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 24, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 25 to 45, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 46 to 58, inclusive, answered orally.

State Boards

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

59 Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total amount paid in remuneration and expenses to members of publicly appointed State boards both public sector and semi-State in 2011; his views that savings can be made in this area; the number of persons in total who sit on these boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3781/12]

In response to the Deputy's question my Department does not keep a central record of all appointments made to state boards. Each Department is responsible for the boards that come under their aegis. Details in respect boards under the remit of my Department are as follows:

Board Name

No. of current members

Fees received

An Post National Lottery

5 sitting members2 current vacancies to be filled

The Chairman receives no fees as he is a member of the board of An Post. The remaining members receive an annual fee of €12,600 per annum

Board of the Public Appointments Service

9 Board members

Chairman Receives €11,970 and three board members each receive €7,965 per annum.Costs are kept to a minimum and no expenses are paid except for refund of rail travel from Belfast for one Board Member.

Public Service Reform

Billy Kelleher

Question:

60 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will outline the projected savings for each State agency to be rationalised as set out in the recent public service reform plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3759/12]

Pearse Doherty

Question:

79 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the measures that have been put in place to date with regard to rationalisation of the State bodies under his aegis listed in Appendix IIA of the Government statement on public service reform as announced on 17 November 2011. [3785/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 and 79 together.

The Government is proceeding with its plans to rational some 48 bodies by the end of 2012 as announced in The Public Service Reform Plan of 17 November 2011. Each Department is responsible for the bodies under their remit and will be providing a response in relation projected savings in relation to the bodies under their remit which are included in the current phase of the rationalization process.

In relation to bodies under the remit of my Department the potential to merge the Office of the Commission for Public Sector Appointments (CPSA) with the Office of the Ombudsman was identified in the Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes (McCarthy Report). That Report included an estimate of projected savings of €300,000 to be achieved through the proposed merger. The Public Service Reform Plan of 17 November 2011 also referred to the merging of the CPSA with the Office of the Ombudsman. While steps have been taken with a view to merging the two Offices, the merger has not been completed and legislation will be required to give full effect to the merger and to identify savings realised.

The merger took place on an administrative basis with effect from 1 October 2010, leading to greater efficiencies through flexibility in the deployment of staff and the amalgamation of back office functions. It is envisaged that the necessary legislative measures to give full statutory effect to the merger will be included in a Bill to amend the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004, proposals for which are being prepared in my Department.

Freedom of Information

Michael McGrath

Question:

61 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress made to date in drawing up legislation relating to changes to freedom of information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3767/12]

My Department is at an advanced stage in the preparation of the General Scheme of a Bill to give effect to the commitments in the Programme for Government in relation to Freedom of Information. Subject to Government approval of the draft Heads of the Bill and other priorities in the Government's legislative programme, I expect to be in a position to introduce the Bill to give effect to the commitment to restore Freedom of Information legislation later this year.

Ministerial Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

62 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason he sanctioned a salary of €114,000 for his own special adviser despite it being in breach of the pay cap for Government advisers; if he will reverse the pay of all Government advisers who are currently in breach of the Government’s pay cap of €92,672; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3751/12]

The Guidelines on Staffing in Ministerial Offices were revised following decisions by this Government on a number of cost saving measures relating to the personal appointees of Ministers and Ministers of State. The current Guidelines provide that Special Advisers to Ministers are to be placed on the Principal Officer (standard) scale, which currently runs from €80,051 at the minimum to €92,672 at the maximum.

Under the old Guidelines on Ministerial Appointments, operated by the previous Government, Special Advisers were paid their existing salary plus an ‘attraction allowance' of 10%, subject to the overriding maximum remuneration of the Principal (higher) scale — currently €99,236. Under the new Guidelines, Special Advisers should now normally be appointed on the minimum of the PO standard scale i.e. €80,051. In addition there is no longer an attraction allowance of 10%.

The Government recognised, however, that there would be occasions when a higher salary might be required in order to secure the appointment of a Special Adviser with particular skills and expertise. Remuneration in excess of the minimum point of the Principal Officer (standard) scale has been sanctioned by me in a number of instances in the light of the business case presented. In the majority of cases, this has been based on evidence of higher earnings in previous employment and the need to secure the appointment of an individual with particular skills and expertise. At all times, I have endeavoured to keep exceptions to a minimum and in all cases value for money considerations were uppermost in my mind when approving exceptions to the Guidelines. I would like to add that in a number of cases, Special Advisers have been appointed on substantially reduced salaries compared to what they were earning prior to their appointment.

In the case of the sanctioning of a salary of €114,000 for my Special Adviser, this salary was based on his earnings in his previous employment and the particular skills and expertise he possesses for the position. I have no plans at present to reverse the pay of all Government advisers who are currently remunerated at rates in excess of the salary caps for Special Advisers set out in the Guidelines, as it is critical that the Government continues to have flexibility to ensure that, in certain cases, Special Advisers with particular skills and expertise may be appointed.

Data Protection

Robert Troy

Question:

63 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views regarding the sharing of personal data between Government Departments and public bodies; his views that change is required to the data protection legislation in view of the need to improve co-operation between Government Departments as part of public sector reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3779/12]

Currently, personal data is shared between Government Departments and public bodies if required to allow them fulfil their objectives in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Such sharing has always required firstly that the data is being shared in accordance with law, including data protection legislation, and secondly that the most stringent precautions are taken to preserve the security of the data.

As part of the Public Service Reform Plan, published on 17th November 2011, a commitment was given that during the first half of 2012 there would be a review of all relevant legislative provisions in relation to data sharing between public bodies and that principles would be developed for the sharing of data. This review was to have regard to data protection legislation including forthcoming EU legislation and to consider any amendments which may be necessary in this regard. I understand that draft EU legislation to replace the existing Directive will be published very shortly, perhaps even this week, and this will then allow the proposed legislative review to commence.

Public Service Reform

Pearse Doherty

Question:

64 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if robust service level agreements between parent Departments and State bodies are now in place for all non-commercial State agencies. [3786/12]

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

68 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the assessment and reporting mechanism he has put in place to enable Departments to continually assess the business case for the State bodies under their aegis. [3787/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 68 together.

The Government is committed to a programme of public service reform and improvement. The Deputies will be aware of the Government's plans to reduce the number of State Agencies. As a further part of reforms in this area, the Government has also decided to:

Introduce "sunset clauses" when new bodies are created which will ensure that a new body will cease to exist after a predetermined date unless its mandate is specifically renewed.

Ensure that Departments regularly review the continuing business case for all significant State bodies; and

Require that robust Service Level Agreements are put in place as a matter of urgency by each Department with each of its State bodies.

Following the publication of the Government's Public Service Reform Plan of 17 November 2011, arrangements are now being put in place for each Minister to ensure that a business case continues to exist for the existence of the State Bodies under his aegis. Of course, State Bodies vary considerably in size, powers and purpose and they also take many forms and structures, including Government-owned companies, non-commercial service delivery bodies, advisory councils. Therefore, the form of the assessment that parent Departments will need to carry out in relation to their State bodies will reflect the function, size and budget of each body. My Department is developing guidance to assist line Departments in advancing this proposal and to ensure that best practices are uniformly adopted across the Public Service. A Reform and Delivery Office has been established within my Department to drive implementation and prioritisation of Public Service Reform.

Where there is a business case for the continued existence of a State body, the parent Department must ensure that it puts in place a Service Level Agreement between the parent Department and the body in question. Some Departments already have advanced arrangements in place in this regard and my Department is giving guidance to assist others.

Political Reform Agenda

Brendan Smith

Question:

65 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views regarding political reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3777/12]

Brian Stanley

Question:

83 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will confirm the aspects of the programme for Government political reform commitments that will be delivered in 2012. [3805/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 65 and 83 together.

My Department is responsible for a number of commitments in the Programme for Government that form part of the Government's overall political reform agenda. These include:—

introducing a statutory register of lobbyists, and rules concerning the practice of lobbying;

legislating for a reformulated code of laws, replacing both the Ministers and Secretaries Acts and the Public Service Management Act, on the legal relationship between Ministers and their civil servants and their legal accountability for decisions and for management of Departments; and

prioritising a referendum to protect the right of citizens to communicate in confidence with public representatives.

Work is ongoing in my Department in relation each of these areas.

Regarding a statutory register of lobbyists, and rules concerning the practice of lobbying, the Public Service Reform Plan contains a commitment to prepare legislation to meet this commitment. The Government Reform Unit of my Department is currently reviewing the approaches in place in the EU and internationally to the regulation of lobbyists. This process, which will identify best practice internationally, will help to inform and guide the design of proposals for the regulatory regime in Ireland. In parallel with this work my Department is currently seeking submissions from interested parties on a number of key issues relating to options for the organisation and implementation of a regulatory system for lobbying in Ireland. A notice was recently placed in newspapers directing interested parties to explanatory documents on my Department's website with a view to receiving submissions by 29 February 2012.

I remain committed to bringing forward the reform required in the context of commitments on accountability arrangements, as set out in the Programme for Government. Legislative change to clarify accountability arrangements is a key initiative of the Government's Public Service Reform Plan that was published in November 2011.

In addition, my Department is working with the Office of the Attorney General on the issue of the protection of communication between the citizen and their public representatives. An important element of the Government's response to this commitment, included in the Public Service Reform Plan, comprises the proposed ‘Protected Disclosure (Whistleblowing)' legislation in respect of which the preparation of legislative proposals, subject to Government approval, for the drafting of a Bill over the first half of this year is at an advanced stage.

Public Service Reform

Dessie Ellis

Question:

66 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date the organisational review programme of the Department of the Taoiseach, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Education and Skills and Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government will be completed. [3798/12]

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

67 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the actions he has taken in actively pursuing shared services between State bodies. [3788/12]

Sandra McLellan

Question:

93 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a progress update on the work of his Department’s programme director of reform and delivery since his appointment in October. [3789/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66, 67 and 93 together.

On 17 November last, I announced several key developments relating to Public Service reform and published the Government's Public Service Reform Plan which provides the basis for the comprehensive and strategic reform of the Public Service in the coming years. The Reform Plan outlines the priority actions and timelines for reform in a broad range of areas such as:

implementation of shared services models for HR, payroll, pensions etc;

reform of public procurement processes and property rationalisation;

evaluation of new business models for the delivery of non-core services;

reducing costs, addressing duplication and eliminating waste; and

improving performance by organisations and individuals in order to ensure greater efficiency, effectiveness and economy.

Implementation of the Reform Plan is being driven and coordinated by the new Reform and Delivery Office which I have established in my Department. This Office is led by a Programme Director who was appointed last November and who has experience of implementing large scale restructuring in the private sector. The Office will work closely with organisations across the Public Service to enable them to deliver meaningful reform at a local level, as well leading on certain cross-cutting initiatives from the Reform Plan.

Since the appointment of the Programme Director, I can confirm the following progress has been made:

the finalisation of a comprehensive Reform Plan with 200 actions and 70 recommendations across all 14 cross cutting areas; and

the public communication of the Plan and engagement with key stakeholder groups including Oireachtas Committees.

Against the Plan itself, good progress has already been made in implementing certain early actions, for example, the introduction of a range of public expenditure reforms and the establishment of a CIO Council. Detailed proposals in other areas such as shared services, procurement, property management and Govstat are being advanced and a new eGovernment Strategy will be published shortly.

The Reform Office has also put in place the appropriate governance and planning arrangements to ensure a strong focus on delivery. To this end, a number of high level groups have been established to support the work of the Cabinet Committee on Public Service Reform. In addition, each Government Department/Office has now developed an Integrated Reform Delivery Plan setting out both the organisation specific and cross-cutting reforms that they will implement over the coming months and years. We have identified a number of Major Projects of strategic importance for priority attention this year including the Public Services Card, public procurement, property management, HR Shared Services (Civil Service) and Payroll Shared Services (Civil Service) and the Senior Public Service.

In terms of shared services, while I recognise that there has been progress in this area in recent years, I believe that much of this has been on an ad hoc basis and there remains considerable scope to expand its use on a more strategic basis in line with the Programme for Government and the Public Service Reform Plan.

As set out in the Reform Plan, a sectoral approach will be taken to the roll out of shared services and it is intended that shared services developments in the Civil Service (including state bodies where appropriate) will focus initially on priority back-office areas of human resources; payroll; pensions; and banking. Each sector has been asked to submit a detailed shared services plan by the end of Quarter 2, 2012. A Shared Services Transformation Manager with private sector experience on a global scale will shortly be appointed to the Reform and Delivery Office to ensure a strong focus on this priority area.

Work has already commenced under the auspices of my Department on the development of a HR shared service for the Civil Service with the intention of establishing a single HR Shared Service Centre that will undertake the transactional elements of HR processes for the Civil Service. Finally, the reviews of the four Departments under the current phase of the Organisational Review Programme have been completed, along with follow-up action plans prepared by them. Both the reviews and the action plans will be published in a composite report towards the end of this week. All Deputies will be provided with copies on publication.

Question No. 68 answered with Question No. 64.

Sale of State Assets

Mick Wallace

Question:

69 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will confirm to Dáil Éireann, in view of comments made by troika officials during a meeting with members of the Technical Group, that money raised through the sale of State assets will be used to invest in job creation and not for the servicing of debt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3809/12]

The Troika view asset disposals as a structural reform measure — intended to improve efficiency and competition in the economy, while also offering the prospect of reducing overall debt levels. The Government, however, views asset disposals as offering the potential to release value from State assets for use on employment generating initiatives in the economy. As I have previously stated, in our most recent discussions with the Troika, they have signalled that, in the context of Government pursuing an ambitious programme of asset disposals, they would be prepared to agree to the retention of a sizeable amount of proceeds from asset disposals for investment by the Government in job creation initiatives in the economy. I can confirm that this remains the policy of the Government.

Ministerial Staff

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

70 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has revised the Government’s salary cap for Ministers’ special advisers. [3784/12]

The Guidelines on Staffing in Ministerial Offices were revised following decisions by this Government on a number of cost saving measures relating to the personal appointees of Ministers and Ministers of State. The current Guidelines provide that Special Advisers to Ministers are to be placed on the Principal Officer (standard) scale, which currently runs from €80,051 at the minimum to €92,672 at the maximum.

Under the old Guidelines on Ministerial Appointments Special Advisers were paid their existing salary plus an ‘attraction allowance' of 10%, subject to the overriding maximum remuneration of the Principal (higher) scale — (currently €99,236). Under the new Guidelines Special Advisers should now normally be appointed on the minimum of the PO standard scale i.e. €80,051. In addition there is no longer an attraction allowance of 10%.

The Government recognised, however, that there would be occasions when a higher salary may be required in order to secure the appointment of a Special Adviser with particular skills and expertise. Remuneration in excess of the minimum point of the Principal Officer (standard) scale has been sanctioned by me in a number of instances based on the business case presented. In the majority of cases this has been based on evidence of higher earnings in the previous employment and the need to secure the appointment of an individual with particular skills and expertise. At all times I have endeavoured to keep exceptions to a minimum and in all cases value for money considerations were uppermost in my mind when approving exceptions to the Guidelines. I would like to add that in a number of cases, Special Advisers have been appointed on substantially reduced salaries compared to what they were earning prior to their appointment.

The Guidelines provide that separate arrangements may apply to the staffing requirements of the Offices of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste bearing in mind the nature and remit of the Offices. I have no plans at present to change the salary caps for Special Advisers set out in the Guidelines as it is critical that the Government continues to have flexibility to ensure that, in certain cases, Special Advisers with particular skills and expertise may be appointed.

Departmental Reports

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

71 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reports he has recently received in respect of additional cost savings across all Departments; if he will publish these reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3773/12]

The latest departmental reports regarding cost savings were received as part of the 2011 Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE). All of these reports, including analyses carried out by the Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit (CEEU) of my Department, were published on the Department's website, www.per.gov.ie, on 6 December 2011. This overall approach demonstrates an unprecedented level of transparency, openness and accountability, in line with the Programme for Government commitments in this regard.

State Agencies

Seán Crowe

Question:

72 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a revised salary scale and cap for chief executives and senior managers of State agencies is being considered in his rationalisation of the sector. [3800/12]

I only as recently as June last year announced the introduction of general pay ceilings of:

€200,000 for future appointments to higher positions across the public service;

€250,000 forfuture appointments to CEO posts within Commercial State Companies.

I have no plans to revise this general pay ceiling.

CEO posts in Non Commercial State Agencies are generally filled by way of fixed-term contracts. If the employment of a CEO is terminated as a result of the rationalisation of State Agencies, the individual may be offered alternative employment for any unexpired period of their fixed-term contract.

Information Technology

David Stanton

Question:

73 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 76 of 28 September 2011, if he has finalised the cloud computing strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3736/12]

As part of the Public Service Reform Plan, published on 17 November 2011, my Department committed to develop a Cloud Computing Strategy for the Public Service during the first quarter of this year. This Strategy is being developed in collaboration with the Public Service Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council, which was recently established to assist and advise my Department in developing and driving ICT and eGovernment initiatives across the Public Service.

The Strategy is only one of the measures being undertaken to ensure that the public service responds appropriately to the opportunities presented by Cloud Computing. In addition to ongoing research, my Department is also committed to seek, through market exercises, to develop a compelling case over traditional computing provision for Infrastructure As A Service provision for the Public Service.

Sale of State Assets

Martin Ferris

Question:

74 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will publish the draft programme of State asset disposals as recently presented to the European Commission, the IMF and the ECB including the necessary regulatory changes, a timetable for implementation and an assessment of their classification as financial or non-financial transactions. [3796/12]

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

264 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will publish a list of State assets presented to the troika which are being proposed for privatisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2729/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 264 together.

The context of the questions is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing the EU/IMF Funding Programme for Ireland, which commits the Government to considering options for an ambitious programme of asset disposals, based on the Programme for Government and the report of the Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities.

The MOU provided for a draft programme of asset disposals to be prepared and submitted to the EU/IMF by end 2011 for discussion with the Troika in advance of final decisions being taken by Government on the programme to be pursued. In line with this commitment, the Minister for Finance presented an up-date to the Troika in December 2011, indicating that a part sale of ESB (as previously announced by Government) would be capable of achieving the Government's target for asset disposals. However, it was also indicated that there were a variety of policy, regulatory, legislative and financial issues associated with this proposed transaction which would have to be addressed before any transaction could be initiated but which the Government had not yet had the opportunity to consider.

I do not propose to publish this report given to the Troika. In any event, things have now moved on and the matter has since been discussed with the Troika. While no definitive agreement has yet been reached on the final scale and composition of the programme to be pursued, significant progress has been made in discussions, particularly on the issue of use of proceeds generated, and I would expect the Government to make a final decision on the programme to be pursued shortly, following which details will be published.

Pension Provisions

Catherine Murphy

Question:

75 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide the estimated total amount of pension lump sum payable to public servants who will retire in the coming months under the terms of the incentivised scheme for early retirement; the average lump sum payable per retiree based on estimated numbers who will avail of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3727/12]

Catherine Murphy

Question:

82 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total number of public servants who have applied to retire under the terms of the incentivised scheme for early retirement; the estimated number who will avail of the scheme by the 29 February deadline; the breakdown of the former figure by employer that is Department, agency, organisation or otherwise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3726/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 and 82 together.

There are no incentivised schemes for early retirement in operation at present in the public or civil service. Many of the retirements at this stage are occurring in the normal course where an individual has reached retirement age. There are also cases where individuals are availing of "cost-neutral early retirement", which allows retirement earlier than normal retirement age, but with an off-setting actuarial reduction applied to the individual's lump sum and pension.

When public service salaries were reduced in 2010, it was agreed by the then Government that persons retiring during a transitional or "grace" period would have their retirement benefits calculated on the basis of the previous payscale levels before the salary cut. That grace period will now expire on 29 February 2012. Persons retiring from 1 March 2012 onwards will have their retirement benefits calculated on the basis of their actual, reduced pay scale.

The total number of applications to retire by the end of February is currently around 4,000, excluding the Health Sector. The sectoral breakdown of this numbers is as follows:

Total Number of Applications

Education Sector

2,000

Civil Service

794

Local Authorities

730

Defence Forces

192

Gardaí

298

About 3,500 are expected to retire in the Health Sector over the period September 2011 — February 2012.

These figures are based on data reported by all the public service employers about the number of retirement applications received. Of course, in some instances staff will withdraw their application to retire due to personal circumstances. There are also cases where individuals who wish to retire have not given the full 3 months notice requested by the employer. Provision of just over €600 million has been made in the 2012 Estimates to cover pension lump sum payments in 2012.

Public Sector Pay

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

76 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he intends to review the higher grade salaries across the public sector including Secretaries General, hospital consultants and senior management. [3792/12]

The Government adopted my proposal in June 2011 for the introduction of:—

a general pay ceiling of €200,000 for future appointments to higher positions across the public service; and

a general pay ceiling of €250,000 for future appointments to CEO posts within Commercial State Companies.

Following the outcome to the referendum on remuneration for the Judiciary, the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Amendment) Act, 2011 was enacted. This Act provided for the application of the pay reduction and the pension levy on serving members of the judiciary and provided for reduced remuneration rates for newly appointed judges with effect from 1 January 2012. The Act also made provision to bring certain Office holders (Comptroller and Auditor General and Chairperson of An Bord Pleanála) within the public service pay ceiling and for the reduction of remuneration for future appointees as President and Ombudsman. This legislation also formally provides for the reduction in the salary rates for members of the Government. Ongoing arrangements are being made on an administrative basis to implement the pay ceilings for future appointments where those are subject to administrative sanction.

There are also some 150 academic medical consultants, many of whom would attract salaries in excess of the public service pay cap of €200,000. My colleague the Minister for Health is addressing this issue in the context of his discussions with the representative associations for those public service grades on matters related to the current consultant contract. Having regard to the pay ceiling that now applies, I have no further plans to review the salaries of senior posts in the public sector at this time.

Commercial Semi-State Bodies

Michael Colreavy

Question:

77 Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the restructuring of any State companies is currently being considered. [3803/12]

As the Deputy will be aware, the NewERA unit was established within the National Treasury Management Agency in 2011 to reform the manner in which Government manages the commercial semi-State companies. NewERA will initially undertake the corporate governance function, from a shareholder perspective and reporting to relevant ministers, of ESB, Bord Gáis Éireann, EirGrid, Bord na Móna and Coillte. NewERA's role is also to advise on, and if appropriate, oversee any restructuring of these companies, along the lines suggested in the Deputy's question. At this early stage, no specific proposals for restructuring of State companies have arisen.

Public Sector Pay

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

78 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the measures he intends to take to end the pay, pension and abatement arrangements for current Secretaries General. [3795/12]

Pay and superannuation terms for Secretaries General and County Managers are in line with their contractual arrangements. The Deputy will be aware that a number of significant steps have been taken to reduce costs which will make a significant contribution to the national effort to restore the public finances to a sustainable path. Among the pay measures introduced and impacting on the Public Service are:

The general pay increases provided for under Towards 2016 Review and Transitional Agreement 2008-2009 were not paid.

A pension related deduction of an average of nearly 7% was applied to all the earnings (including non pensionable earnings) of public servants with effect from 1 March 2009.

A reduction in rates of pay and allowances ranging from 5% to 20% took effect on 1 January, 2010.

The Public Service (Croke Park) Agreement provides for an effective pay freeze up to 2014.

The salary scales for new entrants to traditional recruitment grades across the public service with effect from 1st January 2011 were reduced by 10%.

More recently the Government has put in place general pay ceilings for Senior Public Service posts (€200,000) and for CEOs of Commercial State Companies (€250,000).

The measures taken by the Government reflect its determined view that in the light of the ongoing severe economic conditions facing the country a strong policy of pay restraint within the public sector is necessary, including the application of general pay caps where appropriate. These and other measures to reduce pay costs will have brought about a reduction in the pay bill to less than €14.795 billion in 2011 which represents a reduction of some 15.5% on the 2009 figure.

Following a review of Higher Grade salary rates in the Public Service including Secretary General and related grades the Government agreed in June 2011 with my proposal to the introduction of a general pay ceiling of €200,000 for future appointments to higher positions across the public service. Following adoption of the pay ceiling those Secretaries General who were in receipt of salaries in excess of the pay ceiling voluntarily waived that portion of their salary in excess of the pay ceiling while the issue did not arise for County Managers. Revised rates for future appointees to Secretary General posts were implemented in accordance with the pay ceiling and I have no further plans to review the salaries of these grades at this time.

A number of pension-related measures have been implemented. The Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) was introduced in January 2011. The pay reductions introduced since 2010 will impact on pension benefits for those retiring after the end of the ‘grace period', i.e. from March 2012 onwards. Those retiring on pension before that date are subject to the PSPR. I have recently provided for an increase in the rate of PSPR that applies to pensions over €100,000 from 12% to 20% which will affect secretaries general on pensions above that level.

In relation to the secretaries general of Departments, the Government introduced a new regime to apply to them on completion of their term of office. Newly appointed secretaries general, unless they have already reached pension age, will no longer benefit from immediate payment of pension and lump sum before they reach their preserved pension age; nor will secretaries general benefit from notional added years for pension purposes. These are significant changes compared to the exit terms that applied to those previously appointed.

Finally, it is important to point out that the Government's new Bill to provide for a Single Public Service Pension Scheme is currently before the Oireachtas and will be implemented this year. It will provide for pension to be based on career average earnings, as opposed to the current system of pension based on final salary. This and other provisions in the Bill will eventually deliver a saving of over a third in the Exchequer Public Service pension bill.

Question No. 79 answered with Question No. 60.

Public Sector Reform

Michael Colreavy

Question:

80 Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the enhanced measures of accountability of senior civil and public sector management and office holders he has put in place. [3802/12]

Senior public service managers are accountable to the Oireachtas through their appearances before Select Committees and the Public Accounts Committee. They are also subject to rigorous independent examination of regularity, propriety and value for money by the Comptroller and Auditor General who carries out individual VFM examinations on the economy and efficiency with which a public body uses its resources. Public servants are also subject to wider scrutiny through the operation of the Freedom of Information legislation and the work of the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Public Service Management Act 1997 requires Secretaries General and Heads of Office to prepare and report on Statements of Strategy, and makes them more directly responsible and accountable for the day-to-day management of their Departments/Offices. Such responsibilities and accountability can in turn be assigned to other officials.

The Statements of Strategy set out clearly the high-level objectives against which the performance of Departments and other public service organisations will be assessed. In particular, the annual Estimates of Expenditure for 2012 are being re-cast to ensure full alignment with the Statements of Strategy, and to include performance information against each of the high-level objectives (or strategic "programmes"). This approach, referred to as ‘performance budgeting', was piloted successfully for the Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and Agriculture Groups of Votes in 2011, and is being rolled out more generally for the 2012 Estimates. The overall intention, in line with Government Programme commitments, is to heighten the focus upon overall performance and delivery by Departments and Offices, and improve accountability by office-holders for the achievement of results.

The Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) which applies in the Civil Service places a strong emphasis on individual performance and accountability through the setting of goals and the monitoring of performance. The integration of this system with other Human Resource processes increases the level of accountability for individuals. My Department has recently introduced changes to PMDS that streamline the process and make it a more useful tool for the management of performance. My Department will continue to review the effectiveness of performance management and develop new ways to strengthen management capability.

In addition, the Programme for Government contains a commitment to legislate for a reformulated code of laws, replacing both the Ministers and Secretaries Acts and the Public Service Management Act, on the legal relationship between Ministers and their civil servants and their legal accountability for decisions and for management of Departments. Work is ongoing in my Department in this area. I remain committed to bringing forward the reform required in the context of commitments on accountability arrangements, as set out in the Programme for Government. Legislative change to clarify accountability arrangements is a key initiative of the Government's Public Service Reform Plan that was published in November 2011.

National Pensions Reserve Fund

Brian Stanley

Question:

81 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount of the National Pensions Reserve Fund that is to be used for investment in key areas of the economy as proposed in the Department’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework. [3804/12]

The Government's "Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012 to 2016" report, which was published on 10 November 2011, sets out the €17 billion Exchequer capital investment framework for the coming five year period. In addition, as signalled in the plan, there will be capital investment through the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), the establishment of which was announced by the Government in September 2011.

The SIF will, following appropriate legislative changes to the investment policy of the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF), channel commercial investment from the NPRF towards productive investment in the Irish economy. As well as money from the NPRF, the Fund will seek matching commercial investment from private investors and target investment in areas of strategic significance to the future of the Irish economy. It will comprise a series of sub-funds targeted at commercial investment in critical areas of the Irish economy, including infrastructure, venture capital and the provision of long-term capital for SMEs. The NPRF will take a lead role in the development and implementation of each sub-fund.

In November 2011, the NPRF announced a commitment of €250 million to a new Irish infrastructure investment fund which is seeking up to €1 billion from institutional investors in Ireland and overseas and which will invest in infrastructure assets in Ireland, including assets designated for disposal by the Government and commercial State enterprises and also new infrastructure projects.

Question No. 82 answered with Question No. 75.
Question No. 83 answered with Question No. 65.

Public Expenditure

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

84 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is satisfied that the objectives he has set in relation to public expenditure and reform are on target to date; if a revision of any of the objectives set by his predecessors is likely; the extent to which this might affect economic performance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3724/12]

As is clear from the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014 published on 5 December last, the Capital Infrastructure Plan published on 10 November 2011, the Implementation Body publication of the Public Service Agreement Progress Report on the 17 November 2011, and the Public Service Reform Plan also published on 17 November 2011, the Government is making good progress on achieving all of our targets and priorities, as articulated in the Government Programme, in terms of both bringing public expenditure back to a sustainable level and driving forward the public service reform agenda to ensure that efficiencies and reformed work practices play a full part in contributing to the overall budgetary consolidation effort.

Flood Relief

Denis Naughten

Question:

85 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps that are being taken to address flood risks within the Shannon basin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3308/12]

As advised in my replies of 17th January 2012 and 17th November 2011, to the Deputy's previous questions on this matter, the assessment and management of flood risk on the River Shannon and all the national river catchments is being addressed through the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme, which is scheduled to continue until the end of 2015. Details of this programme are available on www.cfram.ie and specific updates on the River Shannon CFRAM are available on www.shannoncframstudy.ie.

National Revaluation Programme

David Stanton

Question:

86 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 8 of 17 November 2011, the further progress which has been made in drafting legislation and consideration of outsourcing and self-valuation options to expedite the national revaluation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3735/12]

As I explained in response to previous Questions, the revaluation programme which began in November 2005 in the greater Dublin area is ongoing, the current emphasis being in the Dublin City Council area which commenced last May and which involves the valuation of approximately 25,000 properties.

As part of the roll-out of the revaluation programme to other local authority areas, the Commissioner of Valuation signed the Valuation Order on 12th December, 2011 to commence the revaluation of the Waterford City, Waterford County and Dungarvan Town Council areas. He has also advanced the formal consultations with Limerick City and Limerick County Council to the stage where he will shortly be in a position to sign valuation orders for those areas.

The Commissioner had indicated that, with the intention of speeding up the revaluation work, two pilot schemes were to be undertaken on outsourcing some of the work and exploring the possibility of introducing a self-assessment scheme. The enabling provisions to allow for the start-up of these schemes were included in legislative proposals approved by Government on 6th December, 2011 and as a consequence, planning for their initiation is currently underway in the Valuation Office. As a further means of speeding up the revaluation generally and in particular to accelerate the capture of data on properties throughout the country, in advance of the roll-out to particular areas, a dedicated unit is being set up within the Office.

As I mentioned previously, significant work has already been done on the formulation of a Bill to streamline and improve the valuation system and the Heads of a Bill, having been approved by Government, are now with the Parliamentary Draftsman's Office for drafting of the Bill.

Public Sector Staff

Martin Ferris

Question:

87 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a professional breakdown of the 3,000 civil and public servants to be recruited this year as announced in December 2011. [3797/12]

The Government is committed to reducing the Public Service number to 282,500 by 2015. Given the importance of meeting this challenging numbers target, any recruitment will be directed towards areas of most need. In order to mitigate the impact on frontline service provision as far as possible, with the co-operation and flexibility of individual public servants, we will fully use the mechanisms set out in Public Service Reform Plan, including the filling of essential posts and the utilisation of redeployment. Public Service Organisations must fully use all options for discharging work through reorganisation and redeployment of staff. Only after this will the issue of recruitment for current or emerging business needs arise.

Should a Department identify a potential exception to the moratorium on recruitment the sanction of my Department must then be sought. Exceptions to the Moratorium may be granted on the following basis:

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

b) where failure to fill posts would result in a breach of EU/international regulations and impact upon exports etc.;

c) safety related posts — failure to fill them could leave the state open to potential legal liabilities or for security reasons;

d) specialist/technical posts to ensure continuity of operations e.g. legal officers; laboratory staff, maritime safety, etc.;

e) to ensure continuity of frontline services.

In addition, in the case of the Education and Health Sector, a number of grades are exempted from the Moratorium in order to ensure that these vital services are maintained.

Each Sector in the Public Service has been establishing its own Strategic Workforce Planning Group to ensure that sectoral employers are developing plans to deal with the operational and strategic consequences arising from staffing reductions. The sectoral groups are feeding into a central Strategic Workforce Planning Forum under my Department. Factors such as emerging demographic gaps in management grades will also be considered; measures such as the recently advertised graduate recruitment competition will address such gaps.

Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 55.

State Agencies

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

89 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will publish a list of all State agency board appointees, and the annual fee received, on his Department’s website. [3794/12]

In response to the Deputy's question my Department does not keep a central registry of all State agency board appointees. Each Department keeps the details in respect of State agency board appointees in respect of the State Agencies which come under their remit. In respect of my own Department An Post National Lottery is a commercial State agency which comes under the remit of my Department. The current position in relation to the directors of An Post National Lottery Company is as set out in the table. There are currently two vacancies on the board of the Company.

Name of Body

Current Members

Remuneration details in respect of board members and board chairpersons

An Post National Lottery Company

Mr Donal Connell(Chairperson)Mr Dermot GriffinMr Micheál Ó MuircheartaighMs Caroline MurphyMr Oliver WilkinsonTwo vacancies

No remuneration is paid to Mr Connell as he is also a member of the board of An Post.€12,600 per annum is paid to the other directors.

Information in relation to the directors and the fees paid to them is published each year in the Company's annual report. There are no immediate plans to publish this information on the Department's website.

Public Sector Pay

Dessie Ellis

Question:

90 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is considering the freezing of civil and public sector pay increments in his preparation for budget 2013. [3799/12]

The Government has reaffirmed the key commitments under the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 on pay rates and job security for serving public servants. These commitments are contingent on delivery of the necessary flexibilities and reforms to public service delivery that are required under the Agreement. The Exchequer allocations for 2012 have been set out. Measures for 2013 will be considered in line with the budgetary timeframe

Economic Competitiveness

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

91 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will establish a top pay commission to research and review all levels of compensation and remuneration across the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3321/12]

I refer to my reply to Question Nos. 248 and 249 of 21 July 2011. The position remains unchanged.

Public Service Contracts

Denis Naughten

Question:

92 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps being taken to assist small business in obtaining public contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3307/12]

I am very aware that public procurement can be an important source of business and jobs in local enterprises. In general, SMEs' flexibility and ability to respond speedily to requirements can be advantageous in competing for local contracts. Current guidelines from my Department require public bodies to promote participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in the award of public contracts.

The guidelines set out positive measures that contracting authorities are to take to promote SME involvement in a manner that is consistent with the principles and rules of the existing public procurement regulatory regime. The guidance also highlights practices that are to be avoided because they can unjustifiably hinder small businesses in competing for public contracts. The key provisions of the guidance include:

supplies and general services contracts with an estimated value of €25,000 or more to be advertised on the www.etenders.gov.ie website;

less use of "restrictive" tendering procedures and greater use of "open" tendering;

ensuring that the levels set by contracting authorities for suitability criteria are justified and proportionate to the needs of the contract;

sub-dividing larger requirements into lots where this is practical and can be done without compromising efficiency and value for money;

the needs and possibilities for small businesses to compete and supply to be taken into account when setting up panels/framework arrangements;

encouragement of small companies to combine with others to make a joint bid for a contract that they might not be in a position to perform on their own.

Measures such as these should increase the opportunities for SMEs to compete for public contracts and will reduce the up-front administration burden for them. The Government continues to review the situation in regard to SME participation in public procurement and where consistent with achieving value-for-money, probity and transparency, will seek to address any further issues that might be identified.

Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 66.

Public Service Agreements

Liam Twomey

Question:

94 Deputy Liam Twomey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the implementation of the Croke Park agreement is on track to deliver the expected savings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3319/12]

As the Deputy will recall, the Implementation Body for the Croke Park Agreement published its first annual progress report last June. The Report examined the savings and reform delivered in the first year of the Agreement and found that sustainable pay bill savings in the order of €289m had been achieved during the review period which "exceeded the targeted savings for the public service pay bill in 2011". It also reported that "solid and measurable" progress was being made on implementing the Action Plans for reform in each sector, while pointing to certain issues that needed to be accelerated over the next reporting period.

An interim report published by the Body in November provided evidence of further progress on the delivery of change and reform across the public service under the Agreement over the period April to September 2011. The second annual review of the Agreement is scheduled to take place in April and May 2012 and will assess the savings achieved in the second year of the Agreement. As before, it will also scrutinise the level of progress being made on implementing the reform programmes in each sector. I look forward to the outcome of that review which I expect will be published in May or June this year.

National Statistics

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

95 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach the size of the workforce here, that is, the total number of those employed on 9 March 2011 and the total size of the workforce on 28 January 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3975/12]

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 third quarter of 2011. The data for the specific dates requested by the Deputy are not available from the CSO. The estimated numbers in employment for 2008, 2009, 2010 and the first three quarters of 2011 are presented in table 1. In the most recent quarter the level of employment recorded was 1,805,500, 2.5% lower than the level recorded a year earlier.

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

Numbers in Employment

Males

Females

Quarter 1 2008

1,198.9

925.2

Quarter 2 2008

1,190.2

922.7

Quarter 3 2008

1,182.4

924.7

Quarter 4 2008

1,143.4

911.2

Quarter 1 2009

1,076.7

888.9

Quarter 2 2009

1,052.0

886.5

Quarter 3 2009

1,040.0

882.4

Quarter 4 2009

1,016.2

871.6

Quarter 1 2010

996.3

861.4

Quarter 2 2010

996.1

863.0

Quarter 3 2010

994.5

857.0

Quarter 4 2010

973.0

850.2

Quarter 1 2011

962.1

842.1

Quarter 2 2011

970.0

851.3

Quarter 3 2011

968.4

837.2

Source: Quarterly National Household Survey, Central Statistics Office.

Departmental Staff

Catherine Murphy

Question:

96 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach the number of civil servants from his Department who are based in the European Commission working in the relevant permanent representative offices; their titles and functions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4179/12]

No civil servants from my Department are based in the European Commission.

Departmental Bodies

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

97 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach the assessment and reporting mechanism he has put in place to enable Departments to continually assess the business case for the State bodies under their aegis. [4561/12]

Sean Fleming

Question:

98 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Taoiseach if he will outline the projected savings for each State agency to be rationalised as set out in the recent public service reform plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4569/12]

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

99 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if robust service level agreements between parent Departments and State bodies are now in place for all non-commercial State agencies. [4576/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 97 to 99, inclusive, together.

The National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO) is the only State Agency under the aegis of my Department. The NESDO was established under the NESDO Act 2006 and is the body corporate for the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). My Department is reviewing the NESDO Act in accordance with the announcements on public service reform on 17 November 2011. The Government published its plan for the rationalisation of State agencies. NESDO/NESC was one of a number of bodies listed in the plan for review in 2012.

As the Deputies are aware, there have already been a number of changes to NESDO over the last few years, such as the dissolution of two of its constituent bodies and, more recently, the integration of the sustainable development agenda of Comhar into its work. No decision has been made to further rationalise NESDO/NESC.

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

100 Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Taoiseach the total amount paid in remuneration and expenses to members of publicly appointed State boards in both the public and semi-State sectors in 2011; his views that savings can be made in this area; the number of persons in total who sit on these boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4586/12]

In respect of 2011, the total paid in remuneration and expenses to members of the boards of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) and the National Statistics Board (NSB) was €36,619. The National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO) is the only State Agency under the aegis of my Department. The NESDO was established under the NESDO Act 2006 and is the body corporate for the NESC.

The membership of the NESDO, as set out in the Act, consists of the chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of the NESC, the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) and National Centre for Partnership and Performance (NCPP). Following the dissolution of the NESF and NCPP on 1 April 2010, the membership of NESDO now comprises the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of NESC.

The membership of the NESC, as set out in the Act, consists of a Chairperson, a Deputy Chairperson and members appointed on the basis of nominations received from representatives of ICTU, business and employers interests, farming and agricultural interests, the environmental sector, the community and voluntary sectors, in addition to a number of public servants and independent experts.

There are currently 33 members of NESC. No remuneration is paid to members though they are entitled to claim for travel and subsistence for their attendance at each meeting. Since March 2011 a total of €2,003 has been claimed.

The NSB has eight members:

(a) two members, of proven ability and experience in relevant fields, are nominated by me;

(b) three members, of proven ability and experience in relevant fields, are nominated by organisations representative of the users of official statistics and providers of information under the Act.

There is also provision for a senior representative from my Department and the Department of Finance to sit on the Board. The Director General of the CSO is an ex officio member of the Board.

My functions in relation to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), including the NSB, were delegated to the Government Chief Whip, Minister of State Paul Kehoe T.D., on the 22 March 2011. Only members in categories (a) and (b) receive a stipend in relation to membership. The total stipend payment to the Board related to their participation in 2011 was €33,224.12. Members are also entitled to vouched expenses. The total expenses issued to the NSB for 2011 were €1,391.87.

In addition, in 2011 payments were made in relation to arrears which date from incorrect stipend payments being applied over a 5 year period from 2005-2010. The total arrears payment was €41,868.76.

State Property

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

101 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, further to Parliamentary Question No. 515 of 11 January 2012 regarding the ownership of the sea-floor of Lough Foyle, if he will confirm whether the State Property Act of 1954 grants the State jurisdiction over the sea floor of Lough Foyle. [3554/12]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

102 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, further to Parliamentary Question No. 515 of 11 January 2012 regarding the ownership of the sea-floor of Lough Foyle, if jurisdiction over the sea-floor of Lough Foyle is granted to the State by the State Property Act 1954; the international law which allows such appropriation, in view of the fact that ownership of the sea-floor of Lough Foyle has been claimed for many years by the UK Crown Estate. [3555/12]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

103 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, further to Parliamentary Question No. 515 of 11 January 2012 regarding the ownership of the sea-floor of Lough Foyle, if he acknowledges that the UK Crown Estate claims legal entitlement to the foreshore and seabed of Lough Foyle. [3556/12]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

104 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, further to Parliamentary Question No. 515 of 11 January 2012 regarding the ownership of the sea-floor of Lough Foyle, if he made any official comment in relation to the UK Crown Estate claim to legal entitlement to the foreshore and seabed of Lough Foyle. [3557/12]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

105 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, further to Parliamentary Question No. 515 of 11 January 2012 regarding the ownership of the sea-floor of Lough Foyle, if the State Property Act 1954 does not factually grant internationally recognised jurisdiction over the sea-floor of Lough Foyle to the State; if he will now confirm that internal sale of such property or parts of such property, from one State agency to another, cannot take place without the consent of the proprietary owners. [3558/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 to 105, inclusive, together.

In international law the sovereignty of a coastal state extends beyond its land territory to the adjacent band of water and to the seabed and subsoil beneath it. A coastal state exercises jurisdiction within that area. The extent of that jurisdiction will depend, amongst other things, on any boundaries that may have been agreed with a neighbouring state. There is currently no agreed maritime boundary within Lough Foyle.

The question of property rights to the seabed is a separate issue, regulated by domestic law. In this jurisdiction, with some small exceptions, the seabed adjacent to the coast belongs to the State and is currently vested in the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform under the State Property Acts. In the UK ownership of the foreshore is vested in a number of bodies, including the Crown Estate in Northern Ireland.

Uncertainty concerning the extent to which each side exercises jurisdiction within Lough Foyle, and the separate but related issue of property rights, have created practical difficulties for the conduct of a number of activities there. This has included difficulty in creating a system for the licensing of aquaculture by the Loughs Agency in accordance with the intentions of the Irish and British Governments under the 1999 Agreement establishing Implementation Bodies. Discussions between relevant Departments and agencies on both sides of the border on specific issues have been taking place on a case by case basis.

Recently the two Governments agreed to address issues relating to both Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough in the round. A first meeting of officials took place last week in London. While the issues involved — including the roles of the Crown Estate and all other relevant actors — are complex I am satisfied that both sides are committed to resolving them as soon as possible.

State Visits

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

106 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will issue a personal invitation on behalf of the Irish people to His Holiness Benedict XVI to visit Ireland on the occasion of the 2012 International Eucharistic Congress; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3976/12]

I understand that the Catholic Bishops have issued an invitation to Pope Benedict to visit Ireland on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress in 2012, and that this invitation is under consideration by the Holy See. As I have made clear previously, if the Government receives an indication that the Pope wishes to travel to Ireland for the Eucharistic Congress, or on a subsequent occasion, the Government will be more than ready to issue a formal invitation and to welcome him to Ireland. The willingness of the Government to invite Pope Benedict to Ireland was made very clear by our Ambassador designate, when he met Vatican officials in Rome earlier this month.

Northern Ireland Issues

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

107 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent of his discussions with the Northern Ireland authorities regarding the conditions facing many prisoners at Maghaberry Prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3260/12]

I have raised the issues related to Maghaberry prison directly with the Northern Ireland Minister for Justice, David Ford. I have also raised the situation in Maghaberry on a number of occasions during my regular contacts with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson and the Minister of State for Northern Ireland Hugo Swire. On my instructions, officials from my Department are continuing to monitor developments in relation to Maghaberry prison closely and to avail of every suitable opportunity to encourage early resolution of the outstanding issues in the prison.

Human Rights Issues

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

108 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the obligation of countries to adhere to internationally agreed human rights norms; his views on whether human rights are universal and the need for national cohesion is a valid reason to violate human rights norms. [3467/12]

Ireland's commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights has been and will continue to be a central component of our foreign policy. Successive Irish Governments have consistently stated the belief that the protection and promotion of international human rights is vital. While different approaches to human rights may exist from one culture to another, international human rights standards are universal, indivisible, interdependent and inter-related, as outlined in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights on 25 June 1993.

States acquire international obligations in relation to human rights, either through ratification of an international treaty or through international customary law. The Irish Government is of the belief that all states must continuously endeavour to better uphold and comply with the human rights obligations which are entrusted to them. National history or cultural practices are not an excuse for non-compliance with states' international human rights obligations. However, such factors can help explain why human rights standards have not been respected and should be considered when seeking to identify the most effective way for a state to implement its international human rights obligations.

There is a variety of options which can be explored when responding to the human rights situation in other countries, according to the circumstances of the individual country in question. When considering which approach to take, Ireland and the European Union consider the degree to which a country's human rights record is improving over time and its willingness to interact with the international community, in particular the United Nations, on human rights questions.

Sometimes condemnation on its own, or the isolation of a country in response to human rights violations, is not the most effective means of securing an improvement in the situation. Engagement and co-operation can often be a better way of moving towards the further promotion and protection of human rights. It is for this reason that Ireland has supported the development and continuance of EU human rights dialogues with third countries which allow for structured engagement with those countries on human rights issues.

EU Presidency

John O'Mahony

Question:

109 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his priorities in respect of the Irish Presidency of the European Council commencing in January 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3563/12]

Work on the definition of Ireland's priorities for its Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2013 has been underway for some time and is now intensifying. The Government is seeking to ensure that the priorities reflect the main issues that concern citizens and Governments in Ireland and other Member States of the European Union which include, first and foremost, tackling the economic crisis and developing policies that restore strong, sustainable economic growth, and create jobs. Other clear priorities include the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) which sets out the EU budget from 2014-2020. This in turn will have a direct bearing on other issues of national importance, including the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy.

Our Presidency will also coincide with the European Semester, the annual process of coordinating Member States' economic and budgetary policies. There will also be a strong focus on securing agreement on Horizon 2020, the future framework programme for research and innovation which can make a critical contribution to boosting the EU's competitiveness and creating jobs. Climate change and environmental issues are also likely to figure prominently on the EU agenda.

These are just some of the major issues that are likely to figure prominently on the Irish Presidency agenda. The Irish programme will also reflect the progress made by the Danish and Cypriot Presidencies in key areas in 2012, and will need to be flexible enough to respond to unforeseen events. The Government will continue throughout 2012 to develop and refine Ireland's priorities. It will also consult and work closely with the Commission and the European Parliament and with our European partners. The Government will seek to ensure that its priorities demonstrate that Ireland remains a constructive, active and committed member that belongs at heart of the EU decision-making process.

Overseas Development Aid

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

110 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the monetary value of overseas aid for 2012; the value for 2011 and the figure for the years 2013 and 2014; the measures being taken to ensure the effective spend of these moneys; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3573/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): For 2012 Ireland will provide a total of €639 million in Official Development Assistance (ODA). €514 million will be administered by my Department through Irish Aid. The remaining €125 million is made up of ODA eligible contributions by other Government Departments and Ireland’s expected share of the EU development cooperation budget. In 2011 Ireland provided €659 million in ODA of which €524 million was administered by Irish Aid while other ODA was estimated at €135 million. Final outrun figures will be available in April 2012 and details of the aid programme with a comprehensive analysis will be published in the Annual Report later this year.
Our Programme for Government contains a clear commitment to supporting the aid programme. While future allocations for the programme must made in the context of the fiscal constraints facing the country, and final budgetary decisions for 2013 and 2014 are a matter for the Minister for Finance, I want to assure the Deputy that we are determined to meet our commitment to our partnerships with some of the poorest communities in the world.
Irish Aid has rigorous planning, monitoring, evaluation and audit mechanisms in place to ensure that all funds are spent effectively. Our planning processes have a strong results focus. All funding proposals must meet strict and transparent criteria and clearly identify specific objectives and results that will have a real impact on improving the lives of the some of the world's poorest communities. Proposals are appraised by both Irish Aid staff and independent external experts and all development aid funding is disbursed based on clear and detailed work plans designed to meet the specific objectives and results. Our programme is also externally reviewed by the OECD which has described Ireland's aid programme as "cutting edge" and "a champion of aid effectiveness".
We continually monitor and assess programmes both at mission level and by headquarters staff to ensure that programmes deliver the intended results. A comprehensive and robust system of internal audit is in place, with an independent audit committee which reports directly to the Secretary General. We commission independent evaluations of all our major funded programmes and publish the results on our website.

Foreign Conflicts

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

111 Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to facilitate international observers, parliamentarians and non-governmental organisations to observe the forthcoming Palestinian Authority elections which are planned to take place in May 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3575/12]

Presidential and Parliamentary elections in the Palestinian Authority have been due for some time. Elections have been scheduled or announced on a number of occasions and for various dates, but these have fallen through. The problems relate to the difficulty of holding elections across the entirety of the Occupied Territories, and specifically in Gaza, which is under the de facto control of the Hamas movement and not the Palestinian Authority, which remains in control of the West Bank. In the absence of a lasting agreement between the Fatah and Hamas movements, it has been impossible for the Central Electoral Commission of the Palestinian Authority to operate in Gaza, and so to prepare for elections there.

Recent progress in reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas have renewed hopes that elections may soon be scheduled, and there is a growing acceptance that they cannot be postponed indefinitely. May 2012 has been spoken of in this context, but that date has not yet been firmly announced. It is thought more likely, to allow the Electoral Commission time to prepare, that an election announced now would fall slightly later than May.

The European Union has long planned to send an electoral observation mission to the Palestinian elections, whenever they are scheduled, and Ireland has actively supported the maintenance of this as a priority in the EU's electoral planning. It is obviously not easy to earmark resources for elections which are not yet scheduled and have been repeatedly postponed, as there are many other elections elsewhere which should if possible also be attended by EU observers. It would be my intention that Ireland nominate suitably qualified individuals to serve as electoral observers with any EU electoral mission which may eventually be deployed to monitor Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections.

Consular Services

James Bannon

Question:

112 Deputy James Bannon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the assistance available to a person (details supplied) in accessing the reasons for the delay in finalising all matters pertaining to the estate of their late sibling in the US, with particular reference to the lack of a detailed account of moneys paid out to all parties concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3648/12]

As the Deputy will appreciate, the issue raised by the person mentioned by him is outside the remit of my Department. It is not appropriate for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to become involved in the private legal affairs of individuals. I suggest that this person use the services of a lawyer to deal with this matter on his behalf.

Emigrant Support Services

James Bannon

Question:

113 Deputy James Bannon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding the progress being made to address the matter of undocumented Irish citizens in the US, who are in an untenable position, which impacts adversely on them, their families in the US and their families here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3649/12]

Addressing the situation of the undocumented Irish and reforming our migration arrangements with the United States remain important priorities for the Government in its relationship with the US Administration and Congress. The Taoiseach and I discussed these issues with President Obama when we met with him on 23 May last year in Dublin.

During the course of 2011, I also discussed the issue of Irish immigration with Secretary of State Clinton and Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Senate Judiciary committee. I also met with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and the Coalition of Irish Centres in New York. The Government has provided almost $365,000 to support that organisation since 2006.

A particular focus of the Government's efforts has been on the achievement of E-3 visas for Ireland. These E-3s are non-immigrant worker visas, renewable every two years and are currently available to Australian citizens. Provisions which would allow Irish nationals to apply for E-3 visas were amongst those included in the comprehensive immigration reform Bill as introduced in the US Senate last June by senior Democrats, including Senators Harry Reid, Charles Schumer and Robert Menendez. This Bill would also have helped to resolve the position of the undocumented, including the Irish. Unfortunately, and not least due to the current US domestic political climate and the Presidential elections taking place there later this year, to date that Bill has not yet received the additional bi-partisan support which it would require to make further progress.

Another significant development occurred at the end of November when draft legislation entitled the ‘Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act' (Bill No. HR 3012) emerged from the House of Representatives. Although the political climate for any immigration reform measures remains challenging, the broad bi-partisan support which this draft legislation secured suggested that there might be scope to make progress on Irish E-3s. In early December, Senators Schumer, Leahy and Durbin, all of whom hold leadership positions on the Democratic side of the Senate, came together to co-sponsor a further version of the ‘Fairness' legislation that would include provision under which Irish nationals could apply for up to 10,500 E-3 visas each year.

The Schumer/Leahy/Durbin Bill (number S.1983) also included ‘administrative waiver' provisions which would allow undocumented Irish migrants in the US to apply for E-3s without suffering certain applicable penalties for having been out of status. Separately, Senators Scott Brown and Mark Kirk of the Republican Party tabled further stand-alone legislative proposals (Bill number S. 2005) that would also make Irish nationals eligible to apply for up to 10,500 E-3 visas each year but which do not include the additional ‘administrative waiver' provisions. Both Bills have since been referred for examination by the US Senate's Judiciary Committee.

While recent developments have been encouraging, the prospects for these Bills are uncertain. Acting on my behalf, our Embassy in Washington, working with the Irish-American immigration community, continues to engage on an ongoing basis with the US Administration at senior levels and with both parties in the US Congress. I will also be in Washington in early February where I will be engaging with key players to further advance our support for an Irish E-3 visa.

Diplomatic Representation

Patrick Deering

Question:

114 Deputy Pat Deering asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will reconsider his decision to close our embassy to the Vatican. [3898/12]

As was outlined in my statement of 3 November last year, the decision of the Government to close our embassy to the Holy See and to appoint a non-resident Ambassador was driven by economic factors deriving from our need to cut public expenditure and focus the modest resources of our diplomatic service on economic recovery. The total cost saving in a full year is estimated at €845,000.

The wind down of the resident Embassy has now been completed and the Holy See has agreed to the Government's nomination as our non-resident Ambassador. He is expected to present his credentials to Pope Benedict later this year. The Government will continue to review our diplomatic network and it may be that, as public finances recover, we will at some time in the future be able to reopen a modest resident embassy to the Holy See.

Overseas Development Aid

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

115 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the reported displacement of thousands of Ethiopians off their own land under the Ethiopian Government’s villagisation programme in which the Government has already leased 3.6 million hectares of land to foreign investors for large scale commercial agricultural operations with plans to lease an additional 2.1 million hectares of land; if he is certain that no funds from Irish Aid have any direct or indirect involvement in the villagisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3972/12]

Ethiopia has been a priority country for the Government's aid programme since 1994, and we have been following closely the development of the Ethiopian Government's "villagisation" resettlement programme. The NGO Human Rights Watch has recently published a report which claims that there have been human rights violations as a result of the programme, in the Gambella, region of the country.

In our ongoing dialogue with the Government of Ethiopia, they have stated that they view the programme as a key element in the development of some of the poorest regions, enabling the effective delivery of basic services through the voluntary resettlement of vulnerable communities. The areas where the villagisation programme is being implemented are also among those earmarked by the Government for commercial land leasing and mining exploration. However, the Ethiopian Government denies that an objective of the programme is to free up land for these purposes.

We take very seriously any allegations of human rights violations, and we are examining the latest Human Rights Watch report carefully, through our Embassy in Addis Ababa and in consultation with other international donors. Officials from our Embassy have visited some of the areas involved to ascertain first-hand the validity of the allegations in relation to the villagisation programme. These visits have not substantiated the claims of forced movements of communities. However, we have expressed our concern to the Ethiopian Government at the scale and speed of the programme, and we are continuing to follow the situation closely, with Government, local communities and civil society organisations.

The Human Rights Watch report claims that aid from international donors is being used to fund the villagisation programme. I can assure the House that Ireland's development assistance is not funding the resettlement of people or supporting the construction of new schools or health clinics as part of this programme. We do contribute to the costs of salaries of essential workers, such as teachers and nurses, throughout the entire country. We can be proud that this support has contributed to the rapid improvement in human development for the Ethiopian people.

Ireland's engagement with Ethiopia is having a real impact in the lives of the most vulnerable people and communities. The focus of our programme is on eliminating hunger and building basic services for the poorest and most vulnerable. Our relations with the Government have always involved open and frank discussions at political and official levels. As recently as last November, a delegation from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade had the opportunity to raise a broad range of issues including alleged human rights abuses at the highest political level.

During my visit to Ethiopia in the coming days, I look forward to seeing the impact of Ireland's development programme, and emphasising the importance which we place on good governance, transparency and human rights. I also look forward to open and honest discussions with the Ethiopian authorities on all current issues, including allegations which have been made in relation to the human rights situation.

EU Funding

Derek Nolan

Question:

116 Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide a breakdown in tabular form of the various types of European funds and grants available to local authorities at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4086/12]

Derek Nolan

Question:

117 Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide a breakdown in tabular form of the various types of European funds and grants available to local community groups at present. [4087/12]

Derek Nolan

Question:

118 Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide a breakdown in tabular form of the various types of European funds and grants available to Irish business and research centres at present. [4088/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 to 118, inclusive, together.

The Deputy will be aware that there is a very wide range of EU schemes providing support to Irish business and research centres, to local community groups and to local authorities. An outline of the main schemes is provided on the official EU website, at http://ec.europa.eu/contracts_grants/grants_en.htm. The availability and eligibility requirements for each scheme are published in the Official Journal of the European Union (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/JOIndex.do), which provides the definite description of each scheme.

An outline of activities in Ireland funded by EU schemes can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/ireland/eu_services_in_ireland/index_en.htm. The total amount of funding received by Ireland from the EU Budget in 2010 amounted to some €1.882 billion. This was broken down as follows:

Amount

European Agriculture Guarantee Fund

€1,305m

European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development

€381m

European Social Fund

€52.1m

European Regional Development Fund

€67.4m

Others (including the European Fisheries Fund, the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance, the European Economic Area, andTrans-European Networks)

€76.7m

I would invite the Deputy to contact the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government regarding specific queries on individual schemes.

Tax Reliefs

Gerald Nash

Question:

119 Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide information in respect of the number of private nursing homes in counties Louth and Meath which have qualified for tax reliefs in respect of the development of their projects; if he will provide details of the locations of such homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3329/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the information provided in tax returns in relation to claims for tax relief in respect of investment in private nursing homes is not sufficiently detailed to provide a basis for deriving the number of private nursing homes that have qualified on a county by county basis. I am not therefore in a position to provide the information requested by the Deputy.

Tax Code

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

120 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance his plans to provide stamp duty exemption for persons with disability wishing to live independently; and if he will return tax exemption on vehicles for wheelchair users. [3386/12]

The current rate of Stamp Duty on transfers of residential property is 1% on properties valued up to €1m and 2% on any balance over €1m. Given the low headline rate, I have no plans at present to provide a Stamp Duty exemption such as is suggested. The tax code contains a number of credits, allowances, reliefs and exemptions for people with disabilities. In addition, parents/guardians and persons who care for dependent relatives may also qualify for relief from tax.

These include generally available reliefs such as medical expenses relief, and credits and allowances specific to people with disabilities and their families, such as incapacitated child tax credit or dependent relative tax credit. There is also tax relief available for covenants drawn up for permanently incapacitated persons, and exemption from Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) for permanently incapacitated persons in certain circumstances.

Regarding the return of tax exemptions on vehicles for wheelchair users to which the Deputy refers, I assume him to mean reliefs available under the Disabled Drivers and Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme. I understand from the Revenue Commissioners, who administer the scheme, that there has been no withdrawal of tax exemptions to those persons who have already established eligibility to obtain reliefs under the scheme, in accordance with the terms of the regulations. There has, however, been a change in administrative practice, to ensure that the provisions of SI 353/1994 are being adhered to correctly. It is important to note, however, that appropriately qualified drivers and passengers will continue to be able to avail of the scheme, but must accept that stricter interpretation of the provisions than has heretofore been the case will be applied.

Tobacco Smuggling

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

121 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance the steps the agencies under his aegis are taking to stop the illegal smuggling of contraband cigarettes into the country; the number of cigarettes that have been seized in each of the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 in tabular form including the location at which the cigarettes were seized; the steps he is taking to highlight the risks of smoking these cigarettes to the general public; the way in which the seized cigarettes are dealt with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3506/12]

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

122 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance the location at which the testing takes place on tobacco that is seized at entry points to the country; the amount of tobacco that has been tested by the State in the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, in tabular form; the form this testing takes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3530/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 121 and 122 together.

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 strategy employed by Revenue to tackle this illicit trade is multi-faceted. It 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 detection technologies, and optimum deployment of resources at point of importation and inland, in order 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 enforcement officers also target this illicit trade at the post-importation level by carrying out intelligence-based operations and random checks at retail outlets, markets and private and commercial premises. Since mid-2010, Revenue has conducted a series of nationwide intensive tobacco "blitz"-type operations, concentrating additional Revenue resources at ports, airports and at selected inland retail points, including markets, for the purpose of identifying and seizing illicit tobacco products. To date, Revenue has conducted nine such national tobacco "blitz" operations resulting in the seizure of over 34.6m cigarettes and 1,715 kgs of tobacco. These intensive operations are of course additional to Revenue's ongoing day-to-day operations targeting illicit tobacco product.

Revenue also carries out regular multi-agency operations, particularly in relation to large maritime importations. Revenue both provides and receives intelligence from other Customs Administrations and works closely with the European Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF, in its efforts to tackle the illicit sale of tobacco at an international level. This international cooperation and sharing of intelligence and expertise plays an important role in combating illegal tobacco smuggling on a global basis.

The Revenue Commissioners have established a high-level internal group, chaired at Commissioner level, to examine the risks related to tobacco products tax evasion and to oversee and optimise the detection of contraband and counterfeit tobacco products. This group has promoted a number of initiatives aimed at counteracting the illicit trade in tobacco. These include the adoption of a comprehensive tobacco strategy, which is underpinned by annual action plans. This 3-year (2011-2013) strategy, which is published on Revenue's website www.revenue.ie, includes a number of programmes which are designed to complement each other in targeting the supply and demand sides of the market for contraband tobacco in Ireland.

Revenue's strategic-level plans include the taking of steps, to ensure that the legitimate trade remains compliant, delivering more effective and visible interventions through enhanced capability and better deployment of its resources, further development of cooperation and intelligence sharing at organisational, national and international level, a commitment to prosecute all serious cases of tobacco tax evasion and a focus, in partnership with other Government agencies, on reducing the demand for contraband tobacco.

The table lists the quantities of cigarettes and tobacco seized per Revenue Region between 2007 and 2011.

Year

Region

Cigarettes

Tobacco (Kgs)

2007

Border Midlands and West

1,652,310

38

Dublin

67,016,342

1,219

East South East

2,697,893

31

South West

3,133,941

228

Total

74,500,486

1,516

2008

Border Midlands and West

5,650761

67

Dublin

111,521,379

2,587

East South East

14,403,092

116

South West

3,625,403

313

Total

135,200,635

3,083

2009

Border Midlands and West

125,922,257

337

Dublin

81,910,216

9,451

East South East

7,048,071

380

South West

3,645,684

284

Total

218,526,228

10,452

2010

Border Midlands and West

41,313,937

351

Dublin

98,474,429

1,398

East South East

7,150,076

316

South West

31,493,729

1,303

Total

178,432,171

3,368

2011

Border Midlands and West

9,955,640

199

Dublin

78,398,674

7,067

East South East

8,107,251

3,315

South West

12,603,964

575

Total

109,065,529

11,156

The issue of public information in relation to the dangers of smoking is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Health.

I am informed that all cigarettes and tobacco seized by Revenue are securely destroyed under Revenue control. With regard to the Deputy's question on the subject of the testing of tobacco, the Commissioners inform me that the testing of seized cigarette and tobacco products is not, as a matter of course, carried out by the State.

Legally binding agreements have been signed between the European Commission and member states (including Ireland) on the one hand and the four major global tobacco manufacturers on the other, with the objective of instituting formal cooperation arrangements to combat cigarette and tobacco smuggling. The manufacturers include Philip Morris International (PMI), Japan Tobacco International (JTI), British American Tobacco (BAT) and Imperial Tobacco Ltd (ITL). The agreements include the provision of enhanced support to European law enforcement bodies in the battle against the illegal trade in tobacco products. This support also includes the testing on request of selected seized tobacco products to establish whether they are genuine or counterfeit. Under these agreements, the four tobacco manufacturers appear before representatives of the European Commission and the member states on an annual basis to report on the progress of the agreed cooperation commitments.

In addition to this, Revenue has signed Memoranda of Understanding with two of the main cigarette manufacturers, ITL and JTI, and is in the process of agreeing Memoranda of Understanding with PMI and BAT, to further cooperation in relation to the illicit tobacco trade.

Where large consignments bearing established brand names are seized, test samples are forwarded to the relevant tobacco brand manufacturer, who, as the legal intellectual property rights holder, confirms in accordance with the Europe-wide agreements, whether or not the seized product is counterfeit. For logistical and resource reasons, the more numerous small seizures of tobacco products are not forwarded for individual testing. All contraband tobacco is liable to seizure as untaxed product smuggled into the State irrespective of whether it consists of genuine or counterfeit product.

The table lists the number of samples of both cigarettes and tobacco forwarded to the tobacco manufacturers for testing between 2007 and 2011.

Year

Number Of Samples

Number confirmed counterfeit

2007

13

2

2008

12

9

2009

15

9

2010

19

19

2011

16

8

The Revenue Commissioners inform me that the precise methodologies used to determine whether seized products are genuine or counterfeit are a matter for the relevant intellectual property rights holders, who in accordance with European Union and national intellectual property rights legislation are the certifying and accountable entity in this regard.

Financial Services Regulation

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

123 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Finance his views that it is appropriate that a special manager from a company (details supplied) appointed by the Central Bank of Ireland to Newbridge Credit Union, County Kildare, has been awarded €425 per hour in view of the investigation by the Chartered Accountants Ireland’s complaints committee of the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board which resulted in a finding that the company has a prima facie case to answer in respect of its former role as auditors to Anglo Irish Bank. [3991/12]

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

124 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide further information in relation to the grant of a special management order in respect of a credit union (details supplied), specifically seeking information about the remuneration to be provided to the special manager and other persons appointed pursuant to the Central Bank and Credit Institutions (Resolution) Act 2011 to said credit union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4306/12]

Michael McGrath

Question:

161 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the persons who will bear the cost of the fees being charged by the special manager appointed by the Central Bank of Ireland to Newbridge Credit Union, County Kildare; and his views on the level of the fees in this case. [3986/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 123, 124 and 161 together.

The decision to apply to the Court for the appointment of a special manager is a matter for the Governor of the Central Bank, following consultation with me as Minister of Finance. On 13 January 2012, the Central Bank of Ireland secured a High Court Order for the appointment of a Special Manager to Newbridge Credit Union. In accordance with the Central Bank and Credit Institutions (Resolution) Act 2011, the remuneration payable to the special manager was included in the special management order approved by the Court on foot of the Central Bank's application.

Newbridge Credit Union has 14 days to appeal the decision to the High Court. This appeals period expires on 27 January 2012. I believe that it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the issues raised in the questions during the fourteen day window during which Newbridge Credit Union may appeal this decision.

Tax Collection

Finian McGrath

Question:

125 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding tax in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [3287/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that, following receipt of information from the Department of Social Protection, they note that the person concerned is and has been in receipt of an Old Age Pension. The taxpayer will have additional income tax due for the current year in respect of his Old Age Pension. This additional tax, which is estimated to be some €7,713, will be deducted from his occupational salary over the course of 2012.

Jack Wall

Question:

126 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is being deducted the proper taxes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3290/12]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that, based on the information available to them and the additional information now supplied by the Deputy, the person concerned is not currently liable for income tax. A revised tax credit certificate will issue shortly to the person and to the pension provider. This will allow for refund of the tax paid to the person concerned by the pension provider.

Ministerial Correspondence

Peter Mathews

Question:

127 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide this Deputy with a copy of all letters received by the then Minister, Mr. Brian Lenihan, or his Department of Finance from the President of the ECB during the month of November 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3342/12]

Shane Ross

Question:

134 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide the complete text of any and all letters exchanged between him and the President of the ECB dated 19 November 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3505/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 127 and 134 together.

As the Deputies will be aware, the Minister for Finance and the Department of Finance received a number of letters from the ECB during November 2010. Some of these are already in the public domain, and details of those are set out below.

A letter dated 2nd November 2010 concerned the extension of the Irish State guarantee of certain liabilities of credit institutions. This letter is in the public domain and a copy has been forwarded to the Deputy.

A letter dated 18th November 2010 concerned the national implementation of Directive 2009/44/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 6 May 2009 amending Directive 98/26/EC on settlement finality in payment and securities settlement systems and Directive 2002/47/EC on financial collateral arrangements as regards linked systems and credit claims. This letter is in the public domain and a copy has been forwarded to the Deputy.

As I outlined in reply to PQ No. 155 on 28 June 2011, in relation to other correspondence, during an ongoing crisis, it is important for relationships between institutions to be developed, in order to allow for confidential negotiations to take place, especially on particularly sensitive issues. This is particularly the case in relation to the Irish authorities dealing with the ECB. It is normal practice for states to protect the confidentiality of these discussions, and in fact is usually enshrined in the rules of association of institutions.

Indeed, this is reflected in the Freedom of Information Act, which provides for exemptions for records relating to, for example, information received in confidence, commercially sensitive information and the financial and economic interests of the state in sections 24, 26 and 31. These factors counterbalance the public interest, protecting the ability of the Government when negotiating or deliberating on matters of national importance. It is considered that release of these records would impact on the integrity and viability of the decision-making process to a significant degree without a countervailing benefit to the public, and would prejudice our relationship with the ECB. For this reason, I do not intend to release this information.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Timmy Dooley

Question:

128 Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide all costs incurred by Anglo Irish Bank in re-branding the company as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. [3426/12]

As the Deputy is aware, Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Limited changed its name to Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited (trading as IBRC) on 14 October 2011. The Bank has informed me that a significant part of this renaming and rebranding project was managed using internal resources. The main components of the project included the development of a new brand identity for IBRC and the consolidation of multiple websites into one site. The timing of Bank's name change was scheduled to coincide with the appointment of a new non-executive director to IBRC, Mr. Oliver Ellingham in order to minimise the replacement cost of printed materials.

The Bank has indicated that two principal elements of this project necessitated external costs to be incurred. They were: The development of a new brand identity for IBRC: External expertise was used to deliver identity guidelines for IBRC and the necessary redesign of over 200 pieces of print collateral currently used by the Bank. A minimum amount of internal signage was also required. The cost of this external design work and signage was €30,645.

The development of a new website for IBRC: An approved external supplier was used to consolidate the existing websites of Anglo and INBS and implement the changed name of the Bank, across a number of geographies, into one group site www.ibrc.ie. The cost of the external support for that project was €7,000.

The total cost of the renaming project undertaken was therefore approximately €38,000 (ex-vat). Finally, it should be noted that separate to the renaming of the Bank, as part of the broader integration of INBS into the new entity, the Bank is further developing its website so that it will be suitable for the combined entity's approved long term business objectives. This project is scheduled to be delivered this month with estimated external costs of approximately €60,000. One of the key objectives of this project is to save IBRC considerable site update and maintenance costs in the future.

Tax Collection

Michael McGrath

Question:

129 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will arrange for a P21 balancing statement to issue to persons (details supplied) in County Cork in respect of 2011 as a refund of tax may be due to them. [3427/12]

The persons concerned have PAYE income and income from self-employment. The self-employed individual re-registered for Income Tax with effect from 1st March 2011 and is jointly assessed for tax purposes with his spouse who pays PAYE.

Self-employed taxpayers are obliged to file an annual income tax return (Form 11) with the Revenue Commissioners. Jointly assessed couples include both partners' income from all sources, including PAYE related income, on this form. On receipt of the form the Revenue Commissioners issue a Notice of Assessment that sets out the liability to Income Tax, PRSI and USC. Any overpayment of tax or USC is then refunded without delay. A P21 is an end of year balancing statement exclusively for PAYE taxpayers and is not appropriate in these circumstances.

The self-employed person concerned can submit a 2011 Form 11 now. This can be done online by registering for Revenue's Online Service (ROS) at www.ros.ie or alternatively he can print and complete a paper version of the form which is available at www.revenue.ie and send it to Mr. Diarmuid O’Connor, Revenue House, Blackpool, Cork, marked for his personal attention. Once the form is received any refund arising will be made without delay.

Jack Wall

Question:

130 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance the reasons the Revenue Commissioners will not accept term payments from small and medium enterprises seeking to pay their taxes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3454/12]

I am assured by the Revenue Commissioners that in appropriate circumstances they do approve phased payment arrangements in respect of tax debt. Revenue is charged with responsibility for the timely collection and recovery of taxes and duties due to the Exchequer. Revenue has a clear focus on every person and business complying with the responsibility to pay the right amount of tax and on time. Delay in payment or indeed non-payment of tax impacts on the level of Government borrowing and associated public debt interest additionally those who delay payment secure unfair competitive advantage over compliant businesses. I am satisfied that the Revenue approach to timely payment of tax is appropriate

I know that Revenue is conscious of the difficult economic and financial climate that prevails and has actively encouraged businesses and individuals experiencing particular payment difficulties to work proactively with them when such difficulties start to arise to find an agreed way forward and to quickly restore voluntary timely compliance. Thousands of businesses have successfully engaged with Revenue on such a basis.

Revenue has published comprehensive material for all businesses, including small and medium businesses, and individuals experiencing tax payment difficulties on its website at www.revenue.ie. If the Deputy is aware of any particular business in difficulty, he should encourage the business concerned to engage positively with Revenue on the lines set out in the material published by Revenue.

Mortgage Arrears

David Stanton

Question:

131 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance his position regarding persons in mortgage arrears; the details of the instructions, if any, issued to banks and other financial institutions by him or the Financial Regulator regarding the need to negotiate with clients who are unable to meet their mortgage repayments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3466/12]

The Central Bank's Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (the Code) applies to mortgage lending activities with borrowers in respect of their principal private residence in the State. Compliance with the Code is mandatory on all mortgage lenders registered with the Central Bank. The Code provides a number of protections to borrowers. These include the establishment of a formal Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) to deal with mortgage customers who are in arrears or pre-arrears, the establishment of a dedicated Appeals Support Unit and a separate internal appeals process by lenders to deal with individuals on a case by case basis.

Provision 9 of the Code restricts lenders from imposing charges and/or surcharge interest on arrears outstanding in MARP cases. The Central Bank notifies each lender individually of the charges to which provision 9 applies by means of a letter of Direction. A copy of the Code is available on the Central Bank's website www.centralbank.ie. With regard to monitoring compliance with the Code, in July 2011 the Central Bank published the findings of a themed inspection of mortgage lenders which examined compliance with provision 9 and related individual Letters of Direction that were issued in December 2010. The Central Bank has also published on its website a copy of “Mortgage Arrears—a Consumer Guide to Dealing with your Lender”.

The Deputy will be aware of the report of the Inter-Departmental Group on Mortgage Arrears which was published last October. The report sets out a number of recommendations to address the situation of those in mortgage arrears. The report stated that the issue of mortgage difficulty can only be addressed in an efficient way on a case by case basis. Arising from the report, a number of developments are underway that will be of assistance to mortgage holders experiencing significant difficulty.

Tax Code

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

132 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 80 of 12 January 2012, if he will confirm the date on which the living alone allowance became taxable for persons on the widow’s contributory pension and the old age contributory pension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3475/12]

As previously stated, the "Living Alone Allowance" payable under the Social Welfare Acts is not a separate pension but rather is an increased amount of certain pensions. That is, there is one rate of pension for a person not living alone and a different rate of pension for a person living alone. Therefore, the Widow's' Pension (Contributory) and the State Pension (Contributory) as increased by the Living Alone Allowance are, and always have been, taxable.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Shane Ross

Question:

133 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Finance for the covered banks, as an aggregate the amount of money in each of the following categories, by month, from January 2009 or earlier if available to the latest date, Irish private sector deposits broken down according to households, non-financial corporations and insurance corporations and pension funds-other financial intermediaries, with a further breakdown between overnight, agreed maturity up to two years notice, agreed maturity over two years, redeemable at notice up to three months, redeemable at notice over three months and repurchase agreements. [3504/12]

Detailed, as follows, is a breakdown of data for Irish resident private sector deposits held in the resident offices of credit institutions covered by the ELG scheme. The Central Bank has indicated that it is constrained due to legislation covering confidential statistical information from publishing further dis-aggregation by product category at this time.

Total Private Sector

Households

Non-financial corporations

Insurance Corps/Pension Funds and OFIs

31 Jan 2003

66,901

37,090

17,339

12,472

28 Feb 2003

68,781

37,664

17,884

13,233

31 Mar 2003

68,731

37,819

17,550

13,362

30 Apr 2003

69,739

38,228

17,753

13,758

30 May 2003

69,890

38,761

17,734

13,395

30 Jun 2003

70,788

39,059

18,214

13,516

31 Jul 2003

71,133

39,206

18,461

13,466

29 Aug 2003

72,168

39,696

18,953

13,518

30 Sep 2003

73,076

40,007

19,029

14,039

31 Oct 2003

74,010

40,331

19,864

13,815

28 Nov 2003

73,136

40,684

19,017

13,435

31 Dec 2003

75,601

41,051

20,073

14,477

30 Jan 2004

74,784

41,570

19,116

14,097

27 Feb 2004

76,456

42,963

19,088

14,405

31 Mar 2004

76,001

42,820

19,177

14,004

30 Apr 2004

77,655

43,732

20,009

13,914

31 May 2004

78,911

44,157

20,108

14,646

30 Jun 2004

80,285

44,587

20,621

15,077

30 Jul 2004

81,724

45,777

21,454

14,493

31 Aug 2004

81,486

45,787

21,524

14,174

30 Sep 2004

82,007

45,391

21,695

14,921

29 Oct 2004

83,846

45,079

22,585

16,182

30 Nov 2004

82,958

44,716

22,087

16,155

31 Dec 2004

87,017

45,976

23,697

17,344

31 Jan 2005

86,424

45,949

23,268

17,206

28 Feb 2005

86,591

46,436

23,292

16,863

31 Mar 2005

86,589

46,825

22,707

17,057

29 Apr 2005

88,108

47,718

22,803

17,587

31 May 2005

89,846

48,148

23,472

18,227

30 Jun 2005

91,419

49,054

24,170

18,195

29 Jul 2005

92,507

49,952

25,088

17,467

31 Aug 2005

93,830

50,536

25,134

18,160

30 Sep 2005

94,511

51,155

24,955

18,401

28 Oct 2005

96,526

52,156

25,925

18,445

30 Nov 2005

95,902

51,677

25,633

18,592

30 Dec 2005

101,777

53,924

28,448

19,406

31 Jan 2006

99,709

53,325

26,753

19,631

28 Feb 2006

100,146

53,747

26,401

19,997

31 Mar 2006

101,581

54,487

27,297

19,798

28 Apr 2006

103,477

55,478

28,107

19,892

31 May 2006

103,668

55,119

28,048

20,501

30 Jun 2006

107,148

56,522

29,408

21,219

31 Jul 2006

108,509

57,523

29,900

21,086

31 Aug 2006

110,763

58,850

30,483

21,429

29 Sep 2006

112,360

60,005

30,581

21,774

31 Oct 2006

114,560

60,631

31,378

22,550

30 Nov 2006

112,442

59,545

30,974

21,923

29 Dec 2006

115,825

61,432

32,168

22,225

31 Jan 2007

115,811

61,358

31,417

23,037

28 Feb 2007

115,302

61,774

30,837

22,691

30 Mar 2007

116,501

62,885

30,907

22,709

30 Apr 2007

118,236

63,746

31,725

22,766

31 May 2007

118,515

64,362

31,240

22,913

29 Jun 2007

119,479

64,963

31,255

23,261

31 Jul 2007

121,149

65,443

31,456

24,250

31 Aug 2007

121,306

66,332

32,094

22,880

28 Sep 2007

122,471

67,170

32,479

22,821

31 Oct 2007

122,875

67,464

31,334

24,077

30 Nov 2007

121,144

67,362

30,009

23,773

31 Dec 2007

124,172

68,288

31,661

24,223

31 Jan 2008

123,454

68,495

30,256

24,703

29 Feb 2008

122,961

68,717

29,294

24,950

31 Mar 2008

124,763

68,879

29,772

26,113

30 Apr 2008

123,950

69,122

29,799

25,029

30 May 2008

124,098

69,587

30,156

24,355

30 Jun 2008

125,989

69,542

30,281

26,165

31 Jul 2008

125,621

69,625

29,628

26,367

29 Aug 2008

126,235

70,212

29,306

26,718

30 Sep 2008

130,216

68,709

28,557

32,950

31 Oct 2008

131,356

70,900

31,814

28,642

28 Nov 2008

130,259

70,307

30,648

29,304

31 Dec 2008

130,150

70,999

31,292

27,860

30 Jan 2009

126,404

70,582

30,331

25,491

27 Feb 2009

126,653

70,756

29,847

26,050

31 Mar 2009

125,715

70,460

28,577

26,678

30 Apr 2009

126,089

71,477

28,166

26,447

29 May 2009

126,832

71,609

28,299

26,925

30 Jun 2009

126,564

71,298

28,079

27,187

31 Jul 2009

127,630

71,688

28,650

27,292

31 Aug 2009

128,553

71,676

29,563

27,314

30 Sep 2009

130,447

71,517

29,066

29,864

30 Oct 2009

132,640

72,034

29,659

30,947

30 Nov 2009

132,167

71,784

29,030

31,353

31 Dec 2009

132,363

72,338

28,717

31,308

29 Jan 2010

131,741

72,541

28,749

30,450

26 Feb 2010

131,477

72,500

27,846

31,131

31 Mar 2010

129,548

71,773

27,047

30,728

30 Apr 2010

129,158

72,125

26,645

30,388

31 May 2010

129,090

71,660

26,645

30,784

30 Jun 2010

128,518

70,506

27,407

30,606

30 Jul 2010

127,966

70,755

26,599

30,612

31 Aug 2010

127,194

70,095

26,776

30,323

30 Sep 2010

124,689

69,951

25,871

28,867

29 Oct 2010

124,950

69,854

25,978

29,117

30 Nov 2010

117,015

67,041

24,064

25,909

31 Dec 2010

113,670

66,732

23,938

23,001

31 Jan 2011

111,863

65,747

23,578

22,538

28 Feb 2011

108,618

64,710

23,008

20,900

31 Mar 2011

106,309

63,854

21,749

20,706

29 Apr 2011

108,235

63,821

21,558

22,855

31 May 2011

107,482

62,930

21,602

22,950

30 Jun 2011

103,548

62,822

21,234

19,492

29 Jul 2011

102,575

62,439

21,169

18,967

31 Aug 2011

102,233

61,955

21,400

18,878

30 Sep 2011

102,100

62,493

20,810

18,797

28 Oct 2011

101,845

62,800

21,638

17,407

30 Nov 2011

101,437

62,030

21,370

18,037

Question No. 134 answered with Question No. 127.

Tax Code

Arthur Spring

Question:

135 Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Finance the steps he proposes to take to ensure that all the tax exiles are brought into the tax net at the earliest opportunity; the legislative changes which he deems necessary to make the levy more effective; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3523/12]

The taxation of individuals in the State is broadly in line with that prevailing in most other OECD jurisdictions, that is to say—

(a) Individuals who are resident in the State for tax purposes (based on the number of days of presence in the State) are taxable here on their worldwide income; and

(b) Individuals who are not resident here for tax purposes pay tax here only on income arising in the State and on income derived from working here.

An Irish citizen or Irish domiciled individual claiming to be non-resident for tax purposes and who is living abroad primarily for tax reasons may be subject to the Domicile Levy which was introduced in Finance Act 2010 and is charged on an individual:

who in any year is Irish domiciled and an Irish citizen,

whose worldwide income in the year exceeds €1m,

whose Irish located property in the year is greater than €5m, and

whose liability to Irish income tax for the year is less than €200,000.

The amount of the levy is €200,000. Any Irish income tax paid is available as a credit against an individual's liability to the levy.

In Budget 2012 I announced my intention to abolish the "citizenship" condition for payment of the Domicile Levy to ensure that it cannot be avoided by renouncing citizenship. Provision for this will be made in the forthcoming Finance Bill. I also stated at that time that I intend to keep this contentious issue under review.

Tax Yield

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

136 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance the amount that has been taken in on taxes, broken down by each tax or duty: on cigarettes in the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 in tabular form; the level of tax or duty on cigarettes in the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3531/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the yield from Tobacco Products Tax and estimated VAT on cigarettes for the years 2007 to 2011 is as follows:

Tobacco Products Tax

VAT (Estimated)

€m

€m

2007

1,155

327

2008

1,132

314

2009

1,155

335

2010

1,101

302

2011 (Prov)

1,060

300

It should be noted that the 2011 figure for Tobacco Products Tax is provisional at this time and is subject to change. Please note that the Value Added Tax receipts are estimated, as the VAT returns do not require the yield from a particular sector or sub-sector of trade to be identified. The rates of Tobacco Products Tax and VAT on cigarettes for the years 2007 to 2011 are set out as follows:

Tobacco Products Tax

(a) Specific Duty per 1,000 cigs. (b) Ad Valorem duty as % of retail price.

2007

1-1-07 to 4-12-07

(a) 151.37(b) 17.78%

5-12-07 to 31-12-07

(a) 160.57(b) 17.92%

2008

1-1-08 to 13-10-08

(a) 160.57(b) 17.92%

14-10-08 to 31-12-08

(a) 175.30(b) 18.28%

2009

1-1-09 to 06-04-09

(a) 175.30(b) 18.28%

07-04-09 to 31-12-09

(a) 183.42(b) 18.25%

2010

Full Year

(a) 183.42(b) 18.25%

2011

1-1-11 to 5-12-11

(a) 183.42(b) 18.25%

6-12-11 to 31-12-11

(a) 192.44(b) 18.03%

Value Added Tax Rates

2007

Full year

21%

2008

1-1-08 to 30-11-08

21%

1-12-08 to 31-12-08

21.5%

2009

Full year

21.5%

2010

Full year

21%

2011

Full year

21%

EU-IMF Programme

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

137 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Finance the amount of ECB funding for the covered Irish financial institutions that has been replaced into three year ECB funding subsequent to the three year ECB LTRO auction on the 21 December 2011; if the provision of three year term funding means the pillar banks and Irish Life and Permanent are no longer being forced to deleverage as quickly as originally envisaged in the deleveraging programme detailed in the EU-IMF memorandum of understanding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3564/12]

The Central Bank has informed me that any participation by Irish institutions in ECB operations is reflected in the Central Bank's monthly statistics publication; the monthly statistics publication which used December data was published at end-January. The Central Bank however, is not in a position to comment on individual participation in ECB operations. The offer of the three year LTRO is open to eurosystem counterparties with suitable collateral and has no connection or relationship with the deleverage plans of the banks mentioned in the question. The deleverage plans are a part of the Troika programme and are specific to certain banks in Ireland.

Tax Collection

John Lyons

Question:

138 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a breakdown of the tax liability in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 following correspondence received from the Revenue Commissioners regarding their pension; and if he will clarify if tax will be deducted in this particular case. [3578/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that having regard to the updated pension figure received from the Department of Social Protection, the person in question will have additional income tax due for the current year. This additional tax, which is estimated to be some €989 will be deducted from his occupational pensions over the course of 2012.

John Lyons

Question:

139 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a breakdown of the tax liability in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 following correspondence received from the Revenue Commissioners regarding their pension; and if he will clarify if tax will be deducted in this particular case. [3579/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the taxpayer concerned is jointly assessed with her husband. Their tax affairs are dealt with under self-assessment as her husband is self-employed. Based on the Return of Income submitted for 2010 there is no additional tax due for that year. The liability for 2011 will be determined when the Form 11 for that year is submitted.

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

140 Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Finance if a partial carer’s allowance, which is granted following a means test, is deemed as income for tax purposes thereby being subject to income tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3580/12]

The position is that, in line with many other Social Protection allowances, pensions and benefits, the Carers Allowance, whether paid in full or in part by the Department of Social Protection, is taxable.

Finian McGrath

Question:

141 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding tax credits in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [3606/12]

I have been informed by the Revenue Commissioners that they have made contact with the person in question to discuss her concerns and the question of entitlement to tax relief.

Tax Code

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

142 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance if the rate of VAT on agricultural diesel will be reduced in view of the fact that farmers and contractors cannot afford the high cost of fuel at the moment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3630/12]

I would point out marked gas oil, or green diesel, is subject to VAT at the 13.5% reduced VAT rate in accordance with paragraph 17(4) of Schedule 3 to the VAT Consolidation Act 2010. While the reduced rate applies to agricultural diesel in Ireland, the majority of EU Member States apply much higher VAT rates to agricultural diesel than Ireland. Ireland can avail of this reduced rate because of a provision, under Article 118 of the EU VAT Directive that provides that where a reduced rate applied to a good or service on 1 January 1991, Member States can continue to avail of that reduced rate. However, this provision is restricted in that only a rate of 12% or more may apply to domestic fuels. Furthermore, as the VAT Directive provides that Member States may only avail of two reduced VAT rates, and Ireland already applies two reduced VAT rates of 9% and 13.5%, it is not possible to introduce a third VAT rate on agricultural diesel.

Banks Recapitalisation

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

143 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide the names of the current holders of bonds in the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation; and, if not available, the steps he has taken to ascertain this information. [3636/12]

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

The function of the securities depository company is to receive the appropriate interest or principal payment for the entire bond issue from the issuer and to distribute the required amounts to the individual bondholders. This is a standard process for all such issuances. Therefore throughout this entire process the bond issuer is unaware of the individual bondholders' details. Accordingly, I am advised that IBRC is not in a position to ascertain the identities of the current holders of these bonds.

Tax Code

Terence Flanagan

Question:

144 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance his views on a matter regarding the 2% VAT rise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3640/12]

I would point our that domestic fuels, such as electricity, gas and home heating oil, are subject to VAT at the 13.5% rate, in accordance with paragraph 17 of Schedule 3 to the VAT Consolidation Act 2010. In particular, the 13.5% reduced VAT rate applies to home heating oil under paragraph 17(4) of Schedule 3. In this regard, while the recent Budget increased the standard VAT rate from 21% to 23%, there was no change to the 13.5% reduced VAT rate and as such the Budget change had no impact on the VAT charged on home heating oil.

Banks Recapitalisation

Pearse Doherty

Question:

145 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a full list of all unsecured guaranteed bonds due to be paid by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation in 2012 and 2013 detailing the amounts to be paid, the dates on which the payments will be made and the current holders of the bonds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3642/12]

I have been informed by the bank that the following unsecured guaranteed bonds are scheduled to mature during 2012:

Amount

April

€1,500m

October

€171m(1)

November

€114m(1)

Total

€1,785m

(1) Foreign exchange conversion rates as at 20th January 2012

No unsecured guaranteed bonds fall due for repayment during 2013. It should be noted that such bonds are freely tradable once issued and therefore the issuer (i.e. IBRC) has no means of establishing the underlying ownership. These bonds are publicly traded and dealt through market participants and settled by clearing house systems. An issuer does not have any access to the records of the clearing house.

Tax Reliefs

Niall Collins

Question:

146 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the year by year cost since 2005 to date analysed by sports code, rugby, soccer, golf, GAA and horse racing, of tax rebates and refunds to retired sports persons and professionals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3652/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that information on the estimated cost to the Exchequer of the tax relief on retirement for qualifying sportspersons is set out in the following table for the income tax years 2005 to 2009 inclusive. 2009 is the latest year for which the necessary detailed data is available.

Retirement relief for Qualifying Sportspersons

Year

Estimated cost to the Exchequer €m

2005

0.3

2006

0.2

2007

0.2

2008

0.2

2009

0.2

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that information on tax relief on retirement for qualifying sportspersons is not captured in such a way as to provide a basis for compiling a breakdown of the estimated cost of the relief by reference to sports code. Even if such a breakdown was available the obligation of the Revenue Commissioners to observe confidentiality in relation to the tax affairs of individual taxpayers or small groups of taxpayers would preclude them from providing it.

Tax Collection

Niall Collins

Question:

147 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the frequency, amounts and timing of any tax settlements made by GAA county boards with revenue since 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3653/12]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they are not in a position to supply the information that is requested because of their obligation to keep the tax affairs of taxpayers private and confidential.

Tax Reliefs

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

148 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Finance the expected change to persons tax reliefs for service charges; if he will provide details of the expected annual saving of the change; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3670/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that, up to the tax year 2011, income tax relief is available for individuals who pay service charges to local authorities and other independent contractors. Qualifying charges include all service charges paid to:

local authorities for the provision of domestic water supply, domestic refuse collection or disposal, or domestic sewage disposal;

group water schemes for domestic water supply; and

independent contractors for domestic refuse collection or disposal.

The relief is given at the standard rate of tax (20%) for any qualifying service charges paid in full and on time in the previous calendar year. The maximum annual amount of qualifying service charges in respect of which tax relief may be claimed is €400. For example, for services charges paid in respect of the years 2007 to 2010, the tax relief is given in the tax years 2008 to 2011 is the lesser of—

(a) the amount of services charges paid in the previous tax year @ 20%; or

(b) €400 @ 20%.

This relief was abolished by Section 12 of the Finance Act 2010. The final year for which the relief may be claimed is the 2011 tax year of assessment as respects service charges paid in 2010.

I am further informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the most recent year for which the necessary detailed information is available regarding tax relief for service charges is the income tax year 2009, in which the cost to the Exchequer is estimated at approximately €26.8 million. On this basis, the full year yield to the Exchequer of abolishing tax relief for service charges would be of the same order.

National Asset Management Agency

Michael McGrath

Question:

149 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the process whereby the National Asset Management Agency agrees, in respect of certain debtors, to directly pay the salary, or provide the necessary working capital to facilitate the payment of the salary to the debtor; and if such approval may also extend to the salaries of employees with the debtor’s organisation. [3703/12]

Michael McGrath

Question:

150 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of salaries being paid, with the support of the National Asset Management Agency, to employees of debtor companies, as distinct from the principal debtor themselves, which exceed €100,000 and the number that exceed €125,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3704/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 149 and 150 together.

NAMA advises me that it does not pay salaries to debtors or their employees, as NAMA is not their employer. NAMA informs me that it is the agency's practice to allow debtor companies to retain overhead costs from rental or other income that are produced by their assets, where this is necessary for that company's operations. In a minority of cases where assets are under development and not yet producing income, funds are advanced to debtors to cover essential overheads pending the completion of the project concerned.

NAMA assures me that the level of overheads is only agreed following a thorough and rigorous evaluation of the debtor's business plan by NAMA and that each cost element is reduced to the minimum. The level of overheads sanctioned by NAMA typically represent very significant reductions on the levels which prevailed in the past. Indeed, I am informed that NAMA on occasions has looked for and obtained a reduction of 50% to 75% in overhead costs.

As part of these agreements on overheads, NAMA sets a cap on the salary level of the principal debtor but it does not specify salary levels for any other employees. As a consequence, NAMA has no information as to how many employees in debtor companies are being paid in excess of €100,000 and in excess of €125,000.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Michael McGrath

Question:

151 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details, for each covered institution and including their finance and leasing businesses, of the number and category of repossessions of items, other than residential or commercial property, effected by the institutions for each of the years 2009, 2010 and 2011; and the value of the items concerned. [3706/12]

The information requested in the question is considered commercially sensitive by the covered institutions and therefore not publicly disclosed. I have learned however, that such repossessions peaked during 2009 and have declined since then. Total repossessions would include assets returned by consumers who have exercised their rights under the Hire Purchase Act to terminate their agreement and return the assets in question to financing entities.

Mortgage Arrears

Michael McGrath

Question:

152 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the steps that have been taken to proceed with the appointment of 100 independent mortgage advisers as provided for by the interdepartmental mortgage arrears working group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3711/12]

A Steering Group, comprising senior representation from Government Departments and the Central Bank, has been established to oversee and drive the implementation of the various recommendations of the Mortgage Arrears group across Government. As part of this, separate working groups have also been established to progress the individual work items and these individual groups report to the overall Steering Group. The Department of Social Protection is the lead Department on the mortgage advisory function work stream. It is the Government's intention to continue to work intensively on this item, and also on other work streams, and to significantly advance all the measures in the early part of 2012.

Tax Code

Michael McGrath

Question:

153 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if there is any scheme, other than the tax relief for disabled drivers and disabled passengers scheme, which deals solely with physical disabilities, whereby a person or an organisation could obtain an exemption from vehicle registration tax on the purchase of a new bus which will be used for the sole purpose of providing transport to a person or persons with severe or profound intellectual disability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3716/12]

There is no other scheme whereby a person or an organisation could obtain an exemption from vehicle registration tax on the purchase of a new bus which will be used for the sole purpose of providing transport to a person or persons with severe or profound intellectual disability.

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

154 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Finance in view of changes that were made in budget 2012, if he will consider a VAT exemption for those schools that visit open farms in view of the fact that these visits can be considered as an educational activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3830/12]

Irish VAT law is subject to the provisions of the EU VAT Directive with which it must comply. Article 110 of that Directive provides that Member States may continue to apply reduced rates, including the zero rate and exemptions from VAT, where such reduced rates or exemptions were in place at 1 January 1991. As Ireland was not applying an exemption from VAT to admissions to pet farms at that date an exemption cannot apply to those admissions. Up to 31 December 2011 admissions to historic houses and gardens, and open and pet farms were treated for VAT purposes as lettings and regarded as exempt from VAT. Having regard to certain decisions of the European Court of Justice, where a letting was defined for VAT purposes, it was decided that such admissions could no longer be treated as exempt lettings and they became subject to VAT from 1 January 2012.

While admissions to pet farms became liable to VAT from 1 January last, I announced in the Budget that the VAT rate applicable to such admissions would be the reduced rate of 9% and not the standard 23% VAT rate, and this will be provided for in the forthcoming Finance Bill. Schedule 1 to the VAT Consolidation Act 2010 does provide an exemption for the provision of children's or young people's education by educational establishments recognised by the State. This exemption does not extend to admissions to pet farms for educational school tours.

Financial Services Regulation

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

155 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Finance his views the recent appointment of a special manager to Newbridge Credit Union, County Kildare; if his attention has been drawn to the excellent reputation that the credit union has in Newbridge in respect of the services it provides to its members and to the broader community; if his attention has further been drawn to the controversy surrounding the level of fees which it is reported will be paid to the special manager and his team; if he will confirm the actual level of costs approved on an hourly or daily basis in respect of the appointment of this manager; if he is satisfied that the future of Newbridge Credit Union and its members’ savings are secure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3832/12]

The decision to apply to the Court for the appointment of a special manager is a matter for the Governor of the Central Bank, following consultation with me as Minister of Finance. On 13 January 2012, the Central Bank of Ireland secured a High Court Order for the appointment of a Special Manager to Newbridge Credit Union. The Central Bank states that a number of specific issues arose in relation to the finalisation of the 2011 financial statements; however, the draft accounts provided by Newbridge Credit Union show a solvent position.

This action has been taken to allow the Credit Union to continue to operate as normal and to protect members' savings. The special manager replaces the management and Board of Newbridge Credit Union and his primary role is to establish the financial position and bring forward a business plan. In accordance with the Central Bank and Credit Institutions (Resolution) Act 2011, the remuneration payable to the special manager was included in the special management order approved by the Court on foot of the Central Bank's application. The order provides that for the first month of his appointment, the special manager shall be remunerated on the basis of €423 per hour. Under the order, any payment to the special manager is subject to the approval of the Court.

Newbridge Credit Union has 14 days to appeal the decision to the High Court. This appeals period expires on 27 January 2012. I believe that it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on the issues raised in the question during the 14 day window during which Newbridge Credit Union may appeal this decision.

Tax Collection

Michael McCarthy

Question:

156 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Finance the tax liability requirements in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork following correspondence received from the Revenue Commissioners regarding his or her pension; if tax will be deducted in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3852/12]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a letter regarding his DSP Invalidity Pension was issued to the person concerned because the information available to them indicated that he was also in employment and therefore possibly liable to pay additional tax. It is now clear that he is receiving no income from his employer as he is on sick leave, and therefore his tax credits will be sufficient to ensure that he is not liable for tax and that he will also be exempt from the Universal Social Charge unless his circumstances change in 2012. If he resumes employment he should contact the Revenue Commissioners, Revenue House, Blackpool, Cork (Tel. 1890 222425) who will ensure that he receives his proper entitlements. There is no need for the person concerned to take any other action.

Departmental Staff

Seán Kenny

Question:

157 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the number of customs officers by rank currently based outside Ireland; the location of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3887/12]

The Revenue Commissioners is an integrated tax and customs administration. Officials are engaged on activities across a range of taxes and duties, including customs. There are currently six serving Revenue officers who are based outside Ireland — 3 Assistant Principal Officers and 3 Higher Executive Officers — details as follows:

Grade

Function

Location

Assistant Principal

Seconded National Expert on taxation to DGTAX UD, EC

Brussels

Assistant Principal

Fiscal Attaché/Tax and Customs Liaison Officer in the Permanent Representation, EU

Brussels

Assistant Principal

Fiscal Attaché/Tax and Customs Liaison Officer, Irish Embassy

London

Higher Executive Officer

Fiscal Attaché/Tax and Customs Liaison Officer in the Permanent Representation, EU

Brussels

Higher Executive Officer

Liaison Officer, Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre — Narcotics (MAOC-N)

Lisbon

Higher Executive Officer

Liaison Officer, Europol

The Hague

These staff are engaged on a wide range of policy, legislative and operational functions including customs matters. They play key roles in developing operational relationships, particularly developing sources of intelligence and risk identification. They also represent Ireland's interests with other Revenue administrations, European Union institutions and international organisations, such as the World Customs Council, Interpol and MAOC-N.

Financial Services Regulation

Sandra McLellan

Question:

158 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Finance the reason there are no regulations in place regarding social welfare cheques being cleared (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3901/12]

I understand that there are no particular requirements in place regarding the clearing of social welfare cheques. The Irish Paper Clearing Company Limited (IPCC) is responsible for the clearing and settlement of cheques in Ireland. The IPCC system provides the mechanism through which the participating banks exchange funds to honour cheques written by their customers, both corporate and individual. The ‘Rules for Clearing' issued by IPCC govern the process whereby these payment instruments are exchanged for value between participants; the rules also govern the processes for dealing with unpaid items and for rectifying errors.

The clearing cycle for cheques drawn on other banks, or on other branches of the same bank, is normally three business days. However, it should be noted that in some circumstances (in particular, where the payer's and payee's accounts are with the same branch of the same bank) the clearing cycle can be shorter than this. There may be a shorter clearing period for social welfare cheques presented at Bank of Ireland branches as these cheques are drawn against the Department of Social Protection Bank of Ireland accounts. Any bank or financial institution outside of the IPCC framework may have a longer cheque clearance cycle. A list of IPCC participants is available directly from IPSO at www.ipso.ie.

As to the related matter of when a bank will permit a customer to draw against a cheque lodged to his or her account, this is a matter for decision by each bank based on its own risk management arrangements, and would be outlined in the relevant terms and conditions. I should note that this question also highlights the disadvantages of the continued high usage of cheques as a method of payment. Greater use of electronic payment transactions have the potential to achieve significant savings for individual businesses; in particular electronic payments processing can realise significantly improved efficiency and improvements in the quality of customer service.

Under the European Communities (Payment Services) Regulation, 2009, (S.I. No. 383 of 2009), electronic payments are subject to maximum time limits for the transfer of funds between accounts. From 1 January 2012, a payment must be credited to the account of the payee's bank no later than the end of the next business day. I also refer the Deputy to the answer to Question No. 128 of 11 January 2012 relating to Central Bank proposals to prepare a National Payments plan to secure a decisive shift to electronic payments resulting in a reduced usage of cash and cheques in Ireland.

Pearse Doherty

Question:

159 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will confirm that KBC bank has not yet passed on the ECB interest rate drop of 14 December 2011 to its residential mortgage customers here; if he will confirm that KBC has yet to inform its customers whether it intends to pass on this rate reduction; his views that the actions of KBC are acceptable; the course of action he will take on this matter; if he has had any contact with either the Financial Regulator or KBC bank on this matter to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3915/12]

The lending institutions in Ireland are independent commercial entities. Ultimately the pricing of financial products, including standard variable mortgage interest rates, is a commercial decision for the management team and board of each lending institution, having due regard to their customers and the impact on profitability, particularly where the cost of funding to each lending institution, including deposit pricing, is under pressure. Neither the Central Bank nor I have any responsibility for the variable mortgage interest rate charged by the financial institution mentioned by the Deputy. I have no powers to compel the institution to reduce its rates. The Deputy will be aware of the Central Bank's Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, a copy of which can be accessed on www.centralbank.ie.

State Banking Sector

John Deasy

Question:

160 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance if he will detail and itemise all debt that has been forgiven by State controlled, State owned, State part-owned financial institutions in the past two years; and if he can inform Dáil Éireann of the policy of these institutions as it pertains to the forgiveness of all debt held by individuals, companies or otherwise. [3923/12]

There is no standard approach by financial institutions which involves debt forgiveness. Where debt forgiveness has occurred the particular circumstances are stated to be exceptional and each such situation is addressed on an individual basis. In general terms the approach, across financial institutions is to proactively work with the customer to find a solution which is practical for both and within the contractual arrangements between the borrower and the lender.

There are a range of strategies available to allow institutions to work constructively with customers in loan forbearance/restructuring. These include extending the loan repayment period term, agreeing interest only periods, etc. These strategies are aligned with the relevant codes of conduct e.g. the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears issued by the Central Bank. Financial institutions write off debt in their accounts annually. However this is not a proxy for debt forgiveness. It represents a point in time when, having pursued all avenues of recovery, there is no real prospect of recovery of the debt. The debt still remains collectable but for accounting purposes is not held in the institutions balance sheet.

I have been informed by the institutions that information in relation to debt that has been forgiven cannot be provided for a number of reasons including:

The information has not been publically disclosed.

Extraction of the information as requested would be very difficult to verify.

The information is commercially sensitive.

Any such information, if disclosed, would also need to be released to the market in light of Stock Exchange Obligations.

In relation to mortgage lending the Deputy will be aware the Mortgage Arrears Expert Group, during its period of research, could not identify any arrangements internationally that could be characterised as mortgage debt forgiveness schemes, with the exception of parts of the US where non-recourse mortgage lending applies. The group did not recommend a formal debt forgiveness scheme having regard to the broad range of policy considerations which are outlined in the main body of the report. The Central bank is currently reviewing lenders mortgage resolution strategies and, as part of the "Keane Report" there is no blanket debt forgiveness planned.

Question No. 161 answered with Question No. 123.

Tax Code

Michael McGrath

Question:

162 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if, in respect of utility bills dated January 2012 subject to the standard rate of VAT but charging for activity in the calendar year 2011, should provide for VAT at the revised standard rate of 23% in regard to all activity on the bill properly subject to the standard rate. [3992/12]

The increase in the standard rate of VAT from 21% to 23% applies with effect from 1 January 2012. In the case of continuous supplies of telecommunications services, electricity or gas, for which a bill is issued at least every three months, the rate of VAT that should be charged is the rate in force at the date of issue of the bill. In all other cases of services to private individuals, the correct rate is the rate in force at the time of supply of the services. The Revenue Commissioners have published a comprehensive information note about the application of the increase in the standard rate of VAT, which is available on their website —http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/vat/leaflets/increase-in-standard-rate.html.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

163 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Finance the level of engagement between him and the State guaranteed banks in terms of potential large scale debt write-downs of loans by the covered banks; the mechanisms that exist to ensure that debt write-downs do not take place at effective cost to the Irish Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4016/12]

As the Deputy is aware there is on-going and detailed engagement between my Department and the covered institutions. The current and projected capital requirements of the institutions form part of this engagement these and are monitored and assessed on an on-going basis. The Prudential Capital Assessment Review (PCAR) carried out in 2011 by the Central Bank independently assessed the capital requirements having regard, among other things, to the asset quality and the potential impact of such asset value/quality in base and stressed case scenarios.

The Central Bank of Ireland has informed me that in October 2011, the EBA conducted a review of the capital requirements of the 91 European banks that participated in the 2011 EU-wide stress test against a more stringent set of conditions compared to the 2010 EBA stress test, for example incorporating a capital buffer against sovereign debt exposures and the removal of certain regulatory capital filters) and a Core Tier 1 ratio of 9%.

As noted by the Central Bank of Ireland, the results of the EBA tests show that the Irish banks meet the stress requirements and do not require additional capital beyond the requirement set in the Financial Measures Programme published in March 2011. The results of the EBA stress tests take account of the recapitalisation measures announced following the Prudential Capital Assessment Review (PCAR).

The Irish banks have been recapitalised, following the Prudential Capital Assessment Review (PCAR) process in March 2011, and are required to maintain a minimum Core Tier 1 Ratio of 10.5% on an on-going basis. Further the Central Bank has also advised me that as agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) with our external partners, that the PCAR will be conducted as an annual stress test of the capital resources of the domestic banks.

Tax Code

Finian McGrath

Question:

164 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will clarify a matter (details supplied) regarding the fair deal scheme. [4083/12]

The matter of the proceeds of a family home depends on the circumstances of the case. However, I understand the Deputy is concerned about the tax treatment of capital in the case where a family home is sold. I have been informed by the Revenue Commissioners that under the Fair Deal Scheme the recipient of nursing home care is treated as accepting a loan from the HSE. He /she undertakes that the loan will be discharged after death by his/her Personal Representative. As part of the loan process a charge, similar to a mortgage, is placed on the home, and the house is security for eventual repayment after death.

The capital gains tax treatment of a disposal of the home by the Personal Representative is no different in this situation than would apply if the Fair Deal Scheme had not operated. A Capital Gains Tax charge will not arise on the death of the deceased. The Personal Representative will sell the house (if the 15% due under the Fair Deal Scheme is not otherwise capable of being paid by him out of the person's estate). For capital gains tax purposes, a Personal Representative takes assets at market value at the date of death. Any gain/loss is calculated as the difference between this market value at the date of death and the sale proceeds, less allowable costs of the disposal. If it is the case that the house is sold for less than the market value at the date of death then no capital gains tax liability will arise.

The Personal Representative is responsible for paying any capital gains tax resulting from any gain on the disposal of the house. The proceeds from the sale of the house and any other assets of the person less the capital gains tax paid will form part of the person's estate. The 15% due under the Fair Deal Scheme is, I understand, payable out of the person's estate before it can be distributed among beneficiaries in the usual manner.

Capital Acquisitions Tax is the overall name for both Inheritance Tax and Gift Tax. Only the net proceeds of the sale of the house will form part of the deceased persons estate for Inheritance Tax purposes, (having deducted from the sale proceeds any Capital Gains Tax paid when the property was sold and also having deducted from the sale proceeds the amount of the sale proceeds being paid over to the HSE). The net proceeds of sale, as stated, will then form part of the deceased persons estate, along with any other assets owned by the deceased. There is no Inheritance Tax on assets inherited by a spouse or by a civil partner of the deceased.

Apart from the exemption for spouses and civil partners, there are three tax — free thresholds — known as Group thresholds — for other beneficiaries.

Group A: €250,000 —applies where the beneficiary is a child ( including adopted child, step-child and certain foster children) or minor child of the deceased. Parents also fall within this threshold where they take an inheritance of an absolute from a child.

Group B: €33,208 —applies where the beneficiary is a brother, sister, a nephew, a niece or lineal ancestor or lineal descendant of the deceased.

Group C: €16,604 —applies in all other cases.

If the value of gifts and inheritances received by a beneficiary since 5 December 1991 exceeds his or her Group threshold, then a rate of CAT of 30% will apply on the difference.

Financial Services Regulation

Michael McGrath

Question:

165 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if any US financial institutions have received liquidity funding from the Central Bank of Ireland in the period 2007 to 2011; the name of the institutions; the dates at which it obtained funding each time; the amount of funding obtained and the collateral used to obtain such funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4100/12]

I have no role in the provision of liquidity funding by the Central Bank. However, the Central Bank advises me that, similar to other central banks, it may provide Exceptional Liquidity Assistance and Eurosystem liquidity. These amounts are published monthly. The Central Bank does not disclose the financial institutions that avail of such support although it is open to all eligible counterparties to apply for such funding.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Michael McGrath

Question:

166 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if a new framework is being put in place to govern the relationship between him, AIB and Irish Life and Permanent respectively to reflect the increase in the State’s ownership stake in these institutions; if the relationship agreements with Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society have formally lapsed following the merger of those institutions in July 2011; the progress that has been made on putting in place a framework in respect of the relationship with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4101/12]

The Department is currently finalising new Relationship Framework documents for each financial institution in which the State has a shareholding. The framework documents, which generally formed part of the recapitalisation agreements, will define the relationship between the Minister and the relevant institutions. These documents will be drafted and structured to ensure that the institutions will operate on a commercial basis and independent of the Minister in respect of their day to day operations. The role of the Minister will also be set out and will reflect his shareholding in the relevant institution and also the other support provided to that institution.

In the case of IBRC there is an existing Relationship Framework in place. Following the combination of Anglo and INBS the existing Relationship Framework applied to the merged entity. This document sets out the respective roles and responsibilities of both the Minister and the bank. In general terms the Board is responsible for the day to day operation of the bank and the Minister as sole shareholder retains certain "reserved matters" over which his express permission or approval is required. The Relationship Framework is currently being revised to reflect the changed situation following the combination of Anglo and INBS to form IBRC.

Consultancy Contracts

Michael McGrath

Question:

167 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the professional fees that have been paid to a legal services firm (details supplied) in respect of work undertaken on behalf of him to assist in the preparation of the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act, the recapitalisation of AIB and Irish Life and Permanent, subordinated liability orders in respect of Anglo Irish bank and AIB, the merger of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society and the acquisition of EBS by AIB respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4102/12]

The legal services firm referred to by the Deputy have been engaged by my Department since September 2008 to provide advice in relation to general banking matters including those referred to in the Deputy's Question. In March 2010 certain banking system functions of the Minister for Finance were delegated by Government Order to the National Treasury Management Agency. The delegation of banking system functions to the NTMA ended in August 2011 with the secondment of the NTMA Banking Unit to the Department of Finance Banking Division's new Shareholding Management Unit. Following the transfer the NTMA continued to pay to the legal services firm professional fees incurred by the new Shareholding Management Unit to end 2011.

Professional fees paid to the legal services firm by my Department and the NTMA in relation to the issues raised by the Deputy are being collated and I will forward this information to the Deputy as soon as possible. The Deputy may wish to note that the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission paid the legal services firm €1.25m (inc VAT) for the legal due diligence exercise on AIB carried out on the Commission's behalf at the request of the Minister for Finance prior to the €3.5 billion investment in AIB by the Fund at the direction of the Minister for Finance. The Fund received €30 million in arrangement fees from AIB in respect of this transaction.

Total paid by my Department to the legal services firm for all services, including the ones mentioned by the Deputy and others, were:

Year

2008

€1,628,024

2009

€5,875,869

2010

€4,804,884

2011

€1,287,182

Fiscal Policy

Michael McGrath

Question:

168 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the losses imposed on subordinated bondholders in covered institutions in each of the past four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4103/12]

In aggregate, the covered Irish banks have generated €15.5bn of capital from Liability Management Exercises (LMEs) over the last four years. The breakdown per year is as follows:

€bn

2008

2009

2010

2011

Total

PTSB

1.0

1.0

BoI

1.0

1.3

1.5

3.8

AIB

1.1

0.4

3.6

5.1

EBS

0.0

0.1

0.2

0.3

INBS

0.0

0.1

0.1

0.3

Anglo

1.8

1.6

3.3

Total cash gains from Sub-debt burden sharing

0.0

4.0

3.4

6.5

13.9

*BoI — Debt for Equity transactions

0.3

0.4

0.7

BoI — Residential Mortgage Backed Securitization LMEs

0.3

0.3

Anglo — Unrealised Tier 1 gain

0.3

0.3

Other

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.35

Total gains from LMEs

0.2

4.4

3.8

7.2

15.5

*In the case of Bank of Ireland (BoI) subordinated bondholders received €0.7bn of ordinary equity shares in consideration for their bond holdings (debt for equity transactions), as part of its recapitalisation in 2010 and 2011. In addition, BoI generated €0.3bn of capital in December 2011 from the re-purchase of c. €1.2bn residential mortgage backed securitizations.

Michael McGrath

Question:

169 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if, in view of the progress made to date in respect of reaching the deleveraging target set for AIB, Bank of Ireland and Irish Life and Permanent, an extension to the timetable would ease the pressure on credit availability to consumers and business providing assistance to the domestic economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4104/12]

As the Deputy will be aware the covered banks are required to deleverage circa €70bn of assets by 31 December 2013. To date significant progress has been made in that regard: The two pillar banks met the 2011 deleveraging targets with almost €15 billion of these assets sold at significantly better pricing than anticipated in the PCAR/PLAR 2011 exercise. Total deleveraging achieved across government supported banks was €40.5 billion through end November 2011 against full year 2011 expected deleveraging of €34.7 billion. In addition, Irish banks enjoyed deposit inflows in the final quarter of 2011 despite the very difficult international environment.

It is important to maintain the progress in downsizing our banking system which was made in 2011, and we are working to refine the deleveraging framework to minimize risks to lending to the economy and discourage excessive competition for deposits. Nonetheless, it is also important, as part of the overall strategy to maintain progress in regard to deleveraging and this momentum will ensure that banks will better able to support the real economy in the shortest possible timeframe.

As things stand the banking system restructuring plan creates capacity for the two Pillar Banks, Bank of Ireland and AIB, to provide lending in excess of €30 billion in the next three years. SME and new mortgage lending for these banks is expected to be in the range of €16-20bn over this period. The Government has imposed lending targets on the two domestic pillar banks for the three calendar years, 2011 to 2013. Both banks were required to sanction lending of at least €3 billion in 2011, €3.5 billion this year and €4 billion in 2013 for new or increased credit facilities to SMEs. The position will be monitored on an on-going basis and any adjustments required will be considered and addressed.

Departmental Bodies

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

170 Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Finance the total amount paid in remuneration and expenses to members of publicly appointed State boards in both the public and semi-State sectors in 2011; his views that savings can be made in this area; the number of persons in total who sit on these boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4583/12]

In response to the Deputy's question details in respect of boards of bodies under the aegis of my Department.

State agency Funded by the Exchequer: National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA)

There are 5 Boards coming under the NMTA as outlined in the table. Please note that, in line with paragraph 3.8 of the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies, attendance at meetings of the National Treasury Management Agency Advisory Committee, the State Claims Agency Policy Committee, the National Development Finance Agency Board, the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission and the National Asset Management Agency Board is published in the relevant Annual Report of the body concerned. The amounts below are based on actual payments made in 2011.

Board/Body Name

No. of board members

Remuneration details in respect of board members and board chairpersons

National Treasury Management Agency Advisory Committee

Up to 7 Board members.Currently 1 vacancy

Chair €50,000.Chair agreed to make a gift of 10% of 2009 remuneration to the Minister for Finance under s483 of the Taxes Consolidation Act.Ordinary Members €25,000.Members agreed to make a gift of 10% of remuneration to the Minister for Finance under s483 of the Taxes Consolidation Act from 1 January 2009.Secretary General Department of Finance receives no fee in respect of his membership.A total of €40,955 in expenses was paid to Advisory Committee members in 2011 reflecting travel and accommodation expenses incurred by non-Irish based members.

National Development Finance Agency (NDFA)

Up to 8 Board members.

Chairman, as an ex-officio member, receives no fee.Ordinary Members €12,600 p.a.2 members (Chief Executive of the NTMA and the Chief Executive Officer of the NDFA) receive no fees in respect of their membership.No expenses were paid in 2011.

National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission

Up to 7 Board members

Chair €51,424.Ordinary members €34,283.One member (Chief Executive of the NTMA) receives no fee in respect of his membership.A total of €836 in expenses was paid to commissioners in 2011 reflecting travel and accommodation expenses incurred by non-Irish based members.

National Asset Management Agency

Up to 9 board membersCurrently 2 vacancies

The Chairman receives a fee of €150,000, six members receive fees of €60,000 each per annum while one member (also Chairman of the Credit Committee) receives a fee of €75,000 per annum. Each member of the NAMA Board also chairs or is a member of various NAMA Board committees. Their fees associated with these committees are included in the above.2 ex-officio members (Chief Executive of the NTMA and the Chief Executive Officer of NAMA), receive no fees in respect of their membership.A total of €48,960 in expenses was paid to board and committee members in 2011 primarily reflecting travel and accommodation expenses of a member not based in Ireland.

State Claims Agency Policy Committee

Up to 7 Board membersCurrently 2 vacancies

Chair €13,713 p.a.Ordinary members €9,142 p.a.2 members (serving civil servants) do not receive fees in respect of their membership.No expenses were paid in 2011.

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation There are currently 8 board members of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited. Total Board fees €671,600. 2011 expenses in the amount of €1,758.21 have been incurred in respect of Directors attendance at meetings, including in some cases costs in respect for attendance via conference call. This relates to 2 board members.

An annual review is undertaken of attendance by Directors at board and board sub-committee meetings, which is published in the Bank's annual financial statements. The results of the 2010 review are published on page 29 of the 2010 Financial Statements. The results of the 2011 review will be published in the 2011 financial statements.

Central Bank Commission In 2011 some €74,815 was paid in remuneration and expenses to 5 members of the Central Bank Commission.

Pension Provisions

Billy Timmins

Question:

171 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding deductions from a pension in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3446/12]

There is no deduction from the Pension of the person referred to by the Deputy for the value referenced by him in the details supplied. However, there is a deduction for a slightly higher amount which is in respect of the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR). The Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) applies to the pensions of civil and public servants with effect from 1 January 2011. This measure was introduced under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2010 (No. 38 of 2010). The attachment contains further details on the Public Service Pension Reduction.

Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) — Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the basic design of the public service pension reduction?

The measure is a once-off reduction applied to the gross annual pension of public service pensioners by reference to a set of rates and income bands. In this sense it is not a levy in the way that the public service pension-related deduction is often called the pension levy.

It will apply to existing pensioners and persons retiring up to end-February 2012. Retirees thereafter will not be affected, but their pensions will be lower as they will be affected by the January 2010 pay cuts. The reduction has a proportionately greater impact on persons with more substantial pensions. Pensions below €12,000 will be exempt.

2. From what date will the reduction apply?

The Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) applies to the pensions of civil and public servants with effect from 1 January 2011.

When making the first pension payments in the year 2011, public service employers must ensure that the PSPR only applies in respect of the days of the first 2011 pay period that fall in 2011. This means that any part of such 2011 pension payments attributable to the year 2010 must not be subjected to the PSPR.

3. Who is and who is not subject to the reduction?

Persons currently receiving public service pensions, or who start to receive them up to 29 February 2012 are subject to the reduction. Persons who retire after 29 February 2012 will not be affected by the reduction. This is because their pensions will be automatically lowered as they are based on the reduced pay rates applicable in the public service since 1 January 2010.

4. What income bands and rates are used to determine the reduction?

First €12,000 0%

Between €12,000 and €24,000 6%

Between €24,000 and €60,000 9%

Above €60,000 12%

5. Where a pensioner also gets a State Pension from the Dept. of Social Protection, is that State Pension income be subject to the reduction?

No.

6. Are retirement lumps sums or death gratuities affected?

No, only pensions.

7. Are survivor pensions payable under public service schemes liable to the reduction?

Yes.

8. For persons on pension rate of pay, does the reduction apply?

Yes.

9. How will public servants at different income levels be affected?

Pension before Reduction (€)

Annual Reduction (€)

Annual Reduction (%)

12,000

0

0%

15,000

180

1.2%

20,000

480

2.4%

25,000

810

3.2%

30,000

1,260

4.2%

40,000

2,160

5.4%

50,000

3,060

6.1%

60,000

3,960

6.6%

70,000

5,160

7.4%

80,000

6,360

8.0%

90,000

7,560

8.4%

100,000

8,760

8.8%

Department of Finance 17 December 2010

Third Level Courses

Arthur Spring

Question:

172 Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the retaining of the programme of general nursing in Tralee Institute of Technology, County Kerry, in view of the integral role the course plays in the IT in attracting students and as a precursor to the masters in science in nursing offered at the IT. [3472/12]

A review group has been established by the Minister for Health to examine the content and structure of the current nursing and midwifery degree programmes including the points of entry, clinical placement requirements and governance arrangements having regard to overall workforce planning needs and new patterns of service delivery within the health system. Following completion of the review my Department and the HEA will in consultation with the higher education institutions consider the findings and any implications in relation to the organisation and delivery of nursing and midwifery degree programmes within the higher education system. This will take into account the broader education policy considerations involved including the future levels demand for such programmes nationally and internationally.

FÁS Training Programmes

Brian Walsh

Question:

173 Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine the possibility of providing additional places on the competency determination validation electrical course, which is provided through Shannon Training Centre, in view of the fact that the current capacity of four places per course has resulted in a waiting time for applicants of around two years. [3639/12]

I understand that The Competency Determination Mechanism (CDM) for the trade of Electrical was piloted in the Shannon Training Centre and following the completion of the validation, FÁS is currently in the process of providing additional capacity to meet the demand. In addition, I am informed that FÁS will have additional capacity available in Baldoyle Training Centre in February 2012, with a higher level of throughput, and is currently examining other training locations to provide more capacity/frequency of the delivery of the CDM.

Brendan Griffin

Question:

174 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the delivery of a facility (details supplied) in County Kerry; if he will ensure that the matter will progress without any unnecessary delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4054/12]

The project in question is currently being considered by FÁS in the context of the FÁS Capital allocation for 2012 and it is expected that a decision will be made shortly on the matter.

Departmental Expenditure

David Stanton

Question:

175 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amounts made available to the National Centre for Technology and Education in 2010 and 2011 and the amount expected to be made available for 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3256/12]

The 2012 allocation for the NCTE which is now part of the support services for schools is currently under consideration and my officials are having discussions with the management of the Dublin West Education Centre in this regard. I expect that a decision will be made shortly. Previous allocations for this work were €5,120,000 in 2010 and €3,828,326 in 2011.

Special Educational Needs

David Stanton

Question:

176 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there is a set standard number of hours that special needs assistants are expected to work per week; if he will provide details of same; if he will provide details of any extra hours or days over and above the standard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3263/12]

In line with the nationally agreed contract for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) full-time SNAs are required to work for the normal classroom hours including class break periods in the school that they are working in, and in addition to be available for a period of time before and after school in order to help with such duties as reception and dispersal of children and preparation and tidying up of classrooms. SNAs are also required to be available for an additional 72 hours per school year. As agreed under the terms of the Public Service (Croke Park) Agreement, these 72 hours can be utilised by school management outside of normal school opening hours and/or the normal school year.

Psychological Service

David Stanton

Question:

177 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount expended on the scheme for commissioning psychological assessments in 2010 and 2011; the number of assessments carried out under this scheme; the average cost of each assessment; the amount that he expects to expend on this scheme in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3264/12]

As the Deputy will be aware all primary and post-primary schools have access to psychological assessments either directly through the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) or through the Scheme for Commissioning Psychological Assessments (SCPA). Schools that do not currently have NEPS psychologists assigned to them may avail of the SCPA, whereby the school can have an assessment carried out by a member of the panel of private psychologists approved by NEPS, and NEPS will pay the psychologist the fees for this assessment directly.

The SCPA operates on a fixed-fee basis with €304 being payable in respect of each assessment successfully completed and certified by the school Principal concerned. In this regard in 2010 €0.856m was expended delivering some 2,818 assessments, in 2011 the expenditure amounted to €0.746m for 2,455 assessments.

Expenditure for the current year is dependent on a number of variables including increases in school enrolment and the timing and pace of recruitment and assignment of newly recruited psychologists replacing staffing lost in 2011/12 due to retirement or resignation. It is estimated that, subject to Department of Public Expenditure & Reform sanction, expenditure will be in the region of €0.65m in respect of some 2,100 assessments.

Higher Education Grants

Pat Breen

Question:

178 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review the case of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3280/12]

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 and supporting documentation, it would not be possible for me to say whether or not a student should qualify for the special rate of maintenance grant.

However, the qualifying criteria for the special rate of grant for students applying under the 2011 student grant scheme are: 1. Student must qualify for the ordinary rate of grant; 2. Total reckonable income must not exceed €22,703. 3. On the 31st December 2010, the reckonable income must include an eligible long-term payment prescribed under the scheme. I have no plans to change these criteria. 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.

School Supervision and Substitution Scheme

Catherine Murphy

Question:

179 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total annual expenditure by him in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively, on providing temporary classroom cover for teachers who are on leave from their schools to facilitate practical and-or oral examinations in other schools for relevant subjects (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3284/12]

The cost of substitution cover claimed by the managerial authorities of secondary and community/comprehensive schools to provide replacements for teachers absent from their teaching posts on work associated with state examinations in the academic years 2009/10 and 2010/11 are as follows:

Year

2009/2010

1.389 million

2010/2011

1.386 million

Departmental Funding

John Halligan

Question:

180 Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm if there will be any subsidies available for parents wishing to send their children to schools with a Protestant ethos when there is no alternative free schooling available in the area (details supplied). [3325/12]

This Government recognises the importance of ensuring that students from a Protestant or reformed church background can attend a school that reflects their denominational ethos while at the same time ensuring that funding arrangements are in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

With regard to the fee-charging Protestant schools, an arrangement exists whereby funding is provided by my Department to the Secondary Education Committee (SEC), an organisation run by the churches involved in managing the Protestant secondary schools. The SEC then disburses funds to the Protestant fee-charging schools on behalf of pupils who would otherwise have difficulty with the cost of fees and who, in the absence of such financial support, would be unable to attend a second level school of a reformed church or Protestant ethos. Funding amounts to €6.5 million annually. This fund ensures that necessitous Protestant children can attend a school of their choice.

There are 6 Protestant Second Level Schools which do not charge fees, two in Dublin, one in Wicklow, one in Westmeath, one in Cork, and one in Donegal. I wish to advise the Deputy that students who board at a Protestant school which does not charge fees may also apply for a grant from the SEC to assist with boarding costs. A list of boarding schools is available on my Department's website.

School Patronage

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

181 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will issue in relation to the patronage of a proposed new school (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3326/12]

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

182 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills when he anticipates the establishment of a new primary school in a town (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3327/12]

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

183 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills the consultations he has had with community and educational interests in an area (details supplied) in County Kildare, in which it is proposed to develop a new primary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3328/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 to 183, inclusive, together.

In June 2011, I announced that 20 new primary and 20 new post-primary schools are to be established in the next six years across a number of locations. This announcement included a proposal to establish a new school in the area referred to by the Deputy. This school is to be established in September 2012. Under the application criteria for patronage, applicants were required to provide evidence of parental demand by signing up lists of parents who expressed interest in having their children educated in their new school.

My Department invited patron bodies to make applications for patronage of the new primary schools to be established in 2012 and 2013. A report has been prepared on these applications for the consideration of the New Schools Establishment Group who will submit a report to me in due course for final consideration and decision. Details of the new arrangements for patronage of new schools and the criteria for deciding on patronage of these new schools are available on my Department's website, www.education.ie.

Schools Building Projects

Finian McGrath

Question:

184 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a new primary school is being planned for an area (details supplied) in Dublin 1. [3363/12]

I can confirm that my Department has secured a site in the area referred to by the Deputy. The new site is intended for the construction of a new primary school for occupation by an existing nearby school. The next phase of the process will be the appointment of a design team to take the project through the stages of architectural planning. Officials from my Department will contact the school authority when the tendering process for appointment of a design team is about to commence.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

185 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding construction works in respect of a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3366/12]

Responsibility for the delivery of this project was devolved to the Board of Management of the school in 2008 and the legal contract for the delivery of the works is between the Board of Management and a construction company that was contracted to deliver works at the school. I understand that agreement on a way forward has now been reached between the two parties.

Chaplaincy Services

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

186 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the financing of chaplaincy services in secondary schools and the cost of this service to the Exchequer per year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3376/12]

Chaplain posts are allocated in respect of Community and Comprehensive Schools and designated Community Colleges. There are currently 152 wholetime equivalent posts allocated in respect of chaplaincy services at a cost of approximately €9m for the 2011/2012 school year.

Higher Education Grants

Seán Crowe

Question:

187 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of leaving certificate students who have applied for the higher education access route, HEAR, grant from as far back as August 2011, are still waiting for medical cards to be issued and that one of the criteria for applying for HEAR is that the family hold a medical card in 2011; and if he will ensure that disadvantaged students are not excluded from receiving the HEAR grant due to the long delays in issuing medical cards. [3381/12]

The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is a third-level admissions scheme for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The scheme is operated by a number of higher education institutions and not by my Department. Admissions to the institutions under this programme are regulated by the institutions themselves. Further details are available at www.accesscollege.ie. The issue of medical cards is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Health.

Book Loan Scheme

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

188 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an update on plans to introduce a national book loan scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3388/12]

My Department has undertaken a survey of schools to establish the current situation regarding school book rental and loan schemes. This survey has recently been completed. When the results of this survey have been examined, I will consider how I might incentivise the introduction of book loan or rental schemes in schools that do not currently operate such schemes. I believe it is the most effective means of lowering costs for all parents. My Department is also currently preparing guidelines for schools on best practice in the operation of such schemes.

School Staffing

Finian McGrath

Question:

189 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will not cut three teachers at a school (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [3399/12]

The announcement I made on the 11th January in relation to my Department reporting to me within four weeks refers only to the impact of the withdrawal of certain posts allocated under previous disadvantaged schemes in DEIS Band 1 and Band 2 primary schools.

This report will detail the facts for each individual school affected by this measure, applying the most up to date enrolments for September 2011. In addition, the report will take account of the net effect of a range of factors on teacher allocations in these schools, for example increasing and decreasing enrolments and the reforms to the existing teacher allocations process, all of which will determine the staffing requirement for these schools for 2012/13 school year. It is only when this report is made available to me that I will be in a position to make a decision on the final outcome for the individual schools involved.

Pension Provisions

Michael Lowry

Question:

190 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review an application for a supplementary pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3401/12]

The application for a supplementary pension by the person to whom the Deputy refers is being processed by officials in the Pension Unit of my Department.

Teachers’ Remuneration

Billy Timmins

Question:

191 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a qualification allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) [3438/12]

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

235 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide clarification of his plans for any changes to the masters degree allowance for teachers in budget 2012; if he will commit to maintaining the payment due to the beneficial effect it has had on the teaching profession; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4041/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 191 and 235 together.

Circular 70/2011, which clarified the position on qualification allowances for teachers, schools and the public, was published on my Department's website on Friday, 16 December 2011. This Circular outlines the position in relation to existing teachers and those entering the profession on or after 5 December 2011. Individual teachers who have been engaged in a public sector teaching post on or before 4 December 2011 are eligible to retain the allowances they were entitled to be in receipt of on that date. Existing teachers will not be paid any additional allowance where they acquire any further qualification on or after 5 December 2011.

The position of existing teachers who, on 5 December 2011, were undertaking courses will be considered in the context of the public service-wide review of allowances announced in Budget 2012 which is to be led by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

School Accommodation

Dara Calleary

Question:

192 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills the current cost of prefab rental and projected cost of prefab rental between now and 2017 in a school (details supplied) in County Mayo. [3500/12]

The current cost of prefab rental at the school referred to by the Deputy is €48,448.40 per annum. With regard to the question of the projected cost of prefab rental between now and 2017, a review of the continued need for the temporary accommodation at all schools that are renting is conducted every two — three years. The next review for the school referred to by the Deputy is due from 1st July 2012 and this review will determine the level of expenditure on the accommodation to 2014/15.

School Enrolments

Dara Calleary

Question:

193 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide details of the study carried out in Ballina, County Mayo, identifying the areas in which, due to demographic changes, there may be a requirement for significant school provision over the coming years. [3503/12]

The Forward Planning Section of my Department has examined all areas of the country to determine where additional school provision will be required at both primary and post-primary level up to 2017. The data indicates that there will be a modest increase in enrolments at both primary and post-primary level in the Ballina area. However, it is anticipated that this increase may be catered for by existing school capacity. Forward Planning Section will continue to monitor enrolments in the area with a view to determining if expansion may be required into the future.

School Transport

Michael Creed

Question:

194 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will clarify the situation regarding the closed school rule and entitlement of siblings to school transport when other siblings are already in receipt of this service; if this will be available on a concessionary or other basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3507/12]

Changes to the School Transport Schemes, including the ‘Closed School Rule (CSR)', were announced in Budget 2011 and derive from recommendations in the Value for Money Review of the Scheme. The Deputy will be aware that from September 2011, the distance criterion of 3.2 kilometres was applied nationally to all pupils travelling under the primary school transport scheme, including those travelling under the CSR.

The second element of the change is scheduled to take effect in September 2012 and will apply only in the case of pupils commencing their primary education from that date. This second element will restrict school transport eligibility for those pupils entering in September 2012, to pupils who meet the distance eligibility criterion and are travelling to their nearest school. Existing eligible pupils, who are not attending their nearest school, will retain their school transport eligibility for the duration of their primary education cycle provided there are no changes to their current circumstances. Siblings of these pupils, who wish to attend the same school, may apply for concessionary transport subject to a number of terms and conditions. In this regard, it is worth noting that the annual charge for concessionary tickets will be reduced to €100 for the 2012 school year which is the same charge that applies for eligible tickets.

Michael Creed

Question:

195 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of eligible pupils required for the establishment and/or retention of a school bus service in September 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3509/12]

One of the changes in the school transport scheme which took effect from the beginning of the 2011 school year was an increase from seven to ten in the minimum number of eligible pupils, residing in a distinct locality, required to establish or retain an individual school transport service. This change now forms part of the School Transport schemes. As is currently the position, families of eligible pupils, for whom there is no school transport service available, may apply for a remote area grant towards the cost of making private transport arrangements.

School Closures

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

196 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the names of schools he intends to close in County Cork; and the dates on which he intends to close them. [3533/12]

I want to clarify for the Deputy that I have no intention to forcibly close any schools, in County Cork or elsewhere in Ireland, arising from the announcement I made on 5th December 2011. I would advise the Deputy to read the detail of that announcement, available on www.education.ie, so he can familiarise himself with what I actually announced in the Budget.

The criteria under which National Schools are recognised by the Department are outlined in the Education Act 1998 and the Rules for National Schools. Under the criteria, recognition can be withdrawn where a school's pupil enrolment returns to the Department, at 30th September, falls below 8 pupils and remains at this level for at least two consecutive years and where the Patron is satisfied that there is little prospect of a reversal in the school's pupil enrolment trend. My Department is not aware of any school in County Cork that currently does not meet the above criteria.

Special Educational Needs

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

197 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if any consideration has been given to the combining of learning support and resource teachers in rural areas when clustering would mean that the teachers would have to spend a prolonged amount of time commuting between schools instead of being in the class rooms with the pupils; if rural schools have been consulted about the changes to the arrangements; if any consideration has been given to the differences between rural schools and urban schools in relation to these new rules; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3545/12]

Denis Naughten

Question:

233 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the disproportionate impact that the decoupling of learning support and resource hours will have on small schools; if he will review this policy decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4036/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 197 and 233 together.

The new simplified approach to the General Allocation Model of support for schools will make it easier to automatically update it annually in line with the changes in the number of classroom teachers in each school. Schools will also have autonomy on how to deploy the resource between language support and learning support depending on their specific needs. The arrangements for the staffing allocation under the General Allocation Model (GAM) are specifically designed to facilitate GAM hours being clustered into full-time posts — either entirely within their own school or with a nearby neighbouring school.

The new GAM allocations are being done in 5-hour blocks which is the equivalent of the tuition time for a full school day. Teachers that are in shared posts between schools can therefore operate local arrangements that enable their travel to a neighbouring school to be done, where possible, from the start of the school day thus avoiding loss of tuition time.

As part of the reforms to the teacher allocation process existing posts will be used to put in place a network of about 2,450 full-time resource posts in over 1,600 base schools throughout the country that will be allocated on a permanent basis. This approach builds on the interim arrangements that operated in 2011 but in a more structured and transparent manner. The annual changes in resource hours at individual school level will only affect where the teacher is working on any one day — not whether the base school continues to host the full-time post. This approach will introduce a greater constancy in the context of the annual allocations and redeployment process.

The teachers in these full-time resource posts will undertake NCSE approved (low incidence) resource hours in the base schools or in neighbouring schools. Schools are typically notified of their NCSE approved resource hours in the late Spring/early Summer period but also throughout the school year.

Through his/her role in allocating resources the local SENO will have an oversight role in relation to the sharing arrangements between schools so that they can operate as efficiently as possible and any time loss due to travel between schools can be kept to a minimum. Schools that are unable to access their NCSE approved resource hours from this network of full-time resource posts will be allocated mainly part-time temporary posts.

School Accommodation

Clare Daly

Question:

198 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider the allocation of funds to a school (details supplied) in County Dublin in order that the prefabs currently accommodating six classes will be replaced with a permanent structure. [3561/12]

My Department has asked the school, referred to by the Deputy, for further information relating to its application for permanent accommodation. When this information is received the application will be assessed and a decision on the matter will be conveyed to the school authority.

School Curriculum

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

199 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if changes are proposed to the physics curriculum; if so, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3565/12]

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has developed revised draft syllabuses in Leaving Certificate Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The Council has just completed a public consultation process on these drafts, and is currently finalising its advice to me, based on the feedback. I expect the revised syllabuses to be submitted to me with the Council's advice during this year.

A key objective of the revisions is to provide for a strengthened focus on practical investigative approaches, building on the reforms which have already occurred in junior cycle science. The revised draft syllabuses are available on www.ncca.ie, and will provide for a strengthened focus on practical assessment. This is seen as vital if the Government objective of increasing participation in the physical sciences to 20% in senior cycle is be achieved.

Schools Building Projects

Derek Keating

Question:

200 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Education and Skills when he expects the building to commence following his announcement of a new school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3567/12]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the project to which he refers has commenced on site.

Higher Education Grants

John Lyons

Question:

201 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an update on the student grant application in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11; if he will provide a comprehensive list of any information or documents outstanding to make a decision; and when the grant application will be processed. [3569/12]

Officials in my Department have confirmed that the student referred to by the Deputy made an application to City of Dublin VEC. The awarding authority have confirmed that a decision letter issued to the student on 19th January 2012.

Education Staff

Derek Keating

Question:

202 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he is satisfied that our education service which is dependent on teachers, lecturers and tutors will be adequately staffed after the deadline for retirement in February 2012; the number of teachers that are planning to retire, the number of principal posts, heads of department posts, professorships and associated professorships who will retire and accept early redundancy in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3571/12]

My Department is very conscious of the potential impact on service provision of the expected increase in retirements on or before 29 February 2012. The effective management of staffing resources within Employment Control Frameworks and/or the moratorium on public sector numbers is ongoing within each organisation in the education sector, through prioritisation of work and working practices. This process is regularly monitored to ensure continued effective delivery of key services. However, unlike other parts of the public sector, our school going population is rising rapidly. Places have to be provided for the extra 70,000 pupils arriving in our schools in the next six years. Teachers will have to be appointed to teach them. As Minister for Education and Skills, I will ensure every child has a physical place in which to go to school.

That is why, despite the need to reduce teacher numbers and the other spending reductions that have been made, the overall number of teachers employed in our schools is about 200 below what they were in 2008. This represents a net overall reduction of about 0.3% in the overall number of teachers despite several changes to the PTR at both primary and second level. Under the terms of the current ECF, my Department has delegated sanction to fill vacancies arising in teaching and at third level, subject to the ceiling figures for those areas not being exceeded.

To reduce the impact on students preparing for the State examinations, I am allowing schools to re-employ until the end of the school year teachers who retire between 1 December 2011 and 29 February 2012 and who had been teaching classes sitting State exams in 2012 before their retirement. In the case of teachers who are not teaching exam classes, replacements can be employed until the end of the school year, subject to the numbers frameworks. It is a matter for each third level institution to manage its own retirements as they arise. They have delegated sanction to fill certain vacancies, subject to the ceiling figures set out in their individual ECF.

Should any organisation suffer such a level of retirements that it cannot effectively order and prioritise its work and working practices, it can apply for an exception to the moratorium from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The projected numbers of teachers who will retire between 1 January and 29 February 2012 is set out in the table. Information relating to projected retirements in the higher education sector and on the breakdown of retirement applications by grade is not readily available at this time. This information is being collated and will be forwarded as soon as possible.

Sector

Projected Retirements from 1 January to 29 February 2012

Primary Teachers

729

Secondary/Community and Comprehensive School Teachers

507

Vocational Teachers

220

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

203 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if, in regard to budget 2012, along with all other cuts in education, Gaeltacht schools are being particularly targeted and are under threat because of the proposals; he will appreciate the work and the valuable contribution that these schools in Gaeltacht areas are doing in fulfilling their obligation in promoting the Irish language in their localities as per the Education Act; if he will give due consideration to the prevailing linguistic circumstances in each Gaeltacht area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3596/12]

Robert Troy

Question:

206 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will at the very minimum suspend the retrospective element of the reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio for all schools with fewer than 86 pupils. [3668/12]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

227 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the impact that his decision to increase the pupil-teacher ratio in Irish medium schools to that of mainstream schools will have on a school (details supplied) in County Donegal with the loss of a much valued teacher and the setback this is to its progress in promoting the growth of the Irish language as the only Gaelscoil in east Inishowen and maintaining the standard of education available to the children there. [3983/12]

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

228 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the effect that changes to pupil-teacher ratios and DEIS criteria announced in budget 2012 will have on a school (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3985/12]

Dara Calleary

Question:

229 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills the impact the budgetary decisions in relation to two, three and four teacher schools will have on each primary school in County Mayo based on their enrolment as of 30 September 2011 in tabular form. [4004/12]

Willie Penrose

Question:

237 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will advise comprehensively as to the position of a primary school (details supplied) in County Longford in relation to staffing schedule adjustments announced in budget 2012 in the context of where at 30 September 2011 it had 50 pupils registered in order to allow it maintain its status as a three teacher school, having satisfied the enrolment threshold and where at 30 September 2012 it will have 54 pupils enrolled which exceeds the new 51 pupil enrolment threshold at that date; if he will confirm that they can sanction their third teacher at this school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4047/12]

Willie Penrose

Question:

238 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills in the context of primary school staffing, as announced in budget 2012 and with particular reference to the staffing schedule for schools with less than 86 pupils, which will increase the minimum number of pupils required for allocation of teaching posts, if he will confirm that where, for example, a school is a three teacher school which satisfies the current enrolment threshold of 49, which will increase to 51 in September 2012, it will be allowed to demonstrate that it can achieve the threshold of 51 in September 2012, by way of the appropriate school census which has to be completed by 30 September 2012 and if achieving the minimum number of 51 it will be allowed to retain its third teacher as heretofore; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4048/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 203, 206, 227 to 229, inclusive, 237 and 238 together.

At a time of great strain in our public finances, we have to ensure that the very valuable but limited resources available for the education system are used in the best way possible. The staffing schedule at primary level disproportionately benefits small primary schools. It is worth noting that we have 3,200 primary schools across Ireland. Over two thirds of those schools have more than 86 pupils and, as a result, have far higher average class sizes than all of the schools affected by this measure. For example a two teacher school with 32 pupils has an average class size of 1 teacher for sixteen pupils. In contrast, a typical ten teacher school with 272 pupils has an average class size of 27.2 pupils. It is important to retain a sense of perspective and balance when discussing this matter and to realise the exceptionally favourable supports my Department will continue to provide for small schools.

For that reason, as part of the Budget 2012 decisions, the number of pupils required to gain and retain a classroom teaching post in small primary schools will be gradually increased between September 2012 and September 2014. Even when all of these phased increases are implemented, the threshold for small schools will still be significantly lower than the minimum of 28 pupils that was required for the appointment of a second teacher in schools prior to the mid-1990s.

The phasing of these measures can provide the schools concerned with time to consider the potential for amalgamation with other schools where this is feasible. If amalgamations take place, they will be voluntary and follow decisions taken by local communities and not by my Department. My Department's focus is on implementing the staffing arrangements for the coming school year and I do not propose to divert scarce staffing resources to deal with the individual type queries from the Deputies. My Department will be notifying schools in the coming weeks of the new staffing arrangements for 2012/13 school year.

Public Service Contracts

Terence Flanagan

Question:

204 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the tendering of works (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3647/12]

The Works to which the Deputy refers were competitively tendered as is required under EU regulations. The Contractor appointed was deemed to have submitted the most economically advantageous tender when assessed against the criteria set out in the invitation to tender.

Redundancy Payments

Brendan Ryan

Question:

205 Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the redundancy claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3650/12]

A redundancy application from the person referred to by the Deputy was received by my Department on 15th 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 July 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.

Question No. 206 answered with Question No. 203.

Schools Refurbishment

Robert Troy

Question:

207 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the summer works programme will go ahead in 2012; and if so, if a school in County Westmeath can secure funding to acquire land in the interest of safety for additional parking. [3697/12]

As the Deputy is aware, the Government's Medium Term Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework, which was published on 10th November last, sets out the demographic challenge facing the education system. 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. In view of the very real need to ensure that every child has access to a school place, the delivery of new schools, together with extension projects, will be the main focus for capital investment in schools in the coming years. In the context, therefore, of the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise available funding for the provision of school accommodation, it is not possible for me to advance with a summer works programme this year.

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

208 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application for an extension and refurbishment to a school (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3712/12]

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

209 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the band rating assigned to a school (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3714/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 208 and 209 together.

The school to which the Deputy refers applied to my Department for major capital works. This application was assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria and was assigned a band rating of 1.2. A major project for the school was included in the Ministerial Announcement on 24th January 2011 to progress into Architectural Planning.

As this school is located on a split site, the proposal for the development on the existing site involved detailed discussions between the school authorities and the Local Authority regarding traffic management and other issues. These discussions have recently been concluded and a report on the matter has been received from the school. This report is being examined by my Department which I expect to be completed shortly. My Department will be in further contact with the school authority at that point.

Special Educational Needs

Martin Ferris

Question:

210 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will lift the embargo on the sanctioning of extra resource hours. [3717/12]

The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teachers to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. All schools have now received their resource teaching allocations for the current school year, based on the number of valid applications for resource teaching support received by the NCSE to 25th November, 2011, and taking into account my Department's Employment Control Framework obligations which limits the number of overall resource teaching posts which may be allocated to schools.

Applications for resource teaching hours received after 25th November, 2011, will be processed by the NCSE in the context of the 2012/13 school year applications process. In the interim, schools should support pupils for whom new applications are being made from their existing resource teaching allocations, until revised allocations are made for the September 2012 school year. Where a pupil meets the criteria for Resource Teaching support, following diagnosis or enrolment to a school which does not have any existing allocation of resource teaching support, the NCSE may make an allocation for such pupils from the small pool of remaining posts which have been reserved for such emergencies or eventualities.

Martin Ferris

Question:

211 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will allow flexibility in the allocation of resource teachers in order that allocation is based on the projected needs of schools on 1 September 2012 enrolment rather than 31 December 2011. [3718/12]

I wish to advise the Deputy that over 1,600 primary schools throughout the country will be identified as base schools for about 2,450 full-time resource teaching posts. The aim is to have a good geographic spread of full-time resource posts in base schools so that the teachers in these full-time permanent posts are in place to undertake the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) approved resource hours for pupils with low incidence special needs either in these base schools, or in neighbouring schools.

The base schools will be selected on the basis of the number of NCSE resource hours approved for each school for the current 2011/12 school year, as at 31 December 2011, and in accordance with the criteria set out by my Departments. However, schools will make their applications for resource teaching support to the NCSE for the coming September and will receive an actual resource teaching allocation from the NCSE, based on the number of valid applications received. The actual resource teaching hours allocated to schools for the coming year will therefore be based on the number of valid applications received for support by the NCSE for September, regardless of where base posts are located.

Schools will then be able to enter into sharing arrangements for the filling of allocated hours and schools that are unable to have their NCSE approved resource hours met from the network of full-time resource only posts will be allocated mainly part-time temporary posts. The list of base schools for the resource posts will be reviewed regularly to ensure that it reflects the needs of newly established and rapidly developing schools.

School Staffing

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

212 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of pupils attending a school (details supplied) in County Donegal in the 2010-11 academic year on which the teacher allocation for the academic year 2011-12 was based; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3734/12]

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

224 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of pupils attending a school (details supplied) in County Donegal in the 2011-12 academic year on which the teacher allocation for the academic year 2012-13 will be based; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3938/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 212 and 224 together.

The Statistics Section of my Department's website contains extensive data at individual school level in county order. The most recent information available relates to the 2010/2011 school year. Statistical information in respect of the current school year is currently being compiled in my Department and is due for publication in September 2012.

The criteria used for the allocation of teachers to schools is published annually on my Department's website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September. The staffing schedules for the current school year and for the coming school year were published on my Department's website in March and December 2011 respectively.

My Department's focus is on implementing the staffing arrangements for the coming school year and I do not propose to divert scarce staffing resources to deal with the individual type queries from the Deputy. My Department will be notifying schools in the coming weeks of the new staffing arrangements for 2012/13 school year.

FÁS Training Programmes

Michael Creed

Question:

213 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for the reduction in the payment to students attending the National Learning Network, Hollyhill, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3748/12]

FÁS training allowances are aligned to social welfare payments and as part of Budget 2011 a number of reductions were made in this area including a reduction in the additional FÁS training allowance paid to the long term unemployed from €31.80 to €20. This reduction came into effect on the 1 January 2011 and also applies to persons with disabilities participating on the FÁS Specialist Training Providers Programme which includes the National Learning Network.

Higher Education Grants

John Paul Phelan

Question:

214 Deputy John Paul Phelan asked the Minister for Education and Skills in relation to the vocational education committee grants for mature students, the reason it is necessary for students to provide evidence of independent residency for the year preceding application and in the case of change of circumstances in living, the reason such applications cannot be reassessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3826/12]

For student grants purposes, students are categorised according to their circumstances either as students dependent on parents or a legal guardian, or as independent mature students. An independent mature student is defined as a mature student who was not ordinarily resident with his or her parents or legal guardian from the October preceding entry or re-entry to further or higher education.

In order to establish a candidate's status as an independent mature student, documentary evidence is required as proof of a candidate's address from 1st October of the year preceding entry into college. In considering whether a mature student meets the conditions to be assessed independently of his or her parents, awarding authorities are obliged to satisfy themselves beyond doubt that an acceptable degree of proof of independent living in the relevant period has been submitted by the grant applicant. The documentary evidence normally required includes utility bills, such as telephone, gas or electricity bill, evidence of registration with the Private Residential Tenancies Board or official documentation received at the address, for example, from a Government Department.

In exceptional circumstances, where it is not possible to produce such proofs of residence in the relevant period for demonstrable reasons, the awarding authority may, at its discretion, agree to accept other documentary evidence that provides an acceptable degree of proof of independent living in the relevant period. For example, while an affidavit, if accompanied by other supporting documentation, may be considered as evidence of independent living, an affidavit in isolation is not considered acceptable as sole proof of residency. My Department has reviewed the requirements for establishing independent residency and is satisfied that the current practice in this regard is both reasonable and appropriate.

Schools Funding

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

215 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills in view of changes that were made in budget 2012, if he will consider engaging with the Department of Finance to examine the impact that the VAT changes have on schools that visit open farms in view of the fact that these visits can be considered as an educational activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3833/12]

I am not aware of the particular issue raised by the Deputy. I have therefore arranged for an official from my Department to contact the Deputy directly on the matter. However, any issues in relation to the impact of the recent VAT changes are a matter for my colleague the Minister for Finance.

Special Educational Needs

Peter Mathews

Question:

216 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a home tuition grant was refused in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3847/12]

The Deputy will be aware that the purpose of the Home Tuition Scheme is to provide a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, are unable to attend school. The scheme was extended in recent years to facilitate tuition for children awaiting a suitable educational placement and also to provide early educational intervention for pre-school children with autism. I wish to clarify for the Deputy that home tuition was not refused in respect of the child in question. An allocation of 20 hours per week has been approved until the end of June 2012.

As home tuition takes place outside the school environment my Department's preference is that the tuition provider be a qualified teacher. Where this is not possible approval may be given for a tutor with alternative qualifications to undertake the tuition. In such scenarios approval for nominated tutors is made on a temporary basis pending a qualified teacher being sourced. In the case to which the Deputy refers the initial tutor nominated was not qualified and therefore was only approved for a limited period. This period has been now been extended.

School Staffing

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

217 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine the issue of job-sharing for principals of primary schools; the difficulties that are being encountered for principals of schools that may require to take parental leave; if he will engage in discussions with principals and their representative associations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3858/12]

Jobsharing and parental leave are currently the subject of discussions at a subcommittee of the Teachers Conciliation Council. The Teachers Conciliation Council is the recognised forum for dealing with matters relating to pay and conditions of service of teachers, including Principals. The parties to the forum include representatives of the managerial authorities of schools, the teacher unions and the Departments of Education & Skills and Public Expenditure and Reform.

Traveller Education Strategy

Sean Fleming

Question:

218 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine the closure of a centre (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3895/12]

The centre referred to by the Deputy is a Senior Traveller Training Centre (STTC), which is managed and operated by Co. Laois Vocational Educational Committee (VEC). In line with the Traveller Education Strategy and the 2008 Value for Money (VFM) Review of Youthreach and STTCs, it was announced in Budget 2011 that an integrated further education provision for Travellers would be implemented through the phasing out of STTCs by June 2012. The redeployment of staff currently working on the STTC programme and the future use of the premises in which the STTC programme operated is a matter for the VEC.

Schools Building Projects

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

219 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the granting of funds to a school (details supplied) in County Meath for the development of their school building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3908/12]

An application for additional funding for a building project at the school referred to by the Deputy was received by my Department. Officials in the Planning and Building Unit have requested additional information from the school authority in order to fully assess the application. When all of this information is provided to my Department the application can be considered further.

Postgraduate Education

Michael McCarthy

Question:

220 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the situation whereby business degree graduates who are attempting to access postgraduate diplomas in education are being refused the back to education allowance due to the points threshold imposed in them by the third-level institutions concerned and the nature of the progression rule within the Department of Social Protection; if he will consider the view that this system is contradictory in view of the fact that it requires the students to have a certain number of qualifications in order to gain the points for the course but at the same time refuses to award them the BTEA because of the very nature of their qualifications; his views that this is disincentivising persons to study postgraduate diplomas in education at a time when we should be encouraging persons to return to the education system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3926/12]

Michael McCarthy

Question:

221 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason behind a 2006 decision between him, the Higher Education Authority and the Postgraduate Applications Centre which saw a points cap being imposed on business degree graduates seeking to study postgraduate diplomas in education; if he will review this situation in view of the problems it is causing in terms of eligibility for the back to education allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3927/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 220 and 221 together.

The Postgraduate Applications Centre Ltd (PAC) was established in 1998 to centrally process and assess applications to PDE courses. A common points system was devised and it has been used since. Applicants apply to PAC online and their applications are centrally assessed by a team of assessors. In 2006 a decision was taken, due to the large numbers of applicants with business related degrees, to put a cap on business type degrees. To this end a 10% allocation was imposed. The decision was taken to ensure that there was an adequate supply of post primary teachers for all subject areas and to avoid an oversupply of teachers of business subjects.

Since the demand for places from graduates with business related degrees is high and the number of places available capped, the point scores tend to be higher than for other degree areas. However, the Deputy should also note that demand for places on all PDE courses is very high (2,400 applications for 800 places) and a large number of successful applicants across all subject areas would have post graduate qualifications.

The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) is a matter for the Minister for Social Protection. However, I have been informed that the scheme is available to eligible people on certain social welfare payments to continue to receive a payment while pursuing an approved full-time education course that leads to a higher qualification than that already held. Progression has always been a fundamental condition of BTEA to ensure displacement does not occur, in that courses could be offered to students who are not progressing at the cost of students progressing from a lower education level. The BTEA scheme is in the main in line with the progression rules in place for the student grant scheme administered by my Department.

The BTEA scheme covers a large range of full-time courses of education in approved colleges spanning basic foundation courses to third level courses across all disciplines. Courses may be pursued up to a higher diploma level in any discipline [level 8 in the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)] or a Professional Diploma in Education hitherto known as a Graduate Diploma in Education [level 8 NFQ]. Other postgraduate qualifications including a Masters (level 9 or level 10) are not included.

School Supervision and Substitution Scheme

John Lyons

Question:

222 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of additional substitution hours given to schools for use at their discretion; the amount of hours returned unused by schools in the last academic year; the monetary value of this and the equivalent in full-time teacher hours; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3928/12]

Substitution is paid where teachers are absent from teaching duties in their school on absences approved by the managerial authority of the school and as detailed in Circulars issued by my Department. Under one of the substitution arrangements currently in operation a second Level school is allocated 0.31 hours substitution cover for each pupil in the school on the 30th September of the previous school year. These arrangements provide for an allocation of hours to enable substitution cover for uncertified sick leave and for official school business. The terms of the arrangement are outlined in Circular 49/2010, copy attached. Details of this type of substitution arrangement are not specifically identified on my Departments' databases.

Circular Letter 0049/2010

To:BOARDS OF MANAGEMENT OF POST-PRIMARY SCHOOLS AND THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION COMMITTEES

Substitute cover for registered teachers employed in post-primary schools — Arrangements for the 2010/2011 School Year.

The review of supervision and substitution and related matters commenced following the October 2008 Budget announcement in relation to supervision and substitution and the subsequent circulars issuing in this regard.

The interim outcome of the review provides that the substitution cover arrangements introduced in January 2009 will continue for the 2010/2011 school year. These arrangements provide for an allocation of hours to individual schools to enable substitution cover for uncertified sick leave for teachers in post-primary schools and for official school business in post-primary schools.

1. Allocation of Hours:

Each post-primary school will be provided with a defined number of hours of substitution cover outside of the supervision and substitution scheme to provide cover for teacher absences arising from uncertified sick leave and official school business. This will be calculated on the basis of the number of pupils in a school with a minimum number of available hours for all schools with less than 100 pupils. Thus for the 2010/2011 school year 0.31 hours substitution cover will be allocated for each pupil in a school as per the school's recognised pupil enrolment on the 30th September 2009. Examples are an allocation of 62 hours for a 200 pupil school and 124 hours for a 400 pupil school.

The allocation of substitution hours for secondary and community/comprehensive schools will be issued by the Teacher Allocation Section before the commencement of the new school year. It will be issued in an amended staffing allocation schedule and shall be titled "substitution". The "substitution" allocation will not be taken into account in calculating Posts of Responsibility. The claims for substitution for uncertified sick leave and official school business should be made from the part time hours allocation on the On Line Claim System.

Allocations to VECs will be provided in the normal way and will be calculated on the same basis.

2. Substitution Cover for Other Absences.

The existing arrangements for substitute cover for other absences of teachers from teaching duty will continue to apply.

P. Maloney,

Payroll Division,

July, 2010.

School Accommodation

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

223 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has considered building an additional eight new classes at a school (details supplied) in County Meath to provide for his projected growth in the number of children in the Navan area over the coming years. [3937/12]

The Deputy will be aware that my Department established a new primary school in Navan in September 2010. In addition, other developments including extensions to existing schools together with the provision of new primary schools in the area are currently at various stages of the architectural planning process. These developments are expected to cater for the projected pupil growth in the Navan area at primary level over the coming years. My Department has no plans to extend the school to which he refers in the foreseeable future.

Question No. 224 answered with Question No. 212.

School Staffing

Joan Collins

Question:

225 Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in Dublin. [3969/12]

I fully acknowledge that the reduction in resources to second level schools will be challenging for schools. However, the change must be seen in the context of the major challenges we have as a Government in trying to shelter public services to the greatest extent that we can in these exceptional times. The net impact on overall teacher numbers in our schools has been minimised to the greatest extent possible.

Schools will have autonomy on how best to prioritise its available resources to meet its requirements in relation to guidance and the provision of an appropriate range of subjects to its students. Decisions on how this is done will be taken at school level and I am confident that schools will act in the best interest of students when determining precisely how to use the teaching resources available to them. I have also provided for the filling of 300 Assistant Principal posts in second-level schools over the level originally planned. This will ensure that schools have sufficient management positions to ensure appropriate supports are available for all students.

A key priority for me is to continue to prioritise and target available funding at schools with the most concentrated levels of educational disadvantage. All 195 second-level school in DEIS, including the school referred to by the Deputy, will be given targeted support by a more favourable staffing schedule of 18.25:1. This is a 0.75 point reduction compared to the existing PTR of 19:1 that applies in non fee-paying second-level schools.

Pension Provisions

Jim Daly

Question:

226 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills when he expects that payment of pension entitlements will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3982/12]

The procedure for the payment of pension entitlements is initiated by the retiree completing the appropriate pension application form. Officials in the Pension Unit of my Department have been in contact with the person to whom the Deputy refers in order to have the necessary pension application forms completed and returned at which time the entitlement will be processed.

Questions Nos. 227 to 229, inclusive, answered with Question No. 203.

Schools Amalgamation

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

230 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has conducted research into the value of infant primary schools and, by extension, senior primary schools; if he has ever conducted research into the value of single gender primary schools, and as such schools exist on one campus if it will be warranted to amalgamate these schools bearing in mind the educational, administrative and financial improvements this will potentially achieve; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4009/12]

My Department has been in contact with the Deputy's Office and I understand that the question relates to my Department's general position regarding school amalgamations. The decision making authority for any amalgamation belongs to the Patron of a school, subject to the approval of the Minister for Education and Skills. My Department's role is to facilitate any such proposal or discussions between the relevant parties.

The initiative for an amalgamation may come from a variety of sources, such as parents, staff, Board of Management and Patron. I have said on several occasions that any decisions to amalgamate schools will be voluntary and follow decisions taken at a local level. The financial consequences associated with amalgamations would also have to take into account the continuing requirement to manage expenditure within the context of overall educational policy and the level of budgetary provision available at the time.

It is worth noting, however, that we have 3,200 primary schools across Ireland. Approximately, one third of those schools have less than 86 pupils and, as a result, have far lower average class sizes. For example, a two teacher school with 32 pupils has an average class size of 1 teacher for 16 pupils. In contrast, a typical 10 teacher school with 272 pupils has an average class size of 27.2 pupils. In that regard, the existing staffing schedule acts as a disincentive for small schools to consider amalgamations. At a time of great strain in our public finances, we have to ensure that the very valuable but limited resources available for the education system are used in the best way possible. The Deputy will be aware that where conditions allow and the financial resources are available, school campus developments have taken place and will continue to take place which provide for the sharing of facilities by all schools on the campus.

Schools Building Projects

Brendan Griffin

Question:

231 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will prioritise the building of a new school (details supplied) in County Kerry; the position regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4015/12]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that accommodation brief for the school referred to by the Deputy has been completed. The appropriate method for delivery of this project is being considered and a final decision will be communicated to the school authorities in the near future.

Redundancy Payments

Pat Breen

Question:

232 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will receive payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4029/12]

A redundancy application from the person referred to by the Deputy was received by my Department on 7th 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 July 2011 are currently being processed.

Extra resources have been assigned to the Redundancy Unit to ensure that Special Needs Assistants who 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.

Question No. 233 answered with Question No. 197.

Schools Amalgamation

Denis Naughten

Question:

234 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review the closed school rule in view of the serious additional financial pressure this will place on parents of children in small rural schools he is attempting to amalgamate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4037/12]

The Deputy will be aware that from September 2011, the distance criterion of 3.2 kilometres was applied nationally to all pupils travelling under the primary school transport scheme, including those travelling under the Closed School Rule.

A further change is scheduled to take effect in September 2012 and will apply only in the case of pupils commencing their primary education from that date. This second element will restrict school transport eligibility for those pupils entering in September 2012, to pupils who meet the distance eligibility criterion and are travelling to their nearest school. It is worth noting that the annual charge for concessionary tickets will be reduced to €100 for the 2012 school year which is the same charge that applies for eligible tickets.

Existing eligible pupils, who are not attending their nearest school, will retain their school transport eligibility for the duration of their primary education cycle provided there are no changes to their current circumstances. There are no plans to review the changes to the Closed School Rule.

School amalgamation decisions are taken at a local level. The initiative for an amalgamation may come from a variety of sources, such as parents, staff, Board of Management and in particular, the Patron. The decision making authority for any amalgamation belongs to the Patron of a school, subject to the approval of the Minister for Education and Skills. When a community makes a decision to amalgamate, clearly travel distances will be an important factor and the judgement on this will be made locally in light of local circumstances.

Question No. 235 answered with Question 191.

School Staffing

Clare Daly

Question:

236 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reverse the cut of permanent learning support teacher in a school (details supplied) in County Dublin. [4042/12]

The new simplified approach to the General Allocation Model of support for schools will make it easier to automatically update it annually in line with the changes in the number of classroom teachers in each school. Schools will also have autonomy on how to deploy the resource between language support and learning support depending on their specific needs. The overall objective of the reforms is to enable the teacher allocation process to operate more smoothly and efficiently within the new climate of fixed ceilings on teacher numbers.

The arrangements for the staffing allocation under the General Allocation Model (GAM) are specifically designed to facilitate GAM hours being clustered into full-time posts — either entirely within their own school or with a nearby neighbouring school.

These reforms are intended to be neutral in relation to the overall number of teaching posts allocated to schools. However, because many of the changes are designed to bring a more equitable distribution of existing posts between schools there will inevitably be some schools that will lose posts and other schools that will gain posts.

Questions Nos. 237 and 238 answered with Question No. 203.

Teacher Education

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

239 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will meet with a person (details supplied). [4058/12]

I will arrange for the Deputy to be contacted on this matter by the Teacher Education Section of my Department.

Third Level Fees

Tom Fleming

Question:

240 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there is any financial assistance available for students attending the Irish College of Humanities and Applied Sciences, Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4059/12]

Under my Department's student grant schemes, eligible candidates may receive funding provided they are attending an approved course at an approved institution as defined in the relevant scheme. I understand that the college referred to by the Deputy is a private college and is not on the list of approved institutions for student grant purposes.

However, the tuition fees payable in this case may be eligible for tax relief. Details in relation to tax relief on tuition fees are available from the Revenue Commissioners.

Behavioural Support Service

David Stanton

Question:

241 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the role of the National Behavioural Support Service; the numbers working in the service; the cost of the service in 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4090/12]

I would like to inform the Deputy that the National Behaviour Support Service (NBSS) was established by the Department of Education & Skills in 2006 in response to the recommendation in School Matters: The Report of the Task Force on Student Behaviour in Second Level Schools (2006). The role of the NBSS is to assist partner schools in addressing current behavioural concerns on three levels. The NBSS works with schools in addressing students' social, emotional, academic and behavioural needs at Level 1: whole school, Level 2: targeted intervention and Level 3: intensive individualised support.The NBSS also researches, collates and disseminates evidence that informs the development of a whole school positive behavioural approach that meets the needs of schools and provides sustainable long-term practice and outcomes.

There are 13 seconded teachers working in the service.

The cost of the service in 2010 was c. €1.94m and in 2011 it was c. €2.22m.

Teacher Education Centres

David Stanton

Question:

242 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the teacher education centres that have received support from him in 2010 and 2011; the amount of such support received by each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4091/12]

The details the Deputy has requested are set out in the accompanying document. Budget allocations are made following consideration of proposals submitted by each Education Support Centre in January of the relevant year.

Full Time Centres

2010

2011

Athlone

180,743

180,743

Blackrock

250,834

250,834

Carrick On Shannon

191,391

191,391

Clare

128,399

128,399

Cork

276,669

276,669

Donegal

256,905

256,905

Drumcondra

209,210

215,759

Dublin West

287,462

287,462

Galway

214,548

214,548

Kildare

172,219

172,219

Kilkenny

195,346

195,346

Laois

188,194

188,194

Limerick

405,569

396,546

Mayo

199,835

199,835

Monaghan

192,821

192,821

Navan

215,337

215,337

Sligo

147,083

175,098

Tralee

214,227

201,552

Waterford

206,434

206,434

West Cork

145,028

216,153

Wexford

217,684

217,678

Part Time Centres

2010

2011

Carlow

0

0

Cavan

19,797

24,877

Connemara and Arainn

21,527

21,527

Dingle

12,231

12,102

Dundalk

16,382

Gortahork

8,622

2,498

Tarbert

22,245

22,245

Thurles

18,494

21,103

Tuam

32,882

32,882

Departmental Expenditure

David Stanton

Question:

243 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount made available to the National Qualification Authority of Ireland in 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4092/12]

The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) received Exchequer funding in the amount of €2.438m in 2010 and €2.478m in 2011.

Departmental Agencies

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

244 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if robust service level agreements between parent Departments and State bodies are now in place for all non-commercial State agencies. [4572/12]

As the Deputy will be aware, an extensive programme of reform has been ongoing since this Government came to office. The recently published Public Sector Reform Plan identifies the introduction of new arrangements for managing the performance and governance of State Agencies as a deliverable action. Such arrangements will include the greater use of Service Level Agreements with Departments that focus on outputs and outcomes.

Taking into account work undertaken in the context of the TPS programme, it is my Department's understanding that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform intends developing guidance on best practice in relation to the governance of State Agencies and their relationships with their parent Departments and their respective roles. Officials in my Department will work with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in order to progress this action. In relation to my Department the following are examples of agreements in place or being developed:

Arrangements for the operations of FAS are the subject of a detailed annual budget and operational policy letter, which include arrangements covering governance, spending, activity, prioritisation and other matters, and which also includes provision for ongoing monitoring of outputs and outcomes. These arrangements are the subject of frequent detailed communications and reporting throughout the year between my Department and FAS, reflecting both agreed arrangements and policy adjustments as necessary. These arrangements will be the subject of further elaboration when arrangements are finalised for the replacement of FAS with SOLAS, the new Further Education and Training Authority.

A Memorandum of Understanding is currently being finalised between my Department and the National Council for Special Education,

A Memorandum of Understanding between my Department and the Higher Education Authority has been finalised and will be signed shortly.

In addition, the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council and the Further Education and Training Awards Council are soon to be amalgamated into a single agency, the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland, and the introduction of a Service Level Agreement between my Department and the new agency will be examined following its establishment.

Departmental Expenditure

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

245 Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total amount paid in remuneration and expenses that are paid to members of publicly appointed State boards both public sector and semi-State in 2011; his views that savings can be made in this area; the number of persons in total who sit on these boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4581/12]

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the accompanying table.

In line with the requirements of the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies, details of the number of Board members, including remuneration and expenses paid, are provided in the Annual Reports of the Agencies, many of which are available on the Agency websites.

The Deputy may wish to note that my Department has, as requested by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, recently advised the relevant agencies under its remit that board members should be given the option to waive the related board fee on a discretionary basis.

Details relating to Bodies under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills

Agency

Number Board Members (including Vacancies)

Remuneration/Fees Applicable in 2011

Board Members — Total Expenses 2011 (excluding Fees)

Chairperson

Ordinary Member

An Chomhairle um Oideachais Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta

21

€0

€0

€13,336.40

Commission into Child Abuse

7

See Note 1

See Note 1

€0

Education Finance Board

9

€0

€0

€23,053.36

Foras Áiseanna Saothair

11

€20,520

€11,790

€8,128.24

Further Education and Training Awards Council

18

€0

€0

€13,176

Grangegorman Development Agency

15

€8,978

€0

€0

Higher Education and Training Awards Council

15

€0

€0

€6,600

Higher Education Authority

19

€11,970

€7,695

€16,063

Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology

14

€0

€0

€1,1234

Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences

12

€0

€0

€5,916

Léargas — The Exchange Bureau

9

€0

€0

€5,636.25

National Centre for Guidance in Education

10

€0

€0

€241.02

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

25

€0

€0

€10,240.02

National Council for Special Education

13

€0

€0

€11,489

National Qualifications Authority of Ireland

14

€0

€0

€6,279

Residential Institutions Redress Board (RIRB)

11

See Note 2

See Note 2

€58,081.86

Residential Institutions Review Committee (RIRC)

5

See Note 2

See Note 2

€0

Skillnets Ltd (See Note 1)

13

€8,978

€5,985

€4,090

State Examinations Commission

5

€11,970

€7,695

€9,286.55

The Teaching Council

37

€0

€0

€129,129 (See Note 3)

Note 1: The Chairperson of the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse (CICA) is a member of the judiciary who is not paid by the CICA. The ordinary members of the Commission, who were all salaried, are not currently on the payroll.

Note 2: The Chairperson of the RIRB is a member of the judiciary who is not paid by the RIRB while the Chairperson of the RIRC is paid an annual salary for a Supreme Court judge subject to abatement to take account of his pension.

The other board members of both the RIRB and the RIRC are paid a per diem rate and pension abatement applies in the case of members receiving a pension from the State. The per diem rate from 1st January 2011 is €668 per day.

Note 3: The Teaching Council has been self-financing since March 2008.

Pension Provisions

Terence Flanagan

Question:

246 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views regarding pensions (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3855/12]

A number of reforms have been introduced in relation to the pension entitlements of TDs and Ministers. The Deputy will be aware that the Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 provided that pensions would not be payable to new Oireachtas members before 65 years of age, and under the Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 2009 ministerial pensions are no longer payable to sitting Members of the Oireachtas following last year's elections, or to Members of the European Parliament following the next elections to the Parliament. The pensions of TDs and Ministers retiring after February 2012 will be reduced in line with the substantial pay reductions applied under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts. Furthermore, the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill 2011, currently before the Dáil, provides for a minimum pension age of 66, rising in line with the Social Welfare pension age, to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028; and will apply to Oireachtas Members who are members of the new single scheme.

Flood Relief

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

247 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding an application made by Dublin City Council for flood relief works on the Naniken River in Dublin North Central; if moneys have been approved; if so, the amount approved for the works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4013/12]

The Office of Public Works has not received an application from Dublin City Council for funding to undertake relief works on the Naniken River.

EU Funding

Derek Nolan

Question:

248 Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a breakdown in tabular form of the current round of EU structural funds to Ireland; the amount of financial assistance they will provide in total; the areas to which they will be directed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4085/12]

The purpose of EU Regional/Cohesion policy is to reduce the significant economic, social and territorial disparities that still exist between Europe's regions. The budget for the 2007-2013 round is €347bn. Most of this budget is allocated for those countries and regions whose gross domestic product per capita is less than 75% of EU average (81.5% for convergence objective). The remainder is for all other countries and regions (16.5% for regional competiveness and employment objective) and for cooperation across borders (2.5% for territorial cooperation objective). The overall budget and country allocation is agreed between the EU Commission and Member States in advance of the programming period. Ireland has been allocated in total €901m in Structural Funding for the 2007-13 Programming period with €750 million assigned to the Regional Competitiveness and Employment (RCE) Objective. Ireland's National Strategic Reference Framework (approved by the European Commission in July 2007) sets out the strategic context within which the €750m block of funding may be applied; the delivery is via three operational programmes, the National ESF Human Capital Investment OP, managed by the Department of Education and Skills, and the Border Midland and Western (BMW) and Southern and Eastern Regional ERDF (S&E) OPs, managed by the BMW and S&E Regional Assemblies. The balance of €151m is for smaller Territorial Cooperation programmes including the PEACE III (Ireland/NI), INTERREG IVA (Ireland/NI and Western Scotland) and the Ireland Wales Programme.

For the purposes of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds, Ireland is designated into two NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) II regions, namely the BMW Region and the S&E Region. Of the €750 million allocated to Ireland under the RCE, €458 million has been allocated to the BMW Region (due to its phasing in status — moving from convergence (less developed) to regional competitiveness and employment (more developed) status) and €292 million to the S&E Region.

The annual allocations are set out in the table 1 below and reflect the full amount of structural funds available to Ireland over the 2007-2013 programming period. Table 2 sets out the same information broken down by region.

Despite the significant socio-economic challenges, the implementation of the three OPs is progressing satisfactorily and it is anticipated that the overall objectives of each programme will be achieved and that Ireland will maximise its drawdown of the allocated funding.

Negotiations are ongoing at EU level in relation to the next round of EU funding for the 2014-2020 round.

Table 1 — Ireland's indicative financial allocation for NSRF

Total

Total ERDF

375,362,372

Total ESF

375,362,370

Total all Funds — NSRF 2007-2013

750,724,742

Table 2 — Ireland's indicative financial allocation for NSRF — regional breakdown

Region

Fund

Total

Southern and Eastern

ERDF

146,603,534

Border, Midlands and Western

ERDF

228,758,838

Total ERDF

375,362,372

Southern and Eastern

ESF

146,603,534

Border, Midlands and Western

ESF

228,758,838

Total ESF

375,362,370

Total all Funds — NSRF 2007-2013

750,724,742

Public Sector Increments

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

249 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views that the payment of approximately €250 million this year in pay rises for public sector workers in the form of increments is an appropriate use of scarce budgetary resources at this time; if he accepts that payment of these increases is linked directly to having to lay off public sector workers who are not on fixed term contracts; if he intends to pay them this year, and over the lifetime of this Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4177/12]

Based on more detailed information recently requested by my Department on the total cost of increments in a full year in the various sectors, the estimated full year cost of increments in the public service (excluding the Local Authority sector) is now estimated at no more than €180 million per annum and will be less than half that sum in 2012. Significantly reduced recruitment, the ongoing substantial fall in numbers of public servants, and higher numbers reaching the maxima of scales will ensure this cost will continue to fall over the coming years.

I do not accept that the cost of increments is resulting directly in the lay off of public sector workers. Indeed under the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act, 2003 public service workers who are employed under fixed term contracts, which I take to be the intended question of the Deputy, have an entitlement to similar terms and conditions of employment, including increments, as their permanent comparator public servants save with regard to the termination of their contract. While permanent employment has been the norm in the public service, employees on fixed term contracts are now widely employed in many sectors of the public service.

The Government has reaffirmed the key commitments under the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 including that there will be no further reductions in pay rates, for serving public servants. These commitments are contingent on delivery of the necessary flexibilities and reforms to public service delivery that are required under the Agreement.

The allocation of all resources including those to pay public servants can and should be open to debate. However, I consider that there are fairer ways to control the cost of public pay, given that only a proportion of public servants, in particular lower paid and front line staff, would be affected by a suspension of increments. The other measures adopted by this Government, building on those taken in the past, will ensure that the total cost of the Exchequer paybill will have fallen by some €3.5 billion, or 20%, in the seven year period from 2008-2015. My Department is continuing to vigorously pursue further cost saving measures that are fair, targeted, and appropriate across the public service.

Public Service Transfers

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

250 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if civil or public servants seeking to relocate on compassionate grounds such as caring for an older person are likely to be accommodated by any arrangement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3360/12]

Transfers for grades represented by the Civil and Public Services union (mostly Clerical and Staff Officers) are arranged in accordance with formal procedures agreed with the Staff Side at General Council under the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for the Civil Service. Officers in these grades seeking a transfer to another Department or location may apply to the Personnel Officer of the Department in which they wish to serve. The names of officers applying for transfer to a location are entered on the particular Department's transfer lists in the order in which they are received. Vacancies which arise are then filled by the Department concerned by reference to these lists.

Transfers for other grades can be arranged on an informal, head-to-head, basis. Such transfers are arranged between the officers seeking to move and the relevant Personnel Units and require the agreement of both Personnel Officers.

There are no formal arrangements in place within the Civil Service to address the issue of a transfer arising on compassionate grounds. Where such cases arise, the practice is to address them within the context of the transfer arrangements described above working with the relevant Personnel Units

Pension Provisions

Sean Fleming

Question:

251 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the organisations designated as approved organisations for the purpose of section 4 of the Superannuation and Pensions Act 1963 which are covered by Superannuation (Designation of Approved Organisations) Regulations 1987, signed by the Minister for the Public Service on 9 March 1987; and if he will outline in respect of each the persons transferred in respect of each of the organisations through the public service transfer network; the calculations in respect of the cost associated with any service transfer from each of these organisations and the date and the amount billed by the public service to each of these organisations; the date and the amount these costs were paid by these organisations to his Department and the actuarial calculations that took place; the way these were verified in respect of estimating the cost associated with these transfers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3449/12]

The issue raised by the Deputy relates to the provisions of the Public Sector Transfer Network (PSTN) which enables individuals to transfer service from one member organisation to another for superannuation purposes. Membership of the PSTN is voluntary and organisations which apply to join are designated by Statutory Instrument as ‘approved organisations' under Section 4 of the Superannuation and Pensions Act 1963 (No. 24 of 1963). The organisations designated under the specific Regulations referred to by the Deputy, the Superannuation (Designation of Approved Organisations) Regulations 1987 (S.I. No. 110 of 1987), were the Nuclear Energy Board (NEB) and Fine Gael.

While my Department would be involved in transfers of service either into or out of the Civil Service, it has no involvement in transfers between the individual members themselves and, consequently, has no information regarding the numbers, costs, etc., of such transfers. As regards transfers involving the Nuclear Energy Board (NEB) and the Civil Service, and Fine Gael and the Civil Service, the available records indicate that there have been no transfers between the NEB and the Civil Service; and one transfer from Fine Gael to the Civil Service.

In relation to the Fine Gael case, the contributions payable by Fine Gael to the Civil Service are: (a) 1/80th of the uprated Fine Gael salary at the date of leaving Fine Gael, for every year of transferred service, payable six monthly in arrears for the duration of pension payments by the Civil Service, plus (b) a single contribution towards the cost of the retirement lump-sum of 3/80ths of the same salary figure in respect of the same amount of service. This means that both organisations will contribute to the overall cost of the individual's retirement benefits. No contributions have yet been received for the case in question.

Departmental Agencies

David Stanton

Question:

252 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when each of the 22 members of the Valuation Tribunal were appointed; when each of their terms of office are due to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3729/12]

The Valuation Tribunal was established in 1989 under Section 2 of the Valuation Act, 1988 and is continued under Section 12 of the Valuation Act, 2001. Members of the Tribunal are appointed by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform under the provisions of Section 12(4) of the Valuation Act 2001. Membership of the Valuation Tribunal currently stands at 21. The date on which each Member was appointed and the date on which each Member's term of appointment is due to expire are set out in the table:

Valuation Tribunal Membership at 20 January 2011

Name

First Appointed

Re-appointed

Expiry Date

Chairperson

1

John O’Donnell

17/4/2002

17/04/2007

16/04/2012

Deputy Chairpersons

2

Fred Devlin

(1) 07/10/1994 as O.M.16/10/1995 as Deputy Chair. Appt expired 07/09/97(2) 04/01/2000

04/01/2005 &04/01/2010

03/01/2015

3

John Kerr

04/01/2000 as O.M.29/03/2004 as Deputy Chair

4/01/2005 &4/01/2010

03/01/2015

4

Maurice Ahern

11/06/2001 as O.M.17/04/2907 as Deputy Chair

11/06/2006 (OM) & 29/07/2011

28/07/2017

5

Niall O’Hanlon

17/11/2008 as O.M.29/07/2011 as Deputy Chair

n/a

16/11/2013

Ordinary Members

6

Michael Lyng

11/6/2001

11/06/2006 & 29/07/2011

28/07/2017

7

Frank O’Donnell

11/6/2001

11/06/2006 & 29/07/2011

28/07/2017

8

Pat Riney

(1) 25/02/1994 — 24/02/1997 O.M.(2) 11/06/2001

11/06/2006 & 29/07/2011

28/07/2017

9

Joseph Murray

17/04/2002

17/04/2007

16/04/2012

10

Brian Larkin

17/04/2002

17/04/2007

16/04/2012

11

Mairead Hughes

08/09/2003

07/09/2008

07/09/2013

12

Aidan McNulty

17/04/2007

n/a

16/04/2012

13

Tony Taaffe

16/06/2008

n/a

15/06/2013

14

James Browne

28/07/2008

n/a

27/07/2013

15

Fiona Gallagher

28/07/2008

n/a

27/07/2013

16

Veronica Gates

(1) 28/01/90 as O.M.28/01/94 as Deputy Chair. Appt expired 27/01/96(2) 04/08/2008

28/01/93

03/08/2013

17

Frank Walsh

17/11/2008

n/a

16/11/2013

18

Michael Connellan Jr

23/11/2009

n/a

22/11/2014

19

Patricia O’Connor

22/02/2010

n/a

21/02/2015

20

Thomas Collins

29/07/2011

n/a

28/07/2017

21

Tom O’Driscoll

29/07/2011

n/a

28/07/2017

Regional Development

Willie Penrose

Question:

253 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will confirm that the introduction of territorial cohesion under the Lisbon treaty is now a core competency of the EU; if he will confirm that same is based on the concept that every region, not state, should be allowed to make the most of its assets and resources and in this context, if an area like the midlands region is not being allowed to take advantage of its resources, which include a sizeable skilled and educated and available workforce, in a central location with an existing transport infrastructure and its proximity to other gateway regions; if in this context, it is appropriate that ministerial actions preclude entrepreneurs in this area from having the freedom to compete because of other considerations being made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3731/12]

The competence of the European Union in the field of economic, social and territorial cohesion is set out in Article 174 of the Treaty. The purpose of the Union's regional and cohesion policy is to reduce the significant economic, social and territorial disparities that still exist between Europe’s regions.

Ireland has been allocated a total of €901m in Structural Funding for the period 2007-13, with €750 million assigned to the Regional Competitiveness and Employment (RCE) objective, and the balance to Territorial Co-operation programmes, including the cross border PEACE programme. In relation to the RCE objective, Ireland was required to put in place a National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) which was approved by the European Commission and sets out the strategic context within which funding may be applied. The priorities for the NSRF were selected to complement national investment on the one hand and specific priorities on the other, in line with the EU regulations, regional foresight studies and the extensive consultation process undertaken to develop the strategy. The priorities agreed with the Commission are the promotion and encouragement of innovation, the knowledge economy, enterprise, research and development, upskilling the workforce and increasing the activation and participation of groups outside the workforce.

For the purposes of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds, Ireland is divided into two regions, the Border, Midlands and Western Region and the Southern and Eastern Region. Of the €750 million allocated to Ireland under the RCE objective, €458 million has been allocated to the BMW Region and €292 million to the S&E Region.

The Commission published its proposals for the next round of funding last October. The strategic direction for future policy will be framed by the EU 2020 Strategy, which aims to support growth and competitiveness in the EU, as well as the broader discussion on the EU Budget. As in previous rounds, there will be full consultation with all relevant actors, including the Regional Assemblies and Authorities, before decisions are taken regarding investment priorities for the new round, and proposals which accord with the aims of the 2020 Strategy, support the objectives of jobs and growth and meet the requirements of EU regulations will continue to be considered.

Public Sector Pay

Clare Daly

Question:

254 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he decides to impose further pay cuts on public servants, if a poverty impact assessment will take place in advance. [3836/12]

The Government has reaffirmed the key commitments under the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 on pay rates and job security for serving public servants. These commitments are contingent on delivery of the necessary flexibilities and reforms to public service delivery that are required under the Agreement. The Budget process has recently outlined the Exchequer expenditure programme for 2012 and further Budgetary measures, should they arise, are a matter for consideration by Government.

Parliamentary Party Allowances

Sean Fleming

Question:

255 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the current annual payments in respect of the leader’s allowance and the calculations based on numbers of Deputies and Senators making up the exact allocation; the method and frequency of payment of this amount in respect of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Labour Party, Sinn Féin, the Socialist Party and People Before Profit and each Independent Member of the Oireachtas; the amounts obtained by them under same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3848/12]

As indicated in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 150 on 15 December last and also to Parliamentary Question No. 3118 last Thursday, I intend to bring proposals to Government shortly in relation to the Party Leader's Allowance. The Party Leader's Allowance is provided for in the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices) Act, 1938, as amended by the Oireachtas (Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices (Amendment) Act, 2001.

The allowance is paid to the parliamentary leader of a qualifying party in relation to expenses arising from the parliamentary activities, including research, of the party. Payments are made in respect of members of the party elected to Dáil Éireann and members elected/nominated to Seanad Éireann at the last preceding general election, or a subsequent by-election or, in the case of Seanad Éireann, nominated to it after the last preceding general election. The conditions governing entitlement to payment of the allowance are set out in the Act. The primary restriction in the Act on the use of the allowance is that it may not be used in respect of election expenses.

Under the legislation, the amounts paid to the parliamentary leader of a qualifying party are calculated on the following basis:

TDs

€ Opposition

€ Government Parties*

First 10 members

71,520

47,680

11 members to 30

57,214

38,143

More than 30 members

28,616

19,077

Senators

First 5 members

46,766

Over 5 members

23,383

*The legislation provides that, in the case of a qualifying party forming part of the Government, the combined allowances due in respect of TDs of that party are reduced by one third.

The legislation also provides that payments may be made to a member of Dáil Éireann, who at the last preceding general election or at a subsequent bye-election was elected as a member other than as a member of a qualifying party. Such qualifying Independent TDs are entitled to an annual rate of €41,152. A similar provision in the Act provides for an annual payment of €23,383 for Independent Senators.

The current annual amounts payable in respect of each of the parties of the 31st Dáil, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Féin, Socialist Party and People before Profit, and Independent TDs, are set out at Appendix I. The current annual amounts payable to qualifying Independent members elected/nominated to Seanad Éireann at the last preceding general election, or at a subsequent bye-election, are also specified. The methodology used for calculation of the allowances for each qualifying party is set out in Appendix II.

The amounts of the allowances paid to date in respect of each party and each Independent TD and Senator is at Appendix III. Payments specified in respect of qualifying members of Dáil Éireann are for the period 25 February 2011 to 31 December 2011. Having regard to members of Seanad Éireann, in the case of elected members, the allowance was payable from 26 April 2011. In the case of members nominated by the Taoiseach, the allowance was payable from 20 May 2011. The allowances are generally payable monthly in arrears into a bank account specified by the beneficiary of the allowance.

Party Leader's Allowance — total annual amounts payable

Summary

Fine Gael

€2,678,403

Labour

€1,789,783

Fianna Fail

€1,674,403

Sinn Féin

€1,084,354

Socialist Party

€143,040

People Before Profit

€143,040

Independent TDs and Senators

€897,876

Total

€8,410,899

Calculation of the annual amount of the Party Leader's Allowance payable to the parliamentary leader of the qualifying parties of the 31st Dáil

Fine Gael

Category

No. of TD’s

Rate

Due

First 10 Members

10

€71,520

€715,200

11 to 30

20

€57,214

€1,144,280

31 and over

46

€28,616

€1,316,336

sub-total

€3,175,816

Less 1/3 Government Party deduction

€1,058,605

Total

76

€2,117,211

Category

No. of Senators

Rate

Due

First 5 Members

5

€46,766

€233,830

over 5

14

€23,383

€327,362

Total

19

€561,192

Overall Total Due

€2,678,403

Labour

Category

No. of TD’s

Rate

Due

First 10 Members

10

€71,520

€715,200

11 to 30

20

€57,214

€1,144,280

31 and over

8

€28,616

€228,928

sub-total

€2,088,408

Less 1/3 Government Party deduction

€696,136

Total

38

€1,392,272

Category

No. of TD’s

Rate

Due

First 5 Members

5

€46,766

€233,830

over 5

7

€23,383

€163,681

Total

12

€397,511

Overall Total Due

€1,789,783

Fianna Fail

Category

No. of TD’s

Rate

Due

First 10 Members

10

€71,520

€715,200

11 to 30

9

€57,214

€514,926

31 and over

0

€28,616

€0

Total

19

€1,230,126

Category

No. of TD’s

Rate

Due

First 5 Members

5

€46,766

€233,830

over 5

9

€23,383

€210,447

Total

14

€444,277

Overall Total Due

€1,674,403

Sinn Féin

Category

No. of TD’s

Rate

Due

First 10 Members

10

€71,520

€715,200

11 to 30

4

€57,214

€228,856

31 and over

0

€28,616

€0

Total

14

€944,056

Category

No. of TD’s

Rate

Due

First 5 Members

3

€46,766

€140,298

over 5

0

€23,383

€0

Total

3

€140,298

Overall Total Due

€1,084,354

Socialist Party

Category

No. of TD’s

Rate

Due

First 10 Members

2

€71,520

€143,040

11 to 30

0

€57,214

€0

31 and over

0

€28,616

€0

Total

2

€143,040

Overall Total Due

€143,040

People Before Profit

Category

No. of TD’s

Rate

Due

First 10 Members

2

€71,520

€143,040

11 to 30

0

€57,214

€0

31 and over

0

€28,616

€0

Total

2

€143,040

Overall Total Due

€143,040

Independents

Category

No. of TD’s

Rate

Due

15

€41,152

€617,280

Category

No. of Senators

Rate

Due

12

€23,383

€280,596

Overall Total Due

€897,876

Party Leader's Allowance — amounts paid to December 2011*

Party

Total €

Fine Gael

2,250,522.74

Fianna Fáil

1,462,769,98

Labour

1,462,570.11

Sinn Féin

893,432.68

Socialist Party

120,902.86

People Before Profit

120,902.86

Independent TDs

F McGrath

34,783.20

M Lowry

34,783.20

M O Sullivan

34,783.20

S Ross

34,783.20

Michael Wallace

0.00

Michael Healy Rae

34,783.20

Noel Grealish

34,783.20

Stephen Donnelly

34,783.20

Luke Flanagan

34,783.20

John Halligan

34,783.20

Mattie McGrath

34,783.20

Catherine Murphy

34,783.20

Thomas Pringle

34,783.20

Tom Fleming

34,293.30

Seamus Healy

34,783.20

Independent Senators

D Norris

15,913.41

F Quinn

15,913.40

R Mullen

15,913.40

John Crown

15,913.40

Sean Barrett

15,913.40

Martin McAleese

3,247.63

Fiach Mac Conghaill

14,394.35

Eamon Coghlan

14,394.35

Dr. Katherine Zappone

14,394.35

Mary Ann O Brien

14,394.35

Marie-Louise O’Donnell

14,394.35

Jillian van Turnhout

14,394.35

*Members of Dáil Éireann — Total amount paid for the period 25 February 2011 to 31 December 2011.

Members of Seanad Éireann — Total amount paid for the period 26 April 2011 to 31 December 2011 in the case of elected members and from 20 May 2011 to 31 December in the case of members nominated by the Taoiseach.

Public Service Contracts

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

256 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the changes he would like to see in procurement practice to ensure that jobs are created for the long-term unemployed within specific contracts. [35948/11]

The rules on awarding public contracts have provisions which allow the specification of social criteria, such as the requirement for employment of long term unemployed, as a condition in the performance of the contract. Any such provision must be compatible with EU law, i.e. they must be made known to all interested parties and must not restrict participation by contractors from other Member States. Subject to this, contracting authorities have the discretion to apply such conditions, as appropriate. I understand that the National Procurement Service is currently looking at developing guidance for contracting authorities in relation to the use of such social clauses.

Capital Investment Programme

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

257 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of jobs that would be created by an additional investment of €750 million in capital expenditure. [35938/11]

The amount of employment generated by capital expenditure depends on how that expenditure is invested. For example, the purchase of new rail rolling stock would generate little direct employment in Ireland as such stock is generally produced abroad. Furthermore, different types of public construction project have different levels of labour intensity. For example, smaller scale projects such as school building and repair, or smaller local and regional road-works, tend to be more labour intensive than major national infrastructural projects.

As the Deputy will be aware, the details of an extensive review of the public capital programme were published by my Department on 10 November 2011 in "Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework". The focus of that review, which culminated in the publication of the Framework, was the identification of infrastructural investment that can aid economic growth, generate sustainable jobs in the medium term, and address urgent social requirements.

In relation to job creation, it is important to note that much of the capital programme for the next five years will be geared towards smaller, more labour intensive projects. However, it is also noteworthy that investment in enterprise supports has the highest direct employment impact. Accordingly, the review made a point of protecting supports to the enterprise sector primarily through agencies such as Enterprise Ireland and the IDA. The unprecedented level of investment over the past few years and in 2012 delivered through the Enterprise Development Agencies can foster sustainable and valuable employment in the exporting sectors of the economy which will be critical to recovery. While the overall capital envelope for 2012 has been reduced, we have actually held the level of capital allocation for the enterprise sector relative to the preceding period.

National Lottery

Robert Troy

Question:

258 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views that initiatives in his Department funded by national lottery funding will be impacted upon if the sale of the lotto goes ahead; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36602/11]

As Minister with responsibility for the National Lottery, I announced on 10 November 2011, in the context of unveiling the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework 2012-2016, that the Government has decided to review a number of options regarding the future of the National Lottery. My Department is currently examining the various options with respect to the next Lottery licence and I expect to be in a position to revert to Government in a matter of weeks. The Government's intention is to seek a large up-front payment to the State as part of the arrangements for the new licence, with some of the payment to be used to part fund the building of the new National Paediatric Hospital.

I would stress that any new arrangements for the National Lottery will involve the continued provision of significant annual revenues from the Lottery for good causes. My Department is not directly responsible for any programmes that receive funding from the Lottery.

Local Authority Rates

Niall Collins

Question:

259 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the action he will take on the subsequent occupier clause condition in the current valuation process; and if he intends to review his position on inserting an economic conditions clause into the valuation appeals process. [37660/11]

Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Act 2001. The levying and collection of rates are matters for each individual local authority.

The person liable for payment of rates is the person in occupation of a rateable property on the date of the making of the rate by the relevant local authority. The owner rather than the occupier may be liable for commercial rates if the property in question is unoccupied on the date of the making of the rate. Should a person's occupancy commence after the date of the making of the rate then that person is not primarily liable for rates for that year. However, as a subsequent occupier, that person can be held liable for up to two years arrears of rates if they cannot be recovered from the person with whom the primary liability lies.

The Valuation Act sets out the procedures and basis for assessing the valuation of properties for rates purposes. The Act does not deal with liability for rates which is covered in rating and local government law.

The Valuation Act, 2001 provides for the valuation of all commercial and industrial property and the Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the performance of his functions under the Act and the making of valuations for rating is his sole prerogative. Under the 2001 Act, which came into force on 2nd May, 2002, the basis of valuation for all commercial property is net annual value, i.e. the rental value of the property. To ensure equity and uniformity, valuation revisions which are set for modified or new properties are determined by reference to the values of comparable properties on the same valuation list.

Under section 28(4) of the Act, a Revision Officer of the Commissioner may carry out a revision of valuation in relation to a particular property only if a material change of circumstances has occurred such as a new building, a change in value due to structural alterations of an existing building, total or partial demolition of a building or a sub-division or amalgamation of relevant property. The definition does not allow for a revision of valuation where the change in value is due to economic factors, differential movements in property values or other external factors such as roads or other infrastructural development in the vicinity of a property.

Revaluation is the mechanism whereby economic changes that take place in the property market are reflected in the valuation lists and in individual ratepayers' rates liabilities. The Commissioner of Valuation is conducting a programme of revaluation of all commercial and industrial properties throughout the State on a county by county basis. The purpose of the revaluation process is to provide for more consistent and up-to-date valuations for rating purposes and to assist in providing a more equitable distribution of valuations across those liable to pay rates. Ideally, occupiers of properties of similar value in the same rating area should have a similar rates liability and following revaluation, there will be a much closer relationship between rental value and commercial rates liability and this relationship will thereafter be maintained by means of recurring revaluations provided for in the Act.

The Commissioner, in consultation with my Department, has been reviewing various options for streamlining the valuation process and speeding up the national revaluation programme. In this regard, the Government recently approved the drafting of a Valuation Bill to amend the Valuation Act.

It is important to acknowledge that commercial rates, as a local tax, and the rating system generally, are deeply embedded in the local government system. Rates income is a very important contribution to the cost of services provided by local authorities such as roads, public lighting, development control, parks and open spaces. All rates collected within a local authority area are spent exclusively in delivering the public services which are required locally to create the environment in which businesses can prosper. Locally elected members adopt the annual rate on valuation they consider necessary in order to provide the required services. Rates are a stable source of financing for local government which is not affected unduly by short-term changes in economic circumstances. A system having regard to economic factors on an ongoing basis would create uncertainty by providing for continuous change to the valuation base. Such a system would not provide a stable basis for funding local government and would require significant additional resources to operate.

Local authorities have been asked by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to exercise restraint in setting their Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV) in the context of the adoptions of their 2012 budgets. Local authorities have responded positively to similar requests in recent years. The Government recognises that these are difficult economic times for many businesses and will continue to keep all matters relating to rates under regular consideration and is determined that every avenue will be pursued to optimise efficiency, and contain and reduce costs in the local government sector.

Ministerial Appointments

Micheál Martin

Question:

260 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding the proposed rehauling of the top level appointments commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1940/12]

In April of last year the Government decided that the membership of TLAC would be changed to include a majority of outside members. The new TLAC comprises a majority of outside members and one of these members is the Chairperson. The new committee is charted with identifying and selecting candidates for the most senior positions throughout the Civil Service.

The Membership of the restructured TLAC is as follows:

Mr Robert Watt, Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (ex officio)

Mr Martin Fraser, Secretary General to the Government (ex officio)

Two other senior public servants appointed for three year terms — currently Mr Tom Moran, Secretary General, D/Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Ms Josephine Feehily, Chairman, Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

Five members from outside the civil service appointed for three year terms as follows:

Ms Maureen Lynott, Consultant (Chairperson);

Dr Dorothy Scally, HR Consultant;

Mr Martin Murphy, Managing Director, Hewlett Packard Ireland;

Mr Clive Brownlee, Praesta Ireland;

Mr Kevin Empey, Head of HR, Towers Watson.

Proposed Legislation

Micheál Martin

Question:

261 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will give an update on the legislation committed to reform the code of laws replacing both the Ministers and Secretaries Act and the Public Service Management Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1938/12]

Work is ongoing in my Department in this area. I remain committed to bringing forward the reform required in the context of commitments on accountability arrangements, as set out in the Programme for Government. Legislative change to clarify accountability arrangements is a key initiative of the Government's Public Service Reform Plan that was published in November 2011.

Micheál Martin

Question:

262 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there is any progress on the commitment in the programme for Government on developing a statutory register of lobbyists and rules regarding the practice of lobbying; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2040/12]

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists, and rules concerning the practice of lobbying. In addition the Public Service Reform Plan contains a commitment to prepare legislation to meet this commitment. The Government Reform Unit of my Department is currently reviewing the approaches in place in the EU and internationally to the regulation of lobbyists. This process, which will identify best practice internationally, will help to inform and guide the design of proposals for the regulatory regime in Ireland.

In parallel with this work the Department is currently seeking submissions from interested parties on a number of key issues relating to options for the organisation and implementation of a regulatory system for lobbying in Ireland. The Department recently placed a notice in newspapers directing interested parties to explanatory documents on the Department's website with a view to receiving submissions by 29 February, 2012. A copy of this advertisement and the explanatory documents may be found at: http://per.gov.ie/regulation-of-lobbyists/. The Deputy may wish to consider whether his party will make a submission to the consultation process in light of the importance of this proposal to all public representatives and Members of the Houses.

EU Structural Funds

Micheál Martin

Question:

263 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the discussions that have already taken place at EU Council level regarding directing EU Structural Funds to areas that boost employment and growth; the way this applies to Ireland and if any action has taken place regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2042/12]

The Commission published its proposals for the 2014-2020 round of funding on 6 October 2011. Under the proposals, the total Cohesion package would be valued at €376 billion, making it the biggest single element of the EU Budget. Discussions have been taking place at EU Council at official level since that date and I have attended an Informal Ministerial Meeting in Poznan and the General Affairs Council Meeting in Brussels last November and December respectively.

The future of cohesion policy is being framed in the context of the current economic downturn and the challenge of an integrated cohesion policy is to address this. The strategic direction for the future policy will, of course, be framed by the EU 2020 Strategy, which aims to support growth and competitiveness in the EU, and the EU Budget discussions. Ireland supports the goals of the EU 2020 Strategy. Cohesion Policy will be a key tool in the achievement of these goals. Interventions must be focused on creating employment, research and innovation, education, combating poverty and climate change and energy.

The Commission's proposals are detailed and extensive and we are still examining them in consultation with my colleagues in other Government Departments and State Bodies. The discussions at Council level have been intense and we expect the negotiations to be complex given the wider debate at EU level particularly in relation to the EU budget.

We have significant reservations about some aspects of the Cohesion proposals in relation to the financial management and control arrangements which could increase the complexity of fund drawdown. However, we are engaging in the negotiations in a positive manner and in a spirit of partnership as it is in our common interest to ensure a successful conclusion to the negotiations.

Question No. 264 answered with Question No. 74.

Revaluation Programme

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

265 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding the schedule for revaluations of commercial properties for the purpose of commercial rates in County Meath; his plans for a redeployment of staff to the Valuation Office in order that areas outside of Dublin may have their rates reassessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3897/12]

The revaluation programme began in November 2005 in the South Dublin County Council area where it was completed in 2007. It has since been completed in the Fingal County Council area in 2009 and in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown in 2010. The revaluation of the Dublin City Council area was commenced in May 2011, which entails the valuation of approximately 25,000 properties and the new list will be published in 2013.

As part of the roll-out of the revaluation programme to other local authority areas, the Commissioner signed the valuation order on 12 December, 2011 to commence the revaluation of the Waterford City, Waterford County and Dungarvan Town Council areas. As required by statute, he has also advanced the formal consultations with Limerick City and Limerick County Council to the stage where he will shortly be in a position to sign valuation orders for those areas. It is intended to extend the revaluation programme to further local authority areas as soon as it is practicable to do so; however it is not yet decided when the revaluation work will commence in County Meath.

Following detailed examination of various possibilities over the past few months intended to speed up the revaluation programme, the Commissioner of Valuation has concluded that it may be feasible to introduce a Self Assessment approach, accompanied by appropriate controls, and that it might be possible also to outsource some of the work. As well as helping to speed up the national programme an element of outsourcing, if it proves practicable, would allow comparison of the Valuation Office productivity and costs with those in the private sector. The enabling provisions to allow for these changes are included in proposals for amending legislation which were approved by Government on 6 December, 2011 and are now with the Attorney General's Office for drafting of the proposed Valuation (Amendment) Bill. Preparatory work is continuing in drawing up the detailed schemes and, subject to the enactment of the legislation and availability of the necessary resources, I understand that the intention would be to initiate pilot revaluations using the self-assessment and outsourcing options in two local authority areas.

Because of the complexity and the specialist nature of valuation work requiring staff with suitable professional qualifications, re-deployment of non-specialist staff from other Departments to do core valuation work is not considered to be a viable option. However, as a further means of speeding up the revaluation programme generally and to accelerate the necessary capture of data on properties throughout the country, in advance of the roll-out to particular areas, a dedicated data-capture unit is being set up which might hold potential to take on a number of suitable staff under the JobBridge scheme being sponsored by the Department of Social Protection and this option is being pursued at present.

Public Sector Pay

Gerry Adams

Question:

266 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of employees in the public sector currently on salaries in excess of €200,000; and the names of the employees in each case and the position they hold. [3912/12]

The Government adopted my proposal in June 2011 for the introduction of:—

a general pay ceiling of €200,000 for future appointments to higher positions across the public service; and

a general pay ceiling of €250,000 for future appointments to CEO posts within Commercial State Companies.

Following the outcome to the referendum on remuneration for the Judiciary the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Amendment) Act, 2011 was enacted. This Act provided for the application of the pay reduction and the pension levy to serving members of the judiciary and provided for reduced remuneration rates for newly appointed members of the judiciary with effect from 1 January 2012. The Act also made provision to bring certain Office holders (Comptroller and Auditor General and Chairperson of An Bord Pleanála) within the public service pay ceiling and for the reduction of remuneration for future appointees as President and the Office of Ombudsman. This legislation also formally provides for the reduction in the salary rates for members of the Government. Ongoing arrangements are being made on an administrative basis to implement the pay ceiling for future appointments where that is appropriate, for example within the Civil Service and the Heads of four Universities.

Based on the information available within my Department, there are 24 post holders in the public service on approved salary levels in excess of €200,000 and 11 CEOs of Commercial State Companies. I do not propose to name any individual concerned but details of the posts are listed in the following table:

Post Holders with approved salary above €200,000 ceiling for Public Service

Sector

Organisation/Function

Numbers

Oireachtas

President

1

Judiciary

Chief Justice

2

Health Services Executive

Chief Executive Officer

1

Civil Service

Secretary General Level I

1

Secretary General Level II

8

Statutory Office Holders

Ombudsman

1

Non Commercial State Sponsored Agencies

Chief Executive Officer — National Roads Authority

1

Education

University Heads — Level I Universities

4

University Framework Positions

5*

*The remuneration of appointments made under Section 25 (5) of the Universities Act 1997 are not subject to Ministerial sanction.

CEO's of Commercial State Companies with salary above €200,000

Name of Organisation

An Post

Dublin Airport Authority

ESB

Coillte Teoranta

Bord Gáis Éireann

Iarnród Éireann

Irish Aviation Authority

RTE

Bord na Mona

EirGrid

VHI

The posts listed are not reflective of any voluntary arrangement that the individuals concerned may have entered into, following the Government decision in June 2011 to seek voluntary waivers of salary of 15%, or by a lesser amount if the application of the full 15% reduction would bring the salary levels of such individuals to below the pay ceiling of €200,000 p.a. across the public service and of €250,000 within Commercial State Companies. For example all Secretaries General with approved salary levels above the ceiling have voluntarily waived the additional pay.

There are also some 150 academic medical consultants, some of whom would attract salaries in excess of €200,000. My colleague the Minister for Health proposes to address this issue in the context of his discussions with the representative associations for those public service grades on matters related to the current consultant contract.

Finally, my colleague the Minister for Finance has outlined the remuneration rates in respect of the Central Bank and the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA)in his replies to Question Nos. 17682/11, 17686/11, 17690/11 and 17691/11, and to Nos. 1768/11, 17685/11, 1788/11 and 17692/11 on 29 June last. I am currently in correspondence with the Minister for Finance, concerning the pay arrangements in those bodies, including in relation to greater transparency with regard to remuneration.

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

267 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a list of the public sector grades that will receive increments this year and also a list of the Departments and accompanying numbers who will receive increments this year from each Department. [4005/12]

I refer to my reply to Questions Nos. 274, 288 and 289 of 11 January 2012.

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

268 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the salary brackets of those workers in the public service in receipt of increments this year; the total cost of these increments by sector to the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4014/12]

I refer to my reply to Questions Nos. 274, 288 and 289 of 11 January 2012.

EU-IMF Programme

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

269 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which the targets in respect of public expenditure reform and/or the elimination of waste and duplication throughout the public service have been achieved to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4061/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

270 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is satisfied that all Government Departments and/or bodies under their aegis are fully compliant with cost cutting measures identified and incorporated in the memorandum of understanding entered into by his predecessors; if any particular areas require greater efforts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4062/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

271 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is satisfied that the targets set in respect of the savings to date are in accord with the expectations and approval of the troika; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4063/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

272 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if in the course of the recent visit by the troika, any particular areas of cost cutting and/or reform were identified as being in need of improvement; the extent to which the progress made to date is in line with original expectations and targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4064/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

273 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which each Department has managed to achieve the savings and reform required in the context of national recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4065/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

275 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is satisfied that the progress made to date in respect of public expenditure and reform are sufficiently on target to meet the criteria set out in the memorandum of understanding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4067/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

276 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he has identified the cause or causes of any cost overruns in each Department; the action required to address any such issues arising; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4068/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

277 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which cost overruns by groups, bodies or agencies under the aegis of all Government Departments have been identified and remedial measures put in place to address the cause or causes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4069/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 269 to 273, inclusive and 275 to 277, inclusive, together.

As is clear from the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014 published on 5 December last, the Capital Infrastructure Plan published on 10 November 2011, the Implementation Body publication of the Public Service Agreement Progress Report on the 17 November 2011, and the Public Service Reform Plan also published on 17 November 2011, the Government is making good progress on achieving all of our targets and priorities, as articulated in the Government Programme, in terms of both bringing public expenditure back to a sustainable level and driving forward the public service reform agenda to ensure that efficiencies and reformed work practices play a full part in contributing to the overall budgetary consolidation effort.

As regards revisions to previously established objectives under the EU/IMF Programme, I would point out to the Deputy that this Government successfully renegotiated significant elements of the Programme — for example the Jobs Initiative, the ending of further asset transfers to NAMA, reversal of the Minimum Wage cut, the provision that fiscal measures specified in the programme could be substituted by others of equally good quality and we successfully renegotiated the interest rate charged for the loans, along with important changes and improvements to the EU's EFSF funding facility.

Ireland is living up to its end of the bargain by delivering on all the conditions and targets in the EU/IMF Programme by the required deadlines. As I am sure the Deputy is aware, the fifth quarterly review took place from 10th-19th January. The mission was a success and the overall assessment was positive. Ireland is meeting all of the conditions and targets of our programme, including all reform and expenditure targets. The Government has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to meeting the targets agreed with our European and IMF partners.

Public Sector Staff

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

274 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which a review has been carried out of the degree to which staff reductions in sensitive or front-line areas arising from targets associated with national recovery and affected by the public service recruitment ban are likely to affect the delivery of services in sensitive areas; if a means can be found by way of relocation or otherwise to ensure that the structures, integrity and viability of the sectors affected are not damaged to the extent as to make them unworkable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4066/12]

In the first instance, responsibility for operational planning in the context of reducing resources rests with the relevant Public Service body and its parent Department. Public Service organisations must fully use all mechanisms set out in Public Service Reform Plan for discharging work including reorganisation and redeployment of staff. Only after this will the issue of recruitment for current or emerging business needs arise.

Should a Department identify a potential exception to the moratorium on recruitment the sanction of my Department must then be sought. Exceptions to the Moratorium may be granted on the following basis:

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

b) where failure to fill posts would result in a breach of EU/international regulations and impact upon exports etc.;

c) safety related posts — failure to fill them could leave the state open to potential legal liabilities or for security reasons;

d) specialist/technical posts to ensure continuity of operations e.g. legal officers; laboratory staff, maritime safety, etc.;

e) to ensure continuity of front-line services.

In addition, in the case of the Education and Health Sector, a number of grades are exempted from the Moratorium in order to ensure that these vital services are maintained.

Each Sector in the Public Service has been establishing its own Strategic Workforce Planning Group to ensure that sectoral employers are developing plans to deal with the operational and strategic consequences arising from staffing reductions in the coming years. The sectoral groups are liaising with the central Strategic Workforce Planning Forum under my Department.

Questions Nos. 275 to 277, inclusive, answered with Question No. 269.

Exchequer Savings

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

278 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he has identified various forms of insurance cover affecting the State and/or its institutions as a means of achieving savings to the Exchequer; the extent to which group insurance policies can be utilised for this purpose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4070/12]

Under the general rule of State indemnity the State carries its own insurance , i.e. a commitment is made to protect against losses, should any loss or damage arise where the State was negligent. For the following areas of risk:

Personal injury to employees of the State;

Personal injury to third parties (the public);

Third party property damage — including claims arising from road traffic collisions,

claims against the State are managed by the State Claims Agency (SCA), established under the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act, 2000. The SCA's remit covers personal injury and property damage claims against certain State authorities, including the State itself, Government Ministers, the Attorney General, health enterprises, the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána, prison governors, community and comprehensive schools and various other bodies.

Where this State indemnity applies, the relevant Authority does not purchase insurance for personal injury (employer's and public liability) and third party property damage and therefore, will not have to bear associated premium costs. Indemnity operates on a pay as you go basis so that all costs associated with personal injury and third party property damage claims will be paid directly from the budget of the relevant Authority through a reimbursement system operated by the SCA. Analysis has demonstrated that the cost to the State of dealing with claims directly is significantly lower than the premium cost of insuring the risk.

Since 2001 the remit of the SCA has been expanded through various delegation orders based on value for money analysis. For example, the remit of the Agency was extended in 2010 and again in 2011 to include personal injury (employees and members of the public) and third party property claims against the Health Service Executive (claims for alleged medical negligence had been delegated to the Agency in 2003) and 19 other State agencies. This has yielded significant annual savings as these organisations no longer have to pay insurance premiums for delegated classes of claims.

In order to maximize savings the State must manage the claims made against it at the best possible cost. For example during 2011 the SCA achieved significant savings on claims and related legal costs associated with the management of the Clinical Indemnity Scheme (CIS). An independent actuarial assessment projected that €106 million would be required to satisfy CIS claims and related costs in 2011. The outturn for the year was €81 million, representing a saving of €25 million.

The SCA directly, or through the Chief State Solicitor's Office or the National Procurement Office in the Office of Public Works provides insurance advice on Government contracts, licenses, schemes and tenders in circumstances where State indemnity applies or on insurances required where it does not apply. This ensures that the States liabilities are minimized in the most cost effective manner.

Public Service Contracts

Robert Troy

Question:

279 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of public sector contracts that have been awarded with a remuneration exceeding the pay cap. [4099/12]

My Department has not approved any contracts for posts in the public service providing for a salary in excess of €200,000 since my announcement in June 2011 of the introduction of this general pay ceiling. With regard to CEO posts in Commercial State Companies, no contracts have been approved with a salary in excess of €250,000 other than the post of CEO, ESB. The new salary level of €318,083 in respect of the CEO ESB was specified in the Press Release of June 2011 and was not therefore encompassed by the general pay ceiling.

Economic Competitiveness

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

280 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his plans to allow offences against competition law be tried in the High Court. [3433/12]

While summary offences under the Competition Act 2002 may be tried in the District Court, section 11 of that Act provides that indictable offences are to be tried in the Central Criminal Court which is the name given to the High Court when it is exercising its criminal jurisdiction.

Copyright Infringements

David Stanton

Question:

281 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the measures he is taking to combat digital piracy, in particular, the downloading of movies and the copying of pirate downloads and the illegal viewing and downloading of movies from the Internet; if he has an estimate of the cost of these actions to both the legitimate industry and the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3282/12]

I would point out that Ireland has a strong and robust regime for dealing with copyright infringements whether in the digital environment or otherwise. The Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 provides a technology-neutral exclusive right for copyright owners to communicate their works through any mode. The Act also contains extensive provisions dealing with infringement of that right or others, whether civil or criminal.

The rights holder may proceed against those who infringe their copyright in a number of ways. For example, in the digital environment, it is an infringement for the person providing facilities (such as an internet service provider) not to remove infringing material when notified by the rights holder. Another remedy allows the rights holder to obtain the identities of alleged infringers, including those involved in illegal file-sharing, from an internet service provider by means of judicial process. These can then be pursued in the same manner as any other infringers. It should also be borne in mind that the Copyright Act provides for secondary and contributory liability.

In relation to one of the remedies available to rights holders, a High Court judgment has held that, by reason of provisions of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, an injunction is not available in cases of transient communications, and suggested that Ireland did not fully comply with EU law. For the avoidance of doubt, a legislative instrument is being finalised to restate the position that was considered to exist prior to this judgment.

In granting such injunctions the courts must take account of Court of Justice of the European Union judgements. These require that a fair balance be struck between the various fundamental rights protected by the Community legal order and the principle of proportionality. That would include, inter alia, the protection of the fundamental rights of individuals who are affected by such measures, the freedom to conduct a business enjoyed by operators such as Internet Service Providers, the protection of private data and right of freedom of expression and information. It is expected that this measure will be introduced this month.

The Minister does not have information in relation to the costs of copyright infringement in the area of digital piracy. Independent research as to the effects of illegal downloading is limited therefore the costs of such activity are not readily quantifiable. However, in the judgement of Mr Justice Charleton in EMI & Others vs UPC (2009 no. S472 P) it is noted that Mr Dick Doyle of the Irish Recorded Music Association posited a cost of €20m per annum in relation to music.

Job Creation

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

282 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps he has taken to find an enterprise for a location (details supplied) in Ballivor, County Meath. [3387/12]

One of the targets in IDA Ireland's strategy document ‘ Horizon 2020’ is the creation of 62,000 direct new jobs with 105,000 total jobs impact in Ireland over the period 2010-2014, with 50% of these investments to be based in locations outside of Dublin and Cork. Central to IDA’s strategy is to build on existing regional strengths to ensure Ireland’s economic development, while optimising regional spread, in line with the National Spatial Strategy.

To achieve balanced regional development, IDA Ireland markets the Gateway locations within each Region as areas of critical mass and highlights the opportunities provided by Hub locations which are within commuting distance of these Gateways. The East Region has one Gateway (Dublin) and a number of large towns including Navan, Drogheda, Naas, Arklow and Carlow and, as such, will continue to be a key location of focus for the winning of foreign direct investment (FDI). As well as marketing the region for new Greenfield investment, IDA Ireland continues to work with existing clients in encouraging them to broaden their mandate and to continue to re-invest in their sites within the region.

The availability of cost effective and flexible private property solutions forms a central part of IDA Ireland's marketing efforts. In this regard, IDA Ireland has informed me that it has met with the promoters of the NEC Facility in Ballivor and that it is actively marketing this facility for suitable projects. IDA Ireland has informed me that there are 16 IDA Ireland supported companies in Co Meath employing c. 1,300 people in key companies such as Generali International, Welch Allyn and Europ Assist.

Employment Rights

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

283 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his plans to introduce further measures to deal with non-compliance of labour laws in the construction sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3391/12]

I am satisfied that the current measures to deal with non-compliance of labour laws are adequate and I have no plans at the moment to introduce any additional measures to deal with compliance in the construction sector. The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) carries out inspections in this area, on a risk management basis, on receipt of a complaint or on a routine random basis.

Contractors working in the construction sector come within the terms of the Registered Employment Agreement for the Construction Industry, where they are building or civil engineering undertakings, the principal business of which is one or a combination of any of the activities set out in the agreement. Contractors may also come within the terms of the Registered Employment Agreement for the Electrical Contracting Industry where the main activity of the business is the performance of electrical work on a contract or sub-contract basis for a third party. The table provides details of inspections carried out under the both Agreements for 2010 and 2011:

Year

Legislation

Cases

Compliance Level %

Unpaid Wages Recovered

2010

Construction Rea

407

56%

213,297

Electrical Rea

40

60%

51,946

Totals

447

56%

265,243

2011

Construction Rea

399

58%

269,910

Electrical Rea

54

52%

21,596

Totals

453

57%

291,506

In the course of 2010 NERA established a dedicated team to carry out inspections on major capital public construction projects. NERA aims to achieve voluntary compliance. However, some employers either refuse or fail to rectify the breaches identified and/or pay money due to their employees. These employers are referred for prosecution.

Job Losses

Gerry Adams

Question:

284 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he has been in contact with a company (details supplied) regarding the loss of in the region of 100 jobs in Dundalk and Kilkenny; and the steps he has taken to ensure the company gives the workers adequate redundancy packages commensurate with their years of service to the company. [3480/12]

The operations of the company referred to have been under review for some time and Enterprise Ireland has been, and is, actively engaging with the company on an ongoing basis in seeking investments to protect and grow jobs in Ireland. In April, July and December 2011, Enterprise Ireland met with the company to discuss the developments in St James's Gate and plans for Kilkenny and Dundalk. Enterprise Ireland is continuing to work proactively with the company to ensure that it continues to develop its existing brands in Ireland, so as to ensure maximum job retention.

The investment announced for St James's Gate last week will consolidate brewing operations and while I welcome the company's announcement of the major new investment that secures the future of brewing in Ireland, the closure of the Dundalk site, which has been signalled since 2008, is a serious blow to the town. I am very conscious of the anxiety that the closures will create for the workers involved and their families as well as the local communities and I can assure the Deputy that the enterprise development agencies will continue to engage proactively with the company to explore any future opportunities for staff.

Issues in relation to the payment of statutory redundancy entitlements under the Redundancy Payments Acts are a matter for the Minister for Social Protection. Redundancy payments above the statutory entitlement are a matter for negotiation between the employer and workers representatives. The industrial relations machinery of the State is available to assist the parties in the event of any dispute that may arise in this context.

Industrial Development

Paul Connaughton

Question:

285 Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of Industrial Development Agency business parks in County Galway; the number of businesses that are based in the various parks; the number of persons employed in these parks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3739/12]

One of the targets set out in IDA Ireland's strategy document ‘ Horizon 2020’ is the creation of 62,000 direct new jobs with 105,000 total jobs impact Ireland over the period 2010-2014, with 50% of these investments to be based in locations outside of Dublin and Cork. In implementing this Strategy, IDA Ireland exercises its discretion to actively promote available buildings and land in its business parks with a view to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to Ireland.

IDA Ireland has informed me that it has invested significantly in the provision of world class property solutions in County Galway. There are currently 16 IDA Ireland Business Parks in Galway, at the following locations: Galway City (5) Parkmore East, Tuam (2), Gort, Loughrea, Ballinasloe, Roundstone, Portumna, Athenry Town, Glenamaddy, Mountbellew and Ballygar. There are currently 32 businesses involved in manufacturing and internationally traded service activities in these Business Parks. The information relating to employment numbers is received by IDA Ireland on a confidential basis and cannot be disclosed. I can confirm, however, that overall, in Galway City and County, there 58 IDA supported companies employing 12,076 people in permanent and contract positions.

James Bannon

Question:

286 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his plans to promote the Mullingar business and technology park, County Westmeath, which is currently considerably overlooked by the Industrial Development Agency in terms of visits and promotion, given of the mere 21 such visits since 2006 not one has resulted in the location of a single business in the park; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3964/12]

James Bannon

Question:

287 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the reason a business park such as that in Mullingar, County Westmeath, which cost millions of euro, has top class facilities, is fully landscaped and with its own interior road, roundabout and bus shelters is being allowed to lie semi-idle without State assisted progress in utilising and developing its potential; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3965/12]

James Bannon

Question:

288 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will bring the necessary pressure to bear on the Industrial Development Agency to maximise its efforts to attract businesses to the Mullingar business and technology park, County Westmeath, in view of the fact that such investment is urgently needed to revitalise the economic and job profile of the midlands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3966/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 286 to 288, inclusive, together.

In line with the Government's National Spatial Strategy (NSS) and IDA Ireland's Strategy, Horizon 2020, IDA Ireland is focused on advancing regional economic development primarily through Gateway locations. In that context, the Midlands Gateway of Mullingar, Tullamore and Athlone is a key focus of IDA Ireland and the agency markets the Midlands Gateway for new Greenfield investments through its network of overseas offices. It also works with existing clients to broaden their mandate in Ireland and to continue to re-invest in their sites within the Region.

IDA Ireland has invested significantly in developing its Business and Technology Park in Mullingar in order to make it attractive to overseas clients. The strategy of developing lands and property solutions in advance of securing new investments has been a fundamental differentiator in IDA's marketing efforts with overseas clients. IDA Ireland has assured me that, while it hosted 3 first time site visits to Mullingar and 15 visits to the Midlands Region in 2011, it will continue to promote its Business and Technology Park and other local private property solutions to secure new investments for Mullingar and its surrounding areas.

Economic Competitiveness

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

289 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in the context of the recent report from the National Competitiveness Council, Ireland’s Competitiveness Challenge 2011, his views that there is a need for a reinvigorated rip-off Ireland type campaign to target and lower prices for consumers here in a range of sectors including the energy, liquid fuel and transportation sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3973/12]

The restoration of national competitiveness is one of the primary focuses of Government policy. Price competitiveness is an integral element of restoring national competitiveness. The Central Statistics Office's recent publication of the EU Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices, which is accepted as the most appropriate measure for community wide price comparisons, shows that in the year to November 2011, prices in Ireland increased by 1.7% as compared with an increase in prices of 3.0% (provisional) in the Euro area and 3.4% (provisional) throughout the EU as a whole. It will be seen, therefore, that prices in most member states of the EU are increasing at a much faster rate than prices in Ireland. This price competitive advantage is helping in the effort to restore national competitiveness.

Notwithstanding the welcome improvement in our price comparative position, undoubtedly a number of sectors have experienced above average price increases. Whilst some of the increases have arisen as a result of fiscal measures dictated by the country's difficult budgetary position, others, particularly in the energy sector, have been dictated by global factors such as increases in the price of carbon fuels, capacity difficulties for refining such fuels etc.

It should be borne in mind that a number of the sectors referred to in the Deputy's question are subject to regulatory oversight, including in relation to matters such as price. It is the case that consumer welfare is an integral element of the mandates of the regulatory bodies concerned, including in relation to the regulatory decisions that they make.

Any consideration of prices should also take into account the role that consumers can play in bringing about a more competitive marketplace. Consumers by informing themselves of the different offerings in the marketplace can help to ensure that they receive the best value for money, which in turn can be the catalyst for greater competition. In this regard, price comparison survey work carried out by the National Consumer Agency has helped to enable consumers to become much more informed and price aware in relation to their day to day shopping thus helping them to achieve the best value for money.

In so far as the liquid fuel sector referred to in the Deputy's question is concerned, a survey of prices of home heating oil published by the National Consumer Agency in September 20011 showed considerable price variations amongst suppliers in a significant number of the areas surveyed. This survey and other like surveys clearly show that it is in consumers' own interest as well as the wider competitiveness interest to seek out the best value for money in their day to day spending decisions.

Departmental Investigations

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

290 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will list any investigations that are currently being undertaken by him or any agency under his Department’s responsibility into anti-competitive practices that are having a negative impact on Irish consumers and businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3974/12]

The Competition Authority is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of competition law in the State. Section 29(3) of the Competition Act 2002 provides that the Authority 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. As investigations and enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Authority, I have no direct function in the matter.

Departmental Bodies

Denis Naughten

Question:

291 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the average cost of grant aid per job created by the Industrial Development Agency in each of the past five years; the number created in each year concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4021/12]

The cost per job supported by IDA Ireland over the last five years, as published in IDA's 2010 Annual Report, which is available on its website, is set out below. I am informed that information relating to 2011 will be included in the Agency's 2011 Annual Report which will be published later this year.

IDA Cost Per Job Sustained Constant 2010 Prices

1995-2001€

1996-2002€

1997-2003€

1998-2004€

1999-2005€

2000-2006€

2001-2007€

2002-2008€

2003-2009€

2004-2010€

16,304

18,525

18,210

16,165

14,219

12,903

12,899

12,495

14,159

14,287

Source: Forfás Annual Employment Survey 2010.

Note: The cost per job sustained is calculated by taking into account all IDA Ireland expenditure to all firms in the period of calculation. Only jobs created during and sustained to the end of each seven year period are credited in the calculations.

The total number of new jobs created and jobs lost in IDA supported companies in the period in question is set out in the tabular statement below:

New Jobs Created/Lost in IDA Supported Companies 2007-2011

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

No. of Companies

1,070

1,043

1,019

1,014

1,004

Permanent Employment

140,038

139,087

126,415

125,855

130,499

Gross Gains (New Jobs)

10,401

9,203

5,239

9,075

11,594

Net Change in Other Jobs

-1,066

-2,484

-1,671

2,149

1,474

Job Losses

-9,631

-10,154

-17,911

-9,635

-6,950

Total Net Change in Employment

-296

-3,435

-14,343

+1,589

+6,118

Denis Naughten

Question:

292 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the average cost of grant aid per job created by Enterprise Ireland in each of the past five years; the number created in each year concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4022/12]

The cost per job supported by Enterprise Ireland for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, is published in Enterprise Ireland's 2010 Annual Report, which is available on its website, and is set out in the table below. The cost per job sustained is calculated by taking into account all Enterprise Ireland expenditure on all firms in the period. Only jobs created during, and sustained at the end of, each seven year period are credited in the calculations.

I am informed that information relating to 2011 will be included in the Agency's 2011 Annual Report which will be published later this year.

Figures in respect of the number of jobs created or lost in firms assisted by Enterprise Ireland are compiled annually in the Forfás Annual Employment Survey. As the information is compiled on an annualised basis, the figures in respect of 2011 will not be available until later in 2012. Details of the number of jobs created Enterprise Ireland assisted companies for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, are set out in the Table at Appendix 2.

Enterprise Ireland Cost per Job Sustained (2010 prices)

2000/2006

2001/2007

2002/2008

2003/2009

2004/2010

€4,278

€6,396

€7,794

€11,829

€12,254

Job gains in Enterprise Ireland-assisted companies

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

21,675

17,993

13,717

8,701

8,184

Denis Naughten

Question:

293 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the average cost of grant aid per job created by the county enterprise boards in each of the past five years; the number created in each year concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4023/12]

The cost per job supported by the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) for the period requested by the Deputy is set out in tabular format below:

Year

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

Cost per Job €

5,756

5,543

4,843

4,503

4,508

Net Job Creation (i.e. Increase or decrease on jobs existing in previous year)

-207