Questions Nos. 94 and 95 answered with Question No. 64

NAMA Portfolio

Questions (96, 97, 98)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

96. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to the announcement by the National Asset Management Agency on 21 February 2013 that it expects to realise about €750 million by reversing asset transfers by certain debtors and taking charges over previously unencumbered assets up from a previous estimate of €500 million money realised from these sources will be used to pay down debts owed to the taxpayer; if NAMA can confirm if any of these transfer reversals were made as a condition of approving a business plan; and if so, the volume and value of transfer reversals made under this condition. [10645/13]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

97. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to the announcement by the National Asset Management Agency on 21 February 2013 that it expects to realise about €750 million by reversing asset transfers by certain debtors and taking charges over previously unencumbered assets up from a previous estimate of €500 million money realised from these sources will be used to pay down debts owed to the taxpayer, if NAMA can confirm the actual volume and value of asset transfer reversals achieved to date; and the basis for the valuation of the asset transfer reversals. [10646/13]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

98. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to the announcement by the National Asset Management Agency on 21 February 2013 that it expects to realise about €750 million by reversing asset transfers by certain debtors and taking charges over previously unencumbered assets – up from a previous estimate of €500 million money realised from these sources will be used to pay down debts owed to the taxpayer, if NAMA can confirm if any consideration was provided to the developer or the transferee in return for agreement to reverse the transfer. [10647/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 to 98, inclusive, together.

NAMA advises that, to ensure that debtors repay their debt to their full capacity, it requires, inter alia, that they provide security over unencumbered assets not previously pledged as loan security, where such assets exist, and the reversal of asset transfers to relatives and others, where they have occurred.

NAMA advises that, in this way, since inception to date it has obtained charges over additional security with an aggregate value of approximately €642 million, and that it is in the process of taking security over further assets identified in the course of its intensive engagements with debtors. In the past week, the NAMA Chairman publicly stated that the Agency expects, after all negotiations have completed, to obtain about €750 million by taking charges over previously unencumbered assets and by reversing assets transfers by certain debtors. NAMA advises that the realised proceeds from these sources will be used to pay down debts owed to the taxpayer by these debtors.

NAMA advises that the granting of charges over additional security, where such security exists, is a required demonstration of a debtor’s willingness and capacity to work with the Agency to achieve the best possible outcome for the taxpayer and that debtors receive no consideration for providing such security as their NAMA debt obligations are generally in excess of such amounts provided to NAMA.

Data Protection

Questions (99)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

99. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an update on the Data Protection Commissioner investigation of the alleged unauthorised removal of confidential data by a former employee of the National Asset Management Agency. [10649/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy can appreciate, it is not my function, as Minister for Finance, to formally monitor cases been taken by the Data Protection Commissioner against individuals and companies. The Minister for Justice and Equality has advised me that the Data Protection Commissioner is independent in the performance of his duties.

Carbon Tax Exemptions

Questions (100)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

100. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will amend the Finance Act 2013 to ensure that all registered agricultural contractors and FCI member contractors will be entitled to claim carbon tax relief against their income tax as farmers can currently claim this relief but agricultural contractors can not; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10678/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The carbon tax was increased by €5 per tonne of carbon in Budget 2012 due to budgetary constraints and a requirement to raise revenue to provide for essential public services. Increasing the carbon tax by €5 meant a relatively small increase spread across all fossil fuels rather than larger increases in the excise rates on specific fuels, such as petrol or diesel.

I have no plans to extend the current double deduction for carbon tax in respect of Marked Gas Oil to agricultural contractors.

Economic Data

Questions (101)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

101. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide, in tabular form, the annual figures on gross capital information here between the years 2000 and 2012 or up to as recently as such figures are available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10730/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Set out below are the annual amounts of gross fixed capital formation from 2000 to 2011, as produced by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The CSO will publish the Q4 2012 National Accounts data in the coming months, at which time the full year figure for 2012 will be available.

Gross Domestic Fixed Capital Formation at Current Market Prices - €m

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

24,451

26,343

28,306

31,583

36,649

43,566

48,294

48,377

39,324

25,601

18,745

16,112

Source: CSO National Accounts

Further information is available here - http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/releasespublications/documents/economy/2011/nie2011.pdf

In nominal terms, the level of gross fixed capital formation peaked in 2007, falling thereafter inter alia as a result of the sharp fall in house building. A modest recovery is expected in 2013 with a projected increase of 3.2 per cent in real terms from 2012 levels.

Customs and Excise Controls

Questions (102)

David Stanton

Question:

102. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance if he will outline the role of the two Customs Cutters; the number of seizures and value of same made by those Cutters in 2010, 2011 and 2012; the costs associated with each of these two vessels respectively in each of the respctive years; the number of personnel assigned to each vessel; his future plans for the Customs Maritime Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10733/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by Revenue that the role of the Maritime Unit, equipped with the two Revenue Customs Cutters, is to exercise responsibility for the customs function around the Irish coast and in territorial waters, up to 12 miles offshore. The primary aim of coastal activity is to prevent, detect and deter smuggling and illegal importation of controlled drugs and other goods. It involves co-operation between land-based Revenue and gardaí, the Maritime Unit and the Navy, and of course international authorities. The Revenue Maritime Unit completes the range of responses now regarded as standard in international anti-smuggling activities.

The use of cutters in Ireland was adopted having regard to the need to fill a gap between land-based resources and the Navy. The choice of robust seagoing vessels was necessary for safe and effective operation in variable weather and sea conditions. Internationally, the use of this kind of vessel is now standard. The benefits are in gathering intelligence, providing a visible customs presence in coastal waters, and widening the scope of Revenue capability. While searches (rummages) are carried out by the cutters, it is most unusual for them to seize more than small amounts of prohibited substances. Seizures are more usually done onshore, at the point of disembarkation, for safety reasons. Their intelligence and expertise have, however, contributed considerably to successful high profile operations, both nationally and internationally.

The range of cutter activities mirrors that of land-based customs officers and includes:

- Patrol of the external frontier to outer limits of Territorial Sea (12 mile limit).

- Monitoring (overt & covert) all vessel movements - Assess, Board, Rummage as required.

- Enforcement of import and export prohibitions and restrictions.

- Identification and securing of outstanding VAT/duty liability on pleasure craft.

- Information/Intelligence management.

- International anti-smuggling operations at sea.

- Managing and monitoring maritime information systems.

- Servicing national and international MOUs and Mutual Assistance requests.

- Supporting national anti-smuggling operations.

- Developing and servicing coastal contacts (Customs Drugs Watch Programme).

The principal costs associated with the operation of the cutters are fuel costs, operational maintenance costs and staffing costs. Each cutter has a crew of six, and is at sea for more then 200 days per annum, with 24/7/365 availability. The fuel and maintenance costs for two cutters was €299,411 in 2012; €337,340 in 2011; and €331,473 in 2010.

As an island nation the provision of customs cutters to police our maritime frontiers is regarded as an essential investment. The cost and adequacy of the present level of provision is continually reviewed. For the moment, Revenue are satisfied that they have an effective service at reasonable cost, that meets their foreseeable needs.

Government-Church Dialogue

Questions (103)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

103. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on discussions held with EU Finance Ministers in Davos, Switzerland, on 24 January; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5484/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I travelled to Davos, Switzerland, to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, from 23 to 25 January. The World Economic Forum annual meeting is attended by political and business leaders and heads of international organisations. The theme of this year’s meeting was ‘Resilient Dynamism.’

While in Davos I held bilaterals with a number of my counterparts and with leaders of several major multinational firms. I used this opportunity to set out Ireland’s EU Presidency priorities and to promote Ireland as a location for international business and investment. I did not arrange any specific bilaterals with EU Finance Ministers as I had met with them in Brussels at Eurogroup/ECOFIN on 21/22 January. I did, however, meet briefly with a few of them in the margins of the conference.