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 38, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 39 to 103, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 104 to 110, inclusive, answered orally.

Culture Ireland

Sandra McLellan

Question:

111 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in view of the vital importance of Culture Ireland to the promotion and protection of Irish culture throughout the world, the steps he will take to ensure the continued success of Culture Ireland. [21411/12]

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

133 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he recognises the work of Culture Ireland in promoting Ireland abroad; if a value for money audit will be completed in advance of any decision to abolish the body and the contribution of the voluntary advisory board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21681/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 111 and 133 together.

I am satisfied that the international promotion of Irish arts through my Department'sCulture Ireland is making notable contributions — exemplified through its regular grant and showcase programmes and as instanced by my recent initiative, an International Celebration of Irish Culture to mark St Patrick’s Day. Since its establishment, Culture Ireland has to date promoted and supported over 6,600 Irish cultural projects and events in over 74 countries, ranging across music, theatre, dance, literature, film, visual art and architecture. In 2011 alone, and excluding over 500 events as part of the Imagine Ireland initiative, Culture Ireland supported another 330 tours, events and projects by Irish artists across five continents.

In addition,Culture Ireland continues to aid the promotion of Irish cultural and creative excellence in Europe and in key export markets, such as China. Working in tandem with the promotion of trade, investment, tourism, agri-food and science, it is assisting in providing fresh and innovative opportunities. Our EU Presidency in 2013 now presents an additional platform for cultural links to be enhanced with key European partners. My Department, through Culture Ireland, is leading on the international dimension of the Cultural Programme for the EU Presidency.

At Government level, it will be recalled too that the recent visit to Ireland of Vice-President Xi Jinping provided a major boost to the profile of Irish culture and heritage in China, as well as strengthening our overall relationship with the People's Republic and with their most senior leadership. On the occasion of that visit, throughCulture Ireland, my Department assisted the Government in organising a special performance of Riverdance, which took place in Dublin in honour of the Vice-President and his delegation, building on the extraordinary success and impact that this show has generated in China over the last decade.

Questions Nos. 112 and 113 answered with Question No. 110.

Architectural Heritage

Catherine Murphy

Question:

114 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will outline any proposals he might have in relation to the State taking direct ownership of the former Irish Houses of Parliament building on College Green, Dublin, currently owned by Bank of Ireland; if such a plan exists, the public use he envisages for the building; if he will make known the response of Bank of Ireland to any such proposals raised by him; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21635/12]

I refer the Deputy to my previous replies on this matter. As outlined in those replies, I met the Chair and Chief Executive of Bank of Ireland and had a constructive engagement on the issues. At the time of my initial suggestion, the future ownership of the Bank was in question. My raising of the College Green issue was exploratory and it came to unintended public attention. Clearly, too, it caught the public imagination.

This building was the first purpose-built Parliament in Europe. Completed in 1739, it served as Ireland's Parliament until the Act of Union in 1801. By extension, the question of its future use was entirely appropriate, given its resonances throughout public, cultural and civic life in this country. However, the ownership of Bank of Ireland is no longer a matter for debate. The building, which is its landmark building, remains in the ownership of the Bank and is the biggest of its branches. I am continuing my dialogue with the Bank on this matter and, in particular, around the Building's continued availability for arts and cultural events and purposes.

Departmental Bodies

Michael Moynihan

Question:

115 Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the way he intends to maintain the autonomy of each of the national cultural institutions in the proposed reorganisation of services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21687/12]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government announced its Public Service Reform Plan on 27 November 2011. Appendix IIA to that Plan sets out a number of bodies to be rationalised, amalgamated or abolished in 2012. Actions in respect of my own Departmental remit include the following:

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

Merge the National Archives and the Irish Manuscripts Commission into the National Library, while maintaining separate identities.

Clearly, the amalgamation and merger of these bodies raises complex issues, which my Department is currently examining. In that context, the views of the various interested parties are being noted and considered. The artistic and curatorial autonomy of each of the institutions is, of course, a major consideration in this regard. My Departmental has established a high-level Reform Committee and is liaising with the various bodies with a view to implementing the Government's Decision in these matters as effectively and efficiently as possible. I expect to be reverting to Government on progress made in relation to this process by end-June of this year.

Tourism Promotion

Michael McGrath

Question:

116 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the involvement he has had with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in planning The Gathering; the meetings that have taken place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21683/12]

Gerry Adams

Question:

131 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the budget that has been allocated by the cultural institutions for marketing cultural institutions and heritage sites for the Gathering tourism initiative. [21415/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 and 131 together.

WhileThe Gathering event is primarily a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I am conscious of the tourism potential of our heritage and culture for attracting the Irish Diaspora to our shores and I welcome my fellow Minister’s initiative. The Minister has stated that he expects The Gathering to be one of the biggest tourism initiatives ever staged in Ireland. It will be a year-long event in 2013, where people at home and abroad can play a part in the country’s recovery, potentially bringing in 325,000 extra tourists and providing a major economic stimulus.

I believe thatThe Gathering is a hugely important and timely initiative for the tourism sector and one that my Department, together with the cultural and heritage bodies which operate under its aegis, including the National Cultural Institutions, will be pleased to support and participate in. While no specific funding has been identified for marketing in relation to The Gathering, the Directors of the Cultural Institutions are aware of the potential increase in visitor numbers that could be achieved during the event. As such, they will ensure that 2013 marketing plans for their Institutions will be carried out with The Gathering in mind and with a view to attracting more of these visitors.

I would also see the proposedGathering as an excellent opportunity to enhance genealogical tourism. In that context, officials from my Department are working closely with their colleagues in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and in agencies within its ambit — Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland. Genealogical records made available through my Department and bodies under its aegis have been extremely popular with the public, at home and abroad. The success of the digitisation project of the 1901-1911 Censuses is the best proof of this. This website, hosted and managed by the National Archives of Ireland, has proved to be phenomenally popular, with over 698 million hits and over 14 million individual visits to date. The Certificate of Irish Heritage has now been linked to that site.

Departmental Bodies

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

117 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he intends to proceed with the amalgamation of the National Archives and The National Library despite the stated opposition of archivists and historians; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21689/12]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

122 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will report on the current status of the proposal to merge the National Archives and the Irish Manuscripts Commission into the National Library of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21347/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 117 and 122 together.

As the Deputies will be aware, in November 2011 the Government announced a number of amalgamations and mergers of bodies that come within the ambit of my Department. Details of these can be accessed on the website of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform atwww.per.gov.ie. Clearly, the amalgamation and merger of these bodies, including the consolidation of boards, raises complex issues, which my Department is currently examining. In that context, the views of the various interested parties are being noted and considered.

My Department has established a high-level Reform Committee and is liaising with relevant bodies, including the National Archives, the Irish Manuscripts Commission and the National Library, in order to implement the Government's Decisions in these matters as effectively and efficiently as possible. I expect to be reverting to Government on progress made in relation to this process by end-June of this year.

Arts Plan

Derek Keating

Question:

118 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to extend the State’s arts and memorabilia by way of exhibition to parishes and communities in the Lucan and Clondalkin area of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21345/12]

Derek Keating

Question:

132 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to promote arts and heritage in the greater west Dublin area; his plans to extend some of the State’s art such as paintings and sculptures and important memorabilia to the regions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21348/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 132 together.

The Deputy will appreciate that the State's art collections to which he refers are held mainly by the national cultural institutions. The management of these exhibitions and exhibition material is an operational matter for which the individual institutions have responsibility and this is reflected, in particular, in the legislative basis under which the national cultural institutions operate. These institutions include the National Museum, the National Gallery, the National Library IMMA, the Chester Beatty Library, and the Crawford Art Gallery. Arrangements are made from time to time for the loan of artefacts and works in the national collections to regional museums and galleries, provided conditions as to security, accreditation and so forth are met.

The Arts Council also has a collection consisting of some 1,000 works of contemporary Irish art. The collection represents emerging, as well as more established, artists. Over 80% of the collection is on loan to public institutions around the country. The Council operates a Loan Scheme enabling organisations such as schools, hospitals, local authorities, public galleries and other public institutions to borrow works of art from its collection for periods of up to two years, so as to ensure that the maximum number of people have access to this extensive collection of contemporary Irish art. Details of how to apply are available on the Council's website (http://virtualgallery.artscouncil.ie/loan.html), as is a virtual tour of the collection.

My Department is committed to providing annual funding to certain other cultural institutions which hold collections of moveable cultural heritage of national importance, or collections that are unique in the country and relate to matters of national interest, or that relate to international culture. These institutions and their collections are accessible to the public. Such institutions include the Hunt Museum, Archbishop Marsh's Library and the Foynes Flying Boat Museum.

The Deputy may be aware that the AIB recently has entered into a partnership with the State in respect of its art collection. Crawford Art Gallery is to house this gift of 39 key pieces from the AIB as an addition to the permanent collection on view there. The AIB will also be making available a further 991 works for exhibition by publicly funded galleries through the aegis of the Crawford Art Gallery. The collection was exhibited in the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork for several weeks and has now moved to Limerick. It is proposed that a number of works of art from this collection will continue to be exhibited in a number of publicly funded galleries through the aegis of the Crawford Art Gallery. In addition, the Great Southern art collection was secured by the State some years ago and is also held in the Crawford Gallery. Works from this collection have been exhibited in many other galleries and indeed in my own Department's office in Killarney.

Finally, some of the most ambitious capital projects funded under my Department's ACCESS scheme are art galleries, such as the Carlow Contemporary Art Gallery, the Niland in Sligo and the Limerick City Art Gallery. These galleries draw regularly on the national collection for exhibitions.

Question No. 119 answered with Question No. 110.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

120 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which he continues to monitor, promote and support all forms of the arts with particular reference to the need to ensure the retention and creation of the maximum possible number of jobs throughout the sector and with the added benefit of the ability of the sector to attract additional funding and support from the wider economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21602/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

422 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the total number of persons employed directly or indirectly in the arts at present; if he will endeavour to ensure that such numbers are retained or expended with particular reference to both the economic and cultural benefit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21989/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 and 422 together.

My policy on the arts is to promote and strengthen the arts in all its forms, increase access to and participation in the arts, and make the arts an integral and valued part of our national life. The importance and impact of arts and culture is an essential element to our identity, profile, confidence and place in the world. The State appreciates and values the contribution the arts and cultural sectors make to the internationally renowned artistic reputation of this country.

Within the current economic constraints, our investment in the arts, culture and creative sectors is more important than ever due to the employment intensity of the sector. The arts are a significant economic contributor and employer in their own right and they are also important building blocks for those economic policies the Government has identified as crucial for our economic recovery. The arts underpin policies in attracting foreign direct investment, in the creation of an imaginative labour force, in establishing an innovative environment in which the creative and cultural industries can thrive and in cultural tourism.

A report entitled An Assessment of the Economic Impact of the Arts in Ireland, published by the Arts Council in 2011, updates a previous independent evaluation by consultants Indecon of the economic impact of the arts, published in 2009. The updated report shows that the arts provide significant direct and indirect employment. The sector supports 21,328 jobs and contributes €306.8 million in taxes. The arts also impact on the wider creative industries, contributing €4.7 billion to the economy and supporting 79,000 jobs.

In relation to the Government'sAction Plan for Jobs, there are 11 specific actions to be undertaken by my Department and the agencies under its remit in the areas of arts, culture and creative enterprise. Together, I believe that we can work to realise the explicit and implicit targets set for these areas. The relevant actions (under section 7 of the Plan) are set out below:

7.14 Arts, Culture and Creative Enterprise

7.14.1: Take actions as set out in the Creative Capital Report prepared by the Audiovisual Strategic Review Steering Group to double the value of the film and audiovisual sector by 2016 to over €1 billion, double employment to over 10,000 and increase cultural exports of Irish audiovisual production

Steps Necessary for Delivery

Timeline Responsible body

Work with the audiovisual industry to grow exports

Ongoing 2012 Irish Film Board

Undertaking a range of skills initiatives to address medium to long-term challenges for the sector

Ongoing 2012 Irish Film Board

Leveraging investment in data centers and cloud computing to create distribution and fulfillment opportunities for the digital content industries.

Ongoing 2012 Irish Film Board

7.14.2

Through Culture Ireland, maximise the business opportunities abroad for cultural and artistic businesses and enterprises by promoting Irish artists world-wide and showcasing our strengths in culture and creativity.

Ongoing 2012 DAHG/IDA

7.14.3

Through Culture Ireland, undertake joint marketing activities with the enterprise development agencies to build ‘brand Ireland’ in this sector.

Ongoing 2012 DAHG/Enterprise agencies

7.14.4

Leverage the potential for language and roots tourism, working with Tourism Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland, Foras na Gaeilge and relevant partners.

Ongoing 2012 DAHG/ Tourism Ireland, National Archives of Ireland / Foras na Gaeilge and relevant partners

7.14.5

Roll-out further cultural digitization initiatives, in partnership with the private sector, in order the leverage our unique cultural offerings and bring them to a wider internationalaudience.

Ongoing 2012 DAHG

7.14.6

Through the Arts Council, support over 50 venues, approximately 200 festivals and 400arts organisations in 2012, supporting employment in communities across the country, both directly through funding artists and organisations and indirectly in the tourism sector and the wider economy.

Ongoing 2012 DAHG

7.14.7

Ensure continuity in the provision of heritage services nationally through an allocation of €48m for 2012.

Ongoing 2012 DAHG

7.14.8

Invest in quality customer offerings through the National Cultural Institutions and regional cultural bodies and enterprises to enhance our overall tourism offering and to make Ireland a destination of cultural distinction for the cultural tourists globally.

Ongoing 2012 DAHG

7.18.9

Support research activities of relevance to the sector including research in the areas of digital networks, communications and radio spectrum optimization, semantic web and sensor web, big data and data analytics, and their application in sectors such as film and television, social media and publishing

Ongoing 2012 Research funders and Prioritisation Action Group

Commemorative Events

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

121 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will report on the preparations for the proposed commemoration of the centenary of a number of significant historical events between 1912 and 1922; if there will be any public consultation on the proposed commemorations; the extent of the involvement of the general public in the commemorations; if he is liaising with the Northern Ireland Assembly, the British Government or the Scottish and Welsh Governments for any of the commemorations; the proposed cost of these commemorations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21346/12]

My Department has responsibility for the development of a commemorative programme for the Decade of Centenaries 2012 to 2022, which will present the economic, social and cultural history of the period, although official consideration at this time is currently being focused on the period 2012 to 2016. The All-Party Oireachtas Consultation Group on Commemorations, of which I am chair, has now met on a number of occasions. This Group recently received a delegation from the Unionist Centenary Council and, at its meeting of May 22nd, it is planned to receive a delegation from Dublin City Council. The Group has also received submissions from a number of other local authorities and groups, and full engagement with these and other interested parties is planned.

An Expert Advisory Group of eminent historians has also been established, which will advise Government and the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on both the overall commemorative programme and on any specific issues which may arise. This Group, chaired by Dr Maurice Manning and supported by Dr Martin Mansergh, will have its second meeting tomorrow (May 2nd). It is expected to consult widely with scholars, with universities, with educational and cultural bodies, with local historical associations and committees, and with individuals, where appropriate. It will seek to encourage original research at local and national level, at all times acknowledging the identities and traditions which are part of the historic story of the island of Ireland and Irish people worldwide.

In addition, the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Sovereign Matters, under the Chairmanship of Mr Frank Feighan, TD, is undertaking a study on how best to approach the series of commemorations. I understand that this Committee last met on April 23rd and that a delegation from the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund gave presentations in terms of their plans.

To date in 2012, there have been a number of significant centenary commemoration events. In early March, I participated, with my Northern Ireland counterpart, Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, in the launch of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and Heritage Lottery Fund lecture series entitled "Remembering the Future”. In late March, First Minister Peter Robinson visited the headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at Iveagh House in Dublin to offer to an invited audience his reflections on Carson’s influence and on Irish Unionism. The centenary of the introduction of the Third Home Rule Bill on April 11th was marked by a commemorative event in Waterford. At this event, the legacy of John Redmond, the Parnellites and the Home Rule Movement was highlighted by expert speakers.

Last week, I was privileged to address a conference of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in Belfast about the Ulster Covenant, the centenary of which will be marked on September 28th of this year. In addition, the county libraries of Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan will host exhibitions on the Ulster Covenant, with support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Other events planned this year within the ambit of my own Department include the exhibition "Home Rule: Ireland at the Cross Roads 1900-1914”, which will open on May 25th at the Hugh Lane Gallery, the completion of the restoration of Erskine Childers’ yacht, Asgard, and the continuation of the National Library of Ireland’s Europeana World War I collection roadshows. At these roadshows, families from all of Ireland will be afforded the opportunity to contribute artefacts and stories from their family experience of World War I to a pan-European exhibition.

I am very grateful for the support of the Oireachtas Consultation Group and the Expert Advisory Group. I also very much appreciate the contributions and assistance of officeholders from Britain and Northern Ireland to recent commemorative events. I hope to continue and develop these exchanges, particularly with the assemblies of Wales and Scotland, over the course of the Decade of Commemorations. I would like to emphasise my personal welcome for all suggestions and contributions to the development of the commemorative programme. If the Deputies have any particular interests or concerns in this regard, I would be glad to hear from them.

Question No. 122 answered with Question No. 117.

Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga

Dessie Ellis

Question:

123 D’fhiafraigh Dessie Ellis den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an féidir leis cur síos a dhéanamh ar na tuarascálacha iniúchta ón gCoimisinéir Teanga a cuireadh os comhair an Oireachtais ó osclaíodh an oifig, agus ar aon ghníomh atá déanta ina leith; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [21656/12]

I dtús báire, ní miste dom a chur i gcuimhne don Teachta gur oifig neamhspleách reachtúil í Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga agus, i gcomhréir le forálacha Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, go bhfuil an Coimisinéir Teanga neamhspleách i bhfeidhmiú a chuid dualgas. An méid sin ráite, tuigim go bhfuil 3 thuarascáil den chinéal ata luaite ag an Teachta curtha faoi bhráid Thithe an Oireachtais go dáta ag an gCoimisinéir Teanga. Baineann na tuarascálacha sin leis an Roinn Coimirce Sóisialaí, le hArd-Mhúsaem na hÉireann agus le Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte. Tá na sonraí maidir leis na tuarascálacha ata i gceist ar fáil ar shuíomh idirlín Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga,www.coimisineir.ie. Faoi fhorálacha Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, níl aon ról reachtúil agamsa, mar Aire, maidir le tuarascálacha den chineál seo.

Appointments to State Boards

Sandra McLellan

Question:

124 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in view of the fact that the five year contract of the chief executive of Culture Ireland expired in April 2012, if this contract has been renewed. [21410/12]

The contract of the Chief Executive of Culture Ireland did not expire in April 2012 and he remains contracted to my Department until the end of May 2012. The Deputy will, of course, appreciate that this is a personnel matter and I do not intend to make any announcement on this issue until the appropriate juncture.

Scéimeanna Teanga

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

125 D’fhiafraigh Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil sé sásta go bhfuil sé d’acmhainn ag a Roinn, agus ag gach eagras atá bainteach leis a Roinn, a riachtanais faoi na scéimeanna teanga a chomhlíonadh; agus an bhfuil foireann ag a Roinn agus ag gach eagras Stáit a bhfuil go leor Gaeilge acu chun a riachtanais faoi na scéimeanna teanga a chomhlíonadh. [21653/12]

Cuireann Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla creat ar fáil chun feabhas a chur ar sholáthar seirbhísí poiblí trí Ghaeilge de réir a chéile, ionas gur féidir dualgais an Stáit a chomhlíonadh ar bhealach comhtháiteach atá i gcomhréir leis na hacmhainní atá ar fáil. Tá an tAcht á chur i bhfeidhm ar bhonn céimiúil, i gcomhréir leis an éileamh ón bpobal ar sheirbhísí ar leith agus de réir mar a thiocfaidh feabhas ar chumas an Státchórais líon agus caighdeán na seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a mhéadú agus a fheabhsú thar thréimhse ama.

Léiríonn na scéimeanna teanga atá daingnithe go dáta faoin Acht go bhfuil cur chuige réadúil agus praiticiúil glactha ag comhlachtaí poiblí maidir le soláthar níos fearr de sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a sheachadadh, ag tógáil san áireamh cumas na gcomhlachtaí sin ó thaobh nan-acmhainní daonna agus airgeadais atá ar fáil dóibh. Leagtar béim ar leith sna scéimeanna teanga ar a thábhachtaí is atá sé cumas Gaeilge na mball foirne a fheabhsú trí oiliúint chuí a chur ar fáil dóibh.

Aithníodh ón tús go bhfuil acmhainní teoranta ag comhlachtaí poiblíó thaobh seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a sholáthar agus go bhfuil dúshláin ar leith ann dóibh dá réir líon agus caighdeán na seirbhísí sin a fheabhsú. Mar aitheantas ar an dúshlán sin, tá an-bhéim leagtha ag mo Roinnse ar a thábhachtaí is atá sé go gcuirfí na hacmhainní cuí ar fáil do chomhlachtaí poiblí le gur féidir leo a gcuid seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a fheabhsú.

Ar na tionscnaimh a forbraíodh i gcomhar le gníomhaireachtaí eile le blianta beaga anuas, tá:

córas um Dhearbhú Cáilíochta d'Aistritheoirí agus d'Eagarthóirí;

bunachair shonraí de théarmaí agus de logainmneacha ar líne —www.focal.ie agus www.logainm.ie;

acmhainní cuimhne aistriúcháin Gaeilge;

gluais de chomharthaí agus de théarmaí eile ar líne —www.gaeilge.ie;

bunachar sonraí de théarmaí an Aontais Eorpaigh agus de théarmaí dlíthiúla i nGaeilge; agus

líne chabhrach do cheisteanna ar gach gné den Ghaeilge —www.freagra.net.

Tá an cheist maidir le cumas comhlachtaí poiblí seirbhísí a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge agus ceist na hearcaíochta don Státchóras fite fuaite lena chéile. Ar ndóigh, is ar an Roinn Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe atá an fhreagracht maidir le polasaí earcaíochta don Státchóras.

Ní miste aird a tharraingt ar an méid atá ráite saStraitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge ina leith seo, is é sin go ndéanfar socruithe cuí chun cur leis an líon oifigeach sa Státchóras atá in ann feidhmiú go dátheangach agus go mbunófar na socruithe sin de réir a chéile, ag aithint na srianta earcaíochta atá ann faoi láthair. Chomh maith leis sin, tá sé ráite sa Straitéis go ndéanfar cláir oiliúna teanga a fhorbairt chun cur le líon na n-oifigeach sa Státchóras atá in ann seirbhísí a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge. Beidh an cur chuige is oiriúnaí chun feidhm a thabhairt do na bearta éagsúla sin á scrúdú mar chuid de chur i bhfeidhm na Straitéise.

Ó thaobh comhlachtaí poiblí de, is gnó do na comhlachtaí sin a chinntiú go gcomhlíontar na dualgais atá orthu faoin Acht ar an gcaoi chéanna is a chomhlíontar dualgais faoi aon reachtaíocht eile. Faoi fhorálacha an Achta, is ar Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga atá an cúram monatóireacht a dhéanamh ar chur i bhfeidhm na ndualgas sin agus céimeanna a ghlacadh lena chinntiú go gcomhlíontar iad.

State Properties

Denis Naughten

Question:

126 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the steps he is taking to maximise the use of public properties and properties that have a scientific interest in terms of public access; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21603/12]

There are approximately 750 national monuments in the ownership or guardianship of my Department, including Newgrange, the Rock of Cashel, and Kilmainham Gaol. The day-to-day management of these national monuments lies with the Office of Public Works (OPW). There is significant public access to these properties and, in many cases, guided tours are available. Information about these properties and about access to them is available on the OPW's website atwww.heritageireland.ie.

My Department, through its National Parks and Wildlife Service, manages 6 State-owned national parks, as well as 78 nature reserves, 66 of which are in State ownership. National parks and nature reserves are generally open year round. Information on public access to the national parks and nature reserves and their scientific significance can be found on my Department's National Parks and Wildlife's website atwww.npws.ie. To encourage and maximise use of these wonderful facilities, access is free of charge in all cases.

There is evidence to suggest that Ireland's historic and natural environment is an increasingly important element of our national tourism product. Investment in the conservation of our built and natural heritage has the dual benefits of preserving these properties for the enjoyment of present and future generations, while also improving the local and national economy through the generation and expansion of responsible sustainable tourism. It is, therefore, my intention to facilitate, to the greatest extent possible, public access and appropriate visitor use of national parks and nature reserves. Such access and use must be consistent with the ethos of the parks as natural places of peace and tranquillity set in scenic landscapes, as well as being compatible with the conservation and biodiversity considerations that are of necessity associated with the management of heritage properties. For example, the national parks and nature reserves are largely covered by designations under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives and all activities within these sites must be consistent with the requirements of the Directives.

Within the constraints imposed by current economic conditions, I will invest in visitor facilities in parks and nature reserves to maximise their sustainable use and enjoyment. To this end, and building on previous investment in this area, my Department is working on proposals to further develop visitor facilities such as walking routes, enhanced signage and interpretation.

As regards visitor centres, in the last few years my Department has opened modern top quality centres at Ballycroy National Park, Co. Mayo, and Clara Bog Nature Reserve in Co. Offaly. Also, I will shortly open the new Burren National Park Visitor Information Point in Corofin, Co. Clare, while work is progressing on the redevelopment of Killarney House in Killarney National Park.

Scéimeanna Teanga

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

127 D’fhiafraigh Pádraig Mac Lochlainn den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta a mheasúnú a thabhairt ar an scéim is déanaí a deimhníodh anuraidh. [21649/12]

Glacaim leis go bhfuil an Teachta ag tagairt don dara scéim teanga don Bhord Pleanála a daingníodh anuraidh. Tá sonraí na scéime sin ar fáil ar shuíomh idirlín Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga,www.coimisneir.ie. Aithnítear go bhfuil acmhainní teoranta ag comhlachtaí poiblíó thaobh seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a sholáthar agus go bhfuil dúshláin ar leith ann dóibh dá réir líon agus caighdeán na seirbhísí sin a fheabhsú. Tá sé tábhachtach go gcuirtear na srianta reatha earcaíochta agus airgeadais atá ar chomhlachtaí poiblí san áireamh nuair atá scéimeanna á measúnú.

Léiríonn na scéimeanna teanga atá daingnithe go dáta faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 go bhfuil cur chuige réadúil agus praiticiúil glactha ag comhlachtaí poiblí maidir le soláthar níos fearr de sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a sheachadadh, ag tógáil san áireamh cumas na gcomhlachtaí sin ó thaobh na n-acmhainní daonna agus airgeadais atá ar fáil dóibh. Táim sásta go bhfuil dul chun cinn suntasach déanta ón uair a tháinig an tAcht i bhfeidhm maidir le comhlachtaí poiblí a bheith ag soláthar seirbhísí i nGaeilge don phobal agus maidir le feabhas a bheith tagtha ar líon agus ar chaighdeán na seirbhísí i nGaeilge atá ar fáil ón Státchóras.

Ní miste a rá gur gnó do na comhlachtaí poiblí a chinntiú go gcomhlíontar na dualgais atá orthu faoin Acht ar an gcaoi chéanna is a chomhlíontar dualgais faoi aon reachtaíocht eile. Faoi fhorálacha an Achta, is ar Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga atá an cúram monatóireacht a dhéanamh ar chur i bhfeidhm na ndualgas sin agus céimeanna a ghlacadh lena chinntiú go gcomhlíontar iad.

Questions Nos. 128 and 129 answered with Question No. 110.

Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge

Barry Cowen

Question:

130 D’fhiafraigh Barry Cowen den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, cé mhéid cruinnithe a bhí ann mar gheall ar an Straitéis Fiche Bliain don Ghaeilge; cad é an méid oibre atá déanta ar naoi réimse difriúla chun líon na ndaoine a labhraíonn an teanga a mhéadú; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [21669/12]

Martin Ferris

Question:

147 D’fhiafraigh Martin Ferris den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, cé chomh minic is atá an Fochoiste Idir-Rannach atá ag plé leis an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge tar éis bualadh le chéile; cathain a bhí an cruinniú deireanach aige; cén dul chun cinn atá déanta aige; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [21658/12]

Tógfaidh mé Ceisteanna Uimh. 130 agus 147 le chéile.

Is saStraitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-2030 a leagtar amach polasaí an Rialtais maidir leis an nGaeilge. Tá sé ráite i gClár an Rialtais 2011-2016 go dtabharfaidh an Rialtas tacaíocht don Straitéis agus go ndéanfaidh sé na spriocanna indéanta atá luaite inti a chur i gcrích. Aithnítear sa Straitéis féin go bhfuil gá le cur chuige céimneach chun bearta éagsúla na Straitéise a chur i gcrích. Le linn 2011, thug oifigigh mo Roinne faoi chéim an bhunaithe den Straitéis inar díríodh ar bhunú na struchtúr eagraíochtúil agus oibríochtúil, mar atá ráite i bplean forfheidhmithe mo Roinne don Straitéis don bhliain 2011.

Bunaíodh struchtúir ar leith chun an Straitéis a sheachadadh agus eagraítear cruinnithe, de réir mar is gá, faoi na struchtúir seo:

Tá an Coiste Rialtais ar an nGaeilge agus ar an nGaeltacht, a bhfuil an Taoiseach ina chathaoirleach air, ag déanamh maoirseachta ar an dul chun cinn leis an Straitéis.

Tá Grúpa Oifigeach Sinsearach, atá comhdhéanta d'oifigigh ardleibhéil ó Ranna cuí, ag tacú leis an gCoiste Rialtais.

Tá Grúpa Idir-Rannach, a bhfuil mise, mar Aire Stáit, mar chathaoirleach air, ag déanamh comhordú ar chur i bhfeidhm na Straitéise.

Tá Aonad Straitéise i mo Roinn freagrach as pleanáil agus feidhmiú na Straitéise a threorú.

Maidir leis an nGrúpa Idir-Rannach, bhí an chéad chruinniú den ghrúpa ann ar an 8 Feabhra 2012 chun cur i bhfeidhm réimsí sonracha gnímh sa Straitéis a bhrú chun cinn ar bhealach comhtháite. Bhí ionadaithe sinsearacha ó na Ranna ábhartha i láthair agus beidh an chéad chruinniú eile den ghrúpa ann ar an 27 Meitheamh 2012.

Mar atá luaite sna Ceisteanna, tá 9 réimse gnímh leagtha amach sa Straitéis. Tá trí ghrúpa oibre ardleibhéil bunaithe ag mo Roinnse leis na príomhpháirtithe leasmhara chun dlús a chur le feidhmiú réimsí gnímh éagsúla den Straitéis. Eagraítear cruinnithe de na grúpaí oibre seo, de réir mar is gá:

Grúpa oibre idir mo Roinnse agus an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna chun tosaíochtaí a aithint maidir le cur i bhfeidhm na Straitéise i réimse gnímh an oideachais, ag tabhairt san áireamh na laincisí ar acmhainní i láthair na huaire.

Grúpa oibre idir mo Roinnse, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus Foras na Gaeilge chun idirdhealú a dhéanamh idir na feidhmeanna ar leith a bheidh á gcomhlíonadh ag na comhlachtaí poiblí seo faoin Straitéis ar bhealach a chinnteoidh go mbeidh an luach is fearr ar airgead ag an Státchiste agus nach mbeidh aon dúbláil soláthair ann.

Grúpa oibre idir mo Roinnse, an Roinn Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe agus an Roinn Post, Fiontar agus Nuálaíochta maidir le hinfheistíocht fiontraíochta sa Ghaeltacht.

Mar thoradh ar chinntí polasaí a thóg an Rialtas ar an 31 Bealtaine 2011 maidir leis na struchtúir fhorfheidhmithe don Straitéis agus maidir leis an sainmhíniú nua don Ghaeltacht, tá oifigigh mo Roinne ag tabhairt tús áite do dhréachtú an Bhille Gaeltachta 2012, a thabharfaidh feidhm, de réir mar is cuí, do na cinntí Rialtais.

Ar an 26 Aibreán 2012, d'fhógair mé dhá thionscnamh shuntasacha faoin Straitéis. Ar an gcéad dul síos, chuir mé tús leis an bpróiseas pleanála teanga sa Ghaeltacht faoina mbeidh plean teanga á ullmhú ag leibhéal an phobail do gach ceantar Gaeltachta i gcomhréir leis an Straitéis. Ar an dara dul síos, d'fhógair mé an Clár Tacaíochta Teaghlaigh, a bhfuil sé mar aidhm aige an Ghaeilge a threisiú mar theanga teaghlaigh agus pobail sa Ghaeltacht i gcomhréir leis an Straitéis. Faoin gClár seo, tá sé beartaithe ag mo Roinnse 12 beart ar leith a thógáil chun tacú le teaghlaigh Ghaeltachta atá ag tógáil a gclann le Gaeilge nó a dteastaíonn uathu a gclann a thógáil le Gaeilge. Tá tuilleadh eolais faoin Straitéis ar fáil ar shuíomh gréasáin mo Roinne,www.ahg.gov.ie.

Question No. 131 answered with Question No. 116.

Question No. 132 answered with Question No. 118.

Question No. 133 answered with Question No. 111.

National Monuments

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

134 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will commission an independent battlefield site assessment of the GPO and Moore Street, Dublin. [21412/12]

Willie O'Dea

Question:

140 Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he has given further consideration to making any decision regarding the approval to build on the historic site of 14/17 Moore Street, Dublin, pending an independent battlefield assessment as recommended by the director of the National Museum; if he will meet the Save Moore Street group to discuss their proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21691/12]

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

144 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the engagement there has been between Dublin City Council, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Governement and his Department regarding the issue of the Easter Rising site in the environs of Moore Street, Dublin 1; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the local authority may dispose of the last two houses they own at 24/25 to the developer at a price agreed quite some time ago and not bearing any relationship to the drop in value of property; the effect of this on the designated National Monument; and the role of the National Assets Management Agency in all these proceedings. [12922/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 134, 140 and 144 together.

As Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, my role in relation to the national monument at Nos. 14 to 17 Moore St is to make a determination on the application by the owner for consent under the National Monuments Acts to proposed works to those buildings. I have no function in relation to the adjoining development site. As part of the consent application process, the applicant was required to provide an assessment of the wider battlefield context of the national monument site. This has been received and is being examined. Also as part of the consent process, I have visited the monument site and met various representative groups, including the group referred to. A decision will be made on the consent application as soon as possible. I would like to point out that I have no function in relation to the National Asset Management Agency.

Question No. 135 answered with Question No. 109.

Departmental Funding

Brendan Smith

Question:

136 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if funding will be provided towards a history project (details supplied) of importance to all this island; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21634/12]

The National Archives, which is funded directly by my Department, does not disburse funding to other bodies for digitisation projects of the nature referred to by the Deputy. However, under the National Archives Act, the National Archives can give advice on matters relating to archives. Therefore, staff in the National Archives is available to offer advice to the project in question, if such advice would be helpful.

I understand that the project is an important resource available to the public in its own right. I am very conscious of the importance of digitising material in order to protect our cultural heritage for future generations. As the Deputy will be aware, the National Archives have embarked on an extensive digitalisation programme of State records, most significantly in recent years the digitisation of the 1901 and 1911 census returns, which has generated huge interest, resulting in millions of visits to the National Archives website.

Foras na Gaeilge

Brian Stanley

Question:

137 D’fhiafraigh Brian Stanley den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil sé i gceist aige moltaí Chomhchoiste Thithe an Oireachtais um Chomhshaol, Iompar, Cultúr agus Gaeltacht a chur i bhfeidhm maidir leis an tSamhail Nua Mhaoinithe; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [21657/12]

Tuigim ó Chomhchoiste Thithe an Oireachtais um Chomhshaol, Iompar, Chultúr agus an Ghaeltacht go bhfuiltear ag súil tuarascáil agus moltaí i ndáil leis an díospóireacht ar an tSamhail Nua Mhaoinithe a chur ar fáil le linn mhí na Bealtaine. Ní mór dom a mheabhrú don Teachta, áfach, gurb é Foras na Gaeilge atá i mbun na hoibre seo ar an athbhreithniú ar an 19 eagraíocht bunmhaoinithe. Dá réir sin, glacaim leis go gcuirfidh Foras na Gaeilge moltaí an Chomhchoiste, mar aon leis na moltaí a tháinig chun cinn le linn an phróisis chomhairliúcháin phoiblí a chríochnaigh ar an 2 Aibreán 2012, san áireamh agus tuarascáil á réiteach aige do bhord Fhoras na Gaeilge. Táthar ag súil go mbeidh tuarascáil chríochnúil Fhoras na Gaeilge faoin bpróiseas comhairliúcháin phoiblí réidh le dul os comhair na Comhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas ag an gcéad chruinniú eile i bhfoirm rannach na teanga an samhradh seo.

Cultural Events

Seán Crowe

Question:

138 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in view of the commitment made in the Programme for Government to extending Culture Night to two nights a year, when the second Culture Night is due to be held. [21417/12]

Following on from discussions between my Department and relevant stakeholders, including Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Temple Bar Cultural Trust and St. Patrick's Festival, it was agreed that the commitment in the Programme for Government to expand the Culture Night concept and to consider making it a twice yearly event would be best met by the designation/delivery of anInternational Week of Irish Culture, based around the St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This would allow for the cultivation and development of the solid foundations already in place to showcase to the world Ireland’s rich and varied cultural heritage and to promote Ireland as a destination for cultural tourists.

The initiative essentially envisages a 5-year development plan, commencing in 2012 and ultimately potentially linking with 2016 commemorations. This year, the emphasis was on:

the international launch of the "International Celebration of Irish Culture” brand abroad;

a series of programme activities based in existing cultural venues around the Merrion Square/Kildare Street areas of Dublin;

marketing the message of "I Love my City”; and

using the existing St. Patrick's Festival activity to promote Ireland and its culture, both domestically and internationally.

The initiative was well received and supported in both national and international spheres.

In addition, in further recognition of the commitment in the Programme for Government, Culture Night 2012 will be fostered and developed as a unique offering of memorable experiences, involving local arts, culture, heritage and communities, which will hopefully stimulate repeat visits to cultural attractions. Plans for the event are well underway and letters of offer of funding recently issued from my Department to locations that applied to participate in the 2012 regional event. The aim is to build on the success and popularity of Culture Night to date, which has seen the event grow from a relatively small scale cultural event staged in Dublin only in 2006 to the significant national cultural event it now is, with over 200,000 people in 30 locations across the island of Ireland participating in Culture Night 2011.

This year, for the first time, a smartphone/iPhone application will be developed for Culture Night in Dublin, which will allow participants to develop their own personal cultural trails around the city. It is hoped that this application will act as a platform for the possible development of other Culture Night applications in the participating regions in 2013 and beyond. I should mention that my Department is also supporting Music Day, to be held this year on 21st June.

Special Amenity Areas

Catherine Murphy

Question:

139 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he can advise on any proposals he has to develop the Liffey Valley Area in North Kildare and West Dublin, in particular the lands in and around the Liffey Valley special amenity area, into a National Park or other reserved area of national amenity under the aegis of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21693/12]

I understand from my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, that parts of the Liffey Valley are already covered by special designations. The area between Chapelizod and Lucan is protected by a Special Area Amenity Order and part of the Valley has also been identified as a proposed Natural Heritage Area.

I further understand that some years ago the Office of Public Works, in association with Dublin City Council and Fingal, Kildare and South Dublin County Councils, commissioned consultants to draw up a strategy for the Liffey Valley, resulting in the strategy documentTowards a Liffey Valley Park, which was published in November 2006. The document set out a strategy to provide an integrated management framework for the Liffey Valley, and to create a process towards the establishment of a Liffey Valley Park which would be composed of a necklace of publicly owned spaces within this area. Accordingly, it would appear that the implementation of the steps to bring a park into existence in this area is primarily a matter for the local authorities concerned. The report did not recommend the designation of the Liffey Valley as a National Park.

Question No. 140 answered with Question No. 134.
Question No. 141 answered with Question No. 110.

EU Programmes

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

142 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in relation to the European Union media programme for the European audio visual industry, the number of projects that are running here. [21413/12]

Pearse Doherty

Question:

143 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in relation to the European Union’s culture and support programme for organisations working in the field of culture, the number of projects running here. [21414/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 143 together.

At present, there are two EU programmes operating in the culture and audio-visual areas for which I have responsibility:

1. The Media Programme is the EU support programme for the European audiovisual industry. In Ireland, information on this Programme is available from Media Deskwww.mediadeskireland.ie, which provides details on the operation of the Programme, successful projects and funding available at any given time.

2. The Culture Programme is the EU support programme for organisations working in the field of culture. In Ireland, information on this Programme is available from the Cultural Contact Point atwww.ccp.ie, which provides comprehensive information on the operation of the Programme.

Periodically, there are calls from the European Commission seeking applications for financial support under the Programmes. The applications are then assessed by an independent body based in Brussels, the Executive Agency for Education, Audiovisual and Culture (EACEA). The decisions on what support is provided are based on the merits of the applications. There is no quota for each country or no amount allocated to each country.

Information is available on these two Programmes at the websites I have referred to. Assistance with applications is also given, as is assistance with identifying funding partners, where relevant. Any Irish organisation wishing to apply for funding from either programme should make initial contact with the relevant office. The two Programmes will continue until the end of 2013.

Question No. 144 answered with Question No. 134.

Arts Funding

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

145 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the funding currently available for the role of the arts in combatting mental health. [21416/12]

The Deputy will appreciate that I have no statutory responsibility in relation to mental health, which is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Health. The Deputy may, however, find the websitewww.artsandhealth.ie of interest. This website is funded by the Arts Council, which is statutorily independent in these matters.

Audiovisual Industry

Brendan Smith

Question:

146 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his views on the findings of the Creative Capital report on industrial relations in Ireland’s audiovisual industry; his views on whether the stalemate is damaging to Ireland’s reputation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21692/12]

The whole area of the development of the Irish audiovisual industry, including industrial relations issues, was examined during the preparation of the Creative Capital Report —Building Ireland’s Audiovisual Creative Economy. The Report was published in July 2011 and an Implementation Committee is at present examining the advancement of its recommendations. Specifically in relation to industrial relations, I understand that negotiations are ongoing between the relevant parties under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission and it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the matter at this juncture.

Question No. 147 answered with Question No. 130.
Question No. 148 answered with Question No. 110.

Departmental Expenditure

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

149 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Taoiseach if he will provide details of the BER rating and annual heating costs of his Department. [21513/12]

The Taoiseach: As my Department is a public body, the office accommodation it occupies does not require a Building Energy Rating (BER). The heating cost for my Department in 2011 was €38,763.

State Honours System

Derek Keating

Question:

150 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Taoiseach further to Parliamentary Question No. 9 of 25 October 2011, and after extensive research by this Deputy with all the member states of the European Union, if he will consider a national civil award as discussed on 25 October 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21187/12]

The Taoiseach: The issue of a State honours system has been discussed many times since the foundation of the State but there has never been all-party support to sustain its development. I believe that such support would be required if consideration of an honours system were to proceed. While I would have no objections in principle to all-party consideration of this matter, I believe that the timing of any such consideration would have to take cognisance of other political priorities at this time. However, if the Deputy wishes to forward the research he mentions, I will have it examined.

Departmental Expenditure

Niall Collins

Question:

151 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach the amount paid by his Department on external public relations and communications consultants; the name of each organisation used; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21343/12]

The Taoiseach: My Department has incurred no spend in relation to engagement of external public relations or communications consultants from March 2011 to date.

Niall Collins

Question:

152 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach the amount spent on hair and make-up by his Department since February 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21344/12]

The Taoiseach: My Department has incurred no cost in relation to hair and make-up since February 2011 to date.

Departmental Counsel

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

153 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Taoiseach in view of payments to a counsel retained by the State, the steps he has taken to widen the panels of counsel used by State Departments and agencies; the extent to which these steps were communicated to members of the Bar and solicitors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21356/12]

The Taoiseach: My reply relates to the Office of the Attorney General and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office — which provide legal services to Government Departments and Offices and engage counsel where appropriate, though they do not as a rule provide services to the agencies — and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Office of the Attorney General and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office have put arrangements in place to increase the number of junior and senior counsel briefed by the State pursuant to Section 7 of the Prosecution of Offences Act, 1974. These arrangements are designed to ensure a more equitable distribution of State work to Counsel and to avoid situations where a small number of Counsel earn very large sums from the State. The arrangements are being monitored on a monthly basis by the Attorney General and the Chief State Solicitor.
The Offices operate a system of panels based on legal specialism. It is open to any Counsel who wishes to do so to apply to be placed on each panel appropriate to their expertise and it is from such panels that nominations of counsel are then made. A policy document on the briefing of Counsel and an application form for nomination of Counsel by the Attorney General are available on the Office of the Attorney General website.
With regard to the Director of Public Prosecutions, she is satisfied that access to positions on the panels of Counsel which she operates is sufficiently wide. The DPP panels are open to all eligible barristers. Appointment to them is made in a manner consistent with the Director's obligations under Section 7 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1974. Separate panels are maintained for prosecution work i.e. Junior and Senior Counsel in the Circuit and Central Criminal Court; Judicial Review, Bail Applications, Habeas Corpus Applications, Health and Safety Prosecutions and applications relating to criminal assets.
A procedure is in place whereby the Director seeks expressions of interest from eligible barristers wishing to be considered for inclusion on these panels. This is communicated to barristers via the Bar Council and on the DPP's Office website. Where vacancies arise, appointments to the various panels will be made following consideration of expressions of interest by barristers and a selection procedure including an interview of shortlisted candidates. Applications are currently being considered under this process and it is intended that expressions of interest would be sought each year. This will be kept under review.
The DPP panels relate to work arising within the Dublin area only. Outside of Dublin, the practice of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has been to appoint a County Prosecutor (sometimes more than one) who undertakes all of the prosecution work for that County/area. County prosecutor positions are filled as vacancies arise around the country. A competitive procedure has been in place for a number of years including provision for interviews of shortlisted candidates. Upon a vacancy arising the position is advertised via the Bar Council and the DPP's Office website.

Departmental Agencies

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

154 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Taoiseach the number of State agencies in his Department which were abolished or merged since 2011; the name and purpose of each one; the amount saved by the merger or abolition; the number planned to be merged or abolished in 2012; the name and purpose of each one; the amount expected to be saved from this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21598/12]

The Taoiseach: Although no agencies or bodies under the aegis of my Department have been abolished or merged since 2011, the number of bodies within my Department’s remit has been reduced substantially since 2009. In that year the the Active Citizenship Office and the Forum on Europe were closed, while in 2010 the National Economic and Social Forum and the National Centre for Partnership and Performance were dissolved. In November 2011, the Government published a Public Service Reform Plan with clear timelines attached. The National Economic and Social Council, which is under the aegis of my Department, was listed as one of the candidate bodies for critical review by the end of June 2012. The critical review is still on-going and is on course for completion by my Department by the end of June.

Ministerial Travel

Niall Collins

Question:

155 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach the amount spent on drivers and ministerial transport since February 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21754/12]

The Taoiseach: There has been no cost incurred by my Department on drivers and Ministerial transport from February 2011 to date.

Foreign Conflicts

Finian McGrath

Question:

156 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the reason neutral Ireland is participating in a US-led, NATO, occupying force in Afghanistan; and if this is the end of Ireland’s independent foreign policy. [21449/12]

Ireland's traditional policy of military neutrality is characterised by non-participation in military alliances. This policy has been underpinned by a set of complementary values which includes the protection of human rights; support for development; and the promotion of disarmament and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Successive Governments have not interpreted neutrality as meaning that Ireland should avoid international engagement. Rather, they have considered that it enhances our capacity to make a direct and significant contribution to the promotion of global peace and stability through the United Nations, the European Union and in bilateral action.

As a member of the United Nations, and in accordance with the UN Charter, we also acknowledge that primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rests with the UN Security Council, and we agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Council acts on behalf of all members. We take seriously the obligation we have assumed to give the Organisation every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the Charter. Since 2001, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has been deployed under the authority of the UN Security Council, which authorised the establishment of a force in the maintenance of security to enable the Afghan authorities as well as UN personnel to operate in a secure environment. ISAF has a peace enforcement mandate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

There are thirteen UN Security Council Resolutions relating to ISAF. The most recent of these, UNSCR 2011, which was adopted on 12 October 2011, extended ISAF's mandate for a further year, and called upon UN Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and resources to the operation. It also welcomed the long-term commitments made by Afghanistan's international partners, including NATO, the European Union (EU), neighbouring states and regional partners, to continue supporting Afghanistan beyond the "transition" period. Ireland supports continuing efforts to develop Afghanistan into a peaceful, democratic nation, based on respect for fundamental human rights, including the rights of Afghan women, and respect for the rule of law.

Seven members of the Permanent Defence Forces are serving with ISAF at its Kabul headquarters in non-combatant roles. Their deployment accords fully with both Irish and international law and in no way calls into question Ireland's traditional policy of military neutrality. The service of the Defence Forces with ISAF represents a further example of Ireland's commitment to participation in UN-mandated peace operations, a long-standing and key foreign policy principle for Ireland. I would also point out that other neutral and non-aligned States, including Austria, Finland and Sweden, also contribute troops to ISAF.

Missing Persons

John O'Mahony

Question:

157 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the progress made on an investigation into the disappearance of an Irish citizen (details supplied) in the Netherlands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21459/12]

The person referred to by the Deputy first came to the attention of my Department in November 2008. The family were concerned that there had been no contact from the individual and requested assistance in locating him. My Department has been providing consular assistance to the family since that time. In the weeks after the initial disappearance, the Embassy arranged a meeting, which was also attended by an Embassy official, between the family and the Dutch Police. At that meeting the Dutch Police gave assurances to the family that everything possible was being done to locate their missing relative. The Police Officer also provided his direct contact details to the family to that they could contact him if any new information was received by them.

The Embassy has actively monitored this case continuously and, in March this year, it was told that the Public Prosecutor had decided that the investigation into the disappearance would be re-examined. Following approaches by the Embassy to the Dutch police and Foreign Ministry last week, appointments have now been arranged between officials of our Embassy and the new Investigating Officer, and also with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the present status of the investigation and proposed future action into the disappearance of Mr. Grealis. The family will be informed of the outcome of these meetings.

Travel Advice

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

158 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he is taking any special provisions or giving any special advice to persons travelling to the Eurovision song contest in Azerbaijan next month in view of the recent threats made against the event. [21510/12]

As the Deputy will be aware my Department provides up to date travel advice for citizens travelling abroad on its websitewww.dfa.ie. The Department’s Consular Section continuously liaises with its Embassies and other consular partners to ensure this information is accurate and updated when necessary. My Department strongly advises citizens to take out travel insurance and to register on line with the Department of Foreign Affairs website www.dfa.ie so that in the event of an emergency or natural disaster the nearest Irish embassy or consulate can contact them if necessary.

The travel advice for Azerbaijan was updated on 19 April 2012. The revised advice includes information on the security status and precautions to take. As Ireland has no diplomatic representation in Azerbaijan, the Embassy of Ireland in Turkey from which Ireland is represented in Azerbaijan will provide consular assistance if necessary. As provided for in the EU Treaties, other EU Member States with resident missions in Baku can also assist Irish citizens with consular assistance if required.

Departmental Agencies

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

159 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of State agencies in his Department which were abolished or merged since 2011; the name and purpose of each one; the amount saved by the merger or abolition; the number planned to be merged or abolished in 2012; the name and purpose of each one; the amount expected to be saved from this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21592/12]

There are no State agencies under the aegis of my Department and none have been abolished during the period in question.

Official Engagements

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

160 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he or representatives of Ireland have met or communicated with the candidate for the French Presidency, François Hollande, or his representatives; if so, whether his stance of the fiscal compact treaty and on the ESM was discussed; if so, what the outcome of those discussions were. [22014/12]

As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have been very closely following debates all across Europe on the Stability Treaty, and in particular have been monitoring active debate in the context of elections in France. Ireland's network of diplomatic missions plays a key role in keeping the Government updated on the developments in their countries of accreditation. Officials from our Embassy in Paris, in the usual course of political and economic networking, have of course met with representatives of various candidates in the French Presidential election. In this context, a wide range of issues have been discussed, including current economic and financial issues. I am fully abreast of these.

The Government has long argued its strong view that recovery in Europe will only be achieved by the adoption of a balanced approach. The Stability Treaty will make a contribution to the restoration of stability and confidence in the euro, but Europe also needs to prioritise and to take actions to generate growth and to promote job creation. This remains a top-level priority for this Government. The Government has made it very clear that it will consider with great interest any new proposals to this end — from whatever quarter — and, where they make sense, will lend them support.

Tax Refunds

Sandra McLellan

Question:

161 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Finance if it is possible to claim tax back further than four years when a person (details supplied) was overpaying tax for nine years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21509/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a tax refund claim, which is outside the four year limit provided for under Section 865 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 cannot be allowed. However, the Commissioners will examine whether, in the case in question, there is a possibility that a claim was made within the statutory time limit and will communicate directly with the Deputy.

Sports Capital Programme

Dessie Ellis

Question:

162 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Finance his plans to see that sports clubs which are awaiting general consent from the Minister for Finance, under section 67 of the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010, to a Deed of Covenant and charge for grants under the sports capital programme (details supplied) get this general consent as soon as possible; and if he will clarify the reason behind these delays and any possible negative results of the delay in clubs receiving the consent. [21537/12]

Dessie Ellis

Question:

181 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Finance his plans to give general consent under Section 67 of the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 to the Deed of Covenant and Charge drawn up by Dublin City Council for grants received by a group (details supplied) in the years 2004 and 2007 under the Sports Capital Programme. [21526/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 and 181 together.

Applications made under Section 67 of the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 are considered on a case-by-case basis. I have received the submission referred to in this PQ and I expect to be able to make a determination on it shortly.

Tax Code

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

163 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if it is the case that electronic digital versions of school books, or e-textbooks, are subject to VAT at 23%; if so, if he has done any analysis on the reason for same and options for changing it, and if he will release this; and his views that e-textbooks should be exempted from VAT. [21539/12]

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

182 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if it is the case that electronic or digital versions of school books, or e-textbooks, are subject to VAT at 23%; if so, if he will consider exempting e-textbooks from VAT. [21540/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 163 and 182 together.

The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law with which Irish VAT law must comply. In Ireland the zero rate applies to printed books, including atlases, children's picture, drawing and colouring books and books of music. Under the EU VAT Directive, all digitised publications, regardless of their rate when printed (for example, a book liable at zero rate), are treated as the supply of a service liable at the standard 23% rate of VAT. E-books, online newspaper subscriptions and online information services purchased via download over the Internet are also considered the supply of services liable for VAT at the standard rate. There is no option under EU VAT law to exempt e-books from VAT.

Tax Yield

Martin Ferris

Question:

164 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Finance the amount that will be collected in VAT and PSO levies on electricity bills. [21739/12]

With regard to the VAT collected on electricity bills, I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that as the information furnished on VAT returns does not require the yield for a particular sector or sub-sector of economic activity to be identified, the amount of VAT collected on electricity bills cannot be identified. In relation to the P.S.O. levy collected on electricity bills, I am informed by my colleague the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources that the PSO levy determined for the year 1 October 2011 to 30 September 2012 is €92.12m.

EU Treaties

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

165 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance with regard to recital five of the treaty establishing the European stability mechanism, if it is the case that, as a recital, this has lesser legal standing than the body of the treaty, comprising the articles. [22010/12]

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

166 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if it is the case that Article three of the treaty establishing the European stability mechanism, which states, inter alia, that the purpose of the ESM shall be to mobilise funding and provide stability support to members, if indispensable to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and of its member states, would take precedence over recital five in any conflict over the interpretation of the treaty. [22011/12]

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

167 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance with regard to the treaty establishing the European stability mechanism, if it is the case that the greater legal status of article three over recital five would mean that, if Ireland needed to draw on the ESM for funding after the end of the current troika programme, the ESM would be unable, or unlikely, to refuse it, as this would likely undermine the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and of its member states, in contravention of article three. [22012/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 to 167, inclusive, together.

It is the intention of the State to ratify the Stability Treaty (assuming its acceptance by the People in referendum on 31st May) and to ratify the ESM Treaty (assuming its approval by the Oireachtas in primary legislation). It is not the intention of the Government to rely on any interpretation of the articles in the operative part of the European Stability Mechanism Treaty as being in conflict with or taking precedence over any recital in the preambles including recital number 5 as referred to in your questions. While it is a question for the ESM to decide whether to fund a particular applicant for financial assistance under the terms of the ESM, both Treaties make it clear that only countries that ratify the Stability Treaty will have access to the ESM from March 2013.

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

168 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if it is the case that Ireland has an effective veto over the ESM due to the fact that Ireland has to ratify the amendment to Article 136 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union in order for the ESM to be established; if he has considered invoking this veto in order to have recital five of the ESM treaty removed or amended, and what the outcome of that consideration was; if he agrees that recital five is not in our national interest and that its removal or amendment, therefore, would be in our national interest; and if he has not considered invoking the veto over the ESM by refusing to ratify the amendment to Article 136, if he will explain why not. [22013/12]

On 25 March 2011, the European Council agreed to amend Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to insert the following text: ‘3. The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole. The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality.'. Separately, a Treaty to establish the European Stability Mechanism has been agreed among euro area countries. This is an intergovernmental treaty that stands outside the EU Treaty framework. Both instruments are separate and contain their own requirements for entry into force.

The amendment to Article 136 will enter into force when approved by all Member States of the EU, including Ireland, according to their national requirements. The target date for this to be done is 1 January 2013. The ESM Treaty, will enter into force when ratified by signatories whose subscriptions represent 90% of the total initial subscriptions. The target date for this is 1 July 2012. The Government considers that it is strongly in Ireland's best interests for both instruments to enter into force as soon as possible. Not approving the amendment of Article 136 will not prevent the ESM Treaty from entering into force once the necessary conditions are met.

Tax Code

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

169 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding a carbon rebate for agricultural contractors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22024/12]

I assume that the Deputy's question relates to the double deduction for carbon tax on farm diesel which I introduced in Finance Act 2012. Under this provision, farmers will be allowed a deduction in computing their farming profits or losses for the amount of additional carbon tax they incur on purchases of farm diesel following the proposed increase in the rate of carbon tax on certain fuels from 1 May 2012. The new deduction will be in addition to the existing deduction for carbon tax included in the cost of farm diesel used in the course of the farming trade. I do not intend extending this relief to agricultural contractors.

Tribunals of Inquiry

Micheál Martin

Question:

170 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance the progress made on the recommendations of the Moriarty Tribunal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21296/12]

In response to the Deputy's question theMoriarty Tribunal made a number of observations and recommendations in relation to Financial Regulation. The report suggests that failures in regulation in the period concerned were related more to the attitude of the Regulator towards the regulated than any inadequacy in regulatory powers or the overall system then in place. This accords with the extensive analysis of Professor Honohan which concluded that there needed to be a greater degree of intrusiveness and assertiveness on the part of regulators. Recent reforms of the Central Bank have taken this point through new appointments at top level in the Bank; increased staffing and skills and a programme of legislative reform.

Findings of the Report

The Moriarty Report made the following observations and recommendations in respect of financial regulation:

1. The conduct of Guinness and Mahon Bank which gave rise to elements of the report (i.e. the operation of a tax avoidance scheme) failed to be regulated by the Central Bank under the last system but one (whereby there was a single Central Bank with regulatory functions). Since then the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland (CBFSAI) was established in 2003 and abolished in 2010.

2. Failures in regulation were related more to the attitude of the regulator towards the regulated than any inadequacy in regulatory powers.

3. The future vigilance of the regulator can best be ensured by the heightened vigilance of public representatives.

These findings are consistent with those of others, such as Professor Honohan in his report on financial regulation and the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Reforms of the Central Bank:

Significant changes have recently been made to the structure governing financial regulation and oversight of the Central Bank. These matters were included in the Central Bank Reform Act 2010.

The Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority, which was a constituent part of the CBFSAI, was dissolved, the posts of Chief Executive of the Regulatory Authority and Consumer Director were abolished. Two new posts — Head of Financial Regulation and Head of Central Banking — were created.

The Bank is now a single fully-integrated structure with a unitary Board, the Central Bank of Ireland is responsible for the stability of the financial system overall, for prudential regulation of financial institutions and for the protection of consumer interests. The Governor remains solely responsible for European System of Central Banks (ESCB) related functions.

The Bank's statutory function of promoting the development within the State of the financial services industry was removed.

Annual Performance Statements on regulatory performance prepared by the Bank, presented to the Minister for Finance and laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. (Note: this will be in addition to the Bank's Strategy Statement which is to be prepared at least every three years and its Annual Report and Accounts). A committee of the Oireachtas may call the Governor and/or the Heads of Functions to be examined on the Performance Statement.

Regular international peer reviews of regulatory performance with the report of same forming part of the Performance Statement for the relevant year.

In addition, the appointment of Professor Honohan as Governor and Mr. Elderfield as Head of Financial Regulation marked a significant change in attitude and approach. Mr. Elderfield is undertaking a very significant programme to enhance the Bank's regulatory capacity which has included the appointment of new staff at all levels within the organisation.

Enhancing the Supervisory and Enforcement powers of the Central Bank:

The Supervisory and Enforcement powers of the Central bank are due be strengthened via the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill 2011. The Bill responds to the regulatory failures of the financial crisis. It strengthens the ability of the Central Bank to impose and supervise compliance with regulatory requirements and to undertake timely prudential interventions. It also provides the Central Bank with greater access to information and analysis and will underpin the credible enforcement of Irish financial services legislation in line with international best practice.

The Bill was published in July 2011 (Government Decision S180/20/10/1435 of 26 July 2011 refers) in accordance with the structural benchmark under the EU-IMF Programme. The Bill completed Second Stage in October 2011 and is anticipated that it will go to Committee Stage shortly.

Parliamentary Oversight:

The report suggested that the necessary change of attitude by regulators to bring about increased vigilance "can probably best be encouraged by increased vigilance on the part of elected representatives." The Central Bank Reform Act 2010 enhances accountability and oversight mechanisms relating to the governance of the Bank and its regulatory performance. A Committee of the Oireachtas will receive an annual Regulatory Performance Statement — a new mechanism to increase accountability in respect of regulatory obligations. This is in addition to more general provisions already in the Central Bank Act 1942 relating to the appearances of the Governor and certain office holders before Oireachtas Committees. It is also consistent with the recommendations of the C&AG in his special report on the Financial Regulator.

Revenue Matters:

Proposal 1: Proceedings involving civil and criminal aspects

The Revenue Commissioners have advised me that they have put administrative arrangements in place which are designed to enable the civil and criminal aspects of appropriate cases to be managed separately when required.

Proposal 2: Independence of the Revenue Commissioners

Section 101 of the Minister and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2011 has placed on a statutory basis the independence of the Revenue Commissioners in the exercise by the Commissioners of their statutory functions under the various taxation and customs enactments. This has given effect to the recommendation of the Report of the Tribunal into Payments to Politicians and Related Matters (that is, the report of Mr. Justice Moriarty), that the principle or convention of the independence of the Revenue Commissioners be placed on the more robust status of a legislative provision.

Proposal 3: Representations to Revenue by Office holders

In relation to this proposal I as Minister for Finance remain of the view that this recommendation could best be considered in the context of the Government's overall approach to political and parliamentary reform. Representations are a valid part of the political process. The Government may wish to consider whether this recommendation should be confined to Revenue, or to Office holders, or whether the Commissioners decision to publish data on the volume of representations made by each Deputy is an adequate response.

A further recommendation related to the transmission to other agencies of information obtained by Revenue under bilateral agreements has been considered. These agreements are international treaties which are very precisely drawn as to the purpose for which information may be used and would not permit such transmission. However if opportunities arise in the future, the Commissioners will consider the matter further. The Deputy will appreciate that Revenue is not in a position to comment on matters relating to individuals for reasons of taxpayer confidentiality.

Excessive Deficit Notifications

Pearse Doherty

Question:

171 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will respond to the reservations on reported data (details supplied) contained in EUROSTAT press release 62/2012 issued on the 23 April 2012. [21201/12]

The Excessive Deficit Procedure Notification Tables (Maastricht Returns) were published by the Department of Finance and Eurostat on 23rd April 2012. Eurostat has attached two reservations to Ireland's return. The first reservation refers to the statistical treatment of the July 2011 banking recapitalisation when a net amount of €16.5 billion was injected into Irish financial institutions. At the time of the end-September Maastricht return, it was indicated publicly that a full examination of the deficit-impacting amount of this transfer would be made before the next notification. The outcome of this exercise is that of the €16.5 billion injected in June 2011, €5.8 billion is classified as a deficit-increasing capital transfer.

This adds 3.7 per cent of GDP to the deficit for 2011 only. However, the recapitalisation of July 2011 was fully reflected in Ireland's General Government Debt reported to Eurostat in September 2011, so Ireland is no worse off. This is simply a statistical reclassification from financial transaction to capital transfer for deficit purposes. There is no impact on our debt position. The reason Eurostat expressed this reservation on the capital transfer amount is due to the fact that restructuring plans of AIB and IL&P, which were used in the analysis, are not yet finalised. This is a prudent approach by Eurostat. When these plans are finalised and if the final versions do not differ significantly from the ones used here, this reservation will be lifted.

The second reservation concerns the statistical treatment of the NAMA Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). A Eurostat 2009 special note on the financial crisis allows for the exclusion from general government debt and deficit statistics of a short-term new special purpose vehicle that is privately owned, is not expected to make losses and whose purpose is to deal with the financial crisis. The NAMA SPV was established with Eurostat's approval in this way with Irish Life as one of the private owners. However, as Irish Life is now in public ownership, Eurostat has attached a reservation to our Maastricht Returns.

However, this is not a concern as my Department has been notified that the sale of the Irish Life shareholding in the NAMA SPV to private investors has been agreed and it is anticipated that the transaction will be completed in the coming weeks. As a consequence, the statistical treatment of the NAMA SPV will be unchanged and it will continue to have no General Government impact.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Michael McGrath

Question:

172 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 198 of 18 April 2012, if he will give details in respect of each covered institution, the number of employees with basic salaries of over €100,000; the number of employees with basic salaries of over €200,000; the number of employees with basic salaries of over €300,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21225/12]

I am advised by the covered institutions below that the information the Deputy seeks in his question is as follows:

Currently

Number of employees with basic salaries

AIB

PTSB*

IBRC

>€100k <€199k

804

52

119

>€200k <€299k

45

7

16

>€300k

12

2

8

For comparison purposes the information at end 2008 is as follows:

2008

Number of employees with basic salaries

AIB

PTSB*

IBRC

>€100k <€199k

956

62

155

>€200k <€299k

71

6

28

>€300k

16

1

9

*not including life company

In the time available, I am advised by Bank of Ireland that they are not in a position to provide the complete data sought. The bank will shortly supply the necessary details which I will then forward directly to the Deputy.

Financial Services Regulation

Finian McGrath

Question:

173 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his views on a financial matter (details supplied). [21332/12]

While Bill payment companies are not currently regulated by the Central Bank, the Government is committed to having in place an effective regulatory/supervisory system for those firms which provide a household budgeting, a debt management and/or a debt advice service. I have asked my officials to bring forward proposals for an appropriate amendment at the Committee Stage of theCentral Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill 2011 to provide for this regime. In relation to the details provided, I have been informed by the Central Bank that a provisional liquidator has been appointed to the company mentioned by the Deputy. It will be a matter for the liquidator to establish the amounts owed to customers and to distribute any available moneys accordingly. The Central Bank has no role with regard to the release of moneys.

Motor Fuels

Finian McGrath

Question:

174 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding fuel rebate. [21338/12]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

175 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he has reviewed any proposals from the international transport and haulage sector in relation to a fuel rebate for Irish licensed and tax compliant hauliers who are purchasing fuel here, in view of the reported decrease in haulage licenses by 1,300 over the past three years which represents approximately 10,000 job losses in this sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21384/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 174 and 175 together.

The Deputies may be aware that a working group was set up between officials of my Department, the IRHA and some members of the Oireachtas. This working group is discussing a number of issues of concern to the haulage industry. I am sure the Deputies will understand that I cannot pre-empt the outcome of those discussions which are ongoing. I should point out that a fuel rebate system, as sought by the IRHA, could not under EU law be restricted to Irish licensed hauliers but would have to be extended to all vehicles intended exclusively for the carriage of goods by road with a maximum permissible gross laden weight of not less than 7.5 tonnes. In addition, the rebate would have to include the carriage of passengers by a motor vehicle of category M2 or category M3 as defined in Council Directive 70/156/EEC.

Banks Recapitalisation

Gerry Adams

Question:

176 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a breakdown in tabular form a year by year breakdown of the cost of the bank bailout since 2008. [21385/12]

The bank recapitalisation commitments made by the State to date are set out in the following table:

AIB/EBS

BoI

IL&P

IBRC (Anglo/INBS)

Total

€bn

€bn

€bn

€bn

€bn

Government preference Shares (2009) — NPRF

3.5

3.5*

7.0

Capital contributions (with Promissory Notes as consideration) /Special Investment Shares (2010) — Exchequer **

0.9

30.7

31.6

Ordinary Share Capital (2009) — Exchequer

4.0

4.0

Ordinary Share Capital (2010) — NPRF

3.7

3.7

Total pre-PCAR 2011 (A)

8.1

3.5

0

34.7

46.3

PCAR 2011:

Capital from Exchequer***

3.9

2.7

6.5

NPRF Capital

8.8

1.2

10.0

Total PCAR (B)

12.7

1.2

2.7

16.5

Total Cost of Recap for State (A) + (B)

20.7

4.7

2.7

34.7

62.8

*€1.7bn of BoI's government preference shares were converted to equity in May/June 2010 (€1.8bn still left in existence). The government also received €0.5bn from the warrants relating to BoI's preference shares (excluded from table above).

**The IBRC amount is made up of a total capital contribution for Anglo / INBS of €30.6bn and a special investment share of €0.1bn (INBS). The Anglo / INBS capital contribution impacted in full on the GGB in 2010. The consideration for the Anglo / INBS capital contribution was €30.6bn of promissory notes. These Promissory Notes are an amount due from the State to IBRC. Each year, on 31 March, €3.06bn is paid by the Exchequer to Anglo / INBS as part of the scheduled repayments of the promissory notes. The first such repayment was made on 31 March 2010.

***The Exchequer cost of the 2011 BoI recap is shown net of share sale to private investors (Completed in October, 2011)

This recapitalisation table split year by year is:

Anglo

INBS

AIB

EBS

BOI

ILP*

Total

2008

2009

4.0

0

3.5

0

3.5

0

11.0

2010

25.3

5.4

3.7

0.9

0

0

35.3

2011

0

0

12.7

0

1.2

2.7

16.5

2012

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

29.3

5.4

19.9

0.9

4.7

2.7

62.8

*In addition, the State is committed to acquiring Irish Life for €1.3bn to complete the recapitalisation of Irish Life and Permanent. It is expected that the proceeds of an onward sale of Irish Life in due course will reduce the amount the State has committed to the bank recapitalisation.

Tax Collection

Jack Wall

Question:

177 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is due some form of tax refund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21408/12]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that PAYE Balancing Statements (P21s) will issue shortly to the person concerned and the tax overpaid will be refunded.

Jack Wall

Question:

178 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance if a person (details supplied) is in receipt of their proper tax allowances or if they are entitled to any arrears in regard to their taxes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21443/12]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that based on the information available, the person concerned is in receipt of the correct tax credits and there are no overpayments arising for the years 2008 to 2011 inclusive.

Banks Recapitalisation

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

179 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance with regard to the recent payment of €3.1 billion made to IBRC under the revised promissory note arrangement, the amount of that payment that was needed by IBRC to meet scheduled liabilities for 2012. [21476/12]

The Deputy will be aware that the March 2012 instalment of the promissory note was settled using a long term Government bond. The settlement of the instalment with a Government bond means that the State did not have to make a cash payment in respect of the 2012 Promissory Note payment to IBRC.

In relation to the scheduled liabilities of the bank, the Deputy will also be aware that the Board of the bank is responsible for the day to day operations of the bank. I have been informed by IBRC that the bank and banks in general runs their cash inflows and outflows on a collective (fungible) basis. The bank has also indicated that it does not manage, identify or allocate specific maturing asset inflows against specific contractual maturities.

The bank is funded largely by emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the Central Bank of Ireland. As these borrowing are short term rolling facilities, which are subject to the ongoing non-objection of a majority the ECB governing council, there are no scheduled ELA liabilities. However, notwithstanding this, both the Government and the ECB are keen to both get IBRC off large scale emergency borrowings from the Central Bank of Ireland and to find a way to re-engineer the promissory notes. The bank's scheduled liabilities relate to other public debt. These schedule liabilities, as noted above, are managed on a collective basis alongside the other cash inflows and outflows of the bank.

Departmental Staff

Sandra McLellan

Question:

180 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Finance the number of grades of civil servants who have been re-employed by his Department having taken early retirement packages or who have retired due to their reaching the age of retirement each year since 2008. [21490/12]

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the Appropriation Accounts for the relevant years. The Appropriation Accounts are available online atwww.audgen.gov.ie. The 2011 Appropriation Accounts have not yet been finalised by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Question No. 181 answered with Question No. 162.
Question No. 182 answered with Question No. 163.

Tax Code

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

183 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance , in view of the continuing slide in retail sales and the fact that in the first three months of 2012 sales have fallen by2.56%, and that retail sales have fallen in every quarter for the past four years despite his best efforts in urging consumers to increase spending, whether it is not now obvious that the increase in VAT has further deterred people from spending; his plans to try to encourage people to spend at this time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21558/12]

Notwithstanding a month-on-month increase in both February and March of this year, it is clear that retail sales remain weak. As discussed in the 2012 Stability Programme Update, there are a number of factors holding back consumer spending, including declining real disposables incomes and an elevated savings rate (reflectinginter alia balance-sheet repair, uncertainty and high unemployment). Since coming into office, the Government has brought forward a number of measures to support the domestic economy and job creation, including the Jobs Initiative, lending targets for the pillar banks and the Action Plan for Jobs 2012. I am confident that these policy actions will help underpin a stabilisation in consumer spending in the near term, followed by a gradual pick-up in private consumption in the years to come.

On the VAT increase introduced as part of Budget 2012, I would remind the Deputy of the need to restore order to the public finances. The Government is committed to doing so, and in a way which is least damaging to economic activity. Evidence suggests that direct taxes, such as income tax, are more harmful to economic growth than indirect taxes, such as VAT. This rationale informed our decision at Budget time to keep income tax rates, bands and credits unchanged, but to increase the standard rate of VAT. In the first quarter of 2012, VAT was up by 5.8% year-on-year and 3.2% ahead of profile. Although it is still early in the year, VAT receipts in the first quarter suggest that the annual Budget target of €9,995 million, or a 2.6% increase on 2011 receipts, is achievable.

Banking Sector Regulation

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

184 Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if any consideration has been given to altering the remuneration policy in the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation in order that it is in line with the public sector in view of the fact that the bank is fully nationalised. [21580/12]

I have asked the Board of the bank to consider the remuneration packages at the bank. The Board has consideredreductions in pay levels for individual staff in IBRC but has however, recommended to me its view that pay cuts should not be implemented at this time. The decision not to pursue pay cuts is on the basis that staff retention is a critical issue for IBRC. There has been considerable reduction in staff numbers and current staff are being regularly headhunted by Banks and other organisations. It is the Board's view that further pay cuts would create a risk for the bank in relation to the retention of staff and would impact negatively on the bank's ability to deliver its mandate.

The Board has indicated its view that the skills of staff within IBRC are integral to the successful delivery of the bank's asset recovery programme on behalf of the State and, by extension, the taxpayer. In this context, IBRC have also pointed out to me that a 20% reduction was applied to the salaries of senior management in the former Anglo Irish Bank immediately post nationalisation. These adjusted lower salaries have remained in place in the organisation for subsequent replacements to those roles. It should also be noted that IBRC does not operate a performance based incentive plan. The bank had further indicated that total remuneration paid to the top 50 individuals in the organisation in 2009 has reduced by 15% as at March 2012. In addition, total staff costs in the organisation have reduced by 48% from end 2008 to end 2011 and this includes 6 months of additional cost resulting from the merger with INBS in 2011.

Since nationalisation there has been a 60% reduction in total headcount in the combined Anglo Irish Bank and INBS organisations from close to 2,250 in January 2009 to 919 today. IBRC also employs 184 front line staff in its NAMA servicing unit. As part of this reduction, there has been an extensive re-structuring and streamlining of the management structures in IBRC. Of the 50 most senior people employed pre-nationalisation, 34 (or 68%) have since left the Bank. I have accepted the Board's position at this time. However, I have asked that the situation in relation to remuneration be kept under review. I have also conveyed my view that downward pressure is to be exerted in relation to the remuneration packages of any new staff recruited to the bank.

Departmental Bodies

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

185 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance the number of State agencies in his Department which were abolished or merged since in 2011; the name and purpose of each one; the amount saved by the merger or abolition; the number planned to be merged or abolished in 2012; the name and purpose of each one; the amount expected to be saved from this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21591/12]

Michael McGrath

Question:

188 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of bodies and agencies under his aegis; and his proposals for review of operation of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21608/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 185 and 188 together.

The following table lists bodies which fall under the aegis of my Department:

Bodies under the aegis Department of Finance

Name of Body

Financial Services Ombudsman Council

Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal

National Development Finance Agency (NDFA)

National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission

National Treasury Management Agency Advisory Committee

National Asset Management Agency

NewERA and the Strategic Investment Fund

Sealúchais Árachais Teoranta

State Claims Agency Policy Committee

Credit Union Advisory Committee

Commission on Credit Unions

Irish Bank Resolution Company Limited

Central Bank Commission

The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal

Educational Building Society

No agencies under the remit of my Department have been abolished in 2011. I am not aware of any plans to merge or abolish any bodies under the remit of my Department in 2012.

Tax Code

Michael McGrath

Question:

186 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his views on the success of the cycle to work scheme since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21606/12]

Section 7 of Finance (No. 2) Act, 2008 introduced a change to the benefit-in-kind (BIK) taxation regime in respect of bicycles. The scheme enabled an employer to purchase a bicycle and certain bicycle-related (safety) accessories for an employee, without the employee being liable for BIK. The scheme complemented the existing TaxSaver commuter scheme and was intended to encourage more employees to cycle to and from work. In addition to reducing traffic congestion and lowering carbon emissions, more people cycling to work would improve health and fitness levels.

The tax relief on the cost of a bicycle and equipment is allowed once in a period of five years, this being regarded as a reasonable lifespan for a bicycle. The employer would save on employer's PRSI on the value of the benefit provided to the employee; the employee would save on income tax, employee's PRSI and income levies on the value of the benefit received from the employer.

It is estimated (from industry figures1) that approx. 30,000 bicycles are sold per year under this scheme. This could suggest a cost to the Exchequer in excess of €5m per annum in gross tax foregone; the actual figure would be dependent on the amount claimed per bike. However a number of offsetting factors need to be borne in mind. The Exchequer receives VAT on cycle sales and jobs are provided in the sales and servicing sector, i.e. bikes continue to need spares, maintenance, etc. Also, it is recognised that increased use of cycling is of value in itself from a health and environmental viewpoint. 1(Irish Bicycle Business Association “Report on the Cycle To Work Scheme Tax Incentive, 14th October, 2011,

http://www.ibba.ie/IBBA_Report.pdf)

Tax Yield

Michael McGrath

Question:

187 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the revenue earned from the departure tax in each month since June 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21607/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the revenue yield from the air travel tax in each month since June 2011 is as follows:

€m

Jun-11

3.1

Jul-11

3.5

Aug-11

4.1

Sep-11

3.7

Oct-11

3.2

Nov-11

2.8

Dec-11

2.4

Jan-12

2.3

Feb-12

2.1

Mar-12

2.1

Apr-12

2.6

Question No. 188 answered with Question No. 185.

Banking Sector Regulation

Gerry Adams

Question:

189 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 227 of 24 April 2012, if he or his officials are aware of the fees charged by a company (details supplied) to IBRC for their advisory services; if he or his officials sought to find out the fee charged by the company to IBRC once he or his officials became aware of this engagement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21764/12]

As already indicated the Board of the bank is responsible for the day to day operation of the bank including fees incurred in relation to the procurement of advisers. While I and my Department are aware of the bank's policy in relation to procurement it is not the practice to establish the cost of each individual arrangement the bank enters into. That said overall expenditure is monitored on an on-going basis through monthly management accounts, interim accounts and annual reports etc. and matters of concern are raised at an appropriate level.

Gerry Adams

Question:

190 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 131 of 18 April 2012, if he will confirm whether IBRC travelled to London to meet a company (details supplied) before or after both IBRC and the company became aware that the company was unsuccessful in its bid for the US loan sale portfolio; if he will outline whether the purpose of IBRC travelling to London to meet with the company concerned IBRC’s desire to engage it for advisory work; if he will confirm the number of other unsuccessful bidders for the US loan sale portfolio with whom IBRC travelled to meet; if he will confirm the number of staff from IBRC who attended the meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21765/12]

As the Deputy is aware the Board of the bank is responsible for the day to day operation of the bank. I have no function in relation to routine meetings arranged or attended by staff of the bank, when those meetings took place or the number of staff from the bank attending such meetings. As the matter of the engagement of the company to which the Deputy refers has been the subject of a considerable number of Parliamentary Questions, it would appear that the Deputy has concerns relating to this engagement. As of yet, it does not appear that the Deputy is in a position to set out his concerns in a manner that will allow the matter to be comprehensively addressed. If the Deputy is concerned that something untoward has taken place or that some wrongdoing has occurred the Deputy should raise the matter with the relevant authorities. Alternatively, if the Deputy is in a position, having consulted with his sources, to set out his concerns I would be happy to refer the matter to the Board of the bank for consideration.

Gerry Adams

Question:

191 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if he or his officials have met with the former MEP and Fine Gael Party member Pat Cox in his newly announced capacity as paid adviser to a company (details supplied) regarding the company providing a servicing platform for mortgages in Permanent TSB; if he will detail the date of such a meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21766/12]

I can confirm that neither I nor any officials from the Banking Division of my Department have met Mr. Cox in his capacity as paid adviser to the company mentioned in the Deputy's question.

Gerry Adams

Question:

192 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if he is concerned about Permanent TSB awarding a contract for the servicing of its mortgage to a company (details supplied) when two if its six shareholders were working in Bank of Scotland (Ireland) during its lending into the Irish property market and whose chief executive was a board member at Bank of Scotland (Ireland) during this period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21768/12]

Notwithstanding the State's shareholding in the bank, Irish Life and Permanent operates in an arm's length capacity from the State in relation to commercial issues. It is a matter for the board and management to determine and implement operational policy in their organisation. Therefore, commercial decisions such as these are solely a decision for the bank.

Gerry Adams

Question:

193 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if Permanent TSB or AIB under their respective relationship framework agreements with him are required to seek approval from him before awarding contracts for the servicing of their loans by outside third parties such as a company (details supplied) which now has a former MEP and Fine Gael member as a paid adviser; if the awarding of such contracts by Permanent TSB or AIB would be subjected to a public tendering procurement process similar to the National Asset Management Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21769/12]

While the State holds a majority shareholding in both AIB and Irish Life and Permanent, they are not covered by formal public procurement rules as the banks' commercial remit makes them subject to market forces. Under the Relationship Frameworks the Boards of these banks' are responsible for the day to day operations of the bank including the awarding of contracts. Neither AIB nor PTSB are required to seek formal approval before awarding contracts of any nature, though certain other transactions do require Ministerial approval. The Relationship Frameworks were published on the Department of Finance website on 30 March 2012, the relevant links are published below for your convenience:

http://banking.finance.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Allied-Irish-Banks1.pdf

http://banking.finance.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Irish-Life-and-Permanent1.pdf

Gerry Adams

Question:

194 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if the chief executive of a company (details supplied) which now has a former MEP and Fine Gael Party member as a paid advisor to seek Government contracts, will be subjected to a fitness and probity test by the Central bank of Ireland in view of their previous position as board member of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) during its period of lending into the Irish economy which continues to cause problems for the property market here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21770/12]

I have been informed by the Central Bank of Ireland that the company referred to in the Deputy's question is not a regulated financial services provider and therefore neither the company nor its employees are subject to the Central Bank of Ireland's Fitness and Probity regime.

Gerry Adams

Question:

195 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance if he will detail the impact the reported loan sale of Lloyds TSB, former Bank of Scotland (Ireland) of €400 million of Irish property loans at 75% haircut on their loan value could have for the National Assets Management Agency Irish loans sale and NAMA meeting its minimum objectives of redeeming all €30 billion of NAMA bonds in full during the lifetime of its operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21771/12]

I am informed by NAMA that in developing their strategy for asset disposals they take account of any deleveraging that is occurring in the markets in which NAMA operates. I am reassured by the Board of NAMA that it continues to expect that it will meet its obligations by 2020. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the specifics of the press reports of the loan sale referred to by the Deputy.

EU-IMF Agreement

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

196 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the expected date of exit from the troika programme, that is, the estimated date that the agreed funding will have to be fully used, taking into the account the recent agreement on the promissory notes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21776/12]

As the Deputy is aware, the programme is envisaged to run to the end of 2013. All programme funding must be drawn down by that date. While the arrangement regarding the recent March promissory note payment does not affect the programme timeframe, it does mean that the Exchequer has additional cash reserves of €3.06 billion at its disposal. On the basis that we fully draw-down the remaining EU-IMF funds available under our programme and taking account of the current projections for the State's financing needs, I understand from the NTMA that the programme covers Ireland's financial requirements until the end of 2013.

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

197 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the expected date of exit from the excessive deficit procedure, that is, the year, and month if available, when it is estimated the deficit will become less than 3% of GDP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21777/12]

On the basis of my Department's current budgetary forecasts, Ireland's General Government deficit is expected to be below 3% of GDP in 2015. The deadline for correcting the excessive deficit was extended to 2015 in December 2010 upon Ireland's entry into the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support.

Budget Deficits

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

198 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the expected year in which Ireland will first have to meet with the structural deficit target of 0.5% of GDP, as set out in the fiscal compact; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21778/12]

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

199 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the estimated budget impact — that is, the difference, positive or negative, in budget deficit or surplus — which will be required in order to comply with the structural deficit rule in the first one to five years of compliance, against a base case of not having to comply with it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21779/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 198 and 199 together.

The forecasts set out in the 2012 Stability Programme Update are consistent with a General Government Balance of just under — 3% of GDP in 2015. As discussed in the document, the exact size of the structural component of this is, of course, uncertain. Not only do technical estimates differ depending on the approach used, but it is also the case that estimates of the structural balance further out the forecast horizon are not fixed — policies being implemented at present, together with future measures, can be expected to impact positively on the figures.

As I have said on a number of occasions, reducing the structural element of the deficit will require policy action, though not necessarily taxation and expenditure adjustments. Other options are available and it is the Government's intention to pursue these. Such measures include labour market reforms, together with investment in technology and infrastructure. By boosting the productive capacity of the economy, the ambitious programme of microeconomic reforms that is already underway is expected to help reduce the structural element of the deficit by the middle part of the decade. For example, theAction Plan for Jobs 2012 and the Pathways to Work initiative include reforms aimed at addressing some of the skills mis-match in the labour market, which should help lower the unemployment rate. This would have a structurally beneficial impact on the public finances, on both the revenue and expenditure sides. In other words, the structural fiscal position is set to improve with these microeconomic reforms.

Under the Stability and Growth Pact, when a country is in excessive deficit (i.e. has a General Government Balance in excess of — 3% of GDP), the focus of the fiscal effort is on reducing the headline deficit to below 3% of GDP. In our case, the time path to achieve this objective is end-2015. Once a country comes out of excessive deficit, the focus is on bringing a country's public finances into line with its agreed medium-term budgetary objective.

As discussed in the 2012 Stability Programme Update, Ireland's medium-term budgetary objective (MTO) currently stands at -0.5% of GDP. This objective was set under the Stability and Growth Pact and well in advance of the Stability Treaty. Furthermore, as noted above, estimates of the structural deficit vary in an Irish context. What we can say is that we are making progress towards the achievement of our MTO, and further progress will be made in the post-2015 period on a phased basis, in accordance with a timeline to be agreed.

National Debt

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

200 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the year in which Ireland will first have to comply with the debt brake rule, as described in the fiscal compact, that is, reducing Ireland’s debt to GDP ratio from its level in the first year of required compliance, by 1/20th of the difference between that figure and the 60% target stipulated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21780/12]

As part of the reforms to the Stability and Growth Pact, contained in the so-called ‘6-pack' of legislative reforms, Member States with a debt-to-GDP ratio in excess of 60% will have to reduce the part of their debt ratio above the 60% threshold by 1/20th annually. This will have to be done irrespective of the Stability Treaty, though it also forms part of the Treaty. Ireland and the other Member States currently in excessive deficit on the basis of the deficit criterion are not subject to the debt correction rule at this time. In Ireland's case, we must first stabilise our debt-to-GDP ratio — it is forecast that this will be achieved next year. After coming out of excessive deficit, and as a Programme country, we will be able to avail of a three-year transition period before the full 1/20th rule will apply. This means that Ireland will not be fully bound by the rule until 2019, though in the 2016-18 period, we will need to make ‘sufficient progress' in terms of reducing our debt ratio. Finally, I would also point out that, when it comes to meeting the debt requirement, it is reasonable to expect that economic growth will do most of the ‘heavy lifting'.

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

201 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the estimated paydown of general Government debt required to meet the debt brake stipulation in each of the first five years from when Ireland must adhere to the debt brake rule as stipulated in the fiscal compact, that is, ensuring that the debt to GDP ratio reduces by 1/20th of the gap between where it is and the target of 60% of GDP, including the assumptions used per year for real and nominal GDP growth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21781/12]

The focus of Government presently is on stabilising the General Government debt to GDP ratio and beginning the process of reducing it to a lower, safer level over time. This will be done through the implementation of further budgetary consolidation as well as policies which foster employment and economic growth. The recently published Stability Programme Update (SPU) estimates that by the end of current forecast horizon in 2015, the debt to GDP ratio will be 117.4 per cent, down from a peak of 120.3 per cent next year.

The debt correction requirement in theInter-Governmental Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union is to reduce that part of the debt ratio which is above the threshold rate of 60 per cent annually by at least one-twentieth of the difference between the actual rate and the threshold rate. It is important to remember that this requirement is already part of the revised Stability and Growth Pact. We will have to fulfill this requirement irrespective of the Stability Treaty. A transition period will apply for all countries, including Ireland, that are currently subject to the excessive deficit procedure. During this transition period, which would last for three years following the correction of the excessive deficit, the requirement under the debt correction rule is deemed to be fulfilled if we are making “sufficient progress” towards compliance.

Based on the fiscal projections set out in the recently published SPU, Ireland will be coming out of the excessive deficit procedure by the end of the current forecast horizon as a result of reducing the General Government deficit to below 3 per cent of GDP in 2015. Therefore the three year transition period referred to above will apply. This means that it will be 2019 before the debt correction requirement in the Inter-Governmental Treaty fully kicks in. As there are presently no specific macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts for the period post 2015, the exact policies that will be required, as well as the level of paydown of General Government debt that would be required to ensure compliance with the Inter-Governmental Treaty debt correction rule are conjecture at this stage.

In terms of the fiscal implications of this debt correction rule, it is important to remember that it is the debt to GDP debt ratio that is important, not the overall nominal level of General Government debt. In other words, on the basis of reasonable assumptions over the medium-term, we can expect economic growth to do much of the work in this regard.

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

202 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance the economic rationale for setting the debt to GDP ratio target at 60%, as stipulated in the fiscal compact; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21782/12]

At 60%, the target debt-to-GDP ratio set out in the Fiscal Compact is in line with the reference value for the debt ratio contained in the Stability and Growth Pact. So irrespective of the Stability Treaty, we — like all EU Member States — are committed to reducing our debt-to-GDP ratio to the 60% reference value. This will be achieved over time, and it is reasonable to expect that growth will do most of the ‘heavy lifting' in this respect. Such a target is designed tointer alia ensure that the borrowing requirements of governments do not crowd out private investment (e.g. by pushing up interest rates), to reduce uncertainty and to help secure the long-term sustainability of the public finances.

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

203 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance if he accepts that compliance with the structural deficit rule, as stipulated in the fiscal compact, requires bringing the debt to GDP ratio to approximately 25%, as per the analysis provided found at a website (details supplied), and if not, the reason therefor; if not, the debt to GDP ratio he believes that will meet the structural deficit rule; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21783/12]

There is no requirement to bring the debt to GDP ratio to 25 per cent. The debt correction requirement in theInter-Governmental Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union is to reduce that part of the debt ratio which is above the threshold rate of 60 per cent annually by at least one-twentieth of the difference between the actual rate and the threshold rate. It is important to remember that this requirement is already part of the revised Stability and Growth Pact. We will have to fulfill this requirement irrespective of the Stability Treaty. I am aware of the analysis published, which shows that on the basis of certain assumptions, including regarding the deficit in the public finances and nominal economic growth rates, public debt could converge to a low level in the long-run.

Tax Code

Terence Flanagan

Question:

204 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider reducing the VAT charged on life-saving equipment such as lifejackets to help encourage their purchase and make them more affordable for sea travellers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21850/12]

The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law with which Irish VAT law must comply. The VAT Directive does not make specific provision for a reduced or zero rate to apply to safety equipment, including life saving equipment, and as such they are subject to the standard VAT rate, which is currently 23%. However, for historic reasons the zero rate of VAT applies to safety clothing, including lifejackets, for children up to 10 years of age, while the supply of such clothing for adults and children older than 10 years is liable to VAT at the 23% rate. As Ireland applied the zero rate to clothing and protective clothing for children up to 10 years of age on 1 January 1991, we are entitled to retain that zero rated application. However, as the standard VAT rate applied to safety equipment and safety clothing for adults and older children at 1 January 1991, it is not possible to apply a reduced or zero rate to them.

Departmental Reports

Michael McGrath

Question:

205 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a list of the measures implemented in his Department on foot of each of the 50 recommendations in the report of the independent review panel on strengthening the capacity of the Department of Finance, the Wright report, of 3 December 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21868/12]

As regards the recommendations for improvement to the budgetary process, to a large extent these recommendations have been superseded by the major reforms introduced since this Government took office in 2011. In the first instance, the establishment of an entirely separate Department of Public Expenditure and Reform introduces a new focus upon issues of expenditure management, and incorporates a unified focus upon public service reform and innovation. In theMedium Term Fiscal Statement of November 2011, the Government mapped out its fiscal plan on a multi-annual basis, setting out the overall level of budgetary consolidation it is estimated is required to adhere to budgetary targets as well as the split between revenue and expenditure measures for each of the years out to 2015. In the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014 which was published by my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in December 2011, a new Medium Term Expenditure Framework has been established, with multi-annual expenditure ceilings laid down for all Departments. The expenditure ceilings, which are fully consistent with the Government’s agreed overall fiscal policy, replace the old-fashioned and incremental estimates processes which were subject to criticism in the Wright Report.

In July 2011, the Government established the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council ("Fiscal Council") on a non-statutory basis. The functions assigned to the Council encompass the proposals made in the Report. In the period since its establishment, the Fiscal Council has published two fiscal assessments and a report on strengthening Ireland's fiscal framework. Provision for the establishment of the Fiscal Council on a statutory basis is included in the General Scheme of the Fiscal Responsibility Bill published on 26 April 2012 in the context of the referendum on the ratification of the Fiscal Stability Treaty. The Fiscal Council is assigned the function of monitoring compliance by the Government with the budgetary rules set out in the Treaty.

A senior HR Manager was appointed to my Department in September 2011. Measures have been taken to increase the complement of skilled staff in areas such as economics, banking, financial services and policy analysis. Within the context of the Department's Employment Control Framework (ECF), my Department has examined the skill level of staff and has addressed the issue via a combination of direct employment and secondment. The Department is currently in the process of being restructured by the Secretary General, John Moran who was appointed on 6 March 2012, to meet the fiscal and economic challenges ahead. A revised Statement of Strategy has been approved and a new organisational structure is being rolled out that is focused towards the identification and implementation of measures that will contribute to enhanced confidence and delivering sustainable growth in our economy.

Tax Yield

Michael McGrath

Question:

206 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield from the carbon tax in 2012; if this money is ring-fenced to improve energy efficiency and alleviate fuel poverty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21869/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the expected yield from Carbon Tax in 2012 is €370.7 million (excluding VAT). It is the general practice not to ring-fence revenues for specific purposes but rather take an overall view on priorities in the context of expenditure decisions which, of course, are dependent on Exchequer revenues.

Michael McGrath

Question:

207 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue raised by betting duty in each of the past five years; his plans for reform of betting duty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21872/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the amount of revenue raised by betting duty in each of the past five years is as follows:

Year

2007

36,437,009

2008

36,667,784

2009

30,988,780

2010

30,919,211

2011

27,096,522

It was announced in Budget 2011 that the necessary arrangements are being made to ensure that bets placed on the internet by domestic punters are subject to the same level of betting duty as applies to high street betting shops. This will serve to broaden the tax base and increase betting duty receipts.

The Finance Act 2011 provides for the taxation of bets that remote bookmakers enter into with persons in the State. This means, for example, that a business which engages in online bookmaking and which accepts bets from people in this country will be liable for betting duty on those bets, irrespective of where that business is based. The existing betting duty (1%) will be applied to such bets. The Finance Act also provides for the taxation of Betting Exchanges under the new arrangements; however the calculation of the tax will take account of their particular business model, in other words a tax on the commission charged. In addition, excise duties are being applied to the granting and renewal of remote bookmakers' and remote betting intermediaries' licences.

The proposed Betting (Amendment) Bill, which is being drafted at present, will establish the regulatory framework for these licences. The tax changes provided for in the Finance Act can only be implemented once the Betting (Amendment) Bill is enacted. This Bill is well advanced and it is hoped that it will be published in the second quarter of this year. I am hopeful that by including the high-growth area of the betting sector the tax base from betting will be boosted significantly. In addition, this measure conveys a positive signal to international betting operations that have expressed an interest in or have already invested in Ireland. A location with an appropriate licensing regime coupled with relatively low taxes provides real investment and employment opportunities in this sector, which ultimately can potentially be beneficial to all concerned.

Consultancy Contracts

Michael McGrath

Question:

208 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of external consultants currently working for or in his Department; the work they are carrying out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21873/12]

The Department is paying for the services of one external consultant who is providing specialist support to the work on mortgage arrears arising from the recommendations contained in the Interdepartmental Report on Mortgage Arrears. In addition, until recently the Shareholding Management Unit in the Department was being advised in relation to bank restructuring matters, by the consultants McKinsey.

International Monetary Fund

Michael McGrath

Question:

209 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the current funding commitment to the International Monetary Fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21874/12]

The IMF is a quota-based institution. Each member is assigned a quota, broadly based on its size relative to the world economy. A member's quota determines its maximum financial commitment to the IMF, its voting power, and has a bearing on its access to IMF financing. Quotas are denominated in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs*), the IMF's unit of account.

Ireland's IMF quota is currently SDR 1,257.6 million, or 0.528% of the total quota share of the IMF, since 4 March 2011 when the 2008 Quota Review came into force. Details of transactions on the Central Bank's IMF accounts are set out in the Annual Report on Ireland's Participation in the IMF and the World Bank (available atwww.finance.gov.ie). Ireland’s quota is due to increase to SDR 3,449.9 million, or 0.724% of the total quota share of the IMF, when the 2010 Quota changes are implemented. The 2010 reforms need to be approved by the IMF Board of Governors which requires acceptance by 113 member countries representing 85 percent of the total voting power.

*At 27 April 2012 1 euro = SDR 0.85381

National Asset Management Agency

Michael McGrath

Question:

210 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an update on recent developments in respect of the National Asset Management Agency special purpose vehicle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21875/12]

The NAMA SPV was originally established with Eurostat's approval and with Irish Life as one of the private owners. However, as Irish Life is now in public ownership, Eurostat attached a reservation to our Maastricht Returns in which it raised concerns about the private sector ownership of the NAMA SPV and consequently the treatment of NAMA for the purposes of calculating General Government Debt. My Department has notified Eurostat that the sale of the Irish Life shareholding in the NAMA SPV to private investors has been agreed and it is anticipated that the transaction will be completed in the coming weeks. As a consequence, we expect that the Eurostat treatment of the NAMA SPV will be unchanged.

Credit Review Office

Michael McGrath

Question:

211 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he is satisfied with the operation of the credit review office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21876/12]

The Credit Review Office (CRO) was established under Section 210(1)(b) of the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 and commenced operations in April 2010. The CRO reviews decisions by the pillar banks to refuse, reduce or withdraw credit facilities (including applications for restructured credit facilities) from €1,000 up to €500,000. Each review will only apply to a specific declined credit application up to €500,000 and not to any other borrowings which may exist. Therefore, applicants who may have total borrowings above this limit are not excluded from the review process. The tables below illustrate the activity of the CRO up to 29 February 2012, the date of the most recent CRO quarterly report:

Application Rec’d but held at Office until eligibility confirmed with Bank

Overturned by Internal Appeals / got credit*

Abandoned / Withdrawn by customer**

Application Received and proceeding through Review process

CRO Decision

Total

Banks’ Credit Decision Upheld

Bank’s Credit Decision Disputed / Bank Subsequently Provided Credit More work required by Borrower and Bank or withdrawn by customer

AIB

4

6

6

4

23

27,878

BoI

4

7

6

5

20

26,775

Total

8

13

12

9

43

53,151.53**** only tracked since May 2011-new procedures

**considered withdrawn/abandoned if no response after 6 months

***includes applications awaiting eligibility confirmation

Formal Appeals

Banks’ Credit Decision Upheld

Jobs at risk

Bank’s Credit Decision Disputed / Bank Provided Credit

Jobs protected

Total Numbers

€3,798,553

228+22p/t

€4,747,000

521+21p/t

AIB

€1,803,200

131+9p/t

€2,258,300

218+9p/t

BoI

€1,995,753

97+13p/t

€2,488,700

303+12p/t

Another function of the CRO is to assist my Department in monitoring the progress of the pillar banks in achieving their lending targets. In his fifth quarterly report of August 2011 the Credit Reviewer stated that it would be a challenge for each of the banks to reach their €3bn sanction target for new and restructured facilities. Following publication of the report, some robust meetings took place between the CRO, the Department of Finance and the pillar banks, which resulted in increased lending activity in the following two quarters and the annual targets being met.

The main aim of the CRO is to ensure that credit is not refused to viable businesses with valid credit propositions. Insofar as this aim is concerned, I consider that a satisfactory solution has been found in all cases. I would also advise the Deputy that the Action Plan for Jobs 2012 contains a commitment to assess the CRO to ensure SMEs are getting the support on bank lending they require. It is intended to commence this process shortly.

EU Treaties

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

212 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 100 of 18 April 2012, on the negotiations leading to the revised ESM treaty, if he will elaborate on his statement that he had suggested that before creating any such link between the ESM and stability treaties that careful consideration be given to any possible market implications; if it is the case that he suggested that the failure to include such a link could have led to market instability, or a negative market reaction, or failed to reassure the markets. [22016/12]

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

213 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 100 of 18 April 2012, on the negotiations leading to the revised ESM treaty if he will elaborate on his statement that the linkage between the ESM and stability treaty ratification was accepted in the interests of securing agreement on the ESM; if it is the case that he was agreeable to the linkage between the ESM and stability treaty ratification because he believed this would facilitate the securing of agreement on the ESM by making it more likely that the Irish people would support the stability treaty in any referendum; and if he at any point communicated this belief to the other participants in the negotiations. [22017/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 212 and 213 together.

As I have stated before, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Treaty, was signed by Euro Area Member States on 2 February 2012. The original version of the Treaty was signed on 11 July 2011, but it has been modified to incorporate decisions taken by the Heads of State or Government (HoSG) of the Euro Area on 21 July and 9 December 2011 aimed at improving the effectiveness of the mechanism. It also reflects the political decisions reached among leaders at their informal meeting on 30 January concerning the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (Stability Treaty) in the Economic and Monetary Union.

In my previous replies to the Deputy on this issue, I outlined that our approach to these negotiations was informed by the need to secure agreement on the revised ESM Treaty, including the additional flexibilities and the commitment to a review of its capacity. We viewed these as positive developments which are in Europe's interest and in Ireland's interest. The linkage between the ESM and Stability Treaty ratification was accepted in the interests of securing agreement on the ESM and its accelerated entry into force by July 2012. In the negotiations, the Government sought to ensure that it was made clear that the link between ratification of the Stability Treaty and the ESM Treaty applied only to new applications for assistance under the ESM, and that it will not affect the transfer to the ESM of undisbursed amounts under the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) for Ireland and other programme countries. The Government also sought to ensure that sufficient time was provided for ratification of the Stability Treaty before the link enters into effect.

The Stability Treaty is part of a broader package of measures aimed at improving confidence in the Euro Area, which include the ESM. It is entirely logical and reasonable that a country receiving the support of its partners under the ESM should be prepared to run sensible budgetary policies as required under the new Treaty. That is the basis of the linkage. We believe the linkage between the Treaties will further contribute to confidence, solidarity and financial stability in the euro area. These measures have the collective aim of restoring market confidence to the EU as a whole. Our approach to the discussions on these issues was informed, inter alia, by that concern.

The basis on which we agreed to the linkage is outlined above, as it was in previous replies to the Deputy on this issue. Finally, I would remind the Deputy that the decision to hold a referendum on the Stability Treaty was taken, on the basis of advice from AG's, once discussions on the Stability Treaty had concluded.

Tax Code

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

214 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance his views that only VAT registered users be eligible for VAT rebate on diesel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22019/12]

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

215 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether farmers who are not registered for VAT should be allowed to recover the VAT element of invoices received from VAT registered contractors for work done; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22020/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 214 and 215 together.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that under EU VAT rules, traders, including farmers, who are registered for VAT, collect VAT on the goods and services that they sell and are entitled to recover the VAT they incur on business inputs used in the production of goods or delivery of services. VAT registered farmers are therefore eligible to recover VAT incurred on diesel as a business input.

Farmers who are not registered for VAT are not entitled to recover VAT, including that charged by VAT registered contractors, and are not required to charge VAT on their sales. However, these farmers are compensated under the farmers' flat-rate scheme for the VAT incurred on their purchases by means of a 5.2% flat-rate addition to the prices at which they sell their agricultural produce and services to VAT-registered traders. In addition, farmers who are not registered for VAT may be entitled to a refund under the Value-Added Tax (Refund of Tax) (No. 25) Order 1993 for tax borne on the construction of farm buildings, fencing, drainage and reclamation of farm land.

Departmental Expenditure

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

216 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide details of the BER rating and annual heating costs of Trinity College, UCD, DCU and his Department’s main offices in Dublin, Tullamore and Athlone. [21513/12]

The most recent Building Energy Rating (BER) for my Department's Tullamore office is a C3 (Display Energy Certificate issued in August 2009 to cover period up to September 2010) while the most recent BER rating for my Department's Marlborough Street complex in Dublin is an E2 (Display Energy Certificate issued in October 2010 to cover period up to October 2011). With regard to the Marlborough Street complex the Deputy should note that this complex consists of a number of buildings including older listed stone buildings such as Tyrone House (built circa 1740) which are not energy efficient.

A Display Energy Certificate is in the process of being produced for my Department's Athlone office. This process was delayed due to the recent conversion from oil boilers to more efficient gas boilers. It is expected that a certificate will issue to be completed within the next month. The combined fuel and gas costs for the three sites in 2011 was €139,548.51.

In relation to the three independent higher level institutions referred to in the question the Deputy should note that (a) obtaining and displaying a Display Energy Certificate (incorporating a BER rating) and (b) payment of heating costs are both administrative matters for the individual bodies themselves. Accordingly the information requested is not collated centrally within my Department.

FÁS Training Programmes

John McGuinness

Question:

217 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills his policy in relation to assisting apprentices who are now unemployed and have not, although not through any fault of theirs, completed their apprenticeships; if funding has been made available to assist organisations in this area; where applicants should apply for such assistance; if the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny will be examined with a view to assisting them to complete their apprenticeship; the number of such persons that have been assisted to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21900/12]

I am informed that the level of new FÁS apprentice entrants (registrations) by employers reduced significantly in the period 2006-2011 from 8,306 to 1,307. There was a slight increase in registrations from 1,204 in 2010 to 1,307 in 2011. In 2012, FÁS apprenticeship programmes will continue to be provided for an estimated 1,200 new registrants and more generally for an existing apprentice population of approximately 13,000 at various stages of their apprenticeship. To assist redundant apprentices to complete their apprenticeship FÁS has put the following interim measures in place:

The Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme (RAPS) provides opportunities for redundant apprentices to complete the minimum duration for off-the-job training and assessment with FÁS approved employers for Phase 3, Phase 5 and Phase 7 of the standard based apprenticeship programme. The scheme provides apprentices with a weekly training allowance to complete the minimum period of 26 weeks at Phase 3 and Phase 5 or the minimum period of 12 weeks at Phase 7. Currently there are 559 redundant apprentices on the scheme with employers, with 31 having completed their training and assessments.

A change in rules to allow progression without completing on-the-job elements and to recognise prior learning have been developed to tackle the issue of the lack of availability of on-the-job components of apprenticeships.

FÁS has introduced a Competency Determination Mechanism (CDM) (this mechanism will provide redundant apprentices with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge against the occupational standard for the specified trade over a number of days in a FÁS Training Centre) to enable eligible redundant apprentices initially in the trades of Brick and Stonelaying, Carpentry and Joinery, Electrical, Plastering, Plumbing and Cabinet Making to progress towards the completion of their apprenticeship. Those who successfully pass the Competency Determination Mechanism will be progressed for the award of the FETAC Level 6 Advanced Certificate — Craft.

Refresher Programme for Redundant Referred Apprentices To assist referred apprentices who wish to progress, FÁS and the Institutes of Technology have developed a short duration programme to prepare redundant apprentices to repeat their outstanding assessments. This programme will be offered by the Institutes of Technology in from November 2012.

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

If a FÁS registered apprentice's employment has been terminated due to insufficient work being available he/she should:

Inform FÁS Services to Business immediately of his/her redundant status.

Register with the local DSP Employment Services Office for assistance in securing new employment to enable him/her to continue their apprenticeship training.

Information regarding employment vacancies can also be accessed by telephoning Jobs Ireland at Freephone 1 800 611 116.

Keep FÁS Services to Business informed of all details relating to his/her apprenticeship employment with a FÁS approved employer so that this time may be credited in calculating the finish date of his/her apprenticeship.

In the Deputy's question he makes reference to a specific individual and I can confirm to the Deputy that the individual in question has been placed on the Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme (RAPS) with a named employer since the 23rd April, 2012.

School Staffing

Seán Crowe

Question:

218 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review his decision to cut two teaching posts and a resource teacher from a school (details supplied) in County Donegal, a measure that if implemented, equates to a 50% reduction in the schools staffing complement; if he will ensure funding is made available for the retention of these key positions that are essential if the school is to continue delivering a high standard of education to children under its care. [21207/12]

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 arrangements in schools for the 2012/2013 school year can also be affected by changes in their enrolment, the impact of budget measures and the reforms to the teacher allocation process. The reform of the allocation process is designed to bring a more equitable distribution of existing posts between schools so there will inevitably be some schools that will lose posts and some schools that will gain posts.

There is an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. Details of the criteria for appeal are contained in the Department's Staffing Circular 0007/2012. The Primary Staffing Appeals Board met on 18th and 19th April. A total of 367 schools submitted appeals to the Appeals Board. These appeals were considered in accordance with the appeals criteria set out in Department Staffing Circular 0007/2012.

205 schools had their appeals upheld by the Staffing Appeals Board. A summary outcome of the appeals is now published on my Department's website. Individual schools have been notified of the outcome of their appeals. The final staffing position for all schools will ultimately not be known until the Autumn. At that stage the allocation process will be fully completed and all appeals to the Staffing Appeals Board will have been considered.

Seán Crowe

Question:

219 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review his decision to cut, in one calendar year, four teaching posts and two special needs assistants from a school (details supplied) in County Donegal, and reinstate these key positions that are essential if the school is to continue delivering a high standard of education to children under its care. [21208/12]

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 arrangements in schools for the 2012/2013 school year can also be affected by changes in their enrolment, the impact of budget measures and the reforms to the teacher allocation process. The reform of the allocation process is designed to bring a more equitable distribution of existing posts between schools so there will inevitably be some schools that will lose posts and some schools that will gain posts.

There is an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. Details of the criteria for appeal are contained in the Department's Staffing Circular 0007/2012. The Primary Staffing Appeals Board met on 18th and 19th April. A total of 367 schools submitted appeals to the Appeals Board. These appeals were considered in accordance with the appeals criteria set out in Department Staffing Circular 0007/2012.

205 schools had their appeals upheld by the Staffing Appeals Board. A summary outcome of the appeals is now published on my Department's website. Individual schools have been notified of the outcome of their appeals. The final staffing position for all schools will ultimately not be known until the Autumn. At that stage the allocation process will be fully completed and all appeals to the Staffing Appeals Board will have been considered.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support which now includes a requirement for them to have regard to the overall cap on numbers. Schools have been advised to make applications to the NCSE for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2012/13 school year by 16th March, 2012. Schools will subsequently be advised by the NCSE of their allocation for the 2012/13 school year, based on the number of valid applications received and in the case of SNA support, the extent of the care needs of qualifying children.

In considering applications for SNA support for the new school year, the NCSE will take into account the individual care needs of all qualifying children, supports freed up due to any school leavers, and the identified care needs of newly enrolled children with special educational needs. The NCSE will advise the school by late May/early June of their SNA allocation for the 2012/13 school year.

Schools Building Projects

Simon Harris

Question:

220 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a school (details supplied) may expect new school accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21217/12]

Simon Harris

Question:

221 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reasons a school (details supplied) in County Dublin which had applied for and been granted planning permission, and on whose behalf a formal tender process had been commenced, has now been told it will not receive a new school building until 2015 at the earliest; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21219/12]

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

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy was included in the five year construction programme and is listed to proceed to construction in 2015/2016. The building project is at an advanced stage of architectural planning. The design team are currently working on completing the stage 2(b) submission which will then be submitted to my Department for review. For the purposes of the 5 Year construction programme new school building projects as well as major extensions have been prioritised on the basis of meeting demographic needs in areas where such needs have been identified. Due to the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise the funding available each year for the provision of school accommodation to meet the increasing demographic requirements it has not been possible to advance all projects to construction concurrently.

Redundancy Payments

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

222 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when redundancy payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 17. [21319/12]

A redundancy application from the person referred to by the Deputy was received by my Department on the 9th November 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 October 2011 are currently being processed.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

223 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for the delays in many former special needs assistants receiving redundancy payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21320/12]

Extra resources have been assigned to the Redundancy Unit to ensure that Special Needs Assistants that have been made redundant would have their claims for payment processed as quickly as possible. The assignment of the staff has helped to reduce the period of the backlog significantly. Applications received in October 2011 are currently being processed in date order of receipt and every effort is being made, within the resources available, to process these applications as quickly as possible. The Deputy will appreciate that in the context of the employment control framework it is only possible to reassign limited staffing resources from within the existing staff cohort of my Department to deal with redundancy payments whilst at the same time ensuring that other priority functions such the payment of teachers on a fortnightly basis continues.

Capitation Grants

Peter Mathews

Question:

224 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide information regarding primary and secondary schools (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21354/12]

My Department provides capitation funding to all recognised primary schools and post primary schools within the free education scheme. As the Deputy is aware Budget 2012 provided for a 2% reduction in the funding for capitation and related grants to primary and second level schools in both 2012 and 2013 and a further 1% in 2014 and 2015.

Due to my decision of 21st February last, to retain posts from previous disadvantage schemes in DEIS Band 1 and Band 2 primary schools, it was necessary to generate alternative savings within the primary education budget. This has been achieved by bringing forward to this year 1.5% of the 2% reduction in overall capitation funding originally scheduled for 2013. The funding arrangements made by my Department for post primary schools reflect the sectoral division of our second-level system. At the core of all arrangements is reliance upon capitation as the principal determinant of funding.

My Department provides funding to Community and Comprehensive schools on a budget basis that is based mainly on pupil numbers, but also take into account additional factors which vary from school to school such as age of buildings, size of school etc. With regard to the VEC sector financial allocations are made to VECs as part of a block grant. VECs are given a high level of autonomy in the management and appropriation of this grant and each is allowed to distribute its allocations in line with its priorities and perceptions of need.

My Department provides funding to voluntary secondary schools by way of per capita grants. Fee charging schools do not receive any capitation or related grants from my Department. The capitation rates requested by the Deputy are set out in the following tables. 1: Post Primary Grants. The following rates apply to Voluntary Post Primary schools.

2011

Standard Capitation Grant

€317

School Services Support Fund (SSSF)

€201

Grants for Secretaries

Basic Secretarial Grant

€36

SSSF Secretary Grant

€24

Grants for Caretakers

Basic Caretaker Grant

€30

SSSF Caretaker Grant

€18

Special Class Grant

€191

Irish and Bilingual Grants

All subjects taught through Irish

€115

Maximum of 4 subjects taught through Irish (per subject)

€23

Traveller Capitation

€201

Book Grant

Non-DEIS schools

€24

DEIS Schools

€39

Programme Grants

Junior Certificate Schools Programme

€60

Transition Year Pupil

€95

Leaving Certificate Applied Programme

€151

Physics and Chemistry

€13

2: Primary Per Capita Rates

The following rates are for mainstream pupils, pupils in special classes in mainstream schools and pupils in Special Schools. Special School capitation is paid under FLE.

Rates for Special School pupils and pupils in Special Classes in mainstream primary schools

2012

Under 12

12 years + (where different)

Mainstream Rate

€183

Visual Impairment

€880

Hearing Impairment

€880

Profoundly Deaf

€903

Mild General Learning Disability (Mainstream School)

€469

€697

Mild General Learning Disability (Special school)

€584

€880

Moderate General Learning Disability

€880

Severe/ Profound General Learning Disability

€903

Specific Learning Disability (Mainstream School)

€469

€697

Specific Learning Disability (Special school)

€584

€880

Emotional Disturbance

€880

Severe Emotional Disturbance

€903

Physical Disability

€880

Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

€903

Specific Speech and Language Disorder

€880

Multiple Disabilities

€903

Traveller Children

€258

Out of Control

€903

Ancillary

€147.00

Book Grant

Deis Schools

€21

Non — Deis Schools

€11

Departmental Programmes

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

225 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills the operating costs of the Springboard programme over the past four years and the operating budget for this year. [21378/12]

Springboard was first launched in May 2011. During 2011, payments totalling €8.7 million were made to providers. For 2012 funding of €8 million has been allocated to meet the carry over costs of Springboard 2011 programmes. The provision of €10 million from the National Training Fund to support the further roll-out of Springboard in 2012 was also announced as part of Budget 2012. A new range of courses will be launched under Springboard 2012 in the coming weeks.

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

226 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the issues faced by a number of highly qualified immigrants struggling to find employment; if he will outline any consideration given to amending the criteria for Springboard to include those not in work who cannot access jobseeker’s allowance benefit and single parent benefit. [21379/12]

The Springboard initiative is targeted at unemployed people who have lost their jobs as a result of the recession and who would benefit from upskilling or reskilling in order to get back into sustainable employment. A new range of Springboard courses for 2012 will be launched in the coming weeks. The eligibility criteria for access to the new round of courses is being informed by an evaluation of the first phase of the initiative. Further details will be available when the courses are launched.

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

227 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cost of extending the Springboard scheme to cover the needs of graduates that are currently long term unemployed. [21380/12]

It is already open to unemployed graduates to apply for courses funded under the Springboard programme. A first stage process evaluation of Springboard, which was published by the HEA in February 2012, shows that 53.5% of Springboard participants had either an ordinary level or honours degree and almost 17% had a postgraduate qualification.

Third Level Fees

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

228 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cost of waiving all fees associated with higher and third level education for the long term unemployed. [21381/12]

Under the terms of my Department's free fees scheme the Exchequer meets the cost of tuition fees in respect of eligible first-time undergraduate students who are pursuing full-time undergraduate courses of study which are a minimum of two years duration in an approved institution. Students who are entitled to free fees must pay a student contribution charge to their higher education institution.

Under my Department's student grant scheme, eligible candidates may receive funding provided they are attending an approved course at an approved institution as defined in the relevant scheme. Students who are entering approved courses for the first time are eligible for financial assistance where they satisfy the relevant conditions including those relating to residence, means, nationality and previous academic attainment. Students qualifying for a grant will also have their fees and/or student contribution paid on their behalf.

Springboard is a specific initiative to provide free part time higher education places targeted at unemployed people who have lost their jobs as a result of the recession and who would benefit from upskilling or reskilling in order to get back into sustainable employment. Since it was launched in May 2011 almost 5,000 unemployed people have been supported to undertake higher education courses under the Springboard programme. The roll out of Springboard 2012 is now underway and a new range of Springboard courses will be launched in the coming weeks.

In addition, as one of the measures included in the joint Government-Industry ICT Action Plan to boost the domestic supply of ICT graduates for Irish employment opportunities, more than 760 free places have been provided on 17 new graduate skills conversion programmes. The programmes are targeted at jobseekers who would have the capacity and underlying aptitude, as well as an honours degree in a cognate discipline, to undergo an intensive programme of study and work experience to acquire honours degree level ICT programming skills. Further details of the Springboard and ICT Skills Conversion programmes are available onwww.bluebrick.ie.

Schools Refurbishment

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

229 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reconsider his decision to refuse funding for roof works to a school (details supplied) in County Donegal following its application under his Department’s emergency repairs grant. [21401/12]

The school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for funding under my Department's Emergency Works Scheme for a new roof. As the scope of works for which funding is sought is outside the terms of the scheme it cannot be considered for funding. The school authority has been informed of this decision.

School Staffing

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

230 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the drop in curricular support available to a school (details supplied) in County Donegal, Inishowen’s first and only Irish language secondary school, following cutbacks to disadvantaged area posts; the way he proposes to ensure that this temporary school is not prevented from becoming permanent due to these cuts. [21402/12]

Teacher allocations are approved annually in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment.

My Department has published the staffing arrangements at post primary level for the coming school year, 2012/13. The staffing arrangements reflect the requirement for schools to manage the provision of subjects and the provision of guidance from within the standard staffing allocation. The details are set out in Department Circular 0009/2012 which is available on my Department's website.

In accordance with these arrangements, where a school management authority is unable to meet its curricular commitments within its approved allocation, my Department considers applications for additional short term support i.e., curricular concessions. My Department is currently in the process of notifying schools of the outcome of their applications for curricular concessions. The allocation processes at post primary level also includes an appeals mechanism under which schools can appeal against the allocation due to them. The Appeal Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final. The final staffing position for all schools at post primary level will ultimately not be known until the Autumn. At that stage the allocation process will be fully completed and any appeals to the Staffing Appeal Board will have been considered.

Schools Building Projects

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

231 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills following their recent whole school evaluation, if he will consider re- prioritising the band rating for a school (details supplied) in County Donegal for their proposed building project to ensure that more than 500 students and teachers no longer have to navigate this split-level campus and endure challenges like changing for PE in toilets and eating their lunch in school corridors. [21403/12]

As outlined in the Five Year Plan, the delivery of major school projects required to meet demographic demand will be the main focus for capital investment in the coming years. Due to the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise available funding to meet future demographic demands, it has not been possible to advance all applications for capital funding concurrently. The Deputy will appreciate that the primary aim at the core of the Five Year Plan is to ensure that every child will have access to a physical school place.

This announcement represents major advances in how the school building programme is publicised, and will provide certainty to patrons and school communities concerning the major school building projects that my Department is in a position to progress. The band rating for the school, referred to by the Deputy, is in line with the Amended Criteria for Prioritising Large Scale Projects that was devised following consultation with the Education Partners and is available on the Department's website,www.education.ie. My Department does not propose to adjust this band rating.

Site Acquisitions

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

232 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will support the efforts of County Donegal Vocational Education Committee to secure a site at Buncrana, County Donegal, of adequate dimensions to facilitate a three-school campus, incorporating schools (details supplied). [21404/12]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

233 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider re-prioritising the band rating for a school (details supplied) in County Donegal for its proposed building project; and if he will acknowledge that its existing temporary facilities are completely inadequate. [21405/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 232 and 233 together.

As outlined in the Five Year Plan, the delivery of major school projects required to meet demographic demand will be the main focus for capital investment in the coming years. Due to the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise available funding to meet future demographic demands, it has not been possible to advance all applications for capital funding concurrently. The Deputy will appreciate that the primary aim at the core of the Five Year Plan, is to ensure that every child will have access to a physical school place. This announcement represents major advances in how the school building programme is publicised, and will provide certainty to patrons and school communities concerning the major school building projects that my Department is in a position to progress.

The band rating for the school concerned, referred to by the Deputy, is in line with the Amended Criteria for Prioritising Large Scale Projects that was devised following consultation with the Education Partners and is available on the Department's website,www.education.ie. My Department does not propose to adjust this band rating.

In relation to the proposed Campus Development, there has been ongoing contact with Donegal VEC and Donegal County Council in relation to identifying a suitable site in the Buncrana area for a Campus Development. A number of potential sites that were identified to date have been deemed unsuitable. The Department will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders in relation to identifying a suitable site and we understand that there may be moves to zone suitable land as part of the Development Plan process in Donegal. The acquisition of a site will be considered in the context of the capital budget available to the Department for school buildings generally.

Schools Building Projects

Anthony Lawlor

Question:

234 Deputy Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a school (details supplied) in County Kildare was downgraded from 1.1 to 1.2 status on the 2012 school building programme, particularly when an application for the summer works scheme was refused in 2011 because of the school’s high priority status on the building programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21431/12]

I wish to confirm to the Deputy that the status of the application for capital improvement works from the school to which he refers has not been downgraded. As outlined in the Five Year Plan, the delivery of major school projects required to meet demographic demand will be the main focus for capital investment in the coming years. Due to the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise available funding to meet future demographic demands, it has not been possible to advance all applications for capital funding concurrently. The Deputy will appreciate that the primary aim at the core of the Five Year Plan is to ensure that every child will have access to a physical school place. This announcement represents major advances in how the school building programme is publicised, and will provide certainty to patrons and school communities concerning the major school building projects that my Department is in a position to progress.

School building projects currently in architectural planning, including those projects not included in the five year programme, will continue to be advanced incrementally over time within the context of the funding available. These projects will, in general, complete the design stages of architectural planning and secure planning permission and other necessary statutory approvals. However, in light of current competing demands on the Department's capital budget, it is not possible at this time to indicate when those projects, including a project for the school in question, will be progressed.

Higher Education Grants

Mattie McGrath

Question:

235 Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person who is under financial difficulties and is being assisted by the Money Advice and Budgetary Agency can be refused a higher education grant for their children to continue in third level education; the contacts he has had with other State agencies who are assisting families in difficult financial circumstances or who are availing of advice from MABS; how he suggests families in such difficult financial circumstances can send their children to third level education; his plans to review the criteria for higher education grants to take into account families' expenditure on rent, mortgages and other household loans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21450/12]

The assessment of means under my Department's student grant scheme is based on gross income from all sources. Therefore, all income is assessed from the same starting point, eliminating any distortion which might arise from different spending decisions. The means test arrangements of the student grant scheme are applied nationally. In the case of both employed and self-employed applicants, gross income is assessed with certain specified social welfare and health service executive payments excluded. The eligibility of an applicant, or the level of the grant awarded, may be re-assessed by the awarding authority in the event of a change of circumstances in the academic year. The applicant should in the first instance contact the relevant awarding body and notify them of the change in circumstances.

I have no plans at present to depart from the above practice in respect of the determination of income. In addition, the Student Assistance Fund will continue to be made available through the access offices of third-level institutions to assist students in exceptional financial need. The access offices themselves also provide support and advice to students to enable them to continue with their studies. My Department engages on an on-going basis with other Government Departments in relation to student supports.

Departmental Bodies

Shane Ross

Question:

236 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Education and Skills whether HETAC is or will be taking new applications before the merger of HETAC, FETAC into the new National Qualifications Authority of Ireland; when this merger is expected to happen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21454/12]

In the light of the necessary preparations for the amalgamation of HETAC, FETAC and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) into the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (QQAAI), new applications for registration will not be accepted until the establishment of the new agency. The Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill 2011, which provides for the amalgamation, was introduced in Seanad Éireann. The Bill passed Seanad Committee Stage on 29 March 2012. I intend that the Bill will be enacted in the current term and Qualifications and Quality Assurance Ireland (QQAAI) will be established shortly thereafter.

Schools Building Projects

Shane Ross

Question:

237 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will revise the decision to delay extension works on a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21455/12]

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy was included in the five year construction programme and is listed to proceed to construction in 2015/2016. The building project is at an advanced stage of architectural planning. The design team are currently working on completing the stage 2(b) submission which will then be submitted to my Department for review.

For the purposes of the 5 Year construction programme new school building projects as well as major extensions have been prioritised on the basis of meeting demographic needs in areas where such needs have been identified. Due to the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise the funding available each year for the provision of school accommodation to meet the increasing demographic requirements it has not been possible to advance all projects to construction concurrently.

State Examinations

John O'Mahony

Question:

238 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of part-time or unemployed temporary, CID teachers employed for supervision of junior and leaving certificate exams in 2009, 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21469/12]

John O'Mahony

Question:

239 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of retired secondary teachers employed as supervisors for junior certificate and leaving certificate in 2009, 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21471/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 and 239 together.

The State Examinations Commission has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations. This includes the employment of superintendents for the examintions. In view of this I have forwarded your query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply to you.

Departmental Staff

Sandra McLellan

Question:

240 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of grades of civil servants who have been re-employed by his Department having taken early retirement package or that have retired due to them reaching the age of retirement , each year since 2008. [21488/12]

The information requested is being compiled at present and will be forwarded to the Deputy shortly.

Higher Education Grants

Patrick Deering

Question:

241 Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Carlow will receive a decision on their student grant application appeal. [21498/12]

An appeal has been received by my Department from the student to which the Deputy refers. The appeal is currently under consideration and a response will issue as soon as the review process is completed.

School Staffing

Michael Lowry

Question:

242 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools in County Tipperary that submitted appeals to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board against the loss of a teacher under the changes to staffing schedules for smaller schools as introduced in Budget 2012, and based on their increased projected enrolment for the academic year 2012/2013; if he will provide figures on the number of small schools in County Tipperary that were unsuccessful in their appeal; if he will provide details on the number of small schools in County Tipperary that will now lose a teacher as a result of the changes to the staffing schedules for schools with fewer than four teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21511/12]

Peter Mathews

Question:

253 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an appeal in respect of a school (details supplied) in Dublin 14; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21730/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 242 and 253 together.

The Primary Staffing Appeals Board met on 18th and 19th April. A total of 367 schools submitted appeals to the Appeals Board. These appeals were considered in accordance with the appeals criteria set out in Department Staffing Circular 0007/2012. 205 schools had their appeals upheld by the Staffing Appeals Board. A summary outcome of the appeals is now published on my Department's website. Individual schools have been notified of the outcome of their appeals. The next meeting of Staffing Appeals Board is due to be held on 14 June 2012. The latest date for other schools to submit appeals is 1 June 2012. The final staffing position for all schools will ultimately not be known until the Autumn. At that stage the allocation process will be fully completed and all appeals to the Staffing Appeals Board will have been considered.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme

Gerry Adams

Question:

243 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he is satisfied with the level of cooperation from the religious orders in relation to their contribution to the payment of compensation for victims of institutional abuse; the amount that has been paid thus far; if he remains committed to attaining a 50:50 split in the cost of compensation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21516/12]

The cost of the response to residential institutional abuse is now estimated to exceed €1.36 billion. The Government believes that this cost should be shared on a 50:50 basis, between the State and those who were responsible for the management of institutions. The contribution of the 18 congregations under the 2002 Indemnity Agreement amounted to €128 million. They have since committed to contribute some €110 million to the proposed Statutory Fund for former residents, of which €21.05m has already been received. They have also offered properties they valued at a further €235.5m to different State bodies and voluntary organisations. Of the properties offered to the State, 12 have been identified as of potential immediate benefit and the transfer of these properties is being pursued. The value of these 12 properties, based on the congregations' own valuations is approximately €60m.

This House will be aware of my disappointment at the congregations' offers which fall well short of realising a 50:50 sharing of the costs of the response to residential institutional abuse. I am continuing to pursue the 50:50 division with the management bodies involved and have proposed the transfer of school infrastructure to the State for the benefit of the taxpayer as one mechanism to allow those involved the opportunity to shoulder their share of the costs.

Redundancy Payments

Pat Breen

Question:

244 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills when an application for redundancy payment will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21524/12]

A redundancy application from the person referred to by the Deputy was received by my Department on 17th October 2011. This application has now been reached for processing and it is expected that payment will issue to the person concerned on the payday of Thursday 24th May 2012.

School Transport

Seán Crowe

Question:

245 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if plans are being considered, that if implemented, will increase the minimum mileage limit that qualifies primary and post primary school children from availing of subsidised school transport. [21525/12]

The current distance eligibility criterion is 3.2 kilometres and 4.8 kilometres respectively for primary and post primary school transport services. There are no plans to change these criteria for the 2012/13 school year.

Bullying in Schools

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

246 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the national anti-bullying coalition safe school programme would need the support of a uniform approach where victims could speak out about their situations with the confidence that they would be addressed properly and efficiently at a time when young people attending schools are under severe pressure; if he will outline the way our schools structures could ensure that this uniform approach was forthcoming; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21552/12]

The Deputy will be aware that I recently announced details of a forum to explore ways to tackle the problem of bullying in schools. This Anti-Bullying Forum is due to take place on the 17th of May 2012 and will bring together a range of experts, support groups and representatives of the schools sector including parents and students. It is envisaged that there will be a range of speakers on the day of the Forum which will include contributions from my Department, the National Anti-Bullying Coalition (NABC), an acknowledged academic or other expert in the field of anti-bullying and contributors from the school sector from the various perspectives of school principal, parent and pupils. The Forum will also give other stakeholders an opportunity to give their views.

The objective of the Forum will be to explore with all the relevant stakeholders how best to tackle bullying in schools and to consider what changes or updating of existing practices and procedures are required to achieve this having regard to what is feasible to implement in the current financial climate. Bullying is a problem I take very seriously and I hope that the Forum will provide an opportunity to set out a road map on how best to tackle all forms of bullying in our schools.

I am also establishing a working group on tackling bullying. The outcomes and recommendations from the Forum will assist the working group in its deliberations. This working group will include representatives of the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and will draw upon the expertise of a range of organisations throughout their work. In accordance with the commitment in the Programme for Government, the first phase to be addressed by the Working Group will be homophobic bullying.

Higher Education Grants

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

247 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) in County Mayo can be entered as a 2011 postgraduate applicant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21556/12]

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 a grant. Where a grant application is refused, the reason for the refusal is given by the grant awarding authority. An applicant may appeal the decision to the relevant awarding authority. Where the appeals officer decides to reject the appeal, the applicant may appeal this decision to my Department or the independent appeals board, as appropriate. No appeal has been received in my Department to date in this case.

Special Educational Needs

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

248 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans, arising from the publication of the report into the link between the swine flu vaccine and narcolepsy, to provide examination support for children who have developed narcolepsy; if he has spoken with the Department of Health regarding their needs during examinations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21572/12]

I can confirm that a number of meetings have taken place between officials at my Department and the Department of Health, with representatives from SOUND (Sufferers of Unique Narcolepsy Disorder). A meeting was also recently arranged between SOUND and the State Exam Commission. A central contact point has been established for SOUND with the State Exam Commission, to address issues in relation to the reasonable accommodations which can be made for children with narcolepsy who are taking state exams this year, and I understand that arrangements are being put in place in this regard, where required.

Departmental Agencies

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

249 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of State agencies in his Department which were abolished or merged since 2011; the name and purpose of each one; the amount saved by the merger or abolition; the number planned to be merged or abolished in 2012; the name and purpose of each one; the amount expected to be saved from this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21589/12]

For the Deputy's information:

In March 2012 the Irish Research Council was established. This new Council is a merger of the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) and the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET). This has resulted in a saving of €100,000 in salary costs.

Since September 2011, the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) is within the remit of Dublin West Education Centre alongside the Department's largest support service, the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).

In June 2011, the functions of the National Educational Welfare Board transferred to the newly established office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

The Deputy will be aware that there are a number of major structural reform projects that are being progressed in the Education sector. These are: 1) The establishment of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland which involves merger of the National Qualifications Authority, FETAC and HETAC. These amalgamating bodies have already made major savings in preparation for amalgamation. The purpose of the agency is in making awards in further and higher education, administering the National Framework of Qualifications and quality assuring education and training providers. The amount expected to be saved by the merger is in the region of €1 million annually. 2) The amalgamation of 33 Vocational Education Committees (VECs)/establishment of 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs). The ETBs will take over the work of VECs and will have an expanded role in the delivery of further education and training across the country. The new bodies will be better positioned to establish shared services and to provide support services to schools not just within the VEC sector but to primary schools and other second level schools in their areas. They can contribute significantly to driving in particular an agenda of encouraging aggregated procurement of supplies and services. Departmental estimates suggest that by 2016 following full implementation, savings of the order of €3.2million can be made annually. 3) The establishment of SOLAS, the new agency to reform, co-ordinate and fund further education and training programmes including developing a seamless interaction with the National Employment and Entitlement Service (NEES) on activation measures. 4) A single awarding authority for student grants. City of Dublin VEC will operate as the new single student grant awarding authority to replace the existing 66 grant awarding bodies. Implementation of the new arrangements is being phased in from 2012/13 academic year. 5) It is also proposed to dissolve the Education Finance Board on the establishment of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund. The purpose of this agency is to pay education grants to former residents and their relatives from the €12.7m provided by the religious congregations pursuant to the 2002 Indemnity Agreement. The recently published Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Bill 2012 provides for the dissolution of the EFB and the transfer of its functions in relation to the remaining moneys available to the new Residential Institutions Statutory Fund. 6) The consolidation of Higher Education provision under the Strategy for Higher Education to 2030.

School Staffing

John McGuinness

Question:

250 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has considered the negative impact the pupil teacher ratio, reduction in grants and the removal of the minor works grant is having on a school (details supplied) in County Carlow; his policy in relation to these matters; the action he will take to assist such schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21633/12]

This Government has protected education as much as it can. Far greater reductions in expenditure and in the number of public servants are being made in other sectors relative to those in schools. But there are limits to the level of expenditure on education and the number of teaching posts we can afford.

The budget measures in relation to the staffing schedule were focused on small primary schools. The Government fully recognises that small schools are an important part of the social fabric of rural communities. They will continue to be a major feature of our education landscape. However, this does not mean that small schools can stand still or never have their staffing levels changed to something that is more affordable and sustainable in difficult and challenging times. Teachers in small schools cannot be immune from the requirement that is being asked of all public servants to deliver our public services on a reduced level of resources.

As part of the new staffing arrangements small primary schools that were due to lose a classroom post under the budget measure and who are now projecting increased enrolments for September 2012 were given access to the appeals process. Schools that were projecting increased enrolments to the required levels had their appeals provisionally upheld by the Staffing Appeals Board at its recent meeting. The retention of these classroom posts will be subject to confirmation of the actual pupil numbers in these schools in September.

School Accommodation

Dara Calleary

Question:

251 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills when an application for additional accommodation in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Sligo will be processed; if he will expedite the application now that all documentation has been submitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21722/12]

The school in question was allocated devolved funding for the provision of a Mainstream Classroom under my Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme 2011. The school authorities have recently requested additional funding associated with this building project. The application is currently being assessed and the school authorities will be notified of the decision shortly.

Higher Education Grants

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

252 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills how he justifies the abolition of postgraduate grants and the raising of fees to €3,000. [21723/12]

My priority as Minister for Education and Skills is to preserve access to undergraduate higher education courses despite the difficult circumstances in our public finances. As a result, no changes were made to the eligibility criteria for undergraduate students in Budget 2012. It is also worth emphasising that 41% of all undergraduate students currently receive a grant and pay no student contributions. Nevertheless, in the context of the necessary but difficult expenditure reduction measures announced in Budget 2012, new students entering postgraduate courses from the 2012/13 academic year onwards will not be entitled to any maintenance payment under the Student Grant Scheme. Existing postgraduate students will not be affected.

However, those students who meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant will be eligible to have their post-graduate tuition fees paid up to the maximum fee limit under the Student Grant Scheme. In access terms, the requirement to pay a fee is considered to be a greater obstacle to entry than lack of maintenance support at postgraduate level. This is why I opted to maintain the fee-payment ahead of maintenance payments for postgraduate students.

In addition, a further limited number of students who would previously have qualified under the standard grant thresholds will qualify to have a €2,000 contribution made towards the costs of their fees. However, there will be a new income threshold for this payment which will be lower than the standard grant threshold. The income threshold for this level of grant is currently being determined in the context of the formulation of the student grant scheme for the 2012/13 academic year. Tax relief is also available on postgraduate tuition fees. Details in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners.

In addition to this, the Student Assistance Fund will continue to be made available through the access offices of third-level institutions to assist students in exceptional financial need. Also the Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) provides funding to both further and higher education institutions for the provision of services and supports for full-time students with disabilities.

While it is regrettable that any changes need to be made to student supports, I believe this approach will continue to provide resources for a relatively wide number of post-graduate students and allow us to maintain the high level of supports provided to undergraduate students.

I take it that the Deputy's reference to fees relates to the level of Student Contribution. In order for this country to adhere to its agreed economic recovery programme and to reduce the budget deficit to 3% of GDP by 2015 it is necessary to seek to reduce expenditure across all areas of the Department. As with student supports, this involves difficult decisions including the decision in Budget 2012 to increase the Student Contribution to €2,250 for the 2012/13 academic year. While the Government considered a range of saving options for the 2012-2015 period as part of the budget process last year, final decisions have not been made in respect of student contribution increases for 2013 and beyond. More savings will have to be found and further increases to the student contribution in future years cannot be ruled out. This is one of the options that was included in the Department's Comprehensive Expenditure Report, published last December.

In recognition of the financial pressures that the student contribution may place on families, this Department, through the Higher Education Authority (HEA) requested higher education institutions to consider putting in place arrangements under which a student may opt to pay the student contribution in two instalments in a given academic year. It should be noted that the student contribution is paid by the Exchequer in respect of students who qualify under the Department's Student Grant Scheme. Tax relief is also available for second and subsequent siblings to alleviate the costs for families.

Question No. 253 answered with Question No. 242.

Schools Building Projects

Seán Crowe

Question:

254 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will ensure funding is provided for a school (details supplied) in County Wicklow. [21746/12]

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department is in receipt of an application for a new school building from the school to which he refers. The school authority in question has identified a site which it considers suitable as a location for the construction of a permanent building for the school. However, the site in question is not currently serviced and is not immediately accessible. Instead, it forms part of a larger site which is undeveloped and is unlikely to be developed in the near future.

The cost of providing infrastructure to the proposed school site would be significant. As such, this site is not considered a viable option for any school until the adjoining lands are developed so that the full cost of providing services and infrastructure to the entire site is not borne by my Department or the relevant VEC. As outlined in the Five Year Plan, the delivery of major school projects required to meet demographic demand will be the main focus for capital investment in the coming years. Due to the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise available funding to meet future demographic demands, it has not been possible to advance all applications for capital funding concurrently. The Deputy will appreciate that the primary aim at the core of the Five Year Plan, is to ensure that every child will have access to a physical school place.

Finian McGrath

Question:

255 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding funding in respect of schools (details supplied) in Dublin 7 in view of the health and safety issues. [21794/12]

The schools referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for funding under my Department's Emergency Works Scheme to carry out concrete repair works to their school buildings. As the scope of works for which funding is sought is outside the terms of the scheme it cannot be considered for funding. The school authority has been informed of this decision.

Ciara Conway

Question:

256 Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made, if any, in relation to plans for a proposed extension to a school (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21810/12]

The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is currently at an early stage of architectural planning.

In view of the need to ensure that every child has access to a school place, the delivery of major school projects to meet the demographic demands nationally will be the main focus for capital investment in schools in the coming years. The five year programme announced recently is focused on meeting those demographic needs. Other school building projects currently in architectural planning, including the project referred to by the Deputy, will continue to be advanced incrementally over time within the context of the funding available. However, in light of current competing demands on my Department's capital budget, it is not possible at this time to indicate when this project will progress to tender and construction stage.

FÁS Training Programmes

Sean Fleming

Question:

257 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the fees charged by FÁS in respect of persons on the construction skills certification scheme regarding FETAC certificates under this scheme, for each year from 2000 to 2012; the total amounts received each year by FÁS under this scheme and the payments made by FÁS to FETAC each year under this scheme in respect of this process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21823/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): The information the Deputy sought covers a 12 year period and is not readily available. I have asked FAS to collate this data as soon as possible. When received I will forward directly to the Deputy.

Sean Fleming

Question:

258 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of FETAC certificates issued in relation to the construction skills certification scheme for each year from 2000 to 2012; the income received from FÁS or other sources in respect of these certificates during each of these years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21824/12]

The information the Deputy sought covers a 12 year period and is not readily available. I have asked FAS to collate this data as soon as possible. When received I will forward directly to the Deputy.

Sean Fleming

Question:

259 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of safe pass cards issued by FÁS in each year from 2000 to 2012; the income received in respect of these safe pass cards for each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21825/12]

The information the Deputy sought covers a 12 year period and is not readily available. I have asked FÁS to collate this data as soon as possible. When received I will forward directly to the Deputy.

Third Level Fees

Paul Connaughton

Question:

260 Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology is increasing fees by 73%, which is particularly difficult for part-time students part way through their course; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21851/12]

Under the terms of my Department's Free Fee Initiative the Exchequer meets the cost of tuition fees in respect of eligible students who are pursuing full-time undergraduate courses of study which are a minimum of two years duration in an approved institution. With effect from the 2011/2012 academic year, a new student contribution charge was introduced in higher education. This charge replaced the Student Services Charge and applies to all full-time students who currently benefit under the "free fees" scheme.

Where students are not eligible for free tuition fees, including students attending part-time course, they are liable to pay the appropriate tuition fee as determined by the third level institution. Such institutions are autonomous bodies and, as such, the level of fees to be charged in such cases is a matter for the institution concerned. As the Deputy may also be aware, tax relief is available at the standard rate of taxation in respect of expenditure on fees associated with part-time higher education.

School Curriculum

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

261 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the options available for students in primary and secondary schools who wish to learn sign language; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21602/12]

I wish to advise the Deputy that Irish Sign language (ISL) has formal recognition in the Education Act 1998. Under the Act, it is a function of the Minister for Education and Science (Skills) to ensure, subject to the provisions of the Act, that there is made available to each person resident in the State, including a person with a disability or who has other special educational needs, support services and a level and quality of education appropriate to meeting the needs and abilities of that person. This includes provision for students learning through ISL.

A number of initiatives which seek to promote, develop and implement ISL in order that it will achieve greater recognition and use in the education system are currently in place. These include:

the special schools for the deaf/hearing impaired have been encouraged in relation to the use of sign language in class.

funding for an ISL weekly home tuition service whereby deaf tutors visit the homes of deaf pre-school children and deaf school-going pupils to provide training in ISL for the deaf children, pupils, their siblings and parents.

funding is also made available through the Special Education Support Service (SESS) to enable individual teachers and whole school staff to undertake courses in Irish Sign Language which are available throughout the country through a variety of providers.

In addition, the Visiting Teacher Service for Children and Young People with a Hearing Impairment is provided by my Department from the time of referral through to third level education. The Visiting Teacher service provides advice and support to ensure that the needs of children and young people with hearing impairment are met. This service is available at pre-school, primary and post-primary levels. Specifically, the service works in partnership with parents of pre-school children with hearing impairment, visiting their homes and/or meeting them in groups to inform, advise and offer guidance in matters pertaining to their education and overall development and in helping their children to derive maximum benefit from the educational opportunities available.

The Deputy may be aware that assessment, rehabilitation and information services for children with hearing impairment and their families are funded by the Health Service Executive (HSE), either directly or indirectly. Services provided include communication therapy and lip reading classes as well as sign language classes.

Finally, I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) recently published its Policy Advice on the Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children in Ireland which makes a number of recommendations for the improvement of educational provision for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, including recommendations relating to ISL provision. This policy advice is available on the NCSE's websitewww.ncse.ie. My Department is currently establishing a working group to consider and implement the recommendations of this report.

Special Educational Needs

Pat Breen

Question:

262 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21615/12]

I wish to advise the Deputy that Special Schools funded by my Department are intended to cater for children and young persons with special educational needs from 4 years until the end of the school year in which they reach their 18th year. At that point, the Department of Health/Health Service Executive assumes direct responsibility for young adults with special educational needs who are over 18 years. My Department, at that stage, may allocate resources towards an education component of such provision. The policy of my Department is that Special Schools may make an application to my Department to retain pupils over the age of 18 who are pursuing courses leading to accreditation at level 3 or above of the National Qualifications Framework (Junior Certificate/Leaving Certificate Applied/FETAC 3); for one additional year, in order to complete these courses.

I can confirm that my Department has received an application from St. Anne's Special School seeking to retain the pupil referred to by the Deputy for an extra year, and my Department will revert to the school authorities regarding this application shortly.

School Staffing

Brendan Smith

Question:

263 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will list the primary schools in each county that will lose a teaching post from September 2012 due to the staffing schedule changes announced in budget 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21965/12]

As part of the new staffing arrangements the 73 small primary schools that were due to lose a classroom post under the budget measure and who are now projecting increased enrolments for September 2012 were given access to the appeals process. 34 of these small schools projected increased enrolments to the required levels had their appeals provisionally upheld by the Staffing Appeals Board at its recent meeting. The retention of these classroom posts will be subject to confirmation of the actual pupil numbers in these schools in September. The summary outcome of the appeals board meeting is on my Department's website. I have included for the Deputy's information the list of the remaining 39 schools that are due to lose a classroom post as a result of the budget measure. Some of these 39 schools did not submit appeals to the April meeting of the Appeals Board.

List of Small Schools Losing a Mainstream Classroom Post Due to Budget

County

Name of school

Address of school

Roll Number

Enrolment on 30 September 2011

September 2012 Classroom Posts

Cavan

S N Maodhog

Cnoc Brighde, Bailieboro, Co. Cavan.

17630E

49

2

Clare

Boston N. S.

Tubber, Gort, Co. Galway.

10763L

12

1

Clare

S. N. Eoin Baiste

Ballyvaughan, via Galway, Co. Clare.

17633K

49

2

Cork

SN Carraig an IME

Macroom, Co. Cork.

17079K

12

1

Cork

Togher NS

Dunmanway, Co. Cork.

17281F

50

2

Cork

Maulatrahane Central NS

Maulatrahane, Leap, Skibbereen, Co. Cork.

19978I

50

2

Donegal

SN Arainn Mhor II*

Arainn Mhor, Co. Dhun na nGall.

16384K

12

1

Donegal

S N Gort An Choirce*

Leitir Ceanainn, Co. Dhun na nGall.

16819T

76

3

Donegal

S N Loch An Iubhair*

Anagaire, Leitir Ceanainn, Tir Chonaill.

16829W

49

2

Donegal

S N Chonaill*

Machaire Chlochair, Bun Beag, Co. Dhun na nGall.

18219F

78

3

Donegal

Ayr Hill NS Ramelton

Ramelton, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.

18251B

49

2

Donegal

Gaelscoil Chois Feabhaill

GAA, Bun an Phobail, Co Dhun na nGall

20144M

81

3

Galway

SN An Ard Mhoir*

Carna, Co. Na Gaillimhe.

10591I

49

2

Galway

Scoil Mhuire*

An Tuairin, Beal An Daingean, Co. Na Gaillimhe.

11261P

78

3

Galway

SN Baile An Leasa

Dunmore, Tuam, Co. Galway.

17760R

49

2

Galway

Cloghans Hill NS

Tuam, Co. Galway.

17922R

12

1

Galway

SN Cill Solain

Caltra, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

18113M

13

1

Galway

Ballymacward Central

Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

19283T

81

3

Kerry

Scoil Paroisteach

Tralee, Co. Kerry.

18233W

50

2

Kerry

Fibough National School

Caislean na Mainge, Co. Chiarrai.

18756I

49

2

Kilkenny

Wandesforde Mixed NS

Castlecomer Co. Kilkenny.

14476F

49

2

Kilkenny

SN Bhrighde

Cuan, Carlow.

17174E

49

2

Laois

Scoil Abbain Cillin

Maganey, Athy, Co. Kildare.

17557U

82

3

Laois

Rathdomhnaigh N S

Rathdowney, Co. Laois.

18075H

49

2

Leitrim

S N Rosan

Carrigallen Co. Leitrim.

17558W

12

1

Longford

Killasonna Mixed N S

Killasonna, Granard Co. Longford.

14300O

50

2

Longford

Baile An Clochain N S

Ballycloghan, Carraig Bhuidhe, Co. Longford.

17724N

12

1

Mayo

Keenagh NS

Keenaghbeg PO, Beal Atha An Fheadha, Co. Mayo.

14923E

13

1

Mayo

SN An Chorrain

Gob a Choire, Co. Mhaigh Eo.

16295L

12

1

Offaly

Edenderry 2 N S

Edenderry Co. Offaly

15638K

82

3

Roscommon

Kilteevan N S

Roscommon, Co.Roscommon.

14966W

49

2

Roscommon

Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal

Fiobhach Disert, Beal Atha na Sluaighe, Co. Roscomain.

18005J

12

1

Roscommon

Scoil Mhuire

Ballyleague, Lanesboro PO, Co. Roscommon.

18061T

81

3

Sligo

Dromore West Central

Dromore West, Sligo.

19688W

82

3

Tipperary

SN Colmain Naofa NS

Tir Da Glas, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary.

17640H

50

2

Tipperary

SN An Droma

Thurles, Co. Tippearary.

18322V

82

3

Westmeath

Ard Na Gcraith N S

Walderstown, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

18764H

81

3

Wexford

Killegney N S

Killegney, Clonroche, Enniscorthy Co. Wexford.

15883A

13

1

Wicklow

Redcross 1 NS

Redcross, Co. Wicklow.

14829M

49

2

*Asterisks denotes Gaeltacht schools.

Schools Refurbishment

Pat Breen

Question:

264 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 261 of 14 February 2012, the position regarding an application in respect of a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21975/12]

The school in question was allocated devolved funding for the provision of a resource room and boiler replacement under my Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme 2010. The school authorities have sought additional funding towards this project and in September 2011, my Department's Planning and Building Unit requested further supporting information. To date, this information has not been received. When the requested information is received a final decision will be communicated to the school authority.

Higher Education Grants

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

265 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a student’s (details supplied) parent’s pension is being taken into account for their means tested income for a grant in the vocational education committee maintenance grant year 2011-2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22008/12]

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

266 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the circumstances in which a students parent’s pension income is counted in the student's reckonable income for their maintenance grant application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22009/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 265 and 266 together.

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter for the relevant grant awarding authority. As previously stated in my reply to the Deputy in Parliamentary Question Number 394 of 18th April 2012, reckonable income for student grants purposes is gross income from all sources whether it arises in the State or not. It includes income from pensions. Officials of my Department have been in contact with the VEC concerned and I understand that the applicant applied as a dependent mature student when he commenced his study. His application is therefore assessed based on his parents' income and that of his own.

The applicant is already in receipt of the Back to Education Allowance from the Department of Social Protection in respect of his living costs. In addition, he was awarded a part fee grant under the Student Grant Scheme based on the reckonable income details submitted. If the applicant is not satisfied with the rate of fee grant awarded by the grant awarding authority, that decision may be appealed to the awarding authority's 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.

Public Sector Remuneration

Michael McGrath

Question:

267 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the income of a public servant that is subject to the pension levy, with particular regard to the various types of allowances paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21315/12]

The "pension levy" or pension-related deduction (PRD) was introduced with effect from 1 March 2009 via the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009. Under the Act the deduction is calculated by reference to ‘remuneration'. Remuneration for this purpose is defined at section 1 of the Act as "emoluments to which Chapter 4 of Part 42 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 applies or is applied and payable by or on behalf of a public service body to a public servant for his or her services as a public servant." This definition includes non-pensionable pay including overtime, allowances and benefit-in-kind.

Election Costs

Niall Collins

Question:

268 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total cost of the 2011 Dublin West by-election; if he will provide a sub-heading breakdown of the costs and the cost of holding a recount as ordered by one of the candidates. [21392/12]

Returning Officers are required to submit accounts to the Department of Finance within six months of holding an election. The final accounts for the recent by-election were submitted this week and will be examined in detail. I am advised that a single bank account was used for the by-election, the Presidential Election and the Referendums, which were held simultaneously. General costs, such as staff, premises, preparation etc will apply to all of these events and as such it will not be clear from the final accounts which costs relate specifically to the by-election.

However, I have been informed that some €92,000 in costs were incurred by the Returning Officer purely as a result of the by-election. This includes Returning Officer fees, fees for one additional Poll Clerk per ballot box, count staff, clerical and administration costs. In addition, some €274,707 was incurred for the free-postage scheme for candidates and some €10,460 was incurred by OPW.

Departmental Agencies

John Deasy

Question:

269 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there are any plans to include the inland fisheries under the remit of the Office of the Ombudsman. [21744/12]

As the Deputy may be aware the Programme for Government contains a commitment to extend the Ombudsman Act to ensure that all statutory bodies are covered. My Department is currently examining the steps necessary to implement this commitment which would have the effect of including Inland Fisheries under the remit of the Ombudsman.

Departmental Programmes

Michael McGrath

Question:

270 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the cross-Border programmes, initiatives and areas of co-operation which his Department is currently engaging in with its counterparts in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21870/12]

There are two EU cross-border Programmes specifically focused on the border counties of Ireland and Northern Ireland. These are the Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE) and the INTERREG Programme. The current PEACE III Programme (2007-2013) has a total allocation of 333m euro and INTERREG IVA (2007-2013) has an allocation of 256m euro. Both Programmes are co-funded by the EU Commission, the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government. The INTERREG Programme also receives some funding from Scottish partners, as parts of western Scotland are covered by the Programme. The Programmes are managed by Special EU Programmes Body, a North South body established under the Good Friday Agreement and sponsored jointly by my Department and the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland.

The Programme for Peace and Reconciliation was created in order to build a more peaceful and stable society across the region. Over the past 15 years, thousands of individual projects, all working towards this objective, have been supported under the programme. The INTERREG IVA Programme aims to foster a more prosperous and sustainable region. It builds on the success of previous programmes and supports beneficial collaborations in a range of areas such as tourism, enterprise, environment, rural development and health. My Department, and other Irish Departments, work and co-operate with northern counterparts on an ongoing basis. The Government continues to work for greater economic co-operation to accelerate the process of recovery and creation of jobs on this island.

Public Service Contracts

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

271 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of competitions that have been held by the Office of Public Works to select the building management company for a civic centre (details supplied) and whether there have been competitions and public tendering to select service providers for that management company including in the area of security; if he will also indicate when the OPW will run the next public tender for management of the facility and for all service providers of this facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22030/12]

The building management contract for Northside Civic Centre was publicly advertised and, following a pre-qualification process, tenders were invited from a number of suitable firms and a contract was placed. The security service was part of the building management service and not a separate tender competition. The management service will be re-advertised and tendered publicly this year. The security aspect of the service contract will again be part of the tender.

Tribunals of Inquiry

Micheál Martin

Question:

272 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress made on the recommendations of the Moriarty Tribunal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21296/12]

Recommendation 62.15 of the Moriarty Tribunal Report (March 2011) is that the Standards Commission could appoint an inspector to audit the financial affairs of an office holder, within the meaning of the Ethics Acts, by the voluntary and positive election of the office holder, at any time during his/her period in office and for a defined period thereafter. I am examining another possible approach, namely, to allow the Standards Commission to audit an office holder's financial affairs, but only in the case of an investigation by the Commission of the office holder for an infringement of the Ethics Acts or the Electoral Acts involving his personal financial affairs. Such an approach would allow an office holder's financial affairs to be audited where there is a real concern about standards in public life.

Following the recent Government Decision responding to the Mahon Tribunal, I am reviewing the detailed set of recommendations contained in the Mahon Report related to ethics as well as those contained in the Moriarty Report in order to formulate proposals for those recommendations falling to this Department to progress. In that context, I will consider in consultation with the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government and the Attorney General what steps may be necessary in terms of root-and-branch reworking of the ethics framework.

Departmental Expenditure

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

273 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide details of the BER rating and annual heating costs of Áras an Uachtaráin, the National Convention Centre and the Department of Finance on Merrion Street. [21513/12]

The Office occupied by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform at Government Buildings is a shared building used by staff of both this Department and staff of the Department of Finance. The full year heating costs for 2011 were €37,470. The Office of Public Works are responsible for the payment of utility bills for Áras an Uachtaráin. They have informed me that the annual heating costs for the premises for 2011 were €59,229. Both Government Buildings and Áras an Uachtaráin are exempt from requiring BER certification as they are protected structures. Payment of heating costs for the National Convention Centre is not a matter for my Department or the Office of Public Works.

Sale of State Assets

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

274 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will review the proposal to sell the National Lottery. [21550/12]

As the Deputy is aware, I announced on 4th April 2012 that the Government has decided to hold a competition for the next National Lottery licence and that the licence will be for a 20 year period. The new licence will involve an upfront payment to the State, with some of the payment being used to help fund the building of the proposed new National Children's Hospital. The ongoing provision of a fixed percentage of annual lottery turnover for good causes will be a condition of the licence. The Government has decided that this percentage is to be retained at 30.5% which was the level that was achieved in 2011. I consider that where the State identifies opportunities to generate additional revenues that do not impact on taxpayers, we need to pursue them.

State Properties

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

275 Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an update in relation to his formal instruction and consent to a deed of waiver to transfer a small strip of land in order to rectify a mapping error (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21564/12]

The Commissioners of Public Works are currently considering the possibility of granting a deed of waiver to transfer the land in question. Discussions are ongoing with Cork County Council to clarify certain issues before making any decision to grant a deed of waiver to the applicants in this instance. When these discussions are concluded the matter will be finalised.

State Agencies

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

276 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of non-commercial State agencies that operate performance-related award schemes for their CEOs. [21578/12]

Access to a Performance Related Awards Scheme is no longer included in employment contracts of CEOs of Non Commercial State Agencies. Currently, there are two CEOs in Non Commercial State Agencies who continue, as they are legally entitled to, under the terms of their contracts of employment, to avail of Performance Related Award Schemes.

Departmental Bodies

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

277 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of State agencies in his Department which were abolished or merged since 2011; the name and purpose of each one; the amount saved by the merger or abolition; the number planned to be merged or abolished in 2012; the name and purpose of each one; the amount expected to be saved from this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21596/12]

I refer the Deputy to my answer to PQ 20116/12 answered on Tuesday 24th April, 2012.

Sean Fleming

Question:

278 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of bodies and agencies under his aegis; and his proposals for review of operation of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21609/12]

With regard to the number of bodies and agencies under my aegis, I refer the Deputy to my answer to Deputy Mary Lou McDonald (PQ Ref No: 5539/12) on 31 January 2012 which lists the bodies and agencies of each Department. Those Offices of State etc., who have their own Vote (see Appendix 1) and for which I am responsible are:

Vote 13 — Office of Public Works.

Vote 14 — State Laboratory.

Vote 16 — Valuation Office.

Vote 17 — Public Appointments Service.

Vote 18 — Commission for Public Service Appointments.

Vote 19 — Office of the Ombudsman.

Regarding proposals for the review of operation of these bodies, as the Deputy will be aware, thePublic Service Reform Report, published in November 2011, outlined the programme of public service reforms and improvements which are designed to deliver the commitments made in the Programme for Government. The radical streamlining of state bodies is a key element in the reform programme and to this end, the Report listed 48 bodies which are due to be rationalised by end 2012 and a further 46 bodies which are to be critically reviewed by June 2012. The Commission on Public Service Appointments, which is due to be merged with Office of the Ombudsman, is listed as one of the 48 bodies to be rationalised by end of 2012.

Those bodies which are under my Department and which are listed for critical review by June include:

National Development Finance Agency (Merge National Development Finance Agency in to OPW/National Procurement Service).

Valuation Office (Merge the Valuation Office, the Property Registration Authority and Ordnance Survey).

Disciplinary Code of Appeals Board and the Independent Mediator (Abolish/Merge with new employment rights body listed under Appendix IIa of the Public Service Reform Plan).

State Laboratory (Merge Forensic Science Laboratory Medical Bureau of Road Safety into State Laboratory).

Office of the Ombudsman (Amalgamate Office of the Data Protection Commissioner with the Office of the Ombudsman. There are also a number of related actions including merging the functions of the Language Commissioner and merging the back-office functions of the Office of the Ombudsman for Children into the Office of the Ombudsman).

Public Procurement

Sean Fleming

Question:

279 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is satisfied that current procurement processes for publicly funded construction contracts gives adequate opportunity for small and medium enterprises to be successful in tendering for work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21610/12]

I am very aware that public procurement can be an important source of business for local enterprises. Current guidelines including Circular 10/10 —"Facilitating SME Participation in Public Procurement" issued by my Department require public bodies to promote participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in the award of public contracts. These 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:

works and related services contracts with an estimated value of €50,000 or more to be advertised on thewww.etenders.gov.ie website. While there is no requirement to advertise works projects below €50,000 on www.etenders.gov.ie or elsewhere, the principle of transparency and non-discrimination still needs to be satisfied. Where a Contracting Authority does not advertise for projects below €50,000 and has satisfied the principles in some other way, five firms should be invited to tender with the expectation that five tenders will be submitted;

all public works and related services contracts up to €250,000 to be procured using an "Open" procedure, an "Open" procedure admits all contractors to the tendering stage providing they meet the minimum qualification standards set by the contracting authority;

ensuring that the levels set by contracting authorities for suitability criteria are justified and proportionate to the needs of the contract. National guidelines for contracting authorities in relation to minimum standards for suitability criteria for construction contractors interested in tendering for public works projects are published on the Capital Works Management Framework available atwww.constructionprocurement.gov.ie. These guidelines take account of the principles of transparency, proportionality and fairness under the EU Treaty;

permitting applicants to pre-qualify on the basis of self-declaring that they meet the qualification criteria without having to submit all of the required evidence which can be a significant administrative burden for an SME. Evidence in support of the declarations is only sought at the contract award stage; and sub-dividing larger requirements into lots where this is practical and can be done without compromising efficiency and value for money.

All policy, guidance and implementation measures relating to capital projects are published on the Construction Procurement Reform websitewww.constructionprocurement.gov.ie where the Capital Works Management Framework provides a suite of best practice guidance, standard contracts and generic template documents are available to download for all contracting authorities to provide a consistent approach to the management of public works projects.

Tendering is dealt with through a range of guidance notes and template documents such as Suitability Assessment Questionnaires, Instructions to Tenderers and Forms of Tender which may be downloaded and modified to suit each particular tender competition.

National Lottery Funding

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

280 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of allocations of National Lottery funding to Departmental expenditure programmes in 2011. [21750/12]

The surplus generated by the National Lottery is transferred annually to the Exchequer and is applied to part-fund the Exchequer allocations to a specified range of expenditure subheads across various Votes. The amount transferred to the Exchequer from the National Lottery surplus, together with details of the total Exchequer allocations to the relevant Lottery supported subheads, are published each year in Appendix 1 of the annualRevised Estimates for Public Services (REV) which gives a breakdown of allocations by programme. The provisional outturns for National Lottery supported subheads for 2011 are set out in Appendix 1 of the 2012 REV. The Appendix can be viewed at http://per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Rev-20121.pdf.

Public Service Staff

Michael McGrath

Question:

281 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there is a policy across the public service with regard to employees working from home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21857/12]

My Department has responsibility for e-working policy in the civil service. This is outlined in Circular 4/2003:Pilot schemes to promote e-working in the civil service. Most government departments introduced pilot e-working schemes.

In 2009, the Minister for Transport published "Smarter Travel:A Sustainable Transport Future” which represented a new transport policy for Ireland for the period 2009-2020. As part of the Smarter Travel Policy Framework, an interdepartmental working group, comprising of representatives from the then Departments of Transport, Finance, Enterprise Trade and Employment, Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Environment Heritage and Local Government, HSE and the Office of Public Works was established to consider how best to progress the issue of e-working in the civil and public service. The conclusion of that working group was that although e-working was technologically feasible, it was likely that progress would be (a) over the long term as the public service engages in a process of transformative change and (b) through the initiatives of individual departments or agencies in promotinge-working as an accepted practice.

The transformation agenda accepted by both parties to the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 recognises that previously agreed work-life balance policies and arrangements may need to be reviewed and revised in the context of more integrated public services operating with a reduced cohort of staff. Under any such review of these arrangements, options for e-working may be considered where feasible. This would be a matter for each public service body to consider in light of their own business requirements.

Land Transfers

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

282 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding the Abbey Island Burial Ground, Derrynane, County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21888/12]

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has received sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to transfer land at Abbey Island, Burial Ground, Derrynane, Co. Kerry to Kerry County Council. The OPW is now in correspondence with Kerry County Council and the Office of the Chief State Solicitor in order to finalise the matter. I expect that progress on this can be reported within one month.

Job Protection

Billy Timmins

Question:

283 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the position regarding a company (details supplied) and its intention to move jobs out of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21190/12]

Jack Wall

Question:

305 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on a submission (details supplied); if he has contacted the company involved; the results of such consultations if any; if he has met the trade union involved; the results of the meeting and the up, to date position of the proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21569/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 283 and 305 together.

Vodafone Ireland announced on 22 March that it had completed a review of the company's contracted mobile call-centre operations. As a result of this review, the company adopted a new model for its mobile customer care, resulting in a move to a new provider, Teleperformance. Vodafone Ireland and Rigney Dolphin have entered a six-week consultation process with employee representatives. With effect from 8 May, 27 Vodafone roles and 290 Rigney Dolphin contract roles will transfer to Teleperformance. Rigney Dolphin will remain a provider to Vodafone for other purposes. I have been assured by Vodafone Ireland that the transfer of service will observe the Transfer of Undertakings — Protection of Employees (European Communities (Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations 2003) Regulations.

I recently met with Vodafone Ireland and the company has confirmed that it is likely that work will move to the Teleperformance site in Newry. I also met representatives of the workers, their Union and local public representatives. I understand this transfer process will be a matter for Teleperformance, although Vodafone will continue to participate in the consultation period. I understand that Vodafone has agreed with Teleperformance that in the event of a move to Newry, all affected Vodafone and Rigney Dolphin employees will have the option to transfer to Newry when their role relocates. Teleperformance have guaranteed that terms and conditions will carry forward to Newry for those who choose to move, and alternatives for those who choose not to transfer will be discussed through the consultation process. While the situation that has arisen on this occasion is regrettable, it is nevertheless reflective of the competitive forces that affect the sector concerned.

In my meeting with Vodafone, the company made it clear that this decision has been taken for commercial reasons and they are not in a position to reverse it. The company have indicated that the work which they have on fixed line customer service is not under review and is performing well.

Trade Relations

Martin Ferris

Question:

284 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will provide a breakdown of imports and exports between this country and Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela between 2000 and 2011 for each individual year and to provide details of the main items. [21833/12]

Total Merchandise export and import figures for the years 2000 to 2011 are shown in the first two tables under in Appendix 1.

The table in appendix 2 shows total services import and export figures for 2003 to 2010. 2003 is the first year for which services trade figures are held by my Department and 2010 is the latest year for which CSO services statistics are available for individual countries. Of the 10 countries listed in the Deputy's question, Ireland had services trade with 6 of these, as shown in the table in Appendix 2.

Merchandise Trade

Exports

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

Argentina

48,801

57,846

26,345

23,632

24,309

34,513

34,956

30,763

29,950

34,180

64,425

60,312

Bolivia

472

77

345

171

243

277

571

560

896

847

2,010

4,792

Brazil

206,012

225,755

124,772

141,666

151,164

146,906

147,218

161,630

183,254

211,334

259,555

311,037

Chile

36,958

37,728

36,260

42,078

28,574

48,817

47,072

38,520

35,021

30,202

39,161

50,410

Colombia

24,465

32,717

35,275

28,561

22,435

22,852

28,893

36,011

28,474

26,588

29,679

31,733

Ecuador

5,599

5,123

6,214

3,931

5,348

12,683

11,116

5,788

14,536

7,358

9,000

9,133

Guyana

391

625

524

4,058

1,320

819

553

1,189

671

1,182

1,030

962

Paraguay

23,648

23,406

9,662

311

311

1,585

391

1,233

278

281

657

919

Uruguay

6,018

3,811

5,492

5,657

3,634

5,787

5,413

9,731

9,597

8,337

10,548

9,854

Venezuela

39,244

40,574

28,297

20,657

20,672

31,624

46,342

46,298

76,543

39,714

46,209

53,062

Imports

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

(€,000)

Argentina

38,922

34,424

45,388

44,230

38,784

68,951

80,132

99,318

87,938

108,472

100,844

167,065

Bolivia

49

99

94

132

53

45

66

61

197

304

796

448

Brazil

127,297

135,794

159,321

221,491

233,040

209,550

189,980

240,911

214,498

157,760

166,424

210,239

Chile

27,912

34,292

37,084

39,102

43,529

51,361

60,383

59,817

45,451

49,718

55,469

58,636

Colombia

17,680

16,563

16,315

14,770

17,829

6,920

6,627

12,586

11,177

5,029

6,522

12,892

Ecuador

728

754

678

550

1,084

1,693

1,741

1,790

1,417

1,383

1,681

1,981

Guyana

44

84

28

26

4

32

82

211

0

11

97

1,726

Paraguay

555

243

81

50

58

627

328

105

27

38

292

1,374

Uruguay

1,158

748

1,589

329

835

707

5,276

2,090

2,729

7,030

6,192

3,760

Venezuela

8,177

13,253

5,921

2,891

467

282

592

886

2,006

146

1,209

394

Services Trade

Exports (€m)

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Argentina

*

28

35

38

40

30

29

37

Brazil

46

56

*

112

122

199

218

180

Chile

0

6

19

21

27

28

35

72

Colombia

9

17

23

39

40

51

62

74

Uruguay

0

2

13

13

18

*

*

*

Venezuela

50

9

*

27

20

28

0

0

Imports (€m)

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Argentina

9

8

7

3

3

3

7

14

Brazil

*

8

*

8

14

70

10

49

Chile

0

1

*

4

4

7

2

9

Colombia

13

5

1

9

1

2

0

6

Uruguay

0

*

0

0

0

0

*

*

Venezuela

39

*

*

3

2

*

0

0

Please note

*Suppressed for confidentiality reasons

Top Ten Merchandise Exports and Imports

Argentina: 2006/2007

Exports

Argentina

Exports (€m)Jan-Dec 06

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 06

Exports (€m)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 07

% change onJan-Dec 06

35

31

-12%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

12

36%

11

36%

-12%

Computers

12

33%

7

24%

-36%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

0

0%

3

10%

>>100%

Organic chemicals

1

3%

3

10%

>100%

Beverages

1

2%

1

4%

48%

Photographic apparatus; optical goods; watches clocks

2

5%

1

3%

-39%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

1

4%

1

3%

-28%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

3

7%

1

2%

-72%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

1

2%

1

2%

-28%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

0

1%

0

1%

-10%

Argentina

Imports (€m)Jan-Dec 06

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 06

Imports (€m)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 07

% change onJan-Dec 06

80

99

24%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

60

75%

72

73%

21%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

5

7%

11

11%

>100%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

3

4%

4

4%

25%

Beverages

3

4%

3

3%

8%

Vegetables and fruit

3

3%

2

3%

-1%

Meat and meat preparations

1

1%

2

2%

>100%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

1

2%

2

2%

10%

Rubber manufactures

0

0%

0

0%

98%

Computers

0

0%

0

0%

>>100%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

0

0%

0

0%

-4%

Argentina

Exports (€m)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 07

Exports (€m)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

31

30

-3%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

11

36%

14

47%

28%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

3

10%

4

13%

19%

Organic chemicals

3

10%

3

11%

10%

Computers

7

24%

2

7%

-72%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

0

1%

1

5%

>100%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

1

2%

1

4%

79%

Beverages

1

4%

1

3%

-30%

Photographic apparatus; optical goods; watches clocks

1

3%

1

3%

-18%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

1

3%

1

3%

-19%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

1

2%

1

2%

-16%

Argentina

Imports (€m)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 07

Imports (€m)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

99

84

-15%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

72

73%

69

82%

-5%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

11

11%

5

6%

-53%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

4

4%

3

4%

-21%

Vegetables and fruit

2

3%

2

3%

-7%

Computers

0

0%

1

1%

>100%

Plastics in primary forms

0

0%

1

1%

>>100%

Beverages

3

3%

1

1%

-71%

Meat and meat preparations

2

2%

0

0%

-81%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

2

2%

0

0%

-90%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

0

0%

0

0%

>100%

Argentina

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2008

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2008

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

% change onJan-Dec 2008

29,950

33,490

12%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

13,935

47%

14,968

45%

7%

Computers

2,104

7%

5,719

17%

172%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

3,360

11%

3,838

11%

14%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

3,856

13%

1,823

5%

-53%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

1,061

4%

1,423

4%

34%

Medical Devices

777

3%

1,328

4%

71%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

827

3%

1,067

3%

29%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

1,411

5%

934

3%

-34%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

595

2%

392

1%

-34%

Contact Lenses and other optical goods

788

3%

382

1%

-52%

Argentina

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2008

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2008

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2009

% change onJan-Dec 2008

87,938

100,976

15%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

69,023

78%

85,365

85%

24%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

4,017

5%

3,717

4%

-7%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

1,900

2%

3,102

3%

63%

Vegetables and fruit

2,820

3%

2,988

3%

6%

Computers

1,165

1%

1,640

2%

41%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

858

1%

1,028

1%

20%

Meat and meat preparations

457

1%

784

1%

72%

Aircraft engines and parts

0%

670

1%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

5,329

6%

613

1%

-88%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

33

0%

252

0%

664%

Argentina

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

34,180

64,425

88%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

15,112

44%

24,916

39%

65%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

934

3%

14,365

22%

1,438%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

6,208

18%

6,347

10%

2%

Aircraft engines and parts

95

0%

4,266

7%

4,391%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

3,838

11%

3,770

6%

-2%

Soft Drink concentrate

1,422

4%

2,389

4%

68%

Medical Devices

1,328

4%

2,157

3%

62%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

1,067

3%

1,554

2%

46%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

1,882

6%

1,127

2%

-40%

Aircraft and Parts (not including engines)

9

0%

858

1%

9,433%

Argentina

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2009

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

108,472

100,844

-7%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

92,688

85%

82,297

82%

-11%

Vegetables and fruit

3,001

3%

5,021

5%

67%

Makeup Products, Softdrink Concentrate, Hair products

3,717

3%

4,361

4%

17%

Non-alcoholic Beverages, Beer and Wine

3,184

3%

3,869

4%

22%

Plastics in primary forms

57

0%

1,376

1%

2314%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

1,028

1%

985

1%

-4%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

1,640

2%

807

1%

-51%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

613

1%

476

0%

-22%

Meat and meat preparations

848

1%

415

0%

-51%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

252

0%

196

0%

-22%

Argentina

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

64,425

60,312

-6%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

24,916

39%

26,384

44%

6%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

6,347

10%

17,072

28%

169%

Soft Drink concentrate

2,389

4%

5,041

8%

111%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

3,770

6%

4,067

7%

8%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

404

1%

2,582

4%

539%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

1,554

2%

1,960

3%

26%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

362

1%

1,015

2%

180%

Plastics in primary forms

236

0%

478

1%

103%

Medical Devices

2,157

3%

359

1%

-83%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

14,365

22%

318

1%

-98%

Argentina

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

100,844

167,065

66%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

82,297

82%

103,081

62%

25%

Makeup Products, Softdrink Concentrate, Hair products

4,361

4%

45,687

27%

948%

Vegetables and fruit

5,021

5%

5,932

4%

18%

Non-alcoholic Beverages, Beer and Wine

3,869

4%

3,732

2%

-4%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

807

1%

3,702

2%

359%

Plastics in primary forms

1,376

1%

1,436

1%

4%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

985

1%

809

0%

-18%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

476

0%

719

0%

51%

Meat and meat preparations

415

0%

660

0%

59%

Plastics in non-primary forms

39

0%

328

0%

741%

Bolivia

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2006

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

571

560

-2%

Beverages

99

17%

150

27%

52%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

59

10%

107

19%

81%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

83

15%

88

16%

6%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

0%

76

14%

Computers

211

37%

52

9%

-75%

Organic chemicals

61

11%

29

5%

-52%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

0%

23

4%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

9

2%

18

3%

100%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

28

5%

11

2%

-61%

Manufactures of metals

0%

6

1%

Bolivia

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2006

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

66

61

-8%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

0%

39

64%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

5

8%

13

21%

160%

Cereals and cereal preparations

0%

3

5%

Vegetables and fruit

14

21%

2

3%

-86%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

23

35%

2

3%

-91%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

0

0%

1

2%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

0

0%

1

2%

Manufactures of metals

1

2%

0

0%

-100%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

0

0%

0%

Cork and wood

23

35%

0%

-100%

Bolivia

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 07

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

560

896

60%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

76

14%

383

43%

404%

Computers

52

9%

126

14%

142%

Beverages

150

27%

100

11%

-33%

Organic chemicals

29

5%

77

9%

166%

Plastics in primary forms

0%

69

8%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

88

16%

67

7%

-24%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

107

19%

55

6%

-49%

Metalworking machinery

0%

5

1%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

23

4%

5

1%

-78%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

11

2%

4

0%

-64%

Bolivia

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 07

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

61

161

164%

Vegetables and fruit

2

3%

112

70%

5,500%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

13

21%

38

24%

192%

Cereals and cereal preparations

3

5%

5

3%

67%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

2

3%

3

2%

50%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

0%

1

1%

Manufactures of metals

0

0%

1

1%

Unclassified Trade incl. Shannon Free Airport Trade

0%

1

1%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

0%

0

0%

Leather; leather manufactures; dressed furskins

0%

0

0%

Computers

0%

0

0%

Bolivia

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2008

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2008

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

% change onJan-Dec 2008

896

826

-8%

Computers

126

14%

237

29%

88%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

100

11%

159

19%

59%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

67

7%

102

12%

52%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

5

1%

69

8%

1,280%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

55

6%

65

8%

18%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

77

9%

55

7%

-29%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

383

43%

51

6%

-87%

Dairy products

0%

32

4%

Specialised industrial machinery

0%

30

4%

Aircraft engines and parts

0%

11

1%

Bolivia

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2008

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2008

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2009

% change onJan-Dec 2008

197

305

55%

Vegetables and fruit

148

75%

159

52%

7%

Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc

0%

54

18%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

38

19%

34

11%

-11%

Paper, paperboard and articles thereof

0%

25

8%

Dairy products

0%

15

5%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

0%

10

3%

Meat and meat preparations

0%

4

1%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

1

1%

2

1%

100%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

3

2%

1

0%

-67%

Manufactures of metals

1

1%

1

0%

0%

Bolivia

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

847

2,010

137%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

60

7%

612

30%

920%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

245

29%

530

26%

116%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

102

12%

249

12%

144%

Metalworking machinery

2

0%

199

10%

9,850%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

69

8%

101

5%

46%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

159

19%

77

4%

-52%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

69

8%

64

3%

-7%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

55

6%

62

3%

13%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

0%

41

2%

Plastics in primary forms

0%

34

2%

Bolivia

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2009

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

304

796

162%

Vegetables and fruit

159

52%

692

87%

335%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

0%

43

5%

Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc

54

18%

42

5%

-22%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

33

11%

8

1%

-76%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

0

0%

7

1%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

10

3%

1

0%

-90%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

0%

1

0%

Specialised industrial machinery

0%

1

0%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

0%

1

0%

Manufactures of metals

1

0%

0

0%

-100%

Bolivia

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

2,010

4,792

138%

Aircraft engines and parts

12

1%

3,522

73%

29,250%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

530

26%

819

17%

55%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

249

12%

170

4%

-32%

Plastics in primary forms

34

2%

99

2%

191%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

101

5%

57

1%

-44%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

64

3%

38

1%

-41%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

41

2%

31

1%

-24%

Specialised industrial machinery

5

0%

26

1%

420%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

62

3%

22

0%

-65%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

4

0%

6

0%

50%

Bolivia

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

796

448

-44%

Vegetables and fruit

692

87%

293

65%

-58%

Plastics in primary forms

0%

68

15%

Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc

42

5%

32

7%

-24%

Cork and wood

0%

23

5%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

8

1%

14

3%

75%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

7

1%

7

2%

0%

Cereals and cereal preparations

0%

5

1%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

1

0%

2

0%

100%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

1

0%

1

0%

0%

Non-metallic mineral manufactures

0

0%

1

0%

Brazil

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2006

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

147,218

161,630

10%

Computers

31,405

21%

42,016

26%

34%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

42,872

29%

40,041

25%

-7%

Organic chemicals

33,441

23%

35,686

22%

7%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

4,299

3%

9,573

6%

123%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

5,700

4%

8,930

6%

57%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

8,060

5%

5,326

3%

-34%

Chemical materials and products

1,632

1%

3,977

2%

144%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

3,968

3%

3,541

2%

-11%

Photographic apparatus; optical goods; watches clocks

2,470

2%

3,131

2%

27%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

2,460

2%

2,888

2%

17%

Brazil

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2006

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

189,980

240,911

27%

Vegetables and fruit

25,212

13%

57,738

24%

129%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

26,736

14%

35,748

15%

34%

Metalliferous ores and metal scrap

34,034

18%

31,937

13%

-6%

Meat and meat preparations

30,014

16%

27,673

11%

-8%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

24,412

13%

18,933

8%

-22%

Cereals and cereal preparations

39

0%

17,861

7%

45,697%

Footwear

6,694

4%

7,953

3%

19%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

3,292

2%

6,217

3%

89%

Non-metallic mineral manufactures

5,217

3%

5,922

2%

14%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

2,197

1%

4,727

2%

115%

Brazil

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 07

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

161,630

183,234

13%

Organic chemicals

35,686

22%

60,112

33%

68%

Computers

42,016

26%

39,693

22%

-6%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

40,041

25%

38,261

21%

-4%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

5,326

3%

11,789

6%

121%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

9,573

6%

9,193

5%

-4%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

8,930

6%

6,049

3%

-32%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

3,541

2%

5,155

3%

46%

Chemical materials and products

3,977

2%

2,807

2%

-29%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

2,888

2%

2,034

1%

-30%

Photographic apparatus; optical goods; watches clocks

3,131

2%

1,747

1%

-44%

Brazil

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 07

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

240,911

208,637

-13%

Vegetables and fruit

57,738

24%

64,074

31%

11%

Metalliferous ores and metal scrap

31,937

13%

32,311

15%

1%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

35,748

15%

25,401

12%

-29%

Cereals and cereal preparations

17,861

7%

18,532

9%

4%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

18,933

8%

13,215

6%

-30%

Meat and meat preparations

27,673

11%

12,629

6%

-54%

Organic chemicals

1,785

1%

10,877

5%

509%

Footwear

7,953

3%

8,436

4%

6%

Computers

3,896

2%

7,233

3%

86%

Non-metallic mineral manufactures

5,922

2%

2,453

1%

-59%

Brazil

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 09

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 09

% change onJan-Dec 08

183,254

213,718

17%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

38,261

21%

75,432

35%

97%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

60,112

33%

58,486

27%

-3%

Computers

39,693

22%

44,116

21%

11%

Medical Devices

6,069

3%

7,915

4%

30%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

11,789

6%

6,222

3%

-47%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

9,193

5%

4,350

2%

-53%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

518

0%

3,397

2%

556%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

5,155

3%

3,048

1%

-41%

Contact Lenses and other optical goods

1,747

1%

2,606

1%

49%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

2,034

1%

2,289

1%

13%

Brazil

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 09

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 09

% change onJan-Dec 08

214,498

156,315

-27%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

25,401

12%

39,255

25%

55%

Vegetables and fruit

64,647

30%

34,878

22%

-46%

Meat and meat preparations

15,959

7%

14,670

9%

-8%

Alumina, zinc and other ores and Scrap Metal

32,311

15%

12,581

8%

-61%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

11,220

5%

9,282

6%

-17%

Computers

7,414

3%

6,964

4%

-6%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

13,238

6%

6,229

4%

-53%

Footwear

8,536

4%

5,908

4%

-31%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

1,552

1%

5,284

3%

240%

Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials

0%

4,268

3%

Brazil

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

211,334

259,555

23%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

76,816

36%

96,476

37%

26%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

52,013

25%

51,524

20%

-1%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

46,399

22%

50,736

20%

9%

Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials

5

0%

16,843

6%

336,760%

Medical Devices

7,915

4%

13,491

5%

70%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

4,777

2%

8,101

3%

70%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

3,048

1%

3,724

1%

22%

Soft Drink concentrate

2,263

1%

3,626

1%

60%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

6,222

3%

2,655

1%

-57%

Contact Lenses and other optical goods

2,606

1%

2,583

1%

-1%

Brazil

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

157,760

166,424

5%

Alumina, zinc and other ores and Scrap Metal

12,581

8%

37,757

23%

200%

Vegetables and fruit

34,931

22%

36,610

22%

5%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

40,723

26%

31,862

19%

-22%

Meat and meat preparations

14,739

9%

13,997

8%

-5%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

5,286

3%

8,508

5%

61%

Cereals and cereal preparations

509

0%

7,443

4%

1,362%

Footwear

5,898

4%

4,814

3%

-18%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

6,963

4%

4,222

3%

-39%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

6,228

4%

2,584

2%

-59%

Misc Plastic, Stents, Other Misc Articles

944

1%

2,184

1%

131%

Brazil

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

259,555

311,037

20%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

96,476

37%

116,957

38%

21%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

51,524

20%

64,166

21%

25%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

50,736

20%

57,356

18%

13%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

3,724

1%

20,249

7%

444%

Soft Drink concentrate

3,626

1%

11,296

4%

212%

Medical Devices

13,491

5%

9,319

3%

-31%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

8,101

3%

5,677

2%

-30%

Plastics in primary forms

493

0%

3,552

1%

620%

Contact Lenses and other optical goods

2,583

1%

3,234

1%

25%

Chemical materials and products

2,503

1%

2,796

1%

12%

Brazil

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

166,424

210,239

26%

Alumina, zinc and other ores and Scrap Metal

37,757

23%

57,654

27%

53%

Vegetables and fruit

36,610

22%

50,005

24%

37%

Aircraft and Parts (not including engines)

0

0%

25,360

12%

Meat and meat preparations

13,997

8%

17,114

8%

22%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

8,508

5%

10,751

5%

26%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

31,862

19%

8,962

4%

-72%

Aircraft engines and parts

1,402

1%

7,941

4%

466%

Makeup Products, Softdrink Concentrate, Hair products

1,537

1%

5,711

3%

272%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

1,860

1%

3,223

2%

73%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

4,222

3%

3,211

2%

-24%

Colombia

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2006

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

28,893

36,011

25%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

8,080

28%

8,465

24%

5%

Organic chemicals

496

2%

6,351

18%

1,180%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

12,068

42%

5,939

16%

-51%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

447

2%

4,953

14%

1,008%

Beverages

2,012

7%

3,227

9%

60%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

2,348

8%

2,744

8%

17%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

602

2%

1,366

4%

127%

Computers

834

3%

1,052

3%

26%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

791

3%

584

2%

-26%

Chemical materials and products

72

0%

343

1%

376%

Colombia

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2006

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

6,627

12,586

90%

Vegetables and fruit

1,695

26%

6,942

55%

310%

Coal, coke and briquettes

835

13%

1,827

15%

119%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

2,139

32%

1,677

13%

-22%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

535

8%

796

6%

49%

Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof

459

7%

553

4%

20%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

397

6%

373

3%

-6%

Certain other misc products (incl. Estimates)

94

1%

134

1%

43%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

116

2%

98

1%

-16%

Non-metallic mineral manufactures

36

1%

44

0%

22%

Organic chemicals

0%

38

0%

Colombia

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2007

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2008

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2008

% change onJan-Dec 2007

36,011

28,361

-21%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

8,465

24%

8,280

29%

-2%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

5,939

16%

5,278

19%

-11%

Organic chemicals

6,351

18%

4,269

15%

-33%

Beverages

3,227

9%

2,031

7%

-37%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

1,366

4%

1,711

6%

25%

Computers

1,052

3%

1,640

6%

56%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

2,744

8%

1,568

6%

-43%

Specialised industrial machinery

262

1%

993

4%

279%

Chemical materials and products

343

1%

486

2%

42%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

4,953

14%

444

2%

-91%

Colombia

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 07

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

12,586

10,660

-15%

Vegetables and fruit

6,942

55%

4,655

44%

-33%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

0

0%

2,257

21%

Coal, coke and briquettes

1,827

15%

1,254

12%

-31%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

1,677

13%

1,217

11%

-27%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

796

6%

516

5%

-35%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

373

3%

235

2%

-37%

Certain other misc products (incl. Estimates)

134

1%

220

2%

64%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

98

1%

175

2%

79%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

30

0%

32

0%

7%

Beverages

8

0%

19

0%

138%

Colombia

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec-08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec-08

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec-09

% of total ExportsJan-Dec-09

% change onJan-Dec-08

28,474

26,407

-7%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

8,280

29%

8,362

32%

1%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

5,278

19%

5,809

22%

10%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

444

2%

3,554

13%

700%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

4,269

15%

2,455

9%

-42%

Computers

1,640

6%

1,842

7%

12%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

1,711

6%

1,567

6%

-8%

Medical Devices

1,681

6%

886

3%

-47%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

2,031

7%

768

3%

-62%

Plastics in non-primary forms

0%

260

1%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

214

1%

252

1%

18%

Colombia

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec-08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec-08

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec-09

% of total ImportsJan-Dec-09

% change onJan-Dec-08

11,177

5,025

-55%

Vegetables and fruit

4,753

43%

2,398

48%

-50%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

1,202

11%

1,102

22%

-8%

Coal, coke and briquettes

1,132

10%

534

11%

-53%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

516

5%

399

8%

-23%

Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof

636

6%

205

4%

-68%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

2,257

20%

112

2%

-95%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

241

2%

111

2%

-54%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

32

0%

41

1%

28%

Manufactures of metals

8

0%

28

1%

250%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

20

0%

24

0%

20%

Colombia

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

26,588

29,679

12%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

8,496

32%

11,398

38%

34%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

1,889

7%

4,238

14%

124%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

1,567

6%

3,712

13%

137%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

5,809

22%

3,623

12%

-38%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

768

3%

1,903

6%

148%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

3,554

13%

1,392

5%

-61%

Medical Devices

886

3%

886

3%

0%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

2,455

9%

877

3%

-64%

Soft Drink concentrate

252

1%

588

2%

133%

Specialised industrial machinery

113

0%

291

1%

158%

Colombia

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2009

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

5,029

6,522

30%

Vegetables and fruit

2,402

48%

2,619

40%

9%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

1,102

22%

1,543

24%

40%

Coal, coke and briquettes

534

11%

1,034

16%

94%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

399

8%

231

4%

-42%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

3

0%

209

3%

6,867%

Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof

205

4%

183

3%

-11%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

20

0%

169

3%

745%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

4

0%

161

2%

3,925%

Certain other misc products (incl. Estimates)

0%

108

2%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

111

2%

83

1%

-25%

Colombia

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

29,679

31,733

7%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

11,398

38%

8,016

25%

-30%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

4,238

14%

7,836

25%

85%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

3,623

12%

4,459

14%

23%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

3,712

13%

3,783

12%

2%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

268

1%

2,223

7%

729%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

1,903

6%

2,118

7%

11%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

1,392

5%

855

3%

-39%

Medical Devices

886

3%

837

3%

-6%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

877

3%

602

2%

-31%

Soft Drink concentrate

588

2%

512

2%

-13%

Colombia

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

6,522

12,892

98%

Vegetables and fruit

2,619

40%

5,914

46%

126%

Coal, coke and briquettes

1,034

16%

3,937

31%

281%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

1,543

24%

2,080

16%

35%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

231

4%

417

3%

81%

Certain other misc products (incl. Estimates)

108

2%

152

1%

41%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

209

3%

79

1%

-62%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

83

1%

60

0%

-28%

Misc Plastic, Stents, Other Misc Articles

56

1%

60

0%

7%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

34

1%

43

0%

26%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

161

2%

31

0%

-81%

Chile

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2006

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

47,072

38,520

-18%

Chemical materials and products

23,570

50%

14,868

39%

-37%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

11,799

25%

7,486

19%

-37%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

255

1%

5,505

14%

2,059%

Beverages

1,453

3%

2,273

6%

56%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

531

1%

1,835

5%

246%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

913

2%

1,043

3%

14%

Computers

1,583

3%

950

2%

-40%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

607

1%

782

2%

29%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

2,648

6%

714

2%

-73%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

1,302

3%

651

2%

-50%

Chile

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2006

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

60,383

59,817

-1%

Beverages

36,242

60%

36,255

61%

0%

Vegetables and fruit

9,541

16%

11,540

19%

21%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

1,330

2%

2,443

4%

84%

Computers

2,306

4%

2,383

4%

3%

Meat and meat preparations

4,278

7%

2,355

4%

-45%

Footwear

2,435

4%

2,324

4%

-5%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

46

0%

463

1%

907%

Pulp and waste paper

102

0%

451

1%

342%

Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof

218

0%

352

1%

61%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

161

0%

246

0%

53%

Chile

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 07

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

38,520

34,914

-9%

Chemical materials and products

14,868

39%

16,640

48%

12%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

7,486

19%

5,932

17%

-21%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

1,835

5%

1,820

5%

-1%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

613

2%

1,799

5%

193%

Computers

950

2%

1,391

4%

46%

Beverages

2,273

6%

1,372

4%

-40%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

782

2%

1,043

3%

33%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

1,043

3%

756

2%

-28%

Dairy products

481

1%

522

1%

9%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

651

2%

420

1%

-35%

Chile

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 07

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

59,817

31,883

-47%

Beverages

36,255

61%

11,684

37%

-68%

Vegetables and fruit

11,540

19%

9,860

31%

-15%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

2,443

4%

3,739

12%

53%

Footwear

2,324

4%

2,359

7%

2%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

0%

935

3%

Meat and meat preparations

2,355

4%

477

1%

-80%

Computers

2,383

4%

397

1%

-83%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

246

0%

339

1%

38%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

10

0%

278

1%

2,680%

Manufactures of metals

30

0%

277

1%

823%

Chile

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec-08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec-08

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec-09

% of total ExportsJan-Dec-09

% change onJan-Dec-08

35,021

29,881

-15%

Chemical materials and products

16,640

48%

13,860

46%

-17%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

5,932

17%

6,102

20%

3%

Medical Devices

1,043

3%

1,406

5%

35%

Computers

1,391

4%

1,377

5%

-1%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

204

1%

1,136

4%

457%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

756

2%

897

3%

19%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

407

1%

675

2%

66%

Aircraft engines and parts

397

1%

622

2%

57%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

1,799

5%

577

2%

-68%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

420

1%

541

2%

29%

Chile

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec-08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec-08

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec-09

% of total ImportsJan-Dec-09

% change onJan-Dec-08

45,451

49,511

9%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

25,068

55%

32,771

66%

31%

Vegetables and fruit

9,952

22%

8,443

17%

-15%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

3,739

8%

3,057

6%

-18%

Footwear

2,359

5%

1,419

3%

-40%

Meat and meat preparations

500

1%

1,214

2%

143%

Aircraft engines and parts

46

0%

595

1%

1,193%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

285

1%

308

1%

8%

Computers

398

1%

264

1%

-34%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

339

1%

250

1%

-26%

Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)

935

2%

224

0%

-76%

Chile

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

30,202

39,161

30%

Chemical materials and products

13,860

46%

18,849

48%

36%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

6,386

21%

8,903

23%

39%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

1,441

5%

2,090

5%

45%

Medical Devices

1,406

5%

1,782

5%

27%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

1,136

4%

1,636

4%

44%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

675

2%

1,102

3%

63%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

502

2%

1,069

3%

113%

Soft Drink concentrate

859

3%

609

2%

-29%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

540

2%

608

2%

13%

Dairy products

326

1%

555

1%

70%

Chile

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2009

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

49,718

55,469

12%

Non-alcoholic Beverages, Beer and Wine

33,095

67%

38,124

69%

15%

Vegetables and fruit

8,444

17%

11,474

21%

36%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

3,057

6%

3,378

6%

11%

Footwear

1,419

3%

884

2%

-38%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

264

1%

314

1%

19%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

94

0%

302

1%

221%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

250

1%

194

0%

-22%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

24

0%

159

0%

563%

Rubber manufactures

13

0%

101

0%

677%

Misc Plastic, Stents, Other Misc Articles

308

1%

84

0%

-73%

Chile

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

39,161

50,410

29%

Chemical materials and products

18,849

48%

19,505

39%

3%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

8,903

23%

9,608

19%

8%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

2,090

5%

5,291

10%

153%

Soft Drink concentrate

609

2%

4,073

8%

569%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

1,636

4%

2,381

5%

46%

Medical Devices

1,782

5%

2,323

5%

30%

Specialised industrial machinery

298

1%

1,764

3%

492%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

1,102

3%

1,415

3%

28%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

608

2%

795

2%

31%

Dairy products

555

1%

780

2%

41%

Chile

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

55,469

58,636

6%

Non-alcoholic Beverages, Beer and Wine

38,124

69%

36,860

63%

-3%

Vegetables and fruit

11,474

21%

11,048

19%

-4%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

3,378

6%

4,708

8%

39%

Crude fertilisers and minerals, excl. coal, petroleum etc.

0%

1,414

2%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

314

1%

1,122

2%

257%

Dairy products

0%

726

1%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

302

1%

581

1%

92%

Inorganic chemicals

0%

499

1%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

159

0%

238

0%

50%

Footwear

884

2%

209

0%

-76%

Ecuador

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2006

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

11,116

5,788

-48%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

4,787

43%

1,296

22%

-73%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

1,385

12%

1,182

20%

-15%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

530

5%

839

14%

58%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

2,275

20%

709

12%

-69%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

4

0%

509

9%

12,625%

Organic chemicals

232

2%

432

7%

86%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

48

0%

272

5%

467%

Beverages

107

1%

183

3%

71%

Plastics in primary forms

59

1%

168

3%

185%

Power generating machinery and equipment

0%

65

1%

Ecuador

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2006

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

1,741

1,790

3%

Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof

876

50%

1,093

61%

25%

Vegetables and fruit

433

25%

501

28%

16%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

17

1%

104

6%

512%

Chemical materials and products

22

1%

40

2%

82%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

23

1%

19

1%

-17%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

15

1%

12

1%

-20%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

2

0%

7

0%

250%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

1

0%

3

0%

200%

Non-metallic mineral manufactures

35

2%

3

0%

-91%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

2

0%

2

0%

0%

Ecuador

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 07

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

5,788

14,536

151%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

509

9%

8,124

56%

1,496%

Computers

37

1%

2,334

16%

6,208%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

1,182

20%

1,195

8%

1%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

709

12%

1,062

7%

50%

Organic chemicals

432

7%

1,053

7%

144%

Beverages

183

3%

379

3%

107%

Specialised industrial machinery

7

0%

121

1%

1,629%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

1,296

22%

60

0%

-95%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

45

1%

58

0%

29%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

839

14%

54

0%

-94%

Ecuador

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 07

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

1,790

777

-57%

Vegetables and fruit

501

28%

713

92%

42%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

12

1%

25

3%

108%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

19

1%

14

2%

-26%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

1

0%

5

1%

400%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

7

0%

5

1%

-29%

Manufactures of metals

0

0%

4

1%

Computers

0

0%

3

0%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

3

0%

2

0%

-33%

Footwear

0

0%

2

0%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

1

0%

1

0%

0%

Ecuador

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 08

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 09

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 09

% change onJan-Dec 08

14,536

7,358

-49%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

1,062

7%

3,598

49%

239%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

8,124

56%

1,759

24%

-78%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

1,195

8%

1,131

15%

-5%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

379

3%

164

2%

-57%

Specialised industrial machinery

121

1%

153

2%

26%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

1,053

7%

114

2%

-89%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

60

0%

105

1%

75%

Medical Devices

10

0%

88

1%

780%

Computers

2,334

16%

77

1%

-97%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

58

0%

57

1%

-2%

Ecuador

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 09

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 09

% change onJan-Dec 08

1,417

1,382

-2%

Vegetables and fruit

676

48%

844

61%

25%

Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof

677

48%

484

35%

-29%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

0%

17

1%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

14

1%

10

1%

-29%

Medical Devices

0

0%

7

1%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

0%

7

1%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

25

2%

5

0%

-80%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

5

0%

4

0%

-20%

Iron and steel

0%

2

0%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

2

0%

1

0%

-50%

Ecuador

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

7,358

9,000

22%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

3,598

49%

4,372

49%

22%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

105

1%

2,279

25%

2,070%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

1,131

15%

1,165

13%

3%

Medical Devices

88

1%

280

3%

218%

Specialised industrial machinery

153

2%

248

3%

62%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

164

2%

179

2%

9%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

114

2%

173

2%

52%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

77

1%

113

1%

47%

Soft Drink concentrate

57

1%

69

1%

21%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

0

0%

49

1%

Ecuador

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2009

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

1,383

1,681

22%

Vegetables and fruit

845

61%

1,250

74%

48%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

0%

237

14%

Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof

484

35%

99

6%

-80%

Iron and steel

2

0%

28

2%

1,300%

Paper, paperboard and articles thereof

0

0%

21

1%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

10

1%

12

1%

20%

Plastics in primary forms

0%

12

1%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

5

0%

9

1%

80%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

1

0%

3

0%

200%

Meat and meat preparations

0%

3

0%

Ecuador

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

9,000

9,133

1%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

4,372

49%

5,215

57%

19%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

113

1%

1,380

15%

1,121%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

1,165

13%

1,323

14%

14%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

2,279

25%

491

5%

-78%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

49

1%

230

3%

369%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

179

2%

210

2%

17%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

173

2%

93

1%

-46%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

19

0%

73

1%

284%

Soft Drink concentrate

69

1%

72

1%

4%

Specialised industrial machinery

248

3%

22

0%

-91%

Ecuador

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

1,681

1,981

18%

Vegetables and fruit

1,250

74%

946

48%

-24%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

237

14%

508

26%

114%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

9

1%

226

11%

2,411%

Meat and meat preparations

3

0%

52

3%

1,633%

Aircraft engines and parts

0%

38

2%

Plastics in primary forms

12

1%

35

2%

192%

Makeup Products, Softdrink Concentrate, Hair products

0%

30

2%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

12

1%

27

1%

125%

Paper, paperboard and articles thereof

21

1%

22

1%

5%

Manufactures of metals

0%

18

1%

Guyana

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2006

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

553

1,189

115%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

522

94%

533

45%

2%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

0%

518

44%

Beverages

0%

85

7%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

0%

50

4%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

3

1%

2

0%

-33%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

2

0%

1

0%

-50%

Chemical materials and products

12

2%

0

0%

-100%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

0

0%

0%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

14

3%

0%

-100%

Guyana

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2006

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

82

211

157%

Beverages

76

93%

171

81%

125%

Cork and wood

0%

29

14%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

0%

6

3%

Vegetables and fruit

0%

5

2%

Non-metallic mineral manufactures

0%

0

0%

Specialised industrial machinery

0

0%

0

0%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

2

2%

0

0%

-100%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

0%

0

0%

Metalliferous ores and metal scrap

4

5%

0%

-100%

Metalworking machinery

0

0%

0%

Guyana

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 07

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

1,189

671

-44%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

533

45%

528

79%

-1%

Dairy products

0%

87

13%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

0%

51

8%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

2

0%

3

0%

50%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

1

0%

1

0%

0%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

0%

1

0%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

518

44%

0

0%

-100%

Beverages

85

7%

0%

-100%

Chemical materials and products

0

0%

0%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

50

4%

0%

-100%

No Imports in this period

Guyana

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 08

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 09

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 09

% change onJan-Dec 08

671

1,182

76%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

528

79%

556

47%

5%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

0

0%

409

35%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

51

8%

127

11%

149%

Medical Devices

0%

90

8%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

0%

0

0%

Specialised industrial machinery

0%

0

0%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

0%

0

0%

Dairy products

87

13%

0%

-100%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

3

0%

0%

-100%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

1

0%

0%

-100%

Guyana

Imports (€000)Jan- Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan- Dec 08

Imports (€000)Jan- Dec 09

% of total ImportsJan- Dec 09

% change onJan- Dec 08

0

11

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

6

55%

Cereals and cereal preparations

2

18%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

0

1

9%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

0

1

9%

Specialised industrial machinery

1

9%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

0

0

0%

Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc

0

0%

Crude fertilisers and minerals, excl. coal, petroleum etc.

0

0%

Road vehicles

0

0%

Travel goods, handbags and similar containers

0

0%

Guyana

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

1,182

1,030

-13%

Soft Drink concentrate

556

47%

505

49%

-9%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

409

35%

254

25%

-38%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

0%

212

21%

-

Medical Devices

90

8%

42

4%

-53%

Manufactures of metals

0%

8

1%

-

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

127

11%

7

1%

-94%

Specialised industrial machinery

0

0%

1

0%

-

Textile fibres and their wastes

0%

1

0%

-

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

0

0%

0

0%

-

Paper, paperboard and articles thereof

0%

0

0%

-

Guyana

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

11

97

782%

Misc Plastic, Stents, Other Misc Articles

1

9%

95

98%

9,400%

Crude fertilisers and minerals, excl. coal, petroleum etc.

0%

22%

Specialised industrial machinery

1

9%

0

0%

-100%

Non-alcoholic Beverages, Beer and Wine

0

0%

0

0%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

6

55%

0%

-100%

Cereals and cereal preparations

2

18%

0%

-100%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

1

9%

0%

-100%

Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc

0

0%

0%

Guyana

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

1,030

962

-7%

Soft Drink concentrate

505

49%

635

66%

26%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

0%

122

13%

Medical Devices

42

4%

80

8%

90%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

212

21%

79

8%

-63%

Non-metallic mineral manufactures

0%

33

3%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

7

1%

13

1%

86%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

254

25%

0

0%

-100%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

0

0%

0

0%

Manufactures of metals

8

1%

0%

-100%

Textile fibres and their wastes

1

0%

0%

-100%

Guyana

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

97

1,726

1679%

Alumina, zinc and other ores and Scrap Meta

0%

1,677

97%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

0%

35

2%

Cork and wood

0%

7

0%

Misc Plastic, Stents, Other Misc Articles

95

98%

6

0%

-94%

Specialised industrial machinery

0

0%

1

0%

Non-alcoholic Beverages, Beer and Wine

0

0%

0

0%

Crude fertilisers and minerals, excl. coal, petroleum etc.

2

2%

0%

-100%

Paraguay

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2006

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

391

1,233

215%

Computers

1

0%

963

78%

96,200%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

2

1%

162

13%

8,000%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

99

25%

57

5%

-42%

Beverages

16

4%

45

4%

181%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

4

1%

6

0%

50%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

268

69%

0%

-100%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

1

0%

0%

-100%

Paraguay

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2006

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

328

105

-68%

Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc

66

20%

25

24%

-62%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

1

0%

20

19%

1,900%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

30

9%

17

16%

-43%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

0%

10

10%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

0%

7

7%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

0%

7

7%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

0%

6

6%

Leather; leather manufactures; dressed furskins

10

3%

3

3%

-70%

Manufactures of metals

15

5%

3

3%

-80%

Non-metallic mineral manufactures

0%

2

2%

Paraguay

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2008

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2008

% change onJan-Dec 2007

1,233

278

-77%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

57

5%

143

51%

151%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

162

13%

50

18%

-69%

Beverages

45

4%

49

18%

9%

Plastics in primary forms

0%

31

11%

Computers

963

78%

3

1%

-100%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

6

0%

2

1%

-67%

Paraguay

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2008

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2008

% change onJan-Dec 2007

105

27

-74%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

17

16%

8

30%

-53%

Cork and wood

0%6

2

2%

Leather; leather manufactures; dressed furskins

3

3%

6

22%

100%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

20

19%

6

22%

-70%

Road vehicles

0%

1

4%

Beverages

0%

0

0%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

1

1%

0

0%

-100%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

1

1%

0%

-100%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

0

0%

0%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

7

7%

0%

-100%

Paraguay

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2008

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2008

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

% change onJan-Dec 2008

278

281

1%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

143

51%

183

65%

28%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

49

18%

39

14%

-20%

Plastics in primary forms

31

11%

32

11%

3%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

0%

19

7%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

50

18%

4

1%

-92%

Medical Devices

2

1%

2

1%

0%

Chemical materials and products

0%

2

1%

Paper, paperboard and articles thereof

0%

0

0%

Shannon Free Airport Trade and Unclassified Trade

0%

0

0%

Computers

3

1%

0%

-100%

Paraguay

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2008

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2008

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

% change onJan-Dec 2008

27

38

41%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

8

30%

35

92%

338%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

0%

3

8%

Leather; leather manufactures; dressed furskins

6

22%

0

0%

-100%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

6

22%

0

0%

-100%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

0

0%

0

0%

Computers

0%

0

0%

Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc

0%

0

0%

Cork and wood

6

22%

0%

-100%

Road vehicles

1

4%

0%

-100%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

0

0%

0%

Paraguay

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

281

657

134%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

0%

230

35%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

183

65%

169

26%

-8%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

19

7%

111

17%

484%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

0%

58

9%

Plastics in primary forms

32

11%

34

5%

6%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

39

14%

33

5%

-15%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

0%

7

1%

Specialised industrial machinery

0%

6

1%

Chemical materials and products

2

1%

4

1%

100%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

4

1%

3

0%

-25%

Paraguay

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

38

292

668%

Plastics in primary forms

0%

269

92%

Makeup Products, Softdrink Concentrate, Hair products

35

92%

18

6%

-49%

Contact Lenses and other optical goods

0%

4

1%

Misc Plastic, Stents, Other Misc Articles

0

0%

1

0%

Vegetables and fruit

0%

0

0%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

0%

0

0%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

0%

0

0%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

0%

0

0%

Non-metallic mineral manufactures

0%

0

0%

-

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

3

8%

0%

-100%

Paraguay

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

657

919

40%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

230

35%

342

37%

49%

Specialised industrial machinery

6

1%

256

28%

4,167%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

169

26%

139

15%

-18%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

33

5%

55

6%

67%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

7

1%

37

4%

429%

Plastics in primary forms

34

5%

35

4%

3%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

58

9%

28

3%

-52%

Aircraft engines and parts

0%

12

1%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

3

0%

7

1%

133%

Chemical materials and products

4

1%

4

0%

0%

Paraguay

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

292

1,374

371%

Plastics in primary forms

269

92%

1,268

92%

371%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

0%

67

5%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

0%

28

2%

Medical Devices

0%

9

1%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

0%

1

0%

Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc

0%

1

0%

Misc Plastic, Stents, Other Misc Articles

1

0%

0

0%

-100%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

0%

0

0%

Leather; leather manufactures; dressed furskins

0%

0

0%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

0%

0

0%

Uruguay

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2006

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

5,413

9,731

80%

Hides, skins and furskins, raw

1,552

29%

4,680

48%

202%

Plastics in primary forms

636

12%

745

8%

17%

Beverages

339

6%

706

7%

108%

Computers

134

2%

676

7%

404%

Specialised industrial machinery

10

0%

625

6%

6,150%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

545

10%

614

6%

13%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

228

4%

572

6%

151%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

8

0%

320

3%

3,900%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

233

4%

230

2%

-1%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

153

3%

186

2%

22%

Uruguay

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2006

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

5,276

2,090

-60%

Vegetables and fruit

1,149

22%

914

44%

-20%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

0%

672

32%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

0%

112

5%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

68

1%

77

4%

13%

Cork and wood

0%

75

4%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

0%

74

4%

Computers

0%

33

2%

Beverages

68

1%

26

1%

-62%

Non-metallic mineral manufactures

0%

25

1%

Plastics in primary forms

0%

24

1%

Uruguay

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 07

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

9,731

9,597

-1%

Manufactures of metals

5

0%

2,782

29%

55,540%

Hides, skins and furskins, raw

4,680

48%

1,886

20%

-60%

Beverages

706

7%

1,008

11%

43%

Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus

572

6%

869

9%

52%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

186

2%

696

7%

274%

Plastics in primary forms

745

8%

645

7%

-13%

Computers

676

7%

514

5%

-24%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

320

3%

345

4%

8%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

12

0%

202

2%

1,583%

Specialised industrial machinery

625

6%

199

2%

-68%

Uruguay

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 07

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

2,090

2,052

-2%

Meat and meat preparations

8

0%

1,339

65%

16638%

Vegetables and fruit

914

44%

300

15%

-67%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

672

32%

199

10%

-70%

Computers

33

2%

77

4%

133%

Iron and steel

0%

40

2%

Plastics in non-primary forms

0%

38

2%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

77

4%

23

1%

-70%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

8

0%

13

1%

63%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

3

0%

7

0%

133%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

5

0%

5

0%

0%

Uruguay

Exports (€000)Jan- Dec-08

% of total ExportsJan- Dec-08

Exports (€000)Jan- Dec-09

% of total ExportsJan- Dec-09

% change onJan- Dec-08

9,597

8,304

-13%

Medical Devices

869

9%

2,064

25%

138%

Hides, skins and furskins, raw

1,886

20%

1,140

14%

-40%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

202

2%

1,072

13%

431%

Manufactures of metals

2,782

29%

1,039

13%

-63%

Computers

514

5%

821

10%

60%

Plastics in primary forms

645

7%

803

10%

24%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

1,008

11%

471

6%

-53%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

696

7%

353

4%

-49%

Specialised industrial machinery

199

2%

155

2%

-22%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

345

4%

85

1%

-75%

Uruguay

Imports (€000)Jan- Dec-08

% of total ImportsJan- Dec-08

Imports (€000)Jan- Dec-09

% of total ImportsJan- Dec-09

% change onJan- Dec-08

2,729

7,023

157%

Meat and meat preparations

1,882

69%

6,425

91%

241%

Vegetables and fruit

300

11%

409

6%

36%

Medical Devices

0%

56

1%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

23

1%

35

0%

52%

Computers

77

3%

27

0%

-65%

Chemical materials and products

0

0%

14

0%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

0%

11

0%

Dyeing, tanning and colouring materials

1

0%

10

0%

900%

Aircraft and Parts (not including engines)

0%

9

0%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

13

0%

7

0%

-46%

Uruguay

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

8,337

10,548

27%

Medical Devices

2,064

25%

2,910

28%

41%

Hides, skins and furskins, raw

1,140

14%

1,622

15%

42%

Plastics in primary forms

803

10%

1,110

11%

38%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

62

1%

762

7%

1,129%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

841

10%

750

7%

-11%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

471

6%

638

6%

35%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

1,072

13%

565

5%

-47%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

366

4%

555

5%

52%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

85

1%

318

3%

274%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

15

0%

316

3%

2007%

Uruguay

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2009

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

7,030

6,192

-12%

Meat and meat preparations

6,425

91%

4,855

78%

-24%

Makeup Products, Softdrink Concentrate, Hair products

0

0%

419

7%

Vegetables and fruit

416

6%

408

7%

-2%

Medical Devices

56

1%

142

2%

154%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

27

0%

60

1%

122%

Chemical materials and products

14

0%

53

1%

279%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

0%

47

1%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

0

0%

33

1%

Plastics in primary forms

0%

33

1%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

35

0%

26

0%

-26%

Uruguay

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

10,548

9,854

-7%

Medical Devices

2,910

28%

2,474

25%

-15%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

638

6%

1,428

14%

124%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

750

7%

1,160

12%

55%

Plastics in primary forms

1,110

11%

1,119

11%

1%

Hides, skins and furskins, raw

1,622

15%

768

8%

-53%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

555

5%

687

7%

24%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

565

5%

486

5%

-14%

Manufactures of metals

267

3%

473

5%

77%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

762

7%

463

5%

-39%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

126

1%

175

2%

39%

Uruguay

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

6,192

3,760

-39%

Meat and meat preparations

4,855

78%

2,033

54%

-58%

Makeup Products, Softdrink Concentrate, Hair products

419

7%

1,134

30%

171%

Vegetables and fruit

408

7%

220

6%

-46%

Plastics in primary forms

33

1%

143

4%

333%

Sugar, sugar preparation and honey

47

1%

46

1%

-2%

Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)

21

0%

34

1%

62%

Iron and steel

0%

33

1%

Non-alcoholic Beverages, Beer and Wine

25

0%

22

1%

-12%

Shannon Free Airport Trade and Unclassified Trade

0

0%

20

1%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

26

0%

17

0%

-35%

Venezuela

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2006

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2006

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2007

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2007

% change onJan-Dec 2006

46,342

46,298

0%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

20,387

44%

12,990

28%

-36%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

11,263

24%

11,297

24%

0%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

9

0%

6,987

15%

77,533%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

3,079

7%

5,192

11%

69%

Computers

7,043

15%

2,294

5%

-67%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

250

1%

1,831

4%

632%

Beverages

581

1%

1,769

4%

204%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

809

2%

1,036

2%

28%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

2

0%

1,006

2%

50,200%

Dairy products

742

2%

520

1%

-30%

Venezuela

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 07

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

46,298

76,543

65%

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

12,990

28%

46,760

61%

260%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

11,297

24%

15,754

21%

39%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

6,987

15%

4,713

6%

-33%

Organic chemicals

262

1%

2,617

3%

899%

Dairy products

520

1%

2,252

3%

333%

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

1,036

2%

1,036

1%

0%

Other transport equipment

0%

1,000

1%

Beverages

1,769

4%

753

1%

-57%

Computers

2,294

5%

625

1%

-73%

Specialised industrial machinery

39

0%

273

0%

600%

Venezuela

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 07

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 07

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 08

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 08

% change onJan-Dec 07

886

1,918

116%

Computers

1

0%

1,426

74%

142,500%

Plastics in primary forms

0%

237

12%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

104

12%

167

9%

61%

General industrial machinery and equipment and parts

0%

26

1%

Photographic apparatus; optical goods; watches clocks

16

2%

21

1%

31%

Specialised industrial machinery

1

0%

12

1%

1,100%

Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances and parts

0

0%

11

1%

Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc

0%

11

1%

Iron and steel

0%

3

0%

Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products

1

0%

1

0%

0%

Venezuela

Exports (€000)Jan- Dec-08

% of total ExportsJan- Dec-08

Exports (€000)Jan- Dec-09

% of total ExportsJan- Dec-09

% change onJan- Dec-08

76,543

39,577

-48%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

15,754

21%

20,947

53%

33%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

46,760

61%

14,237

36%

-70%

Computers

625

1%

1,606

4%

157%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

4,713

6%

687

2%

-85%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

753

1%

549

1%

-27%

Dairy products

2,252

3%

358

1%

-84%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

58

0%

273

1%

371%

Essential oils, perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preps

213

0%

254

1%

19%

Medical Devices

64

0%

123

0%

92%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

2,617

3%

115

0%

-96%

Venezuela

Imports (€000)Jan- Dec-08

% of total ImportsJan- Dec-08

Imports (€000)Jan- Dec-09

% of total ImportsJan- Dec-09

% change onJan- Dec-08

2,006

146

-93%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

167

8%

53

36%

-68%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

0%

44

30%

Computers

1,426

71%

42

29%

-97%

Specialised industrial machinery

12

1%

5

3%

-58%

Footwear

1

0%

1

1%

0%

Pacemakers, cds, dvds and other digital media

1

0%

1

1%

0%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

11

1%

0

0%

-100%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

1

0%

0

0%

-100%

Paper, paperboard and articles thereof

0

0%

0

0%

Manufactures of metals

0

0%

0

0%

Venezuela

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2009

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ExportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

39,714

46,209

16%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

21,028

53%

25,053

54%

19%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

14,237

36%

8,974

19%

-37%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

1,663

4%

3,885

8%

134%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

115

0%

3,765

8%

3,174%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

105

0%

1,194

3%

1,037%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

273

1%

860

2%

215%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

549

1%

577

1%

5%

Soft Drink concentrate

254

1%

548

1%

116%

Dairy products

358

1%

277

1%

-23%

Medical Devices

123

0%

275

1%

124%

Venezuela

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2009

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2009

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

% change onJan-Dec 2009

146

1,209

728%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

44

30%

720

60%

1,536%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

42

29%

219

18%

421%

Misc Plastic, Stents, Other Misc Articles

1

1%

99

8%

9,800%

Crude animal and vegetable materials

0%

54

4%

Aircraft and Parts (not including engines)

0%

50

4%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

0

0%

48

4%

Medical Devices

0%

9

1%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

0

0%

3

0%

Footwear

1

1%

2

0%

100%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

0

0%

2

0%

Venezuela

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

Exports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

46,209

53,062

15%

Medical and pharmaceutical products

25,053

54%

20,490

39%

-18%

Infant foods and other misc. edible products and preparations

8,974

19%

14,293

27%

59%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

3,885

8%

6,951

13%

79%

Organic chemicals (mainly for pharmaceutical sector)

3,765

8%

5,291

10%

41%

Coffee, tea cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

1,194

3%

1,664

3%

39%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

860

2%

850

2%

-1%

Spirits\Whiskey, Beer\Cider and other Beverages

577

1%

583

1%

1%

Aircraft engines and parts

13

0%

534

1%

4,008%

Soft Drink concentrate

548

1%

442

1%

-19%

Stents, Pacemakers, digital media, Artificial Body Parts etc

154

0%

442

1%

187%

Venezuela

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2010

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2010

Imports (€000)Jan-Dec 2011

% of total ImportsJan-Dec 2011

% change onJan-Dec 2010

1,209

394

-67%

Medical Devices

9

1%

90

23%

900%

Misc Plastic, Stents, Other Misc Articles

99

8%

76

19%

-23%

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits

0%

53

13%

Computers, Computer Parts and Storage Devices

219

18%

49

12%

-78%

Plastics in primary forms

0%

45

11%

Manufactures of metals

0%

30

8%

Non-alcoholic Beverages, Beer and Wine

1

0%

26

7%

2,500%

Electronic Components and integrated circuits

3

0%

23

6%

667%

Telecommunications and sound equipment

48

4%

1

0%

-98%

Articles of apparel; clothing accessories

2

0%

1

0%

-50%

Tribunals of Inquiry

Micheál Martin

Question:

285 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the progress made on the recommendations of the Moriarty Tribunal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21296/12]

The Moriarty Tribunal made two recommendations for changes to company law, as follows:

That a provision similar to section 172 of the UK Companies Act, 2006 be adopted, together with the adoption of additional implementation or enforcement measures.

That consideration be given by the Oireachtas, and/or by the Company Law Review Group, to enacting provisions similar to those contained in Part 14 of the UK Companies Act, 2006, governing the control of political donations and expenditure.

The Government considered that provisions in the forthcoming Companies Bill, which will consolidate and give a statutory footing to the duties of directors, meet the objectives of the first recommendation above. The first, and main, part of the Companies Bill, including the provisions on directors' duties, was published in "soft copy" in May 2011. With regard to the second recommendation above, the Government intends to impose restrictions on corporate donations within electoral, and not company law. Accordingly, provisions to this effect are contained in the Electoral Amendment (Political Funding) Bill, which comes within the remit of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, and which is currently before the Oireachtas.

Job Creation

Derek Keating

Question:

286 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if his attention has been drawn to the fact that areas of Dublin (details supplied) have large numbers of residents who are long-term unemployed; his strategy to address particular black spots like this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21222/12]

There are two major elements to the Government's response to unemployment —Pathways to Work and the Action Plan for Jobs. The aim of Pathways to Work is to develop a new approach to engaging with people on the Live Register, particularly those who are long-term unemployed. The public employment services are being reformed as part of this process, to provide better targeted services to both job seekers and employers.

Pathways to Work includes the objective of ensuring that at least 75,000 of those currently long-term unemployed will move into employment by 2015. The labour market activation measures outlined in Pathways to Work include over 85,000 job placement/work experience places to be delivered in 2012 by the Department of Social Protection, and over 450,000 training and education places to be delivered by the Department of Education and Skills. The Action Plan for Jobs underpins the work of the enterprise development agencies under my Department's remit, which provides a range of supports to companies including in the areas of interest to the Deputy.

Specifically targeting communities, a new Community Enterprise Centre (CEC) Development Programme has been developed for the maintenance or establishment of a strong business development function in the Community Enterprise Centres funded by Enterprise Ireland. Action Community and Enterprise Ltd manages two Enterprise Centres in Bawnogue and Neilstown which accommodate 42 small enterprises that account for 143 jobs. Enterprise Ireland has also supported the recent refurbishment of the Neilstown Enterprise Centre under the previous CEC Development Scheme 2007/09.

I understand that applications have been made under the current CEC programme for funding for Business Development Managers for Neilstown, Killinarden and Bolbrook/Brookfield Enterprise Centres. The decision on applications for funding will be announced in June. In 2011, South Dublin County Enterprise Board assisted 38 projects to the value of €357,682 which resulted in the creation of 45 jobs. 464 training participants availed of South Dublin CEB training/mentoring courses in 2011. During 2012, South Dublin CEB will continue to support enterprise development in the area through the provision of both direct and indirect assistance and will ensure that available funds are targeted to maximise entrepreneurial development at county level.

International Agreements

Willie O'Dea

Question:

287 Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his position on the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement; if he will be instructing MEPs from Government parties to support the matter when it comes before them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21329/12]

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is an international trade agreement that aims to help countries work together to tackle more effectively large-scale Intellectual Property Rights violations by clamping down on counterfeiting and piracy. It aims to strike a fair balance between the interests of the parties concerned, including citizens, consumers, civil society and business; and to guarantee all safeguards and exemptions provided by existing or European norms, such as fundamental rights, privacy and freedom of speech. Ireland, along with 21 other Member States signed ACTA on 26 January 2012.

Following public concerns regarding ACTA, the Commission has decided to refer the Agreement to the Court of Justice of the European Union to assess whether it is in any way incompatible with the EU's fundamental principles in particular with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Commission Legal Service is currently finalising the written submission that will accompany the question.

MEPs are democratically elected to represent the citizens of the European Union and act independently in that role in the EU Parliament. As a Member of the European Parliament and a representative of the people of Europe, it is their responsibility to fully inform themselves of the merit of this Agreement for the people of Europe prior to any vote. Accordingly, my Department is available to provide MEPs with background briefing should that be required.

Commercial Rent Reviews

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

288 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if under the proposals of the action plan for jobs, action 1.15, he sought an ending of upward only rent clauses operated by Departments and agencies, as a mechanism for reducing charges. [21364/12]

In order to progress the commitment in the Action Plan for Jobs concerning Government charges on business (Action 1.15), I wrote to my Ministerial colleagues in March, asking them to examine all charges which are levied on business by their Departments and associated bodies, with a view to identifying which of these costs can be reduced or frozen to the end of 2013 or beyond. It is a matter for each Department or agency, where appropriate, to consider the potential for reducing rental costs as part of this exercise. The Land Conveyancing and Law Reform Act 2009 abolished upward-only rent reviews for all new leases signed on or after 28 February 2010.

As far as my own Department is concerned, IDA Ireland and Shannon Development operate significant property portfolios. While both agencies hold leases that pre-date 28 February 2010, the IDA Ireland and Shannon Development have confirmed that, where businesses are in difficulty, they have, on a case by case basis, responded to and facilitated companies' requests for reduced rent and they will continue to do so. The IDA has informed me that they have not increased any client rents since 2010.

Economic Competitiveness

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

289 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the areas of the economy considered by him or the Competition Authority as part of the action 1.32 of the action plan for jobs and their relevant economic value. [21365/12]

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

290 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the criteria and relevant scoring matrix, used to identify the economic areas for further detailed investigation under action 1.32 of the action plan for jobs. [21366/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 289 and 290 together.

Action point 1.32 of the Action Plan for Jobs commits to the identification of any sheltered areas of the economy where competition is restricted and the commissioning of studies on such areas where appropriate. In order to meet the Q 1 commitment to identify sheltered areas of the economy where competition is restricted the Competition Authority undertook an exercise to identify any such sheltered areas.

Having identified an initial range of areas of the economy that are likely to be sheltered in some way from competition, the Competition Authority applied its prioritisation principles to identify those that would potentially benefit the most from a market study. The five prioritisation principles are: Significance of the issue or effect of the conduct in question; Impact of the Competition Authority's action; Wider economic significance of the market involved; Strategic significance and Risks, resources and costs.

A detailed explanation of each of these prioritisation principles and how they are applied is outlined in the Competition Authority's Prioritisation Principles booklet which can be found on its website athttp://www.tca.ie/images/uploaded/documents/Prioritisation%20booklet.pdf .

The Authority is now engaged in a detailed scoping exercise to enable an informed decision to be taken on which sheltered area will be subjected to an in-depth study.

EU Funding

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

291 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if the envisaged Social Finance Foundation will be structured in such a way as to the enable it to make an application under the EU progress micro enterprise fund. [21367/12]

Loans from the Microfinance Loan Fund will be administered under the remit of the Social Finance Foundation on behalf of the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The European Progress Microfinance Facility is a European Investment Fund (EIF) initiative to support entrepreneurship and employment through microfinance activities. It was established by the EU Commission in 2010. Initial engagement has already taken place between Social Finance Foundation and the EIF in relation to the EU Progress Microfinance Guarantee Facility. Formal application will be made for the EU Progress Microfinance Guarantee Facility on establishment of the Micro-finance Fund. A rigorous due diligence process is required to secure EIF accreditation.

Enterprise Support Services

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

292 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number and location of community enterprise centres funded by Enterprise Ireland. [21368/12]

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

293 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of businesses supported by each of the community enterprise centres funded by Enterprise Ireland. [21369/12]

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

294 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of community enterprise centres funded by Enterprise Ireland that operate upward only rent clauses with their small and medium enterprise tenants. [21370/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 292 to 294, inclusive, together.

There are 132 Community Enterprise Centres that have been completed or approved for funding from Enterprise Ireland and their locations are listed in the following tabular statement.

The number of businesses supported by each Community Enterprise Centre is a day-to-day operational matter for the centre concerned. However, I am informed by Enterprise Ireland that according to a Community Enterprise Centre survey conducted in November 2011, in which 95 centres responded out of 110 centres surveyed, there were 775 tenants in the 95 Community Enterprise Centres that responded to the survey.

Clauses in rent agreements between the Community Enterprise Centres and their tenants are a matter for the parties concerned. However, I understand from Enterprise Ireland that the survey of Community Enterprise Centres found that each respondent centre mentioned that they conduct a yearly review with tenants to examine rent rates and facility charges. These centres stated that they have reduced their rents, in some cases significantly, to compete with private sector market space since the downturn in the economy.

Community Enterprise Centres 2012:

Map Ref No.

RegionBorder

County

Location

1

Cavan

Kilgarry

2

Cavan

Killeshandra

3

Cavan

Cootehill

4

Cavan

Blacklion

5

Cavan

Bailieborough

6

Cavan

Cavan

7

Cavan

Kingscourt

8

Donegal

Carndonagh

9

Donegal

Donegal town

10

Donegal

Convoy

11

Donegal

Letterkenny

12

Donegal

Ballyshannon

13

Donegal

Glenties

14

Donegal

Moville

16

Donegal

Taughboyne

17

Donegal

Lifford

18

Donegal

Ballybofey and Stranorlar

19

Leitrim

Drumshanbo

20

Leitrim

Corry

21

Leitrim

Ballinamore/Ballyconnell

22

Leitrim

Carrick-on-Shannon

23

Leitrim

Manorhamilton

24

Leitrim

Mohill

25

Leitrim

Drumkerrin

26

Louth

Ardee

27

Louth

Drogheda

28

Louth

Dundalk

29

Louth

Greenore

30

Monaghan

Ballybay

31

Monaghan

Castleblayney

32

Monaghan

Emyvale

33

Monaghan

Monaghan

34

Monaghan

Carrickmacross

35

Sligo

Collooney

36

Sligo

Sligo

37

Sligo

Easkey

38

Sligo

Ballymote

Dublin

39

Dublin

Coolock

40

Dublin

Darndale

41

Dublin

Liberty

42

Dublin

Nth Kings Street

43

Dublin

Oxmantown

44

Dublin

Steppingstone

45

Dublin

Ballymun

46

Dublin

Bolton St

47

Dublin

Balbriggan

48

Dublin

Blanchardstown

49

Dublin

Tallaght (Bolbrook)

50

Dublin

Tallaght (Brookfield)

51

Dublin

Avonbeg

52

Dublin

Neilstown

53

Dublin

Killinarden

54

Dublin

Bawnogue

55

Dublin

Clondalkin

56

Dublin

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (Nutgrove)

57

Dublin

Fingal

58

Dublin

Terenure

Mid East

59

Kildare

Allenwood

60

Kildare

Athy

61

Kildare

Clane

62

Meath

Kells

63

Meath

Navan

64

Meath

Trim

65

Wicklow

Arklow

66

Wicklow

Wicklow

Midlands

67

Laois

Portarlington

68

Laois

Mountmellick

69

Longford

Longford

70

Longford

Granard

71

Offaly

Ferbane

72

Offaly

Edenderry

73

Offaly

Kilcormac

74

Westmeath

Athlone

75

Westmeath

Mullingar

Sth/Sth East

76

Carlow

Carlow

77

Cork

Macroom

78

Cork

Youghal

79

Cork

Mitchelstown

80

Cork

Knockgriffin (Middleton)

81

Cork

Bantry (Allihies)

82

Kilkenny

Kilkenny

83

Kilkenny

Piltown

84

Waterford

Dunhill

85

Waterford

Lismore

86

Waterford

Waterford

87

Waterford

Cappoquin

88

Waterford

Portlaw

89

Waterford

Tallow

90

Waterford

Dungarvan

91

Waterford

Kilmacthomas

92

Wexford

Wexford

93

Wexford

Enniscorthy

94

Wexford

Tagoat Yola

95

Tipperary South

Clonmel

96

Tipperary South

Tipperary

97

Tipperary South

Carrick-on Suir

West

98

Galway

Ballinasloe

99

Galway

Tuam

100

Galway

Clonberne

101

Galway

Letterfrack

102

Galway

Galway

103

Galway

Dunmore

104

Mayo

Kiltimagh

105

Mayo

Ballyhaunis

106

Mayo

Brickins Logboy Tulrahan

107

Mayo

Castlebar

108

Mayo

Claremorris

109

Mayo

Foxford

110

Mayo

Ballina

111

Mayo

Killala

112

Mayo

Claremorris

113

Mayo

Crossmolina

114

Roscommon

Boyle

115

Roscommon

Castlerea

116

Roscommon

Arigna

117

Roscommon

Ballaghaderreen

118

Roscommon

Roscommon

Mid West

119

Clare

Ennistymon

120

Clare

Kilkee

121

Kerry

Killarney

122

Kerry

Farranfore

123

Kerry

Ballylongford

124

Kerry

Kenmare

125

Kerry

Kilgarvan

126

Kerry

Roughty Valley

127

Kerry

Caherciveen

128

Limerick

Limerick

129

Limerick

Kantogher

130

Limerick

Kilmallock

131

Limerick

Murroe

132

Limerick

Bruree

133

Tipperary North

Rearcross

Job Creation

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

295 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the consideration being given under action 3.4 of the action plan for jobs to develop clustering of business to address employment differentials across the State. [21371/12]

Action 3.4 of the Action Plan for Jobs makes a commitment to "support industry-led clustering in key areas of opportunity, based on new models, industry proposals, and newly developed niche market strategies". In March, a working group comprising officials of my Department, Forfás, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland met to progress development of an approach and a programme to support industry-led clustering. The group identified a number of sectors which have the potential to progress clustering, particularly in the form of collaborative industry-led networks which seek to identify mutual objectives and, which if tackled collaboratively, can have a positive impact on the capability of companies to grow and create employment, wherever they are located.

The group also identified some of the key principles which a clustering programme should embody, taking account of best practice. Early stage consultations with industry were undertaken during April. It is intended that industry proposals for the establishment of collaborative networks to drive clustering will be invited during Quarter 2 2012, with an active roll-out of the programme taking place in the latter half of this year in line with the Action Plan for Jobs.

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

296 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the consideration being given to working with Invest NI to develop business clusters along the Border region. [21372/12]

In the context of regional and all-island economic development, and recognising the opportunity to pursue mutually beneficial cross border co-operation on aspects of economic policy and infrastructure/spatial planning, IDA Ireland cooperates on a number of initiatives with Invest Northern Ireland. Both agencies also share a strategic focus on attracting companies from the targeted sectors of ICT, Financial Services and Clean technologies.

One of the success stories of this co-operation between the two agencies is the jointly developed North West Business and Technology Zone (NWBTZ). The fundamental aim has been to capitalise on the combined strengths of Letterkenny and Derry City as an economic corridor, to develop compatible infrastructure and property solutions, which are now in place, and to make the region more attractive for investment. The initiative has provided the catalyst for Eircom, Bytel and BT to invest independently in the telecoms infrastructure between Letterkenny and Derry and has also led to the development of Project Kelvin, which is the first direct International Communications link of its kind into the North West of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The economies of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland both have a highly educated workforce and IDA Ireland highlights this competitive advantage to perspective investors. The skills pool available, both north and south of the Border, are presented to potential investors as a key competitive advantage of investing in the Border region on the island of Ireland. Up to 15% of IDA supported companies in the Border region employ staff living in Northern Ireland, increasing employment and prosperity in areas of north of the Border. A recent example of this is Paypal who chose to invest in Dundalk based on the pool of skilled staff it could recruit from the large catchment area incorporating both sides of the Border. While IDA does seek to influence location, the final decision as to where to locate is taken by the investor.

Innovation Fund Ireland

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

297 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will details the management fees and administration costs associated with Innovation Fund Ireland. [21373/12]

The management fees associated with investments made under Innovation Fund Ireland are agreed confidentially between the parties involved and are commercially sensitive. I am therefore not in a position to provide this information. The administration of the Fund is carried out by Enterprise Ireland and the National Pensions Reserve Fund as part of their day to day operations and is met from the overall administrative budgets of the bodies concerned.

Public Procurement

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

298 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will detail any increase in the number of small and medium enterprise winning Government procurement contracts. [21374/12]

Public procurement affords an opportunity for SMEs to secure new business and grow employment; approximately €14 billion will be spent by public bodies this year in purchasing goods and services. The Government is keen to ensure that SMEs have access to procurement opportunities and the Action Plan for Jobs contains a number of measures designed to improve SME access to those opportunities. These include:

ensuring that pre-qualification criteria (e.g. turnover, insurance thresholds, experience) for public procurement contracts are proportionate,

the assignment by Enterprise Ireland of advisors and mentors to help client companies prepare better for public procurement opportunities, and

encouraging more SMEs to register on the Government's eTenders website to enable forthcoming procurement opportunities to be brought to their attention.

The impact of these actions will be measured over time.

The number of companies currently registered on the eTenders website stands at over 72,000. Approximately 90% of these are SMEs. I understand that the National Procurement Service is currently evaluating tenders for an upgraded eTenders website, which will include a facility to generate reports giving details of contracts awarded. Ultimately, however, the award of a contract to any particular company is a matter for the procuring authority in question, having regard to the content of the tenders received and the criteria under which they are assessed.

Job Creation

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

299 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will provide an overview of the scoping work and initial research conducted into the role of social enterprise in job creation as outlined in action 6.7 of the action plan for jobs. [21375/12]

Clare Daly

Question:

304 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps which he has taken in relation to social enterprise with reference to the below statements from the Labour Party and Fine Gael Manifestos of 2011 county enterprise boards will, be mandated to develop a specific support package for start-up Social Entrepreneurs, Labour Party Manifesto 2011 support for social enterprises to engage in the public procurement and public sector contract opportunities, as is the case in Italy, the UK, and France, A strategy to support the acquisition of assets to community trusts which would assist communities to generate income. An instruction from central Government to State agencies to view social enterprises as important stakeholders in regenerating local economies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21551/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 299 and 304 together.

The Programme for Government states that: "The Government will promote the development of a vibrant and effective social enterprise sector. We will instruct agencies to view social enterprises as important stakeholders in rejuvenating local economies. We will continue support for social innovation projects for young people through education, community and voluntary structures." To progress this commitment, the Action Plan for Jobs (Action 6.7) includes an undertaking to conduct a report on the potential of social enterprises to create jobs. I have asked Forfás to carry out this work on my behalf.

The project scoping work and initial research has been carried out and has involved discussions with a number of relevant parties, including Scottish Enterprise, Meitheal Mid-West, the Cooperative Development Society, and Dunhill Rural Enterprises Ltd. Further consultation will take place with a wider range of stakeholders. The report will identify the actions required by Government and other relevant bodies and agencies to support job creation in the sector. It will examine mechanisms to capture the demonstration effect of locally driven initiatives already in place to nurture new enterprise and employment, as well as identifying ways to promote and develop social enterprise initiatives. The report will also briefly discuss how social enterprises can contribute to wider policy objectives. I have asked Forfás to complete their work and to report to me by the end of the year.

Trade Missions

Willie O'Dea

Question:

300 Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will provide a breakdown of costs of the recent trade mission to China; the names and roles of all persons who formed part of the trade mission; the other persons who attended as part of the visit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21399/12]

The total estimated net cost of the recent Trade and Investment to China for my Department and agencies under my Department's auspices is €122,400. Given the short timeline since the completion of the trade mission, there are some costs that have yet to be finalised. The cost is broken down as follows:

Department/Agency

€’000

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

3.0

Enterprise Ireland

74.0

IDA Ireland

41.5

Forfas

3.9

Total

122.40

130 executives from 90 exporters participated on the trade mission. The trade mission was the largest of its kind in recent years and was an important part of building the profile of Ireland and the technical excellence of its exporters.

Trade Mission personnel from the Department and Agencies

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation:

Richard Bruton, T.D. — Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation,

John Maher — Private Secretary to Minister Bruton,

Ciaran Conlon — Special Adviser to Minister Bruton,

Gerard Monks — Principal Officer, Trade Policy, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Enterprise Ireland — Official Participants,

Frank Ryan, CEO,

Kevin Sherry, EI, Executive Director.

Other EI persons who attended:

Sarita Malone: Events Manager, Events Management Division EI,

Jacqueline Whelan: Asst. Exec. Events Management Division EI,

Joe Breslin: Manager, Beef and Sheepmeat Division EI,

Philip Singleton: China Market Team EI,

Xiaojing Yue: China Market Team EI,

Alan Hobbs: Manager Press Relations and International Communications EI,

IDA Irish Executives:

Barry O'Leary: CEO

Eileen Sharpe: Divisional Manager, Internal Consultancy and Business Process Transformation Group and IT,

Kieran Donoghue: Divisional Manager, Financial Services Division /Open Innovation,

Kathleen Guo: Project Executive, Growth Markets Division.

Forfás

Martin Shanahan, CEO.

Departmental Expenditure

Shane Ross

Question:

301 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the original budget for the Patents Office Ptolemy computer system upon its purchase; the amount it has cost to date, including and excluding new feature requests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21453/12]

Ptolemy is the bespoke administration system of the Irish Patents Office, which facilitates the administration and maintenance of all Patent, Trademark and Industrial Design applications applied for in, or designating Ireland. This encompasses both Irish (national) applications and those filed in the European Patents Office (EPO), OHIM (Community Trademarks) and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation — International Trademarks and Patent Cooperation Treaty patent applications). It supports all aspects of the creation and maintenance of the electronic registers for Patents, Trademarks and Designs including payments and renewals, maintaining customer details, assignments, etc.

There are currently (as at 31 December 2011) 88,044 Patents, 89,624 Trademarks and 1,652 Designs registered and in force in the State, all of which are managed and maintained by the Ptolemy system. The Ptolemy system also manages the receipt and processing an average of 65,000 individual fee payments per annum. The Ptolemy system supports various on-line services which are of considerable benefit to its customers via the Patents Office website. These include the facility to pay certain fees on-line, to view and search the Patents, Trademarks and Designs registers and database, view and search Patent specifications and to view and search the fortnightly produced Patents Office Journal. Delivery of these services is in line with best international practice. Versions of the Ptolemy system are installed in a number of Patent and Trademark administrations worldwide, including Norway, Sweden, Cyprus, South Africa and New Zealand.

The Patents Office Ptolemy computer system was originally developed in stages over the period 1998 to 2002. The total cost of this initial development was €1.914 million. Since 2002 the system has continued to be developed and maintained to meet changes, including changes in legislation, the adoption of new international agreements in intellectual property protection, and changes in the supported software platforms on which Ptolemy runs. The system has also been upgraded by the inclusion of new functionality to increase the efficiency of the Patents Office and to deliver improved customer service. The cost of on-going support and development in the ten years since the system was fully commissioned in 2002 averages €456,600 per annum, which is broken down between new functionality development at €147,200 per annum and on-going support and maintenance at €309,400 per annum.

The use of information and communications technology has delivered considerable efficiencies for the Patents Office. The 2010 Annual Report of the Controller of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks notes a staff complement in the Office of 46 full time equivalents, which is less than half the staff complement ten years previously. This staff reduction represents a very significant and on-going reduction in the cost of service delivery, while the quality of service has been greatly enhanced through the application of new technology e.g. online payments, free access to registers and database searching, and electronic publication of the Patents Office Journal.

While these systems continue to deliver considerable value through enhanced processing efficiencies and improved customer service, in order to assure my Department that the on-going support and development of the Patents Office systems are delivered in the most effective manner, an external independent review of this support was commissioned in late 2011. The result of this review is expected very shortly, and will provide guidance on the further enhancement and development of the system.

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

302 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the amount of money the State is spending on job creation programmes per year; the number of jobs that have been created; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21482/12]

The role of Government is to not to create jobs, but to provide the environment where successful businesses can become established, grow and generate jobs. In addition to taking the policy decisions to underpin a competitive environment for business, the Government provides a range of supports to enterprise across a number of Departments and agencies. Funding for these supports is allocated in the annual Estimates of the relevant Departments.

From my own Department's perspective, enterprise supports are provided by Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs), Shannon Development, and InterTradeIreland. The total allocation to these agencies in 2012 is €460.39 million. In 2011, there were over 300,000 people employed in companies supported by these enterprise development agencies. More than 28,000 of these jobs were created in 2011.

The Action Plan for Jobs contains 270 measures for delivery across all Government Departments and 36 agencies which will support job creation this year. So far this year, the creation of almost 3,400 jobs has been announced in respect of companies wishing to invest, or expand an existing operation, in Ireland. In addition, my Department secured an increase in its capital budget for 2012 despite severe budgetary constraints. Between 2012 and 2013 almost €1 billion has been committed for capital supports for enterprise.

Employment Rights

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

303 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will intervene and enforce under section 10 of the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2007 a determination from the Employment Appeals Tribunal in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 17; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21512/12]

Following previous representations in December 2011, I had already requested the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) to intervene on my behalf in this matter and seek enforcement of the €50,000 award. In this instance, prior to NERA's involvement, the case had already been brought before the Circuit Court and a Court Order was issued by the Dublin Circuit Court dated 4 May 2011. An Execution Order dated 7 June 2011 contains a certificate from the Sheriff of the City of Dublin dated 11 July 2011 indicating he was unable to enforce the judgement as the business named on the execution order had ceased trading.

Following NERA's intervention, the company's solicitor wrote to NERA stating that the company "is no longer trading and ceased any trading operations in or about September 2010. The only remaining assets in the Company are secured by a debenture in favour of its bankers." NERA has established that a petition to wind up the company was made to the High Court last November. In the circumstances outlined, unfortunately, it is unlikely that the award made can be enforced. It is my intention this Autumn, in the context of the forthcoming Workplace Relations Bill, to consider how a new and more effective method of enforcing these awards can be developed.

Question No. 304 answered with Question No. 299.
Question No. 305 answered with Question No. 283.

Departmental Bodies

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

306 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of State agencies in his Department which were abolished or merged since in 2011; the name and purpose of each one; the amount saved by the merger or abolition; the number planned to be merged or abolished in 2012; the name and purpose of each one; the amount expected to be saved from this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21594/12]

My Department currently has 13 State Agencies supporting us in our work. These are:

1. Enterprise Ireland

2. IDA Ireland

3. Science Foundation Ireland

4. Shannon Development

5. County and City Enterprise Boards (35)

6. National Standards Authority of Ireland

7. InterTradeIreland (the North / South Business Development Body)

8. Forfás

9. National Consumer Agency

10. The Competition Authority

11. Irish Auditing and Accounting Standards Authority

12. Personal Injuries Assessment Board, and

13. The Health and Safety Authority

The Public Sector Reform Plan published in November 2011 outlines a timeline for completion of a critical review of all of the State agencies and bodies across Government in the context either of merger, amalgamation or abolition. A number of agencies within my Department's remit are included in the Plan and I can provide the Deputy with an update of progress in relation to the agencies of my Department in this context.

In the context of Regulatory Agencies and Statutory bodies, my Department is working to effect the merger of the National Consumer Agency (NCA) and the Competition Authority. The role of the NCA is to enforce consumer law, promote better understanding of consumer rights and advocate on consumer issues, while the Competition Authority is the State body responsible for enforcing Irish and European Competition Law in Ireland. Government approved in July 2011 the draft Heads of a Bill to allow for the merging of functions as well as well as other changes to consumer and competition law and this is with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for formal drafting. It is anticipated that in effecting the merger, initial set-up costs will be incurred and minimal savings are expected to result from the merging of functions.

As regards the Enterprise development agencies under my Department, a number of developments are in progress. Forfás is the national policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation and I have considered how the policy and research functions of this Agency can be integrated with my Department's resources to further enhance the formulation and development of national enterprise policy. A proposal in this regard has been developed and will be discussed with the Board of Forfás in the coming weeks. Following this engagement, an Implementation Group will be convened. Such an amalgamation will improve efficiencies/synergies between the Department and Forfás, but will not lead to immediate financial savings.

As agencies operating under the aegis of my Department, the 35 County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) support micro-enterprises (employing up to 10 people) in the start-up and expansion phases and also promote economic activity and entrepreneurship in their areas. Government has recently approved the establishment of a new "one-stop-shop" micro-enterprise support structure through the dissolution of the existing CEBs and the formation of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). Meetings of the Implementation Steering Group will now be convened to facilitate detailed discussions with all relevant parties to ensure the final nature of any restructuring addresses the range of issues arising both from an organisational and policy perspective. In conjunction with this development, my Department is seeking formal advice from the Office of the Attorney General regarding appropriate legislation. Any potential for savings will be determined in line with the final nature of the restructuring.

The Deputy may also wish to note developments with regard to Shannon Development. Since December last, my Department has been in discussion with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and with Shannon Development, the regional development company dedicated to promoting and developing the Shannon Region of Ireland, with a view to formulating proposals for the future enterprise role of Shannon Development. A Memorandum for Government is being prepared which will address both this issue and that relating to the tourism functions of Shannon Development. Savings will arise due to the streamlining of Shannon Development's activities and the elimination of duplication of work by public bodies and will be determined in line with the final nature of any restructuring.

Separate to the Public Sector Reform Plan, there is underway in my Department a significant reform project relation to the Employment Rights and Industrial Relations bodies within my Department's remit. I have announced my intention to streamline the work of five bodies currently dealing with employment disputes in the workplace into a two tier structure. Four of the existing bodies — the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA), the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) and the Labour Court (LC) — are currently within my Department's remit and one — the Equality Tribunal — is currently within the remit of the Minister for Justice and Equality. I expect this reform and streamlining project to deliver a measurable improvement in the quality of services provided to users of the State's employment rights/industrial relations dispute resolution services and to reduce the cost of accessing such services for both users and to the State. I have appointed a dedicated Project Team to drive this reform initiative and announced an ambitious timeline for delivery. A number of important reforms have already been delivered to date on this project including:

A new single contact portal called "Workplace Relations Customer Services" is fully operational since the beginning of this year and provides a single point of entry into the system for employment rights and industrial relations information. It has dealt with over 3,500 complaints in the first quarter of 2012 and has assisted in eliminating the backlog for Rights Commissioner hearings.

A Single Complaint Form that deals with over 100 first instance complaints was launched on the 4th of January this year, which replaced the 30 forms previously in use. Over 70% of all complainants in March 2012 used the new form.

The new workplace relations interim websitewww.workplacerelations.ie went live on the 4th of January this year. This website brings together, in one place, information on all aspects of employment rights and industrial relations.

Delivery of a pilot Early Resolution Service has commenced. This service will assist parties to a dispute to resolve the issue themselves with the assistance of a Case Resolution Officer. The pilot will be evaluated and the outcome of the evaluation will inform the design of the mainstream service to be provided by the Workplace Relations Commission in the future.

In parallel, work has commenced on the drafting of a Workplace Relations Bill to give effect to the new structure proposed.

The total annual cost of the State's Workplace Relations Services amounted to some €20m in 2010. It is expected that significant savings, in terms of both reductions in staff numbers and increased efficiency and productivity, will be generated by the end of 2013 by which time the majority of the Workplace Relations Reform Programme will have been implemented.

Trade Missions

Terence Flanagan

Question:

307 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on his recent visit to China and the deals done; his further views on the future for the relationship between the two countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21864/12]

In March of this year, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and I led a seven day trade and investment mission to China. The Mission I led incorporated a seven day programme covering Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing. Some 130 Executives from 90 companies accompanied the delegation. During the Mission itself, An Taoiseach and I witnessed significant contract signings from 14 companies totalling more than €35m at business events organised by Enterprise Ireland. All together, these business events were attended by more than 900 Irish company representatives and their Chinese customers and partners and the contracts signed covered a wide range of sectors including: clean technologies, mobile software, international services, healthcare, consumer products, education and industrial technologies.

In addition to these signings, a number of significant Memorandums of Understanding were signed between Irish companies and their Chinese counterparts. These are essential building blocks in developing business in China. These covered areas such as International Education, Financial and International Services. It is expected that these signings will also contribute significantly to future export growth for Irish companies. In addition, Enterprise Ireland signed an MOU with their Chinese counterparts (CCPIT), which will see enhanced cooperation and a focus on working closer together on sectors of mutual interest.

Over the course of the trade and investment mission, IDA Ireland met with 16 companies and financial institutions. China is a key strategic focus for securing new sources of Foreign Direct Investment to Ireland over the medium to long term. There are, however, some short term investments to be won and IDA expects to secure a number of investments over the coming months. IDA Ireland signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China's ICBC Financial Leasing, a global leader in aircraft leasing and part of ICBC, the world's largest bank. This means that IDA Ireland is now partnered in China with ICBC, which has an unrivalled client base and network. The key focus for IDA will be to build on the momentum generated by the Mission and to capitalise on the increasing awareness of Ireland as both a trading partner and a potential location for FDI to Ireland.

China is central to Ireland's Asian trade strategy. Significant opportunities for Irish business exist in areas like ICT and life-sciences as well as the tourism, farming and food sectors. Contacts made during the mission with education, banking and legal sectors open the prospect of valuable new channels of training and other services exports. The Trade Mission in March was a very important step in growing closer ties and contacts with our Chinese counterparts and that is given physical form with the agreement of both countries to enter in to a strategic partnership for mutually beneficial co-operation.

Youth Employment Action Plan

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

308 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation with regard to the development of a youth employment action plan as identified by the European Commission, if he will introduce a dedicated youth employment action plan that prioritises training and education for young people; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22026/12]

In December 2011, the European Commission launched a "Youth Opportunities Initiative" in response to the growing problem of youth unemployment across the EU. The initiative calls on Member States to work on preventing early school leaving, help young people to develop skills relevant to the labour market, ensure the provision of work experience and on-the-job training, and help young people find a first good job. The Government is responding to the issue of youth unemployment through the measures outlined its labour market initiative, Pathways to Work, which includes various training, education and work experience measures delivered by the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Social Protection.

Under Pathways to Work, the Department of Social Protection is committed to supporting over 85,000 job placement, work experience and Back to Education beneficiaries this year, including through the JobBridge internship programme. The Department of Education and Skills will provide over 450,000 education and training places this year across the range of provision in the higher education, further education and training sectors. These places will include provision for school leavers and self-referred clients, although the long-term unemployed will be a priority target.

In addition to the training and education opportunities outlined in Pathways to Work, many young people will benefit from the employment opportunities that will arise from the Government's Action Plan for Jobs. The objective of the Action Plan is to create an extra 100,000 net new jobs between 2012 and 2016, with the longer-term objective of having two million people at work by 2020.

Question No. 309 withdrawn.

Pension Provisions

Dara Calleary

Question:

310 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection if any provisions exist or if she has plans to introduce provisions, whereby the holder of a private pension policy, the value of which is under a certain figure, may reclaim the full value of the policy if they cancel the policy early. [21436/12]

Pensions are a long-term investment aimed at ensuring that people have an adequate income in retirement. Government policy supports this aspiration through generous tax reliefs and we are currently reforming the pension system to ensure its future sustainability. At the moment, people are generally only permitted to access their pension savings at the retirement age defined in their pension schemes. Schemes may also have early retirement provisions from age 50 and when retirement is caused by ill-health, benefits may be paid regardless of age. In the case of Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) and Retirement Annuity Contracts (RACs), benefits may be taken at any time after age 60 and from any age in the case of ill-health.

There are a number of reasons why early withdrawals of pension savings are generally not permitted, nor desirable, the principal one being that funds, and the associated tax relief on contributions, are designed to support people in later life to ensure they have an adequate income. This requires that pensions must be long term vehicles based on the principle that savings will be "locked away" until retirement.

Allowing access to pension savings before retirement or pension age would be a significant change to pension policy and the basis of pension savings in Ireland. At the request of the Economic Management Council (EMC) the issue has been considered in detail by an inter-departmental ad-hoc group, chaired by the Department of Social Protection. The group concluded that the principle of pension savings being "locked away" until pension age should be maintained and reported this to the EMC. The Interdepartmental Group on Mortgage Arrears also examined the issue of early access to pensions and did not recommend such an approach.

The idea of allowing people to access their pension savings early to pay off mortgage debt or to increase their spending power may seem attractive, particularly at the moment. However, the resulting reduction in pension savings could have significant negative consequences longer term and in particular, fails to address the group who may be most affected by personal debt or mortgage arrears.

Younger people are unlikely to have significant pension savings and where their pension scheme has incurred losses, as many have over the past number of years, early withdrawal of funds would mean very poor value for money. There is no guarantee the funds could be repaid or that people could make up these losses. Where people are close to retirement, an early withdrawal of funds could significantly diminish the pension they receive as they may not have time before retirement age to fill the gap left by such a withdrawal.

Only 51% of people in employment aged 20 to 69 have pension coverage. This relatively low rate of pension coverage is a concern. The Programme for Government includes a commitment to reforming the pension system to progressively achieve universal coverage, with particular focus on lower-paid workers and so a National Employment Pensions Scheme based on an automatic enrolment approach is being developed. Allowing people access to their pension savings before pension age would run totally counter to the policy of encouraging more people to save more for their retirement.

The Deputy will be aware that the Government has recently engaged the OECD to conduct an independent review of long term pension policy in Ireland. The review will encompass the totality of pension provision in Ireland — State, private, occupational and public sector. The issue of early access to pension savings will be considered in this context.

FÁS Training Programmes

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

311 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Social Protection the core strategy utilised by FÁS, the State training agency, of interviewing unemployed persons and referring them for training; if it is effective in getting them off jobseeker’s; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21482/12]

The FÁS Employment Service, which deals with the interview process referred to, has been transferred to the Department of Social Protection with effect from the beginning of this year. Under the current National Employment Action Plan (NEAP) system, all those who are unemployed and signing on are referred to the employment service when they reach three months singing on. These NEAP clients are prioritised for assistance by the Employment Service. That assistance may include referral to FÁS training, but also help and advice on job search, referral to jobs or employment programmes, referral to assistance from other relevant public agencies, and assistance in accessing education opportunities.

During 2011, over 100,000 people were referred to the (then FÁS) Employment Service under EAP, and some 80,000 people attended for interview. Data on outcomes are available for persons (some 81,900) who were referred for the first time during 2011. Outcomes were measured as at the end of January 2012, when it was found that 65% had left Live Register while 35% were still on it.

65% left Live Register:

64% (53,300) of the total referred to FÁS (81,900) had left the Live Register by the end of January 2012.

15,900 (19% of the total referred) were placed in jobs, training or education and, of those, 4,700 (30%) were placed in jobs.

24,600 were interviewed and then left the Live Register without further intervention (30% of the total referred).

12,900 did not attend for interview but left the Register (16% of those referred).

36% still on Live Register:

36% (28,600) of the total referred to FÁS (81,900) were still on the Live Register at the end of January 2012.

25,000 were interviewed but not placed in jobs/training/education (31% of referred).

2,800 did not attend for interview and are still on the Live Register (3% of those referred).

400 were awaiting interview (1% of those referred).

300 were active with the Local Employment Service.

The former FÁS Employment Services are now being integrated into the new National Employment and Entitlement Service (NEES). This will see the establishment of a single "one stop shop" public employment and benefits service with clear targets for rolling out a new approach which includes:

better targeting of services through profiling those entering the live register,

responsibility for delivering a more regular engagement with those on the Live Register at appropriate intervals, specifically targeting and tailoring the approach in so far as it is possible. Interventions will include referral to group engagement, education and/or training and placement/work experience opportunities at appropriate intervals,

provision of recruitment and job-matching services for employers and the unemployed,

the provision of appropriate career guidance support as part of the engagement and referral system,

effective communication and marketing of NEES services to employers,

more meaningful engagement between the Department of Social Protection and employers both nationally and at a local level,

improved service provision and monitoring of effectiveness through the roll out of a public services card, and

the implementation of sanctions against those who refuse to engage with the activation process.

Employment Support Services

Brian Walsh

Question:

312 Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of internships that have been offered by each of the 34 local authorities under the JobBridge scheme; the nature of these internships; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21773/12]

The total number of internship placements that have commenced to date is 6,648. Of these, 192 placements have commenced within the local authorities. 19 local authorities have participated in the Scheme. The largest take up is from Cork, Clare, Galway and North Tipperary County Councils who have commenced 38, 26, 21 and 21 interns respectively. The remaining 86 internship placements are covered across 15 local authorities. The placements within local authorities cover a wide range of areas such as Professional, Specialist Sciences, Construction, Administration, Clerical, Management, Supervisory, Sales and Marketing, Information Technology and Arts and Literature.

Question No. 313 withdrawn.

Social Welfare Appeals

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

314 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if and when an appeal will be heard in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare in respect of an application for domiciliary care allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21189/12]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 16 February 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 4th April 2012 and the appeal will be assigned to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Anne Ferris

Question:

315 Deputy Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21192/12]

The person concerned was refused disability allowance following an assessment by a Medical Assessor who expressed the opinion that he was medically unsuitable for the allowance. He was also disallowed on the grounds that his weekly means exceeded the statutory limit allowable for disability allowance purposes. I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an appeal was registered on 29th February 2012 and in accordance with the statutory procedures the relevant department papers and the comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the matter raised in the appeal have been sought. In that context, an assessment by another Medical Assessor will be carried out.

The huge increase in the numbers of appeals to the office has also resulted in a large backlog in dealing with correspondence, which is dealt with in chronological order. While this is regretted, priority in the office is given to the registration and preparation of files for appeals, scheduling oral hearings and the issue of decisions. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social and Family Affairs and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Community Employment Schemes

Catherine Murphy

Question:

316 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason there is an exclusion from community employment schemes for those EU citizens living here and who are in receipt of disablement benefit from their home country; the training options open to persons in this category; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21193/12]

The criteria for participating on the Community Employment (CE) programme are based on age and length of time in receipt of various social welfare payments. The core eligibility criterion for CE is that the person is in receipt of a qualifying Irish social welfare payment, as defined on the Department's public website. This requirement is based on Government policy and Departmental guidelines and has been the rule since CE commenced in 1994. Those persons not meeting the eligibility criteria under the Community Employment Part-time Integration or Part-time Job Options, or who are signing for credits, or receiving social welfare benefits from a different country, are not eligible to participate on Community Employment.

The aim of CE remains as an active labour market programme with the emphasis on progression into employment and/or further education and training. The programme is managed within this context, with consideration to the availability of resources and the needs of participants and the community. The CE programme is one of a range of training and employment programmes available for unemployed persons. All of these programmes have specific objectives and eligibility criteria that address the specific needs of a wide range of participants.

Unemployed persons who are not in receipt of the required social welfare payments can still participate on many education and training programmes. Such persons are advised to contact their local Employment Services Office where an Employment Services Officer will be happy to discuss the employment and training options that are open to them. Within the current very difficult budgetary constraints, the number of places on Community Employment will remain at 23,300 in 2012.

Social Welfare Appeals