International Summits

Questions (148)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

148. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Taoiseach if he will provide details of all bilateral meetings held between himself and any other individual or group at the recent annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, including the identity of all such groups or individuals and the purpose of each meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9576/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is attended by political and business leaders and heads of international organisations and provides a unique forum for debate and discussion on a wide range of topics of global economic and political interest. I attended the 2013 annual meeting in Davos from 23-25 January. Details of my programme are set out below. The primary purpose of my engagements at the WEF was to promote Ireland as a location for international business and investment.

WEF Davos, 2013 – Taoiseach’s Programme

Wednesday 23 January

Working dinner for Heads of State or Government attending World Economic Forum, hosted by Professor and Mrs. Schwab.

Thursday 24 January

Meeting with New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Euronext

Media event – CNBC Europe

Meeting with Ms. Christine Lagarde M.D. of the IMF to discuss progress in implementing Ireland’s EU/IMF Programme

WEF interactive plenary session on “Eurozone Crises –the way forward” with;

PM Monti of Italy

PM Rutte of Netherlands and

PM Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark

WEF working lunch on “Europe Growth and Employment”

Meeting with Diageo

IDA event for client companies and prospects (approximately 45 attendees) also meetings with

Facebook

Cisco

Microsoft

Cantor Fitzgerald

Friday 25 January

Media event - Reuters

Meetings with

Bank of America

Western Union

McGraw Hill

WEF Private High-Level working lunch to discuss the prevailing global themes for 2013

Address at Transatlantic Business Dialogue on strengthening the EU-US trade and investment relationship.

Enterprise Statistics

Questions (149)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

149. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach the number of new enterprises created annually in each of the past four years to date; the numbers in the manufacturing and service sectors; and his plans for the future in this regard. [9444/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The information sought by the Deputy is not available for the past four years to date but is available for 2006 – 2010. The latest CSO Business Demography returns for 2010 were released on 22 June 2012 and the tables below provide data on business start ups and active enterprises for the sectors requested.

The terms used by CSO are "enterprise births" which refers to new business start ups (companies and other forms of legal ownership), and "active enterprises", which contains all enterprises which were active at some point during the reference year. Enterprises are defined as active if they pay Vat during the reference year, have employees during the reference year, file a corporation tax return for the reference year or file an income tax return for the reference year with a turnover over €50,000.

The CSO identifies enterprise births by using available economic indicators from administrative data (Revenue Commissioner Trading returns in Corporate, Income, Employment and VAT activity). Data for 2011 is not yet available as it is dependent on the receipt of administrative data which are not filed until 2012 and are not fully available to CSO until later in 2013.

The CSO Business Demography Statistics covers the whole business economy as classified by the standard European classification of economic activity i.e. NACE Rev2 B-N excluding activities of holding companies; K 64.20.

The “Manufacturing Sector” requested by the Deputy refers to Sector C of the NACE Rev 2 classifications. The “Services Sector” requested refers to multiple sectors of the NACE Rev2 classification and only refers to “non-financial market services”. NACE Rev2 sectors included in the “Services Sector” include,

1) Section H: Transportation and Storage

2) Section I: Accommodation and Food Service Activities

3) Section J: Information and Communication

4) Section L: Real Estate Activities

5) Section M: Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities

6) Section N: Administrative and Support Service Activities

Table A below contains data concerning enterprise births for 2006-2010 inclusive.

Table A: Number of Enterprise Births for 2006-2010 inclusive.

Enterprise Births:

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Manufacturing

764

576

540

678

590

Services

7,174

6,275

6,194

7,256

5,944

All Enterprises

16,696

13,461

11,954

13,810

11,237

Table B below contains data concerning active enterprises for 2006 – 2010 inclusive.

Table B: Number of Active Enterprises for 2006 - 2010 inclusive.

Active Enterprises:

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Manufacturing

13,393

13,583

13,697

13,363

12,790

Services

87,697

90,574

93,436

94,379

91,403

All Enterprises

211,950

216,198

216,265

206,575

195,431

The Business Demography 2012 Press Release of 22 June 2012 is available at;

http://www.cso.ie/en/newsandevents/pressreleases/2012pressreleases/pressreleasebusinessdemography2010/

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Questions (150, 151)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

150. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Taoiseach if he will provide details of the payment of bonuses or other performance related payments and or allowances made to the staff of agencies under the aegis of his Department with a yearly breakdown from 2008 outlining the overall amount paid in each year period and the number of staff that received such payments and or allowances. [10172/13]

View answer

Thomas Pringle

Question:

151. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Taoiseach if he will provide details of payments made to the CEO or equivalent of all agencies under the aegis of his Department including details of any bonuses, pension entitlements or any other remuneration paid to him or her in 2012. [10189/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 150 and 151 together.

The National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO) is the only State Agency under the auspices of my Department.

In 2012, the salary of the Chief Officer of the NESDO was €170,546. This included an allowance of €24,355, being 16.66% of salary in lieu of superannuation.

Including the Chief Officer, five staff members of the NESDO, are in receipt of an allowance of 16.66% of salary in lieu of superannuation. Table 1 (below) details the total superannuation allowances paid to the five staff members from 2008 until 2012.

No bonuses, performance related payments or other allowances were made to NESDO staff.

Table 1 - Superannuation Allowances Paid to NESDO Staff 2008 - 2012

Year

Total Superannuation Allowances Paid (€)

2008

49,713

2009

54,567

2010

56,473

2011

50,702

2012

50,702

Ministerial Travel

Questions (152)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

152. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of Ministers that will travel for St. Patrick's Day events worldwide; the country or city each Minister will be visiting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9660/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

St. Patrick’s Day offers a unique opportunity to promote Ireland’s economic and political interests overseas, with levels of publicity and media attention unmatched by the national day of any other country. Ministerial visits around this period are organised to ensure that we use this exposure to maximise the promotion of Ireland’s trade, promotion and investment interests and to spread a positive message about Ireland’s economic recovery.

The programme of ministerial travel is drawn up by the Trade and Promotion Division of my Department in consultation with the Embassy network and the state agencies. The final programme is close to being concluded and it will be announced shortly.

Undocumented Irish in the USA

Questions (153)

James Bannon

Question:

153. Deputy James Bannon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will raise the issue of the undocumented Irish in the US when he meets with the US President over St. Patrick’s weekend; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10273/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The welfare of the Irish abroad in general and especially the position of undocumented Irish immigrants in the United States remains an important priority for the Government. A resolution of the situation for undocumented Irish migrants will continue to be an important priority for the Government in our ongoing contacts with the US Administration and Congress. This issue will remain a central feature of the Government’s engagement with the US authorities over the St. Patrick’s Day period, and my programme and that of other members of the Government, while not yet finalised, will include meetings with key political figures and the Irish community groups that provide assistance to the undocumented.

The advice of Ireland’s friends and contacts within the US Administration and Congress has long been that comprehensive reform of the US immigration system and procedures is likely to be the only manner by which such a resolution can be achieved. The prospects for such reform have advanced in the wake of President Obama’s re-election. The emphasis he placed on immigration reform in his inauguration address as well as in subsequent speeches, including the State of the Union address, sent a very positive signal in this regard. The indications of emerging bipartisan support for reform in Congress is also encouraging. Much further debate and discussion is likely to be required within the US political system before the shape of any legislative deal is clear. It is therefore not possible at this stage to identify an exact timescale in which these may become clear but the area will continue to receive the Government’s close attention over the period ahead.

To reinforce the Irish government’s interest in the issue I am currently undertaking a round of contacts with key Senators. Most recently, I spoke with Senator John McCain to express the Government’s appreciation for the efforts he and others are making in developing bi-partisan Senate proposals and to underline our ongoing interest in the issue, and with Senator Pat Leahy who is chair of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate. I look forward to continuing my contacts with other Senators in the coming weeks

Human Rights Issues

Questions (154)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

154. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will make representations to the Moroccan authorities to use civilian courts to ensure fair retrials for those Sahrawi people given long prison sentences by the military court; if he will support the call by Amnesty International and others for the Moroccan authorities to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the human rights abuses committed in connection with the 8 November 2010 events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9644/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I am aware of the case to which the Deputy refers and I refer the Deputy to my answer to Parliamentary Question 8843/13 on the 20th February.

On 8th November 2010, violence broke out when Moroccan security forces tried to remove people from Gdim Izik, a camp on the outskirts of Laayoune in the Moroccan-administered Western Sahara region. The camp had been set up by Sahrawi people protesting against their perceived marginalisation, and demanding jobs and adequate housing. According to reports, eleven members of the security forces and two Sahrawis were killed during the violence.

Over 200 Sahrawis were subsequently arrested by Moroccan security forces, of whom most were released but 25 were put on trial before the military court in Rabat as a result of their involvement. On Sunday 17th February, the military court handed down nine life sentences and sentenced 14 other defendants to between 20-30 years imprisonment each. Two other defendants were released. It is believed the verdicts will now be appealed to the Moroccan Court of Cassation.

The accused have already spent two years in pre-trial detention prison and there have been allegations of torture during their imprisonment. Concerns have also been expressed regarding the fact that the defendants have been tried in a military rather than a civilian court. The UN Committee against Torture and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has sought to investigate and report on the situation. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has also expressed concerns over the case.

I share the Deputy’s concern regarding this case and my officials will continue to closely monitor the situation and the process regarding the appeal of the sentences. The Government will continue to raise concerns about human rights abuses in Western Sahara, in particular reports of the arbitrary arrest, detention and mistreatment of human rights defenders, with Morocco in our ongoing bilateral dialogue. Ireland has consistently called for the mandate of MINURSO, the United Nations Mission in Western Sahara monitoring the ceasefire with Western Sahara, to include a human rights monitoring element. We believe this would provide invaluable independent and impartial information on the status of human rights in Western Sahara.

Irish Language Issues

Questions (155)

Brendan Smith

Question:

155. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has had any recent discussions with members of the Northern Ireland Executive in relation to the Irish Language Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10108/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

All parties to the Good Friday Agreement recognised the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, including in Northern Ireland, the Irish language and the languages of the various ethnic communities, as part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland.

In the St Andrews Agreement, the British Government committed to introducing an Irish Language Act reflecting on the experience of Wales and Ireland and to working with the Executive to enhance and protect the development of the Irish Language.

It also called on the incoming Northern Ireland Executive to work to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language. The British legislation giving effect to the St. Andrews Agreement included a specific requirement on the Executive to adopt a strategy setting out how it proposed to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language.

Since the restoration of the devolved Institutions on 8 May 2007, the question of an Irish Language Act for Northern Ireland is a devolved matter and is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive. In that regard, my colleagues the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Mr Jimmy Deenihan T.D. and Minister of State Dinny McGinley T.D. have had ongoing discussions on the matter with their counterpart, the Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Ms Carál Ní Chuilín MLA. On 11 July 2012, Minister Ní Chuilín launched a consultation process which concluded on 27 November on strategies for the Irish language and Ulster Scots. Inputs from the consultation process are now being considered.

Last November I visited An Chultúrlann in Belfast which is a very impressive Irish language and cultural centre. I had the opportunity to meet with some of the city’s leading Irish language activists and to hear their concerns regarding the promotion of the Irish language including their views on an Irish language act for Northern Ireland. Officials in my Department maintain regular and ongoing contact with the Irish language community in Northern Ireland, most recently when they attended the official opening of Gaeláras Mhic Ardghail in Newry on Monday 18 February.

The Government continues to follow developments closely in relation to the proposed Act, as well as the overall enhancement and protection of the Irish Language in Northern Ireland. We remain fully committed to the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement, including the provisions relating to the Irish language.

Passport Controls

Questions (156, 157, 158)

Clare Daly

Question:

156. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of Irish passports that have been issued to persons who have changed their legally registered names more than once. [10147/13]

View answer

Clare Daly

Question:

157. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of Irish passports that have been issued to nationals who list their place of residence as Israel. [10148/13]

View answer

Clare Daly

Question:

158. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of Irish passports that have been issued to persons who have changed their legally registered names more than once while also living in Israel. [10149/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 156 to 158, inclusive, together.

The information requested regarding change of names and places of residence is not maintained by the Passport Service in a format which allows the production of the statistical reports sought by the Deputy.

Passport holders legally change their names for a variety of reasons the most common being marriage. Whereas the Passport Service requests “Basis for Name to be used on passport” on the passport application form, this is for entitlement checking purposes only. The name change is recorded in the passport system. However, this is not recorded in a way which would provide the statistical information sought.

As passports are issued for a ten year period it would not be unusual for people to change address a number of times over this period. Additionally, the address to which the passport is sent is requested only for the purpose of passport delivery. Accordingly, the Passport Service cannot provide the statistical information relating to multiple changes of addresses for Israeli residents sought by the Deputy.