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 30, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 31 to 55, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 56 to 66, inclusive, answered orally.

Job Creation

Mick Wallace

Question:

67 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of jobs that will be created over the next two years as a result of the State’s enterprise strategy which will see a total spend of €1 billion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35990/11]

Mick Wallace

Question:

83 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of jobs that will result from the State’s enterprise strategy in view of the fact that the Department allocation for 2012 is a record high of €514 million, to be followed by €458 million in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35991/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 67 and 83 together.

The Government published its Infrastructural and Capital Investment 2012-16: Medium Term Exchequer Framework on the 10th of November last. The capital investment programme covers a broad range of critical areas including economic infrastructure, environmental infrastructure and social investment.

While acknowledging that over the medium-term, there will be a lower level of resources available for capital investment generally, I am delighted to say that supports to industry will be maintained at very significant levels. In total, €2.334 billion is provided for jobs, enterprise and innovation over the period from 2012 to 2016, with over €900 million also being invested by my colleagues in programmes related to tourism, agriculture, food and the marine, all of which deliver major economic and environmental benefits. This will be an increase in the annual allocation for enterprise support from €508 million in 2011 to its highest ever level of €514 million in 2012, reflecting the priority accorded to job creation by the Government.

In 2010, IDA Ireland clients created 10,897 new jobs while Enterprise Ireland clients created 8,193. Shannon Development clients created 362 while the 35 CEBs together created 5,901 when full and part-time jobs are included. It is vital that this level of job creation is maintained and enhanced in the years ahead and the capital allocation to my Department ensures that this will be the case. There will inevitably be some job losses also, however, improved competitiveness, a more benign trading environment and interventions by the enterprise agencies in support of existing jobs will ensure that losses will be minimised.

Under the new investment framework the funding of these key employment creating agencies will be protected or enhanced over the medium term. A number of new initiatives will also be funded including a Partial Loan Guarantee Scheme, Innovation Fund Ireland and there will be increased focus on accelerating High Potential Start-Ups. As a consequence I expect these enterprise-development Agencies to deliver on their ambitious jobs targets of over 110,000 gross new jobs over the five years of the programme to 2016 — or 22,000 per annum on average. Every new job is estimated to have a multiplier effect so the overall impact on job creation of these activities is estimated at 220,000 gross new direct and indirect jobs.

Continued investments in research, technological development and innovation have been and will remain a pivotal element of our enterprise development offering to 2016. These investments underpin both the quantum and quality of employment in enterprise today and into the medium term. The environment for business and job growth is of course affected by international economic conditions and our own competitiveness. In recognition of this I am conducting a review of our policies and I plan to publish a Jobs Strategy early in the new year to ensure that policies are adopted which maximise job opportunities.

County Enterprise Boards

Michael McGrath

Question:

68 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if any county and city enterprise boards could be abolished or merged as part of the rationalisation of State agencies being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36038/11]

The issue of restructuring the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) is under consideration within my Department and various options have been considered. It is my intention, however, to ensure that any opportunity presented by CEB restructuring will not simply be about reducing or changing the numbers of CEBs in existence but will be used as an opportunity to fundamentally reform, streamline and revitalise the manner in which the State supports the valuable micro-enterprise sector.

In particular, I want to ensure that State support is delivered in a cohesive manner and that there is a targeted local delivery of enterprise support, driven by a national enterprise policy, in a manner which eliminates overlap and duplication and which makes it easier for the end-user to access the necessary supports and services which can help the sustainability and growth of his/her business. The micro-enterprise and small business sector will be central to the economic recovery and the future economic prosperity of this Country and it is vital that it is properly supported at State level.

Industrial Disputes

Joan Collins

Question:

69 Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he has responded to the letter handed to him recently by workers (details supplied) and members of Mandate in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, who have been on strike since April 2010 following their dismissal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36055/11]

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

81 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he has responded to the letter handed to him recently by workers (details supplied) and members of Mandate in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, who have been on strike since April 2010 following their dismissal and the failure of their employer to abide by Labour Court rulings or pay moneys owed to the sacked employees; if he intends to introduce legislation to prevent such treatment of workers by some employers in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36052/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 81 together.

This issue involves a dispute that resulted from a decision by the employer in 2010 to cut pay and working hours of the workers. The issues in dispute were referred to the Labour Relations Commission by the workers. Separate exploratory talks involving the Conciliation Service of the Labour Relations Commission and the employer and workers' representatives took place in June 2010, where all possibilities were explored with both parties in an effort to reach a mutually acceptable agreement to settle the dispute. Unfortunately, the Conciliation Service determined that it was not in a position to assist the parties achieve a settlement of the issues in dispute.

I understand that the workers referred claims regarding alleged breaches of their employment rights under a number of different pieces of legislation to the Rights Commissioner Service and to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. I am advised that the Rights Commissioners and EAT found in favour of the workers in all cases, and made appropriate awards in favour of the workers concerned. I understand that the employer failed to attend at any of the hearings.

There is in place a comprehensive suite of employment rights legislation through which disputes can be pursued. In this context, all employment rights legislation provides for mechanisms through which the decisions of Rights Commissioners and the Employment Appeals Tribunal can be enforced through the Courts. I understand that the enforcement of some of the decisions made in relation to the claims arising from this dispute has already been put in train. In other related instances the specified date by which the decisions or determinations were to be carried out has not yet been exhausted.

The mechanisms provided to ensure compliance with the provisions of employment rights legislation have been shown to have been fully utilised in this instance and to have resulted in a series of decisions and determinations which can now be enforced in the appropriate way. Accordingly, I have no plans to introduce further legislation in this regard.

Employment Rights

Clare Daly

Question:

70 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will provide figures for the average waiting time for an applicant to have a rights commissioner hearing between 2005 and 2011; if he will provide figures for the average waiting time for an applicant to have an Employment Appeals Tribunal hearing between 2005 and 2011; if he will provide figures for the volume of applications for rights commissioner and Employment Appeals Tribunal hearings between 2005 and 2011; if he will provide figures for the staffing levels of the rights commissioner and Employment Appeals Tribunal between 2005 and 2011; and if he will provide the necessary resources to reduce current waiting times for rights commissioner and Employment Appeal Tribunal hearings from current levels to a maximum of one month. [35633/11]

The Rights Commissioner Service is part of the Labour Relations Commission, a statutory body independent of my Department in the performance of its functions. All operational matters relating to the Rights Commissioner Service, including the scheduling of hearings, is a matter for the Labour Relations Commission. Equally, it is a matter for the Commission to decide on the extent to which its administrative resources are allocated to the Rights Commissioner Service. I have forwarded your Question to the Chief Executive of the Commission and have asked that he respond directly to you on the matter. I can say that the number of rights commissioners assigned and administrative staff assigned to the Commission increased significantly since 2005. Details are provided at the end of this reply.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal has also seen a significant increase in its caseload in recent years. Between 2007 and 2009, the number of claims coming to the Tribunal trebled and this had a consequential impact on case processing timeframes. The waiting periods are set out in the table. In response to this increase, the Tribunal has been allocated some additional administrative staff in recent years while also improving the efficiencies of its own operations. As a result, there has been a large increase in the number of claims disposed of by the Tribunal in recent years with 6,064 cases disposed of in 2010 compared with 4,680 in 2009 — an increase of approximately 30%.

I would add however that the functions and outputs of both the Rights Commissioners Service and the Employment Appeals Tribunal are being addressed in the context of my planned reform of the State's employment rights and industrial relations structures and institutions. As part of this, I am chairing an Implementation Group charged with overseeing the restructuring of five existing bodies into a simplified two-tier structure. I expect this reform and streamlining project to deliver a measurable improvement in the quality of services provided to users of the State's employment rights/industrial relations dispute resolution services and reduce the burden of accessing such services for users and reduce costs to the State.

Number of rights commissioners 2005 to October 2011

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Oct 2011

7

8

14

15

15

15

15

Number of Labour Relations Commission staff 2005 to October 2011

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Oct 2011

40

45

48

48

50

44.53

44.53

Number of Claims to Employment Appeals Tribunal 2005 to October 2011

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Oct 2011

3,727

3,480

3,173

5,457

9,458

8,778

7,424

Average Waiting Period for Dublin 2005 to October 2011 (Weeks)

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Oct 2011

28

27

20

16

31

58

74

Average Waiting Period for Provincial Areas 2005 to October 2011 (Weeks)

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Oct 2011

41

44

51

31

32

55

76

Staffing in Employment Appeals Tribunal 2005 to October 2011

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Oct 2011

29.4

26.8

30

34.6

36.4

35.20

45.80

EU Funding

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

71 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which Irish enterprise has made contact through his Department or directly with the relevant EU Commissioner with the objective of accessing the appropriate funding for job creation, innovation and technology; the number of projects to date approved under such heading; the number of projects, if known, pending; the extent to which Irish projects continue to compete for such funding with other EU member states both inside and outside the eurozone; the degree to which he expects a major breakthrough in this area in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36017/11]

The Seventh EU Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7), with a budget of over €50 billion for the period 2007 to 2013, is the EU's main instrument for funding research and development in Europe. In order to extract the maximum benefit from the opportunities available within FP7, a National Support Network has been put in place, headed by a National Director for FP7 based in Enterprise Ireland who leads a team of national contact points for various elements of the Programme. This support structure ensures that a coordinated and coherent approach is adopted towards FP7 across all of the Government Departments, agencies and other organisations involved. Through this support structure, a mix of guidance, advice and financial assistance is available to encourage researchers and companies, large and small, to avail of the opportunities within the Programme.

The latest available data in relation to participation by enterprise in FP7, from 2007 to April, 2011, illustrates the number of participations (applications), number of successful applications, number of specific companies and funding to those companies.

In the period from the beginning of 2007 when the Seventh Framework Programme began to April this year, 171 companies based in Ireland have had projects approved for funding under the programme. A number of companies are involved in more than one project and the total number of projects approved involving Irish companies in that period is 262. The total amount of funding to Irish based companies in these projects is €74.8 million. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) account for €55.5 million i.e. 74% of funding to Private Industry with 206 out of the 262 participations in projects. 22 Multinational companies (MNCs) based in Ireland have been approved funding and are involved in 56 approved projects.

Ireland's overall success rate in FP7 of 23% (percentage of successful Irish applications including industry and academic) remains above the European Member State average of 22.21%. The funding secured by Irish applicants at 21% (funding secured as percentage of funding requested) is also above the EU average of 20.68%. The high level of activity of Irish researchers and the Irish success rate ahead of the overall EU average are very positive indications of the prospects for Irish participation in FP7 and are broadly in line with our national targets.

With regard to the number of projects pending and prospects for a major breakthrough, it is not possible to provide details at this stage. All major FP7 Calls for 2012 opened in July, 2011 and will close sequentially from September, 2011 to March, 2012. The next information available from the European Commission with regard to these Calls will be in April, 2012. There will be one more series of Calls in respect of 2013, before the end of FP7, which is due to conclude at the end of 2013.

The Commission gives special consideration to the funding of SMEs within FP7, setting a target of at least 15% of the available funding. Ireland's SME participation remains in line with this target. Indeed, Ireland has the highest SME participation degree of the EU 27 Member States, with 104 per 100,000 SMEs participating in FP7 Themes.

EU support for innovation is also provided through the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) which runs from 2007 to 2013. It includes the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme which aims to improve the conditions for innovation, such as exchanges of best practices between Member States and actions to improve, encourage and promote innovation in enterprises. It also includes the ICT Policy Support Programme which aims to stimulate the new converging markets for electronic networks and services, media content and digital technologies. The CIP is administered through the Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry.

Enterprise Support Services

Dessie Ellis

Question:

72 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps taken by him to reform the enterprise development sector. [35958/11]

The Enterprise Development Agencies have served the economy well in recent years in terms of the many thousands of high-value and sustained jobs created across the regions, the significant contribution their clients make to tax receipts and spend in the Irish economy, as well as their contribution to our export success and continuing healthy balance of payments.

However, we are now presented with new challenges and changed economic circumstances, both domestically and across our main trading partners. We must ensure that our enterprise development supports and agencies are fit for purpose and well positioned to help move us out of the current downturn by creating sustainable jobs here in Ireland, continuing to grow exports in our traditional key markets, as well as targeting high-growth markets, such as the BRIC countries, for both exports and inward investment projects.

As part of our reviews of the effectiveness of our spending I am reviewing the structure of all agencies in the Department. In the recent paper on Restructuring Agencies I have indicated a number of changes under review. This includes the enterprise development sector and specifically a review of the role of Forfás, of Shannon Development in the context of the Mid West Task Force and of the County Enterprise Boards. I will bring proposals to Government when they are finalised. I am also developing a Jobs Strategy and it may be necessary to make changes within our agencies to implement the new strategy effectively.

EU Directives

Dessie Ellis

Question:

73 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the discussions that he has had with regard to the transposition of the temporary agency workers directive. [35959/11]

The EU Directive on Temporary Agency Workers (2008/14/EC) is due to be transposed into Irish law by 5 December 2011. A central aim of the Directive is to ensure protection of temporary agency workers by applying the principle of equal treatment in their basic working and employment conditions. My Department initiated a public consultation on the national transposition of the Directive in October 2010. Observations were provided by a number of stakeholders and interested parties. As part of the consultation process a number of follow-up bilateral meetings were held between my Department and a number of respondents to further elaborate on positions. This informed the preparation of draft legislation by my Department.

Government approval for the draft Scheme of a Bill to give effect to the EU Directive in Irish law has been obtained and the Office of Parliamentary Counsel is proceeding with urgency to draft the Bill. I expect that the Bill will be published in early December 2011.

In tandem with the preparation of the necessary legislation to give effect to the Directive, my Department has been engaged in discussions with the national social partners, IBEC and ICTU, with the objective of facilitating agreement on the conclusion of a "Framework Agreement" under the terms of a derogation provided under Article 5.4 of the Directive. This would allow for a "qualifying period" before the principle of equal treatment would apply to agency workers in Ireland and would place us in a similar situation to that of the UK and Northern Ireland which has already obtained agreement on a 12-week qualifying period. In the absence of a "Framework Agreement" the default position is that equal treatment will apply from day 1 of the assignment of the agency worker to the hirer undertaking.

I met with IBEC and ICTU on 31st August, 2011 to facilitate discussions with the objective of concluding a framework agreement allowing for a qualifying period. At that time, I set in motion a series of bilateral discussions between officials of my Department and the national social partners to tease out the prospects for securing agreement and, while those discussions are ongoing, to date, no agreement has been reached on this issue.

Given the imminence of the date on which the Directive comes into effect i.e. 5 December 2011, there are considerable time pressures to conclude these discussions. In light of the extremely challenging labour market conditions with high unemployment and the need to do all in our power to sustain and grow employment, it is my sincere hope that agreement can be achieved between both sides. This would allow necessary leeway in terms of labour market flexibility and ensure that the labour market conditions in this jurisdiction align with those in Northern Ireland and in the UK.

Departmental Agencies

David Stanton

Question:

74 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will provide a list of the agencies under the auspices of his Department; the amounts made available to each and their expenditure or indicative expenditure in 2010 and 2011 respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35989/11]

A list of the agencies under the auspices of my Department and their financial allocations for 2010 and 2011 sought by the deputy are published under Vote 34 in the Revised Estimates Volumes for the Public Service 2010 and 2011 which are available in the Dáil Library. The outturn figures for 2011 will not be available until years end.

Job Creation

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

75 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which the relevant personnel within his Department have focused on the various issues affecting, impeding or obstructing job creation, enterprise and innovation; the extent to which positive intervention has been examined with a view to maximising opportunities in the areas for which he has responsibility; the extent to which the various stakeholders have been interviewed in this context; if it is expected that every possible opportunity for improvement is vigorously pursued; if he intends to take on board specific bold ventures with a view to utilising all possibilities in the context of national economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36016/11]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

231 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the extent that he and or his Department have examined the extent to which job creation is impeded by specific practices; the main issues that have emerged; the extent to which the large, small and/or medium sized sector is affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36328/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 and 231 together.

The main factors impacting on job creation, enterprise and innovation at present have been well flagged in reports from the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) and include a lack of consumer demand, difficulties accessing certain business finance, cost competitiveness issues and the impact of the global economic downturn on the Irish economy. These issues impact on firms of all size and in all sectors. However, smaller companies are finding it particularly difficult to access finance at present.

The Government has taken decisive action in relation to recapitalising the banks and setting ambitious lending targets for them. The NCC's Costs of Doing Business in Ireland report for 2011 found that business costs in Ireland have reduced in relation to labour, property, utilities and business services in the last two years. The report made a number of recommendations to improve our cost competitiveness further and I have brought these recommendations to the attention of my Ministerial colleagues in Government.

With regard to my own Department's area of responsibility, I have been working on proposals for the introduction of a Temporary Partial Credit Guarantee scheme and a Microfinance Fund for small business start-ups and both are at an advanced stage. I am continuing to work on proposals to reform the statutory wage setting mechanisms, which will help to improve the competitiveness of businesses in certain sectors. My Department has identified potential savings of approximately €198 million per annum for businesses in Ireland arising from measures taken to reduce the administrative burden in the areas of Company Law, Employment Law and Health and Safety Law. My Department is also leading a cross-Government programme to further measure and reduce the administrative burden across all areas of regulation affecting business. A project to measure these burdens across seven Departments and the Offices of the Revenue Commissioners is due to be completed by mid-2012.

I am currently preparing a Jobs Strategy for the Government which will set out a series of clear, actionable measures across all Departments to support the creation and retention of jobs. The Strategy will focus on areas such as:

improving competitiveness and intensifying competition in sheltered sectors;

assisting indigenous business to grow;

supporting indigenous start ups;

attracting inward entrepreneurial start ups;

developing and deepening the impact of Foreign Direct Investment;

exploiting opportunities in new and emerging sectors; and

supporting employment initiatives within the community.

In preparing the Strategy, I have consulted with a wide range of stakeholders from the public, private and community sectors, to obtain their views on actions to support employment creation. I received over 600 individual ideas through this process, including some innovative proposals for job creation. My Department and Forfás, in consultation with officials in other Government Departments, have been analysing the proposals to identify those which are likely to have the greatest impact on job creation and retention. The objective is to publish the Jobs Strategy early in the New Year.

These measures will be underpinned by an allocation to my Department of €514 million for enterprise support from the Government's Capital investment budget for 2012. This is the highest ever Capital allocation to my Department, reflecting the priority accorded to job creation by the Government.

Units of Measurement

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

76 Deputy Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if his attention has been drawn to the continued use of imperial size fittings in the plumbing trade and the unnecessary confusion and extra costs that imperial fittings cause especially in small scale and private work; if he will eliminate the use of imperial sized fittings; the steps he will take to bring the plumbing trade fully into the metric era; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33490/11]

Directive 80/181/EEC on Units of Measurement, transposed by European Communities (Units of Measurement) Regulations 1992 (S.I. No. 255 of 1992) as amended by Directive 2009/3/EC transposed by European Communities (Units of Measurement) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 (S.I. No. 89 of 2010) outline when metric measurements must be used and the extent to which imperial measures can continue to be used.

S.I. No. 255 of 1992 required that measurement should be indicated in metric units, but allowed the use of supplementary indications until the end of 2009. However, it became apparent that the 2009 cut-off date for the use of supplementary indications could cause problems in USA-EU trade. In order to avoid these obstacles the EU stepped back from an outright ban on the use of imperial measures and continues to allow their use on the proviso that in a retail context it is compulsory to display the equivalent metric measurement, even where the good is produced and packaged to imperial measures.

All dimensions in the Technical Guidance Documents that accompany the current Building Regulations are in metric. Those Building Regulations and associated Technical Guidance Documents are the responsibility of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. The primary purpose of the Building Regulations is to safeguard the health and safety of people in and around buildings.

The Building Regulations apply to all new buildings, extensions and certain works to existing buildings and provision or replacement of certain services, fittings and equipment. However, the national building stock includes many existing buildings which predate the current Building Regulations and which may include services, fittings and equipment produced to imperial measures. Repair and renewal of such older services, fittings and equipment therefore gives rise to an ongoing market for imperial or dual measurement supplies.

Job Creation

Gerry Adams

Question:

77 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the targets he has set for job creation every year through the four year budget cycle outlined in the medium term fiscal statement. [35940/11]

The Medium Term Fiscal Statement was published by the Minister for Finance on 4 November and outlines macroeconomic projections for the period 2011 to 2015. The Government subsequently published its Medium Term Framework for Infrastructural and Capital Investment on 10 November, to cover the period 2012 to 2016. The Capital Investment Framework places a focus on economic growth and jobs, as well as addressing social cohesion and environmental sustainability. In total, €2.334 billion is being provided to my Department's Vote from the Capital Investment Framework to support jobs, enterprise and innovation over the period 2012 to 2016. A further €900 million is being invested by my colleagues in programmes related to tourism, agriculture, food and the marine, all of which deliver major economic and jobs benefits.

Capital funding for my Department's enterprise development agencies will be protected or enhanced over the medium-term. A number of new initiatives will also be funded, including a Partial Loan Guarantee Scheme and Innovation Fund Ireland. There will also be an increased focus on accelerating High Potential Start-Up companies. As a consequence, I expect the enterprise development agencies to deliver on their ambitious jobs targets of over 110,000 gross new jobs over the five years of the programme to 2016. This represents an average of 22,000 new jobs per annum.

Every new job is estimated to have a multiplier effect, so the overall impact on job creation of these activities is estimated at 220,000 gross new direct and indirect jobs. The environment for business and job growth is, of course, affected by international economic conditions and our own competitiveness. In recognition of this, I am conducting a review of our policies and I plan to publish a Jobs Strategy early in the New Year to ensure that policies are adopted which maximise job opportunities.

Consultancy Contracts

Clare Daly

Question:

78 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of public service jobs that have been outsourced since he took office; the Departments and bodies from which they were outsourced; the amount paid to those firms by the Exchequer who now undertake work previously performed by public servants. [35987/11]

No jobs in my Department or any of the bodies under its aegis have been outsourced since I took office.

Sick Pay Scheme

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

79 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he was consulted, and his view on the impact on employment, of the proposal to transfer responsibility for paying sick pay in the first month of illness from the Department of Social Protection to employers. [35953/11]

The introduction of a Statutory Sick Pay scheme, along the lines of those which operate in many other European countries, has been suggested for consideration by the Minister for Social Protection as part of the Government's pre-Budget preparations. No decision has been taken by Government on the proposal at this stage. I have, however, heard the views of business representatives first hand on the matter and I will reflect on their position. I have also asked Forfás to examine the potential impact on competitiveness and employment of Statutory Sick Pay, if such a scheme were to be introduced.

Enterprise Support Services

David Stanton

Question:

80 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the policy directives given to enterprise support services under the auspices of his Department, with reference to the possible need to encourage enterprise in provincial towns across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35988/11]

Job creation is at the core of Government policy and the creation and retention of sustainable jobs is central to the work of the enterprise development agencies — Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the County and City Enterprise Boards. Enterprise Ireland's primary objective is to drive the growth of Irish-owned companies in overseas markets. In so doing, jobs will be created and additional spend will be generated in their localities. Company growth means economic growth throughout all the regions. With well over half of the agency's client companies located outside the major urban centres of Dublin, Cork and Galway, working directly with new and established companies based in provincial towns and surrounding areas is a fundamental aspect of Enterprise Ireland's work.

Currently, EI client companies employ around 137,000 people and half are employed outside Dublin, Cork and Galway. Around €420 million, or 63%, of all funding allocated for "direct company development projects" since 2008 has been approved to companies outside the Dublin region. Enterprise Ireland also supports the Community Enterprise Centres (CECs) throughout the regions which provide a range of facilities that enable entrepreneurs to establish new businesses and provide employment in local and rural communities. Since the first CEC development scheme in 1989, €61.4 million has been approved for the building and expansion of 134 centres across the country. An estimated 4,300 are employed in these Centres.

The County and City Enterprise Boards have an excellent track record in tapping into local entrepreneurial potential and they currently support more than 38,000 jobs across the regions. Their focus has increasingly been on the development of sustainable growth-orientated local enterprise, which can deliver high quality job creation without displacement or deadweight. Through the provision of both financial and non-financial support the Boards have assisted many micro-enterprises in developing their growth and export potential right around the country.

At present, 45% of IDA Ireland client employment of over 125,000 is outside of the key urban centres of Dublin and Cork. The agency's strategy, "Horizon 2020" has set specific regional goals of securing 50% of all investments into locations outside of Dublin and Cork. The Government's Capital Investment Framework 2012-2016 announced on the 10th November last provides €2.334 billion for jobs, enterprise and innovation over the period. This investment will assist enterprises across the regions and deliver much needed jobs to the economy as a whole.

Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 69.

Job Protection

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

82 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the consideration he has given to developing a job retention scheme for viable business to keep workers in employment rather than join the live register. [35947/11]

The Employment Subsidy Scheme (Temporary) was introduced in December 2008 to help vulnerable but viable businesses retain jobs during the most difficult period of the economic downturn. The scheme was approved by the European Commission under a Temporary Framework for State Aid measures. This Temporary Framework was limited to a two-year period and it expired at the end of 2010. There are no plans for a further scheme of this nature at present.

However, job creation and retention is a central objective of the Government. The Government's role 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. The Jobs Initiative announced last May focused our resources on measures that offered the greatest potential for expansion and employment creation in the domestic economy. Initiatives such as the reduction in the lower rate of VAT and the halving of employer's PRSI on earnings up to €356 per week have helped to retain people in employment and create new jobs, particularly in the hospitality industry.

Building on the Jobs Initiative, I am currently preparing a Jobs Strategy for the Government which will set out a series of clear, actionable measures to support the creation and retention of jobs in to the future. The Strategy will focus on areas such as:

improving competitiveness and intensifying competition in sheltered sectors;

assisting indigenous business to grow;

supporting indigenous start ups;

attracting inward entrepreneurial start ups;

developing and deepening the impact of Foreign Direct Investment;

exploiting opportunities in new and emerging sectors; and

supporting employment initiatives within the community.

Some of the actions in the Jobs Strategy will be delivered in the short term and will have an immediate impact, while others will be delivered in a longer timeframe. The objective is to publish the Strategy early in the New Year.

Question No. 83 answered with Question No. 67.

North-South Co-operation

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

84 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps he is taking to develop the proposals for an all-Ireland approach to the development of the labour market with his colleagues in the Northern Executive. [35944/11]

My colleague Ruairí Quinn T.D., Minister for Education and Skills, has overall responsibility for the development of further education and skills training in the context of the current difficult and changing labour market and is assisted by the Minister of State with responsibility for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon T.D.

The Northern Ireland Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) has responsibility for further/vocational and higher education matters as well as employment matters and skills training in Northern Ireland. While the Department of Education and Skills does not formally engage with DEL within the structures of the NSMC, both Departments liaise on North South education and training cooperation issues as required. There is also good co-operation between third level institutions in both jurisdictions in relation to third level courses and research programmes.

My colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr. Ruairí Quinn T.D., met with Minister Stephen Farry, M.L.A., the Northern Ireland Minister for Employment and Learning, on Wednesday, 28 September 2011. I am informed that, at their bilateral meeting, the Ministers discussed issues of mutual interest including Further and Higher Education and the drive to raise skills levels, as well as looking ahead to possible further areas of collaboration. The Ministers acknowledged that the need to raise the skills levels of the workforce is a challenge throughout the island. Both Departments have previously engaged constructively on this issue, with the production of an All-Island Skills Study and also the Management Matters report which highlighted the need for improvements in management and leadership skills in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

I understand from Forfás, the policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation, that in recent years there have been many examples of both Forfás and the Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning working together to share information and to understand more fully the labour market on both parts of the island of Ireland. These include joint meetings of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) and the (then) Northern Ireland Skills Expert Group, the production of the All Island Skills Report, the All Island Skills Conference in 2008 and the steering of research into management skills North and South.

A Comprehensive Study on the All-Island economy (2006) commissioned by the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, emphasised the benefits of working together in a co-ordinated way to ensure that the necessary skills are in place to encourage sustained growth. The two skills expert groups established North and South — the NI Skills Expert Group and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs — agreed to work together on an All-Island Skills Study to provide the evidence for delivering the required workforce skills across the island. This Study was completed in October 2008 and provides an evidence base for future partnership and effective working between the two skills expert groups by providing a comprehensive picture of skills demand on an All-Island basis.

The Study was launched at a conference held in Derry on 9th October 2008. The conference provided an opportunity to share good practice and maximise opportunities for future North/South cooperation. It discussed future challenges and opportunities facing economies North/South and potential responses to help sustain future economic and social development. Since then a number of meetings have been held between the chairperson of the EGFSN and the head of the Education, Skills and Labour Market Policy, Forfás and the Northern Ireland Adviser on Employment and Skills. The purpose of the meetings is to provide an exchange of information on the role, functions and work of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs and on the work of the Northern Ireland Adviser on Employment and Skills and the Employment & Skills Advisory Group and on respective research work being undertaken — such as on the demand for high-level ICT skills and the skills demand needs of the green economy.

I am informed that FÁS has continued its tradition of co-operating with the training authorities in Northern Ireland in the running of the Wider Horizons Programme (WHP). The programme aims to enhance employment opportunities by providing vocational training, work experience and personal development training both at home and overseas to disadvantaged people aged between 18 and 28 years. The Wider Horizons Programme is delivered on behalf of The International Fund for Ireland (IFI) by its joint managing agents, the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) in Northern Ireland and FÁS in the Republic of Ireland. IFI funds the programme costs with FÁS and DEL contributing to the training allowance and travel and accommodation costs of participants. Last year approximately 570 young people participated in the Wider Horizons Programme across 29 projects.

In the sphere of social protection and the coordination of social security arrangements, the Department of Social Protection is represented at meetings of the inter-departmental North-South co-ordinators group, chaired by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Secretariat of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) recently finalised a paper on Obstacles to Cross Border Mobility which, amongst a range of issues, highlights difficulties people who are regarded as frontier workers have in the social welfare and tax areas.

A Cross-Border Operational Forum has been established comprising of selected investigators from the Irish Department of Social Protection the Great Britain Department for Work and Pensions and the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency of the Department for Social Development. The Forum's remit is to liaise at an operational level, under the aegis of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of Ireland concerning Co-operation and Mutual Assistance in the Administration of Social Security Programmes (the MOU), in matters of mutual interest in the areas of fraud in their respective social security systems.

With regard to co-operation on issues relating to employment law, employment rights and industrial relations, officials of my Department maintain continuing liaison with their counterparts in the Northern Ireland Department of Employment and Learning. These contacts are also complemented by continuing close working relationships between the Labour Relations Commission and its Northern Irelands counterpart, the Labour Relations Agency. Issues of mutual interest addressed at the most recent joint engagement at official level included the transposition of the EU Directive on temporary agency work and the parallel experience of public consultations conducted on the reform of individual employment rights dispute resolution mechanisms.

National Statistics

Seamus Healy

Question:

85 Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Taoiseach if he will provide the figures for net financial assets of households and non-profit institutions serving households for the years 2008, 2009, and 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36263/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the table:

Net Financial Assets(€Billion)

2008

2009

2010

Households and Non-profit Institutions Serving Households

71,876

98,264

117,153

Notes:

1. Households consist of persons in their capacity as holders of financial assets or as borrowers. The business assets and liabilities of unincorporated self-employed persons are also mainly reflected in this sector.

2. Non-Profit Institutions Serving Households consist of bodies such as charities and non-commercial agencies not owned by the government (e.g. some schools and hospitals).

3. Net Financial Assets show the stock at the end of each year of the financial assets less the financial liabilities of the sector.

4. A change in the balance sheet position from year to year reflects not only the net transactions during that year — valuation changes, exchange rate changes and reclassifications can also impact on the balance sheet position.

Constitutional Convention

Clare Daly

Question:

86 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach if the proposed constitutional convention will be independent of the Oireachtas in the exercise of its function; if it will be open-ended in its remit and agenda; if it will contain a representative cross-section of citizens; if it will be citizen led and not be dominated by political parties and interest groups; if it will present its recommendations within 12 months of its formation; and if those recommendations, unaltered by the Government, will be put to a referendum of the people within a further six months. [35482/11]

Gerry Adams

Question:

87 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will outline the proposed timeline for work on the constitutional convention; and the way that participation in the convention will be structured. [35495/11]

Gerry Adams

Question:

97 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach the procedures he will put in place to ensure participation by communities and civic society in the constitutional convention. [36087/11]

Gerry Adams

Question:

98 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach the timeframe he envisages for the proposed constitutional convention. [36088/11]

Gerry Adams

Question:

99 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach when the work of the proposed constitutional convention will commence. [36089/11]

Gerry Adams

Question:

100 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach the steps that have been taken to prepare for the setting up of the proposed constitutional convention. [36090/11]

Gerry Adams

Question:

101 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach the matters which will be under the remit of the constitutional convention. [36091/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 86, 87 and 97 to 101, inclusive, together.

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to establish a Constitutional Convention and indicates areas for it to examine. The Programme says that the Convention will report within 12 months. I have previously indicated that, in order to give the Convention time to fully consider the matters which will be referred to it, the 12 month period should run from the date of its establishment, which it is intended will be in the Spring of next year. Work is proceeding in my Department on the preparation of proposals for the setting up of the Convention, including consideration of issues raised in the Deputies' questions. When these proposals are ready, they will be considered by the Government and I intend that they will be the subject of full consultation with the opposition parties.

Appointments to State Boards

Dara Calleary

Question:

88 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Taoiseach the names of all persons nominated by him or by a Minister of State at his Department to any State appointment since 9 March 2011. [35496/11]

Since entering office, in accordance with established practice, I appointed Martin Fraser, Secretary General of my Department as Chair of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) on 1 August. I also appointed the following independent nominees to the NESC in June:

Prof. Edgar Morgenroth, Economic and Social Research Institute

Prof. John McHale, National University of Ireland, Galway

Prof. Mary Daly, Queen's University Belfast

Prof. Anna Davis, Trinity College

Prof. Seán Ó Riain, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Dr. Michael O'Sullivan, Credit Suisse — London

Ms Mary Walsh, Charted Accountant.

Dr. Michelle Morris, University College Dublin was appointed in July.

Departmental Properties

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

89 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he will provide a list of the private rental properties leased by him; the location of each property; the annual value of each lease; if each lease is subject to an upward only rent clause; and the name of the landlord in tabular form. [35498/11]

My Department has no private rented properties leased.

Official Engagements

Gerry Adams

Question:

90 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he has made any arrangements to meet with the family of human rights solicitor Pat Finucane. [35499/11]

I visited Belfast on Thursday and Friday 17th and 18th of November. On the Thursday I met with Geraldine Finucane, members of her family and their solicitor Peter Madden. Later that day I attended the annual Aisling Awards ceremony at which I had the privilege of presenting the Person of the Year Award to Geraldine Finucane. Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and my own Department are in ongoing contact with the Finucane family.

Information Technology

Denis Naughten

Question:

91 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Taoiseach the number of computer servers that are leased by his Department and each State agency under the aegis of his Department; the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers and the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35520/11]

The National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO) is the only agency under the aegis of my Department. There are no computer servers leased by either my Department or NESDO.

Denis Naughten

Question:

92 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Taoiseach the number of computer servers that are owned by his Department and each State agency under his aegis; the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers; the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35536/11]

The servers owned by the Department of the Taoiseach and their capacity are summarised in the table.

Server Type

Total Storage Capacity

RAM

Dell Power Edge 2850

140GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 2850

140GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 2850

68GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 2850

140GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 2850

140GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 2850

140GB

4GB

Dell Power Edge 2850

140GB

4GB

Dell Power Edge 2850

560GB

4GB

Dell Power Edge 1950

70GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 1950

75GB

1GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

135GB

4GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

480GB

4GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

200GB

4GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

200GB

4GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

200GB

4GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

200GB

4GB

HP Proliant DL380

70GB

1GB

HP DL380 g7

770GB

34GB

HP DL 380 g7

290GB

34GB

Dell Power Edge 2650

170GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 2850

73GB

4GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

73GB

4GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

145GB

4GB

HP DL380 g6

75GB

60GB

HP DL 380 g6

75GB

60GB

HP DL380 g6

75GB

60GB

HP DL 380 g6

75GB

60GB

HP DL 380 g6

75GB

60GB

Maintenance of these servers is covered by an annual hardware maintenance contract awarded on foot of an open tendering competition. The current hardware maintenance contract covers not only servers but also covers maintenance of PCs and Printers. The hardware maintenance contract for 2011 cost my Department €8,712. During 2011 my Department has reduced the number of servers it operates through virtualisation and consolidation and is committed to further reducing server numbers wherever possible. My Department is also exploring the possibility of establishing an IT infrastructure shared service with a larger Government Department in an effort to reduce costs further.

NESDO SERVERS The National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO) is the only agency under the aegis of my Department. The computer servers owned by NESDO and their capacity are summarised in the table.

Server Type

Total Storage Capacity

RAM

Dell Power Edge 860

73 GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 860

146 GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

146 GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 2650

219 GB

2GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

600 GB

32 GB

Dell Power Edge 2950

600 GB

32 GB

In order to obtain best value for money, NESDO has issued a Request for Tender on www.etenders.gov.ie 4th November last, for the maintenance of its IT infrastructure, including the computer servers listed above. The closing date for receipt of tenders is 25th November 2011. In the circumstances, I do not propose to disclose the cost of maintenance while this process is underway.

National Statistics

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

93 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach the levels of employment, total numbers employed at the end of the years 2008, 2009, 2010, first quarter of 2011, second quarter of 2011, third quarter of 2011 and end of 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35081/11]

The Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) is the official source of estimates of employment in the State. The most recent figures available are for the second quarter of 2011. The data requested by the Deputy in relation to the numbers in employment and associated employment rates for the fourth quarters of 2008, 2009 and 2010 as well as the first two quarters of 2011 are presented in tables 1 and 2.

The CSO does not forecast employment levels or related indicators; therefore data for the third and fourth quarters of 2011 are not available from the CSO. Employment forecasts are however, produced by the Department of Finance and the following information has been supplied by the Department:

Quarterly Irish economic data can be very volatile and reflecting this, the Department of Finance's labour market forecasts are based on annual averages rather than quarterly figures. On this basis, the Department of Finance anticipates that employment will decline by 1.8 per cent to 1.814 million this year. These forecasts are set out in the Medium Term Fiscal Statement, which was published by the Department of Finance on November 4th, 2011.

Table 1 Persons aged 15 years and over in employment (ILO) classified by sex and quarter

Numbers in Employment

Males

Females

All persons‘000

Quarter 4 2008

1,143.4

911.2

2,054.6

Quarter 4 2009

1,016.2

871.6

1,887.7

Quarter 4 2010

973.0

850.2

1,823.2

Quarter 1 2011

962.1

842.1

1,804.2

Quarter 2 2011

970.0

851.3

1,821.3

Source: Quarterly National Household Survey, Central Statistics Office.

Table 2 Employment rates (ILO) for persons aged 15-64 years classified by sex and quarter

Employment rates

Males

Females

All persons%

Quarter 4 2008

72.6

59.3

66.0

Quarter 4 2009

65.3

57.0

61.1

Quarter 4 2010

63.1

55.7

59.4

Quarter 1 2011

62.6

55.3

58.9

Quarter 2 2011

63.3

56.0

59.6

Source: Quarterly National Household Survey, Central Statistics Office.

Appointments to State Boards

Sean Fleming

Question:

94 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Taoiseach the changes he has made to the system of appointments to State boards since coming to office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35352/11]

The Government has made a number of changes to the system for making appointments to State boards since coming into office. These include:

Departments inviting expressions of interest in vacancies on the boards of bodies under their aegis on their websites. Ministers are not confined to considering those who make expressions of interest, but must ensure that all appointees have the relevant qualifications.

Those being proposed for appointment as Chairperson of State boards being required to make themselves available to the appropriate Oireachtas Committee to discuss the approach they will take to their role as Chairperson and their views about the future contribution of the body in question. Following that discussion, decisions are taken by the Minister or the Government, as appropriate, to confirm the nominee as Chairperson.

The Government will continue to keep the arrangements for appointments to State boards under review.

Civil Service Staff

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

95 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach the number of former Secretaries General in receipt of public sector pensions whilst currently employed in a public body and or State agency. [35791/11]

No former Secretaries General are employed by my Department or the State agency under the aegis of my Department.

Departmental Staff

Micheál Martin

Question:

96 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will detail the staff and other costs of the supports for the Tánaiste in place within his Department. [35982/11]

1.4 whole-time equivalent (wte) staff from my Department are assigned to the Tánaiste's Office which is located in my Department, comprising an Assistant Principal Officer at 0.8 (wte) and a Higher Executive Officer at 0.6 (wte). The total annual salary cost of these staff is €103,068, including employers' PRSI. Office accommodation and computer and telephone support are also provided for three Special Advisers and one Personal Administrator appointed by the Tánaiste.

Questions Nos. 97 to 101, inclusive, answered with Question No. 86.

Appointments to State Boards

Gerry Adams

Question:

102 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if former holders of the Office of Attorney General have been appointed to State boards by the current or former Governments; the details of such appointments to include position taken, name of organisation, salary or income derived or expenses claimed per annum, any additional benefits including car provided, travel costs per annum, terms of office and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36119/11]

No former holders of the office of Attorney General have been appointed by the current Government to a State board under the aegis of my Department. It would not be cost effective to ascertain the position regarding the appointment of former Attorneys General to such Boards by all previous Governments.

Economic and Monetary Union

Gerry Adams

Question:

103 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his reaction to comments from the French President, Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, predicting that a two-speed Europe will emerge from the debt crisis, with some euro-zone states moving towards closer integration and the rest making up a looser confederation. [35500/11]

The question of the future direction of the Union is, of course, a matter for all 27 Member States. For its part, the Government has expressed its strong view that future arrangements must avoid fragmentation of the Union, including as regards the operation of the single market. Doing things together is what makes sense of the Union, while working together brings us closer and strengthens the ties that bind us. The key to our future is acting together and in solidarity.

At their meetings in October, the Heads of State or Government of the Euro Area agreed to reflect on further strengthening of economic convergence within the euro area, on improving fiscal discipline and on deepening economic union. They asked President Van Rompuy, in close cooperation with the President of the Commission and the President of the Eurogroup, to identify possible steps to this end, including exploring the possibility of limited treaty change. An interim report on this work will be presented to the European Council on 9 December. The Government looks forward to receiving President Van Rompuy's report and to giving it careful consideration.

Official Engagements

Catherine Murphy

Question:

104 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the civil society and human rights groups he met with during his recent visit to Moscow to chair a meeting of the Joint Economic Commission between Ireland and Russia; the issues that were discussed during each of these meetings; the issues or cases of concern expressed to him there by the representatives of these groups; the commitments or support he offered to each of these groups on behalf of the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35454/11]

During my recent visit to Moscow, I had an opportunity for brief contact at events held in the Irish Embassy with representatives of a number of humanitarian groups, NGOs and academic institutions as well as religious figures, lawyers and media representatives. Due to time constraints, it was not possible to enter into detailed discussion with individual groups. I also attended a round-table session with leading Irish citizens in Moscow.

Through these various contacts, I obtained a good sense of the current situation in Russia, including matters of concern to civil society. I also signalled the availability of officials to meet representatives of human rights groups on the margins of my visit for fuller discussion. In addition, the Embassy in Moscow has regular contact with civil society and human rights groups in Russia and reports on issues of concern to the latter. In September, for example, representatives of a range of groups including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Memorial and the Moscow Helsinki Group were invited by the Ambassador to an event at the Embassy. The Government follows closely issues relating to the promotion and protection of human rights in Russia, both bilaterally and via the Council of Europe, and we will continue to do so.

Information Technology

Denis Naughten

Question:

105 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of computer servers that are leased by his Department and each State agency under the aegis of his Department; the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers and the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35514/11]

Denis Naughten

Question:

106 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of computer servers that are owned by his Department and each State agency under his aegis; the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers; the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35530/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 105 and 106 together.

My Department does not lease any computer servers. The 284 computer servers required to support the Department's ICT services are owned by the Department. Server capacity falls into the following ranges:

Up to 200 gigabytes — 101 servers.

Between 200 gigabytes and 1 terabyte — 160 servers.

In excess of 1 terabytes — 23 servers.

My Department's experience is that the most cost effective means of maintaining these servers is to include at the time of purchase manufacturers' warranty and maintenance services for the expected life time of the unit. At current costs this averages less than €800 per annum per unit, including VAT, for the level of service required.

My Department seeks to consolidate its ICT infrastructure and services where possible thereby reducing the number of servers required and containing and reducing costs. This is an on-going programme of work as equipment and services are replaced or upgraded or where new services are being introduced. There are no State agencies under the aegis of my Department.

Human Rights Issues

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

107 Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his policy with regard to the long-standing United Nations commitment to hold a referendum on the issue of self-determination for the non-self-governing territory of WesternSahara; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35589/11]

Ireland continues to support the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, and the continuing engagement of the United Nations in the search for a political solution in the territory based on the principle of self-determination. UN Secretary General Ban's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, has convened several rounds of informal talks most recently in July this year. Mr Ross reported to the Security Council last month that, while there had been some progress between the two sides, negotiations effectively remain at a standstill.

The major obstacle remains Morocco's refusal to allow a referendum in the territory which would include an option of independence for the people of the Western Sahara. This has been provided for in a number of UN peace plans, and it is difficult to see that there can be any genuine self-determination without such a referendum. In his most recent report to the Security Council on the situation in Western Sahara, the UN Secretary General has suggested that the parties find a means to include respected representatives of a wide cross-section of the population of Western Sahara inside and outside the territory in the discussion of issues related to self-determination. SG Ban also urged both parties to identify and discuss governance issues as many of these issues can be discussed without reference to the final status of the territory. A resolution of some governance issues such as the structure of judiciary, the conduct of elections, or the design of education could help build trust between the two parties. I would encourage both parties to implement the Secretary General's recommendations as a means of making progress.

I would also encourage Morocco and the Polisario to collaborate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the implementation of confidence building measures as progress on these issues could also help to improve the atmosphere for the political process. I welcome the parties' readiness to support the extension of the confidence-building measures programme by allowing people to travel overland for family visits and would encourage them to explore the possibility of enlarging the family flights visit programme further.

Ireland will continue its dialogue with both Morocco and the Polisario, through their representatives based here in Ireland, to encourage support for the UN Secretary General's good offices mission and the efforts of Personal Envoy Ross to achieve some measure of political progress and increased confidence between both sides.

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

108 Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to allegations that an Irish oil exploration company (details supplied) is working in Western Saharan territory; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that, according to an opinion by United Nations legal counsel, mineral resource activities conducted in Western Sahara under Moroccan auspices, without regard for the needs and interests of the persons of Western Sahara, would be illegal; if he proposes to take any course of action on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35591/11]

The Government supports the right to self-determination of the people of the Western Sahara. Ireland has not taken a position on the future status of the territory, so long as that status is decided in a genuine exercise of self-determination. At present, the Western Sahara is a non-self governing territory. Under international law, the economic resources of a non-self governing territory may only be exploited for the benefit of the people of the territory, on their behalf or in consultation with their representatives.

The Government would expect that any Irish company operating abroad would have due regard to the principles of international law and the rights of the inhabitants of the territory. I am aware that an Irish registered company is engaged in exploration activities in Morocco and Western Sahara. These projects have not yet advanced to exploitation stage. I would expect any Irish company operating in the Western Sahara to ensure that any economic benefit derived from its activities benefited all the people concerned and should be in full accordance with the principles of international law.

Security of Aid Workers

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

109 Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the kidnapping of one Italian and two Spanish aid workers from the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria on 23 October; if he has considered if Irish officials could offer any support to Spanish officials working on this case, in particular in view of the experience of officials dealing with the kidnapping of an Irish citizen in Sudan in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35592/11]

I am aware of the kidnapping of three European aid workers from the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria in October and hope that they will be re-united with their families very shortly. It is a traumatic and worrying time for their families, as we know from our experience of the kidnapping of aid workers with Irish NGOs, and my thoughts are with their families at this distressing time.

It is a perturbing and unfortunate reality that aid workers who devote their careers to trying to make a difference in the developing world are often targets for these types of attacks. Like many countries, Spain and Italy have direct experience of these types of incidents. The Spanish authorities successfully negotiated the release of three Spanish citizens held captive in Mauritania for nine months in 2010 and have themselves significant expertise in dealing with these types of hostage situations.

My Department has not received any request for assistance from the Spanish or Italian authorities. Both Spain and Italy have strong ties with North Africa, given their close geographic proximity. I believe Spanish and Italian officials are well equipped with the skills needed to secure the release of the aid workers and know that they are doing everything possible to guarantee the safety of their citizens.

Passport Applications

Brendan Griffin

Question:

110 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding a passport in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36111/11]

For data protection reasons, I am not in a position to advise on the receipt or otherwise of passport information from a third party. However, it should be noted that the Passports Act, 2008 requires that before issuing a passport to a person, the Minister for Foreign Affairs shall be satisfied as to the identity of each applicant and that the person is an Irish citizen. Documentary proof in respect of identity and entitlement to citizenship are required for all passport applications. These requirements are outlined in the passport application form notes that accompany each application form. Details are also available on the Department's website www.passport.ie.

Moreover, there are several citizenship categories in which a person, born outside Ireland, may be able to demonstrate her/his Irish citizenship. These are as follows:

Born abroad to a parent: If a person has a parent who was born in Ireland, s/he can demonstrate her/his citizenship by submitting her/his long-form birth certificate, her/his parent's long-form Irish birth certificate and if applicable in terms of any name change, the applicant's and her/his parents' marriage certificates. These documents should be submitted with a fully completed and properly witnessed passport application form.

Foreign Birth Registration: If a person has no Irish-born parents, s/he can still qualify for Irish citizenship through an Irish-born grandparent. This citizenship process is known as Foreign Birth Registration (FBR) and is administered by the Consular Section in my Department. FBR certificates are issued to those applicants who can successfully establish their family link to Irish-born grandparents. This certificate must be submitted with a passport application form to demonstrate the person's Irish citizenship. More information about this category of citizenship is available on the Department's website.

Naturalisation: It may be the case that a person has no Irish-born parents or grandparents. In this situation and on the basis of residence in the State, that person may be able to become a naturalised Irish citizen. To do this, s/he will have to apply to the Department of Justice and Equality, which is responsible for citizenship matters, and obtain a certificate of naturalisation. This certificate would have to be submitted with any future passport application as evidence of her/his Irish citizenship. More information about naturalisation is available on www.inis.gov.ie.

Departmental Staff

Seán Kenny

Question:

111 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of persons currently working in each of the passport offices by grade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36191/11]

The table contains details of the number of full-time-equivalent staff by grade assigned to the Passport Offices in Balbriggan, Cork and Molesworth Street.

Grade

Balbriggan

Cork

Molesworth Street

Total

Principal Officer

0

0

1

1

Assistant Principal Officer

1

1

0

2

Higher Executive Officer

5

1

4.6

10.6

Executive Officer

14.8

4.8

10.3

29.9

Staff Officer

3.6

7

8.9

19.5

Clerical Officer

100

65.1

75.5

240.6

Services Officer

3

0

3

6

Cleaner

0

0

4

4

Total

127.4

78.9

107.3

313.6

Consultancy Contracts

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

112 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the names of agencies which provide staff for his Department and for bodies and agencies under its aegis; the services they provide; the numbers of staff they provide; the cost of those services; the way this compares with direct employment of staff in equivalent roles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36227/11]

My Department has some contracts in place for services such as IT, cleaning and security. However it does not employ agency staff in Ireland. In addition, from time to time, a small number of our Missions abroad engage agency staff for administrative roles. There are no state boards or state agencies operating under the aegis of my Department.

Human Rights Issues

Michael Creed

Question:

113 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the representations which he has made to the Iraqi authorities regarding Camp Ashraf; if he has been in contact with the EU High Representative, Baroness Ashton, on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36353/11]

I have made clear in answer to previous questions my deep concern about the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, in light of the serious violence which took place in the camp last April and the Iraqi Government's clear insistence that it wishes the camp to be closed by the end of 2011. Ireland and its EU partners are determined to seek a long-term and peaceful solution to the predicament of the residents of Camp Ashraf. The situation was discussed with High Representative Ashton at the Foreign Affairs Council last May. I welcome the fact that the High Representative has now appointed a Special Envoy, Ambassador Jean de Ruyt of Belgium, to work with the Iraqi authorities, the camp residents and other concerned international actors, including the UN and US, to achieve a peaceful resolution of this situation fully in line with international humanitarian and human rights principles.

A process to manage the closure of the camp, led by the UN, is now getting underway. The UNHCR is undertaking this process to register and determine the status of those in the camp, including whether residents hold nationality of third countries. I welcome the offer of UN envoy Martin Kobler to mediate between the government of Iraq and Camp Ashraf residents, and urge the Iraqi authorities to extend the deadline for the closure of Camp Ashraf to provide sufficient time to enable the UNHCR to explore resettlement options for camp residents that do not wish to return to Iran and do not have another nationality. It is also imperative that there should be no attempt at forced repatriation of any of those camp residents who do not wish to return to Iran.

Ireland fully recognises Iraqi sovereignty over the whole of its territory, including Camp Ashraf, but this sovereignty also carries with it responsibilities. The Iraqi Government has primary responsibility for the protection of all persons resident on its territory, including Camp Ashraf residents. Ireland, along with our EU partners, strongly condemned the violence which took place in Camp Ashraf last April and I call on the Iraqi government to refrain from the use of violence and to show full respect for the human rights of Camp Ashraf's residents in the period ahead while the UNHCR explores resettlement options.

Appointments to State Boards

Gerry Adams

Question:

114 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if former holders of the Office of Attorney General have been appointed to State boards by the current or former Governments; the details of such appointments to include position taken, name of organisation, salary or income derived or expenses claimed per annum, any additional benefits including car provided, travel costs per annum, terms of office and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36955/11]

There are no state boards operating under the aegis of my Department.

Interest Rates

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

115 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance the efforts he has made to ensure that reductions in the ECB interest rate are passed on to the end user in the business community. [36215/11]

As I said in a reply to a question from Deputy Troy on 16 November last, the decisions financial institutions operating in Ireland make on the interest rates they charge to customers are commercial decisions for the institutions concerned. Interest rates are determined by a broad range of factors including ECB base rates, deposit rates, market funding costs, the competitive environment, and an institution's overall funding. I have no statutory function in relation to business interest rate decisions made by individual lending institutions at any particular time.

The Financial Regulator and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank stated in his response of 11 November 2011 to the Taoiseach on the issue of passing on mortgage interest rate adjustments following ECB actions, that the power to exercise close regulatory control over retail interest rates is not sought by the Central Bank. Similar principles apply in relation to business interest rates. The Deputy Governor has indicated that the Central Bank will, within its existing powers and through suasion, engage with specific lenders which appear to have standard mortgage variable rates set disproportionate to their cost of funds.

He has indicated that experience of such controls in the past and in other countries does not encourage the Central Bank to believe that such a regime would be advantageous in net terms as the banking system recovers its normal functioning. Binding controls tend to reduce availability of credit and channel it to the most creditworthy customers, starving smaller and less secure customers from credit. The Regulator indicates that this could have a chilling effect on the entry of sound competitors into the market. By absolving banks from their responsibility to price risk accurately, binding interest rate controls would, especially during this recovery phase, impede progress towards the re-establishment of bank management practices that can ensure a healthy and free-standing banking system no longer dependent on the Government for bail-outs.

In conclusion, it is vital that the banks continue to make credit available to support economic recovery. However, it is not in the interest of the banks, businesses or the economy for finance to be provided unless the business is viable and has the capacity to meet the interest payments and repay the sum borrowed.

Disabled Drivers

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

116 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance his plans, if any, to expand the medical criteria to include blind persons for a primary medical certificate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35460/11]

The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provides relief from VAT and Vehicle Registration Tax (up to a certain limit), and exemption from motor tax, on the purchase of an adapted car for transport of a person with specific severe and permanent physical disabilities. The disability criteria for these concessions are set out in the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994. To get a Primary Medical Certificate, an applicant must be permanently and severely disabled within the terms of these Regulations. Some 13,500 people have benefited under the scheme in 2010 at an overall estimated cost of €55 million. I have no plans to widen the exemption qualification criteria.

Information Technology

Denis Naughten

Question:

117 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance the number of computer servers that are leased by his Department and each State agency under the aegis of his Department; the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers and the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35513/11]

Nil response. No servers are leased by either the Department of Finance or the NTMA.

Denis Naughten

Question:

118 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance the number of computer servers that are owned by his Department and each State agency under his aegis; the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers; the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35529/11]

Sixty seven servers are owned by the Department of Finance1. The “capacity” of each server ranges from 1Gb to 32Gb RAM; 32Gb to 8Tb Hard Disk Drive; and 1 to 2 CPUs. The Department maintains its own servers and does not currently hold any server maintenance or support contracts with external ICT contractors. The Department has realized significant cost savings in terms of hardware and support by consolidating its server base through the use of virtualisation technology, this consolidation is ongoing. In relation to State Agencies under the aegis of my Department, I am advised that the number of physical computer servers owned by the NTMA is 112. The total capacity is 68,585 Gigabytes (Just under 67 Terabytes). There is no maintenance charge associated with these servers in 2011. The NTMA is migrating individual servers on a phased basis to a virtual server platform with Storage Area Network (SAN) which is currently under warranty.

Footnotes:

1. IT is now provided on a shared service basis between the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Tax Code

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

119 Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if, as part of budget 2012, he will consider reducing the VAT rate applying to artisan makers of musical instruments here from the higher rate of VAT, consistent with other businesses that are highly labour intensive and are VAT rated at 13.5%. [35583/11]

The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law with which Irish VAT law must comply. Under the VAT Directive Member States may only apply the reduced VAT rate to those goods and services which are listed under Annex III of the VAT Directive. The sale of artisan musical instruments is considered the sale of a good for VAT purposes and not the service that went into making the good. Annex III does not provide for a reduced rate of VAT to be applied to musical instruments, which are consequentially subject to the standard VAT rate of 21%.

National Asset Management Agency

Peter Mathews

Question:

120 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance if developers who are paid by the National Asset Management Agency to manage their property assets are treated as employees or contractors; if they have PAYE, PRSI and USC deducted from their earnings if they are treated as employees; if they have withholding tax deducted at source if they are treated as contractors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35707/11]

NAMA advises me that it does not employ or pay developers, whose loans have transferred to the agency, on a direct employee or on a contract basis. Each developer is responsible for ensuring that they are fully compliant as regards the payment of all taxes, PRSI or USC. NAMA only works with developers where it considers that this will provide the best return to the taxpayer. The agency informs me that the remuneration packages for developers who agree to co-operate with NAMA are authorised by NAMA within the budget for overheads, which is part of its business plan agreements with these debtors. The business plan process is designed to ensure that the return to the taxpayer is maximised.

Interest Rates

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

121 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance his plans to make the mortgage rates of the various lenders in the financial market come out more to be in line with the ECB rate. [35820/11]

Credit institutions are not primarily or always funded from the ECB, but rather from a variety of sources. Neither the Central Bank nor I, as Minister for Finance, have any statutory role in the setting of interest rates charged or paid by financial institutions regulated by the Central Bank.

Based on the advice received from the Central Bank, I have no plans to recommend to Government that legislation be introduced to compel lenders to reduce their standard variable rates. The question of how interest rates paid on deposits should be treated would also have to be considered in the context of such legislation. However, I will keep the matter under review. The Central Bank have also informed me that they will engage with lenders which appear to have standard variable rates set disproportionate to their cost of funds.

Banks Recapitalisation

Shane Ross

Question:

122 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Finance if the July 2011 stress tests carried out by the Central Bank of Ireland were compromised in the following respects: was the quality assurance and peer review process deficient and did it fall below accepted standards with the consequence that assurance cannot be given that the stress tests have been applied consistently in accordance with the standards advised by the European Banking Authority; and if the formulas applied by the Central Bank to analyse the data from the Irish banks were amended inappropriately outside normal protocols and procedures with the intent of ensuring that one of the Irish banks would meet the test requirements. [35901/11]

I am advised by the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI), that they assisted the European Banking Authority (EBA) in carrying out a European-wide bank solvency stress test in July 2011. The test was applied to three Irish banks in accordance with a methodology that was pre-agreed with the EBA. As a result of the significant restructuring underway in the Irish banking system at the time, the methodology applied by the EBA to the Irish banks differed in some respects to that prescribed to the other European banks participating in the exercise.

The differences in methodology were introduced to fully account for the Irish banks requirement to deleverage their balance sheets in the coming years and also to consider the detailed loan loss forecasts produced by BlackRock Solutions on behalf of the CBI earlier this year as part of the Irish PCAR stress tests. By taking account of the negative impact of the asset disposals and the losses forecast by BlackRock, the Irish banks were subject to a much tougher stress test than other banks participating in the European stress test.

In order to assure quality in the process and the outputs in the European stress test, the EBA assigned a team of independent peer reviewers to verify that methodologies were applied consistently and correctly. This team, which comprised of senior European stress testing experts, worked with the CBI to validate and verify the submissions made by the Irish banks. This iterative process resulted in many clarifications leading to instructions to each of the Irish banks. Once updated submissions were received from the banks, the CBI checked and subsequently forwarded them on to the EBA for further validation and review. The results/submissions made by the Irish Banks were not amended in any way before being forwarded on to the EBA peer review team.

I am further advised by the CBI, that one of their employees expressed a concern over the way in which the EBA stress testing procedure was applied in Ireland. In response, CBI management commissioned an investigation. This investigation was conducted by the CBI's Internal Audit Department under the CBI's ‘speak-up' policy. Based on the report of this investigation, which has been accepted by the employee, CBI Management are satisfied that, while the complaint was made in good faith, there is no reason for concern with the figures provided to the EBA.

Despite the additional conservatism applied to the Irish banks, all three Irish banks passed the European stress test. This is a direct result of applying a much tougher PCAR stress test earlier in 2011, as part of the Irish Financial Measures Programme, and requiring the banks to recapitalise based on the results of that stress test. The PCAR stress test was overseen by a series of independent observers, including the Troika, and was widely regarded by market participants as being credible and a benchmark on information disclosure that other supervisory authorities should follow.

Disabled Drivers

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

123 Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Finance the reason a disabled person (details supplied) was refused vehicle registration tax exemption on the purchase of a car; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35910/11]

The initial application for a Primary Medical Certificate under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994, is made to the Senior Medical Officer of the relevant local Health Service Executive administrative area. If the Primary Medical Certificate has been refused in this case, the named person may appeal the refusal to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. I would point out that the Medical Board of Appeal is independent in the exercise of its functions.

Tobacco Smuggling

Robert Dowds

Question:

124 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider imposing a significant minimum fine of €10,000 for tobacco smuggling on the basis that in the second quarter of 2011, the average fine imposed was only €1,600. [35911/11]

The penalties for cigarette smuggling are laid down in section 119, as amended, of the Finance Act 2001. That provision sets out the various actions that constitute offences of evasion or attempted evasion of excise duty, as well as the penalties, by way of a fine or imprisonment, or both, that may be imposed for such offences. Where a conviction occurs following a summary prosecution, the fine that may be imposed is €5,000, and was last increased in 2008. For convictions following prosecution on indictment, the fine is an amount not exceeding €126,970 or, where the value of the excisable products concerned is greater than €250,000, not exceeding three times the value of the products. That fine was increased substantially by the Finance Act 2010. The 2010 Act also brought the penalty that applies where a case is dealt with under section 13 of the Criminal procedure Act 1967 into line with that for summary convictions.

The penalty to be imposed in any particular case is a matter for the Courts. Section 130(2) of the Finance Act 2001 permits a trial judge, in his or her discretion, to mitigate a fine incurred for an offence under excise law, provided that the amount so mitigated is not greater than 50 per cent of the amount of the fine. The need for further changes to the fines provisions will be kept under review, taking account, among other considerations, of experience of the operation of the increased fines provided for in the Finance Act 2010 as cases to which they apply come to Court.

Robert Dowds

Question:

125 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance if Ireland will apply to the European Union Hercules Fund to help fund x-ray screening machines for detecting illegal tobacco imports in view of the fact that currently there are only two here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35912/11]

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 the tackling of this illicit trade is a high priority area. The use of detection technologies, including x-ray container scanners and other scanning machines, is just one part of a multi-faceted strategy employed by Revenue to tackle the illicit trade in tobacco products. This strategy includes ongoing analysis of the nature and extent of the problem, developing and sharing intelligence on a national, EU and international basis, ongoing review of operational policies, development of analytics and deployment of detection technologies and optimum deployment of resources at points of importation and inland to intercept the contraband product and to prosecute those involved.

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 consistently monitors ongoing developments in available x-ray and other technologies, and the selection and deployment of detection equipment is constantly reviewed. Revenue has made use of the European Union Hercules II Programme in the past to fund detection equipment and will apply for funding, when appropriate, in the future. The actual technology selected and the operational deployment of that technology is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners.

Under the present rules of the EU Hercules II Programme, Ireland would have to fund a minimum of 50% of the capital costs and 100% of the on-going operational costs of a new container scanner. The capital cost of a new mobile X-ray container scanner is in the region of €3 million with annual running costs of approximately €320,000.

Revenue currently has two mobile X-ray container scanning systems, the second of which was commissioned in January 2010. One scanner is based in Dublin Port and the other at Rosslare Ferry Port. However, both scanners are available for deployment at other ports etc. as required. Revenue deploys the scanners on a risk assessment basis at various locations throughout the country. In addition to the container scanners, Revenue also uses smaller static baggage/ parcel scanners which are deployed at all major ports, airports and postal depots. Two new X-ray scanners were also purchased within the last 12 months for use in postal depots. Revenue also expects to procure a smaller mobile Scan Van in 2012 and has submitted an application for co-funding for this to the European Union Hercules II programme.

Tax Code

Robert Dowds

Question:

126 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider not imposing extra tax on cigarettes on the grounds that it may encourage further tobacco smuggling. [35914/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, taxes are considered in the context of the Budget process. It is the usual practice for the Minister for Finance not to speculate in advance of a Budget on what it will contain; and I do not propose to deviate from that practice.

Robert Dowds

Question:

127 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider eliminating the discrepancy that exists between the duty paid on different kinds of tobacco product, in particular cigarettes versus loose tobacco for hand-rolling, by imposing extra tax on products other than cigarettes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35915/11]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the Tobacco Products Tax on cigarettes is expressed as a fixed amount per 1,000 cigarettes, together with a percentage of the retail price at which the cigarettes are sold. Tobacco products other than cigarettes, including fine-cut tobacco for the rolling of cigarettes, are taxed by reference to the weight of tobacco. When the tax rates for cigarettes and for other products are compared on the basis of the weight of tobacco, the taxation on cigarettes is higher than on the other products. I am aware of proposals from certain interests that the tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes should be increased relative to the tax on cigarettes. Any question of a change to the established relationship between the tax rates for the various products would fall to be considered in the Budget process.

Ministerial Staff

Pearse Doherty

Question:

128 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will detail the roles and responsibilities of the newly appointed special adviser (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35927/11]

The recently appointed Special Advisor to my Department will undertake any duties which may be assigned to him from time to time as appropriate to the position of Special Adviser as set out in Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997. The salary for this individual does not exceed the Government's special advisor pay scale as outlined in the Instructions regarding Ministerial Appointments (April 2011).

Fiscal Statement

Pearse Doherty

Question:

129 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the impact of half a per cent growth reduction in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 from the growth projections contained in the mid-term financial review and the impact this would have on our deficit to GDP ratio in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35965/11]

The Deputy should be aware that Chapter 5 of the Medium-Term Fiscal Statement sets out a range of different scenarios which show the estimated impact on the General Government balance/GDP ratio of both higher and lower nominal rates of economic growth. These are summarised in the table.

General Government Balance (% of GDP)

2012

2013

2014

2015

Base Case

-8.6

-7.5

-5.0

-2.9

Nominal GDP Growth 1% Lower

-9.1

-8.7

-6.7

-5.0

Nominal GDP Growth 2% Lower

-9.7

-9.9

-8.4

-7.3

Nominal GDP Growth 1% Higher

-8.0

-6.4

-3.4

-0.8

Nominal GDP Growth 2% Higher

-7.4

-5.3

-1.8

+1.3

Interest Rates

Dara Calleary

Question:

130 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance if he has consulted the public interest directors in Bank of Ireland regarding the decision of the bank not to pass the ECB rate reductions on to mortgage holders; if so the outcome of those consultations; if not the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35969/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, under the terms of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme 2008, domestic credit institutions benefiting from the State guarantee were required at the direction of the Minister for Finance to appoint up to two non-executive directors to promote the public interest. The legal position is that any director appointed to the board of the covered institutions, whether under the CIFS scheme or otherwise, is subject to the requirements of company law in the discharge of his or her responsibilities as a company director. As such, the director is legally bound to act in what he or she believes are the interests of the separate legal entity that is the institution itself. These are the director's so-called fiduciary duties.

I understand that in addition to their other experiences, the public interest directors currently on the boards of the covered institutions were nominated by my predecessor on the basis of the Minister's assessment of their civic mindedness and sense of where the public interest lies to inform their view of what was in the institution's interest. I am advised that the Department of Finance held generic briefing sessions on the CIFS scheme in general and on the fiduciary duties of non-executive directors for individuals on the panel from which the covered institutions appointed public interest directors but that there was no job description or scope of work set out for them as this, as I have outlined, was determined under company law. In addition, for this reason public interest directors did not have a formal reporting relationship to the Minister or to the Department of Finance.

In light of the foregoing and the scope for actual and perceived conflicts between the fiduciary duties of the directors of financial institutions under company law and the wider public interest in circumstances that those institutions have received huge financial support from the State, it was essential to bring legal clarity not just to the role of the public interest directors but to that of the entire boards of those institutions. Section 48 of the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act, therefore, provides that the overriding duty of directors of the covered institutions relates to the public interest as set out in the Act. As Minister for Finance, I am strongly committed to ensuring that the boards of the covered institutions act at all times in a manner fully consistent with key public interest objectives for the banking sector. This will be a major element of my assessment of the board renewal programme.

The primary duty and responsibility of the public interest directors, as well as all the other directors, is to ensure that the institution on whose board they serve is run properly and appropriately. As I have indicated, because it would be inappropriate to do so, they do not report to the Minister for Finance or to the Department of Finance. Their responsibility under company law is to the institution on whose board they serve. I work with these covered institutions through the chairpersons of the boards and that is my point of contact. If I want to see the board or individual directors, I will meet the board in its totality. I will not pick out individual directors and call them in for some kind of reprimand when I do not have a legal leg on which to stand to make any suggestion to them whatsoever.

The Government wants the lending institutions to pass on the interest rate cut for a number of reasons. In particular, the interest rate cut will be of assistance to those mortgage holders who are struggling to pay their mortgages. The Deputy will be aware that representatives of the banks were called in to discuss the situation in regard to passing on the ECB rate reduction to mortgage holders with the Economic Management Council, which comprises of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, myself as Minister for Finance and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. I welcome the decision by the majority of lenders to reduce their standard variable rates following the recent announcement by the ECB. I would encourage all lenders to follow suit. Such a reduction will be of benefit to homeowners struggling with mortgage payments.

Following a request from the Taoiseach, Mr. Elderfield, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, forwarded a report regarding mortgage interest rates on 11 November 2011. The Deputy Governor acknowledges that the Government is not unjustified to have concerns for some particular banks regarding the widening of the spreads by which their standard variable rate (SVR) exceed their cost of funds and how they are still so far above the prevailing rates of their industry peers. However, the Deputy Governor states that the power to exercise close regulatory control over retail interest rates is not sought by the Central Bank at this time. He has indicated that the Central Bank will, within its existing powers and through suasion use existing processes to engage with specific lenders which appear to have standard variable rates set disproportionate to their cost of funds.

In his report, the Deputy Governor states that, while the standard variable rates (SVR) of mortgage interest from Irish banks reached historically low levels in early 2009, several forces have contributed to the subsequent increases in such rates. Firstly, the access of the Irish banks to wholesale funding from the market was sharply curtailed, especially from mid-2010 and there was a sharp increase in the interest cost (including the guarantee fee mandated by the EU Commission) of what market funding was secured. Secondly, while the ECB policy rate is only .25% higher now than it was in 2009, the total cost to the banks of some of the sizeable drawings they have made on central bank funding (inclusive of guarantee fee) is much higher than the policy rate. Thirdly, the banks appear to have increased — at different times and to different degrees, the spread by which the SVR exceeds their cost of funds.

The Deputy Governor goes on to say that the third issue is the one on which the current debate is focused. He has indicated in his report that a somewhat wider spread of new loans could be rationalised on the basis of the bank's belated realisation of the credit risk that may be involved in mortgage lending (even though this can be limited by prudent loan underwriting practices, risk reduction mechanisms such as low loan-to-value and loan-to-income ratios.). A significant widening of mortgage interest rate spreads has also been happening in other countries. The Deputy Governor comments that it is less clear that retroactively applying a risk-spread to existing loans is fully consistent with fair practice, given that standard variable rates have, in the past, generally moved broadly in line with the cost of funds, and given the current situation where most borrowers have limited alternatives such as refinancing or pre-paying.

In his report, the Deputy Governor states that the Central Bank has two concerns. The SVR contract has operated for decades during which the reasonable assumption has been established that it would generally track the cost of funds to the lender. The exercise of the currently heightened market power by some banks in increasing rates for existing SVR borrowers would be an abuse contrary to public policy. Secondly the Central Bank comments that from the point of view of prudential and consumer legislation, it is possible that the deleterious effect on the mortgage arrears situation arising from large increases in the SVR could result in a net worsening of the banks' prospective profitability, while at the same time adding to the financial difficulty of hard-pressed homeowners.

The Deputy Governor has indicated that experience of interest rate controls in the past and in other countries does not encourage the Central Bank to believe that such a regime would be advantageous in net terms as the banking system recovers its normal functioning. Binding controls tend to reduce availability of credit and channel it to the most creditworthy customers, starving smaller and less secure customers from credit. The Deputy Governor indicates that this could have a chilling effect on the entry of sound competitors into the market. By absolving banks from their responsibility to price risk accurately, binding interest rate controls would, especially during this recovery phase, impede progress towards the re-establishment of bank management practices that can ensure a healthy and free-standing banking system no longer dependent on the Government for bail-outs.

I welcome the report from Mr. Elderfield which will be examined to see what further action, if any, is required. My initial reading of his report is that the Deputy Governor is not seeking emergency legislation. Taking into account the advice of the Central Bank, I do not intend to recommend to Government to introduce emergency legislation as requested by the Deputy. The Deputy Governor has also mentioned that competition policy issues may arise in this area. I will bring a copy of his letter to the attention of my colleague, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, for any further requirement in this regard.

Dara Calleary

Question:

131 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the decision of Bank of Ireland to change its method of calculating interest rates on term lending facilities from the current Euribor-Euro interbank derived reference rates to a reference rate based on bank cost of funds; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that this change will result in substantial interest rate increases for small business; if he has consulted the public interest directors regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35970/11]

As the Deputy may be aware, this issue was the subject of a topical issues debate in the Dáil put down by his colleague Deputy Niall Collins on 15 November last. As the Deputy is aware, in an effort to recoup some of its higher input funding costs, Bank of Ireland is changing the method of calculating its interest rate on its term lending facilities from the current EURIBOR derived reference rates to a reference rate based on "Bank Cost of Funds".

The decisions financial institutions operating in Ireland make on the interest rates they charge to customers are commercial decisions for the institutions concerned. Interest rates are determined by a broad range of factors including ECB base rates, deposit rates, market funding costs, the competitive environment, and an institution's overall funding. As in the case with mortgage interest rates, I have no statutory function in relation to business interest rate decisions made by individual lending institutions at any particular time.

I do appreciate that this increase will be difficult for some business customers to absorb. As I understand it, the Bank has written to its business customers inviting them to contact their respective Relationship Managers who will assist them in managing the impact of this change and look at potential solutions for their businesses.

On the general issue of interest rates, the Financial Regulator and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank stated in his report of 11 November 2011 to the Taoiseach on the issue of passing on mortgage interest rate adjustments following ECB actions, the power to exercise close regulatory control over retail interest rates is not sought by the Central Bank. Similar principles apply in relation to business interest rates. The Deputy Governor has indicated that the Central Bank will, within its existing powers and through suasion, engage with specific lenders which appear to have standard mortgage variable rates set disproportionate to their cost of funds.

He has indicated that experience of such controls in the past and in other countries does not encourage the Central Bank to believe that such a regime would be advantageous in net terms as the banking system recovers its normal functioning. Binding controls tend to reduce availability of credit and channel it to the most creditworthy customers, starving smaller and less secure customers from credit. The Regulator indicates that this could have a chilling effect on the entry of sound competitors into the market. By absolving banks from their responsibility to price risk accurately, binding interest rate controls would, especially during this recovery phase, impede progress towards the re-establishment of bank management practices that can ensure a healthy and free-standing banking system no longer dependent on the Government for bail-outs.

The public interest directors do not report to me or to the Department of Finance. Their responsibility under company law is to the institution on whose board they serve. I work with these covered institutions through the chairpersons of the boards and that is my point of contact. If I want to see the board or individual directors, I will meet the board in its totality.

Tax Code

Pearse Doherty

Question:

132 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will abolish the dual abode allowance for Ministers; the way the relief is availed of; the allowances that can be availed of; the way it is vouched; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36073/11]

Pearse Doherty

Question:

133 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons who availed of the dual abode allowance for Ministers in each year since it was introduced; the value of the allowance that was availed of each year; the Ministers who availed of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36074/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 133 together.

The dual abode allowance is granted under Rule 3 of Schedule 2 of the Income Tax Act 1967 (now Section 114 of Taxes Consolidated Act 1997) and provides that where, arising out of his or her duties, a Minister (who is a member of Dáil Eireann for a constituency outside of Dublin) maintains a second residence in addition to his or her main residence, then that Minister may, by way of written claim to Revenue, claim a tax deduction in respect of that second residence.

The relief that can be availed of is as follows:

Where Ministers own a second property in Dublin, a tax deduction can be claimed in respect of the amount of the annual interest actually paid on any loan taken out to purchase the second residence. In addition, Ministers can claim a deduction for the actual vouched costs expended in maintaining the second residence. Examples of maintenance costs in such circumstances are lighting, heating, repairs and insurance. As an alternative to vouched maintenance expenses, a tax deduction may be claimed on an amount of €6,500 per annum.

If the second residence is rented accommodation, Ministers can claim for the actual cost of renting the accommodation (i.e. the annual rent). In addition, Ministers can claim a tax deduction for the actual vouched costs expended in maintaining the second residence. Examples of maintenance costs in such circumstances are lighting, heating and insurance of contents. As an alternative to vouched expenses, a tax deduction may be claimed on an amount of €4,500 per annum.

If Ministers use hotel or guesthouse accommodation as a second residence, they can claim for the actual cost of room rental (i.e. the annual hotel/guest house bill excluding meals, etc). In addition, they can claim for the actual vouched additional costs associated with maintaining a second residence in a hotel. Examples of maintenance costs in such circumstances are laundry, etc. As an alternative to vouched expenses, a tax deduction may be claimed on an amount of €3,500 per annum.

As to the vouching of claims, I am further informed by the Revenue Commissioners that, as with all tax reliefs and credits, from time to time, receipts are requested to substantiate claims. For reasons of confidentiality, the Revenue Commissioners cannot reveal the identities of the claimants or the amounts availed of by the individual claimants. The years for which statistics are available are set out in the tabular statement.

Year

Number of Claimants

Cost

1998/1999

19

€160,570

1999/2000

19

€142,134

2000/2001

10

€79,943

2001

Short tax year no details available

2002

18

€95,051

2003

19

€109,540

2004

13

€63,448

2005

18

€93,471

2006

18

€107298

2007

16

€88,335

2008

19

€74,770

2009

14

€74,996.

Figures for 2010 are not yet available as Returns of Income for 2010 are in the process of being submitted and processed. No doubt the Deputy is aware that overnight expenses are not paid to Office holders. Such expenses apply only to Deputies who are not Office holders. It is a longstanding practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment in advance of the Budget on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.

Financial Services Regulation

Terence Flanagan

Question:

134 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance his views on the mortgage market and particularly on the IBF PWC Mortgage Profile for Q3 2011 recently published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36083/11]

I have received the report of the IBF/PwC Market Profile for new lending for the quarter ending 30 September 2011. This report shows that 3,607 new mortgages to the value of 623 million euros were issued during that quarter. This represents an increase of 1.6% in the number of mortgage loans issued in the quarter compared to the previous quarter. It is the first time since the third quarter of 2006 that the number of new mortgages issued has increased in two consecutive quarters. However, this small gain must be considered in the context that the number of mortgage loans issued in the quarter is 50.3% less than in the same quarter in 2010. I welcome the indications that the number of mortgage loans being issued is gradually increasing in 2011. However, it should be borne in mind that it is ultimately a commercial decision for mortgage lenders to determine the number and amount of mortgage loans that they grant.

Departmental Responsibilities

Pearse Doherty

Question:

135 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an organisational chart detailing officials and their responsibilities within his Department. [36092/11]

An organisational chart detailing the responsibilities of certain officials in my Department follows.

Department of Finance: Management Chart

22nd November 2011

Minister's Office

Press Office

Division

Senior Staff

Secretary General

Kevin Cardiff

Senior Economic Advisor

Jim O’Leary

Finance & Corporate Directorate

Paul Ryan

Human Resource Manager

Niall Ó Ceallaigh

Second Secretary General

Ann Nolan

Financial Services & Taxation Division

Aidan Carrigan, Derek Moran

Second Secretary General

Mr John Moran

Banking Division

Neil Ryan

Shareholding Management Unit

Michael Torpey

Second Secretary General

Jim O’Brien

Budget & Economic Division

Michael Mc Grath

Financial Services & Taxation Division

Second Secretary General — Ann Nolan

Senior Staff

Responsibilities

Aidan Carrigan

Reform of Financial Regulatory Structures, Credit Unions

Central Bank

Credit Unions

Financial Service Consumer Issues, Mortgage Arrears

Anti Money Laundering & Fin Sanctions & Asset Freezing, FATF

Consumer Credit Directive & Financial Ombudsman & Council, IFSAT

EU Financial Services Policy & Legislation,

Central Co-Ordination Unit

Investment Services & Securities, Funds, UCITS, EU Fin Supervision

Insurance, IFS

NAMA

Bank Legislation

Legal Advisor

Financial Services & Taxation Division

Second Secretary General — Ann Nolan (Continued)

Senior Staff Responsibilities

Senior Staff

Responsibilities

Derek Moran

Business tax team — EU & International

Business tax team — Tax Incentives

Business tax team — IFSC

Business tax team — Corporation Taxation

Income Tax Policy

Income tax Incentives

VAT

Excise Duty, VRT

Energy Tax Policy

Capital & saving Tax

Finance Bill, Tax Clearance

Pension Taxation

Banking Division

Second Secretary General — John Moran

Senior Staff Responsibilities

Senior Staff

Responsibilities

John Hogan

Credit & Lending Policy

Mortgage arrears

Neil Ryan

Systemwide Funding and Deleveraging, Bank Sector Balance Sheet Management

Bank Sector HR & IR Policy

D.G. Comp, State Aid

Stability Monitoring & Planning, ELG Operation

Michael Torpey

Shareholding Management Unit

Budget and Economic Division

Second Secretary General — Jim O'Brien

Senior Staff Responsibilities

Senior Staff

Responsibilities

Michael Mc Grath

EU Co-ordination/ Ecofin/Eurogroup/EFC/ EWGEU Economic Governance/ EU 2020/EU EPC/ NESC and NSB Liaison/ Budget and Economic Statistics/ Monthly Economic BulletinAnalysisInternational Economy/OECDCentral Budget OfficeStatistical IssuesNTMA Issues/Debt Management/ Funding/EIBDomestic Macroeconomic Analysis & ForecastsLabour Market/IncomesInternational Institutions —including IMF (SCIMF)/World Bank/ADBEU Budget/Financial Perspective/EBRD/CEBEU/IMF External Programme Compliance UnitEU Advisory Unit

EU Co-ordination/ Ecofin/Eurogroup/EFC/ EWG

EU Economic Governance/ EU 2020/EU EPC/ NESC and NSB Liaison/ Budget and Economic Statistics/ Monthly Economic Bulletin

Analysis

International Economy/OECD

Central Budget Office

Statistical Issues

NTMA Issues/Debt Management/ Funding/EIB

Domestic Macroeconomic Analysis & Forecasts

Labour Market/Incomes

International Institutions — including IMF (SCIMF)/World Bank/ADB

EU Budget/Financial Perspective/EBRD/CEB

EU/IMF External Programme Compliance Unit

EU Advisory Unit

Finance & Corporate Directorate (Shared Services)

Director: Paul Ryan

Director Responsibilities

Director

Responsibilities

Paul Ryan

PMG Pensions

PMG Banking

Control Unit

Accounts Section

Exchequer Section

Business Admin Unit

Finance Unit1

1Shared Service to Department of Public Expenditure & Reform

Corporate Services Division

Human Resource Manager: Niall O'Ceallaigh

HR Manager

Responsibilities

Niall O’Ceallaigh

Employee Relations/Performance

Workforce Planning/Resourcing

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Peter Mathews

Question:

136 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 116 of 15 November 2011, if he will provide details on the consultations between the Central Bank of Ireland and the ECB; if a two thirds majority of the board of the ECB is required to approve exceptional liquidity assistance by the Central Bank here; if a two thirds majority of the board of the ECB is required to veto ELA by the Central Bank of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36093/11]

The Central Bank does not comment on its consultations with the ECB. The Central Bank Act 1942 provides the statutory basis for the Bank to provide emergency liquidity assistance. Section 5B(d) provides the Bank with a general power to lend against security to credit institutions, which power may be exercised in pursuit of the Bank's financial stability objective provided by Section 6A(2)(a) of the 1942 Act. Regarding the functions carried out by a NCB, other than those specified in the Statute, I would draw attention to Article 14.4 of the following: http://www.ecb.int/ecb/legal/pdf/en_statute_2.pdf

Peter Mathews

Question:

137 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 117 of 15 November 2011, if there is an agreed repayment schedule for IBRC’s exceptional liquidity assistance liabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36094/11]

Exceptional Liquidity Assistance or ELA helps fund a large portion of IBRC's balance sheet. IBRC submitted a formal restructuring plan to the European Commission which was approved on the 29th June this year. This plan sets out in detail how the bank will be wound-down over a period of 10 years. Since then the Authorities and the State have identified measures which are expected to further accelerate this wind down profile of IBRC. The plan assumes that IBRC's funding will decline in line with the bank's loan book. Further details in relation to the bank's Restructuring Plan can be found on the European Commission website at: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/cases/239466/239466_1251121_21_1.pdf.

Tax Code

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

138 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance if the Revenue Commissioners have sought to apply the removal of benefit-in-kind in respect of the provision of crèche facilities for employees’ children announced in budget 2011; if so, which organisations have already removed it; and the number that have yet to do so. [36100/11]

The benefit in kind exemption in respect of the provision by employers of crèche facilities was provided for in section 120A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. The removal of this exemption was announced in Budget 2011 and given effect to by section 7(1)(b) of Finance Act 2011. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a dedicated meeting with representatives of the payroll industry takes place immediately after each Budget. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that payroll systems are adjusted correctly to ensure compliance with all related measures announced in the Budget in advance of their deployment for the following tax year.

In addition, I am further informed that the ending of this exemption was publicised on the Revenue website immediately after the Budget announcement and at the same time details of this and other Budget changes were made available in leaflet form.

It is the responsibility of employers and their advisers to ensure their payroll systems take account of Budget changes and, in the case of the change in the rules on benefit in kind, there is no obligation on employers to formally report to Revenue that they have complied with the new requirements. Instead, issues of any such non-compliance will be discovered if a Revenue audit is carried out on the employer's business.

Where Revenue becomes aware of an employer who has not implemented the changes, the employer is immediately required to implement them and may become liable to interest and penalties for failure to correctly operate the PAYE system. If the Deputy is aware of such situations, he should advise Revenue.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Peter Mathews

Question:

139 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 117 of 15 November 2011, the frequency with which approval from the ECB for exceptional liquidity assistance must be sought; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36159/11]

The Central Bank does not comment on its discussions with the ECB in relation to these matters.

Banking Sector Regulation

Seán Kenny

Question:

140 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the names all persons currently on the senior management teams in each of the State controlled banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36193/11]

Information regarding the composition of the management teams of the relevant credit institutions is available on the respective company's websites through annual reports and updated press releases. However, for completeness, the current status of the management teams of each institution is presented below.

The Executive Committee of AIB is currently comprised of the following individuals: David Hodgkinson, Executive Chairman; Stephen Bell, Acting CRO; Bernard Byrne, Director of Personal & Business Banking; John Conway, Human Relations Director; Keith Davies, Group Services & Transformation Director; Marcel McCann, Operations & Technology Director; Jerry McCrohan, Director of Corporate & Intuitional and Commercial Banking; Gerry McGinn, Managing Director, First Trust Bank; Fergus Murphy, Managing Director, EBS; Ronan O'Neill, Managing Director, AIB UK; Peter Spratt, Head of Non Core Unit; Paul Stanley, Acting CFO.

The Executive Committee of BoI is comprised of the following individuals: Richie Boucher, Group Chief Executive; Julie Sharp, Head of Group HR; Des Crowley, Chief Executive Officer — Retail (Ireland & UK); Denis Donovan, Head of Non-Core Division; Liam McLoughlin, Head of Group Manufacturing; Vincent Mulvey, Chief Credit & Market Risk Officer; Peter Morris, Chief Governance Risk Officer; John O'Donovan, Group Chief Financial Officer.

The current members of the senior management team of IBRC are: Mike Aynsley, Group Chief Executive Officer; Jim Bradley, Chief Financial Officer; Gary Marshall, Chief Operating Officer; Peter Rossiter, Chief Risk Officer; Lizanne White, Chief Legal Officer; Tom Hunersen, Group Executive — Corporate & Institutional Recovery; Richard Woodhouse, Specialised Asset Management; Mark Layther, Recovery Management Ireland; Jim Brydie, Recovery Management UK; John McLoughlin, Group Executive — Investment & Loan Servicing

The Executive Committee of the IL&P is comprised of: Kevin Murphy, Group CEO; David McCarthy, Group Finance Director; Gerry Hassett, CEO Irish Life Retail; David Harney, CEO Irish Life Corporate Business; Gerry Keenan, CEO Irish Life Investment Managers; David Guinane, CEO permanent tsb; Tony Hession, Group Head of Human Resources & Organisation Development; Bill Hannan, Group Head of Risk & Compliance; Brendan Healy, Group Chief Information Officer.

Tax Reliefs

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

141 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that his predecessor announced in budget 2010 that he would introduce a scheme to give standard tax relief for a list of approved works for home insulation separate from the home energy savings scheme; the date on which he will introduce this tax relief scheme; and if he will provide details of the way the scheme will operate. [36238/11]

Section 13 of Finance Act 2011 provided for income tax relief at the standard rate for expenditure incurred by individuals on a range of works carried out to improve the energy efficiency of residential premises situated in the State. The underpinning legislation for the scheme was subject to Commencement Order. However, that legislation, on review, was found to have flaws and would have required amendment before it could be implemented.

As part of the announcement in the recent Jobs Initiative, the Government undertook to provide further funding for the grants available under the Better Energy Homes scheme operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Because of these circumstances, I decided to review the requirement for a coexisting tax incentive for similar works and, following this review, I have decided not to proceed with the introduction of the tax relief scheme.

Tax Collection

Jack Wall

Question:

142 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is due a refund on their disability grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36288/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a claim under the Value Added Tax (Refund of Tax) (No. 15) Order 1981 was received on 15 November 2011 from the Deputy on behalf of the claimant. This claim was returned on 16 November 2011 with a request for the required supporting documentation. On receipt of this documentation, the claim will be processed without delay.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Peter Mathews

Question:

143 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 115 of 15 November 2011, if the Central Bank of Ireland needs approval from the ECB to write-off the ELA to Irish banks; if there would be any consequences to the Irish taxpayers of such a write-off; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36340/11]

The Bank does not comment on ELA operations, other than what is contained in its Monthly Statistics update and its Annual Report. All ELA operations conducted by the Bank are fully collateralised. Appropriate haircuts/discounts are applied with a view to ensuring that the Bank would not suffer any loss in the event of default on the loan assistance. The Bank has received formal comfort from the Minister for Finance such that any shortfall on the liquidation of the collateral is made good.

Peter Mathews

Question:

144 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 115 of 15 November 2011, if the letter of formal comfort from the former Minister for Finance has any legal status whatsoever; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36341/11]

The legal basis for the aforementioned guarantees made in favour of the Central Bank of Ireland derive from the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008. Specifically the Minister for Finance is empowered under Section 6(1) of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008 to provide financial support in respect of the borrowings, liabilities and obligations of any credit institution that the Minister may specify by order. This includes support by way of a guarantee.

Tax Code

John Lyons

Question:

145 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Finance his plans to extend the betting levy to remote, on-line and phone betting operators; the way this extended levy will be collected; the amount he believes could be raised annually from such a measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36343/11]

The Finance Act 2011 contains legislation that, subject to a Ministerial Commencement Order, provides for the extension of betting duty to remote bookmakers and betting exchanges. The tax changes provided for in the Finance Act can only be implemented once the Betting (Amendment) Bill, which will provide for a regulatory and licensing regime, is enacted. The Betting (Amendment) Bill 2011 is currently at an advanced stage of drafting. The proposed licensing regime will make it a condition of the licence for the operator to collect the betting duty with the licensed operators being liable for payment of the duty.

It is expected that by including this high-growth area of the betting sector, particularly given the increasing prevalence of smart phones, the tax base from betting will be boosted significantly. In a full year it is expected that the tax yield could grow up to €20 million depending on the prevailing market conditions. Just as important is the positive signal this measure will convey to international betting operations that have expressed an interest in or have already invested in Ireland. A location with an appropriate licensing framework coupled with relatively low taxes provides real investment and employment opportunities in this sector.

Appointments to State Boards

Gerry Adams

Question:

146 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if former holders of the Office of Attorney General have been appointed to State boards by the current or former Governments; the details of such appointments to include position taken, name of organisation, salary or income derived or expenses claimed per annum, any additional benefits including car provided, travel costs per annum, terms of office and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36954/11]

In response to the Deputy's question Mr David Byrne was appointed Chairman of the National Treasury Management Agency Advisory Committee on 1 January 2008 for a period of 5 years. He receives a fee of €50,000 per annum. No other former Attorney General was appointed by me, or to my knowledge by any of my predecessors, to a State Board.

FÁS Training Programmes

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

147 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a further 12 weeks must be completed post-Christmas 2011 in respect of a FÁS course already undertaken by a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath in view of the fact that they have completed 272 weeks to date for same of which documentation can be provided by their employer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35438/11]

I understand that in order to qualify as an electrical craftsperson, an apprentice must be employed by a FÁS approved employer and complete all seven alternating on-the-job and off-the-job phases of their apprenticeship, which is a minimum of four years (208 weeks) in duration from the date of registration, as well as achieving the qualifying standard throughout their apprenticeship. I am informed by FÁS that an examination of the apprenticeship records of the person in question indicates that he requires another 12 weeks in employment with a FÁS approved employer. If he can secure employment with a FÁS approved employer for the period of 12 weeks he will qualify as a craftsperson and he will be awarded his FETAC Craft Certificate, which will validate his competence.

Alternatively, he is eligible to participate on the Competency Determination Mechanism (CDM), which has been introduced by FÁS to enable eligible redundant apprentices to complete their apprenticeships if they are short of the minimum time requirements. Further information on the FÁS CDM initiative can be sourced on the FÁS website www.fas.ie. The person in question is advised to remain in contact with his assigned FÁS Training Adviser, Mr. Charlie Walsh, (0877444537) to discuss the options available to him.

Vocational Education Committees

Gerry Adams

Question:

148 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the institutions of the vocational education committee are exempt from freedom of information requests; if so, should a situation arise whereby the vocational education committee is requested to address an issue, and a satisfactory response is not received, without recourse to FOI the alternatives that are in place for those seeking recourse to questions remaining unanswered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35756/11]

Vocational Education Committees (VECs) are not currently covered by the Freedom of Information Act. However, the Programme for Government provide that the Government will legislate to extend its remit to other public bodies. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is carrying out preparatory work to implement the above commitment, which includes consideration of the extension of the Freedom of Information Acts to the VECs. As VECs are statutory bodies, any issue arising, such as that referred to by the Deputy, are a matter for the relevant VEC to address.

FÁS Training Programmes

Sandra McLellan

Question:

149 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the redundancy apprentice scheme to enable young apprentices to finish their trade and financed through FÁS has been abolished; if the scheme has been replaced with another similar scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36140/11]

Sandra McLellan

Question:

179 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the redundancy apprentice scheme to enable young apprentices to finish their trade and financed through FÁS has been abolished. [36128/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 149 and 179 together.

The Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme (RAPS) was introduced in February 2011 to provide support to redundant apprentices to complete the minimum duration of on-the-job training with assessments at Phase 3, Phase 5 or Phase 7 of the Standards Based Apprenticeship Programme. This scheme has not been abolished. The budget allocation for the scheme for 2011 has been fully committed and consequently FÁS is not in a position to issue any further contracts at present. I understand however that FÁS is continuing to take applications for the scheme pending the allocation of the 2012 budget.

Sandra McLellan

Question:

150 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the financial options available to young apprentices to enable them to finish their apprenticeship when they do not meet the criteria for the internship scheme. [36141/11]

Sandra McLellan

Question:

180 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the financial options available to young apprentices to enable them to finish their apprenticeship when they do not meet the criteria for the internship scheme. [36129/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 150 and 180 together.

I understand from FÁS that redundant apprentices are paid a weekly training allowance when attending the following programmes to progress their apprenticeship training: Redundant Apprentices scheduled to off-the job training at Phase 2, Phase 4 or Phase 6 in a FÁS Training Centre, an Institute of Technology or a College of Further Education; Redundant Apprentices attending the FÁS Competency Determination Mechanism to complete their apprenticeships where they have not completed the minimum of 4 years in employment as an apprentice; Redundant Apprentices attending Phase 7 Equivalent Assessment in a FÁS Training Centre, where the apprentice is unable to source employment to complete Phase 7; Redundant Apprentices attending specific skills trade related training courses in a FÁS Training Centre; Redundant Apprentices attending Refresher Programme for Redundant Referred Apprentices in the Institutes of Technology; Redundant Apprentices attending the Certificate in Transferable Skills in the Institutes of Technology. In addition under a Fee Waiver Scheme, course fees will be waived for redundant apprentices who attend FÁS day and/or evening courses in order to enhance their employable skills.

Schools Building Projects

Dara Calleary

Question:

151 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school building project (details supplied) in County Mayo; when it will be allowed to proceed to tender. [35450/11]

The project referred to by the Deputy is currently at an advanced stage of Architectural Planning. The Deputy will note that this project was not included in the 2011 school building work programme announced earlier this year. Although planning permission has already been secured, there are still outstanding elements of the architectural planning process which must be completed before the project would be in a position to be considered for progression to tender and construction. The Board of Management are currently in communication with each member of the Design Team regarding their continued involvement with the project and my Department awaits an update from the Board in this regard.

The further progression of this project through to tender and construction stage will be considered in the context of my 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 at this time to give a more indicative timeframe for the progression of the project to tender and construction.

Schools Refurbishment

Pat Breen

Question:

152 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35472/11]

My Department introduced an energy efficiency scheme in 2009 to improve roof and cavity wall insulation levels in school buildings across the country. The scheme which was implemented with the help of Sustainable Energy Ireland, allowed schools to apply for funding on a once-off basis to upgrade the fabric insulation in attics and the external cavity walls of their buildings. The closing date for receipt of application under this scheme was November 2009.

As the Deputy may be aware I announced on the 10th November 2011 that my Department will be issuing the minor works grant for 2011/12 to primary school shortly and it is open to the school in question to prioritise the use of these funds to address such issues as referred to by the Deputy.

Higher Education Grants

Michael Lowry

Question:

153 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will verify the media reports that emerged over the weekend which stated that the grant scheme for postgraduate students will be scrapped for the coming year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35503/11]

The Deputy will appreciate that the preparation of the Estimates for any Budget is carried out on a strictly confidential basis. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on media speculation or on specific issues or proposals, including those relating to student grants, in advance of the Budget announcement.

Information Technology

Denis Naughten

Question:

154 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of computer servers that are leased by his Department and each State agency under the aegis of his Department; and the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers and the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35511/11]

Denis Naughten

Question:

155 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of computer servers that are owned by his Department and each State agency under his aegis; the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers; the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35527/11]

I propose to respond to Questions Nos. 154 and 155 together.

My Department does not currently lease any computer servers. In order to reduce ongoing costs my Department is currently undergoing a storage and virtualisation project, which will reduce the number of servers from 125 to around 25. This project is due for completion by the end of 2012. Prior to the commencement of this project the total storage capacity of the servers was 59 terabytes, on the completion of the project the total storage capacity of the servers will be 50 terabytes. Hardware support costs for all servers currently amount to €52,300 approximately per annum.

The information sought in relation to the bodies under the aegis of my Department is not readily available and would involve an inordinate amount of administrative time to compile. However, if the Deputy has any particular agency in mind I would be happy to have my officials obtain the relevant details and communicate them to the Deputy.

Redundancy Payments

Brendan Smith

Question:

156 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a payment will issue to a former special needs assistant (details supplied) who is currently unemployed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35545/11]

An application for redundancy from the person referred to by the Deputy was received by my Department on 9th September 2011. Applications are processed in date order of receipt and every effort is being made to process these applications as quickly as possible. Applications received in May/June 2011 are currently being processed.

Extra resources have been assigned to the Redundancy Unit to ensure that Special Needs Assistants that have been made redundant will have their claims for payment processed as quickly as possible. My Department is also now prioritising the processing of redundancy applications from those SNAs who have not obtained alternative employment in a non teaching capacity in primary, secondary or community/comprehensive schools in the current school year.

Special Educational Needs

Finian McGrath

Question:

157 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will support the proposals for developing provision for students of post-primary age with multiple disability and visual impairment at a school (details supplied) in Dublin 9. [35565/11]

I wish to confirm to the Deputy that a proposal in relation to provision for mobility training at the school referred to by the Deputy has recently been made to my Department. This proposal is currently under active consideration and my Department will reply to the school in relation to this proposal in the near future.

School Accommodation

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

158 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application made by a school (details supplied) in County Limerick for funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35587/11]

The school in question was allocated devolved funding for the provision of a mainstream classroom under my Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme in 2010. The school subsequently requested further funding to have additional works carried out. In light of the competing demands on the available budget, it is not possible to approve additional funding to have the works referred to by the Deputy carried out at this time. The school authorities have been notified accordingly.

Schools Refurbishment

John McGuinness

Question:

159 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will be made on an application for emergency works to be undertaken at a school (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will expedite the matter. [35628/11]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department recently approved emergency funding for repairs to a gas leak at the school in question.

Higher Education Grants

Timmy Dooley

Question:

160 Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an appeal application for a third level maintenance grant in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35699/11]

An appeal was received in my Department on 9 November 2011 from the student referred to by the Deputy. The appeal is appropriate to the independent Student Grant Appeals Board and a decision will issue from the Board within the timeframe set out in the Student Support Act 2011, which is 60 days from the making of the appeal.

Michael McCarthy

Question:

161 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork is being asked to submit documents in respect of a student grant application when they have already submitted same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35710/11]

The processing of student grants is carried out by local grant awarding authorities — VECs and local authorities. In the circumstances, it will be necessary for the student in question to contact her grant awarding authority to ascertain the position regarding her grant application, particularly if she is of the view that she has already supplied the information now being sought by the grant awarding authority.

Skills Development

Alan Farrell

Question:

162 Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Education and Skills the supports available to ensure that graduates of non-performing industries have the option of returning to education for further graduate or undergraduate studies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35721/11]

It is open to any individual to apply for a place on an undergraduate or postgraduate higher education programme in the publicly funded higher education sector and, depending on their previous level of educational attainment and personal circumstances they may be eligible for support under the Free Fees Scheme or the Student Grant Scheme. In general, students who previously pursued a course of study are not eligible for free fees support or grant assistance for a second period of study at the same level. Such students may, however, be eligible for tax relief for their tuition fees, as are students who undertake courses of study on a part time basis. Full details of all supports available to students who wish to return to education are available at www.studentfinance.ie. Information on available tax reliefs for tuition fees can be accessed on www.revenue.ie.

Under the Springboard initiative, 5,800 free part-time higher education places have also been offered to unemployed people to re-skill in areas where there are identified skills needs. Programmes range from level 6 to Masters level and are targeted at participants who have lost their jobs in sectors where employment levels are not likely to recover, even as the economy recovers. Further information is available on www.bluebrick.ie. The HEA has also just issued a tender for the provision of new graduate skills conversion programmes to be delivered in 2012 to address the specific needs of the ICT sector.

FÁS Training Programmes

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

163 Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the FÁS training centre at Baldoyle, Dublin, will be in a position to organise repeat examinations for phase 2 of the construction plant fitting apprenticeship (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35728/11]

I understand from FÁS that with the closure of the Cabra Training Centre in December 2010, the Construction Plant Facility Course was transferred to Baldoyle Training Centre. I also understand there was a delay in calling referred learners for re-sit assessments. This delay is regretted and I understand from FÁS that it occurred for two principal reasons. Firstly, significant building works had to be undertaken to facilitate the course transfer. Secondly, unforeseen technical IT issues relating to the apprenticeship results system needed to be identified and resolved. However, I understand that FÁS Baldoyle is now in the process of calling the referred learners for their re-sit assessments. In addition, to compensate the learners for the delay, FÁS is prepared to provide refresher tuition for the referred learners.

School Closures

Tom Fleming

Question:

164 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a school (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35768/11]

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

190 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36270/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 and 190 together.

Last week, the Department was advised by the Patron's office that it is the Bishop's intention to close the school in question with immediate effect. The Patron's office has confirmed that this decision is being taken as a result of demographic changes in the area and that demand no longer exists to support the viability of the school. Arrangements are being made for the redeployment of the school principal to a teaching post in a neighbouring school following completion of administrative work associated with the school's closure.

Schools Building Projects

Tom Fleming

Question:

165 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills, further to Parliamentary Question No. 254 of May 2011, when he will address the health and safety issues pertaining to a school (details supplied) in County Kerry in which 120 students have to cross a very busy regional road every 40 minutes to attend class by providing the necessary funding for a new school. [35769/11]

A major project for the school to which the Deputy refers was included on the work programme for 2011, where an accommodation brief will be formulated and the appointment of a Design Team will commence. The accommodation brief for the project is currently being finalised and the next step, following completion of this process, involves the appointment of a Design Team. My Department has recently been in contact with the school regarding the progression of the project.

Tom Fleming

Question:

166 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills, further to Parliamentary Question No. 60 of 12 May 2011, when he will provide a replacement school (details supplied) in County Kerry. [35771/11]

The Government's Medium Term Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework, which was published on 10 November 2011, sets out the demographic challenge facing the education system in the coming years. In this context, the school referred to by the Deputy has made a major capital application to my Department for the provision of a replacement school building to meet the demographic needs of the area. This application is being assessed by my Department and the school authorities will be notified of the outcome shortly.

Higher Education Policy

John Paul Phelan

Question:

167 Deputy John Paul Phelan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he is planning on establishing a national academy for the enhancement of teaching and learning in third level education; the role this organisation will have; the staff levels required to operate same; the budget that would be allocated to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35808/11]

As part of the implementation process for the National Strategy for Higher Education, the HEA issued a consultation document to higher education institutions on 4 October in relation to proposals to establish a National Academy for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. This document is available on the HEA website, and submissions are being accepted until the 2nd December. I understand that the HEA also intends to hold a consultation event in early 2012.

The consultation document proposes that the National Academy will assume a leading role in implementing the vision for teaching and learning outlined in the National Strategy and will provide a forum for driving innovations in teaching and learning across the sector. However, no decisions have been made in relation to the structure and remit of the Academy, and final proposals will be informed by the current consultation process.

Infrastructure Investment Plan

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

168 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will outline the specific projects that he plans for County Donegal arising from the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Plan 2012-2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35828/11]

The Government's Medium Term Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework, which was published on 10 November 2011, sets out the demographic challenge facing the education system in the coming years. Total enrolment in both primary and post-primary schools is expected to grow by almost 70,000 between now and 2018 (over 45,000 at primary level and 25,000 at post primary) and will continue to grow up to at least 2024 at post-primary level. The necessity to ensure sufficient school places arising from increasing demographics and involving both new school buildings and extensions, will continue to be the priority for schools capital expenditure. I have previously committed to publishing details next month of the school building projects to be constructed in 2012. Early in the new year, I will publish a five year plan outlining the projects concerned to be constructed in that time.

In relation to the Higher Education sector, I can confirm that my Department will be funding a science facilities extension project at Letterkenny Institute of Technology. This project consists of the construction of new science laboratories within a new third storey extension to the existing Science Building at an overall cost of €3.86m. Construction work began on this project earlier this year and it is targeted for completion in mid-2012.

School Staffing

Gerald Nash

Question:

169 Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a breakdown of absentee rates for primary and secondary school teachers for the past ten years; and, if known, the amount of that absenteeism caused by stress related illness. [35877/11]

The information that is available in my Department relating to the issues raised by the Deputy is being compiled and will be forwarded to him.

Special Educational Needs

Michael Creed

Question:

170 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will outline the monitoring he conducts on the effective use of resource hours for individual students; if he is satisfied with the structures in place in his Department and at individual school level to ensure maximum return for these hours, and compliance with the psychological report on individual students’ needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35905/11]

Approximately 9,950 whole time equivalent learning support/resource teacher posts, including those allocated under the General Allocation model, are being provided this year in primary and post-primary schools in order to provide additional teaching support to pupils with special educational needs or learning support requirements. This represents a significant investment in resource teaching supports and an increase of approximately 350 whole time equivalent posts over last year's allocation.

My Department's circular SP ED 02/05 provides guidance to schools on the deployment and organisation of teaching resources allocated to them either under the General Allocation Model or in relation to individual resource allocations for pupils with low incidence disabilities.

Once resource teaching allocations have been made to them, schools have responsibility to monitor and utilise these resources to best support the needs of individual qualifying pupils, in accordance with my Departments guidance. Support for students, including resource teaching support, is one of five areas that inspectors report on in Whole School Evaluations. A schools management of its learning supports for students therefore forms part of a Whole School Evaluation.

In relation to psychological reports, the Deputy will be aware that the EPSEN and Disability Acts set out clearly the role and functions of the NCSE and the HSE and their staff in carrying out assessments and with regard to the provision of services for children with special educational needs. Responsibility for deciding on the quantum of educational supports and resources to be allocated to schools, or to individual pupils, rests with the NCSE in accordance with DES policy.

The consideration of professional reports is an integral part of determining the extent of supports to be provided for pupils with special educational needs. However, whereas health reports provide valuable assistance to education providers in identifying a diagnosis or identifying appropriate interventions, health staff are asked not to include references to the specific quantum of educational resources in their reports, but should state the outcome of tests carried out and the range of needs of the child as clearly as possible.

The NCSE circular 03/08 clarifies the respective roles and functions of the NCSE and the HSE and their respective personnel in carrying out assessments and sanctioning resources to support children with special educational needs.

Schools Building Projects

Michael Creed

Question:

171 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an over-run of costs for a school building project (details supplied); if he accepts the detailed engineering evidence submitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35908/11]

The school referred to by the Deputy was allocated devolved funding for the provision of a mainstream classroom and a resource room under my Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme in 2010. The school authorities recently sought additional funding towards this building project. My Department's Planning and Building Unit is currently examining the application and has written to the school authorities seeking additional information relating to the request. As soon as the information is received a final decision will be communicated to the school authority.

Departmental Schemes

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

172 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will expand the eligibility criteria for the Springboard initiative to include persons in receipt of the back to work enterprise allowance. [35932/11]

To be eligible for a place on a Springboard course an applicant must have a previous history of employment, and at the time of starting a Springboard course must be unemployed and in receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance, Jobseeker's Benefit or One Parent Family Payment or be signing for contribution credits. As all applicants must be available for and actively seeking employment, the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance is not one of the eligible payments.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA), which is managing Springboard on behalf of my Department, has commenced an evaluation of all aspects of the roll-out of Springboard in 2011. The outcome of this evaluation will inform decisions in relation to the further development of the Springboard initiative in the future.

Redundancy Payments

Michael Lowry

Question:

173 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a redundancy payment was not paid in respect of an employee (details supplied) of his Department; if said employee can now apply for redundancy; if they are entitled to redundancy in view of the extraordinary circumstances in this individual case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35986/11]

An application for compensation for loss of hours (partial redundancy) was received on 28th June 2011 by my Department from the person referred to by the Deputy. Under the terms of my Department's circular on redundancy arrangements for Special Needs Assistants, this person is not entitled to a partial redundancy payment as the time limit for submitting an application (52 weeks after the date on which the hours were lost) had expired. My Department has been in touch with the person referred to by the Deputy on a number of occasions informing her of the position.

My Department's circular on redundancy arrangements for Special Needs Assistants (circular 0058/2006) was posted to all schools in 2006 for the attention of Boards of Management, Principal Teachers and Special Needs Assistants. This circular was also placed on the Department's website at that time. These arrangements, including the time limit for submitting an application, were agreed at national level and were agreed at the Labour Relations Commission.

Persons making enquiries regarding redundancy are referred by my Department's officials to the relevant circular and application forms on my Department's website. As the SNA's employer, the Board of Management is responsible for following correct procedure in recruitment and any other matters regarding that person's contract.

School Transport

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

174 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills, following the transfer of the role of transport liaison officer from the vocational education committees to Bus Éireann, if he will confirm which body is now responsible for setting the annual fare for the school transport system. [36084/11]

Decisions on school transport charges are made by my Department in consultation with the Department of Finance as part of the annual budgetary process. The cessation of the role of the Transport Liaison Officer will have no impact on the matter.

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

175 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students negatively affected by changes to the rules for transport catchment areas. [36085/11]

From the commencement of the 2012/13 school year, the use of the Catchment Boundary Area (CB) System as a means of determining eligibility will cease for all pupils newly entering post primary school. This means that from the 2012/13 school year, school transport eligibility for all pupils newly entering a post primary school will be determined by reference to the distance they reside from their nearest post-primary education centre having regard to ethos and language.

This change was announced as part of Budget 2011 but is not being introduced until the 2012/13 school year in order to allow parents of children newly entering post primary school ample time to consider their school choice options, taking account of the revised school transport eligibility arrangements. At post-primary level, the evidence is, as set out in the Value for Money Review of the School Transport Schemes, that the majority of children are attending their nearest post primary school/centre.

Schools Refurbishment

Timmy Dooley

Question:

176 Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application for emergency works at a school (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36086/11]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the application by the school in question for funding to provide roof insulation. My Department introduced an energy efficiency scheme in 2009 to improve roof and cavity wall insulation levels in school buildings across the country. The scheme which was implemented with the help of Sustainable Energy Ireland, allowed schools to apply for funding on a once-off basis to upgrade the fabric insulation in attics and the external cavity walls of their buildings. The closing date for receipt of application under this scheme was November 2009.

I announced on 10 November 2011 that my Department will be issuing the minor works grant for 2011/12 to primary schools shortly and it is open to the school in question to prioritise the use of these funds to address such issues as referred to by the Deputy.

Disadvantaged Status

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

177 Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the pupils of a school (details supplied) in County Mayo are being discriminated against due to the fact that he has not granted their school DEIS status despite its location in one of the areas of highest educational disadvantage in the country and despite the fact that all other schools in Erris have been so designated. [36105/11]

The process of identifying schools for participation in DEIS was managed by the Educational Research Centre (ERC) on behalf of my Department and supported by quality assurance work co-ordinated through the Department's regional offices and the Inspectorate.

In the primary sector, the identification process was based on a survey carried out by the ERC in May 2005. The analysis of the survey returns from primary schools by the ERC identified the socio-economic variables that collectively best predict achievement, and these variables were then used to identify schools for participation in DEIS. Notwithstanding repeated communications to the school on the matter a completed survey form was not received from Inver National School and therefore it could not be assessed for participation in DEIS.

An ongoing evaluation of DEIS has been under way since the roll-out of supports commenced in 2006. My Department commissioned the Educational Research Centre to undertake this evaluation, the aim of which is to monitor the implementation of the programme and assess its impact on students and schools at primary and post primary levels. An evaluation report, the second in a series of reports, is currently being finalised.

In addition, the Inspectorate of my Department conducted evaluations of planning in a sample of 36 DEIS schools, 18 primary and 18 post-primary. A national composite report on the effectiveness of DEIS planning in primary and post primary schools has been completed and is expected to be available shortly. The Department will fully consider these evaluation reports before any decisions can be made regarding the future of DEIS.

The Deputy will be aware that a Comprehensive Expenditure Review is ongoing in all government Departments at the request of the Minister of Public Service Expenditure and Reform. Furthermore the current economic climate and the challenge to meet significant targets on reducing public expenditure limits opportunities and means that there is no capacity to provide for additionality to the DEIS programme.

School Transport

Tom Fleming

Question:

178 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will extend the existing primary school bus service to persons (details supplied). [36125/11]

Under the terms of the Primary School Transport scheme pupils are eligible for school transport if they reside 3.2 kilometres or more from and are attending their nearest national school, having regard to ethos and language.

Bus Éireann, which operates the School Transport Schemes on behalf of my Department, has advised that not all the pupils referred to by the Deputy in the details supplied are eligible for school transport under the terms of the scheme. Furthermore, Bus Éireann has advised that an extension to the existing service is not feasible as the road in question is unsuitable for the vehicle operating the service to this school. I understand that the families of eligible pupils, for whom there is no school transport service available, have been offered a remote area grant towards the cost of making private transport arrangements.

Question No. 179 answered with Question No. 149.
Question No. 180 answered with Question No. 150.

FÁS Training Programmes

Sandra McLellan

Question:

181 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the financial help currently available to a young person (details supplied) with family commitments to enable them to take up a position offered to them to finish their apprenticeship. [36130/11]

I understand from FÁS that the person in question is recorded on the FÁS Apprenticeship Database as a non-active apprenticeship. However, I understand that he has successfully completed Phase 2 off-the-job training and successfully completed Phase 4 off-the-job training on 11th June 2011, when he was redundant. The person should contact his Senior Training Adviser to progress his apprenticeship as I am informed that FÁS has not been able to contact him or his previous employer.

I understand that redundant apprentices are paid a FÁS weekly training allowance when attending the following programmes to progress their apprenticeship training:

Redundant Apprentices scheduled for off-the job training at Phase 2, Phase 4 or Phase 6 in a FÁS Training Centre, an Institute of Technology or a College of Further Education.

Redundant Apprentices attending specific skills/trade-related training courses in a FÁS Training Centre.

Fee Waiver Scheme course fees will be waived for redundant apprentices who attend FÁS day and/or evening courses in order to enhance their employable skills.

Pension Provisions

Catherine Byrne

Question:

182 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will clarify the pension entitlements of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36149/11]

Details of the pension entitlements of the person in question are being sent directly to her by the Pension Section of my Department.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Terence Flanagan

Question:

183 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will deal with a matter (details supplied) regarding the statutory trust fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36158/11]

The details provided by the Deputy relate to the proposed Residential Institutions Statutory Fund. The Government agreed to the drafting of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill to provide for the establishment of a Statutory Fund to support the needs of victims of residential institutional abuse, as endorsed by Dáil Éireann in the aftermath of the publication of the Ryan Report in 2009. The legislative proposals followed extensive consultations with survivors of residential abuse and the groups which support them, together with a public consultation process. In this context, the report on the consultation process and the General Scheme of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill are available on my Department's website.

It is the case that some former residents advocated a simple distribution of the available money rather than the establishment of the Statutory Fund. However, as I outlined when I published the legislative proposals, I believe that the Fund should target resources at services to support former residents' needs. The General Scheme outlines the range of services proposed.

I had a very constructive meeting with groups representing survivors of residential institutional abuse on 22nd July last, when we discussed the Government's approach to the proposed Statutory Fund. Attendees at that meeting raised a number of issues regarding aspects of the proposed approach as set out in the General Scheme of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill. I have also received a number of submissions from groups and individuals in relation to the proposed legislation. Work is progressing on the drafting of the Bill and the various views expressed to date are being considered as the drafting process continues.

Higher Education Grants

Pat Breen

Question:

184 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) in County Clare has not been facilitated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36178/11]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter for the relevant grant awarding authority. The Deputy will appreciate that in the absence of all of the relevant details that would be contained in an individual's application form it would not be possible for me to say why a particular rate of grant was applied by the grant awarding authority. An applicant may appeal the decision of the grant awarding authority to its appeals officer. Where the appeals officer decides to reject the appeal, the applicant may appeal this decision to my Department or the independent appeals board, as appropriate. No appeal has been received in my Department to date.

Departmental Agencies

Seán Kenny

Question:

185 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of persons employed by the Higher Education Authority by grade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36187/11]

There are 61.9 full time equivalent (FTE) staff currently employed by the HEA. This includes staffing for two research councils — Irish Research Councils for Science, Engineering and Technology and the Irish Research Council for Humanitarian and Social Services. The breakdown of grades is as follows: 1 Chief Executive Officer 6.5 Principal Officers 13.8 Assistant Principal Officers 14.8 Higher Executive Officers 17.4 Executive Officers 6.8 Clerical Officers 1.6 Service Attendants. 5 staff currently on career breaks are not included in the breakdown.

Third Level Courses

Seán Kenny

Question:

186 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of Irish students, UK students, EU students excluding the UK and non-EU students currently enrolled in each of the third level institutions for the years 2006 to 2010, inclusive, and to date in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36188/11]

A comprehensive range of statistics in relation to students attending higher education institutions are compiled and published by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on their website www.hea.ie. The enrolment data requested may be viewed in the table which has been provided by the HEA based on the published information.

Domiciliary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2011

Country of Origin

UCD

UCC

NUIG

TCD

NUIM

DCU

UL

MIC

SPD

MDEI

NCAD

RCSI

St. Angela’s

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

7,912

8,597

6,187

8,231

5,355

6,392

5,087

7,650

3,107

3,847

3,569

3,839

5,356

4,367

702

2,132

443

1,537

142

292

292

611

827

912

15

421

38,994

48,828

87,822

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

156

174

12

25

169

224

204

218

2

0

12

10

20

19

2

1

0

0

2

0

1

1

15

24

0

0

595

696

1,291

Europe (EU)

281

427

61

84

84

166

202

248

22

24

135

172

54

54

1

3

0

1

0

2

3

2

10

10

0

0

853

1,193

2,046

Non-EU

861

1,046

515

864

466

877

390

563

68

70

268

206

182

142

2

2

0

0

3

1

3

5

211

183

0

0

2,969

3,959

6,928

Total

9,210

10,244

6,775

9,204

6,074

7,659

5,883

8,679

3,199

3,941

3,984

4,227

5,612

4,582

707

2,138

443

1,538

147

295

299

619

1,063

1,129

15

421

43,411

54,676

98,087

Domiciliary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2010

Country of Origin

UCD

UCC

NUIG

TCD

NUIM

DCU

UL

MIC

SPD

MDEI

NCAD

RCSI

St. Angela’s

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

7,779

8,431

6,040

8,199

5,124

6,470

4,894

7,714

2,894

3,592

3,510

3,820

4,947

4,398

646

2,203

405

1,658

119

290

303

617

715

810

16

432

37,392

48,634

86,026

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

168

193

16

16

154

212

190

227

4

0

12

13

22

21

2

2

0

0

1

1

0

1

19

15

0

0

588

701

1,289

Europe (EU)

289

444

53

86

90

166

178

236

29

22

125

143

59

64

3

2

0

1

0

0

2

3

5

10

0

0

833

1,177

2,010

Non-EU

905

1,149

549

821

455

798

387

564

54

52

310

225

171

139

3

3

0

0

1

1

3

3

268

250

0

0

3,106

4,005

7,111

Total

9,141

10,217

6,658

9,122

5,823

7,646

5,649

8,741

2,981

3,666

3,957

4,201

5,199

4,622

654

2,210

405

1,659

121

292

308

624

1,007

1,085

16

432

41,919

54,517

96,436

Domiciliary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2009

Country of Origin

UCD

UCC

NUIG

TCD

NUIM

DCU

UL

MIC

SPD

MDEI

NCAD

RCSI

St. Angela’s

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

7,142

8,098

5,503

7,991

4,563

6,229

4,460

7,408

2,484

3,442

3,112

3,537

4,585

4,285

595

2,300

390

1,854

99

260

266

595

245

503

23

471

33,467

46,973

80,440

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

148

186

19

21

137

187

172

221

6

0

13

17

18

26

0

2

0

0

1

0

0

1

19

13

0

1

533

675

1,208

Europe (EU)

273

397

49

87

92

160

169

221

31

20

156

206

63

87

2

5

0

1

0

3

0

1

10

26

0

0

845

1,214

2,059

Non-EU

831

1,029

573

833

421

760

351

504

62

55

345

232

145

136

2

3

0

0

3

0

0

2

561

671

0

0

3,294

4,225

7,519

Total

8,394

9,710

6,144

8,932

5,213

7,336

5,152

8,354

2,583

3,517

3,626

3,992

4,811

4,534

599

2,310

390

1,855

103

263

266

599

835

1,213

23

472

38,139

53,087

91,226

Domiciliary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2008

Country of Origin

UCD

UCC

NUIG

TCD

NUIM

DCU

UL

MIC

SPD

MDEI

NCAD

RCSI

St Angela’s

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

6,899

7,943

5,188

7,874

4,163

5,928

4,227

7,201

2,268

3,183

2,915

3,406

4,263

4,118

549

2,253

346

1,788

81

237

244

569

346

461

16

503

31,505

45,464

76,969

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

129

172

19

17

146

188

171

226

5

1

16

21

21

20

0

1

0

0

1

0

1

7

34

30

0

3

543

686

1,229

Europe (EU)

235

319

52

78

74

103

147

201

25

32

160

190

51

84

1

4

0

1

0

0

1

7

2

6

0

1

748

1,026

1,774

Non-EU

782

964

550

781

475

773

372

492

47

47

362

210

128

115

2

4

0

0

3

1

1

0

478

473

1

0

3,201

3,860

7,061

Total

8,045

9,398

5,809

8,750

4,858

6,992

4,917

8,120

2,345

3,263

3,453

3,827

4,463

4,337

552

2,262

346

1,789

85

238

247

583

860

970

17

507

35,997

51,036

87,033

Domiciliary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2007

Country of Origin

UCD

UCC

NUIG

TCD

NUIM

DCU

UL

MIC

SPD

MDEI

NCAD

RCSI

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Total

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

6,790

7,901

5,000

7,724

4,211

5,981

4,207

7,108

2,068

3,118

2,773

3,100

313

1,716

4,118

4,108

481

2,201

91

265

269

585

211

364

30,532

44,171

74,703

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

113

156

18

15

96

132

192

229

3

2

19

25

0

0

17

17

0

1

0

2

0

5

17

6

475

590

1,065

Europe (EU)

208

249

54

69

91

118

155

176

22

25

211

221

0

0

47

58

0

3

0

0

1

12

14

13

803

944

1,747

Non-EU

679

779

511

774

457

667

363

482

53

52

289

246

0

0

121

106

1

6

4

1

1

6

599

551

3,078

3,670

6,748

Total

7,790

9,085

5,583

8,582

4,855

6,898

4,917

7,995

2,146

3,197

3,292

3,592

313

1,716

4,303

4,289

482

2,211

95

268

271

608

841

934

34,888

49,375

84,263

Domiciliary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2006

Country of Origin

UCD

UCC

NUIG

TCD

NUIM

DCU

UL

MIC

SPD

MDEI

NCAD

RCSI

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

6,609

8,015

4,855

7,599

4,347

6,330

4,121

7,034

2,044

3,138

2,678

2,880

300

1,690

4,143

3,987

442

2,121

85

261

246

578

170

287

30,040

43,920

73,960

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

109

155

20

21

20

32

217

229

4

2

27

21

0

0

15

21

0

0

0

1

0

5

12

25

424

512

936

Europe (EU)

165

201

46

69

37

48

215

304

18

17

174

186

0

0

40

59

0

3

0

0

4

9

9

10

708

906

1,614

Non-EU

543

625

445

711

328

597

364

455

57

44

238

186

0

0

105

87

1

4

4

3

1

6

628

580

2,714

3,298

6,012

Total

7,426

8,996

5,366

8,400

4,732

7,007

4,917

8,022

2,123

3,201

3,117

3,273

300

1,690

4,303

4,154

443

2,128

89

265

251

598

819

902

33,886

48,636

82,522

The HEA took over responsibility for the collection of data from St Angela's College in 2007. Therefore the first year of data available to the HEA is for the academic year 2007/08.

Domiciliary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2011

Country of Origin

AIT

CIT

DIT

DLIADT

DKIT

GMIT

ITB

ITC

ITS

ITT

ITTRA

LYIT

LIT

TI

WIT

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

1,626

1,842

4,319

2,671

6,768

4,725

1,032

1,013

2,254

2,063

3,257

2,170

1,104

811

1,851

1,494

1,940

1,879

1,691

1,114

1,174

1,204

1,260

1,230

2,309

1,799

376

292

3,299

3,117

34,260

27,424

61,684

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

0

0

2

2

9

6

0

0

2

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

4

1

0

0

1

1

18

18

0

0

0

0

3

1

41

32

73

Europe (EU)

102

53

123

78

18

21

3

5

1

3

8

14

1

2

7

8

13

7

0

2

2

5

7

10

3

5

0

1

9

28

297

242

539

Non-EU

42

30

38

3

125

61

2

2

17

10

47

19

2

1

5

1

4

7

0

2

10

2

11

14

6

3

1

1

80

43

390

199

589

Total

1,770

1,925

4,482

2,754

6,920

4,813

1,037

1,020

2,274

2,079

3,314

2,203

1,107

814

1,863

1,503

1,961

1,894

1,691

1,118

1,187

1,212

1,296

1,272

2,318

1,807

377

294

3,391

3,189

34,988

27,897

62,885

Domicillary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2010

Country of Origin

AIT

CIT

DIT

DLIADT

DKIT

GMIT

ITB

ITC

ITS

ITT

ITTRA

LYIT

LIT

TI

WIT

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

1,433

1,855

4,331

2,736

6,424

4,578

1,016

942

2,047

2,032

3,079

2,060

895

661

1,754

1,348

1,850

1,864

1,469

947

1,096

1,147

1,207

1,196

2,290

1,726

264

215

3,217

3,027

32,372

26,334

58,706

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

0

0

2

0

15

8

0

0

1

4

0

0

0

0

1

0

4

1

0

0

1

1

38

35

0

1

0

0

0

2

62

52

114

Europe (EU)

16

11

112

78

19

25

3

3

0

1

6

11

0

2

6

2

14

14

0

1

1

3

15

17

3

5

1

0

10

4

206

177

383

Non-EU

33

16

51

3

144

88

4

5

34

29

8

5

1

1

6

3

3

4

1

2

11

20

21

11

6

1

0

75

41

403

226

629

Total

1,482

1,882

4,496

2,817

6,602

4,699

1,023

950

2,082

2,066

3,093

2,076

896

664

1,767

1,353

1,871

1,883

1,470

950

1,109

1,153

1,280

1,269

2,304

1,738

266

215

3,302

3,074

33,043

26,789

59,832

Domicillary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2009

Country of Origin

AIT

CIT

DIT

DLIADT

DKIT

GMIT

ITB

ITC

ITS

ITT

ITTRA

LYIT

LIT

TI

WIT

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

1,108

1,760

3,866

2,498

5,597

4,406

858

850

1,803

1,845

2,779

2,007

690

542

1,638

1,293

1,656

1,720

1,265

784

892

1,083

1,005

1,135

2,077

1,557

187

141

2,996

3141

28,417

24,762

53,179

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

0

0

2

1

14

18

0

3

1

2

2

1

0

0

1

0

1

1

0

0

1

0

22

26

0

1

1

0

1

2

46

55

101

Europe (EU)

49

37

35

22

46

51

2

5

2

2

10

14

4

2

30

27

20

38

0

1

5

4

20

25

4

8

0

1

5

3

232

240

472

Non-EU

54

22

37

0

179

98

2

4

47

30

3

4

0

1

6

2

2

0

1

2

11

4

26

27

11

15

2

0

83

39

464

248

712

Total

1,211

1,819

3,940

2,521

5,836

4,573

862

862

1,853

1,879

2,794

2,026

694

545

1,675

1,322

1,679

1,759

1,266

787

909

1,091

1,073

1,213

2,092

1,581

190

142

3,085

3,185

29,159

25,305

54,464

Domicillary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2008

Country of Origin

AIT

CIT

DIT

DLIADT

DKIT

GMIT

ITB

ITC

ITS

ITT

ITTRA

LYIT

LIT

TI

WIT

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

1,024

1,732

3,637

2,512

5,327

4,283

787

789

1,618

1,707

2,739

2,089

573

456

1,564

1,260

1,528

1,786

1,169

726

809

1,060

859

985

1,869

1,335

157

127

2,731

3,231

26,391

24,078

50,469

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

0

0

0

1

17

10

0

0

2

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

3

0

0

2

0

26

37

0

0

0

0

1

0

50

54

104

Europe (EU)

22

23

49

38

39

31

1

2

0

3

4

6

0

0

8

6

19

15

1

2

4

5

4

13

3

11

2

0

5

3

161

158

319

Non-EU

19

17

13

4

162

92

1

1

66

47

4

3

0

0

3

4

0

2

1

0

6

5

25

24

23

19

0

0

94

45

417

263

680

Total

1,065

1,772

3,699

2,555

5,545

4,416

789

792

1,686

1,759

2,748

2,099

573

456

1,575

1,270

1,548

1,806

1171

728

821

1,070

914

1,059

1,895

1,365

159

127

2,831

3,279

27,019

24,553

51,572

The HEA took over responsibility for the collection of data from the Institute of Technology sector in 2007. Therefore the first year of data available to the HEA is for the academic year 2007/08.

Domicillary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2011

Country of Origin

AIT

CIT

DIT

DLIADT

DKIT

GMIT

ITB

ITC

ITS

ITT

ITTRA

LYIT

LIT

TI

WIT

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

1,626

1,842

4,319

2,671

6,768

4,725

1,032

1,013

2,254

2,063

3,257

2,170

1,104

811

1,851

1,494

1,940

1,879

1,691

1,114

1,174

1,204

1,260

1,230

2,309

1,799

376

292

3,299

3117

34,260

27,424

61,684

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

0

0

2

2

9

6

0

0

2

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

4

1

0

0

1

1

18

18

0

0

0

0

3

1

41

32

73

Europe (EU)

102

53

123

78

18

21

3

5

1

3

8

14

1

2

7

8

13

7

0

2

2

5

7

10

3

5

0

1

9

28

297

242

539

Non-EU

42

30

38

3

125

61

2

2

17

10

47

19

2

1

5

1

4

7

0

2

10

2

11

14

6

3

1

1

80

43

390

199

589

Total

1,770

1,925

4,482

2,754

6,920

4,813

1,037

1,020

2,274

2,079

3,314

2,203

1,107

814

1,863

1,503

1,961

1,894

1,691

1,118

1,187

1,212

1,296

1,272

2,318

1,807

377

294

3,391

3,189

34,988

27,897

62,885

Domiciliary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2010

Country of Origin

AIT

CIT

DIT

DLIADT

DKIT

GMIT

ITB

ITC

ITS

ITT

ITTRA

LYIT

LIT

TI

WIT

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

1,433

1,855

4,331

2,736

6,424

4,578

1,016

942

2,047

2,032

3,079

2,060

895

661

1,754

1,348

1,850

1,864

1,469

947

1,096

1,147

1,207

1,196

2,290

1,726

264

215

3,217

3,027

32,372

26,334

58,706

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

0

0

2

0

15

8

0

0

1

4

0

0

0

0

1

0

4

1

0

0

1

1

38

35

0

1

0

0

0

2

62

52

114

Europe (EU)

16

11

112

78

19

25

3

3

0

1

6

11

0

2

6

2

14

14

0

1

1

3

15

17

3

5

1

0

10

4

206

177

383

Non-EU

33

16

51

3

144

88

4

5

34

29

8

5

1

1

6

3

3

4

1

2

11

2

20

21

11

6

1

0

75

41

403

226

629

Total

1,482

1,882

4,496

2,817

6,602

4,699

1,023

950

2,082

2,066

3,093

2,076

896

664

1,767

1,353

1,871

1,883

1,470

950

1,109

1,153

1,280

1,269

2,304

1,738

266

215

3,302

3,074

33,043

26,789

59,832

Domiciliary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2009

Country of Origin

AIT

CIT

DIT

DLIADT

DKIT

GMIT

ITB

ITC

ITS

ITT

ITTRA

LYIT

LIT

TI

WIT

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

1,108

1,760

3,866

2,498

5,597

4,406

858

850

1,803

1,845

2,779

2,007

690

542

1,638

1,293

1,656

1,720

1,265

784

892

1,083

1,005

1,135

2,077

1,557

187

141

2,996

3,141

28,417

24,762

53,179

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

0

0

2

1

14

18

0

3

1

2

2

1

0

0

1

0

1

1

0

0

1

0

22

26

0

1

1

0

1

2

46

55

101

Europe (EU)

49

37

35

22

46

51

2

5

2

2

10

14

4

2

30

27

20

38

0

1

5

4

20

25

4

8

0

1

5

3

232

240

472

Non-EU

54

22

37

0

179

98

2

4

47

30

3

4

0

1

6

2

2

0

1

2

11

4

26

27

11

15

2

0

83

39

464

248

712

Total

1,211

1,819

3,940

2,521

5,836

4,573

862

862

1,853

1,879

2,794

2,026

694

545

1,675

1,322

1,679

1,759

1,266

787

909

1,091

1,073

1,213

2,092

1,581

190

142

3,085

3,185

29,159

25,305

54,464

Domiciliary of Origin of All Full Time Students at 1 March 2008

Country of Origin

AIT

CIT

DIT

DLIADT

DKIT

GMIT

ITB

ITC

ITS

ITT

ITTRA

LYIT

LIT

TI

WIT

Totals

Grand Total

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Ireland (including Northern Ireland)

1,024

1,732

3,637

2,512

5,327

4,283

787

789

1,618

1,707

2,739

2,089

573

456

1,564

1,260

1,528

1,786

1,169

726

809

1,060

859

985

1,869

1,335

157

127

2,731

3,231

26,391

24,078

50,469

Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)

0

0

0

1

17

10

0

0

2

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

3

0

0

2

0

26

37

0

0

0

0

1

0

50

54

104

Europe (EU)

22

23

49

38

39

31

1

2

0

3

4

6

0

0

8

6

19

15

1

2

4

5

4

13

3

11

2

0

5

3

161

158

319

Non-EU

19

17

13

4

162

92

1

1

66

47

4

3

0

0

3

4

0

2

1

0

6

5

25

24

23

19

0

0

94

45

417

263

680

Total

1,065

1,772

3,699

2,555

5,545

4,416

789

792

1,686

1,759

2,748

2,099

573

456

1,575

1,270

1,548

1,806

1171

728

821

1,070

914

1,059

1,895

1,365

159

127

2,831

3,279

27,019

24,553

51,572

The HEA took over responsibility for the collection of data from the Institute of Technology sector in 2007. Therefore the first year of data available to the HEA is for the academic year 2007/08.

Third Level Fees

Seán Kenny

Question:

187 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of tuition fees received by each third level institution for the years 2006 to 2010, inclusive, and to date in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36189/11]

Details on funding provided in respect of free fees for the years 2006 to 2011 (to date) are set out in the tables. Figures in respect of 2011 are provisional as all claims have not been received yet.

Total Fees Paid

Institution

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011*

UCD

€46,600,984.00

€49,016,559.00

€49,736,444.00

€49,899,530.00

€58,454,342.00

€51,956,756.00

UCC

€38,723,388.00

€42,397,043.00

€47,680,516.00

€41,369,734.00

€49,371,437.00

€45,299,521.00

NUIG

€31,613,760.00

€33,126,661.00

€34,404,814.00

€34,581,093.00

€41,588,367.00

€37,743,892.00

NUIM

€17,646,026.00

€16,863,070.00

€20,552,585.00

€20,781,596.00

€24,600,813.00

€23,263,265.00

TCD

€31,607,581.00

€35,177,312.00

€33,253,291.00

€35,105,600.00

€41,456,996.00

€37,567,230.00

UL

€26,682,614.00

€27,726,584.00

€30,780,246.00

€30,021,549.00

€35,293,504.00

€32,053,497.00

Mary Immaculate College

€7,887,394.00

€7,995,804.00

€8,901,860.00

€8,508,315.00

€9,767,640.00

€8,622,232.00

DCU

€16,271,943.00

€17,622,720.00

€21,339,887.00

€18,513,530.00

€23,194,556.00

€20,923,262.00

St Patrick’s Drumcondra

€5,727,687.00

€6,256,732.00

€6,849,028.00

€6,402,542.00

€7,154,930.00

€6,448,205.00

Mater Dei

€1,038,745.00

€1,165,023.00

€1,288,631.00

€1,130,480.00

€1,439,272.00

€1,247,560.00

NCAD

€2,189,575.00

€2,433,064.00

€2,961,900.00

€2,786,700.00

€2,959,000.00

€2,985,400.00

St Angela’s College

€557,000.00

€595,228.00

€940,190.00

€733,750.00

€1,008,295.00

€1,028,356.00

RCSI

€1,698,275.00

€1,841,200.00

€2,055,070.00

€2,179,581.00

€2,320,848.00

€2,332,506.00

*Figures in respect of 2011 are provisional as not all claims in respect of free fees funding are paid

Total Fees Paid

Institution

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011*

Athlone IoT

€4,113,533

€3,811,658

€3,949,591

€3,505,742

€4,736,491

€4,346,432

IoT Blanchardstown

€1,353,198

€1,566,517

€1,951,192

€1,820,847

€2,720,340

€2,949,290

IoT Carlow

€3,174,381

€4,262,495

€4,178,050

€3,709,969

€5,443,281

€5,614,084

Cork IoT

€8,185,563

€8,290,413

€9,449,825

€8,388,454

€12,067,597

€10,453,531

Dundalk IoT

€3,934,663

€4,329,153

€4,238,713

€3,750,993

€6,265,154

€5,144,025

Dun Laoghaire IAD&T

€3,095,641

€3,211,999

€3,414,061

€3,034,731

€4,791,174

€4,165,247

Galway-Mayo IoT

€6,265,387

€6,720,870

€7,302,327

€6,463,016

€7,146,943

€7,435,183

Letterkenny IoT

€2,170,572

€2,287,036

€2,714,029

€2,414,155

€3,824,876

€3,502,894

Limerick IoT

€5,925,005

€5,645,361

€6,883,020

€6,115,206

€7,182,832

€7,163,394

IoT Sligo

€5,480,700

€5,410,226

€6,115,641

€5,460,610

€6,698,642

€6,397,667

IoT Tallaght

€2,586,955

€2,843,397

€3,119,804

€2,772,667

€3,730,441

€4,450,725

IOT Tralee

€2,687,574

€2,816,413

€2,309,260

€2,038,699

€3,608,175

€3,438,540

Waterford IoT

€8,492,911

€9,661,257

€10,203,660

€9,069,804

€9,798,336

€10,403,871

D.I.T.

€15,792,390

€17,493,435

€18,117,538

€16,078,613

€19,661,838

€19,535,117

*Figures in respect of 2011 are provisional as not all claims in respect of free fees funding are paid

Total Fees Paid

Institution

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011*

Church of Ireland College of Education

€315,276

€337,788

€359,198

€373,888

€434,848

€461,494

Froebel College of Education

€667,215

€825,645

€882,080

€838,097

€926,592

€988,512

Marino College of Education

€1,085,302

€1,150,059

€1,237,046

€1,259,840

€1,467,104

€1,568,054

National College of Ireland

€3,548,833

€3,894,980

€4,280,917

€4,393,793

€4,426,271

€4,478,000

St Patrick’s College, Maynooth

€686,078

€678,389

€690,941

€701,930

€706,059

€724,000

Milltown Institute

€239,060

€238,740

€205,070

€144,933

€84,123

€46,000

Tipperary Rural and Business Development Institute

€531,783

€395,686

€436,202

€702,900

€1,014,960

€950,000

All Hallows

€451,009

€497,082

€517,958

€511,168

€533,988

€519,744

St Patrick’s College, Carlow

€1,549,465

€1,714,128

€1,959,942

€2,261,392

€2,748,157

€2,957,190

Shannon College

€717,325

€818,623

€943,651

€1,011,500

€966,875

€933,300

St Patrick’s College, Thurles

€422,375

€559,480

€634,951

€755,592

€877,389

€936,931

*Figures in respect of 2011 are provisional as not all claims in respect of free fees funding are paid

Redundancy Payments

Pearse Doherty

Question:

188 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills whether the portion of the interventions funded by the European Globalisation Fund programme for 9,000 workers made redundant in the NACE 41 Construction of Buildings, NACE 43 Specialised Construction Activities and NACE 71 Architectural Services construction sub-sectors between 1 July 2009 and 31 March 2010 will be complementary to existing interventions provided by the State; the portion of the funds secured under this application that will be used to defray costs of existing State interventions accessed by any of the individual construction workers named in the original application since the application was submitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36218/11]

A number of measures, for which EGF co-financing assistance is being sought for almost 9,000 workers made redundant in the NACE 41 Construction of Buildings, NACE 43 Specialised Construction Activities and NACE 71 Architectural Services construction sub-sectors between 1 July 2009 and 31 March 2010, have been, and continue to be, provided by relevant service providers.

Interventions being funded under existing budgetary provision include career guidance, full, part-time and evening further education and training courses, apprenticeship on-and off-the-job training, full and part-time third level education programmes, enterprise start-up advisory and financial supports and related training and education allowances where appropriate. In the absence of EGF funding to date, although in anticipation of such funding, all relevant measures must in the interim be provided through national funding.

That a suite of measures, or the types of measures, as outlined above, may be provided to redundant workers in the normal course of events, or to other redundant persons, does not make those measures any less valuable in terms of upskilling, providing education opportunities and keeping the particular redundant persons in question in closer contact with the labour market. The provision of EGF funding will permit these measures to have been provided as a complement to normal provision, the measures having been directed specifically at the eligible cohort of redundant workers. Moreover, the reimbursement of up to 65% of validated expenditure on these measures in due course allows for greater national funding to be targeted at the generality of activation measures at a time of significant constraints on the public finances.

My Department in conjunction with other Government Departments and Agencies is currently seeking to put in place certain new measures to assist these particular redundant workers in the period to the end of the EGF programmes, when approved by the EU, next June. The precise breakdown of expenditure as between different EGF related measures throughout the full period of these EGF programmes is not yet known and is unlikely to be known with finality until the programmes are duly completed.

Vocational Education Committees

Seán Crowe

Question:

189 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of vocational education committees that own their office buildings; and the expiry dates on leases of VEC buildings that are currently being rented. [36235/11]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): In November 2010, officials of my Department issued a questionnaire to each VEC. Information provided by the VECs in response to this questionnaire indicates that 13 of the 33 VECs own their headquarter premises, while 20 rent or lease their premises. The following information sets out the position regarding the remaining term of the leases as advised by the relevant VECs.

VEC

Term remaining

Co. Wexford

4 years and 6 months

Co. Wicklow

Two separate leases (i) 8 years and (ii) 3 years and 8 months

Co. Kilkenny

16 years and 6 months

Co. Kildare

5 years

Dún Laoghaire

11 years

Co. Dublin

14 years

City of Galway

5 years and 2 months

Co. Longford

20 years

Co. Limerick

18 years and 1 month

Co. Kerry

4 years

Co. Waterford

16 years and 6 months

City of Waterford

4 years

South Tipperary

8 years

Co. Offaly

15 years and 5 months

Co. Westmeath

13 years and 3 months

Co. Cavan

33 years

Co. Monaghan

13 years

City of Cork

19 years and 3 months

Co. Cork

15 years and 8 months

City of Dublin

68 years

Question No. 190 taken with question No. 164.

FÁS Training Programmes

John Lyons

Question:

191 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will re-examine the case of a person (details supplied) in County Sligo who is seeking to be granted recognition of completing an apprenticeship with FÁS; if he will grant the person their apprenticeship in view of the fact that they have completed all necessary components of the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36290/11]

I understand from FÁS that the person in question is recorded on the FÁS Apprenticeship Database as a non active apprenticeship. However, I also understand that this person has successfully completed Phase 2 off-the-job training and has successfully completed Phase 4 off-the-job training on 11th June 2011, when he was redundant.

The person should contact his Senior Training Adviser to progress his apprenticeship as I am informed that FÁS has not been able to contact him or his previous employer. I understand that redundant apprentices are paid a FÁS weekly training allowance when attending the following programmes to progress their apprenticeship training:

Redundant Apprentices scheduled to off-the job training at Phase 2, Phase 4 or Phase 6 in a FÁS Training Centre, an Institute of Technology or a College of Further Education;

Redundant Apprentices attending specific skills trade related training courses in a FÁS Training Centre; and

Fee Waiver Scheme Course fees will be waived for redundant apprentices who attend FÁS day and/or evening courses in order to enhance their employable skills.

School Transport

Jack Wall

Question:

192 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason school transport arrangements are being altered in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; the reason this pupil cannot be facilitated with their existing transport arrangements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36339/11]

One of the Department's objectives is to provide a reasonable level of transport service for eligible pupils to and from school. Bus Eireann, which manages school transport services on behalf of the Department, is responsible for the establishment, contracting and operation of those services in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The school transport service which was in place for the pupil referred to by the Deputy was not considered a reasonable level of service as it resulted in a reduced school day for the pupil in question. Bus Éireann has now confirmed that new arrangements have been put in place which allows the pupil attend a full school day.

Mattie McGrath

Question:

193 Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills when he will approve an application for school transport for children with special needs (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36349/11]

Under the terms of my Department's School Transport scheme, a pupil with special educational needs is eligible for school transport if he or she is attending the nearest recognised mainstream school, special class, special school or a unit, that is or can be resourced to meet the child's special educational needs under Department of Education and Skills criteria. My Department was recently made aware of the change of address for the children in question and is liaising with the Special Education Needs Organiser and Bus Éireann with a view to reorganising transport arrangements.

Schools Building Projects

Billy Timmins

Question:

194 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Wicklow for a site and building works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36362/11]

My Department has sought the assistance of the Local Authority in relation to identifying and acquiring a suitable site for the provision of permanent accommodation for the school referred to by the Deputy. Once a suitable site has been identified and acquired, the proposed building project will be considered in the context of the capital budget available to my Department for school buildings generally.

Billy Timmins

Question:

195 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the application he currently has for accommodation works in respect of primary and post-primary schools in County Wicklow and County Carlow. [36363/11]

The current status of all projects on the school building programme, including those in Counties Carlow and Wicklow, may be viewed on my Department's website at www.education.ie and this will be updated regularly throughout the year. For the Deputy’s convenience, however, I am attaching details of the 55 applications for building works from schools in the Counties in question that are on hand.

The Government's Medium Term Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework, which was published on 10th November 2011, sets out the demographic challenge facing the education system in the coming years. In conjunction with this, I indicated that I will publish details next month of the school building projects to be constructed in 2012.

Application Stage — List of projects in Carlow and Wicklow

County

Roll Number

School

Current status

Project

Band Rating

Carlow

01116A

Baile An Chuilinn N S Muinebeag (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

00977B

Ballyconnell NS

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

01415K

Rathoe Ns Rathoe (Carlow)

Application

New School

Band 1

Carlow

02124E

Scoil Nais Molaise Old Leighlin (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

04077I

Scoil Nais Bhride Grange (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

13607M

St Columbas N S Tullow (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 4

Carlow

17053P

Bishop Foley Memorial School Carlow (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

17462J

Scoil Nais Mhichil Baile Nua (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Carlow

17514C

S N Cluain Na Gall Clonegal (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 1

Carlow

18424G

Scoil Nais Iosef Naofa Carlow (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

18510W

Ballymurphy NS, Borris (Carlow)

Application

Extension/refurb

Band 2

Carlow

19477J

Holy Family Boy’s N.S, Askea, (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

19784S

St Laserians Mxd Ns Leighlinbridge (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

61120E

St Mary’S Academy C.B.S. Station Rd (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

61140K

St. Leo’S College Convent Of Mercy (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

61150N

Presentation / De La Salle College Royal Oak Road (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Carlow

PPC1002

Traveller Training Centre Carlow (Carlow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

00973Q

Grange Con N S Grange (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Wicklow

01782O

S N Naomh Padraig Bearna Chle (Wicklow)

Application

New School

Band 2

Wicklow

10131U

Moin An Bhealaigh N S Moin An Bhealaigh (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Wicklow

11372B

Brittas Bay Mxd N S Brittas Bay (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

12529N

St Saviours N S Rathdrum (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

14045B

Carysfort Mixed National School, Arklow

Design Team to be appointed

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

14398L

The Glebe Ns Wicklow (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

15676S

Padraig Naofa B N S St Patricks Road (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Wicklow

16027J

S N Muire Stratford On Slaney (Wicklow)

Application

New School

Band 2

Wicklow

16573N

St Brigids School (Wicklow)

Application

Refurb

Band 3

Wicklow

17181B

St Josephs N S Templerainey (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

17223O

S N Muire Is Gearard Enniskerry (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 1

Wicklow

17265H

Rathdrum Boys N S Rathdrum (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Wicklow

17500O

S N Muire Mxd Barndarrig (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

17826V

Na Coroine Muire Mxd Ashford (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

18054W

Hollywood N S Hollywood (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

18118W

Coolfancy N S Cul Fhasaigh (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Wicklow

18242A

Carnew N S Carnew (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

18470N

Naomh Brid N S Cnoc An Eanaigh (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

18489L

Tinahely N S (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurbishment

Band 2

Wicklow

18502A

S N Naomh Brid Talbotstown (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

19339U

Stratford Lodge Ns Baltinglass (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

19573F

St Laurences N S St Laurences N S (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 1

Wicklow

19734D

St Francis N S Newcastle (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

20039P

Scoil Naomh Iosaf Baltinglass (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

20045K

Gaelscoil Chill Mhantáin An Casadh Meidhreach (Wicklow)

Application

New School

Band 2

Wicklow

20080M

Gaelscoil An Inbhir Mhoir Fernbank Park (Wicklow)

Application

New School

Band 2

Wicklow

20178G

Wicklow Educate Together Ns Marine House (Wicklow)

Application

New School

Band 2

Wicklow

20207K

St Philomenas St Peters (Wicklow)

Application

New School

Band 1

Wicklow

20278K

Newmountkennedy N.S, (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

61820J

Loreto Secondary School Vevay Rd (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

61860V

Dominican College Wicklow (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 4

Wicklow

70760S

Blessington Community College Naas Rd (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

70770V

St Thomas’ Community College Novara Avenue (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

70790E

Coláiste Bhríde Carnew Carnew (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

70821M

Colaiste Raithin, Bray

Application

New School

Band 2

Wicklow

81016V

East Glendalough School Station Road (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Wicklow

91376L

St. Killian’S Community School Ballywaltrim (Wicklow)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Appointments to State Boards

Gerry Adams

Question:

196 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills if former holders of the Office of Attorney General have been appointed to State boards by the current or former Governments; the details of such appointments to include position taken, name of organisation, salary or income derived or expenses claimed per annum, any additional benefits, including car provided, travel costs per annum, terms of office and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36952/11]

There are no former holders of the Office of Attorney General currently on the board of a State body under the aegis of my Department.

National Lottery

Gerry Adams

Question:

197 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if consideration has been given to allowing shops or newsagents in the North to sell tickets for the national lottery of Ireland. [35456/11]

The National Lottery Act 1986 and the National Lottery licence only permit the sale of National Lottery tickets in the State. The sale of National Lottery tickets elsewhere raises obvious legal and regulatory issues.

Proposed Legislation

Michael Creed

Question:

198 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding the re-introduction of the Construction Contracts Bill; if the revised Bill will address the concerns of small contractors who were excluded from redress under the terms of the previous draft; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35470/11]

You will be aware that the Programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce new legislation to protect small building subcontractors that have been denied payments from bigger companies. In this regard, my colleague Minister of State Mr Brian Hayes has been working with Senator Quinn to develop the Construction Contracts Bill, which is now before the Dáil, into a robust piece of legislation. In order to address a number of issues that were raised during the consultation on the Bill a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) was carried out. The RIA was completed and published on 27 September. The Report is available on my Department's website: www.per.gov.ie/reports.

The RIA examined issues relating to payment practices in the construction sector and assessed the need for legislative intervention. It found that legislation is desirable to improve payment practices and to allow swift resolution of payment disputes by way of adjudication, allowing projects to be completed without wasting time and money in litigation. In addition, the RIA examined the main proposals to amend the Bill that were raised during the Seanad debate and subsequent consultation. It found that there were merits to considering amending the Bill in a number of respects e.g. to bring lower value contracts within its scope and to make the adjudicators award binding in payment dispute cases. It concluded that any such amendments should be formulated in such a manner that would protect the taxpayer.

Minister Hayes is now reflecting on the findings of the RIA and is preparing legislative proposals which will be brought to Government shortly for approval. It is essential that the solution to this issue needs to be balanced so as to avoid imposing regulatory or cost burdens on parties in dispute, the State or others.

Election Management System

Niall Collins

Question:

199 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total costs in wages paid to polling clerks for Dáil, local, European and presidential elections, broken down per election from 2002 to date in 2011. [35604/11]

Niall Collins

Question:

200 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total costs in wages paid to returning officers. [35606/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 and 200 together.

Returning Officers are required to submit accounts to the Department of Finance within six months of holding an election. While the accounts for the recent General Election have not yet been completed, we have included estimated figures. The accounts for the Presidential election and Dublin West bye-election have not yet been submitted and an accurate break down of costs will not be available until that time for those events. A detailed breakdown of the election/referendum costs was not recorded until 2007. Therefore it is not possible to provide the details required before 2007. The following table provides the information requested for elections and referendums since 2007. Wages for the Returning Officers relates to the services of the Returning Officer.

All Elections Held from 07-11 — Summary of Election Expenses by Constituency

Constituency

General Election May 07

Lisbon Treaty Jun 08

European & Local Election Jun 09

Dublin South/Central By Election Jun 09

Lisbon Treaty (2) Oct 09

Donegal South/West By-Election Nov 10

*General Election Feb 11

Carlow/ Kilkenny

€22,196.67

€16,057.69

€15,793.40

€19,947.84

Carlow

€9,826.82

Kilkenny

€10,367.77

Cavan/ Monaghan

€19,869.00

€15,799.38

€15,387.36

€18,947.78

Cavan

€9,929.74

Clare

€13,698.50

€9,777.45

€10,680.38

€9,445.92

€12,407.16

Cork East.Cork North/ South West

€24,917.00

€17,933.35

€28,607.09

€13,759.70

€22,712.97

Cork North/ South Central

€20,763.00

€14,033.52

€25,673.36

€16,675.64

€18,812.00

Donegal North East/ South West

€17,321.00

€12,104.94

€13,453.15

€11,828.24

€9,985.99

€15,417.76

Dublin Central

€41,553.00

€27,917.96

€34,577.51

€26,735.81

€37,518.84

Dublin Central By-Election

€14,815.83

Dublin County

€47,009.37

€31,573.83

€53,867.79

€30,478.95

€39,098.02

Dublin South By-Election

€17,216.05

Galway East & West

€21,125.92

€14,449.35

€16,483.14

€13,811.35

€23,111.03

Kerry North/ South

€16,680.50

€11,565.54

€11,333.09

€11,265.16

€15,827.52

Kildare North/ South

€18,199.50

€12,974.69

€31,646.46

€12,587.08

€16,394.93

Laois/Offaly

€21,418.00

€16,206.34

€15,413.14

€21,749.64

Laois

€9,555.68

Offaly

€10,233.35

Limerick East/West

€18,353.96

€12,864.04

€13,895.22

€12,944.03

€15,946.25

Longford/ Westmeath

€21,592.50

€16,041.72

€15,461.53

€19,009.68

Longford

€10,017.17

Westmeath

€10,625.58

Louth

€13,772.00

€9,894.07

€11,210.18

€9,569.76

€13,080.33

Mayo

€14,744.50

€10,379.61

€11,766.58

€10,103.68

€13,019.53

Meath East/West

€17,667.50

€12,391.00

€13,950.18

€13,234.81

€15,732.65

Monaghan

€10,522.32

Roscommon/ South Leitrim

€16,109.00

€12,039.90

€11,709.50

€10,567.65

Roscommon

€10,033.18

Sligo

€20,735.02

Sligo/North Leitrim

€16,117.00

€11,730.45

€11,225.50

€18,334.36

Leitrim

€9,828.38

Tipperary North/ South

€17,401.90

€12,209.04

€13,270.15

€12,037.20

€15,958.20

Waterford

€13,079.00

€9,358.85

€10,332.32

€9,049.28

€15,566.59

Wexford

€14,593.50

€10,635.05

€12,325.43

€10,204.00

€13,270.83

Wicklow

€14,315.04

€10,106.42

€10,924.36

€9,612.18

€15,486.01

Referendum Returning Officer

€4,200.00

€4,200.00

Total Cost Returning Officers

€462,497.36

€332,244.19

€445,671.40

€32,031.88

€322,533.22

€9,985.99

€427,917.57

Total Cost Polling Clerks

€2,743,010.78

€2,852,011.17

€3,251,482.14

€126,432.17

€2,739,333.75

€36,247.24

€2,417,745.01

*The costs of the General Election 2011 have not yet been finalised.

Departmental Expenditure

John McGuinness

Question:

201 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 270 of 4 October 2011, if he will confirm the whereabouts of the bronze sheet; if the research has been put to use by Leinster House; if the research is available in the Oireachtas Library; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35621/11]

The prototype bronze sheet was dismantled and the pieces are held in OPW stores in Dublin. The research material was put to use by Leinster House and it is currently available on the Oireachtas website. It can be accessed by searching the Members Database under the title ‘Chronology of Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas 1919-2011'.

Flood Relief

Catherine Byrne

Question:

202 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the plans in place to implement a long-term strategy to prevent future flood damage in Dublin city, particularly in areas affected recently when the Camac and Poddle rivers burst their banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35738/11]

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is currently undertaking the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme which is designed to identify and assess areas, both coastal and inland, at risk of significant flooding. The purpose of the Programme is to:

produce detailed flood mapping in order to identify and map the existing and potential future flood hazard and risk areas;

build the strategic information base necessary for making informed decisions in relation to managing flood risk; and

identify viable structural and non-structural measures and options for managing the flood risks for localised high-risk areas both coastal and inland.

There are three main stages in the Programme and a suite of documents will be produced for public consultation at each stage:

2011 — Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (The public consultation stage of the Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment was concluded on 1st November, 2011);

2013 — Flood Hazard Mapping; and

2015 — Catchment Flood Risk Management Plans.

Engineering Consultants RPS have been engaged to undertake the Eastern CFRAM Study. This is currently under way and will cover the rivers Camac and Poddle. Dublin City area will be covered by this CFRAM study in conjunction with the Dodder CFRAM study, which is nearing completion.

Pluvial flooding due to blocked or under capacity urban storm water drains is the responsibility of Dublin City Council. The OPW, in association with Dublin City Council, has undertaken a number of flood relief works in Dublin in the last number of years. This has included such major schemes as the completed River Tolka Flood Relief Scheme and the ongoing works on the River Dodder. OPW has also funded the development of several other schemes including the Clontarf Flood Defence Scheme and the proposed South Campshire works.

It is open to Dublin City Council to submit a funding application to this Office under the Minor Flood Mitigation works Scheme. Any application received will be considered having regard to the scheme eligibility criteria and the overall availability of resources for flood risk management.

Pension Provisions

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

203 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he would consider advancing the lump sum payment to those who took advantage of the early retirement scheme, particularly for those whose personal circumstances mean they are in financial difficulty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35903/11]

The scheme to which the Deputy refers is the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement as promulgated in Circular 12/09. The terms of the scheme provide that the balance of the retirement lump sum will be payable upon the retiree reaching his/her normal preserved pension age. There is no provision in the scheme to allow payment to be brought forward.

Flood Relief

Question:

204 Deputy Michael P. Kitt asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding improvement works on the Dunkellin river, County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36068/11]

Galway County Council has appointed consultants to carry out an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed flood relief scheme for the Dunkellin River (from Craughwell to Kilcolgan) and the Aggard Stream, and to complete the detailed design of the scheme to enable the necessary statutory consents to be obtained. In order to further the consultative process, another Public Information Event is being arranged by the Council for early in 2012.

The Council is progressing the scheme through An Bord Pleanála under the Strategic Infrastructure Act. The Office of Public Works (OPW) understands that due to the complexity of the environmental issues involved, the Council expects that the EIS will be completed in Spring 2012. The OPW also understands that An Bord Pleanála will formally consider the scheme on completion of the EIS.

Garda Stations

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

205 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount of money allocated to building a new Garda station at a location (details supplied) in County Cork; if this is included in the capital expenditure budget; the date on which this building will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36184/11]

Tender documentation for the fit-out of premises being acquired for An Garda Síochána in Glanmire is currently in preparation. Subject to a satisfactory outcome to the planning application process, it is expected that tenders for the works will be invited in the first quarter of 2012. To ensure competitive tendering, it is not proposed to disclose the project budget prior to requesting tenders.

Information Technology

Denis Naughten

Question:

206 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of computer servers that are leased by his Department and each State agency under the aegis of his Department; and the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers and the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35518/11]

No servers are leased by either the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform or the Special EU Programmes Body.

Denis Naughten

Question:

207 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of computer servers that are owned by his Department and each State agency under his aegis; the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers; the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35534/11]

IT is now provided on a shared service basis between the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. No servers are currently owned by this Department.

In relation to State Agencies under the aegis of my Department, I am advised that the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) is fully committed to reducing server maintenance time and cost. The SEUPB maintains its own servers and does not currently hold any server maintenance or support contracts with external ICT contractors. In order to reduce server maintenance costs the SEUPB recently upgraded 3 servers in its Belfast office, at a cost of £7,669.76, rather than replacing its existing stock.

By implementing ‘virtualisation' technologies on the 3 upgraded servers the SEUPB is able to utilize each server in a much more efficient manner, getting improved return on investment (estimated at 70% increased usage per server). For a modest amount of investment the SEUPB has significantly improved performance in these 3 servers, allowing them to become virtual host servers which will provide a greater platform for applications. It will also serve to ‘future proof' the existing server stock.

Total SEUPB Servers: 17

Location/Server No.

Disk Capacity (in Gigabytes)

BELFAST/SERVER1

270

BELFAST/SERVER2

270

BELFAST/SERVER3

420

BELFAST/SERVER4

680

BELFAST/SERVER5

200

BELFAST/SERVER6

140

BELFAST/SERVER7

75

BELFAST/SERVER8

135

BELFAST/SERVER9

820

BELFAST/SERVER10

820

BELFAST/SERVER11

140

BELFAST/SERVER12

140

OMAGH/SERVER1

280

OMAGH/SERVER2

280

OMAGH/SERVER3

820 (DR FOR Belfast)

MONAGHAN/SERVER1

280

MONAGHAN/SERVER2

280

Footnotes:

1. IT is now provided on a shared service basis between the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform.

Ministerial Staff

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

208 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the annual salary awarded to a person (details supplied) recently appointed special adviser to the Minister for Finance; if the salary exceeds the special adviser pay cap; and if so, did he sign off on the salary. [35723/11]

The recently appointed Special Advisor to the Minister for Finance will undertake any duties which may be assigned to him from time to time as appropriate to the position of Special Adviser as set out in Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997. The salary for this individual does not exceed the Government's special advisor pay scale as outlined in the Instructions regarding Ministerial Appointments (April 2011).

Public Procurement

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

209 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the value of public tenders for the years 2008, 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011. [35797/11]

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

210 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the value of public tenders awarded to Irish companies for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. [35798/11]

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

211 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the value of public tenders awarded to non-Irish companies for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. [35799/11]

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

212 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the value of public tenders to small, medium and large Irish companies for the years 2009 and 2010. [35801/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 209 to 212, inclusive, together.

The table answers Questions Nos. 209 to 211, inclusive. Information on contract placement is available currently for the years 2008-2010 relates to above-EU threshold contracts only and is contained in the tabular statement below. Data in respect of 2011 will not be available until the third quarter 2012 as this data is collated a year in arrears. The Deputy should be aware that the figures contained in the table relates to the number of contracts placed which were above the EU Threshold for the year in question and must not be interpreted as indicative statistics for the overall procurement spend. It must also be borne in mind that these statistics relate only to above threshold procurements, where contract award notices were published, and where the nationality of the winning tenderer was disclosed.

For example, when considering the year 2009, €2.8 billion worth of expenditure was advertised in the Official Journal, out of the €15 billion public procurement spend in that year. The National Procurement Service estimates that less than 5% of the overall spend went to non-domestic suppliers, as a significant proportion of the overall procurement spend is below the EU threshold and is also below the threshold for advertising on eTenders (the eTenders threshold was €50,000 in 2009).

It should be noted also that all the statistics relating to non-domestic suppliers relate to suppliers with an address in countries other than Ireland and do not distinguish between European and non-European suppliers.

Above Threshold Contracts awarded to Irish and non-domestic suppliers 2008-2010

2008

2008

No. of Contracts

Value €000

Irish Suppliers

1,016

4,217,564

Non-Domestic Suppliers

296

568,338

Total

1,312

4,785,902

2009

2009

No. of Contracts

Value €000

Irish Suppliers

777

2,537,622

Non-Domestic Suppliers

170

347,137

Total

947

2,884,759

2010

2010

No. of Contracts

Value €000

Irish Suppliers

690

3,001,218

Non-Domestic Suppliers

102

285,183

Total

792

3,286,401

For Question 212, information on the size of Irish companies winning tenders is not available, as it is not collected centrally. As the majority of Irish companies fall into the SME bracket, it can be assumed that the majority of tenders are in fact going to SMEs. The new eTenders system, when implemented in the new-year, will collect data on the size of companies winning tenders and it will then be possible to provide this information in respect of all future contracts.

Infrastructure Investment Plan

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

213 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will outline the specific projects that he plans for County Donegal arising from the infrastructure and capital investment plan 2012-16; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35833/11]

My Department's capital allocation is very small consisting of only €0.5 million per annum. This is primarily used for Peace Programme, INTERREG and IT-related expenditure. The cross-border PEACE and INTERREG programmes are administered by the Special EU Programmes Body and provide funding for eligible projects in border counties. Information in relation to the potential for funding for projects in Donegal can be obtained from that body. The allocation of capital to particular projects in other Ministerial areas is a matter for the individual Ministers in question.

Constitutional Referendums

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

214 Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total cost, including an itemised breakdown, of the Referendum Commission in respect of the thirtieth amendment to the Constitution; the amount paid to date; if he will detail any further anticipated costs and expenses; the costs and expenses expected to be incurred in the period provided for the commission to report to him and in the period between reporting and dissolution of the commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35981/11]

My Department does not have any direct responsibility in relation to the Referendum Commission, other than to sponsor the budgetary requirement. All financial commitments will be authorised by the Referendum Commission and discharged by the Office of the Ombudsman. I am advised by the Office of the Ombudsman that the total budget for the Referendum Commission established in respect of the thirtieth amendment is 1.5 million euro.

Communications

Consultancy Fees and costs up to 11 November 2011 — 46,471 euro

TV production, photography and fees — 201,061 euro

Distribution Leaflet distribution — 96,909 euro

Legal fees — 5,747 euro

Translation services — 914 euro

Miscellaneous — 1,549 euro

Total expenditure — 352,651 euro

The Commission is required to report to the Minister within 6 months of the date of the referendum and total expenditure within that period is estimated to amount to 0.7 million euro. The Commission expects that the bulk of the estimated expenditure will occur before the end of 2011. Anticipated costs after the report date will comprise the cost of production of the Commission's report which is not available at this stage.

Public Sector Staff

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

215 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a full breakdown by sector, health, education, local authority and so on, of the numbers of employees currently in the public sector; and the way this compares to March 2009, the beginning of the moratorium on public sector recruitment. [36101/11]

The breakdown of Public Service numbers by Sector for March 2009 and September 2011 is set out in the table. This data is available on my Department's Website.

2009

2011

Variance

% Decrease

Qtr1

Qtr3

Defence Sector

11,169.00

10,168.60

-1,000.4

-9.0%

Education Sector

95,253.24

90,577.81

-4,675.4

-4.9%

Health Sector

111,769.97

104,286.88

-7,483.1

-6.7%

Civil Service *

38,658.91

36,571.33

-2,087.6

-5.4%

Justice Sector

15,664.00

14,477.23

-1,186.8

-7.6%

Local Authorities

34,178.86

30,089.40

-4,089.5

-12.0%

NCSA Total

12,980.73

11,709.44

-1,271.3

-9.8%

Total

319,674.71

297,880.69

-21,794.0

-6.8%

*The full impact of 957 Community Welfare Officers moving from HSE to Department of Social Protection has been factored in during Q3 2011. The Total figure does not include Civil Servants who work for the Oireachtas, which is directly funded by the Central Fund and where the relevant staff numbers are projected to be 457 by end 2011.

Pension Provisions

Gerry Adams

Question:

216 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 231 of 15 November 2011, in respect of former holders of the Office of Attorney General currently in receipt of pensions, the names of the recipients; the amount of money they receive from the pensions on an annual basis; if these persons receive additional pensions for their roles as Deputies, Senators or Ministers, as former judges or former members of the European Commission; and the total pension they receive. [36118/11]

The data in respect of Attorney General, Ministerial, TDs' and Judges' pensions requested by the Deputy are in the tabular statement. The figures were provided by the Office of Paymaster General in respect of Attorney General, Ministerial and Judges' pensions, and from the Houses of the Oireachtas Service in respect of TD pensions. Former Members of the European Commission are entitled to a monthly pension according to EU Regulation N° 422/67/EEC. The pension is based on the number of years spent in office and the type of mandate held. The pension is paid by the European Commission.

Forename And Surname

Annual Amount of AG’s Pension less Public Service Pension Reduction

Annual Amount of Ministerial Pension less Public Service Pension Reduction

Annual Amount of TD’s/Senator’s Pension less Public Service Pension Reduction

Annual Amount of Judge’s Pension less Public Service Pension Reduction

Total

Anthony Hederman

€60,611

€0.00

€0.00

€92,195

€152,806

John Murray

€67,686

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€67,686

Harry Whelehan

€54,025

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€54,025

David Byrne

€43,061

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€43,061

Dermot Gleeson

€47,918

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€47,918

John Rogers

€44,905

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€44,905

Peter D Sutherland

€49,500

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€49,500

Michael McDowell* (See Note Below)

€74,281

€30,245

€0.00

€104,526

*The Pension of €74,281 is in respect of his service as a Minister, Tánaiste and the Attorney General.

Consultancy Contracts

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

217 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the names of agencies which provide staff for his Department and for bodies and agencies under its aegis; the services they provide; the numbers of staff they provide; the cost of those services; the way this compares with direct employment of staff in equivalent roles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36231/11]

In the timeframe involved it has not been possible to collate the data requested by the Deputy. As soon as the data is collated it will be forwarded directly to the Deputy.

Appointments to State Boards

Gerry Adams

Question:

218 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if former holders of the Office of Attorney General have been appointed to State boards by the current or former Governments; the details of such appointments to include position taken, name of organisation, salary or income derived or expenses claimed per annum, any additional benefits including car provided, travel costs per annum, terms of office and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36958/11]

In response to the Deputy's Question I am not aware of any former Attorney General having been appointed to any board under the aegis of my Department by the current Government or former Government.

Third Level Institutions

Brendan Smith

Question:

219 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if the programme for research in third level institutions will proceed as announced last July; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35807/11]

Cycle 5 of the Programme for Research in Third level Institutions (PRTLI) was launched July 2010 with awards totalling €359m comprising €296m in exchequer funding and €63m from private non-Exchequer sources. The PRTLI investment is in strategic areas of science and technology, including environment, marine and sustainable energy; material sciences and platform technology; biosciences translational research, biomedical research and arts, humanities and social sciences. The PRTLI is administered on behalf of the Department by the Higher Education Authority.

In order to satisfy the requirements of the National Recovery Plan, which requires all Departments to secure current expenditure savings over the period to 2014, earlier this year a decision was made to defer the commencement of three PRTLI Cycle 5 projects until the 2013/14 academic year at the earliest. In announcing my Department's capital budget allocation for 2012-2016, I indicated that the PRTLI would be maintained. Resources available on an annual basis will be less than originally projected and will require management over a longer period of time to deliver.

Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products

Robert Dowds

Question:

220 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he would review the Casual Trading Act in regard to the sale of illegal cigarettes as the current fine for selling them at markets is only €63. [35913/11]

The Casual Trading Act, 1995 is the legislation which establishes the regime for the regulation of selling goods in public places. Section 2(1) of the Act defines casual trading as "selling goods at a place (including a public road) to which the public have access as of right or any other place that is a casual trading area". Casual trading is regulated by the 88 local authorities who have the legal capacity to make bye laws under the Act. I, as Minister, have no role in the day to day regulation of casual trading by local authorities.

The enforcement of casual trading bye laws is a function of the local authority in the place where the selling of goods is taking place through their authorised officers for the purposes of the Act and through An Garda Síochána. The authorised officers of the local authorities have the usual powers to enter, inspect and examine any place where they have reasonable cause to believe that casual trading is taking place and to require information from traders etc. Also, An Garda Síochána have additional powers. An Garda Síochána can arrest without warrant a person they believe to be contravening the provisions of the Act and can seize and remove any goods which that person is selling or has possession for sale.

The sale of tobacco products has its own regulatory regime established under the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts, 2002 and 2004. Under this legislation it is an offence to sell tobacco products without being registered with the National Tobacco Control Office which is part of the Health Service Executive (HSE). Therefore anyone selling tobacco products without being registered is committing an offence. The penalties for not being registered to sell tobacco are on summary conviction a fine not exceeding € 1,900 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or to both or on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding € 125,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not exceeding 2 years or to both. There is another aspect of the sale of tobacco products and this is the payment of excise duty. The non-payment of excise duty is, I understand, an offence and subject to prosecution by Customs and Excise.

While I agree that there is a need to review the penalties under the Casual Trading Act, 1995 I would not propose to introduce a new offence under that Act for the sale of tobacco products for which excise duty has not been paid. I do, however, recognise the harm caused to the economy both in terms of lost revenue for the State and the adverse consequences for legitimate traders from the sale of tobacco on which duty has not been paid. Much of this activity is connected to criminal conduct and as such the competent authorities best suited to address this are An Garda Síochána and Customs and Excise. This would be in addition to the enforcement activities of the National Tobacco Control Office of the HSE. I do not feel that casual trading regulation is suited to address what is essentially a criminal enterprise.

Information Technology

Denis Naughten

Question:

221 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of computer servers that are leased by his Department and each State agency under the aegis of his Department; and the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers and the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35516/11]

Denis Naughten

Question:

222 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of computer servers that are owned by his Department and each State agency under his aegis; the amount of capacity on each server; the cost of maintaining these servers; the steps being taken to reduce this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35532/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 221 and 222 together.

My Department does not lease computer servers. The current number of servers owned by and in operation in my Department and its Offices is 210 with an average of 4GB memory per server. The disk capacity of each server varies depending on the application involved and the data stored by users of each application and this can change depending on business requirements. The approximate total capacity of the servers is 80 terabytes.

It should be noted that storage capacity is just one of a number of determinants of server performance, and that the relative importance of each of these determinants is dependent on the use to which the server is put. There are no ongoing maintenance costs associated with these servers; the servers are supplied with a five year break fix warranty which is embedded in the initial capital outlay. The ICT Unit in my Department has informed me that it is in the early planning stage for the formulation of a server consolidation and virtualization strategy.

Server specifications for servers owned by the agencies under the aegis of my Department are day-to-day operational matters for the agencies involved and not ones in which I have any function. However, I am referring the specific question to each of the Agencies under my remit with a request to respond to you directly.

Infrastructure Investment Plan

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

223 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will outline the specific projects that he plans for County Donegal arising from the infrastructure and capital investment plan 2012-16; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35831/11]

The role of my Department is to ensure that we have the right policies to support enterprise and innovation so that quality employment opportunities can be grown and maintained. Strong, balanced regional development and thriving entrepreneurship in all parts of Ireland are fundamental to the country's economic growth and to job creation. To support this my Department has secured an increase in its capital budget, from €508m to its highest ever level of €514m in 2012, which reflects the high priority accorded to job creation by this Government.

Specifically in relation to Donegal, there are currently 12 IDA Ireland supported companies employing over 1,800 people in Software Development, Systems Development and the Medical Technology sectors. Donegal's industry base has moved from clothing and textile activities to other high tech activities as outlined above. A key part of IDA's strategy, Horizon 2020 is to work closely with its client companies to retain and grow their business in Ireland. Companies such as Pramerica and UnitedHealth (PacifiCare), which have located in Donegal are continuously growing and recruiting. Currently, the three largest employers in Letterkenny — Pramerica, UnitedHealth (PacifiCare) and Medisize employ in excess of 1,300 people.

At present, 45% of IDA Ireland's client company employment is outside the key urban centres of Dublin and Cork and the agency's strategy, "Horizon 2020" has set a specific goal of securing 50% of all its investments in locations outside of Dublin and Cork. There are currently 182 Enterprise Ireland client companies in Co. Donegal employing more than 2,600 people. So far this year, the agency has paid out almost €2m in funding to its client companies in the County. In addition, Enterprise Ireland has paid out almost €300,000 to Third Level colleges in Co. Donegal between Innovation Partnership and Research funding and Innovation Vouchers awarded to companies in the County.

Donegal County Enterprise Board as part of the nationwide Network of CEBs provides supports to the micro-enterprise sector throughout the County of Donegal. Subject to eligibility criteria new and developing micro-enterprises may qualify for financial support from Donegal CEB as well as availing of a range of non-financial supports. Capital funding for my Department's enterprise development agencies will be protected or enhanced over the medium term as a consequence, I expect the enterprise development agencies to deliver on their ambitious jobs targets of over 110,000 gross new jobs over the 5 years of the programme to 2016. This represents an average of 22,000 new jobs per annum.

Every new agency job is estimated to have a multiplier effect, so the overall impact on job creation of the enterprise agencies activities is estimated at 220,000 gross new direct and indirect jobs. All parts of Ireland including Donegal will benefit from this investment.

Competition Law

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

224 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will ask the Competition Authority to undertake an investigation into the operation of the cement industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35924/11]

The Competition Act 2002 provides that the Competition Authority, the statutory body responsible for enforcing competition law in the State, is independent in the performance of its functions. Under section 30(1)(b) of that Act, the Competition Authority is responsible for investigating breaches of the Act. Investigations and enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Authority. I have no direct function in such matters.

Job Protection

Denis Naughten

Question:

225 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the progress made to date on protecting employment at a company (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36059/11]

Covidien, which has been operating in Athlone for 30 years, is undertaking a transformation of its operations to improve efficiency and future proof its facility. As part of this, one of its basic products, a low value respiratory line will transfer, over the next two years to Thailand, and the company will be offering a voluntary redundancy programme. It is too early for the company to state how many job numbers will be impacted as they are looking at bringing in new products and technologies to the site which will affect the final number.

Investment in technologies and facilities are currently and will continue to be made by the company to improve efficiency and the longer term viability of Covidien's Athlone facility. The company remains very committed to maintaining a significant presence in Athlone and across their six Irish sites. Athlone is the global centre of excellence for Covidien's airways R&D business and will continue to be an important site for Covidien. Only last week, the company announced an investment of some €25M in a number of R&D projects to be undertaken in Ireland, including at its Athlone facility. These projects are being supported by the Government through IDA.

Job Creation

Micheál Martin

Question:

226 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on how the innovation fund is contributing to job creation; and how the fund is currently being used. [32728/11]

Innovation Fund Ireland is an important element of enterprise policy as investments through the Fund facilitate job creation in innovative export focused sectors as well as proving a return to the exchequer over time. The Fund has up to €250 million available to make commitments. This funding runs along two parallel tracks.

The first comprises a €125 million pool of funds provided by the Exchequer and managed by Enterprise Ireland. Successful applicants who receive an investment from Enterprise Ireland will have to commit to investing an equivalent amount in Irish companies or companies with substantial Irish operations over the lifetime of their fund. The second is for a similar amount and designed to allow Ireland's National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) to make a similar level of commercial investments assuming its criteria are met.

Over the lifetime of the funds, it is envisaged that the State will make a return on its investment. In terms of economic growth where the Funds invest in Irish start-up, scaling companies or companies with operations in Ireland, the State can expect to see:

an increase in employment;

an increase in the number of high potential start-ups;

the attraction of high potential start up and scaling European technology and life science companies requiring growth capital investment to Ireland;

increased commercialisation of the ideas and R&D coming out of the Universities and Institutes of Technology and

the persistence of Ireland as a centre for technology, life sciences and venture capital investment within Europe through multiple fund iterations.

Following the first call for expressions of interest in September 2010, a large number of responses were received from a sectorally and geographically diverse group of companies. To date the NPRF have made three investments. The first investments were in DJF Esprit and DFJ Venture Capital resulting in a partner being hired on the ground in Ireland to invest in Irish companies. The other NPRF investment is in Polaris which has resulted in the establishment of the first Dogpatch Incubator Lab outside of the United States.

The first round of commitments out of the €125m of Enterprise Ireland managed funds are expected to be to be formalised in the near term. As you will be aware I issued a statement on October 5th indicating my intention to issue a second call for expressions of interest for the balance of the €125m fund, when the first of the new Irish offices associated with these new investments is established. The operation of the Innovation Fund will continue to be managed by EI in ongoing co-operation with the NPRF.

I am committed to increasing the number and scale of innovation driven and high-growth businesses in Ireland and a dynamic and progressive venture capital market is a prerequisite in this endeavour. This Fund is further evidence of the Government's continued commitment to generate high quality jobs in Ireland. Apart from the tangible benefits this brings to the domestic economy, the message that is sent out to the international market is that Ireland is open for business.

Trade Relations

Seán Kenny

Question:

227 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the level of trade between Japan and Ireland for the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36198/11]

Details of Ireland's trade with Japan, for the years 2007 to 2010 are set out in the table.

Merchandise Imports (€million)

Merchandise Exports (€million)

Services Imports (€million)

Services Exports (€million)

Total Imports (€million)

Total Exports (€million)

Balance of Trade (€million)

2007

1,630.63

1,738.06

561

897

2,191.63

2,635.06

+443.43

2008

1,144.41

1,708.24

500

1,152.

1,644.41

2,860.24

+1,215.83

2009

654.49

1,701.90

452

1,035.

1,106.49

2,736.90

+1,630.41

2010

796.70

1,754.16

615

1,323.

1,411.70

3,077.16

+1,665.46

Seán Kenny

Question:

228 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the level of trade between India and Ireland for the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36199/11]

Details of Ireland's trade with India, for the years 2007 to 2010, are set out in the table.

Merchandise Imports (€million)

Merchandise Exports (€million)

Service Imports (€million)

Service Exports (€million)

Total Imports (€million)

Total Exports (€million)

Balance of Trade (€million)

2007

279.93

168.34

103

374

382.93

542.34

+159.41

2008

265.16

160.98

88

423

353.16

583.98

+230.82

2009

280.93

158.50

116

582

396.93

740.50

+343.57