Sligo SCFA Office

194,600.00

Y

SLIGO

TUBBERCURRY

Tubbercurry Temporary CRAGA Office

86,755.00

SLIGO

TUBBERCURRY

Tubbercurry Temporary CRaGA Office 2

88,138.00

TIPPERARY

CARRICK ON SUIR

Carrick-on-Suir SWO

7,800.00

TIPPERARY

CLONMEL

Clonmel Government Office Harbour Hse

275,000.00

TIPPERARY

NENAGH

Nenagh Government Office (Temporary)

16,000.00

TIPPERARY

NENAGH

Nenagh Justice Office

36,270.00

Y

TIPPERARY

ROSCREA

Roscrea Civil Defence Office

25,000.00

Y

TIPPERARY

ROSCREA

Roscrea Civil Defence Office

178,825.00

Y

TIPPERARY

ROSCREA

Roscrea SWO

16,506.60

TIPPERARY

ROSCREA

Roscrea Temporary Decentralised Office

130,000.00

TIPPERARY

TEMPLEMORE

Templemore SWO

8,253.30

TIPPERARY

THURLES

Thurles Garda Fines Office

186,186.00

TIPPERARY

THURLES

Thurles Government Offices - ACC House

6,983.56

TIPPERARY

THURLES

Thurles Government Offices - ACC House

10,157.90

TIPPERARY

THURLES

Tipperary Technology Park Unit A6

1,518.90

TIPPERARY

THURLES

Tipperary Technology Park Unit F2

64,736.00

TIPPERARY

THURLES

Tipperary Technology Park Unit F3

5,244.00

TIPPERARY

TIPPERARY

Tipperary Driving Test Centre

5,200.00

TIPPERARY

TIPPERARY

Tipperary Justice Office

81,150.00

TIPPERARY

TIPPERARY

Tipperary Temporary Decentralised Office

103,957.50

Y

WATERFORD

DUNGARVAN

Dungarvan Government Office Civic Buildings

81,806.68

WATERFORD

LISMORE

Lismore SWO

6,480.00

WATERFORD

WATERFORD

Waterford Government Offices - Johnstown

117,968.00

WATERFORD

WATERFORD

Waterford Agriculture Belview

13,220.00

Y

WATERFORD

WATERFORD

Waterford Road Safety Authority Test Centre

40,000.00

Y

WESTMEATH

ATHLONE

Athlone Driver Testing Centre

21,600.00

WESTMEATH

ATHLONE

Athlone DSFA & Probation & Welfare Office

359,577.16

WESTMEATH

MULLINGAR

Mullingar Central Statistics Office

6,000.00

WESTMEATH

MULLINGAR

Mullingar Government Offices

186,309.00

WESTMEATH

MULLINGAR

Mullingar Probation & Welfare Service

26,664.50

WEXFORD

ENNISCORTHY

Enniscorthy SWO Portsmouth House

25,000.00

Y

WEXFORD

GOREY

Gorey Government Offices

11,000.00

WEXFORD

ROSSLARE HARBOUR

Rosslare Harbour Vehicle Registration Office

90,000.00

WEXFORD

WEXFORD

Wexford Driver Testing Centre

5,078.95

WEXFORD

WEXFORD

Wexford Education Office

95,316.60

WICKLOW

ARKLOW

Arklow Probation & Welfare Service

19,046.07

Y

WICKLOW

BALTINGLASS

Baltinglass DAF Office

26,000.00

WICKLOW

BRAY

Bray Civic Centre Block D

471,541.36

Y

WICKLOW

WICKLOW

Wicklow Government Office Murrough

123,926.44

Ministerial Staff

Brendan Smith

Question:

123 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance the details of all permanent civil service or non-established positions which are in place in his Department in relation to assisting Ministers with constituency work; the monthly salaries for these positions; and if any further appointments are envisaged. [9139/11]

In my Department 4 people, detailed below, are assigned to work on constituency matters.

GRADE SALARY SCALE (per annum)

1 Personal Assistant€43,715-€56,060

1 Executive Officer (EO)€30,516-€47,975

1 Clerical Officer (CO)€23,177-€37,341

1 Clerical Officer (CO)€23,042-€36,267

My colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform also has 4 people, detailed below, assigned to work on constituency matters.

GRADE SALARY SCALE (per annum)

1 Personal Secretary€23,820-€47,755

1 Personal Assistant€43,715-€56,060

1 Clerical Officer (CO)€23,177-€37,341

1 Clerical Officer (CO)€23,042-€36,267

Their roles require that they provide a range of duties associated with constituency matters for the relevant Minister. As the Deputy may be aware, the Government recently decided to limit the number of staff in a Minister's constituency office to 4, and the number of staff in a Minister of State's constituency office to 3.

Ministerial Appointments

Brendan Smith

Question:

124 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Finance if he will list the details of all State appointments open to direct choice by him on 10 March 2011. [9153/11]

In response to the Deputy's question there were no vacancies on bodies under the aegis of my department open to direct choice by me on the 10th March 2010.

Question No. 125 answered with Question No. 83.

Banking Sector Regulation

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

126 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance the actions that will be taken to tax excess severance packages made to former employees of majority State owned banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9173/11]

The position is that a severance payment made under the terms of a person's employment contract or where the employer is otherwise contractually bound to make the payment, the payment is treated, for income tax purposes, as remuneration from the employment and the payment is fully chargeable to Income Tax and Universal Social Charge (USC) in the same way as any other remuneration or benefits from the employment. In addition, where a severance payment is made outside of the terms of a person's employment contract or is otherwise made on a non-contractual basis, the severance payment is subject to income tax under the rules of sections 123 and 201 of, and Schedule 3 to, the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.

I should point out that in Budget 2011 these provisions were amended. Accordingly, the maximum amount is restricted to €200,000 in respect of severance payments that can be paid free of income tax and USC depending on a number of factors, including whether there were any previous severance payments made free of tax. Any amount above €200,000 is chargeable to income tax, but may qualify for a relief that reduces the rate of income tax to be charged to a rate equal to the average rate of income tax paid by the person for the 3 years preceding the tax year in which the severance payment is treated as income. The taxable portion of any severance payment is chargeable to USC at the appropriate rate without any similar relief.

It should be noted that these rules apply equally to all employees in receipt of severance payments.

While there are no special rules in the tax code dealing specifically with excess severance payments made to former employees of majority State owned banks, I would point out that the Finance Act 2011 introduced a special regime (which effectively imposes a combined tax, USC and PRSI charge of 90%) on excess bonuses paid to employees of financial institutions which have received financial investment from the State.

Tax Code

Jim Daly

Question:

127 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Finance the reason a person (details supplied) will not receive their annual refund in respect of PAYE emergency tax as they have done for a number of years independent of their spouse’s tax affairs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9200/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the only refund of tax that they made to the person concerned is €10.82 in respect of the tax year 2008. Other tax refunds may have been made by an employer during the relevant tax years to correct overcharges arising from emergency tax rates being applied by the employer to their employment. The person in question is jointly assessed for Income Tax purposes. The tax liability for 2010 cannot be finalised until a tax return is submitted for that year. The latest date for making the return is 31 October 2011 (or 15 November if filed online), but it may be submitted now. Their tax liability will be assessed on the basis of the 2010 return, and a refund will issue if tax has been overpaid.

I am further advised by the Revenue Commissioners that joint returns made for the years 2007 and 2008 did not include details of the income of the person in question under the PAYE system. I have been advised that amended notices of assessment will issue shortly which will take account of the person's PAYE income.

Derek Nolan

Question:

128 Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Finance if following commitments made in the Finance Act 2010 he will sign the OECD’s Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on Tax Matters and related protocols which allow for the automatic multilateral exchange of information on tax; his views on non OECD members becoming signatories to the Convention in the interests of international financial transparency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9212/11]

I am fully committed to the ratification of the Council of Europe/OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and related protocol. Provision for the signature of the Convention was included in the Finance Act 2010; however, our preference is that we should sign the Convention without reservation which means that we also need to legislate for the assistance of recovery of taxes provisions and the service of documents provisions contained in the Convention, a process which I would hope can be completed this year. The inclusion of non OECD members in the Convention is something that is worthy of support, and I welcome the opening-up of the Convention to non-OECD/non-Council of Europe members.

Departmental Staff

Michael McGrath

Question:

129 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if there are recruitment plans for a service (details supplied). [9258/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that there are no vacancies at present in Revenue's Maritime Service. Any future recruitment plans for the service are a matter for the Revenue Commissioners in the context of Government policy on civil service numbers.

Liquor Licences

Liam Twomey

Question:

130 Deputy Liam Twomey asked the Minister for Finance the reason the Revenue Commissioners are expecting shops which sell small quantities of wine to have an off-licence certification from revenue which increases the licence cost for small shops from €500 to €5,000 which is causing hardship to shop owners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9295/11]

The Deputy will be aware the rate of excise duty on off-licences was reviewed in the context of the 2008 and 2009 Budgets. The annual excise duty payable on each off-licence was increased from €250 to €500. An off-licence selling the full range of alcohol products requires three licences — spirits, beer and wine. Consequently, shops who wish to sell all three alcohol products must obtain retailers off Licences which usually cost €1,500 per annum. However, an off-licence for a shop selling only wine will cost €500.

Fiscal Policy

Liam Twomey

Question:

131 Deputy Liam Twomey asked the Minister for Finance if the Revenue Commissioners will review the revenue block they have placed on the account of a company (details supplied) in view of the fact that this is having a significant effect on the cash flow of the business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9297/11]

This is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that there has been a substantial record of non-compliance and broken payment agreements by the business concerned and that the basic financial viability of the business is something that is of serious concern in the context of allowing any further deterioration in the tax debt situation of the business. In those circumstances Revenue is not in a position to halt its current enforcement action until the existing debt is paid.

National Asset Management Agency

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

132 Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Finance if the National Asset Management Agency used public relations consultants; and if so the amount of money that has been spent on public relations. [9299/11]

The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), while a statutory body in its own right, operates under the aegis of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and, in common with the NTMA's other business functions, it draws on the NTMA's shared services in a number of areas including the press office facility. The NTMA does not have an internal press office. Instead, the NTMA's Communications Officer is supported by the resources of an external service provider (appointed following a public procurement process) in order to offer a full press office service (including out-of-hours contacts for the media) across all the NTMA's business areas.

The NTMA has not traditionally had a dedicated press office but decided to put these arrangements in place during 2010 in light of a significant increase in the volume of domestic and international media queries being received by the NTMA and other associated bodies such as NAMA. The NTMA paid €185,000 (inc. VAT) to this service provider during 2010.

In addition to NAMA, this press office facility serves the NTMA in its debt management role and also in relation to its other business areas which are the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF), the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), the State Claims Agency (SCA) and the NTMA's delegated banking system functions.

EU-IMF Fund

Peter Mathews

Question:

133 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 270 of 12 January 2011, the new interest rate charged on International Monetary Fund borrowings as a result of the quota revision; if he will provide a breakdown of this rate showing the margin added; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9315/11]

Interest on borrowings from the IMF is charged as follows:

For borrowings up to three times quota, the interest rate is the SDR rate (which is calculated on a weekly basis — it is 0.55% as of 2 May 2011) plus a margin set by the IMF (currently 1%).

Borrowings above the threshold of three times quota are charged an additional 2%.

From 18 January 2014, the third anniversary of the 1st disbursement of the IMF funds to Ireland, an additional 1% is charged on borrowings over three times quota.

In addition to the interest charge there is a once off up front handling fee of 0.5% of all draw downs.

On 4 March 2011, Ireland's IMF quota increased from SDR 838.4 million to SDR 1,257.6 million.

The first drawdown of IMF funds under the Programme took place on 18 January 2011. The amount was SDR 5,012,425,200, equivalent to some €5.8 billion, for an average life of 7½ years.

Due to the quota change, SDR 1,257.6 million of the SDR 5.0 billion drawn on 18 January last is now subject to a margin of 1% instead of 3%. In annual payment terms, this represents a saving of SDR 25.2 million. After 18 January 2014, the annual saving will increase by SDR 12.6 million as the 1% surcharge that applies from that date will not apply to the additional SDR 1,257.6 million that is now within three times the quota.

Fiscal Policy

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

134 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to consideration being given by the EU Commission and the European Central Bank to developing a unitary fiscal regime whereby Ireland, Greece and Portugal and any other Troika assisted Euro States will never completely return to the financial markets as fiscally independent States; his views on such a proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9317/11]

I am not aware of any such proposal. The stated aim of the existing EU — IMF Programme is to enable Ireland to return to the financial markets, and the programme provides the breathing space to achieve that.

As the Deputy will be aware, the European Council has agreed on the need for euro-area Member States to establish a permanent stability mechanism: the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Arrangements for the establishment of the mechanism are currently under discussion at EU level. My officials and I are contributing to those discussions as appropriate. The ESM will be activated by mutual agreement if it is indispensable to safeguarding the financial stability of the euro area as a whole. The ESM will assume the role of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) in providing external financial assistance to euro-area Member States after June 2013.

The ESM will grant short-term or medium term stability support, under strict conditionality to a euro-area Member State, which is experiencing severe financing problems or is threatened by severe financing problems in order to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole. The length of the programme and maturity of the loans will depend on the nature of the imbalance in the beneficiary Member State and the prospects of the beneficiary Member State regaining access to financial markets within the time that ESM resources are available.

Housing Grants

Robert Troy

Question:

135 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance his plans to maintain the level of funding to continue the important scheme of insulating the homes of persons who are in receipt of the fuel allowance as is being administered by Sustainable Energy Ireland. [9343/11]

The allocations for the National Energy Retrofit Scheme in the Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Vote were set out in the 2011 Estimates, to be approved by the Dáil. Any adjustment to the allocations in the context of the Jobs Initiative or in future years would fall to be considered by Government and then approved by Dáil Éireann.

Tax Code

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

136 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance when he will, in conjunction with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, conduct the cost-benefit analysis into the amendment of the research and development tax credit regime; the timeframe for the completion of this analysis; if this analysis will incorporate the reform of R&D supports available to the digital game industry; the way the R&D supports available to the digital game industry will be reformed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5868/11]

The Programme for Government (Government for National Recovery 2011-2016) contains a commitment to amend the R&D tax credit scheme in a number of ways, subject to the outcome of a cost benefit analysis. I would envisage that it would be feasible to carry out the required cost benefit analysis before next year’s Budget or Finance Bill process.

Digital games are essentially software development and would already be a field of science and technology for the purposes of the R&D tax credit scheme. Relevant R&D expenditure on games should already qualify under the existing terms of the tax credit scheme, provided any specific games development achieves scientific or technological advancement and involve the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty.

Supports for R&D outside of the tax credit scheme are matters for my colleague, the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation. I understand, in this regard, that IDA Ireland which operates under the aegis of that Department is in the process of organising a one-day R&D workshop for the games industry. The IDA is liaising with the industry to finalise this arrangement. Officials of the Revenue Commissioners will also attend that workshop to explain the operation of the R&D tax credit scheme and be available to respond to any questions about the scheme that may arise.

Credit Availability

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

137 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance if European Commission approval has been received for the new business investments targeting the employment scheme that is replacing the business expansion scheme; the way the two schemes differ; when the new scheme will be operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5877/11]

The approval of the European Commission has not yet been received for the Employment and Investment Incentive (EII) and Seed Capital Scheme, which is set to replace the current Business Expansion Scheme (BES) and Seed Capital Schemes (SCS). My officials are currently in discussions with the Commission with regard to the changes proposed. These include the following: An increase in the lifetime limit that can be raised by companies from €2 million to €10 million.

An increase in the annual limit that can be raised from €1.5 to €2.5 million.

The removal of the majority of the qualifying trades restrictions.

A simplification of the certification requirements.

A reduction in the rate of tax relief for investors from 41% to 30% along with a reduction in the holding period required for shares from five to three years.

The potential for a further 11% in tax relief, at the end of the three year holding period, where the company has increased employment or spent at least 30% of the funding raised on research and development.

The new incentive will become operational once the approval of the European Commission has been received. Pending the receipt of this approval, the existing BES will continue to operate.

It is not possible to stipulate when the approval of the European Commission will be received. However, it is hoped that a favourable decision will be made in as short a time-frame as possible.

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

138 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance when business will be able to access funds from the Strategic Investment Bank; the capital and funds that will be made available by the bank for small medium enterprise; the rates that will be attached to the funds; the persons who will oversee the operations and the bank; if the credit review office will have a remit to review appeals of refusal of credit at the bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5882/11]

The Programme for Government contains a clear commitment to creating a Strategic Investment Bank that will become a provider of finance to large capital projects, a conduit for venture capital and a lender to SMEs. As I indicated in a reply to you on 23 March (PQ 5399), the Government will only be in a position to decide on the timing and the structure for setting up the Strategic Investment Bank when the necessary detailed assessment and planning work has been done. Therefore it would be premature to discuss its functions and responsibilities at this stage. For the same reasons the Government Legislation Programme for the summer session which was published on 5 April does not contain legislation in relation to the Strategic Investment Bank.

Financial Services Regulation

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

139 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance when he will establish the taskforce on the future of the financial services sector to maximise employment opportunities in financial services as per the Programme for Government; the time scale for the establishment and reporting of this taskforce; the persons who will be on this taskforce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5879/11]

The Programme for Government sets out that the Government is committed to the future development of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) as a source of future employment growth subject to appropriate regulation. More than 32,000 people are directly employed in international financial services, in over 500 firms. Substantial indirect employment is also generated, and the sector contributes €2.1bn in corporate and payroll taxes to the Exchequer. Accounting for 10% of multi-national employment, international financial services represents an estimated 7.4% of GDP, and 5% of EU international financial services activity is carried out from Ireland.

The fundamental goal of public policy in relation to the IFSC is to develop the international financial services industry in Ireland, built upon sustainable, responsible and internationally respected foundations, to maximise not only the number of jobs, but also the quality of employment and the future sustainability and growth prospects of the industry.

The Government believes that it is necessary to continue to adopt, articulate and implement a clear vision for the development of the IFSC to demonstrate Ireland's commitment to the promotion and growth of its international financial services industry. As part of this, work is under way on the preparation of a new strategic review for the development of the international financial services industry. Advancing the key recommendations of the Strategy through the structure of the IFSC Clearing House Group and other IFSC Working Groups will ensure that progress is advanced within an agreed time scale to be determined as part of the strategic review.

Tax Code

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

140 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance if he will introduce a VAT refund scheme for charities. [7975/11]

Charities and non-profit groups engaged in non-commercial activity are exempt from VAT under the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply. This means they do not charge VAT on the services they provide and cannot recover VAT incurred on goods and services that they purchase. Essentially only VAT registered businesses which charge VAT are able to recover VAT. I have no plans to introduce a VAT refund scheme for charities. It is not clear that refunding VAT paid by charities is an appropriate method as opposed to grant-aiding the activities of charities using other criteria.

The tax code already treats charities in a favourable manner. The tax code currently provides exemption for charities from Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Deposit Interest Retention Tax, Capital Acquisitions Tax, Stamp Duty, Probate Tax, Dividend Withholding Tax and the uniform scheme of tax relief for donations.

Personal Debt

Terence Flanagan

Question:

141 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding financial assistance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9410/11]

As the Deputy will appreciate, it would not be appropriate for me, as Minister for Finance to comment on individual cases. As regards assisting homeowners who are struggling to pay off mortgages, the Deputy will be aware of the work of the Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt. This Group produced two Reports, an Interim Report published in July 2010 and a Final Report published in November 2010. All of the Expert Group's recommendations are listed in Chapter 2 of the Final Report. They can be accessed atwww.finance.gov.ie.

Since the publication of the Reports, the Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) has been revised by the Central Bank to reflect many of the recommendations of the Expert Group, including key recommendations relating to the introduction by all regulated lenders of a standardised Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP). The most significant changes in the revised CCMA include:

Borrowers in arrears who co-operate with the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) are not charged penalty interest charges,

Harassment of borrowers through unsolicited communications is outlawed,

Borrowers in financial difficulties, but not in arrears, are allowed to come under the MARP,

When a lender is determining the 12 month period the lender must wait before applying to the courts to commence legal action, the lender mustexclude any time period during which a borrower is complying with the terms of an alternative repayment arrangement, making an appeal to the internal appeals Board or making a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman under the CCMA.

The revised CCMA was published on 6 December 2010 and came into effect on 1 January 2011. The revised CCMA can be accessed atwww.centralbank.ie. Lenders are required to comply with the CCMA as a matter of law but have been given a period of six months grace ending on 30 June 2011 to put in place the requisite systems and training of staff necessary to support the implementation of the MARP. In addition, the Central Bank has also written to lenders to issue directions under Section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 which will mean that lenders cannot impose arrears charges or penalty interest on borrowers who are co-operating with the MARP. Lenders representing the majority of the market have already indicated their willingness to implement the Expert Group’s proposals for a Deferred Interest Scheme or a variation of it.

The Deputy will also be aware of the existing importance of the Mortgage Interest Supplement Scheme and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service in assisting consumers who have fallen into arrears or who are experiencing difficulties servicing their mortgage repayments.

Banking Sector Regulation

Brian Stanley

Question:

142 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Finance the interest rates banks under State control are charging on their variable mortgages; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that banks under State control are charging punitive rates on these mortgages; the actions he will take on reducing the interest rates being charged by banks under State control; the actions he will take for mortgage holders who are struggling under the weight of high interest rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9423/11]

The Deputy will appreciate that the mortgage interest rates financial institutions operating in Ireland charge to customers are a commercial decision for the institutions concerned. While my Department monitors the impact of changes in mortgage interest rates on the Consumer Price Index, it has no direct function in relation to the individual institution's decisions on the matter. A number of measures are in place to assist mortgage holders who are in genuine difficulties with regard to the payment of their mortgages The Deputy will be aware of the work of the Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt. This Group produced two Reports, an Interim Report published in July 2010 and a Final Report published in November 2010. All of the Expert Group's recommendations are listed in Chapter 2 of the Final Report. They can be accessed atwww.finance.gov.ie.

Since the publication of the Reports, the Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) has been revised by the Central Bank to reflect many of the recommendations of the Expert Group, including key recommendations relating to the introduction by all regulated lenders of a standardised Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP). The most significant changes in the revised CCMA include:

Borrowers in arrears who co-operate with the MARP are not charged penalty interest charges,

Harassment of borrowers through unsolicited communications is outlawed,

Borrowers in financial difficulties, but not in arrears, are allowed to come under the MARP,

When a lender is determining the 12 month period it must wait before applying to the courts to commence legal action, it mustexclude any time period during which a borrower is complying with the terms of an alternative repayment arrangement, making an appeal to the internal appeals Board or making a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman under the CCMA.

The revised CCMA was published on 6 December 2010 and came into effect on 1 January 2011. The revised CCMA can be accessed atwww.centralbank.ie. Lenders are required to comply with the CCMA as a matter of law but have been given a period of six months grace ending on 30 June 2011 to put in place the requisite systems and training of staff necessary to support the implementation of the MARP. In addition, the Central Bank has also written to lenders to issue directions under Section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 which will mean that lenders cannot impose arrears charges or penalty interest on borrowers who are co-operating with the MARP. Lenders representing the majority of the market have already indicated their willingness to implement the Expert Group’s proposals for a Deferred Interest Scheme or a variation of it.

The Deputy will also be aware of the existing importance of the Mortgage Interest Supplement Scheme and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service in assisting consumers who have fallen into arrears or who are experiencing difficulties servicing their mortgage repayments.

Flood Relief

Dara Calleary

Question:

143 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost of a flood relief project in County Mayo (details supplied); if he will provide a break down of the estimate between road raising and drainage and a timeframe for the completion of works. [9450/11]

Mayo County Council applied under the Office of Public Works (OPW) Minor Flood Mitgation Works Scheme in 2009 and 2010 for funding to undertake road-raising and ancillary works to addresss the flooding problem at the location concerned. Investigations by the OPW into this problem had identified no practical drainage solutions due to a lack of feasible drainage paths, and found the only practical solution to be road-raising.

As per the funding applications submitted by Mayo County Council, they estimated the total cost of the works to be in the order of €300,000, comprising an estimate of €280,000 to undertake road-raising together with the construction of a retaining wall and the installation of balanced drainage, and €20,000 in respect of a study.

Road-raising is primarily a matter for Mayo County Council, and as such the OPW Minor Works Scheme does not provide funding for works of this nature.

Dara Calleary

Question:

144 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding a flood relief project in County Mayo (details supplied). [9451/11]

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has completed a survey of the area concerned, and is currently examining two alternative options aimed at providing flood protection in the town. The economic and technical viability of these options is currently being assessed by the OPW. If an option is deemed viable, the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Mayo County Council and landowners will be consulted to establish whether it can be taken forward.

Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products

Seán Kenny

Question:

145 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the quantity of cigarettes and other tobacco products seized by Customs in Dublin Port and Dublin Airport for each year since 2007 and to date in 2011. [9460/11]

Seán Kenny

Question:

146 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the amount of cash seized by Customs in Dublin Port and Dublin Airport for each year since 2007 and to date in 2011 and the amount of cash that has been returned to the Exchequer. [9461/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 145 and 146 together.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the following tables represent the amounts of cigarettes and tobacco products seized by Revenue in Dublin Port and Airport for each year since 2007 and to date in 2011.

Dublin Airport

Cigarettes

Tobacco

2007

38,825,920

788.20 KGM

2008

37,890,477

1,685.76 KGM

2009

32,305,432

2,685.51 KGM

2010

24,091,486

1,062.72 KGM

2011 to 31/3/2011

6,349,439

379.99 KGM

Totals

139,462,754

6602.18 KGM

Dublin Port

Cigarettes

Tobacco

2007

21,943,439

115.40 KGM

2008

71,830,348

164.22 KGM

2009

47,451,795

6,519.72 KGM

2010

73,118,582

156.95 KGM

2011 to 31/3/2011

19,903,477

28.25 KGM

Totals

234,247,641

6984.54 KGM

Totals

Cigarettes

Tobacco

2007

60,769,359

904 KGM

2008

109,720,825

1,850 KGM

2009

79,757,227

9,205 KGM

2010

97,210,068

1,219 KGM

2011 to 31/3/2011

26,252,916

408 KGM

Totals

373,710,395

13,576 KGM

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the following tables represent the amounts of cash seized by Revenue at Dublin Port and Airport, and the amounts of cash that have been forfeited to the Exchequer. The Dublin cash seizures still under investigation represent €2,217,911.

Cash Seizures

Year

Airport

Port

Total

2007

304,397

304,397

2008

2,776,770

2,776,770

2009

718,348

297,245

1,015,593

2010

832,552

68,660

901,212

2011

185,295

185,295

Total

4,817,362

365,905

5,183,267

Cash Forfeitures

Year

Airport

Port

Total

2007

30,889

7,939

38,828

2008

243,432

26,267

269,699

2009

379,623

379,623

2010

1,919,665

26,775

1,946,440

2011

236,088

236,088

Total

2,809,697

60,981

2,870,678

Banking Sector Regulation

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

147 Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Finance his views on the development or redevelopment of branch offices by Bank of Ireland and AIB; if he will provide detail of such work and money allocated in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and if he intends to put a stop to any such plans in relation to the significant restructuring of the bank which is currently under way. [9539/11]

The Government operates at arms' length from the banks and does not become involved in these types of operational matters. I do not have any views on the development or redevelopment of branch offices by the banks mentioned and I do not consider it appropriate to get involved in these matters. I might add that I have already received representations in relation to a redevelopment in the Deputy's constituency and advised the representor accordingly.

Tax Code

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

148 Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Finance his views regarding the proposal (details supplied) to use changes in the application of VAT on those visiting the country as a short-term method of increasing tourism numbers. [9540/11]

Irish VAT law is governed by the EU VAT Directive. Articles 146 and 147 of this Directive provide for a scheme whereby persons from outside the EU can claim a refund on VAT charged to them on any goods purchased here that are brought outside the Community. This is known as the retail export scheme. The scheme specifically applies to goods and not services, and refunds can be obtained only on purchases of goods, such as souvenirs, gifts etc., bought for non-business purposes, which the tourist or traveller brings with them when leaving the EU. No refund can be obtained for goods that remain in Ireland, or for any services, such as hotel accommodation, car-hire or restaurant meals. For the refund to apply, the goods must be taken outside of the European Union by the purchaser. The basic principle is that the goods are treated as exports and are not consumed in the European Union. In this context, EU VAT law does not allow for a scheme as outlined by the Deputy.

National Asset Management Agency

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

149 Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 76 of 5 April 2011, if he will provide a summary of those areas or issues he understands that the provision in the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 to contribute to the social and economic development of the State will apply to. [9541/11]

NAMA has a commercial remit and its overriding objective is to generate a return for the taxpayer. However, within the context of its commercial remit and consistent with section 2 of the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009, NAMA is at all times open to considering proposals aimed at contributing to broader social and economic objectives. This includes facilitating public bodies in the creation of vibrant sustainable communities. The NAMA Board has also committed to giving first option to State bodies on the purchase of property which may be suitable for their purposes where these bodies have requirements such as schools, parks, and so on. NAMA assures me that it will play a key social and economic role by regenerating activity in the property market through its asset sales strategy and through its provision of liquidity to the banks in the form of NAMA securities which can be used as collateral for funding.

Indeed, I understand that both the Minister for Housing and Planning and officials of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government have had discussions with NAMA on the issue of social and affordable housing in order to explore potential solutions which would enable such housing to be provided on a commercial basis. NAMA has also engaged with the Minister and with the Department on the issue of unfinished housing estates.

Programme for Government

John McGuinness

Question:

150 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance the specific proposals in the Programme for Government for which he is responsible; the target dates which he has agreed in relation to the delivery of these proposals; and if he will publish an implementation schedule. [9585/11]

I refer the Deputy to the Statement of Common Purpose in the Government Programme in which we indicate that we will get the economy moving, restore confidence, fix our banking system and support the creation and protection of jobs. We further indicate that the success of our economic plans will lay the foundation for the rest of our agenda for change. The Government shares collective responsibility for the achievement of these over-arching objectives. As regards priorities in my particular area of responsibility, these include actions to tackle the banking issue, the forthcoming Jobs Initiative, matters relating to the establishment of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the bringing forward of fiscal reform, the pricing of the EU/Euro area assistance under the EU/IMF Programme of Support and the formal review of that Programme. In relation to that Programme, as you know the Government recently successfully completed the Review Mission.

I can assure the Deputy that my aim is to make as much progress as possible as quickly as possible in relation to each of these areas.

Banking Sector Regulation

Joe McHugh

Question:

151 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance the fees that were attached to the credit guarantee scheme introduced in September 2008; the measures that were put in place to ensure banks were not and are not paying bonuses or dividends at the expense of taxpayers and at the expense of repaying taxpayers; the measures being used to ensure that the taxpayer is adequately compensated for the support provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9615/11]

The Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme 2008 (CIFS) provided that each covered institution pay a charge to the Exchequer for its guarantee. The sum of €760,467,567 was paid into the Exchequer on 28 October 2010 in respect of all fees and interest accumulated under the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme which terminated on 29 September 2010. Including payments received under the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme (ELG), over €1.3 billion has been transferred to the Exchequer as at October 2010 as a consequence of the support provided by the State and taxpayer. A further sum of over €591,000,000 has been received in fees under ELG from the participating institutions since 28 October 2010. Fees for the CIFS were originally calculated to compensate the State for the cost of the Guarantee. Fees for ELG, which are higher, were calculated on a basis that included market ratings of risk. The Deputy will be aware that since the introduction of the Guarantee in September 2008 there have been a number of Government backed initiatives which impact on the operational environment and place specific restrictions and limitations on the covered institutions in relation to the payment of dividends, and also the payment of bonuses to their senior management and staff. I refer to the publication of the CIROC Report in March 2009 and the subscription agreements for the recapitalization of Bank of Ireland and AIB, and the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank, and the later capital injections by Government in support of the EBS Building Society and Irish Nationwide Building Society. An important feature of the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 is the provision which will stem the payment of bonuses for those banks receiving State support by way of capital investment by the Government. Paragraph 48 of the CIFS provided that a covered institution shall comply with rules governing the declaration and payment of dividends made by the Minister after consultation with the Governor and the Regulatory Authority.

The Deputy is no doubt also alluding to the termination payment to the former CEO of AIB in his question. I am extremely unhappy about this payment to the former Chief Executive. My officials are in ongoing correspondence with the bank about the payment investigating the circumstances of this payment including whether the bank was contractually obliged to make the payment or whether it could have been avoided. The investigation will also ascertain at what level the package was approved and whether any further action should be taken in relation to the issue. This is a complicated legal situation and I do not want to say more about it at this stage. I hold the view that as much information as possible on this type of issue should be made available to the public and will ensure that this happens at the appropriate time. I think it is important to point out however a key element of the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 is that it allows me as Minister for Finance to impose conditions when providing State support to an institution. This provision has been used to prohibit the payment of performance related bonuses at AIB in December 2010.

Tax Code

Robert Dowds

Question:

152 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance his plans to abolish mortgage interest relief for first time buyers in June 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9619/11]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

176 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance the date on which mortgage interest relief for first time buyers in 2004-2008 will be increased as stated in the programme for Government. [9781/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 152 and 176 together.

There is a commitment in the Programme for Government to help homeowners in distress to weather the recession. The Government will examine a number of proposals in relation to this commitment.

One of these proposals relates to increasing mortgage interest relief to 30% for First Time Buyers who bought between 2004 and 2008 and to finance this in part by abolishing mortgage interest relief for new buyers from June 2011.

When this proposal has been thoroughly examined and analyzed and the findings and recommendations are presented to me, I will decide on the appropriate action to be taken. However, it is unlikely that any measures will be introduced before Budget 2012.

Interest Rates

Sean Fleming

Question:

153 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Finance in respect of the EU-International Monetary Fund Programme for Assistance, if a moratorium on interest payments was agreed as part of this deal and the period of this moratorium; the year in which interest charged will have to be paid; if this rolled up interest was in addition to the amounts to be provided by the EU and IMF or was it to be part of the overall assistance package; if he will outline the effect of a 1% reduction in interest rates on the actual payments to be made each year under this deal as originally drawn up notwithstanding the actual draw down of funds would vary depending on requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9673/11]

Sean Fleming

Question:

154 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Finance in respect of the EU-International Monetary Fund Programme for Assistance, if he will set out in tabular form the interest charge in 2011 and the actual interest to be paid in 2011 in respect of the draw downs to date, namely, €8.373 billion from the EFSM, the €5.836 billion from the IMF and the €3.592 billion from the EFSF, totalling €17.801 billion and the estimated interest charge in 2011 and estimated actual interest to be paid in 2011 in respect of funds projected to be drawn down during the remainder of the year; and if he will outline the position for each year for the remainder of the agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9674/11]

Michael McGrath

Question:

166 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding efforts to secure a reduction in the interest rate attached to the Ireland EU-IMF-ECB Programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9745/11]

Michael McGrath

Question:

167 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of the technical basis of the calculation of the various interest rates attached to the separate elements of the Ireland EU-IMF-ECB Programme and the way he plans to achieve a reduction in the various rates for Ireland. [9746/11]

Michael McGrath

Question:

168 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the amount of money, on full drawdown of the expected €74 billion of the €85 billion loan facility, that will be saved each year by a 1% reduction in the interest rate attached to the Ireland EU-IMF-ECB Programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9747/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 153, 154 and 166 to 168, inclusive, together.

There is a general appreciation at European level of the importance of debt sustainability considerations in the pricing of EU and euro area financial assistance loans to member states. In this regard, the Heads of State or Government of the euro area decided on 11 March last that the "pricing of the EFSF (loans) should be lowered to better take into account debt sustainability of the recipient countries, while remaining above the funding costs of the facility, with an adequate mark up for risk, and in line with IMF pricing principles". The European Council also decided that the interest rate on the loans to Greece will be adjusted by 100 basis points. The position in relation to the pricing of Ireland's loans was considered in the context of wider political discussions but the Council did not take any decision on the matter. The pricing of Ireland's loan is being pursued vigorously by myself and my Department at European level. A decision on this is expected to be made by Eurogroup and ECOFIN Ministers. It is being addressed through that forum. However, every opportunity to present our case on the interest rate is being taken.

It is not possible at this stage to provide definitive estimates on the level of savings which would arise if reductions were agreed in the pricing of the EU loans to Ireland. However, I understand from preliminary analysis undertaken by the NTMA that a 1% target reduction in the interest rate could yield overall savings of the order of €725 million over the life of the €12.6 billion European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) and European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) loans which have been drawn down so far. The estimated equivalent annual savings would be approximately €130 million. I emphasise that these estimates are based on the amounts drawn down to date. The actual savings that would arise from any interest rate reduction secured would depend on the total amount of funds drawn down from the EFSM and the EFSF and on the maturity profile of any such loans. The total amount of funding available from the EU and the IMF is €67.5 billion, €45 billion of which comes from the EU through the EFSM, the EFSF and the bilateral loans. For illustrative purposes, the saving arising from a 1% reduction on the interest rate charged on the full €45 billion available from EU sources would be €450 million for each full year borrowed. If this €45 billion was held for an average 7.5 years, i.e. the term envisaged in the programme, the total saving would amount to €3.375 billion. There is no moratorium on interest payments on any part of the funding agreed under the EU-IMF programme.

As regards the interest rates Ireland is paying, the average (blended) interest rate on the €67.5 billion available to be drawn from these three external sources was estimated to be 5.82% on the basis of market rates at the time of the agreement. The actual cost will depend on the prevailing market rates at the time of each drawdown and could be higher if market rates have deteriorated. The average life of the borrowings, which will involve a combination of longer and shorter dated maturities, is 7.5 years. The interest on Ireland's borrowing from the EFSM is based on the cost to the EFSM of raising funds in the markets plus a margin of 2.925%. In the case of the EFSF, the cost of funds for Ireland is based on the cost to the EFSF of raising funds in the markets plus a margin of 2.47%, plus the cost of credit enhancement features which can vary over time but which amounted to 0.54% on the loan drawn down from EFSF on 1 February 2011.

Interest on borrowings from the IMF will be paid quarterly at the IMF's standard interest rate applying to countries which draw on its Extended Fund Facility. This rate is set by reference to the IMF's basic rate of charge plus surcharges, which vary based on the amount of funds drawn relative to a country's IMF quota and the duration for which funds are outstanding. The Special Drawing Rights interest rate, which is expressed as an equivalent annual bond yield, is calculated weekly by the IMF with reference to financial instruments of the component currencies in the Special Drawing Rights basket: the three-month Eurepo rate; the three-month Japanese Treasury Discount bills; the three-month UK Treasury bills; and the three-month US Treasury bills. Up to a threshold of three times a country's IMF quota, as determined by the IMF, a margin of 1% over the SDR rate is payable. On all funds beyond that threshold, an additional margin of 2% is payable plus a further margin of 1% if the funds are outstanding for more than three years.

In view of this calculation method, the annual interest cost is variable. The annual interest amount will be known with certainty when the full year interest payments have been made. Based on current market conditions, the NTMA has estimated an effective average annual interest rate cost for borrowing from the IMF of around 5.20%, taking into account quota revisions and the cost of hedging and assuming drawdown of the full €22.5 billion available from the IMF. The interest rate for the UK loan will be the 7.5 year sterling swap rate plus a margin of 2.29%. Discussions on the Swedish and Danish loan agreements are continuing and the interest rate to be charged forms part of the discussions. The interest rates and actual interest to be paid in 2011 in respect of draw downs to date is set out in the following table:

Net Disbursement amount

Draw down Date

Maturity Profile

Interest Rate (Effective)

First Coupon date

Interest payable in 2011

€billion

%

€ million

EFSM

4.973

12 Jan 2011

4 years 11 months

5.51

5 Dec 2011

243

3.4

24 March 2011

7 years

6.206

4 April 2012

n/a

IMF

5.836

18 Jan 2011

7 ½ years average life

1.92 SDR = 5.2% €*

Quarterly

253

EFSF

3.592**

1 Feb 2011

5 years 6 months

5.9

18 July 2011

95

Total

17.801***

5.62****

591

*The SDR rate on the IMF drawdown reflects the lower rate arising from our recent quota increase. It is lower than the overall indicative rate for this funding as it is the initial drawdown and accordingly a portion of the drawdown attracts a lower rate of interest as it is less than 3 times quota. An additional surcharge is added for any borrowing in excess of 3 times quota that is outstanding for more than three years. The 5.2 % euro rate shown is the estimated equivalent rate at current market rates and taking account of an expected future increase in Ireland's IMF quota when the full amount of the SDR floating rate funds available under the Programme is swapped into euro fixed rates.

**This is the net disbursement amount. The drawdown under the EFSF is €4.2 billion but some €600 million of this is applied to credit enhancement measures, leaving €3.592 billion available for the Exchequer.

***This is the net disbursement amount. Taking account of the €600 million in credit enhancement measures in the EFSF funding, the total drawdown amount is €18.4 billion.

****The effective interest rate on the total amount is calculated using the 5.2% euro equivalent interest rate shown above for IMF funding.

The interest payments and interest rates for the remaining disbursements in 2011 and later disbursements will not be known until the money is actually drawn down as the amount of interest payable is determined by both the timing of the first coupon payment and the interest rate at which the loan is issued. As stated in a reply to a parliamentary question on 20 April last, the profile of drawdowns for the external funding is subject to ongoing review. Following the recent review mission, a revised schedule is being discussed by the NTMA, the EU, the ECB and the IMF. This profile will be published when it is finalised. I expect this to take place shortly. The actual level of drawdown will depend on a wide range of factors including economic growth and the performance of the public finances under the EU-IMF Programme.

Tax Code

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

155 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he has liaised with the Department of Foreign Affairs in terms of including in the forthcoming jobs initiative the commitment in the programme for Government to cut the 13.5% rate of VAT to 12% up to 2013 to assist exporters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9680/11]

The Government has committed in the Programme for Government to lower the reduced rate of VAT up to the end of 2013. Details of this measure will be introduced in the forthcoming jobs initiative.

Banking Sector Regulation

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

156 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the process under which the Central Bank contracted the Boston Consulting Group, Barclay’s Capital and BlackRock Solutions to conduct the stress tests on the Irish banking system; if he will address, in particular, the reasons BlackRock Solutions was hired; the amount it was paid and the tendering process it undertook. [6900/11]

The Central Bank of Ireland is not Exchequer funded. This matter is the responsibility of the Central Bank Commission. The Minister for Finance had no role in the matter. The Central Bank has informed me that in light of the requirement under the EU-IMF programme to use consultants under a very tight deadline for urgent financial stability purposes, it was not possible to apply normal tender processes. However, expert firms were selected from a larger list. The Central Bank invited those firms to tender and those able to provide submissions at short notice were reviewed. A selection panel, including a Central Bank appointed risk adviser, was used to assess presentations from firms. Firms were also asked to provide fee estimation and were then selected. Firms were chosen on the basis of their expertise and knowledge, with each having a specific role in specified areas.

BlackRock is a leading global provider of investment and risk advisory services to public and private clients. It was commissioned to leverage its extensive expertise to provide a bottom-up loan loss forecast for the Irish banks in both a base case and a stress scenario over the next three years and lifetime. Barclays Capital provided expert advice on banking sector reorganisation and deleveraging issues. The Boston Consulting Group provided project management resources across the Financial Measures Programme, assessed the loan loss forecasting exercise and contributed to expert advice for the PCAR and PLAR. The Central Bank has informed me that final cost is expected to be in the region of €30 million, including VAT. It is important to note that these costs relate to the three firms and third party subcontractors. The costs also cover additional work that is being carried out during the second quarter of 2011 in relation to the assessment of INBS loan losses and review of Anglo loan loss methodologies. Details of all firms, including third party subcontractors are available in the Central Bank's Financial Measures Programme Report, which is available atwww.financialregulator.ie/industry-sectors/credit-institutions/Documents/The%20Financial%20Measures%20Programme%20Report.pdf.

National Asset Management Agency

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

157 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance if BlackRock Solutions or, any of its subsidiaries, manages any assets for the National Asset Management Agency in view of the conflict of interest between its current role and its position as the world’s largest assets management agency; and if it has given the State a guarantee not to become a client of NAMA in the future [6901/11]

The Central Bank engaged BlackRock Solutions, an international firm with a strong reputation in the market for its capabilities in assessing losses in credit portfolios, to assist it in its Prudential Capital Assessment Review and Prudential Liquidity Assessment Review. The results of both exercises were announced last month. I understand BlackRock Solutions and its subsidiaries neither are, nor have been, service providers to NAMA. As with any other potential service provider, BlackRock Solutions is not precluded from responding to any public procurement tenders that may be issued in future by NAMA. However, under section 45 of the National Asset Management Agency Act, as part of its contractual arrangements with service providers NAMA is obliged to seek to ensure that each service provider makes every effort to avoid or manage conflicts of interest and to declare any such conflict to the agency.

Banking Sector Regulation

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

158 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the crisis in Irish Life and Permanent and his response to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6902/11]

I understand the Deputy's question relates to Irish Life and Permanent's sale of its insurance subsidiary, Irish Life Assurance. The Deputy will be aware from my statement of 31 March 2011 on banking matters that in order to satisfy the Central Bank of Ireland's capital requirements, Irish Life and Permanent must raise substantial equity capital and will require a significant restructuring of its business. The management of Irish Life and Permanent will produce a detailed capital plan to me shortly. However, the basic elements of the plan are clear and are reflected in the deleveraging plans it agreed with the Central Bank. Irish Life will immediately commence a process to sell Irish Life Assurance as well as other non-banking assets. As I informed the House previously, the life division of ILP is profitable. However, it is backing up an impaired banking system. It is being put on the market as a profitable insurance company and unless it is severed from the impaired bank, it will be contaminated by the banking system.

Public Sector Staffing

Robert Troy

Question:

159 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance if he has considered extending the paid career breaks in the public service. [9723/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Special Civil Service Incentive Career Break Scheme 2009 was introduced as a once-off measure in the Supplementary Budget on 7 April 2009. The measure was extended to staff in different areas of the public service, including the local government sector and the HSE. The closing date for participation in this scheme has expired and there is no current proposal to extend this scheme.

State Agencies

Michael McGrath

Question:

160 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of the proposed pay review among the commercial semi-State sector and State agencies; if the review will encompass all employees of such bodies; the person who will conduct the review; the terms of reference; when the review is expected to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9738/11]

The agreement of the relevant Minister and the Minister for Finance is, under various statutes, required in relation to the remuneration of all employees of non-commercial State bodies and agencies and the remuneration of CEOs of commercial State companies. There are no such statutory provisions in relation to the remuneration of other staff in commercial State companies. The current arrangement for setting the remuneration of these CEO posts is based on comparative analysis with posts in the private sector. The last such review took place in 2007. I understand my colleague, the Minister, Deputy Howlin, intends to give further consideration as to how best to effect reductions in the remuneration of CEOs of commercial State companies and agencies — while acknowledging that there may be contractual issues in relation to current incumbents — and to bring proposals on the matter to the Government shortly.

Question No. 161 answered with Question No. 68.

Tax Code

Michael McGrath

Question:

162 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the cost to the Exchequer in 2010 and the expected cost in 2011 of providing income tax relief on pension contributions under existing legislation; the amount the corresponding figures would be if all pension contributions only attracted tax relief at the lower 20% rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9740/11]

The table below provides a breakdown of the estimated cost of tax and PRSI reliefs relating to private pension contributions for 2008. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that 2008 is the year for which the most up-to-date data is available. Figures have been rounded where appropriate.

Estimate of the cost of tax and PRSI reliefs on private pension contributions 2008.

Estimated cost

Numbers*

€million

Employees’ Contributions to approved Superannuation Schemes

655

792,600

Employers’ Contributions to approved Superannuation Schemes

165

362,700**

Estimated cost of exemption of employers’ contributions from employee BIK

595

362,700

Retirement Annuity Contracts (RACs)

353

116,000

Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs)

74

53,900

Estimated cost of PRSI and Health Levy relief on employee contributions

255

Not available

*Numbers as included in P35 returns from employers to Revenue for 2008. Figures are as verified to date but may be subject to revision.

**Numbers of employees for whom employers are contributing to occupational pension funds as included in P35 returns to Revenue for 2008. Figures are as verified to date but may be subject to revision.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that while corresponding updates of the cost figures are not yet available for the 2009 tax year, the necessary work of assembling the basic data to enable this to be done is ongoing. No data is available for 2010 or 2011. As regards reducing tax relief to the standard rate of 20%, I assume the Deputy is referring to individual pension contributions, the tax relief on which is allowed at the taxpayer's marginal tax rate — the standard or higher rate of income tax as appropriate in each case. A breakdown of the cost of tax relief on employee contributions to occupational pension schemes is not available by income tax rate, as tax returns by employers to the Revenue Commissioners of employee contributions to such schemes are aggregated at employer level. An historical breakdown is available by tax rate of the tax relief claimed on contributions to personal pension plans — retirement annuity contracts and personal retirement savings accounts — by the self-employed and others, to the extent that the contributions have been included in the personal tax returns of those taxpayers. The latest full historical data available in this regard is in respect of the tax year 2008. There is, therefore, no statistical basis for providing definitive figures. However, by making certain assumptions about the available information, it is estimated that the full-year yield to the Exchequer from confining tax relief to the standard rate of 20% in respect of individual contributions to occupational pension schemes, retirement annuity contracts and personal retirement savings accounts would be approximately €500 million.

Michael McGrath

Question:

163 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his plans to progressively reduce the tax relief on pension contributions during the period 2012 to 2014 in line with the previous Government’s national recovery plan 2011-14; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9741/11]

The gradual reduction from marginal to standard rate tax relief on pension contributions commencing in 2012 forms part of the fiscal consolidation measures in the agreement with the EU, IMF and the ECB over the period 2011 to 2014. The Government has initiated a Comprehensive Review of Expenditure to provide it with a set of decision options to meet the overall fiscal consolidation objectives and realign spending with the programme for Government priorities. The review is due to be completed by the end of September 2011. When this review is complete, the Government will examine the findings. Based on the findings and in consultation with the EU, the IMF and the ECB, it will introduce fiscally neutral changes to the detail of the EU-IMF programme of financial support for Ireland while maintaining the overall commitment to fiscal consolidation. The scope for any change to the proposed standard rating of tax relief on pension contributions will be examined in that context.

Michael McGrath

Question:

164 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the planned economic assessment of certain property-based tax reliefs; when the review will commence; the person who will carry out the review; when the review will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9742/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, the programme for Government states that the Government will "reduce, cap or abolish property tax reliefs and other tax shelters which benefit very high income earners". A small team in my Department, in consultation with the Revenue Commissioners, is in the early stages of carrying out an economic impact assessment of possible changes to the property-based reliefs in line with the Government programme. This may need to be supplemented to a limited extent by some additional external expert advice. The results of the economic impact assessment will be considered in the context of the preparation of budget 2012.

Banking Sector Regulation

Michael McGrath

Question:

165 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he has raised with the EU-IMF and ECB the suggestion of debt-for-equity swaps in the Irish banks as a measure to reduce the amount of recapitalisation required by the Irish taxpayer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9744/11]

A number of international organisations including the EU Commission and the Financial Stability Board are investigating the potential for various forms of burden-sharing such as debt-write downs, debt-for-equity swaps and contingent capital. These are sometimes referred to as "bail-in" tools. No clear international consensus about the specifics of how such tools should work in practice has emerged. This international work is looking forward. Burden sharing with current bank debt holders is not being examined by these organisations. I have already indicated that the topic of burden sharing, including a debt for equity swap, for current unguaranteed senior bank debt was discussed with the EU, IMF and ECB in the context of the Government's approach to restructuring the banking system as set out in my statement to the House on banking matters on 31 March last. In my statement. I emphasised that it is vital that the proposed three banks — Bank of Ireland, AIB-EBS, and Irish Life and Permanent — are able to operate in the market place following their reorganisation, including regaining access to normal funding mechanisms in due course. The Government therefore decided, informed by the reservations of the ECB, that these banks will not share the burden with senior bondholders of their constituent banks, whether guaranteed or unguaranteed. As the Deputy is aware, work is under way to ensure appropriate burden-sharing by subordinated bondholders in AIB, Irish Life and Permanent and Bank of Ireland. I also reiterated in my statement that it is Government policy to work out Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society in an orderly manner over time and to minimise further injections of taxpayer capital into either institution. I have made clear that should additional capital be required, the Government will consult the external partners on the timeframe and means of recapitalising those institutions at minimum cost to the taxpayer, having regard to the financial stability impacts in Ireland and abroad.

Questions Nos. 166 to 168, inclusive, answered with Question No. 153.

Infrastructural Development

Dessie Ellis

Question:

169 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Finance his plans to introduce local labour clauses in contracts for future transport infrastructure projects. [8626/11]

Contracts relating to transport infrastructure projects, or indeed any public works projects, are governed by treaty principles and EU directives on public procurement. The provisions in the EU directives allow contracting authorities to attach social conditions to the performance of contracts, as long as they are compatible with EU law. In this regard, EU law requires that such conditions must be made known to all interested parties and cannot restrict participation by contractors from other member states. The specifying of such conditions is a matter for the contracting authority concerned, having regard to the foregoing considerations.

Corporation Tax Policy

Micheál Martin

Question:

170 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he has prepared any documents relating to his policy on corporation tax for circulation to the Heads of State and Government of the other European Union states. [8190/11]

Corporation tax policy is a national competence. Our position on tax harmonisation is well known among our EU partners. In the circumstances, the question of preparing and circulating documents to our EU partners on our overall corporate tax policy does not arise. My Department commissioned a study from Ernst & Young economic consultants on the budgetary and economic implications for the EU and its member states of the introduction of a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base. That study has been made available to all our EU partners through the Department's website.

Question No. 171 answered with Question No. 65.

Proposed Legislation

Micheál Martin

Question:

172 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he is committed to holding a referendum to reverse the Abbeylara judgment to enable Oireachtas committees to carry out full investigations. [6661/11]

The Government is committed to holding a referendum to amend the Constitution to reverse the effects of the Abbeylara judgement and enable Oireachtas committees to carry out full investigations. This is in line with the commitment in the programme for Government. Before any amendment is prepared, there will have to be detailed consideration of the complex legal issues involved. Nevertheless, the Government is committed to holding a referendum as quickly as possible.

Register of Lobbyists

Micheál Martin

Question:

173 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he has put in place any arrangements to restrict the lobbying of his Department by any person. [6665/11]

The Government has committed to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists and to establishing rules concerning the practice of lobbying. The Government's published legislative programme indicated that this will be part of an Electoral Commission Bill to be published by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Departmental Bodies

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

174 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance if the composition of the expert group on mortgage arrears and personal debt is to be changed; his views on whether there should be a broader range of experts and fewer bankers in this group. [9778/11]

The Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt published its final report in November 2010. There are no plans to reconstitute the group.

Personal Debt

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

175 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance if and when the recommendations of the expert group on mortgage arrears will be implemented and in particular the following recommendations, a mechanism should be put in place to allow repossessed borrowers to remain in their homes for a time, allowing the housing authority time to source appropriate accommodation, lenders should consider facilitating borrowers in negative equity who wish to trade down to a more affordable home and that bankruptcy legislation should be introduced. [9779/11]

The Deputy will be aware that the Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt Expert Group produced two reports, an Interim Report which was published in July 2010 and a Final Report which was published in November 2010. Since the publication of the reports, the Central Bank has revised its Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) to reflect many of the recommendations of the Expert Group. As a result, all regulated lenders will have to have in place a standardised Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process, borrowers in arrears who co-operate with the resolution process will not be charged penalty interest charges, harassment of borrowers through unsolicited communications will be outlawed and borrowers in financial difficulties but not in arrears will be allowed to come under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process. When a lender is determining the 12-month period it must wait before applying to the courts to commence legal action, it must exclude any time period during which a borrower complied with the terms of an alternative repayment arrangement, made an appeal to the internal appeals board or made a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman under the CCMA.

The revised CCMA was published on 6 December 2010 and came into effect on 1 January 2011. The revised CCMA can be accessed atwww.centralbank.ie. Lenders are required to comply with the CCMA as a matter of law but have been given a period of six months grace ending on 30 June 2011 to put in place the requisite systems and training of staff necessary to support the implementation of the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process. In addition, the Central Bank has also written to lenders to issue directions under section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 which will mean that lenders cannot impose arrears charges or penalty interest on borrowers who are co-operating with the resolution process. The expert group’s recommendations are intended to benefit lenders and borrowers. It is expected that lenders will co-operate and implement the recommendations or variations of them as soon as possible. Failure to comply with the revised CCMA may result in sanctions under the Central Bank’s administrative sanctions framework.

The Deputy may wish to note that, in addition to the recommendations being implemented through amendments to the CCMA, other recommendations will require legislative support involving my Department and the Departments of Social Protection, Environment, Community and Local Government and Justice and Equality. In the case of my own Department, a recommendation concerning the scope and the admissibility in court of the CCMA will need further examination and advice from the Attorney General. The recommendation of the group to amend the local authority needs assessment process has been implemented by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. I am informed that local authorities have been provided with clear guidance on the treatment of applicants for social housing support whose mortgages have been deemed unsustainable. I have also been informed that discussions are ongoing between the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Irish Bankers Federation to enable borrowers whose properties are to be repossessed to remain in their homes for a period of time, pending the sourcing of appropriate accommodation by the housing authority. Changes to both primary and secondary legislation will be required to implement the recommendations relating to the mortgage interest supplement scheme. I am informed that the Department of Social Protection is finalising an implementation plan that will set out a framework for the future of the mortgage interest supplement scheme.

The final report of the expert group contained the following recommendation:

The Group notes that, for some mortgage holders who are in negative equity, trading down would produce a reduction in mortgage debt and more affordable monthly payments. The Group recommends that further consideration should be given by lenders to facilitating trading down by borrowers in this situation. Such options would have to meet relevant prudential standards, with appropriate controls in place and be in the customers' best interest.

Trading down means selling a current property and buying a cheaper one. Trading down may be an option to reduce the level of mortgage repayments, resulting in more affordable monthly repayments. This recommendation is aimed at helping mortgage holders to remain as home owners while reducing their level of repayments. There will be situations in which mortgage holders in negative equity may wish to move home, for example, to take up new employment opportunities. There is merit in facilitating house moves by those in negative equity in certain situations and subject to certain criteria set down by the Central Bank. Ultimately, these are matters for lenders and for the Central Bank to decide upon. Any lender planning to provide a negative equity type product must notify the Central Bank in advance to ensure that appropriate measures and controls are taken as the Central Bank must be satisfied that such a product meets relevant prudential standards and does not lead to consumers being over exposed to debt.

As regards changes to personal bankruptcy law, the legislative programme for the Department of Justice and Equality includes a Personal Insolvency Bill that will provide for a new framework for the settlement and enforcement of debt and for personal insolvency. The Bill will take into account the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission in its Report on Personal Debt Management and Debt Enforcement of December 2010. The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, is in the course of being drafted by the Department of Justice and Equality with a view to publication as soon as possible this year. It will also contain some interim measures in relation to reform of the law on bankruptcy.

Question No. 176 answered with Question No. 152.
Question No. 177 answered with Question No. 52.

Services for People with Disabilities

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

178 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the rehabilitation and training services for persons with disabilities is still available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9095/11]

While people with disabilities are encouraged to avail of FÁS mainline training, in situations where clients require more intensive support FÁS contracts with 22 specialist training providers across the country, including the National Learning Network, to deliver vocational training to people with disabilities. There are currently 2,131 training places available through specialist training providers. FÁS has a total budget of €55 million in 2011 for all specialist training provider services for people with disabilities. Rehabilitative training programmes for people with disabilities are foundation level programmes which are not directly linked to the labour market. Such programmes are designed to equip participants with the basic personal, social and work related skills that will enable them to progress to greater levels of independence and integration in the community. The programmes are administered by the Health Service Executive and are delivered by the HSE itself or by non-statutory disability service providers on its behalf.

Employment Support Services

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

179 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the implementation and distribution of funds through an organisation (details supplied); and if he will provide a breakdown of the agencies that distributed the funds and the amount distributed by each agency. [9255/11]

My Department submitted an application in June 2009 for co-financing assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) towards the cost of guidance, training, entrepreneurship and education programmes for some 2,840 workers made redundant from January 2009 at the Dell computer manufacturing plant in Raheen, County Limerick and at ancillary enterprises. It was estimated at that time that up to 2,400 people would avail of the supported measures. This EGF application was formally approved on 22 December 2009 by the EU budgetary authorities and an EU funds transfer of €14.8 million was duly received in my Department. The Government is providing a matching funding element of €8 million towards the cost of EGF programme measures for the relevant redundant workers. The European Commission decision states that Ireland shall use the EGF financial contribution by 28 June 2011.

EGF programme funding is provided by my Department as the EGF managing authority to relevant intermediate bodies who facilitate the delivery of guidance, training, educational and enterprise supports through a range of in-house and external service providers. The relevant service providers such as FÁS, city and county enterprise boards, Vocational Education Committees and higher education institutions and colleges have under the EGF co-financed programme provided over 2,500 affected persons with guidance supports and over 1,730 with personalised training, education and enterprise supports. Expenditure to the end of 2010 was approximately €5 million. A number of other large claims are currently in preparation by service providers.

Employment Action Plan

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

180 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made towards developing a comprehensive employment strategy; the likely publication date and the steps being taken to ensure the employment situation of persons with mental health problems is adequately addressed in the strategy. [9347/11]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

181 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made towards developing a comprehensive employment strategy for persons with disabilities and the likely publication date. [9348/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 180 and 181 together.

Under the sectoral plan of the former Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, an outline for a comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities has been advanced in discussions with other Departments and stakeholder representatives. The further development of this strategy is the subject of ongoing discussions in a cross-sectoral group comprising relevant Departments and State agencies. The sectoral plan did not contain a commitment to publish a comprehensive employment strategy. The objective of the strategy is the provision of a continuum of supports to employment that is comprehensive across the full range and spectrum of disabilities. Its aim is to address the diversity of circumstances, needs and abilities of people with disabilities, and to enhance the operation and effectiveness of the range of FÁS supports and services for facilitating increased participation of this cohort in the labour market.

Jobs Initiative

Terence Flanagan

Question:

182 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a national internship programme for out of work graduates will be included in his jobs initiative in May 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9414/11]

The programme for Government contains proposals to support a jobs initiative which will provide additional places in training, work experience and educational opportunities for those who are out of work. This will include an internship scheme under the remit of the Department of Social Protection. Further details regarding the jobs initiative and an internship scheme will be announced shortly by the Government.

Employment Support Services

Jim Daly

Question:

183 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the options available to a person (details supplied) in County Cork to complete the subject course and achieve their official qualification; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9604/11]

FÁS is implementing a number of initiatives to support registered redundant apprentices to make progress with their apprenticeships. I refer the Deputy to the reply to Question No. 66 of 30 March 2011 in that regard. The progression possibilities for any specific apprentice in his or her own particular circumstances are operational matters for FÁS.

Electioneering in Schools

Brendan Smith

Question:

184 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider a ban on the distribution of electioneering material in all schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9030/11]

I assure the Deputy that I share the concern implicit in his question regarding the distribution of electioneering material in schools. It is my view that the dissemination of such material through the school system is highly inappropriate. I will be raising this matter with my officials to consider how best to address this in the future.

School Accommodation

Dan Neville

Question:

185 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills when funding will be available for additional accommodation for a school (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9039/11]

I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers has made an application to my Department for large scale capital funding. The priority attaching to individual projects is determined by published prioritisation criteria, which were formulated following consultation with the Education Partners. There are four band ratings under the criteria, each of which describes the extent of accommodation required and the urgency attaching to it. Under this system, band 1 is the highest priority rating and band 4 is the lowest. Documents explaining the band rating system are also available on my Department's website. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a band 2.2 rating, reflecting the fact that the deficit in mainstream accommodation represents a significant proportion of the school's overall needs.

The forward planning section of my Department has identified 43 priority areas throughout the country where significant additional accommodation will be required at primary and post-primary level in the medium term. Factors considered included population growth, demographic trends, current and projected enrolments, recent and planned housing developments and capacity of existing schools to meet demand for places. The area to which the Deputy refers has not been included on this list. The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department's multi-annual school building and modernisation programme. At that point, options to meet the schools needs will be considered further. Information in respect of the current school building programme, along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including the project referred to by the Deputy, is now available on my Department's website,www.education.ie. However, in light of current competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

Special Educational Needs

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

186 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm that special needs assistants and resource teaching hours will not be reduced and will be available to schools commensurate with the requirement for 2010/11; if the request submitted by a school (details supplied) in County Cork for special needs assistant and resource teaching hours will be granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9044/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teachers and SNAs to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. This includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts. This number is 10,575 whole-time equivalent posts. This is a significant number of posts and unlike other areas of the public sector vacancies are being filled up to this number. It also represents continual increases in the number of SNAs over recent years. For example, there were 10,543 whole-time equivalent SNA posts in place at the end of 2010 and 10,342 at the end of 2009. It is considered that with equitable and careful management and distribution of these resources, there should be sufficient posts to provide access to SNA support for all children who require such care support to attend school, in accordance with departmental criteria.

The NCSE has issued a circular to all schools advising of the allocation process for the 2011-12 school year. A key feature of the amended scheme will be to provide for an annual allocation of Special Needs Assistant support to eligible schools. The NCSE asked schools to submit all applications for SNA support to them by 18 March 2011 and intends to inform schools of their annual SNA allocation as soon as possible, in advance of the coming school year. My Department and I will be glad to consider any suggestions from school management or parent representative organisations as to how the allocation of SNA resources can best be managed within the context of the overall limit on SNA numbers established. In this regard I am committed to making whatever improvements are possible to the resource allocation system.

In respect of the allocation of resource teaching hours, the Department of Education and Skills is required to ensure that the overall allocation of teaching posts does not exceed the targets set out in the Government's employment control framework. The Department had planned for a certain amount of increased growth in teacher numbers across the school sector in 2011, in line with increased demographic growth. In respect of resource teaching hours for children with special educational needs, allowance was made for growth in 2011 over and above normal demographic increase levels. In 2010, the total number of whole-time equivalent posts provided for resource hours teaching, including under the general allocation model, was approximately 9,600 whole-time equivalent posts. By comparison, approximately 9,950 whole-time equivalent posts are provided for 2011. There has therefore not been a reduction in the overall number of resource hours or posts being provided for in 2011.

The Department of Education and Skills asked the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) to provide data on the numbers and rate of application for additional resource teaching hours to date this year so that this information can be considered in the context of the Department's employment control framework obligations. The NCSE has also been asked to pause sanctioning additional resource teaching support hours to allow for collection and consideration of this data by the Department, in conjunction with the NCSE. This is a temporary suspension of the allocation process in order to allow for consideration and analysis of this issue prior to any decisions being made. The NCSE has issued a circular to schools advising them that the final date for schools to submit any outstanding completed applications for resource teaching supports is 13 May 2011. On receipt of all outstanding applications, the Department and the NCSE will be in a position to consider resource allocation for the coming school year, in the context of the Department's employment control framework obligations. Schools will be notified of their allocations as soon as possible. In the interim, children who are eligible for resource or learning support teaching can receive this tuition through the existing learning support provision in schools, either though the general allocation model or existing learning support provision.

Third Level Admissions

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

187 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason, when currently 60% of university places in the Twenty-six Counties are held for Irish students, a student from the North, even with an Irish passport, is not recognised as qualifying within that 60% figure and, in view of the Good Friday Agreement which allows persons in the north to hold an Irish passport, the reason they are not considered Irish by the universities in the Twenty-six Counties. [9055/11]

The selection of students for entry to higher education is a matter for the institutions which are responsible for determining entry and admissions criteria in accordance with their statutory autonomy in academic affairs. Places on full-time undergraduate courses are allocated by the universities through the Central Applications Office which manages the process on their behalf. Places are allocated through a competitive points system which, in general, ranks candidates on the basis of results achieved in the Leaving Certificate Examination or an equivalent school leaving examination. All EU candidates applying for places in Irish universities are required to be treated equally and my Department is not aware of any operation of a 60% quota of places reserved for Irish students.

School Enrolments

Terence Flanagan

Question:

188 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school transfer in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9059/11]

The enrolment of a child in a school is a matter in the first instance for the parents of the child and the board of management of the school. My Department has no role in processing applications for enrolment to schools. The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) is a statutory agency that can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The NEWB will try to help parents to find an alternative school placement if their child is on a waiting list or has been unable to secure a school placement to date. The NEWB can be contacted at National Educational Welfare Board, National Headquarters, 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7 or by telephone at 01-8738700. The Deputy may also be aware that the National Council for Special Education is responsible for the provision of a range of educational services at local and national level for students with special educational needs. In particular, its network of Special Education Needs Organisers (SENOs) co-ordinates special needs education provision at local level and arranges for the delivery of special educational services. Each SENO acts as a single point of contact for parents of students with special educational needs. Another specific function of the SENO is to identify appropriate educational placements for children with special educational needs. All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available onwww.ncse.ie.

Special Educational Needs

Terence Flanagan

Question:

189 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the reduction of teachers in schools (details supplied) in Dublin 17; if these teachers will be reinstated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9060/11]

The decision to remove resource teachers for Travellers from schools was one of the measures taken by the previous Fianna Fáil — Green Party Government in the last budget. I do not intend to revisit the decision of the previous Government to withdraw resource teacher for Traveller posts. The Deputy will understand the economic situation means difficult decisions have had to be taken. The requirements to make expenditure savings and ensure staffing numbers remain within the public service employment control framework prevent me from revisiting this decision. Both of the schools referred to by the Deputy are DEIS schools and are in receipt of enhanced pupil-teacher ratios. In respect of such DEIS schools, for the 2011-12 school year, Traveller pupils will be included in the valid enrolment for the purpose of allocating additional staffing under DEIS. The schools involved will have already received their staffing allocations for next year, taking into account this adjustment. These decisions broadly reflect the recommendations in the report and recommendations for a Traveller education strategy that an integrated, collaborative and in-class learning support system should be adopted for all children, including Travellers, with an identified educational need. The strategy aims to enhance access, attendance, participation and engagement for Travellers and is underpinned by the principles of inclusion and mainstreaming with an emphasis on equality and diversity.

Computerisation Programme

Terence Flanagan

Question:

190 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a computer grant in respect of a school (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9064/11]

As the Deputy may be aware, integrating ICT into teaching and learning in schools is a major priority for this Government. My Department's ICT in Schools programme, guided by the recent Smart Schools and ICT strategy reports, sets out a clear agenda to be pursued in this regard. This programme focuses on four main priorities — ICT infrastructure in schools, the schools broadband scheme, the development of teacher skills and the provision of curriculum-relevant digital content. On the infrastructure side, my Department has distributed more than €90 million in ICT infrastructure grants to schools nationwide since November 2009, including an allocation of €4,946.38 for the school to which the Deputy refers. In addition, the school received an ICT allocation of €30,000 from the school building unit of the Department in March. This year, I have prioritised work on the other three strands of the ICT in Schools programme, in order to help schools to make the best possible use of the very substantial infrastructural investment already made. In these circumstances, I will not be in a position to provide additional ICT infrastructure funding to the school to which the Deputy refers.

Special Educational Needs

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

191 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of resource teacher Traveller posts currently in existence; the number of schools that have been informed by communication from him as to the withdrawal of these posts and or teaching hours for Traveller pupils; and the number of posts in all that are being withdrawn. [9066/11]

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

192 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a list of all schools that have been informed by communication from him as to the loss of posts or teaching hours for Traveller pupils; and the number of teachers to be withdrawn itemised per school. [9067/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 191 and 192 together.

The decision to remove resource teacher for Traveller posts from schools is just one of a range of measures included in the National Recovery Plan 2011-14 to secure savings in the 2011-12 school year. I do not intend to revisit the decision of the previous Government to withdraw resource teacher for Traveller posts. The Deputy will understand the economic situation means difficult decisions have had to be taken. The requirements to make expenditure savings and to ensure staffing numbers remain within the public service employment control framework prevent me from revisiting this decision. Resource teacher for Traveller posts and teaching hours for Traveller pupils will be withdrawn with effect from 31 August 2011. Traveller pupils who are eligible for learning support teaching should receive this tuition through the existing learning support provision in schools. A departmental circular, No. 17/2011, advised all schools of this decision on 3 March 2011. I will arrange for details of the overall number of resource teacher for Traveller posts and details of the teaching which are being withdrawn, itemised per school, to be sent to the Deputy.

School Staffing

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

193 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of gaelscoileanna that have received communication from him as to the withdrawal of a teacher due to budget changes in the allocation for gaelscoileanna and the number of posts that are being withdrawn as a result of this measure. [9068/11]

The standardisation of the staffing schedule for gaelscoileanna so that it is the same as that which applies to primary schools generally was one of a number of measures introduced in budget 2011 by the previous Fianna Fáil and Green Party Government to control and reduce teacher numbers. These changes are effective from September 2011. Given the financial constraints in which this country now finds itself, it is not possible to reverse these changes. This change will result in a reduction of the order of 50 posts in gaelscoileanna. There are over 1,500 teaching posts in these schools. The gaelscoil movement is well established and I do not believe that the growth of gaelscoileanna will be impeded by way of this measure. The actual impact at individual school level is determined as part of the allocation process for 2011-12 school year and schools were notified in the normal manner. My Department's Circular 19/2011 includes the criteria under which a school may appeal its staffing allocation and the process for same. This Government will endeavour to protect front line education services as best as possible. However, this must be done within the context of bringing our overall public expenditure back into line with what we can afford as a country. All areas of Government, including gaelscoileanna, will have to manage on a reduced level of resources. The challenge will be to ensure that the resources that are being provided are used to maximum effect and in a fair manner.

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

194 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills if any other communication has been made to individual schools as to the withdrawal of other teaching staff and or special needs assistants as a result of budget measures and if so, the number of posts in both categories being withdrawn. [9069/11]

The budget measures set out the detail of the reduction in teacher numbers and the revised arrangements for special needs assistants. These changes are effective from September 2011. Given the financial constraints in which this country finds itself, it is not possible to reverse these changes. My Department has advised schools through circulars of the changes and where applicable, schools have also been contacted directly. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers for allocating resource teachers and SNAs to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support, which now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts. This number is 10,575 whole-time equivalent posts. This is a significant number of posts and unlike other areas of the public sector vacancies are being filled up to this number. It also represents continual increases in the number of SNAs over recent years. For example, there were 10,543 whole-time equivalent SNA posts in place at the end of 2010 and 10,342 at the end of 2009. It is important to understand that SNA allocations are not permanent. The level of SNA support allocated to a school increases or decreases as pupils who qualify for SNA support enrol or leave a school. They also decrease when a child's care needs diminish over time. The recruitment and deployment of SNAs within schools are matters for the individual principal or board of management. The board is the SNA's employer and the terms of employment are subject to the conditions of the contract of employment.

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

195 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of English as additional language posts he estimates will be withdrawn from individual schools as a result of budget measures. [9070/11]

A phased reduction in the number of language support teachers was one of a number of measures introduced in budget 2011 by the previous Fianna Fáil and Green Party Government to control and reduce teacher numbers. These changes are effective from September 2011. Given the financial constraints in which this country now finds itself, it is not possible to reverse these changes. This change will result in a phased reduction of 500 over four years in the number of language support teachers through a demand reduction and, if necessary, a change in allocation rules over the period of the national recovery plan. A first year reduction of some 125 posts is targeted with effect from September 2011 as a result of this budget measure.

Educational Disadvantage

Tom Fleming

Question:

196 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reverse the decision of the previous Government to abolish the three posts of the only DEIS rural teachers co-ordinators in County Kerry who cover a total of 15 schools in the county. [9098/11]

The Deputy will be aware that the programme for Government clearly states that education will be a priority for this Government and that we will endeavour to protect and enhance the educational experience of children, young people and students. To that end, we will endeavour to protect frontline services in education. However, I do not intend to revisit the decision of the previous Government to withdraw rural co-ordinator posts. The Deputy will understand that Ireland is effectively now in economic receivership because of the disastrous legacy of the last Fianna Fáil and Green Party Government. The requirements to make expenditure savings and to ensure that staffing numbers remain within the Public Service Employment Control Framework prevent me from re-visiting this decision. The decision to remove the rural co-ordination service from 331 rural DEIS schools is just one of a range of measures, included in the national recovery plan 2011 to 2014, to secure some €24 million in savings in the 2011-12 school year. The service will therefore be discontinued with effect from 31 August 2011. This measure will not affect the provision of HSCL services which remain in 200 post primary and 345 urban primary schools participating in DEIS. DEIS rural primary schools will continue to receive additional capitation funding based on their level of disadvantage, additional funding for schoolbooks, access to the school meals programme, access to numeracy and literacy supports and measures, access to planning supports and access to a range of professional development supports. The set of measures included in the National Recovery Plan 2011 to 2014 impacts on every sector of the public service and will unquestionably lead to significant challenges for schools as well as my Department in the coming years. The major challenge will undoubtedly be to seek improved outcomes for children with fewer resources.

Clár Tógála Scoileanna

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

197 D’fhiafraigh Éamon Ó Cuív ar an Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna an bhfuil suíomh ceannaithe le haghaidh scoil bhuan do Ghaelscoil de hÍde, Órán Mór, Contae na Gaillimhe agus an bhfuil sé i gceist cead a thabhairt i mbliana chun scoil nua a thógáil; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [9106/11]

Tá suíomh aitheanta don scoil dá dtagraíonn an Teachta agus tá ceannach an tsuímh sin faoi réir cead imlíneach pleanála a bheith deonaithe. Tá iarratas imlíneach pleanála á réiteach ag mo Roinn i láthair na huaire. Breithneofar ceannach an tsuímh agus seachadadh an fhoirgnimh nua scoile i bhfianaise na ngealltanas atá tugtha cheana féin agus na n-éileamh iomaíoch eile ar bhuiséad caipitil na Roinne.

Higher Education Grants

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

198 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will issue on an educational grant application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9108/11]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter for a student's local grant awarding authority which is either the VEC or the county council. I understand that, in this case, the grant awarding authority is County Cork VEC. I understand that the student in question was awarded a grant on 20 April 2011.

Schools Refurbishment

Niall Collins

Question:

199 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding funding in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Cork. [9127/11]

The school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application under the 2011 summer works scheme. I regret that the application made by the school was not successful because the application did not meet the essential qualification criteria outlined in the circular governing the operation of the scheme for the works in question. A letter to this effect has issued to the school.

Ministerial Staff

Brendan Smith

Question:

200 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the detail of all permanent Civil Service or non-established positions which are in place in his Department in relation to assisting Ministers with constituency work; the monthly salaries for these positions; and if any further appointments are envisaged. [9136/11]

At a Government meeting held on the 15th March, 2011, it was decided to reduce the number of staff permitted at Minister's constituency offices from 6 to 4 and Minister of State's constituency offices from 5 to 3.

There are currently 2 officers in my Constituency Office. Their grades are as follows: — 1 Higher Executive Officer (civil servant) on a salary scale of €43,816 — €45,125 — €46,246 — €47,730 — €49,035 — €50,347 — €51,653 — €53,532 — €55,415 — 1 Staff Officer (civil servant) on a salary scale of €33,070 — €34,481 — €35,751 — €36,894 — €38,043 — €39,199 — €40,359 — €41,473 — €42,530 — €43,906

I propose to appoint a Personal Assistant and a Personal Secretary shortly.

There are currently 2 officers in the Constituency Office of the Minister of State at my Department. Their grades are as follows: — 1 (0.8 fulltime equivalent) Staff Officer (civil servant) on a salary scale of €33,070 — €34,481 — €35,751 — €36,894 — €38,043 — €39,199 — €40,359 — €41,473 — €42,530 — €43,906 — 1 Personal Assistant (non civil servant) on a salary scale of €43,715 — €45,485 — €47,304 — €48,520 — €49,790 — €51,365 — €52,925 — €54,490 — €56,060

It is envisaged that the Minister of State at my Department will appoint a Personal Secretary shortly.

The salaries paid to the civil servants are in accordance with the Department of Finance salary scales for the relevant grades. The salaries paid to the non-civil servant staff are in accordance with the Department of Finance Instructions relating to the Appointment of Ministerial Private Office Staff.

I can confirm that the further appointments will be in accordance with the aforementioned Government Decision.

Ministerial Appointments

Brendan Smith

Question:

201 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will list the details of all State appointments open to direct choice by him on 10 March 2011. [9150/11]

The table provides information on the number of appointments the Minister for Education and Skills is entitled to make directly to higher education institutions and boards of agencies under the aegis of the Department.

Table 1 — Bodies under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills

Body Name

Appointments open to direct choice of Minister

An Chomhairle um Oideachais Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta (COGG)

3

Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA)

7

Education Finance Board (EFB)

4

Foras Áiseanna Saothair (FÁS)

10

Note: Responsibility for training and the governance of FÁS transferred from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation to the Department of Education and Skills from May 2010

Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC)

5

Grangegorman Development Agency (GGDA)

7

Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC)

5

Higher Education Authority (HEA)

19

Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET)

15

Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

10

Léargas — The Exchange Bureau

8

National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE)

2

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)

2

National Council for Special Education (NCSE)

Up to 6

National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI)

3

National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB)

1

Residential Institutions Redress Board (RIRB)

12

Residential Institutions Review Committee (RIRC)

5

Skillnets Ltd

3

Note: Responsibility for Skillnets Ltd transferred from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation to the Department of Education and Skills from May 2010

The State Examinations Commission (SEC)

5

The Teaching Council

3

Table 2 — Higher Education Institutions

Body Name

Appointments open to direct choice of Minister

NUI (National University of Ireland) Senate

4

Universities

UCD (University College Dublin)

1 to 4

UCC (University College Cork)

1 to 4

NUIG (National University of Ireland Galway)

1 to 4

NUIM (National University of Ireland Maynooth)

1 to 4

DCU (Dublin City University)

1 to 4

UL (University of Limerick)

1 to 4

TCD (Trinity College Dublin)

1

NCAD (National College of Art and Design)

6

Institutes of Technology (Minister appoints chair of Governing Bodies of IoTs)

Dublin IoT (Institute of Technology)

1

Athlone IoT

1

Blanchardstown IoT

1

IoT Carlow

1

Cork IoT

1

Dundalk IoT

1

Dun Laoghaire IoT

1

Galway-Mayo IoT

1

Letterkenny IoT

1

Limerick IoT

1

IoT Sligo

1

IoT Tallaght

1

IoT Tralee

1

Waterford IoT

1

An Comhairle Bhéaloideas Éireann

4

Tipperary Rural and Business Development Institute

3

Schools Building Projects

Pat Breen

Question:

202 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to install rain water harvesting systems in primary schools to conserve water supplies and reduce costs of water; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9179/11]

Rainwater harvesting systems were first introduced for major school building projects in 2008. Since then all major school building projects, where site conditions and circumstances allow and where economically viable to do so, can incorporate a rainwater harvesting system into their brief.

While fitting the systems in new schools during construction is relatively straightforward, retrofitting them in existing schools is much more difficult and expensive because of the various dedicated pipe work systems both within the building and externally underground and the amount of making good work that is required in each instance.

For existing buildings it is more cost effective to minimise the demand for water firstly through installing measures to reduce water usage such as push type spray taps, low flushing toilets, urinal controls, repairing leaks etc. To this end, as part of the Summer Works Scheme 2010, schools were invited to apply for Water Conservation measures. A list of schools whose applications under this scheme were successful is available on my Department's website,www.education.ie.

Special Educational Needs

Jim Daly

Question:

203 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the pilot scheme of one extra month of schooling in the summer for children with autism will be rotated to random schools with an interest in the project; the reason a school (details supplied) in County Cork was unsuccessful with their application for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9195/11]

The Deputy will be aware that participation in my Department's July Provision Scheme is an option for all special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes catering for children with autism or severe to profound general learning disability that choose to extend their education services through the month July. Home based tuition of 10 hours per week for the four weeks in question is provided to children who attend schools which choose not to participate in the scheme.

The Deputy will also be aware that educational provision at post primary level for all pupils including those with special needs is structured differently to that at primary level and the July Provision Scheme was piloted in a limited number of post primary schools. However children eligible for support attending other post primary schools are allocated 10 hours per week home based tuition for the four weeks of July.

The Scheme is currently under review and in the interim it has been decided not to expand the current level of provision which includes limiting the pilot at post primary level to that of 2009 and 2010.

As the college referred to by the Deputy is not one of the schools piloting the programme, eligible children attending the college would be entitled to home based support. Details of the scheme for 2011 will be circulated to all schools including the college in question early next term.

School Curriculum

Jim Daly

Question:

204 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if it is possible to get an exemption from learning the Irish language for an American student who took up residency here in 2004 and was in fifth class at the time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9202/11]

As part of both the primary and post-primary level school curriculum Irish is a compulsory subject. The second-level programme in Irish has the capacity to cater for a wide diversity of ability. Department circular M10/94 applies to post primary schools funded by my Department and sets out the exceptional circumstances where an exemption from the study of Irish may be granted to post primary pupils. Under the terms of this circular, delegated authority to grant exemptions from Irish, within the conditions laid down, is vested in school management.

With regard to the particular case referred to by the Deputy, the position is that the pupil's parents/guardians should make a written application to the management of the school in which the pupil is enrolled, clearly stating the grounds on which they are seeking an exemption from the study of Irish.

Pension Provisions

David Stanton

Question:

205 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding teachers on temporary contracts being out of work for more than 26 weeks; if the time spent teaching will be considered for pension and other such purposes on return to work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9203/11]

The Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004 abolished the maximum age of retirement for new entrants to employment in the public service from the 1st April 2004. It also raised the minimum pension age for new entrants to age 65.

In general terms, a new entrant to employment in the public service (including employment as a teacher) is a person who enters public service employment for the first time on or after the 1st April 2004, (including employment in a temporary or fixed-term capacity, whether full-time, or part-time), or a person who becomes re-employed in the public service,( including employment as a teacher) following a break of more than 26 weeks, where that break occurred at anytime on or after 1 April 2004).

The provisions of this legislation are of general application to public servants and there are no proposals to make exceptions for any particular individual or group.

All teaching service given by teachers employed in temporary contracts since December 2001 in recognised primary or second level schools is pensionable. As part of Budget 2011, introduced by the previous Fianna Fail-Green Party government, a 10% reduction in the pay of new appointees to the public service applies from the 1st January 2011 and all new recruits to the entry grades of the public service will start at the first point of the relevant pay scale without exception. A person in the situation referred to by the Deputy who had service prior to the 1st January 2011 is not regarded as a new entrant for this purpose.

Special Educational Needs

Brendan Ryan

Question:

206 Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a special needs assistant will be approved in respect of a child (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9235/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teachers and SNAs to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. This now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts.

This number is 10,575 whole time equivalent (WTE) posts. This is a significant number of posts and unlike other areas of the public sector vacancies are being filled up to this number. It also represents continual increases in the number of SNAs over recent years. For example, there were 10,543 WTE SNA posts in place at the end of 2010 and 10,342 at end 2009.

It is considered that with equitable and careful management and distribution of these resources that there should be sufficient posts to provide access to SNA support for all children who require such care support to attend school, in accordance with Departmental criteria.

The NCSE has issued a circular to all schools advising of the allocation process for the 2011/2012 school year. A key feature of the amended scheme will be to provide for an annual allocation of Special Needs Assistant support to eligible schools.

The NCSE asked schools to submit all applications for SNA support to them by 18th March, 2011 and intend to inform schools of their annual SNA allocation as soon as possible, in advance of the coming school year.

My Department and I will be glad to consider any suggestions from school management or parent representative organisations as to how the allocation of SNA resources can best be managed within the context of the overall limit on SNA numbers established. In this regard I am committed to making whatever improvements are possible to the resource allocation system.

School Accommodation

Pat Breen

Question:

207 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application from a school (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9239/11]

I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers has applied to my Department seeking funding to provide additional accommodation for resource teachers and for the replacement of prefab units currently on the school site.

Additional information which was sought from the school concerned has recently been provided to my Department. The application is currently being assessed and officials in my Department will convey a decision on the application to the school authority when the assessment process has been completed.

Site Acquisitions

Michael McGrath

Question:

208 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to develop an education campus (details supplied) in County Cork; the timeframe for its overall development and details of the process. [9263/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that in relation to the area to which he refers a site has been acquired by County Cork Vocational Education Committee with funding from my Department. It is envisaged that the site will provide for an educational campus facility to cater for future demand at Post-Primary and to facilitate the proposed re-location of two existing schools, a Gaelscoil and a Special School.

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that the campus to which he refers has been announced as one of the projects to commence the process of appointing a design team under my Department's 2011 Multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme.

Schools Refurbishment

Barry Cowen

Question:

209 Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a full list of all schools in counties Laois and Offaly which applied for funding under the summer works scheme 2011. [9266/11]

A total of 68 applications in counties Laois and Offaly were made for funding under the Summer Works Scheme 2011. Out of the 68 applications, 16 schools, 12 at primary level and 4 at post primary level, were successful in their applications for funding for works to be carried out. Details of the schools concerned are shown in the table. All of the school authorities concerned have been notified of the decision in each case.

Applications from schools for gas, mechanical and electrical works were prioritised for Summer Works Scheme funding this year. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding under the Scheme, it was not possible to grant aid all applications and accordingly it has been necessary to prioritise some categories of works over others. My Department has sought to prioritise the funds that are available towards works that are most relevant to the health and safety of staff and students alike in our schools.

County

Sector

School

Approval

LAOIS

Primary School

19791P Scoil Tíghearnach Naofa Cullohill (LAOIS)

Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

19750B SCOIL MHUIRE ABBEYLEIX (LAOIS)

Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

18150S FRAOCH MOR N S FRAOCH MOR (LAOIS)

Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

13741Q RATH MIXED N S RATH (LAOIS)

Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

07636K ST FINTANS N S NEW LINE ROAD (LAOIS)

Approved

LAOIS

Post Primary School

91427C Heywood Community School Ballinakill (LAOIS)

Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

20169F CASTLETOWN N.S PORTLAOISE (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

20065Q OUR LADYS MEADOW NATIONAL SCHOO DURROW (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

19369G ST PAULS N S ST PAULS RECTORY (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

18828H ST. PAULS PRIMARY SCHOOL BORRIS ROAD (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

18641O S N NAOMH EOIN PORTARLINGTON (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

18532J ARDLIOS N S ARDLIOS (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

18294T BARR NA SRUTHAN N S BARR NA SRUTHAN (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

18265M BHRIDE N S ARD DUACH (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

17883K MUIRE NAOFA CASTLECUFFE CASTLECUFFE (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

17557U SCOIL ABBAIN CILLIN MAGANEY (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

17493U ROSENALLIS N S ROSENALLIS (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

17084D CILL AN IUBHAIR N S CILL AN IUBHAIR (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

15933M CAMROSS N S CAMROSS (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

14838N MARYBORO N S MARYBORO (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

13343E SCOIL BHRIDE STILL BROOK (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

13173F PADDOCK N S PADDOCK (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

12692B KILADOOLEY MIXED N S KILADOOLEY (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

12231L RUSH HALL MIXED N S PORTLAOISE (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Primary School

20353V ST Colman’s National School Stradbally (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Post Primary School

91426A Community School Mountmellick (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Post Primary School

71520D St Fergal’s College Rathdowney (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Post Primary School

71510A Portlaoise College Mountrath Road (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Post Primary School

71470O Clonaslee Vocational School Clonaslee (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Post Primary School

68068R Coláiste Íosagáin Portarlington (LAOIS)

Not Approved

LAOIS

Education Centre

ED40089 PORTLAOISE EDUCATION CENTRE PORTLAOISE (LAOIS)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

17746A SCOIL COLMAIN NAOFA MUCLACH (OFFALY)

Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

12370C ST BRENDANS MONASTERY BIRR (OFFALY)

Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

02413L S N NAOMH EOIN AN RATH (OFFALY)

Approved

OFFALY

Post Primary School

91491L St.Brendan’s Community School Birr (OFFALY)

Approved

OFFALY

Post Primary School

65620V Sacred Heart Secondary School Daingean Road (OFFALY)

Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

03220F MERCY PRIMARY SCHOOL BIRR (OFFALY)

Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

17003A S N SEOSAMH MUINE GHALL (OFFALY)

Approved

OFFALY

Post Primary School

72540O Oaklands Community College Sr. Senan Avenue (OFFALY)

Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

15983E S N NAOMH BROGAIN BRACKNA (OFFALY)

Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

19638H COOLDERRY CENTRAL NS BROSNA (OFFALY)

Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

20068W ST MARYS NATIONAL SCHOOL CLOGHAN (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

19354Q ST COLMANS N S CAPPAGH (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

18537T S N ROS COM RUA ROS CUM RUA (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

18524K S N NAOMH BRIGHDE BUACH TULLAMORE (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

18406E S N PROINSIAS NAOFA CLARACH (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

18364O S N MUIRE BAINRION EDENDERRY (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

18335H S N MHUIRE NAOFA AN ROD (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

18068K S N PEADAR AGUS POL ATH AN URCHAIR (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

18057F SCOIL MHUIRE TULLAMORE (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

17753U S N CHIARAIN NAOFA BREACH CHOILL (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

17616K NAOMH MHUIRE N S INIS NA MBREATHNACH (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

17336E S N MHUIRE BAINRIOGHAN SCOIL MUIRE BAINRIOGHAN (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

17069H S N MUIRE NAOFA POLLACH (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

17031F SHINCHILL N S SHINCHILL (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

16928B S N NAOMH PHILOMENA TULLAMORE (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

16620T DAINGEAN N S DAINGEAN (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

16435B ST CIARANS MIXED N S BALLYCUMBER (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

16013V EDENDERRY CONVENT N S ST MARYS ROAD (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

15656M BALLYKILMURRY N S BALLYKILMURRY (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

15395K MOUNT BOLUS N S MOUNT BOLUS (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

15325M CLONBULLOGUE N S CLONBULLOGUE (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

13118U CLARA CONVENT N S CLARA (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

10353P CHARLEVILLE N S CHARLEVILLE (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

07949I S N OSMANN BIRR (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Primary School

05913A KILCORMAC CONVENT N S KILCORMAC (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Post Primary School

72530L Ard Scoil Chiarain Naofa Frederick St. (OFFALY)

Not Approved

OFFALY

Post Primary School

72520I Coláiste Naomh Cormac Kilcormac (OFFALY)

Not Approved

School Staffing

Barry Cowen

Question:

210 Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he can provide a full list of all school in counties Laois and Offaly which have two teachers or less; the number of teachers per each school; the number of pupils per each school; and the number of support staff in each school. [9267/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is provided by the National School Annual Census Return and is available on the Department's website,www.education.ie, as part of the consultations on the value for money review of small primary schools. Data on non teaching staff by school is not readily available in this format.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

211 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there has been a recent change in the recognition afforded to teaching experience gained in private schools when teachers enter the public incremental scale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9282/11]

Recognition of prior qualified service in private schools for the purposes of progression on the incremental salary scale is covered under Circulars 29/2007 (primary teachers) and 29/2010 (post-primary school teachers).

Under the above schemes, service given within Ireland or the EU in private schools which have been in existence for over 10 years and provide a full range of curricular subjects in accordance with the Circulars may, subject to certain conditions, be regarded as analogous to publicly paid teaching service for the purpose of progression on the incremental salary scale.

The impact on teachers of the Government decision that all new entrants to entry grades of the public service should start at the first point of the relevant pay scale (Budget 2010) is currently being examined by my officials and further details will issue in the near future.

Special Educational Needs

Seán Kenny

Question:

212 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the circumstances that gave rise to the dropping of a special needs assistant position at a school (details supplied) in Dublin 1. [9313/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teachers and SNAs to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support, which now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts.

This number is 10,575 whole time equivalent (WTE) posts. This is a significant number of posts and unlike other areas of the public sector vacancies are being filled up to this number. It also represents continual increases in the number of SNAs over recent years. For example, there were 10,543 WTE SNA posts in place at the end of 2010 and 10,342 at end 2009.

It is considered that with equitable and careful management and distribution of these resources that there should be sufficient posts to provide access to SNA support for all children who require such care support to attend school, in accordance with Departmental criteria.

The NCSE has issued a circular to all schools advising of the allocation process for the 2011/2012 school year. A key feature of the amended scheme will be to provide for an annual allocation of Special Needs Assistant support to eligible schools. The NCSE asked schools to submit all applications for SNA support to them by 18th March, 2011 and intend to inform schools of their annual SNA allocation as soon as possible, in advance of the coming school year.

It is important to understand in relation to the SNA allocation process that SNA allocations are not permanent. The level of SNA support allocated to a school is increased or decreased as pupils who qualify for SNA support enrol or leave a school. They are also decreased where a child's care needs may have diminished over time.

I wish to advise the Deputy also that the recruitment and deployment of SNAs within schools are matters for the individual Principal/Board of Management. The Board is the SNA's employer and the terms of employment are subject to the conditions of the contract of employment. All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available onwww.ncse.ie.

School Services Staff

Eamonn Maloney

Question:

213 Deputy Eamonn Maloney asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to carry out a review to cut the pay of approximately 17,000 staff, including school secretaries and caretakers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9322/11]

I assume that the Deputy is referring to Circular 0070/2010 issued by my Department on 26 November 2010, which outlined that adjustments in salary should be applied, with effect from 1 January 2011, to all relevant staff in the employment of recognised schools or VECs who were not already affected by the pay reductions introduced under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No 2) Act 2009. Some of the categories of staff affected by this Circular included school secretaries and caretakers.

The Deputy should be aware that this measure was introduced by the previous Fianna Fáil — Green Party Government. I am aware of the impact this has had on school secretaries and caretakers. Workers across the public sector have taken pay cuts in recent years and the current Government has stated that it will seek to avoid the introduction of further paycuts in return for full implementation of the Croke Park Agreement.

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No 2) Act 2009 determined the criteria for reducing the pay of public servants with effect from January 2010. However, when the Act was introduced, there was a question as to how a public servant should be determined for the purposes of this Act. Subsequently, following receipt of legal advice, it has now been determined that all staff employed by a recognised school or VEC come within the definition of "public servant" solely for the purposes of the Act. The legislation has determined that all persons employed by a recognised school or VEC, regardless of the source of the money used to fund their salary, the lack of ability of any Minister or Department to determine on their appointment or set their pay rates, and irrespective of whether or not they are eligible for, or members of, a public service pension scheme, are "public servants" within the meaning of the Act.

It is important to point out that the fact that affected staff employed by recognised schools and VECs come within the definition of "public servant" solely for the purposes of the Act does not alter their employment status in any other respect.

The legislation does not exempt any individual or groups save for the Judiciary and the President due to provisions in the Constitution. Section 6 does provide a limited power to the Minister for Finance to exempt or vary the reduction in pay rates provided for in the legislation where exceptional circumstances exist or because of an arbitration award. In view of the time lapse involved in reaching a determination on this issue, the Minister for Finance allowed for a temporary exemption from the application of the Act for these categories of staff up until 31 December 2010.

Accordingly, my Department outlined that adjustments in salary should be applied with effect from 1 January 2011, to all relevant staff in the employment of recognised schools or VECs, who were not already affected by the pay reductions introduced under the Act.

School Staffing

Michael McGrath

Question:

214 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application by a school (details supplied) in County Cork. [9338/11]

When the moratorium was introduced the Government exempted Principal and Deputy Principal posts in all primary and post-primary schools and these continue to be replaced in the normal manner. The impact of the moratorium is therefore limited to the Director of Adult Education, Assistant Principal and Special Duties allowances payable to teachers on promotion. Vacancies at this level arise due to retirements in the specific grades and typically also from the knock on effect of filling Principal and Deputy Principal posts.

Some further limited alleviation was introduced for schools that are acutely affected by the impact of the moratorium. The alleviation arrangements are set out in Circular 42/2010.

Most of the alleviation arrangements are already in place. Any remaining applications, which include the school referred to by the Deputy, will be examined and prioritised as soon as possible. Individual schools will be notified in due course.

School Patronage

Catherine Byrne

Question:

215 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a proposed school (detail supplied) in Dublin 8; if he is committed to the provision of this school; if there is a timeframe in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9339/11]

A review of the criteria and procedures for the establishment of new primary schools has been undertaken by the Commission on School Accommodation and its report has recently been published on my Department's website. It will be necessary to consider the report's recommendations and proposals. In the interim it is not proposed to recognise any new primary schools, except in areas where the increases in pupil numbers cannot be catered for in existing schools and which require the provision of new schools.

The establishment of new schools, including the request for a new school in the area referred to by the Deputy, will be considered in this context.

In line with a commitment given in The Programme for Government I have launched a Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector which will enable all stakeholders including parents to engage in open debate on change of patronage in communities where it is appropriate and necessary. The Forum intends to develop a mechanism by which a change of patronage in existing schools can occur. I want to assure the Deputy that the Government is committed to ensuring our education system caters for a pluralism of choice which reflects the needs of Ireland today and into the future.

Schools Building Projects

Catherine Byrne

Question:

216 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed new school (details supplied) in Dublin 8; if he is committed to the provision of this school; if there is a timeframe in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9340/11]

I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers applied to my Department for large scale capital funding for a school building project to provide additional accommodation. I want to assure the Deputy that I am aware of the difficulties this school has in terms of accommodating its students, particularly for the purposes of physical education classes.

In accordance with the published criteria for large scale building projects, the project for this school has been assigned a Band 2 rating. Information in respect of the current school building programme along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including this project, is available on the Department's website atwww.education.ie.

The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of the Department's multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in light of current competing demands on the Department's capital budget, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of a project for the school in question at this time.

Schools Refurbishment

Robert Troy

Question:

217 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills when he will be in a position to announce the successful applicants under the summer works scheme. [9341/11]

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that on 30 March last I announced that 453 primary and post primary schools across the country have been successful in their applications for funding under the Summer Works Scheme this year. A list of the successful projects under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme is available on the Department's websitewww.education.gov.ie. Funding amounting to some €41 million has been allocated under the scheme. These funds will allow the schools in question to carry out small and medium scale works this summer and covers projects in school buildings such as gas, electrical and mechanical works.

School Management

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

218 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views that teachers are entitled to basic fair procedures when facing dismissal or proposal for dismissal; his plans to reform this system, in particular the provision whereby a teacher can be dismissed from his or her position solely at the prerogative of the patron. [9349/11]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

219 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to require that a patron named as principal respondent in litigation arising from the dismissal of a teacher must attend proceedings in person, subject to an appropriate penalty for failure to respond. [9350/11]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

220 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to require that settlement terms reached as an alternative to dismissal of a teacher comply with all relevant employment law, in particular the Unfair Dismissals Act. [9351/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 218 to 220, inclusive, together.

Section 24 of the Education Act 1998 provides that the appointment, suspension and dismissal of teachers are the responsibility of boards of management. In the case of VEC schools, section 20 of the Vocational Education (Amendment) Act 2001 provides that the appointment of teachers and other staff are a matter for each VEC. Removal from office of a VEC officeholder is provided for by section 8 of the Vocational Education (Amendment) Act 2001 and requires a decision of the Minister.

Under Circulars 59/2009 (VEC schools) and 60/2009 (all other schools) procedures were agreed relating to both professional competence issues and procedures relating to work, conduct and matters other than professional competence. This agreement was made under the terms of Towards 2016 and the procedures were issued in September 2009.

The procedures serve a dual purpose in that they provide a framework which enables schools to maintain satisfactory standards, and for teachers and principals to have access to procedures whereby alleged failures to comply with these standards may be fairly and sensitively addressed.

Issues relating to attendance in defence of court proceedings and terms of settlement are matters for the parties to such litigation. In the case of disciplinary matters for teachers, this will in most cases be the board of management or VEC. Outside of the removal of VEC officeholders, I do not have a decision-making role in such disciplinary matters.

Schools Building Projects

Billy Timmins

Question:

221 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9353/11]

The Board of Management for the school referred to by the Deputy has been authorised to instruct their Design Team to proceed to tender for this project. Subject to no issues arising it is envisaged that the project will commence construction later this year.

National Educational Psychological Service

Simon Harris

Question:

222 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the guidelines for National Educational Psychological Service psychologists on the assessment of RACE applications were drawn up; the person they were drawn up by; if stakeholders were consulted for input into the guidelines; his plans to review these guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9355/11]

I can inform the Deputy the psychologists from my Department's NEPS service process RACE applications, on behalf of the State Examinations Commission (SEC) in respect of Leaving Certificate students. Recommendations are made by these psychologists within the context of principals and criteria set down by the SEC for the awarding of a given accommodation. The guidelines to which the Deputy refers were developed by a working group of NEPS psychologists in 2004 to make operational these principles, inform operating practice in processing individual applications and act as a technical guide for psychologists undertaking this task.

The working group undertaking this task consulted with relevant stakeholders both within my Department and later within the SEC. The guidelines have since been subject to annual review within NEPS especially in the light of developments in and changes to the relevant psychometric test instruments and this will continue to be the case.

State Examinations

Simon Harris

Question:

223 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of exemptions granted to students with dyslexia sitting the junior certificate and the leaving certificate, following psychological assessment for each of the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9356/11]

The State Examinations Commission has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations including organising the holding of examinations and determining procedures in places where examinations are conducted including the supervision of examinations.

I can inform the Deputy that the Commission operates a scheme of Reasonable Accommodations in the certificate examinations. Applications for such accommodations are submitted by schools on behalf of their students.

A range of accommodations are provided to enable students with special needs to access the Certificate examinations. For example enlarged print, Braille translation, modified questions, use of a scribe, a reader, a personal assistant, a tape recorder or word processor, may be allowed depending on needs. The scheme was introduced following the report of an expert advisory group, and the introduction enabled opportunities to be provided for exemptions where a candidate was not in a position to demonstrate achievement in a core area of assessment.

I have forwarded your query to the State Examinations Commission who will give you a more comprehensive reply.

Special Educational Needs

Simon Harris

Question:

224 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the procedures in place to assist a child moving from a special needs school to a mainstream school; if there are obligations in place to ensure that such a child is provided with a place in a mainstream school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9365/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the enrolment of a child in a school is a matter in the first instance for the parents of the child and the Board of Management of a school. My Department has no role in relation to processing applications for enrolment to schools.

My Department's policy is to promote the principle of inclusive education as envisaged in Section 2 of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs, Act 2004. The Department, either directly or through the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), provides for a range of supports in schools to enable them cater for students with special educational needs which includes additional teachers, Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) and specialist equipment. The precise model of provision made will depend on the pupil's assessed disability. A key priority for my Department is to facilitate the maximum possible inclusion of students with special educational needs while always allowing for individuals for whom inclusion with mainstream peers may not be in their best interests or the interests of children with whom the child is to be educated.

Some students are capable of attending ordinary classes on an integrated basis with additional teaching and/or SNA support. In other cases, a more appropriate response for pupils may be to attend special dedicated classes within the school. These students have the option, where appropriate, of full/partial integration and interaction with other pupils. Other children may have such complex needs that they are best placed in a special school. Special classes and Special Schools are dedicated to a particular disability group and operate at reduced pupil teacher ratios ranging from 6:1 to 11:1.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for the provision of a range of educational services at local and national level for students with special educational needs. In particular, its network of Special Education Needs Organisers (SENOs) co-ordinates special needs education provision at local level and arranges for the delivery of special educational services. Each SENO works in an assigned local area with parents, schools, teachers, psychologists, health professionals and other staff who are involved in the provision of services in that area for children with special educational needs. They act as single points of contact for parents of students with special educational needs. Another specific function of the SENO is to identify appropriate educational placements for children with special educational needs.

All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

Higher Education Grants

Sean Fleming

Question:

225 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the situation in which many students throughout the country have applied for third level maintenance grants to pursue courses in various third level institutions and private colleges and to find out after enrolling on these courses that the particular courses may not be covered by the maintenance grants scheme; if he will publish one overall list whereby students can verify in advance whether their courses are eligible for a maintenance grant scheme rather than finding out after they have commenced the course; if he will take a proactive approach to help students who end up in severe financial difficulty because of this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9374/11]

The student grant schemes, which specify the criteria for approved courses as well as approved institutions, are widely available to the general public on both my Department's website and on thestudentfinance.ie website.

The student finance website, which is funded by my Department, provides a comprehensive source of information on financial support for further and higher education and it has a specific section which allows students to check as to whether or not their chosen course is approved for a grant.

Students also have recourse to their local grant awarding body — VEC or local authority — to verify the position. Information on approved institutions and courses will continue to be made available through these channels and students are strongly advised to make use of them if they have any doubts in this area. Applying for a grant as early as possible will also help to reduce the risk of accepting an unapproved course as the grant assessment process includes a check on institution and course eligibility.

To assist students in exceptional financial need, the Student Assistance Fund at some €5m will continue to be made available through the access offices of third-level institutions. The studentfinance.ie website also has information on this fund. The access offices themselves will also continue to provide support and advice to students to enable them to continue with their studies.

In addition, Section 21 of the Finance Act 2000 provides for the introduction of tax relief for fees paid in publicly funded colleges here and in other EU Member States as well as in private colleges in this state. This relief, which applies at the standard rate of tax, is available to full time and part time students and includes distance education courses offered by publicly funded colleges in other EU Member States. Further details on claiming this relief are available from local tax offices or on the Revenue Commissioner's website atwww.revenue.ie.

Schools Refurbishment

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

226 Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the provision of a minor works grant to a school (details supplied); when it is planned to grant the school a works grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9376/11]

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the application submitted by the school in question for funding under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme.

A list of 453 successful schools was announced on 30 March 2011 and I regret that the application made by the school referred to by the Deputy was not selected. A letter to this effect has issued to the school.

Applications from schools for gas, mechanical and electrical works were prioritised for Summer Works funding this year. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding under the scheme, it was not possible to grant aid all applications and accordingly it has been necessary to prioritise some categories of works over others.

My Department has sought to prioritise the funds that are available towards works that are most relevant to the health and safety of staff and students alike in our schools.

Schools Building Projects

Brendan Smith

Question:

227 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the policies in place in 1997 regarding the financial contributions required of schools in relation to the purchase of sites and commissioning of capital works; and the nature and date of all significant changes to these policies since that point. [9412/11]

Prior to 1999 a local contribution of 15% for primary schools and 10% for post-primary schools was sought for projects built on land not owned by the State. In 1999 the then Government announced a significant change in the way local contribution was levied, introduced a ceiling on the local contribution and reduced the percentage to be paid locally on school capital projects. The maximum level of local contribution for new schools was €63,000 or €12,500 in the case of special schools or DEIS designated disadvantaged schools. In the case of refurbishments or extensions to existing school buildings the maximum local contribution was €31,500 or €12,500 in the in the case of special schools or DEIS designated disadvantaged schools.

In recent years, a number of measures were taken to reduce further the local contribution burden, these were:

No local contributions were sought for special education projects in mainstream schools, even where the land was not owned by the State.

No local contributions were sought for projects delivered under the Small Schools Scheme or Permanent Accommodation Scheme, a single all inclusive grant was paid under these schemes.

A rolling five year period was used to reduce local contributions for Summer Works Scheme projects.

In October 2010 the previous Government approved the discontinuation of the policy of seeking a Local Contribution for all new primary and post-primary projects commencing construction and the rental of temporary accommodation.

Schools Refurbishment

Ciara Conway

Question:

228 Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine the reason given to a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary for their unsuccessful application to the summer works scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9416/11]

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application to my Department for funding under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme. A list of 453 successful schools was announced on 30 March 2011. I regret that the application made by the school was not selected because the Consultant did not meet the qualification criteria outlined in the Scheme's governing Circular for the works in question. A letter to this effect has issued to the school.

Literacy Levels

Brendan Smith

Question:

229 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if in view of information gained from the recent programme for international student assessment figures on literacy and to ensure that data are fully comparable to the 1995 survey, if he will ensure that the forthcoming survey on adult literacy levels will gather information which is capable of distinguishing between persons on the basis of what their native language is. [9417/11]

The forthcoming survey referred to by the Deputy is the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). PIAAC is being organised by the OECD and Ireland's participation is being funded by my Department. The survey will be administered in Ireland by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Results are expected to be published in 2013.

PIAAC will provide data, including data around country of birth and language, that is comparable to the 1995 survey referred to by the Deputy (the OECD International Adult Literacy Survey, IALS, published in 1997).

The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) addressed the literacy skills of 15 years olds while IALS and PIAAC address the skills of adults between the ages of 16-64. Therefore, comparisons are less straightforward. The OECD is currently examining how the results of PIAAC might be compared with those of PISA.

Brendan Smith

Question:

230 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of persons participating in State-supported adult literacy programmes in each year from 1997 to the latest available figures. [9418/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the table, including the latest updated figures for 2010. They include participants in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses which are also funded under the Adult Literacy scheme.

Adult Literacy Programme Statistics 1997-2010

Year

No of Participants

1997

5,000

1998

5,000

1999

13,000

2000

17,150

2001

22,732

2002

28,363

2003

31,579

2004

33,873

2005

35,738

2006

40,678

2007

45,812

2008

49,962

2009

47,600

2010

54,000

Proposed Legislation

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

231 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when legislation will be brought forward to amend existing legislation under the National Educational Welfare Act 2000 which would expand the remit of the act and the resources of the National Education Welfare Board to all children enrolled in any school regardless of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9421/11]

The Deputy will be aware that the establishment of a Department of Children was announced by the Taoiseach on 9 March and Minister Frances Fitzgerald has been appointed as its first Minister.

On its establishment the new Department will take responsibility for the National Education Welfare Board and arrangements are being made for the formal transfer of functions from the Department of Education and Skills.

It is envisaged that while the functions of the Board can be transferred by Order under section 6(1) of the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1939, it will be necessary to bring forward legislation to amend certain sections of the Educational (Welfare) Act, 2000 to ensure synchronicity between the respective Departmental functions.

In that context, in principle, I would see merit in an approach where parents, who have chosen to enrol a child under the age of six years in a school, would be treated under the law in the same manner as parents of children over the age of six years and that the same provisions would apply in such cases. The timetable for the legislation has not been set but it will be given further consideration in the near future.

Schools Refurbishment

Noel Harrington

Question:

232 Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Education and Skills when urgent repairs will be carried out to the roof of a school (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9431/11]

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application to my Department for funding under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme. A list of 453 successful schools was announced on 30 March 2011 and I regret that the application made by the school concerned was not selected. A letter to this effect has issued to the school.

Applications from schools for gas, mechanical and electrical works were prioritised for Summer Works funding this year. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding under the scheme, it was not possible to grant aid all applications and accordingly it has been necessary to prioritise some categories of works over others.

My Department has sought to prioritise the funds that are available towards works that are most relevant to the health and safety of staff and students alike in our schools.

Regina Doherty

Question:

233 Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the application by a school (details supplied) in County Meath, under the emergency work scheme was unsuccessful; his views on the summer works programme 2011 and the inclusion of necessary improvements other than those within the remit of electrical and heating improvements in order that schools would have the necessary upgrades made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9432/11]

The school referred to by the Deputy was advised earlier this year that its application for funding under my Department's Emergency Works Scheme was unsuccessful as the application did not qualify for funding under the terms of the Scheme.

I am pleased, however, to confirm that the school was successful in its application for funding under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme for works to the mechanical system including works to the septic tank. A letter to this effect has issued to the school. Applications from schools for gas, mechanical and electrical works were prioritised for Summer Works funding this year. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding under the scheme, it was not possible to grant aid all applications and accordingly it has been necessary to prioritise some categories of works over others.

My Department has sought to prioritise the funds that are available towards works that are most relevant to the health and safety of staff and students alike in our schools.

Regina Doherty

Question:

234 Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reconsider the application made by a school (details supplied) in County Meath, under the summer works programme 2011, to have necessary improvement works made on the steps leading to the entrance of the school; his views on the health and safety responsibilities of his Department should an accident occur as a result of the application for grant under the summer works programme 2011 being unsuccessful; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9433/11]

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application to my Department for funding under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme. A list of 453 successful schools was announced on 30 March 2011 and I regret that the application made by the school referred to by the Deputy was not selected. A letter to this effect has issued to the school.

Applications from schools for gas, mechanical and electrical works were prioritised for Summer Works funding this year. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding under the scheme, it was not possible to grant aid all applications and accordingly it has been necessary to prioritise some categories of works over others.

For works that are of a very urgent nature, it is open to the school authorities to consider if the works in question qualify for funding under my Department's Emergency Works Scheme. An emergency is deemed to be a situation which poses an immediate risk to health, life, property or the environment which is sudden, unforeseen and requires immediate action and, in the case of a school, if not corrected would prevent the school or part thereof from opening. Details of the Scheme, together with an application form for grant assistance, can be accessed on my Department's website atwww.education.ie.

Special Educational Needs

Noel Harrington

Question:

235 Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will carry out a comprehensive review of the reduction of staff numbers involved as special needs assistants; his views on the expected numbers involved in the coming years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9436/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that, as opposed to there having been a reduction in the number of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs), there has been a continual increase in the number of SNAs in recent years. For example, there were 10,543 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) SNA posts in place at the end of 2010 and 10,342 at the end of 2009.

I intend to prioritise and support special educational services. However, I cannot re-visit the previous Government's decision to place a cap on the number of posts available under the SNA scheme. This number is 10,575 whole time equivalent (WTE) posts. This is a significant number of posts and unlike other areas of the public sector vacancies are being filled up to this number.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teachers and SNAs to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support, which now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts.

It is considered that with equitable and careful management and distribution of these resources that there should be sufficient posts to provide access to SNA support for all children who require such care support to attend school, in accordance with Departmental criteria.

The NCSE recently issued a circular to all schools advising of the SNA allocation process for the 2011/2012 school year. A key feature of the amended scheme will be to provide for an annual allocation of SNA support to eligible schools.

The NCSE asked schools to submit all applications for SNA support to them by 18th March, 2011 and intend to inform schools of their annual SNA allocation as soon as possible, in advance of the coming school year.

My Department and I will be glad to consider any suggestions from school management or parent representative organisations as to how the allocation of SNA resources can best be managed within the context of the overall limit on SNA numbers established. In this regard I am committed to making whatever improvements are possible to the resource allocation system.

Schools Building Projects

Ciara Conway

Question:

236 Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to open a school (details supplied) in County Waterford; the criteria which must be met in relation to being granted temporary status by him; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9439/11]

A review of the criteria and procedures for the establishment of new primary schools has been undertaken by the Commission on School Accommodation and its report has recently been published on my Department's website. It will be necessary to consider the report's recommendations and proposals. In the interim it is not proposed to recognise any new primary schools, except in areas where the increases in pupil numbers cannot be catered for in existing schools and which require the provision of new schools.

The establishment of new schools, including the request for a new school in the area referred to by the Deputy, will be considered in this context. In line with a commitment given in The Programme for Government I have launched a Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector which will enable all stakeholders including parents to engage in open debate on change of patronage in communities where it is appropriate and necessary.

School Staffing

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

237 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will retain the third teacher at a school (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9452/11]

The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September. The staffing schedule for the 2011-2012 school year was published on my Department's website in March 2011. The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeal Board. Details of the criteria for appeal are contained in the staffing schedule, Circular 0019/2011. The Appeal Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.

Departmental Bodies

Seán Kenny

Question:

238 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the attendance records of the members of the HETAC at their council meetings over the past five years; the fees, remuneration and expenses paid to each member of the council for each of the past five years. [9457/11]

HETAC members do not receive any fees or remuneration for their service. Records in relation to attendance at HETAC Council meetings and expenses received by Council members are not recorded at my Department. I have asked officials at my Department to request this information from HETAC and it will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Seán Kenny

Question:

239 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the attendance records of the members of the National Education Welfare Board at their board meetings over the past five years; the fees, remuneration and expenses paid to each member of the board for each of the past five years. [9458/11]

Records in relation to attendance at National Educational Welfare Board meetings are not recorded in my Department. I have asked officials at my Department to request this information from the National Welfare Educational Board and it will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Statistics

Seán Kenny

Question:

240 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students who are expected to graduate as physiotherapists, nurses, dental nurses, midwives, and occupational therapists in 2011 and if he will provide the same for each of the past four years. [9459/11]

Available data on the number of new entrants and graduates in respect of these disciplines is provided in the table supplied by the Higher Education Authority. 2010 graduate data and final year enrolments for the current year are not available yet. As nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy are four year degree programmes, the level of enrolments in 2007 provides an approximate indication of what the expected graduate output may be in 2011. However, actual output will depend on a number of factors, including attrition rates, the level of repeats and students taking a break in their studies. Similarity the level of enrolments in 2008 and 2009 provide some indication of the number of dental nurses who may graduate in 2011.

Graduates

2009

2008

2007

2006

Nursing (Inc Midwifery)* Level 8

1,537

1,761

1,791

1,587

Physiotherapists Level 8

128

115

146

123

Occupational Therapy Level 8

74

81

76

45

Dental Nurses** Level 6+7

46

35

27

15

*Graduate numbers for Midwifery are included in the nursing figures as both are included under the same ISCED code 723.

**Dental Nurses graduate with a level 6 or 7 qualification depending on the course completed.

2009, 2008 and 2007 figures are combined numbers for the IOT and University sector. 2006 figures are for the university sector only as 2006 and earlier data was collected by the statistics section of the DES.

New Entrants

2009

2008

2007

2006

Nursing (Inc Midwifery)* Level 8

1,531

1,742

1,884

1,678

Physiotherapists Level 8

120

117

120

122

Occupational Therapy Level 8

95

93

87

95

Dental Nurses** Level 6+7

54

57

46

40

*New entrants numbers for Midwifery are included in the nursing figures as both are included under the same ISCED code 723.

**Dental Nurse courses are at level 6 or 7 depending on the course.

Data for all years are combined figures for the IOT and university sector.

Special Educational Needs

Terence Flanagan

Question:

241 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a special needs assistant in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9470/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teachers and SNAs to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. This now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts.

This number is 10,575 whole time equivalent (WTE) posts. This is a significant number of posts and unlike other areas of the public sector vacancies are being filled up to this number. It also represents continual increases in the number of SNAs over recent years. For example, there were 10,543 WTE SNA posts in place at the end of 2010 and 10,342 at end 2009.

It is considered that with equitable and careful management and distribution of these resources that there should be sufficient posts to provide access to SNA support for all children who require such care support to attend school, in accordance with Departmental criteria.

The NCSE has issued a circular to all schools advising of the allocation process for the 2011/2012 school year. A key feature of the amended scheme will be to provide for an annual allocation of Special Needs Assistant support to eligible schools.

The NCSE asked schools to submit all applications for SNA support to them by 18th March, 2011 and intend to inform schools of their annual SNA allocation as soon as possible, in advance of the coming school year.

My Department and I will be glad to consider any suggestions from school management or parent representative organisations as to how the allocation of SNA resources can best be managed within the context of the overall limit on SNA numbers established. In this regard I am committed to making whatever improvements are possible to the resource allocation system.

National Drugs Strategy

Robert Dowds

Question:

242 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to return to participation in drugs task forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9491/11]

My Department's commitment to the National Drugs Strategy is evidenced in the assignment of two senior staff to work predominantly on issues relating to the Strategy from an educational perspective and also in the continued Department representation, at senior level, on bodies such as the Oversight Forum on Drugs, the Drugs Advisory Group and the National Advisory Committee on Drugs.

Due to staffing constraints and the outcome of work prioritisation across my Department which identified capacity shortfalls in several key areas, it is not possible to nominate representatives to all of the 24 local and regional drugs task forces.

The Vocational Education Committees (VECs) are represented on the majority of drugs task forces. Recognising this, the Office of the Minister for Drugs recently invited the Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA) to nominate a representative to the Drugs Advisory Group. This nomination has been made. In this context, it has been agreed between my Department and the IVEA that VEC representatives of the different task forces will bring relevant issues to the attention of my Department by means of a sub-committee, to be established shortly. This new approach aims to provide a communication channel between the key education partners in relation to the effective implementation of the National Drugs Strategy.

I am committed, within the resources available to my Department, to provide support, from an educational perspective, for the National Drugs Strategy.

School Patronage

Gerald Nash

Question:

243 Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Education and Skills the process he will deploy in order to decide on the patronage of a proposed new second level school for the Drogheda area; the timeframe involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9499/11]

My Department has recently announced plans to open at least 13 new post-primary schools over the next five years to cater for increased demographics in a number of locations, including the Drogheda area.

Decisions on the patronage of any new second level school will be taken in line with the Programme for Government which gives a commitment to move towards a more pluralist system of patronage at post primary level, recognising a wider number of patrons. It is my intention to prioritise this policy in the weeks and months ahead.

Special Educational Needs

Gerry Adams

Question:

244 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total number of special needs assistants employed in County Louth and in east Meath in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. [9527/11]

The information requested by the Deputy on the number of special needs assistants employed in County Louth and East Meath on the dates specified is not readily available. The number of Special Needs Assistants employed nationally from 2007 to 2010 is available in the following document. The details for each year are the December figures for the year in question. The primary schools information is inclusive of the special schools details.

The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating special needs resources to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. The NCSE will continue to support schools, parents, children and teachers and special needs assistants will continue to be deployed to schools to meet children's needs in line with my Department's policy.

Number of Special Needs Assistants

Year

Number of Special Needs Assistants in Primary schools

Number of Special Needs Assistants in Post Primary Schools, including VECs.

2007

8,038

1,786

2008

8,440

2,002

2009

8,392

1,950

2010

8,401

2,142

Teacher Education Programmes

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

245 Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has met with the group TEACH or has been made aware of its proposal known as the Newman solution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9534/11]

My Department has received the proposal known as the Newman Solution and is considering the impacts it would have including funding, on the capacity of the colleges of education to administer an extra year and extended periods of teaching placements and on the school system.

The Deputy may be aware that there are significant changes currently under consideration for primary initial teacher education programmes. The draft national plan on Literacy and Numeracy which was launched in November 2010 sets out national targets covering early childhood, primary education and post-primary education. The targets seek to foster a better culture of reading and more positive attitudes towards mathematics among young people. A key element of the plan relates to Initial Teacher Education (ITE):

lengthening the Bachelor of Education degree programme for primary teachers to four years and the dropping of many academic subjects in colleges of education in favour of the study of education and literacy and numeracy teaching;

lengthening of H Dip Ed course for post-primary teaching to two years;

longer and more structured teacher practice sessions.

The courses are not simply to be lengthened, but to be reconfigured so that there is greater integration of academic and practical elements, and so that the graduates will be reflective practitioners capable of self-direction and applying current research on an ongoing basis to their own teaching.

Concurrently, The Teaching Council, the professional body for teachers, has recently launched its Draft Policy Paper on the Continuum of Teacher Education which will bring together Initial Teacher Education, induction and early and continuing professional development (CPD). The Council sought views, comments and suggestions of stakeholders on this important document which also envisages lengthening of the Bachelor of Education course to a minimum of four years and the post graduate programme for primary teachers to two years by 2012/13.

The implementation of these measures would be a significant undertaking by the Colleges of Education, the Teaching Council and my Department which requires, discussion, debate and careful planning and preparation in order to achieve the best outcome possible.

I understand that the Teaching Council has also been made aware of the "Newman Solution" which will be considered in the context of the proposed reforms to primary initial teacher education programmes.

Higher Education Grants

Jack Wall

Question:

246 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will qualify for a third level grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9573/11]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter for a student's local grant awarding body — the relevant local authority or VEC. In the absence of all of the relevant details that would be contained in an individual's application form, including those relating to age, residence, means, nationality and previous academic attainment, the Deputy will appreciate that it would not be possible for me to say whether or not a student would qualify for a grant. However, the specific clause relating to nationality in the 2010 student grant schemes stipulates that:

Candidates must be a national of—

(i) an EU Member State,

(ii) a state which is a contracting state to the EEA Agreement,

(iii) the Swiss Confederation, or

a refugee or other person entitled for the time being to the rights and privileges specified in section 3 of the Refugee Act 1996; or

be a person, pursuant to the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006)—

(i) who the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has determined is eligible for the time being for subsidiary protection pursuant to Regulation 4 of those Regulations, or

(ii) to whom the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has granted permission for the time being in writing to enter and reside in the State pursuant to Regulation 16 of those Regulations; or

have permission to remain in the State as a family member of a Union citizen under the provisions of the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2006 and 2008 and Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council; or

have permission to remain in the State by virtue of marriage to an Irish national residing in the State, or be the dependent child of such person, not having EU nationality; or

have been granted Humanitarian Leave to Remain in the State (prior to the Immigration Act 1999); or

be a person in respect of whom the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has granted permission to remain following a determination not to make a deportation order under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999.

Again, as nationality is only one aspect of a student grant application, the student in question is advised to submit a fully completed application form to his/her grant awarding authority to establish eligibility or otherwise for a grant. Further useful information on the student grant schemes is available on the studentfinance.ie website.

Programmes for Government

John McGuinness

Question:

247 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills the specific proposals in the programme for Government for which he is responsible; the target dates he has agreed for the delivery of these proposals; and if he will publish an implementation schedule. [9582/11]

The Programme for Government agreed between the Labour Party and Fine Gael is a plan that draws on the best of both parties, united in their commitment to bring fresh ideas, new energy and renewed hope to the leadership of our country. It is the pledge of a national government, united in the national interest.

The document contains a comprehensive set of policy goals, which are to be implemented over the lifetime of this government. In the area of education these include specific commitments in relation to raising educational standards, making literacy a national cause, reforming the patronage system, the school building programme, and reform of the third level sector. The Programme for Government also outlines the Government's intent to deliver equity in education, prioritise lifelong learning and encourage the development of the international education sector here. The Government's main ambition in education is to build a knowledge society and to improve educational outcomes for all students and learners even at a time of national crisis.

I intend to prioritise a number of these issues in the short to medium term. I have already launched the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector and will be prioritising the finalisation of the draft literacy and numeracy plan over the coming months. I am also looking forward to receiving the outcomes of the NCCA's national consultation on reform of the junior cycle in the near future.

I am committed to progressing all aspects of the Programme for Government over the next five years and will be discussing the remaining commitments with my officials over the coming months with a view to further prioritisation within the resources available to me over that period.

Schools Refurbishment

Jim Daly

Question:

248 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the poor standard of sanitary facilities and mechanical installation was considered when an unsuccessful decision was arrived at in relation to the summer works scheme for a school (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9599/11]

An application under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme has been received from the school referred to by the Deputy. A list of 453 successful schools was announced on 30 March 2011 and I regret that the application for sanitary facilities and associated mechanical works made by the school referred to by the Deputy was not selected. A letter to this effect has issued to the school.

Applications from schools for gas, mechanical and electrical works were prioritised for Summer Works funding this year. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding under the scheme, it was not possible to grant aid all applications and accordingly it has been necessary to prioritise some categories of works over others.

My Department has sought to prioritise the funds that are available towards works that are most relevant to the health and safety of staff and students alike in our schools.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Jim Daly

Question:

249 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if any exception can be made to the pupil-teacher ratio provisions at a school (details supplied) in County Cork due to a large number of junior students attending up to second class; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9600/11]

The staffing schedule for primary schools for the school year 2011/2012 was published on my Department's website in March 2011. It sets out in a fair and transparent manner the pupil thresholds for the allocation of mainstream classroom posts for all schools.

It is not possible to make an exception to the staffing schedule in the case of the school referred to by the Deputy. School authorities are requested to ensure that the number of pupils in any class is kept as low as possible, taking all relevant contextual matters into account (e.g. classroom accommodation, fluctuating enrolment etc.) In particular, school authorities should ensure, as far as possible, that there is an equitable distribution of pupils in mainstream classes and the differential between the largest and smallest classes is kept to a minimum.

Special Educational Needs

Jim Daly

Question:

250 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application for resources in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9601/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support which now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts as well as a temporary suspension of the sanctioning of additional resource teaching support hours.

In considering applications for teaching and SNA support for individual pupils, the SENOs take account of the needs identified in the professional reports and decide whether the circumstances come within the Department's criteria. They then consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupil from its current level of resources.

In respect of the SNA scheme, the NCSE has issued a circular to all schools advising of the allocation process for the 2011/2012 school year. A key feature of the amended scheme will be to provide for an annual allocation of Special Needs Assistant support to eligible schools. The NCSE has asked schools to submit all applications for SNA support to them by 18th March, 2011 and intend to inform schools of their annual SNA allocation as soon as possible, in advance of the coming school year.

In respect of the allocation of Resource Teaching hours, the Department of Education and Skills (DES) is required to ensure that the overall allocation of teaching posts does not exceed the targets set out in the Governments Employment Control Framework. The NCSE has issued a Circular to schools advising them that the final date for schools to submit any outstanding, completed, applications for resource teaching supports is 13th May 2011. On receipt of all outstanding applications the DES and NCSE will be in a position to consider resource allocation for the coming school year, in the context of the Departments Employment Control Framework obligations. Schools will be notified of their allocations as soon as possible.

Schools Building Projects

Tom Hayes

Question:

251 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application for school building funding from a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9608/11]

The project for the school to which the Deputy refers is included in the 2011 School Building Work Programme to complete tender documents and proceed to tender this year. Planning Permission has been secured and my Department is currently awaiting submission of the stage 2(b) report, including tender documents, from the school and its design team. When the stage 2(b) submission has been received and examined and assuming no issues arise, the project will then proceed to tender stage.

John McGuinness

Question:

252 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress, if any, in plans to provide an extension at a school (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if his officials have met with the board of management; if he will report on that meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9626/11]

The school to which the Deputy refers applied to my Department for large scale capital funding for an extension. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a Band 2 rating.

The priority attaching to individual projects is determined by published prioritisation criteria, which were formulated following consultation with the Education Partners. There are four band ratings under these criteria, each of which describes the extent of accommodation required and the urgency attaching to it. Band 1 is the highest priority rating and Band 4 is the lowest. Documents explaining the band rating system are available on my Department's website.

Information in respect of the current school building programme along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including the project referred to by the Deputy, is available on the Department's website atwww.education.ie. The Forward Planning Section of my Department is finalising its analysis of all areas in the country in order to determine the level of additional school provision which will be required at both primary and post primary level up to 2017. Overall primary and post-primary requirements are being considered in this context.

The progression of all large scale building projects arising from Forward Planning Section's analysis will be considered in the context of my Department's School Building and Modernisation Programme. My officials will be in contact with the school authorities shortly in relation to their application.

FÁS Training Programmes

Simon Harris

Question:

253 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the advice he would offer to a trainee electrician, currently entering his or her fourth year of study, who is encountering increasing difficulty in finding the paid placements needed to complete the course; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9631/11]

While the onus for finding an on-the-job work placement lies with the apprentice in the first instance, FÁS can assist apprentices in this regard through the provision of information on job vacancies at local FÁS Employment Services offices, through its freephone service (1800 611 116) or via its FÁS websiteatwww.fas.ie. FÁS is currently implementing a number of initiatives to support registered redundant apprentices to progress in their apprenticeships, including work placements.

The 2011 Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme funded by my Department and administered by FÁS aims to facilitate up to 1,000 eligible redundant apprentices to complete the on-the-job training phases 3, 5 and 7 of their apprenticeships with FÁS approved employers in either the private sector or, for the first time, the public sector. Other initiatives taken by FAS to assist redundant apprentices to progress in their apprenticeships include ‘Changes in Progression Rules' whereby redundant apprentices unable to complete their relevant on-the-job training phases are now permitted to progress to the next Off-the-Job training phase.

Under the ‘Phase 7 Equivalent Assessments Scheme', redundant construction trade apprentices unable to complete on-the-job Phase 7 Assessments at an employer undertaken Phase 7 Equivalent Assessments at a FÁS Training Centre. The ‘Recognition of Prior Learning Scheme' allows redundant apprentices who have successfully completed all apprenticeship training Phases 1 to 7 but who have not completed the statutory four years in employment as an apprentice to validate their competence by submitting a portfolio of evidence of trade related work experience gained at home and/or abroad and/or trade related training and education. Under the ‘Fee Waiver Scheme', FÁS day and/or evening courses course fees are waived for redundant apprentices.

Schools Building Projects

Tom Fleming

Question:

254 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide the necessary funding as a matter of urgency for a school (details supplied) in County Kerry as the current situation is causing a health and safety issue. [9639/11]

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that a project to provide an extension for the school to which he refers was included in the Ministerial announcement of 24 January 2011. Briefs will be formulated in 2011 and the process of appointing a Design Team will commence. My officials will be in contact with the school authority in due course relating to the steps to be taken to progress the project.

School Curriculum

Joe McHugh

Question:

255 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills, further to Parliamentary Question No. 159 of 12 April 2011, if he will reconsider the matter in view of the fact that the relevant organisation is not seeking funding but instead seeks official recognition from his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9718/11]

My Department has no objection to schools participating in the Junk Kouture initiative, should they wish to do so. As stated in Parliamentary Question No. 159, which was answered on 12 April 2011, the initiative supports aspects of the Art Craft and Design, Home Economics, Civic Social and Political Education, Science, Business and Social and Environmental studies aspects of the curriculum in second level schools. Overall, education for sustainable development and environmental awareness and care are significant themes underpinning many subjects within the curriculum in our schools.

These issues also feature in the Transition Year programme, where each school has the flexibility to design its own programme within a framework set out by my Department. As part of this, schools are encouraged to provide for innovative activities which develop students' key competences in such areas as research, planning and budgeting, design, team work, and evaluation. Many schools provide musicals, fashion shows and participate in competitions as part of this approach. Schools therefore have discretion as to whether they wish to participate in Junk Kouture in meeting the learning objectives of the Transition Year Programme, or in supporting other aspects of the curriculum. They may also fund participation in the programme from the capitation grants and other programme resources allocated to schools, should they wish to do so.

The Department's logo is approved for use for programmes or projects that are funded wholly or in part by the Department of Education and Skills, as is the case with the Young Scientist exhibition. It should not, under any circumstances, be used by a commercial company to advertise a product or distribute educational material. It is not the policy of my Department to endorse commercial products.

Third Level Admissions

Joe McHugh

Question:

256 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9719/11]

The CAO is a private (not-for-profit) company and receives no State funding. The higher education institutions have delegated to the CAO the task of processing centrally applications for admission to their first year undergraduate courses. My Department has no role to play in relation to the operation of the CAO.

It is my understanding that it is not possible for a third party to seek to make changes to any individual's application. However, individual applicants may change their personal information by contacting the CAO either online or in writing. Personal changes submitted in paper form should be sent to CAO, Tower House, Eglinton Street, Galway. Changes submitted in paper form will be acknowledged by the CAO in the form of a Statement of Application Record. Online changes should be made by using the ‘Contact Us' facility on the CAO websitewww.cao.ie. Changes submitted online will be acknowledged through the e-mail address supplied by the applicant.

School Closures

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

257 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to identify schools that may be under threat following the review of schools with fewer than 50 pupils, to outline the proposed changes regarding school transport and to identify ways of ensuring these schools will not have to close; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9728/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, a value for money review was initiated in October 2010 by the then Fianna Fáil/Green Party government in order to establish the value for money being achieved from state funding of small primary schools. This review is part of the normal review processes undertaken by Departments on an annual basis on selected areas of expenditure. I have no predetermined view on the outcome of the review. Educational quality for the pupils must be one of the main criteria in any consideration of primary school size and organisation, taking into account both the needs of local communities and wider social and cultural factors. The review should be completed by the end of this year and I plan to consider the review's conclusions when it is finalised.

The Deputy refers to the changes to the school transport scheme which were announced by the previous Minister and are due to be implemented with effect from September next. The changes to the school transport scheme are an entirely separate matter to the review of the small schools and were designed in order to achieve necessary savings in school transport with minimum impact to service beneficiaries. In considering any policy change in relation to small schools, I am conscious that there are many issues to be taken into account. Among these issues are the locations of small schools relative to each other and to other schools of a similar type and the question of travel distances and transport costs. I can assure the Deputy I will be taking all these matters into account when considering the outcome of the review.

Adult Education

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

258 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding funding for group tuition and adult literacy in County Kerry (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9729/11]

My Department provides annual grants to Vocational Education Committees (VECs) for adult literacy services. Budget 2011 provided for an average reduction of 5% in funding grants for VECs, including grants for adult literacy, and the 2011 provision for adult literacy services for County Kerry VEC (Kerry Education Service) reflects this.

The disbursement of these funds is a matter for each VEC which, subject to its budgets, decides the nature and extent of the adult literacy services to be provided in their area. The organisation and location of courses are also matters for decision by the VECs.

Physical Education

Sandra McLellan

Question:

259 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to ensure that school children receive the recommended 120 minutes per week of physical education. [6191/11]

It is my belief that a well planned Physical Education programme has a vitally important role to play in a broad and balanced curriculum for our primary and second level students. At primary level, Physical Education is one of seven curriculum areas within the revised Primary School Curriculum launched in 1999 and implemented on a phased basis over the period to 2008. Physical Education was implemented in 2005/6 supported by a national programme of professional development for teachers. The curriculum includes six broad strands featuring Athletics, Dance, Gymnastics, Games, Outdoor and adventure activities and Aquatics, and is based on a recommended teaching timeframe of one hour per week.

In accordance with the Rules and Programme for Secondary Schools, all second level schools should provide Physical Education as part of the curriculum. The programme that each school plans and delivers should be based on my Department's approved syllabuses and the teaching hours should be registered on the school timetable. In addition to PE, the importance of healthy lifestyles and physical exercise is also featured as part of the Social Personal and Health Education Programme which is a mandatory part of the curriculum in primary schools and in junior cycle.

Apart from the formal curricula, schools take a range of measures to encourage physical activity among students during the school day and many provide extensive, broad-based programmes of co-curricular physical activities that are highly rewarding for both pupils and teachers alike. In particular, schools play a major role in nurturing and promoting the involvement of students in sporting activities in the wider community. Sports organisations such as the Gaelic Athletic Association, Basketball Ireland, the Football Association of Ireland provide extensive opportunities for such participation.

The achievement of a minimum of 30 minutes dedicated physical activity per day recommended in the Task Force on Obesity is unrealistic in the context of a number of factors:

The length of the school day and the challenge to cover all the subjects in the curriculum adequately. Any changes to the length of the school day would require negotiation with the teachers' unions allied with the commitment of significant additional resources.

The necessity to use games/sports facilities to provide for all pupils in each school. There are limitations to the numbers that can use some resources at any one time.

The fact that primary school pupils have just half an hour for lunch and need to spend at least half of that time eating a proper lunch.

It is important to realise that children spend just 20% of their waking hours at school and so their level of physical activity during the rest of the week in just as important. Indeed, the "State of the Nation's Children 2010" report found that children in Ireland are doing well on physical activity, ranking first across 40 countries in being physically active for at least 60 minutes per day on more than 4 days per week.

Private Education

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

260 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent of the Government subsidy to private education; and if he will provide a breakdown of this subsidy. [9897/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled and will be forwarded to him.

Schools Building Projects

Noel Grealish

Question:

261 Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the application under the schools building programme by a school (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9898/11]

The brief for the building project to which the Deputy refers was revised in 2007 from an extension and refurbishment of existing accommodation to one intended to provide two new schools on the existing site.

The Deputy will note that this project was not included in the 2011 school building work programme announced earlier this year. The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase will continue to be considered in the context of the Department's multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme.

Business Regulation

Derek Nolan

Question:

262 Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the position regarding recent international developments in support of introducing an international accounting standard requiring multinational companies to provide tax reports on their activities on a country basis; if he supports such moves; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9211/11]

Financial reporting by multinational companies is being considered in a variety of forums including the OECD, at EU Council and Commission levels, by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), and in the US. Section 1504 of the 2010, US Dodd-Frank Act requires all extractive companies (e.g., minerals, oil, or natural gas) listed on US stock exchanges to publish payments made to governments on a country-by-country basis.

In the EU, the Council conclusions of 14 June 2010 encouraged the EU and its Member States to work towards exploring country-by-country reporting as a standard for multinational corporations, by encouraging the OECD to pursue its work on country-by-country reporting, including as regards the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and its Principles for Corporate Governance. It also concluded that Member States should also support the work of the IASB consultation on a country-by-country reporting requirement in International Financial Reporting Standard 6 "IFRS 6" for the extractive Sector, and encourage the IASB to look beyond the extractive sector. It is understood that the Board is still deliberating on these matters.

Earlier this year, the European Commission conducted a public consultation on country-by-country reporting by EU/EEA multinational companies in relation to the disclosure of financial information on their operations in third countries (i.e. non-EU/EEA countries). In this connection it is interesting to note that the Commission also made a distinction between general country-by-country reporting by multinational companies and specific transparency obligations in respect of payments to third country governments by companies active in the extractive industries.

My officials, in consultation, as appropriate, with colleagues from other relevant Departments, will actively participate in any EU proposals brought forward in these areas that fall within my Department's remit.

Trade Relations

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

263 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the initiatives currently being undertaken to increase Ireland’s trade with and exports to the crucial emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9380/11]

The Government is fully committed to developing and expanding engagement with the key high-potential markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, as these countries are very promising destinations for the sale of Irish goods and services.

The agreed Programme for Government sets out clearly that Ireland's economic recovery must be export-led. That Programme commits us to achieve the maximum growth in exports, including the long-term development of new markets. In addition, we will position Ireland to develop better trade relationships with emerging economies and the Government has given a commitment to progressively implement the recommendations in the strategy and action plan for Irish Trade, Tourism and Investment to 2015, entitledTrading and Investing in a Smart Economy.

That Strategy takes a two-pronged approach, focussing on particular markets and sectors. In terms of markets, it identifies potential to further grow our existing key markets — and, most particularly, to increase or gain a foothold in high-growth and high-potential markets, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. The targets agreed by the relevant State Agencies — Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Bord Bia, Tourism Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland — are to be implemented through a suite of actions driven by a new Trade Council.

Key instruments to pursue trade expansion are, of course, Trade Missions and over the last five years, Taoiseach-led Trade Missions have been organised to China and India and several other Ministerial-led Trade Missions have taken place to China, India, Russia and Brazil. I myself have just returned from the latest Trade Mission to India where I led 22 Enterprise Ireland client companies on a very successful programme of events in that country.

A further indicator of commitment is the fact that the Department of Foreign Affairs has expanded its network of Embassies and Consulates in some of those countries and Enterprise Ireland has opened new offices to facilitate Irish companies developing export opportunities there. In addition, Enterprise Ireland has a dedicated High Growth Markets Unit in Dublin to provide further assistance to client companies doing business in a range of countries, including Brazil, Russia, India and China.

All the efforts have borne considerable fruit. Between 2005 and 2010, Merchandise exports to these countries rose by 73% and between 2004 and 2009 (latest available year) services exports rose by 622%. A key example of this success is the fact that Ireland now has a modest trade surplus with China, a dramatic turnaround from the position only three years ago when we had a trade deficit of €2.9 billion with that country.

Work Permits

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

264 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will confirm if current residence in the State without immigration permission is an absolute disqualification for an employment permit, green card permit, work permit, spousal or dependant permit or intra-company transfer permit in all cases without exception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9789/11]

My Department processes applications in respect of the different types of employment permits — Green Cards Permits, Work Permits, Spousal/Dependant Permits and Intra-company Transfer Permits. All applications are processed in line with the Employment Permits Act 2006.

Under Section 12(1)(i) of the Employment Permits Act 2006 an employment permit may not be issued if "the foreign national concerned lands or has landed, or is or has been, in the State without permission". Accordingly, my Department cannot consider employment permit applications where the person is currently in the State without immigration permission.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

265 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the steps that were taken by him in determining that the employment offered was not an eligible category, in line with the Employment Permits Act 2006, in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9790/11]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

266 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will direct that an employment permit be issued in respect of a person (details supplied) who has received an offer of employment in line with the Employment Permits Act 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9791/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 265 and 266 together.

My Department processes applications in respect of the different types of employment permits (Green Cards Permits, Work Permits, Spousal/Dependant Permits and Intra-company Transfer Permits). All applications are processed in line with the Employment Permits Act 2006.

I wish to advise the Deputy that this particular application was refused on 15 March 2011 on the grounds that it appeared that the proposed employee was currently resident in the State without immigration permission. In line with Section 12(1)(i) of the Employment Permits Act 2006, employment permit applications cannot be considered for persons in the State who do not have appropriate immigration permission.

In this instance, I am satisfied that a permit cannot be considered at this time and have advised the applicant of this decision in writing.

Ministerial Staff

Brendan Smith

Question:

267 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the details of all permanent Civil Service or non-established positions in his Department which consist of assisting Ministers with constituency work; the monthly salaries for these positions; and if any further appointments are envisaged. [9137/11]

The following table outlines the detail of all permanent civil service and non-established positions which are in place in my Department for the purpose of assisting Ministers with constituency work. The table also includes the salary scales for each position.

Minister

Numbers

Grade

Salary Scale (per annum)

Richard Burton

1

Clerical Officer (Civil Servant)

€23,176 — €37,341

Constituency Office

1

Personal Secretary (non-established position)

€23,820 — €45,939

Sean Sherlock

1

Clerical Officer(Civil Servant)

€23,176 — €37,341

Minister of State for Research and Innovation

1

Personal Assistant (non-established position)

€43,715 — €52,925

Constituency Office

1

Personal Secretary (non-established position)

€23,820 — €45,939

John Perry

1

Personal Assistant (non-established position)

€43,715 — €52,925

Minister of State for Small Business

0.5

Personal Secretary (non-established position)

€23,820 — €45,939

Constituency Office

0.5

Personal Secretary (non-established position)

€23,820 — €45,939

No further appointments are envisaged in the immediate future.

Ministerial Appointments

Brendan Smith

Question:

268 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will list the details of all State appointments open to direct choice by him on 10 March 2011. [9151/11]

I understand that the Deputy is seeking details of any vacancy on any State board on 10 March 2011. The position in relation to bodies that fall under the remit of my Department is as follows:

IDA Ireland

There was one vacancy on the Board of IDA on 10 March 2011. This vacancy remains to be filled.

National Consumer Agency

There was one vacancy on the Board of the National Consumer Agency on 10 March 2011.

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA)

IAASA had 2 vacancies on its Board on 10 March 2011. Both vacancies relate to those nominated by the nine Prescribed Accountancy Bodies as outlined in the Companies (Auditing and Accounting) Act 2003.

NERA Advisory Board

On 10 March 2011, there were two vacancies on the Advisory Board of NERA, one for nomination by myself and one for nomination by an Employer body.

InterTradeIreland

The Board consists of twelve members, six of which originate in the South and six from the North. Of the six nominated by the South, ICTU and IBEC each nominate one member to the Board, these two along with the other four are recommended by me for appointment to the North South Ministerial Council. There were no vacancies on the Board on 10 March 2011.

There were no vacancies on 10 March 2011 for the following Boards:

Shannon Development

Health and Safety Authority

Enterprise Ireland

Crafts Council of Ireland

National Standards Authority of Ireland

Forfás

Science Foundation of Ireland

Personal Injuries Assessment Board

Labour Relations Commission

County Enterprise Boards

I do not select, nominate or appoint members to the Boards of the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs).

EU Directives

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

269 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he has received advice from the Attorney General in respect of Mr. Justice Charleton’s ruling on illegal file sharing and transposition of the EU directive on the same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9280/11]

My Department is in receipt of advice from the former Attorney General in relation to the ruling by Mr. Justice Charleton in the case referred to. In giving his advice on the issue, the Attorney General indicated that it would be prudent to consult both with his office and with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources with regard to any implementing measures arising from the ruling concerned.

My Department is currently in the process of carrying out such consultations.

Job Creation

Michael McCarthy

Question:

270 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the efforts that have been undertaken by the Industrial Development Agency in west Cork over the past few months to incentivise job creation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9287/11]

IDA's strategy document, entitled "Horizon 2020”, sets out the Agency’s targets for the period 2010 to 2014. The investment targets set out in this strategy include the creation of 105,000 new jobs in Ireland during that period and also includes a target of 50% of these investments to be based in locations outside of Dublin and Cork.

The challenge in achieving an even spread of investment across the country as a whole is intensified as the sophistication of investments increase. Competition for foreign direct investment (FDI) comes not just from other countries, but from city regions with populations in excess of one million people. Dublin is the only recognised city region in Ireland that meets this criterion.

In line with the National Spatial Strategy, "Horizon 2020” places renewed emphasis on the “Gateway” regions, which are going to be critical growth areas in the future. Successful enterprise development and the creation of an attractive location are interdependent. Regions/Gateways that support strong and dynamic enterprise are crucial to Ireland’s return to balanced economic growth. There are currently 130 IDA supported enterprises in Cork City and County employing 20,491 people.

In addition to attracting new investment to this country, IDA continues to work closely with its existing clients to encourage the expansion of their operations. The Agency also continues to place a strong focus on transformation within client companies, and has continued to work with existing clients on upskilling programmes, investments in technology uplift and new process developments, in order to deepen their commitment to Ireland. This encourages further business in areas which are compatible with our skills base and which are sustainable within our economy in the longer term.

In selecting locations to show companies, IDA Ireland seeks to include locations which have been affected by closures/job losses. Typically, a company is shown three or four selected towns, which can meet its requirements for skills, labour, site and/or buildings, infrastructure, etc. While IDA Ireland seeks to influence the selection of location, the final decision on location is taken in all cases by the promoting company.

Work Permits

Anne Ferris

Question:

271 Deputy Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if his attention has been drawn to the ongoing problems associated with the current employment permits system, in which workers do not have the right freely to change their employers; if his further attention has been drawn to the recently published Migrant Integration Policy Index which ranked Ireland 28th out of 31 countries in terms of labour market mobility; if he will consider making changes to the permits system in order that workers are granted employment permits within a designated job category with the right to change employer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9379/11]

Given the huge pressures that exist in the labour market, Irish labour market policy is keenly focused on ensuring that general labour and skills needs are met from indigenous labour and from within the workforce of the European Union. For strategic skills or labour shortages in designated occupations in key economic sectors, Government policy is to issue employment permits for the employment of non-EEA nationals for specific vacancies and in response to employer demand. Our system is demand led and vacancy based as opposed to permit regimes that apply a quota system.

Legislative changes introduced in the Employment Permits Act 2006, combined with the administrative measures that my Department operates where particular difficult cases are brought to attention, are sufficient to counter any issues that arise as a result of the restriction on employees moving employment within the initial 12-month period.

In the Employment Permits Act 2006, workers benefited significantly in terms of securing much greater freedom in terms of accessing the labour market. For the first time, workers were granted autonomy and control over their own employment choices with the ability to apply and re-apply for their own permit. The Act also allows workers to change their employer after a period of a year and move to another employment in order to take advantage of better conditions or career options.

Prospective employers are required to carry out a labour market needs test to justify the issue of permits to non-EEA nationals. It would be unfair on an employer if, having invested the time and expense involved, a new employee were to take up employment with a different employer after a short period, perhaps in an area where no identifiable labour market shortage has been identified.

Although employment permits are employer and location specific, it is the case that my Department currently makes best efforts to facilitate those who encounter difficult situations and who wish to change employers. In 2010, for instance, almost 1,200 new employment permits were issued in respect of employees changing to new employers. These permit applications were issued without regard to the normal requirements of advertising the position in daily newspapers and with FÁS.

Additionally, where individual instances are brought to the Department's attention, my Department considers such applications sensitively on a case-by-case basis. In such cases, the normal labour market economic needs test can be dispensed with. That gives those individuals full and free access to all sectors of the labour market and to all employers. In 2010, a total of 92 such applications for new permits of this nature were received of which 70 were granted.

I note the Deputy's reference to the Migrant Integration Policy Index. While the Survey's methodology is not explicit in the Report, I expect that Ireland's rating in respect of labour market mobility of migrant workers has been impacted by the severe economic downturn and the contraction of the labour market which has affected mobility opportunities of all workers. I would not necessarily agree with some of the statements in the Report e.g the arrangements for changing employment outlined above are not acknowledged. Similarly, there is no acknowledgement that families of persons issued with a Green Card are entitled to immediate family reunification and that Green Card holders may also establish a business in the State on completion of two years legal employment.

Competition Law

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

272 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will examine the dominant position of some companies in the Irish media industry, including cross-media dominance across newspapers, radio, television and the Internet; if he will commission a review of this phenomenon, leading to new legislation if necessary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9474/11]

Dominance,per se, in any sector of the economy is not an offence under competition law. However, the Competition Acts 2002-2010 prohibit the abuse of dominant positions in any sector of the economy. The Competition Authority is the independent statutory body responsible for enforcing competition law in the State and complaints of any alleged anti-competitive practice should be referred directly to it. It is, of course, open to any aggrieved party alleging anti-competitive practices, including abuse of a dominant position, to take a private action under Section 14 of the Competition Act 2002.

However, in relation to the specific issue of media mergers as opposed to dominance, the Advisory Group on Media Mergers was established in 2008 to review the current legislative framework regarding the public interest aspects of media mergers. The Group's report was published in 2009, and the eleven recommendations contained therein were considered in the context of a wider review of the operation and implementation of the Competition Act 2002. It is my intention to bring forward legislation during the course of 2011 to reform aspects of competition law, including implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Group concerning media mergers.

I should point out that responsibility for the radio and TV sectors, as well as for digital broadcasting and communications in general, rests with my colleague the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Licensing for broadcasters, through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), is provided for under the Broadcasting Act, 2009. Ensuring open and pluralistic broadcasting services, as well as the promotion of diversity in control of the more influential commercial and community broadcasting services, are also statutory functions of the BAI under that Act.

Programmes for Government

John McGuinness

Question:

273 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the specific proposals in the programme for Government for which he is responsible; the target dates he has agreed for the delivery of these proposals; and if he will publish an implementation schedule. [9583/11]

The Programme for Government, Government for National Recovery 2011-2016, relates to the 5-year period commencing on 9 March last. My initial priority is to create and maintain sustainable jobs and employment opportunities in the economy. I have been working with my Department on actions that can be delivered in the first 100 days of Government to support my priorities.

The Government's Jobs Initiative, which will be published shortly, will set out short-term priority actions. This will include a number of key Programme for Government commitments, including a number directly linked to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation.

County Enterprise Boards

Jim Daly

Question:

274 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the incentive schemes available to a person setting up a new accountancy business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9605/11]

My Department through the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) provide support to micro-enterprises in the start-up and expansion phases by both financial and non-financial assistance. There are four County and City Enterprise Boards located across the county of Cork. The remit of these Boards as part of a nationwide Network is to promote and develop indigenous micro-enterprise potential and stimulate entrepreneurship at local level across the country.

To be eligible for CEB grant support an enterprise must be in the commercial sphere, must demonstrate a market for the proposed product/service, must have a capacity for growth and new job creation and must not employ more than 10 people. CEBs can provide both financial and non-financial assistance to a project promoter. The forms of financial assistance, which are available, subject to certain restrictions and conditions, include Priming Grants, Business Expansion/Development Grants, and Feasibility/Innovation Study Grants. The CEBs give priority to enterprises in the manufacturing or internationally traded services sector and must always give consideration to any potential for deadweight and displacement arising from a proposed enterprise.

In addition, the CEBs deliver a wide range of non-financial supports such as Business Management, Mentoring, E-commerce, Enterprise Education, and Women in Business Networks. These supports are designed to improve management capability development within micro-enterprises and to assist new and existing enterprises to operate effectively and efficiently so as to last and grow. Due to the Boards' unique relationship with their clients and the local business community they can specifically tailor their programmes to meet the evolving needs and requirements of these small enterprises going forward.

Due to their unique role within the community, CEBs are considered to be a first point of contact for persons wishing to set up in business and in that regard, I would advise the promoter to approach their relevant local CEB in the first instance to discuss what options may be available to them and their proposed business venture. Details of the four Cork Boards are as follows:

Cork City Enterprise Board, located at 1/2 Bruach na Laoi, Union Quay, Cork; Phone No: 021 4961828; Fax No: 021 4961869; e-mail: info@corkceb.ie; Website: www.corkceb.ie

North Cork County Enterprise Board, located at Blackwater House, Mallow Business Park, Gouldshill, Mallow, Co. Cork; Phone No: 022 43235; e-mail: michael@nceb.ie; Website: www.nceb.ie

South Cork County Enterprise Board, located at Unit 6a, South Ring Business Park, Kinsale Road, Cork; Phone No: 021 4975281; Fax No: 021 4975287; e-mail: enterprise@sceb.ie; Website: www.sceb.ie

West Cork County Enterprise Board, located at 8 Kent Street, Clonakilty, Co. Cork; Phone No: 023 8834700; Fax No: 023 8834702; e-mail@ enterprise@wceb.ie; Website: www.wceb.ie.

Job Creation

Tom Fleming

Question:

275 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation his plans for replacement jobs in an area (details supplied) in County Kerry. [9640/11]

The recent announcement concerning the closure of the Aetna facility in Castleisland is disappointing for all concerned. However, IDA Ireland and the company are working closely to construct a "prospectus" setting out the skills and capabilities of the workforce and a profile of the facility that IDA can then market internationally as part of their efforts to attract alternative employment to Castleisland.

It should be remembered that Aetna will not cease operations in Castleisland until December this year and, therefore, the current facility will be in use up to this time. The company is currently reviewing all its options in relation to use of the premises/site from the end the year. IDA has met with representatives of Aetna twice in the US and has on-going contact with them in Ireland with a view to supporting and advising the workforce at this difficult time and considering all options in relation to finding suitable alternative employment. IDA has highlighted the skills and capabilities of the Aetna workforce to a number of relevant investors. This exercise will intensify over the coming months and include clients of Enterprise Ireland as well as foreign-owned companies. This will increase overall visibility of the Castleisland site across a range of sectors and improve the prospects of finding new employment.

FÁS Employment Services Management in the South West Region will make contact with the company and carry out an assessment of all those being made redundant. Following on from that Enterprise Ireland's Mid West Regional Office will offer to run Enterprise Start programmes in cooperation with the Enterprise Board to facilitate employees.

I would like to assure the Deputy that the full resources of the State development agencies are being used to find a replacement industry and to assist the workers who are to be made redundant.

Frank Feighan

Question:

276 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the programme he and Enterprise Ireland have for job procurement for Boyle, County Roscommon, in view of the fact that a factory unit lies idle and a business park project is in place on a site procured by Roscommon County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9677/11]

Job creation is central to our economic recovery and the Programme for Government has job creation at its core. The role of my Department is to ensure that we have the right policies in place to support and grow our enterprise base in order to facilitate both job creation and job retention. It is only by creating the right environment for businesses to expand that we will see new jobs coming on stream.

In terms of job creation, Enterprise Ireland (EI) activity is focussed on the creation of new jobs through supporting entrepreneurs setting up new High Potential Start-Up Companies, the retention and creation of new jobs in existing companies and enhancing the innovation capability of Ireland at a national and regional level through support of research in companies and Third Level institutions. At present, there are over 60 EI client companies in Co. Roscommon, employing almost 1,200 people. In 2010, the agency approved over €1.5m for client companies in the county.

EI has approved financial support for a total of five community Enterprise Centres in Co. Roscommon. These centres are located in Arigna, Ballaghaderreen, Boyle, Castlerea and Roscommon Town. Boyle Chamber of Commerce has been approved funding in respect of eligible expenditure towards the development of an enterprise centre in Boyle. I understand that it was Boyle Chamber's original intention to locate the centre on a site owned by Roscommon County Council. However, I have been informed that the Chamber subsequently developed plans to refurbish an existing building in the town as an enterprise centre, which is part funded by EI. Roscommon County Enterprise Board (CEB) is funding the refurbishment of this building and EI funded the purchase. This project is expected to create ten jobs.

As regards the closure of the factory in question in 2006, I understand that a new owner, who would operate a food production facility at the site, is being sought. EI has been monitoring the situation closely and even though this is a particularly difficult time for the food industry, I have been informed that two of the agency's client companies have expressed interest in the facility.

Job creation in Roscommon is also supported by the activities of the Roscommon CEB through a series of programmes and both financial and non-financial assistance are available to a project promoter. In 2010, Roscommon CEB provided over €340,000 to 16 projects and assisted more than 500 people in their training and mentoring programmes. During 2011, the Board has continued to support enterprise development in Boyle and throughout the county and will ensure that available funds are targeted to maximise entrepreneurial development.

In relation to potential Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) based job creation for the area, IDA Ireland's strategy for Roscommon is to promote the county as part of an integrated Midlands Region. In line with the National Spatial Strategy, IDA is committed to marketing the County town of Roscommon as a location for FDI. To this end, IDA Ireland works closely with educational institutions in the Region, in developing the best fit between their programs and the skill sets necessary to attract high value added employment to the county. At present there are six IDA Ireland supported companies in Roscommon employing approximately 755 people.

Military Exports

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

277 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the value of military exports and military export licences issued in 2010. [9731/11]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

278 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the value of dual-use exports and export licences issued by his Department in 2010. [9732/11]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

279 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of military licences refused in 2010; and if he will list the companies refused and the basis for refusal. [9733/11]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

280 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of dual-use export licences refused in 2010; and if he will list the companies refused and the basis for refusal. [9734/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 277 to 280, inclusive, together.

Preliminary data regarding the value and number of export licences issued in 2010, in respect of military and dual use goods and technology is set out in the following table. Military licences are issued for a limited 12 month period. They cover the export of specified goods or technology to clearly identified destinations and end users. All licence applications are carefully examined to determine what exactly is the end use. My Department consults with the Department of Foreign Affairs in respect of each military licence application before it is issued.

Individual dual use licences are also issued for a 12 month period for exports up to a specified amount and to a specific end-user. Global dual-use licences, which are valid for a six month period, can be issued for dual-use goods up to a specified amount for a number of destinations from a specific exporter.

A key part of the licensing process in relation to all types of export licence applications is to ensure, as far as possible, that the item to be exported will be used by the stated end-user for the stated end-use, and will not be used for an illicit purpose, e.g. for use in connection with WMD or for use in an embargoed country. The checks and balances built into the licensing system facilitate robust scrutiny in this regard.

The criteria taken into account when deciding whether or not to grant an individual or global dual use licence are set out in Article 12 of Regulation 428/2009. It provides that Member States shall take into account "all relevant considerations including":

(a) the obligations and commitments they have each accepted as members of the relevant international non-proliferation regimes and export control arrangements, or by ratification of relevant international treaties;

(b) their obligations under sanctions imposed by a common position or a joint action adopted by the Council or by a decision of the OSCE or by a binding resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations;

(c) considerations of national foreign and security policy, including those covered by Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment; and

(d) considerations about intended end-use and the risk of diversion.

The Common Position referred to at point (c) sets out common criteria against which applications for exports of military goods should be assessed. These criteria include, inter alia, essential and important considerations such as the impact on human rights in the country of destination, regional peace, security and stability and the approach of the buying country to the rule of law and terrorism.

One dual use licence application was refused in 2010. I do not propose to provide further detail about refusals to grant export licenses due to issues of commercial confidentiality. Information regarding the value of goods does not represent the actual value of goods exported. Rather it represents the value of goods in respect of which an export licence was granted.

Number of licences issued in 2010

Value of licences in 2010

(€000s)

Individual dual-use licences**

715

1,279,186

Global dual-use licences**

66

174,314

Military licences

98

24,350

**For export control purposes, dual-use goods refer to products which, though manufactured for civilian use, could also have a military application.

Employment Rights

Clare Daly

Question:

281 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation his views regarding the waiting period for cases to be heard at the Employment Appeals Tribunal, which can be more than 17 months; the steps he will take to rectify this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9794/11]

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) was originally established to adjudicate on disputes about redundancy, however, the scope of the Tribunal was extended on several occasions since its establishment and now deals with disputes under 18 pieces of Employment Rights legislation. Members of the EAT panel — employee nominee Members, employer nominee Members and independent Chair and Vice-Chairs — are appointed for fixed terms of office and their services are utilised as required. My Department is responsible for the administration of claims referred to the Tribunal through our provision of staffing resources, ICT facilities and accommodation for the EAT.

The Tribunal has seen a marked increase in its caseload in recent years, as it is one of the front-line services directly impacted upon by the significant economic downturn. Between 2007 and 2009, the number of claims coming to the Tribunal trebled, although there was a slight (7%) decrease in new claims lodged in 2010. However, the first quarter of 2011 continues to show a high level of claims being submitted and contested.

Tribunal Staff are conscious that parties in dispute are anxious to have claims dealt with as early as possible and are working extremely hard to deal with the sizeable increase in claims submitted to the EAT. In that regard, there has been a large increase in the number of claims disposed of by the Tribunal in recent years. These efforts have resulted in a 51% increase in cases disposed of in 2010 over 2008.

The increased number of cases referred to the EAT in recent times has, nonetheless, had a strong impact on case processing timeframes. I am informed that the longest waiting periods at the end of March 2011 ranged from 45 weeks to 86 weeks, although such figures can be somewhat misleading in terms of the very different nature of claims referred to the Tribunal.

Although the Tribunal conducts hearings in about 36 locations across the State, where the number of cases is relatively small, the Tribunal may wait until a sufficient number of cases is on hand before hearings in certain locations can be listed so as to maximise value for money in relation to the costs of hearings outside Tribunal HQ. Once a critical mass of cases is assembled, 5 days of hearings in a single location can reduce the "waiting time" in the area concerned by approximately 30 weeks.

In relation to managing its caseload and costs, I understand that the Tribunal targets areas with the longest waiting period and highest level of claims outstanding, within the resources it currently has available, when scheduling hearings. I can assure the Deputy that the Tribunal has been pro-active in driving efficiencies as it addresses the significantly increasing demands for its services at a time of significantly constrained resources. Divisions of the Tribunal are sitting longer, listing more cases per hearing, and seeking to manage the caseload so as to maximise efficiency. These efficiencies have resulted in improvements in the service provided to individual applicants and respondents and have also resulted in an increase in the Tribunal's output. In this connection, over 6,000 claims were processed between January and end-December 2010 — the highest number on record.

The Tribunal is also piloting the streaming of certain types of cases in particular, in order to increase the number of cases being dealt with and assist parties in these instances. The Tribunal is also in the processing of developing a "fillable" electronic form, which will facilitate the more expeditious processing of a claim form once lodged. Furthermore, the Tribunal is piloting a specialist Division to hear claims submitted in relation to redundancy payments which are significant in number and where determinations by the EAT are necessary.

Most recently, my Department has supported the Tribunal in processing its increased caseload through the assigning of additional Tribunal Secretaries and support from the National Employment Rights Authority of the Department in managing the administration of case logging and document preparation. Such cross-unit support has been a vital support to the Tribunal in tackling its caseload.

All of these measures are being taken against the backdrop of severe resource constraints — both monetary and staffing — and I can assure the Deputy that my Department will keep the workload challenges for the Tribunal under review with a view to assisting it further improve its levels of customer service.

Departmental Bodies

Willie O'Dea

Question:

282 Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the total amount of funding the Industrial Development Agency, Enterprise Ireland and the county enterprise boards received in the years 2010 and 2011. [9811/11]

The total amount of Exchequer funding received by the agencies in question is set out in the following table.

2010

2011

€m

€m

IDA Ireland

130.7

124.557

Enterprise Ireland (incl Temporary Employment Subsidy Scheme)*

389.333

308.732

County Enterprise Boards

31.610

27.242

*Enterprise Ireland's 2010 budget included a once-off allocation of €93.353 million for the Temporary Employment Subsidy Scheme. The 2011 allocation for this scheme was €4.25 million.

Willie O'Dea

Question:

283 Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the total funding Science Foundation Ireland received in each of the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. [9812/11]

The total amount of Exchequer funding received by Science Foundation Ireland from 2007-2010 is set out in the following table.

Year

Amount

€m

2007

164.066

2008

168.193

2009

180.270*

2010

158.705

*The 2009 allocation included a once off payment of €5.612m for the Charles Parsons Energy Research Awards.

Finian McGrath

Question:

284 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason funding was cut in respect of an organisation (details supplied). [9111/11]

FÁS Employment Services provides a range of services and supports to all jobseekers who can register at one of the 63 local FÁS Employment Service Offices nationwide for on-site career guidance and job placement services. FÁS contracts for the delivery of the Local Employment Service (LES) with Partnership Companies in 24 designated disadvantaged areas.

I am advised that staffing cuts in the Northside Partnership LESN did not occur as a result of FÁS budgetary actions, and that the loss of the clerical staff member of the Northside Centre for the Unemployed was a result of the restructuring arrangements made by the Northside Partnership.

Social Welfare Code

Catherine Byrne

Question:

285 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide the rules governing the back to education allowance, with particular reference to advancement from one FETAC level to another; if there are any exceptions to these rules; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9208/11]

The back to education allowance (BTEA) scheme is a second chance education opportunities scheme designed to remove the barriers to participation in second and third level education by enabling eligible people on social welfare payments to continue to receive a payment while pursuing an approved full-time education course that leads to a higher qualification than that already held. It is a non-statutory scheme with administrative operational guidelines. A person wishing to pursue BTEA will have to satisfy a number of conditions such as being a certain age, in receipt of a prescribed social welfare payment for a specified time period, pursuing a full time course of study leading to a recognised qualification in a recognised college and progressing in the level of education held by the client with reference to the national framework of qualifications among others.

Progression has always been a fundamental condition of BTEA. State support for education purposes is grounded on a student progressing from one qualification level to a higher one. This is necessary to ensure displacement does not occur, in that courses could be offered to students who are not progressing at the cost of students progressing from a lower education level.

Social Welfare Benefits

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

286 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection when a rent supplement application in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 will be dealt with, and if same will be expedited. [9497/11]

The person concerned is currently in receipt of rent supplement of €389.80 per month. However, the Health Service Executive has advised that it understands the person in question is in the process of moving house. The HSE has advised the person concerned to make an application for rent supplement in respect of the new tenancy and a decision will then be made on this application.

Michael McGrath

Question:

287 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork was refused mortgage interest supplement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9637/11]

In the time frame available, I regret that the Department is not in a position to reply to this question. The Department will be in contact with the Deputy over the coming days and will reply in full to the question raised.

Community Development

Brendan Griffin

Question:

288 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans for community employment schemes and rural social schemes; if she envisages a role for local authorities in the delivery of such schemes in the future; if she will protect related social services such as child care, care of the elderly, meals on wheels and so on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9801/11]

The community employment programme and the rural social scheme make important contributions to the delivery of local services to communities across the country and provide significant employment and training opportunities for those engaged. I do not envisage any change to either initiative that would impact on the nature or range of services delivered. Each initiative provides opportunities for innovation in the way services and resources are deployed locally.

As the Deputy will be aware, our Programme for Government contains a commitment to reform local government including consideration of moving many of the functions currently being performed by agencies —such as community employment and enterprise supports —back to local government and any future consideration of such schemes will have regard to that commitment.

Social Welfare Benefits

Timmy Dooley

Question:

289 Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in County Clare has had their rent allowance reduced, and if she will reverse the decision. [9038/11]

The Health Service Executive has advised that the persons concerned recently had their entitlement to rent supplement reviewed and that they are in receipt of the maximum amount of rent supplement payable based on the household income from disability allowance and illness benefit.

Health Service Allowances

Catherine Byrne

Question:

290 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Social Protection the current relationship she has with the community welfare service; the services and payments that community welfare officers are responsible for administering; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9063/11]

The supplementary welfare allowance scheme is administered by the Community Welfare Service (CWS) division of the Health Service Executive on behalf of the Minister for Social Protection in accordance with guidelines issued by this Department. Neither the Minister nor the Department has a function in deciding entitlement in individual cases. The CWS also administer and various payments to asylum seekers on behalf of the Department. In addition some community welfare officers carry out a range of functions on behalf of the HSE.

The staff of the Community Welfare Service (CWS) were transferred to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) with effect from 1 January 2011 on a secondment basis. The period of secondment is to last for 9 months until the end of September 2011. From 1 October 2011 it is intended that the staff of the CWS will be transferred to the Department as civil servants.

Question No. 291 withdrawn.

Social Welfare Appeals

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

292 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection when the file on the application for carer’s allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare was referred to the appeals officer; if the date for an oral hearing is likely to be set in the near future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9076/11]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case. The person concerned will be informed when arrangements have been made.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Question No. 293 withdrawn.

Martin Heydon

Question:

294 Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal for domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9097/11]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 13th April 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Social Welfare Services on the grounds of appeal be sought. When received, the appeal in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer for consideration.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Social Welfare Benefits

Brendan Ryan

Question:

295 Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason an application for mortgage interest supplement was suspended in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; if this decision will be reviewed with a view to reinstating the payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9109/11]

The Health Service Executive has advised that payment of mortgage interest supplement ceased as the person concerned is in full-time education.

PPS Numbers

Joe Costello

Question:

296 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will endeavour to locate a PPS number in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9116/11]

The details which the Deputy has supplied are not sufficient to identify the person concerned. I have made arrangements to contact the person to obtain the necessary details and to re-issue the PPS number, if it can be located, or to issue a new PPS number if necessary.

Ministerial Staff

Brendan Smith

Question:

297 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Social Protection the detail of all permanent Civil Service or non-established positions in place in her Department in respect of assisting Ministers with constituency work; the monthly salaries for these positions; and whether any further appointments are envisaged. [9143/11]

The position regarding the staffing of my Constituency Office is as outlined in the following table:

Grade

Monthly Salary Scale

1 EO

€2,543 — €3,998

1 CO

€1,931 — €3,112

1 Personal Assistant

€3,643 — €4,672

1 Personal Secretary

€1,985 — €3,978

There are no plans to make any further appointments to my constituency office.

Ministerial Appointments

Brendan Smith

Question:

298 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will list the details of all State appointments open to direct choice by her on 10 March 2011. [9157/11]

The three statutory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department are the Pensions Board, the Social Welfare Tribunal and the Citizens Information Board.

In addition, the Pensions Ombudsman comes under the remit of the Department. Procedures with regard to appointments are as follows:

The Pensions Board

Appointments to the Pensions Board are prescribed under the Pensions Act, 1990 (as amended). The Board, appointed for a term of five years, consists of a Chairman, to be directly appointed by the Minister for Social Protection and 16 ordinary members, who shall be appointed to the Board by the Minister as follows:

two shall be representative of trade union members of whom one shall be a trustee of an occupational pension scheme,

two shall be representative of employers' members of whom one shall be a trustee of an occupational scheme,

two shall be representative of occupational pension schemes,

one shall be a representative of the actuarial profession,

one shall be a representative of the accounting profession,

one shall be a representative of the legal profession,

one shall be a representative of consumer interests,

one shall be a representative of pensioner interests,

one shall be a representative of the Minister for Finance, and

one shall be a representative of the Minister.

The remaining three appointments are selected by the Minister for Social Protection. There is currently one vacancy on the Pensions Board and this vacancy will be filled in line with the legislative provisions.

The Social Welfare Tribunal

The Social Welfare Tribunal consists of a Chairperson and four ordinary members, two on the nomination of ICTU and two nominated by IBEC. The chairperson is nominated by the Department and requires a person with a judicial background or experience of administrative tribunals and knowledge of industrial relations.

All members are formally appointed by the Minister for Social Protection.

Citizens Information Board

The Citizens Information Board (formally Comhairle) was established in 2000. The appointments to the Board are set out in The Comhairle Act, 2000, as amended by the Citizens Information Act, 2007 and are set out hereunder.

The Board shall consist of 15 members, one of whom the Minister shall designate as a chairperson. The ordinary members of the Board shall include:

(a) one officer of the Minister,

(b) three members who represent persons with a disability,

(c) one member who shall be elected by the staff of the agency.

In making appointments to the Board the Minister shall have regard to the objective of there being not less than six members who are women and not less than six members who are men.

Office of the Pensions Ombudsman

The Pension (Amendment) Act 2002 provides for the direct appointment of the Pensions Ombudsman by the Minister for Social Protection. This office does not have a Board.

Social Welfare Appeals

John McGuinness

Question:

299 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection if assistance towards payment of mortgage will be approved in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will expedite a positive response. [9165/11]

The HSE has advised that it awarded a mortgage interest supplement of €182 per week to the person concerned, on an exceptional basis for a period of 12 months from January 2010 and that payment of the supplement has now ceased.

The HSE has further advised that the person concerned appealed this decision to the HSE's designated Appeals Officer on 13th April 2011. A decision on the matter will be made on the matter in due course.

Social Welfare Benefits

Michael McGrath

Question:

300 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide a revised assessment for jobseeker’s allowance for a person currently on the back to work enterprise allowance for the self-employed (details supplied). [9166/11]