Passport Controls

Questions (159)

Clare Daly

Question:

159. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the controls in place to monitor the abuse of legally issued Irish passports by foreign intelligence services. [10150/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I can confirm that the Passport Service maintains close and regular contact with An Garda Síochána and, by extension, Interpol. I also advise the Deputy that the Passport Service encourages Irish citizens to recognise that a passport is a valuable document and recommends that any passport lost should be reported at the earliest opportunity.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Questions (160)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

160. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade 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. [10166/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

There are no State agencies under the aegis of my Department.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Questions (161)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

161. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade 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. [10183/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

There are no agencies operating under the aegis of my Department.

Foreign Conflicts

Questions (162)

Charles Flanagan

Question:

162. Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will support a proposal to have the EU designate the Lebanon based militant group Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation in view of its objects and activities in particular the bombing last year of a tourist bus in Bulgaria resulting in the deaths of six people; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10300/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Deputy is referring to the terrorist attack carried out by a suicide bomber on a passenger bus transporting Israeli tourists at Burgas Airport in Burgas, Bulgaria on 18 July 2012. The explosion killed five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver and injured thirty-two Israelis, resulting in international condemnation of the bombing. At the time, as Chairman in Office of the OSCE, I expressed revulsion at the attack, saying

“I wholeheartedly condemn this act of terrorism targeting innocent civilians. I offer my deepest condolences to the families of those killed, and to the people and Governments of Bulgaria and Israel. Such an attack makes it more clear than ever how important a united front and co-operation are to combat the scourge of terrorism, which knows no borders.”

I again express my wholehearted condemnation of this outrage.

On 5 February 2013, the Bulgarian interior minister announced that their preliminary investigation into the bombing had indicated that two of the suspects had links to the military wing of Hezbollah.

This matter has been discussed in a number of EU fora, most recently at the recent Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday 18th February 2013, when the Bulgarian Foreign Minister gave an initial briefing to EU Foreign Ministers on the findings of the investigation.

However, the EU has not yet decided that any particular action is to be taken in response to these developments.

Any designation by the EU of a group as a terrorist organisation is done on the basis of Council Common Position 2001/931(CFSP) on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism , adopted on 27 December 2001. This stipulates that such a designation shall be done on the basis of precise information and following a decision by a competent authority. Decisions on designation are taken by unanimity, following careful consideration of the information provided.

Human Rights Issues

Questions (163)

Denis Naughten

Question:

163. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the action he is taking to address political and religious repression in Tibet at EU level and to curb the practice of self-immolation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10324/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government follows ongoing issues in Tibet with concern and I am saddened and concerned by the increasing number of Tibetans, many of them young people, who have committed self-immolation.

On behalf of the EU, the High Representative Catherine Ashton issued a declaration on 14 December 2012 on Tibetan self-immolations. This declaration was issued with the support of Member States, including Ireland. The declaration conveyed our concern at the restrictions on expressions of Tibetan identity, which appear to be giving rise to a surge of discontent in the region. While respecting China’s territorial integrity, the EU called upon the Chinese authorities to address the deep-rooted causes of the frustration of the Tibetan people to ensure that their civil, political, economic and social and cultural rights are respected, including their right to enjoy their own culture, to practise their own religion and to use their own language.

This declaration also called on Tibetan community and religious leaders to use their influence to help stop this tragic loss of life.

Ireland together with our EU partners believes that constructive dialogue between the Chinese Government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama is the best way to address differences and tensions in Tibet and to reach a solution that respects Tibetan culture, language, religion and identity. It is important for the long-term peace and stability of the region that the two sides come to an agreement on the future of Tibet. To this end, we continue to encourage a resumption of meaningful dialogue.

The promotion of human rights is an important dimension of European foreign policy, as enshrined in the Treaty of the European Union. Constructive dialogue remains the EU’s preferred channel for working to improve the human rights situation in China. Human rights are discussed as part of regular political dialogue as well as during specific human rights dialogues with China which have taken place since 1995.

Bilaterally, Ireland continues to convey its concerns about the situation in Tibet directly to the Chinese authorities through regular contacts in both Dublin and Beijing.

Northern Ireland Issues

Questions (164)

Brendan Smith

Question:

164. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the recent discussions he has had with the British Government in relation to the De Silva report and the need to have a full public enquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10343/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

As the Taoiseach made clear in the Dáil on 12 February, the twenty fourth anniversary of Pat Finucane’s murder, the Government’s position remains in favour of an independent public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, in line with the all-party view in this House. Agreement by the British government to hold such an inquiry would fulfil its commitment in the Weston Park Agreement; on the basis of the findings of Judge Cory on the likelihood of state collusion. The work undertaken by Desmond De Silva QC can facilitate this, in my opinion, by helping ensure that an independent public inquiry need not be lengthy, open-ended and inordinately expensive. As I said at the time, we must build on the progress made thus far. In my contacts with Secretary of State Villiers following the publication, I made clear that the Irish Government will continue to seek an independent public inquiry. The Taoiseach also conveyed this directly to Prime Minister Cameron. I will continue to make it clear to the Secretary of State that full implementation of the Weston Park Agreement remains a priority moral and political imperative for the Government.

Property Taxation Exemptions

Questions (165)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

165. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance if there will be a reduced property tax for persons living on off-shore islands in view of the higher cost of living on the Islands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9707/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 sets out in detail how the tax is to be administered and provides how a residential property is to be valued for Local Property Tax (LPT) purposes. While there is no provision for reducing the LPT charge in the circumstances outlined by the Deputy, I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that LPT is a self-assessment tax so in the first instance it is a matter for the property owner to calculate the tax due based on his or her assessment of the market value of the property. The Revenue Commissioners are preparing valuation guidance which, together with a liable person’s own knowledge of their property, will assist them in choosing the correct value band for their property. When using Revenue’s valuation guidelines, the property owner should consider the specifics of his or her own property and whether location would have a material impact on its value.

Dormant Accounts Fund Management

Questions (166)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

166. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the total contingent liability attached to the dormant accounts fund and if it is intended to take any steps to reduce this liability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9709/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As at 31 December 2012 the value of funds paid into the Dormant Accounts Fund, and not reclaimed, since its establishment in April 2003 was €386 million. This represents the amount which could be reclaimed from the Dormant Accounts Fund by account holders should they come forward. Up to 31 December 2012, the Dormant Accounts Fund had made total disbursements of €251 million leaving a balance, when realised income is included, of €160m remaining in the Fund. When this balance is deducted from the funds potential liability to account holders of €386 million the exchequer had a contingent liability of €226 million as at 31 December 2012. Section 17 of the Dormant Accounts Act 2001 sets out the mechanism for dealing with the contingency that funds may be reclaimed by their owners. The Dormant Accounts Fund consists of a ‘‘reserve account’’, moneys in which are applied to meet repayments to claimants, as well as to fees, costs and expenses of the National Treasury Management Agency which is responsible for the management of the Fund, and an ‘‘investment and disbursements account’’. It also provides that should the reserve account be depleted at any time, moneys will be paid into that account from the investment and disbursements account. If the investment account is also depleted, so that it cannot be used to service the reserve, advances will be made from the Central Fund, to the reserve account, such advances being repayable once there are surplus moneys in the Fund again.

Under Section 17(4) of the Dormant Accounts Act, 2001, the NTMA has determined, with the approval of the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, given with the consent of the Minister for Finance, that 15% of the total moneys received by the Fund and not yet reclaimed should be paid into the Reserve Account. The value of the Reserve Account at end 2012 was €58 million.

The level of the Reserve Account is reviewed annually as part of the investment plan for the Dormant Accounts Fund to ensure that it is sufficient to meet any anticipated claims by dormant account holders to re-activate their dormant accounts.

Disabled Drivers Grant Eligibility

Questions (167)

Finian McGrath

Question:

167. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding a primary medical certificate in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 17. [9814/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The initial application for a Primary Medical Certificate under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994, is made to the Senior Medical Officer of the relevant local Health Service Executive administrative area. If the Primary Medical Certificate is refused, the person may appeal the refusal to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

I understand the named person has appealed the decision of the Senior Medical Officer not to grant a Primary Medical Certificate and a date has been set for this appeal hearing.

I would point out that the Medical Board of Appeal is independent in the exercise of its functions.

Property Taxation Application

Questions (168, 170)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

168. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if a house that has been repaired of pyrite will be liable for the property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10135/13]

View answer

Terence Flanagan

Question:

170. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if building work is completed on a property, for example an extension or conservatory, will it increase the amount of property tax owed on the property; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10291/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 168 and 170 together.

The Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 sets out how the tax is to be administered, how a residential property is to be valued for Local Property Tax (LPT) purposes and provides for a number of specific exemptions from the charge. The recently published Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2013 provides for additional exemptions, including an exemption for residential properties that have been certified as having significant pyritic damage. However, this exemption does not apply if the pyritic damage has already been repaired.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that Local Property Tax (LPT) is a self-assessed tax so in the first instance it is a matter for the property owner to calculate the tax due based on his or her assessment of the market value of the property. The Revenue Commissioners are preparing valuation guidance which, taken together with the owner’s own knowledge of the property, will assist him or her in assessing its value. The guidance will include an on-line guide that will provide indicative property valuation bands depending on the property type, age and location and it will be available on the Revenue website prior to the issue of Returns to property owners. The guidance will also draw property owners’ attention to the publicly available property price register produced by the Property Services Regulatory Authority which provides an actual sales price for all properties sold since January 2010.

When using Revenue’s valuation guidelines, the property owner should consider the specifics of his or her own property, for example, if the property has certain features such as a conservatory or is larger than the average property in the area, and these factors should be taken into account in the owner’s assessment of the valuation of the property. As I have previously advised the House, where the Revenue guidance is used in an honest manner, the property valuation made by a property owner will not be challenged by Revenue in accordance with its normal Customer Service Charter.

I am further advised by the Commissioners that the initial valuation of a property on 1 May 2013 will be valid up to and including 2016 and will not be affected by any improvements made to the property during this period. From the information provided by the Deputy it is unclear whether the building work will be completed prior to 1 May 2013. Where this is the case, the property owner should take this into account in assessing the value of the property. Any improvements or enhancements made to the property after the 1 May 2013 will only affect the valuation of the property on the next valuation date, which will be 1 November 2016.

Illicit Trade in Tobacco

Question No. 170 answered with Question No. 168.

Questions (169)

Robert Dowds

Question:

169. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance if records are kept of which brands of tobacco are included in smuggled or illegally sold tobacco which are intercepted by law enforcement; if so, if he will provide data on which brands have been found in illegal shipments or sales in the past year for which data is available; and the percentage of confiscated tobacco that is accounted for by each brand. [10204/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that action against the illegal trade in tobacco products resulted in the seizure of 95.6 million cigarettes in 2012, and that some 473 brands were found in the seized product. While not all seizures are tested, I am further advised that it is very frequently the case, particularly in relation to well known cigarette brands, that seized cigarettes are counterfeit. Of the total 473 brands seized, 15 of these brands each represented 1 per cent or more of the total seizures. Details of those brands and of the percentages of total seizures that they accounted for are set out in the following table.

Brands accounting for 1 per cent or more of total cigarette seizures, 2012

Brand

Percentage of Total

Golden Seagiies

39.77

Raquel

8.76

Master

5.86

Jim

5.26

821 Red

4.02

L&M Red

3.66

Capital

3.51

Bon

2.8

Marlboro Gold

2.5

Pride

2.05

Brendal

1.76

Marlboro

1.71

L&M Blue

1.68

CK

1.07

Septwolves

1.06

Question No. 170 answered with Question No. 168.

EU-IMF Programme of Support

Questions (171)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

171. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Finance under the agreement with the Troika EU Commission, ECB, IMF is it his understanding that any savings realised from measures such as the recent promissory note deal must be used to pay down debt or reduce borrowings, or can such savings be used to ameliorate the extent of the budgetary adjustments currently planned in 2014 and 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9539/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

First of all it is important to note that some aspects of the promissory note deal are yet to be finalised. For example, the liquidator is in the process of overseeing a valuation and sales process for the assets of IBRC, while the final payments made under the ELG Scheme have not yet been determined. Nevertheless, as referred to by the Deputy, simulation based assessment by my Department estimate that the General Government deficit will improve by approximately €1 billion per annum over the coming years, which will bring us €1bn closer to attaining our 3% deficit target by 2015. This means that the expenditure reductions and tax increases will be of the order of €1 billion less to meet the 3% deficit (there will be negligible impact in 2013 as a result of the payout under ELG). However, this has to be seen in the light of the most recently published General Government projected deficits of €8.9bn and €5.3bn for 2014 and 2015, respectively.

While this agreement is a significant step forward in restoring sustainability to our public finances, the Government is well aware that there remains a considerable gap between what we get in revenue and what we spend. This situation is not sustainable over the longer term. In addition to the requirement under the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) to bring our deficit to under 3% of GDP by 2015, it makes sense that we bring balance back to the public finances and stabilise and reduce our debt burden.

As we are less than two months into the year, I will not be drawn into speculation on the composition of the next Budget and the impact that this deal will have on it. There are a lot of other moving parts to be considered such as economic growth, tax take and expenditure performance. All of the above, including the impact of the promissory note deal, will form the basis of Government decisions regarding the Budget.

Bonds Redemption

Questions (172)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

172. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance the amount of Irish Government bonds held by the ECB that will be maturing in the next 12 months; his efforts to get agreement from the ECB to return any profit from the purchase of these bonds to the Irish Government, as was the case when the ECB bought Greek Government bonds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9541/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The European Central Bank (ECB) published information on its holdings of Irish Government bonds under its Securities Market Programme (SMP) on Thursday, 21st February 2013. This showed that the ECB held €14.2 billion nominal value of Irish bonds at 31st December 2012 with an average remaining maturity of 4.6 years. The Annual Accounts of the ECB, which were also published on 21st February, show that the ECB received net interest income of €1.1 billion in 2012 from Greek, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and Irish securities purchased under the Securities Market Programme, with €555 million of that arising from the SMP holdings of Greek government bonds. The precise information you seek in relation to the ECB holdings of Irish Government bonds maturing within the next twelve months is not available.

The package of measures for Greece agreed on November 26th 2012 by euro zone finance ministers is designed to help put the Greek economy on a path to sustainable growth and its domestic finances on a sound footing. This package was agreed in the context of the statement by Euro Area Heads of State or Government that the scale of the Greek problem is so large that it requires special attention.

One of the measures agreed in November, the Securities Market Programme (SMP) measure, will see Member States pass on, to Greece's segregated account, an amount equivalent to the income on the SMP portfolio accruing to their national central bank as from budget year 2013. Member States under a full financial assistance programme, such as Ireland, are not required to participate in this scheme for the period in which they receive financial assistance.

It is important to note that the concessions that have been agreed are specific to Greece and are accompanied by significant additional conditionality.

Ireland’s needs, as a country exiting a programme, are very different to those of Greece. We are, however, examining the Greek package to see if aspects of it offer any possible benefit to Ireland, particularly in the context of our programme exit.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (173)

Michael McGrath

Question:

173. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the reason he is proposing in the Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2013 that persons who own more than one residential property must pay and file the tax online; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9549/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The requirement for owners of multiple properties to file and pay their Local Property Tax (LPT) electronically is contained in section 44 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a significant number of multiple property owners are already obliged, by virtue of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, to pay and file their tax returns electronically, and section 44 is in keeping with Revenue’s strategic objective to encourage the use of electronic channels. Revenue has developed a secure on-line system for filing LPT Returns that is user friendly and easily accessible on the Revenue website. From the taxpayer’s perspective, using the on-line system is the quickest and most straightforward way to complete and submit their LPT Returns, particularly so where there are multiple properties involved, as the system automatically calculates the LPT due for the individual properties, makes it easy to select a payment method from the wide range of options available, and provides immediate access to Revenue’s on-line valuation guide. In addition, property owners who file their LPT Returns on-line will also benefit from a three-week extended filing deadline to 28 May 2013.

I am further advised that, from the results of the 2011 Census, produced by the CSO, internet penetration levels in households in the State are at 75%, and for those property owners who do not have internet access, they can use the internet facilities available in Revenue offices or in their local library.

Furthermore, section 36 of the Act allows a Return to be made by any person authorised to do so by a liable person. For example, a property owner may authorise a relative such as their son or daughter to complete and submit their Returns on-line and confirm the method of payment. I am informed that from their discussions with the Local Government Management Agency in connection with customer preferences regarding the Household Charge, the Revenue Commissioners understand that this latter approach was favoured in a significant number of cases.

Finally, the decision not to have to issue multiple LPT Returns to these owners will help achieve certain efficiencies and cost savings.

General Government Debt

Questions (174, 175, 176)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

174. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the effect the recent arrangement regarding the re-structuring of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation debt and its conversion into long term debt will have on the need to reduce the general Government balance from 2018 in line with the Fiscal Compact Treaty; the extra amount, if any, this arrangement will require to be paid off the general Government debt each year up to 2053; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9552/13]

View answer

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

175. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the general Government balance and Exchequer deficit or surplus that will be allowed in each year from 2018 to 2025 based on current general Government debt and Exchequer debt projections, including the recent arrangement in relation to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation and forecasts for growth, in order to comply with the terms of the Fiscal Compact Treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9553/13]

View answer

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

176. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the amount of the current general Government debt as computed for the purposes of compliance with the Fiscal Compact Treaty; the projected debt on the same basis for the end of each year from 2013 to 2025, taking into account our obligations under the Fiscal Compact Treaty and the recent announcement in relation to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation; the projected GDP and GNP at the end of the same years as well as the current GDP and GNP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9554/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 174 to 176, inclusive, together.

First and foremost, I would point out that three years is the standard forecast horizon used throughout the EU in budgetary publications and covers the medium term budgetary framework. Accordingly, when the Department publishes the Stability Programme Update in April it will contain official fiscal and macroeconomic forecasts until 2016.

Looking at the fiscal impact of the promissory note deal, there are some aspects of the deal which are yet to be finalised. For example, the liquidator is in the process of overseeing a valuation and sales process for the assets of IBRC, while the final payments made under the ELG Scheme have not yet been determined.

Nevertheless, simulations ran by my Department estimate that the General Government deficit will improve by approximately €1 billion per annum over the medium term and this should be instructive to the Deputy.

The Government’s focus is on stabilising the General Government debt to GDP ratio and beginning the process of reducing it to a lower, safer level over time. The latest official forecast of General Government Debt was contained in Budget 2013, which projected General Government Debt peaking in 2013 before falling gradually though the forecast horizon. The debt rule in the Fiscal Compact, which implements the Stability & Growth Pact provisions, requires us 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.

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.

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.

Obviously, the reduced borrowing requirement over the medium term arising from the promissory note deal will help us to achieve our debt targets more quickly.

Additionally, the terms of the Fiscal Compact Treaty require us to converge towards our Medium Term Budgetary Objective once we are out of the EU/IMF Programme. It should be noted that the MTO is a structural balance target, net of one-offs and cyclical factors. For Ireland, the conversion of our structural budget position into nominal figures is a complex process. It is too early to try and do this in respect of the period 2018-2025 sought by the Deputy.

I would emphasise the point that while the agreement on the promissory note is a significant step forward in restoring sustainability to our public finances, this Government is well aware that there remains a considerable gap between what we get in revenue and what we spend. This situation is not sustainable over the longer term. In addition to the requirements to bring our deficit to under 3% of GDP by 2015 as per the EDP, it makes sense that we bring balance back to the public finances and stabilise and reduce our debt burden.

Banks Recapitalisation

Questions (177)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

177. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the details of all investments made by the State directly or through the National Pensions Reserve Fund in the pillar banks and in Irish Life and Permanent; the current market value of these investments; the estimated value these investments will have in 2018 based on the projected performance of the banks and presuming no sale of these investments in the meantime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9555/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

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

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

Capital from Exchequer***

3.9

-

4.0

-

7.8

NPRF Capital

8.8

1.2

-

-

10.0

Total PCAR (B)

12.7

1.2

4.0

-

17.8

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

20.7

4.7

4.0

34.7

64.1

* €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). In addition the State received €1.1bn stock coupons from BoI and AIB relating to the Government Preference shares.

** 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)

As the Deputy will be aware, the State successfully disposed of the €1.0 billion Contingent Capital instruments in BoI recently and last week announced the sale of Irish Life and Permanent to Great West Life Company for €1.3bn.

Unfortunately it is not possible for me to say at this time what value the remaining banking assets would be worth in 2018. This will depend on many factors over the coming years, including macro-economic variables and the performance of the domestic economy.

However, on the 19th July 2012 the NPRF published their annual report. This contained a valuation of the NPRF’s ordinary and preference shareholdings in Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank at 31st December 2011. As at the 31st December the NPRF valuation of its investments in Irish banks stood at €8 billion. Its investments in AIB at this date were valued at €6.1bn comprising preference shares of €2.2bn and ordinary shares of €3.9bn. Its investments in Bank of Ireland were valued at €1.9bn consisting of preference shares of €1.5bn and ordinary shares valued at €0.4bn.

In addition, the State holds direct equity investments in ptsb (now separated from Irish Life). The State also has €2bn in contingent capital instruments remaining in AIB and ptsb which are scheduled to be repaid to the State in 2016.

NAMA Accounts

Questions (178)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

178. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the profit or loss made to date by the National Assets Management Agency; the book value of all property and financial assets respectively held at present and the projected profit that will be made by NAMA by the end of 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9556/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

NAMA has advised me that it reported in its annual financial statements a loss of €1,180m in 2010 and a subsequent profit of €242m for 2011. For 2012, NAMA has reported a profit of €363m for the nine months to 30 September 2012 in the recently published S.55 financial statements of National Asset Management Limited, the principle operating entity through which NAMA conducts its business. These financial statements also disclose assets totaling €29,040m including loans and receivables of €24,010m and property assets of €7.2 million. NAMA reports its financial results quarterly and annually in accordance with the requirements of the National Asset Management Agency, Act 2009 and the rules of International Financial Reporting Standards and does not publish projections of future profits.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind the Deputy that NAMAs Financial Statements and Section 55 Financial Statements as well as the relevant reports are available on the NAMA website www.nama.ie.

Property Taxation Exemptions

Questions (179)

Michael McGrath

Question:

179. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the reason he is proposing in the Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2013 that the exemption for certain incapacitated persons would be framed so narrowly and would exclude, for example, persons who are disabled for other reasons, for example, congenital defects, many of whom need similar adaptations to their homes to accommodate wheelchairs, showering and other necessary equipment in order to live with any reasonable degree of independence. [9557/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Under the proposed new amendment in the Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2013, a residential property that is purchased or adapted for use as a sole or main residence by an incapacitated individual where an award has been made by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board or a court or where a trust has been established specifically for the benefit of permanently and totally incapacitated individuals may be exempt from Local Property Tax. To be exempt from payment of Local Property Tax, a residential property must be acquired or adapted to make it suitable for occupation by an incapacitated individual. In the case of adaptations to a property, the exemption will not apply unless the cost of the adaptations exceeds 25% of the market value of the property before completion of the adaptations. The exemption ends if the property is sold and the incapacitated individual no longer occupies it as his or her sole or main residence. The new Bill also includes provision for relief by way of a reduction in the chargeable value of a relevant residential property that has been adapted for occupation by a disabled person where the adaptation has been grant-aided by a local authority. The reduction is limited to the lesser of the chargeable value attributable to the adaptation work carried out on the property and the maximum grant payable under the relevant local authority scheme. The relief ends on the sale or transfer of a property that has been adapted, unless the person with the disability continues to reside in the property.

Therefore, in cases where an exemption does not apply, relief may be available by way of reduction of the chargeable value of the residential property.

Tax Credits

Questions (180)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

180. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance if he will outline the treatment of tax credits following the bereavement of a separated spouse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9579/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I understand that the Deputy’s query concerns the tax situation that arises when two individuals who have been married or in a civil partnership, separate but do not get divorced, and one of them dies. In these circumstances the survivor is treated as a widowed individual for tax purposes. As a consequence, the surviving individual would have the following entitlements under the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 that are specific to a widowed or bereaved person:

- basic personal tax credit of €3,300 under section 461 – available only in the year of bereavement;

- widowed persons tax credit of €540 under section 461A – available in addition to the basic personal tax credit of €1,650 from the year following the year of bereavement and where the individual has not remarried;

- one-parent family tax credit of €1,650 under section 462 - available where a qualifying child resides with the claimant and he or she has not remarried or entered a cohabiting relationship;

- widowed parent tax credit reducing from €3,600 to €1,800 over the five years following the year of bereavement under section 463 – available where a qualifying child resides with the claimant and he or she has not remarried or entered a cohabiting relationship.

In relation to persons who were married and that marriage was annulled or dissolved, or if the parties were formally divorced, then each has reverted to single status without any link to the status of the other party to the former marriage. In such circumstances the death of either party to the former marriage will have no tax consequences for the surviving individual. (Note that a Church annulment does not invalidate a marriage in civil law.)

The Revenue Commissioners have published leaflets on their website on related topics:

- Leaflet IT3 – What to do about tax on the breakdown of a marriage, civil partnership or cohabiting relationship http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it3.html ;

- Leaflet IT40 – Tax treatment of widowed persons http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it40.html .