Ministerial Transport

Questions (339)

Niall Collins

Question:

339. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the total cost of ministerial transport in his Department in 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date 2013; the number of drivers employed in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30556/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Details of Ministerial transport costs, i.e. mileage and subsistence, as requested by the Deputy are set out in the table below. Regarding the year 2011,* during which there was a change of Administration, it is to be noted that the arrangements with the drivers providing services for the former Ministers were discontinued and a new set of drivers was engaged. Accordingly, while there is general consistency in the payments, the number of drivers providing services over the course of the full year was 12 and not the usual 6 i.e. 2 drivers per Minister.

Year

Ministerial Transport Costs

Number of Drivers

2010

€84,838.48

6

2011

€87,833.98

*6

2012

€85,094.39

6

2013

€46,994.20

6

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (340)

Niall Collins

Question:

340. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the total costs of photography incurred by his Department in 2011, 2012 and to date 2013 in tabular form per event. [30572/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I can advise the Deputy that the total photography costs incurred by my Department since coming to office are €7,819. The list of occasions for which photography was booked and the breakdown of costs are detailed in the table below.

2011

Occasion for which Photographer booked

Breakdown of costs associated with each event

Small Business Advisory Group Launch

€409

Irish Ambassadors for Female Entrepreneurship

€223

One Millionth Document Filed Online at the Companies Registration Office

€484

Ministerial image shot for Repeat use

€245

Launch of the Final Report of the Sales Law Review Group

€252

Launch of the Report of “The Voice of Small Business”

€284

Total

€1,897

2012

Occasion for which Photographer booked

Breakdown of costs associated with each event

Launch of Action Plan for Jobs 2012

€438

Action Plan for Jobs Forum, Limerick

€312

Action Plan for Jobs Roadshow, Cork

€200

Launch of Research, Prioritisation Report

€492

Action Plan for Jobs Roadshow, Waterford

€298

Capital Investment Announcement

€284

Launch of IP Protocol

€301

Launch of Business Regulation Portal

€301

Establishment of Clustering Development Team

€331

Launch of “Managing out of the Crisis” Guide

€257

Publication of Micro Enterprise Loan Fund Bill

€283

Launch of €90 Million Microfinance Scheme

€321

Launch of Green Economy Policy Statement

€264

Image from launch of Business Regulation Portal

€18

Total

€4,100

2013

Occasion for which Photographer booked

Breakdown of costs associated with each event

Launch of Action Plan for Jobs Q4 Results

€264

Launch of Action Plan for Jobs 2013

€318

Meeting with Chinese Ambassador

€308

Launch of New Work Permit Legislation

€264

Launch of Manufacturing Report

€342

Unveiling of new Local Enterprise Office, Swords and announce details of improved new service for micro and small enterprises.

€326

Total

€1,822

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (341)

Niall Collins

Question:

341. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the details and costs of any newspaper supplements his Department has been involved with in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013. [30588/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

My Department and the Offices of my Department have not commissioned any newspaper supplements in 2011, 2012, or to date in 2013.

Stock Markets Regulation

Questions (342)

Barry Cowen

Question:

342. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the progress that has been made on Corporate Governance commitments for a binding code of practice for Irish Stock Exchange registered companies made in the Programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30619/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Any company that wishes to list on the Irish Stock Exchange’s main market must implement the UK Corporate Governance Code and its Irish Annex.

While the legal obligation to comply with the Code only applies to companies listed on the main market, the Irish Stock Exchange’s own Listing Rules require companies on the secondary market to report on how they have applied the principles of the Code or, where they have not applied those principles, to explain why.

The UK Corporate Governance Code is subject to regular review and updating. It was last reviewed in 2012 and, as a result, new principles on gender diversity on boards were incorporated.

At the EU level, negotiations on a draft Directive on gender balance on boards are at an early stage. Moreover, the Commission has recently adopted a proposal to amend the Accounting Directives to impose new obligations on listed companies to report non-financial information, such as company policies on the environment and employee related matters, and negotiations between the Council and the Parliament on this are just beginning.

Meanwhile, I recently introduced the Companies Bill 2012 in the Dáil, with the Second Stage debate taking place last April. That Bill consolidates and reforms the existing canon of company law. One novel feature of the Bill is that it will bring together into one statutory provision all the existing fiduciary duties of directors, to make them more accessible and comprehensible to all.

Foreign Direct Investment

Questions (343)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

343. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the details surrounding the mobile and tablet application that is to be launched soon by Industrial Development Agency Ireland; the devices and marketplaces to which the app will be available; his views on whether it will be beneficial in attracting further inward investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30628/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I am informed by IDA Ireland that it will be launching an app promoting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Ireland next month. The app, which will be available for download from the App Store, will be aimed initially at technology companies in the US market who are looking to set up new operations or to expand existing operations in Ireland.

IDA is a marketing organisation and has always used the best means available to it to promote Ireland as a location for FDI. The Agency targets corporate decision makers at different touch points – tablets and smartphones are one of these touch points. The app has been developed in response to the growth in demand from senior executives who are using internet, smartphones and tablets to communicate, source and access information. The app has been specifically created to work on these devices and will initially work on iOS.

The app will provide companies with information on companies who have chosen Ireland as their location for a wide range of activities and functions together with maps and details of locations including information on companies in a particular location, the educational and research institutions in a location, the transport and infrastructure facilities available and the lifestyle associated with a particular location.

In addition, the app provides a notes feature enabling users to take notes, photos etc. which will enable users to track items of interest. For example, the app can be used before a company makes a site visit to Ireland, during a site visit to Ireland and post site visit.

The launch of this app presents yet another example of how IDA Ireland is constantly seeking to develop innovative ways to attract new FDI to Ireland.

Registered Employment Agreements

Questions (344)

Michael McGrath

Question:

344. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on the recent Supreme Court decision upholding a constitutional challenge to the system of Registered Employment Agreements; his response to this decision; the impact of the decision on existing employees employed under such agreements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30738/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

In the judgement delivered on 9 May last in McGowan and others v The Labour Court, Ireland and the Attorney General, the Supreme Court held that Part III of the Industrial Relations Act 1946 was invalid having regard to Article 15.2.1 of the Constitution. That Article provides, in effect, that the exclusive power to make laws is vested in the Oireachtas. The Supreme Court took the view that Registered Employment Agreements are instruments having the status of laws made by private individuals subject only to a limited power of veto by a subordinate body. While the Constitution allows for the limited delegation of law making functions, the provisions of the 1946 Act went beyond what is permissible under the Constitution.

The effect of this decision is to invalidate the registration of employment agreements previously registered under Part III of the 1946 Act. In consequence the Labour Court no longer has jurisdiction to enforce, interpret or otherwise apply these agreements.

As a result, all such agreements no longer have any application beyond the subscribing parties and are not enforceable in law. However, existing contractual rights of workers in sectors covered by Registered Employment Agreements are unaffected by the ruling. Contractual rights can be altered only by agreement between the parties involved.

There were 6 existing sectoral REAs registered or varied by the Labour Court in recent years: two in the Construction Sector and one each covering Electrical Contracting, Printing, Overhead Powerline Contractors and Dublin Drapery, Footwear and Allied Trades. It is estimated that between 70,000 and 80,000 workers were covered by these sectoral agreements. In addition, there were over 50 employment agreements covering individual enterprises that had been registered by the Court under the 1946 Act.

The striking down of the REAs means that new employees in these sectors can now be hired at a rate agreeable between workers and their employers. This is subject only to the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000.

From the parties’ perspective, the primary objective of REAs is to provide them with a sense of certainty around terms and conditions that will apply when the employer is tendering for and working through contracts and to have in place agreed grievance and industrial peace provisions. The agreements also have the effect of ensuring that the industry terms and conditions are recognised and maintained. In addition, the existence of these legally backed agreements is recognised under European Union law and ensures, in accordance with the Posted Workers Directive, that contractors from outside the jurisdiction, who may be using employees from lower wage economies, do not obtain an advantage over local contractors in terms of wage costs.

This is a significant judgment that requires careful consideration having regard also to the amendments to the 1946 Act contained in the 2012 Industrial Relations Act.

The Attorney General is providing advice on any potential implications of the judgment for the 1946 Act as amended by the 2012 Industrial Relations Act. When I have considered that advice I will be in a position to comment further.

Regional Aid

Questions (345)

Paudie Coffey

Question:

345. Deputy Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the maximum grant aid available to potential Industrial Development Agency clients for locating in each of the nine gateways identified in the national spatial strategy; if he will detail the criteria and process used in designating each gateway with different IDA grant aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30740/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Regional Aid, also known as investment aid, is paid in the form of grants by the industrial development agencies to businesses in order to support new investment and new employment in productive projects in Europe's most disadvantaged regions.

Such aid must be in accordance with the Regional Aid Map 2007-13. This Map, which was drawn up by my Department in accordance with the European Commission’s Regional Aid Guidelines 2007-2013 following extensive consultation, was approved by the European Commission which has responsibility for the Regional Aid Guidelines.

The eligible regions and applicable aid rates in Ireland for the 7 year period as set out in the Irish Map are contained in the tabular statement below. Individual counties rather than gateways were designated in the Irish Map, which is available on my Department’s website.

The Regional Aid Guidelines for 2014-2020 were adopted by the European Commission on 19 June 2013. The guidelines will enter into force on 1 July 2014. Consequently, the current guidelines, which were due to expire at the end of this year, are to be extended for six month transition period.

The Regional Aid Guidelines 2014-2020 were adopted after extensive consultations by the Commission with many stakeholders and with the European Parliament, the Committee of Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee.

In the light of these guidelines, a revised Irish Regional Aid Map will be submitted to, and approved by, the Commission before the end of June 2014. In drawing up this Map, economic data such as unemployment and Gross Domestic Product for all counties will once again be analysed afresh when deciding which counties will be designated for Regional Aid.

Regional Aid Map 2007-2013 – IRELAND (as reviewed by Commission Decision

N130/2010 – Official Journal c 226/5 21.8.2010)

BORDER, MIDLANDS and WEST REGION

Large Firms

Period

2007-2010

2011-2013

Aid Rate

(Gross Grant Equivalent)

30%

15%

Medium Firms

Period

2007-2010

2011-2013

Aid Rate

(Gross Grant Equivalent)

40%

25%

Small Firms

Period

2007- 2010

2011-2013

Aid Rate

(Gross Grant Equivalent)

50%

35%

SOUTHERN & EASTERN REGION

Large Firms

Area

Period

Aid Rate

(Gross Grant Equivalent)

South East sub-Region

(Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, South Tipperary) and designated islands 1

2007-2013

10%

Mid West

(Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary 2)

2007-2013

10%

Kerry,

Cork (entire county)

2007-2008

10%

-

2009-2013

0%

1 Bear, Cleire, Dursey, Heir, Long, Sherkin, Whiddy

2 As a result of Commission Decision N 130/2010, large investment aid and aid for investment projects with eligible expenditure exceeding EUR 25 million is once again permitted for these three counties. Prior to the decision, such aid had only been allowed up until the end of 2008.

Medium Firms

Area

Period

Aid Rate

(Gross Grant Equivalent)

South East sub-Region

(Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, South Tipperary) and designated islands

2007-2013

20%

Mid West

(Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary)

2007-2013

20%

Kerry,

Cork Urban Regeneration Area

2007-2013

20% 3

Cork (apart from Urban Regeneration Area)

2007-2008

20%

-

2009-2013

0%

Small Firms

Area

Period

Aid Rate

(Gross Grant Equivalent)

South East sub-Region

(Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, South Tipperary) and designated islands

2007-2013

30%

Mid-West

(Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary)

2007-2013

30%

Kerry,

Cork Urban Regeneration Area

2007-2013

30% 3

Cork (apart from Urban Regeneration Area)

2007-2008

30%

-

2009-2013

0%

Lower aid rates apply to Large Investment Projects (i.e. > €50 million

3. From 2009-2013 no aid may be awarded in these counties for investment projects with eligible expenditure exceeding EUR 25 million

Unemployment Statistics

Questions (346)

Brian Stanley

Question:

346. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on the recent survey findings in Cherry Orchard, Ballyfermot, Dublin, that found a rate of 60.25% unemployment among those of working age and of these, 80% were long-term unemployed; her further views on whether only a concerted effort by her will lead to these figures being reduced; and the actions she will take to provide jobs in Cherry Orchard and other unemployment black spots. [30236/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The definition of unemployment used in the above-mentioned survey is self-defined unemployment as opposed to the stricter definition used by the ILO. While the methods used in the survey can be questioned (e.g. door-to-door surveys can capture less employed people as they are more likely to be out at work) and recent Live Register figures show that there has been a 4.8% decrease in the numbers signing on in Ballyfermot in the past twelve months, the Government recognises that unemployment black spots exist in specific areas across the country and need to be addressed. Also, people who are not working but who are also unavailable for work such as students and carers may be classified as unemployed.

The Government’s approach to tackling the unemployment problem is to focus resources on those individuals most at risk of long-term unemployment.

Up to the recent past, this has been based on identifying all persons who remain on the Live Register for three months after first signing on, and referring them for more intensive job-search assistance and guidance. Increasingly, referral is now based on profiling people at the beginning of a spell of unemployment, so as to focus resources on those most in need at an even earlier stage.

By definition, such an approach focuses resources on those areas where unemployment is highest and of longest duration. The roll-out of the profiling system at my Department’s ‘one-stop-shop’ Intreo offices will further enhance this effect as one of the main variables in the profiling system is geographical location. In other words, if someone comes from an area of high unemployment, s/he will, all other things being equal, receive more targeted assistance.

In addition, the geographical distribution of places on employment programmes such as CE and Tús & training programmes has been highly correlated with unemployment rates for each region. Within the Tús programme there is a specific area-based approach to the allocation of places. The 5,000 places on the scheme are allocated to community and voluntary organisations involved in the delivery of local services in urban and rural areas. The allocation is based on the numbers of eligible unemployed people in each local development company or Údarás na Gaeltachta area.

Other than through administrative mechanisms like those described, it is difficult to identify and target specific unemployment black spots at a very local level. The most frequent unemployment data come from the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS); as a sample survey, the QNHS provides reliable data at a regional, but not at a local level. Small-area statistics are collected in the Census, but these are available only at five-year intervals, and the unemployment concept underlying them does not correspond exactly with that used in the QNHS.

However, the Government’s policy of targeting resources at those most at risk of long-term unemployment overcomes this statistical deficit and ensures those areas that are most in need of assistance are prioritised. My Department works primarily at a local level and is acutely aware of the differentiated impact of unemployment across local areas. The Department has 59 local offices, 63 branch offices and newly incorporated employment offices. The Live Register figures by office are closely monitored and are an important consideration for the provision of our activation services.

In terms of job creation, the Action Plan for Jobs recognises the need for a concerted effort by Government and contains 333 actions to be implemented this year by 16 Government Departments and 46 agencies. The original Action Plan for Jobs sets out a target for 100,000 net new jobs to be created by 2016. In addition, the Action Plan for Jobs 2013 includes the Pathways to Work initiative’s targets for increasing the number of people who are long-term unemployed moving into employment and reducing the average length of time spent on the Live Register.

Specifically, these targets are that:

(i) at least 75,000 of those currently long-term unemployed will move into employment by 2015.

(ii) Increase the exit rate of people on the live register for two years or more by 50% (to 40%) by the end of 2015

(iii) Reduce the persistence rate (the rate at which short term unemployed people become long term unemployed) to 25%.

These targets are particularly relevant for unemployment black spots with a high prevalence of long-term unemployment.

Tax and Social Welfare Codes

Questions (347)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

347. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to introduce the second tier of child income support payment reform without abolishing family income supplement as suggested by the End Child Poverty Coalition. [30008/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

In line with commitments contained in the Programme for Government, I established an Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare in June 2011, with the aim of harnessing expert opinion and experience to examine a number of specific issues. These include making cost-effective proposals for improving employment incentives and achieving better poverty outcomes, particularly child poverty outcomes.

The Group commenced its work programme by prioritising the area of family and child income supports and its report on this first module of work was published in February. The report makes important recommendations as to how child benefit could be maintained as a universal payment while reforming the current system of child and family income supports through a two-tier payment so as to better target those who need these supports most while minimising work disincentives. Under this two-tier payment approach, the Advisory Group suggests rebalancing and integrating child and family income support payments as follows:

A universal first-tier payment in respect of all children, which would replace the current child benefit payment

A child income support supplement or second-tier payment for low-income families, which would replace the current qualified child increases components on all Social Protection weekly payments as well as the family income supplement (FIS). This second-tier payment would be proportionately reduced as income increases and would be withdrawn for families on a higher income.

Given also the range of complex issues involved with this proposal, including fiscal, operational and legal considerations, as well as the implications for reforms in terms of child poverty and employment incentive outcomes, the Government has made no decision at this time on the core recommendations of the report. It is the Government’s intention that the report will now contribute to the broader policy debate on this important issue for families and their children.

The response of the End Child Poverty Coalition to the Advisory Group’s report on child and family income supports has been submitted to my Department. I also recently met with representatives of the Coalition to discuss their submission and listened to their views with interest as part of the overall consultation process on this report. With regard to the End Child Poverty Coalition’s proposals relating to FIS, it should be noted that the Advisory Group’s report acknowledges that this payment has a dual role not only as a child income support but also as an in-work support for parents on low incomes. Given this dual nature of the payment, the Advisory Group.

Question No. 348 withdrawn.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (349, 352)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

349. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will urgently review and or refer for appeal the refusal of carer's allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30049/13]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

352. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will urgently review and or refer for appeal the refusal in respect of carer's allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30058/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 349 and 352 together.

This application for carer’s allowance was disallowed on the 4th of June 2013. The additional information supplied with your question is currently being reviewed by a deciding officer. Once processed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

Back to Education Allowance Eligibility

Questions (350)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

350. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare currently qualifies for back to education allowance or when he or she is likely to so qualify; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30056/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

According to the records of this Department, the person concerned has not applied for a back to education allowance. It is open to the person concerned to submit an application to her local office.

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Question No. 352 answered with Question No. 349.

Questions (351)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

351. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the entitlement to one parent family allowance or alternative and or emergency payment in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30057/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

According to the records of this Department, no recent application for a one parent family payment has been submitted from the person concerned. It is open to the person concerned to submit such an application to her local office and also to make an application for a supplementary welfare allowance to her local community welfare service.

Question No. 352 answered with Question No. 349.

Foster Care Expenditure

Questions (353)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

353. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding child dependant payments in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30059/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The person concerned is in receipt of a qualified child increase on his State contributory pension and is also the recipient of child benefit for his grandson.

The person concerned has been forwarded a claim form for a guardian’s payment (contributory). He should complete and return the form to the Department. On receipt of claim form, his entitlement to a guardian’s payment will be fully examined and he will be notified of the outcome without delay.

The foster care scheme is administered by the HSE on behalf of the Department of Health and Children.

Foster Care Expenditure

Questions (354)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

354. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding child dependant payments in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30060/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

According to the records of the Department, the person concerned has not applied for an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) on her widow's contributory pension. She is currently in receipt of a supplementary welfare allowance payment in respect of her granddaughter. An application form to apply for an IQC on her widows contributory pension has been forwarded to the person concerned.

The person concerned applied for guardian’s payment (contributory) in November 2011 in respect of her granddaughter. The Deciding Officer decided that the child concerned did not meet the definition of an “orphan” as defined in Section 2(1) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005. This decision was appealed to the Social Welfare Appeals Office and the Appeals Officer disallowed the appeal in March 2013.

The Foster Care Scheme is administered by the HSE on behalf of the Department of Health and Children.

Nursing Home Services

Questions (355)

Seán Kenny

Question:

355. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a maintenance payment paid to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 17 is under review. [30088/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I understand this Question refers to nursing home charges, the person concerned should contact the Health Service Executive in relation to the matter.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Questions (356)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

356. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection if a decision has been made on an appeal of a decision on a carer's allowance application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30104/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 14th May 2013, 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 the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Social Insurance Yield

Questions (357)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

357. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide, in tabular form, the revenue or estimated revenue to the Social Insurance Fund from employees' PRSI, employers' PRSI and self-employed PRSI for the years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30115/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The following table gives the estimated revenue to the Social Insurance Fund from employees’ PRSI, employers’ PRSI and self-employed PRSI for the years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

-

2010

2011

2012

2013

Employer

€ 5,000,275

€ 5,460,786

€ 4,994,724

€ 5,205,345

Employee

€ 1,377,140

€ 1,617,352

€ 1,479,626

€ 1,542,020

Self-employed

€ 330,603

€ 348,342

€ 311,576

€ 352,407