IDA Portfolio

Questions (128)

Jack Wall

Question:

128. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the position regarding the number of factory units in the ownership of his Department or its agencies in Kildare south; the number occupied; the number unoccupied; the cost to the Department of the unoccupied premises for security, electricity, maintenance and so on for past five years; the number of itineraries that visited the units or the number of inquiries made in regard to each unit for each of the past five years; the total capital cost of the vacant premises; if any return has been obtained by the Department since construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35630/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I am informed by IDA Ireland that the Agency entered into a 35 year lease commencing in 1983 on 6 units in Newbridge, Co Kildare. One unit is currently occupied and the other five are available for marketing.

The annual cost of security and electricity equates to approximately €12,000 per annum.

I understand that Unit 6 is currently occupied by Industrial Control & Automation and that IDA is currently in negotiation with a third party in respect of Unit 5. There have been no other site visits to the units in last 5 years.

IDA pays rent on the Private Finance buildings and, consequently, no capital costs are associated with these units.

Regulatory Impact Assessment Submissions

Questions (129)

Damien English

Question:

129. Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if his Department will be making a submission to the Department of Health’s Regulatory Impact Analysis on proposed legislation on plain packaging of tobacco products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35656/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

This matter is being considered and will ultimately be decided upon in a whole-of-Government context taking account of the full range of public policy considerations that arise. These considerations are likely to include health and other societal aspects, legal issues and economic impacts, including trading implications and public healthcare costs. In this regard the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, T.D., who is leading on this matter, has asked for a Regulatory Impact Assessment to be prepared. This Assessment will draw together the views of a range of stakeholders and interested parties as well as identifying costs and benefits of various policy options. My Department will participate in this process as appropriate. A High Level Implementation Group is being established by the Minister for Health to oversee project planning. The Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation will be participating in that Group and the enterprise /trade aspects of any proposals will be of particular interest to my Department. In this regard, I am aware that many of those in the tobacco industry are making their views known directly to the Department of Health or have done so already in the context of that Department’s public consultation processes on the EU proposal for a Directive on Tobacco Products.

Fuel Sales

Questions (130)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

130. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the reason that the fee for the calibration of petrol and diesel dispensing pumps has been increased from €25 per pump to €100 per pump; if he is willing to retain the lower fee for small retailers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35775/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Measuring equipment used for trade, including Liquid Fuel Dispensers for petrol and diesel, is subject to control by the NSAI Legal Metrology Service in accordance with the Metrology Acts 1980 to 1998. The regime of control includes approval of new designs of measuring equipment, verification of instruments upon installation and following repair or recalibration, and inspection over the life of the instruments.

Fees are charged for the verification of measuring instruments used for trade purposes under Section 4 of the Metrology Act 1996. The current fee schedule came into effect in November 2004 and the fees have remained unchanged since then. The charges specified in the schedule for Liquid Fuel Dispensers are €100 for the first meter and €25 per additional meter incorporated in the same housing. These charges apply to all operators of liquid fuel dispensers.

In keeping with the strategy of outsourcing verification services, five third party authorised verifiers for Liquid Fuel Dispensers were appointed in 2012 under Section 12 of the Metrology Act 1996. Authorised verifiers are precluded from charging verification fees that are in excess of the equivalent fees stated in the NSAI Legal Metrology fee schedule.

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (131)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

131. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of retired civil or public servants who have been retained by his Department since January 2013 on a short-term contract or consultancy basis where normal abatement rules do not apply. [35847/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

There have been no retired civil or public servants retained by my Department since January 2013, on either a short term contract or on a consultancy basis, where normal abatement rules do not apply.

Haddington Road Agreement Savings

Questions (132)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

132. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will provide a yearly detailed breakdown of the sectoral measures and accompanying savings for the duration of the Haddington Road agreement applicable in his Department and/or non-commercial State sponsored bodies under the aegis of his Department. [35864/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The measures applying for the duration of the Haddington Road Agreement to my Department and agencies under the aegis of my Department, are set out under Appendix 4, Collective Agreement for Civil Service and non-commercial State sponsored bodies of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2016.

As stated by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the Haddington Road Agreement will facilitate a reduction of €1 billion in the public service pay and pensions bill by 2016. In relation to my Department, the savings arising under the Haddington Road Agreement have been incorporated in the Department’s revised estimate for 2013 and further details for 2014 and 2015 will be incorporated in the vote allocation in the context of the overall estimates process.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Questions Nos. 134 and 135 withdrawn.

Questions (133)

Pat Breen

Question:

133. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision on a domiciliary care allowance appeal will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35568/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received from the person concerned on the 6th September 2012. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who found that the child was not medically eligible for the allowance. A letter issued on the 5th October 2012 refusing the allowance. The person concerned subsequently lodged an appeal against this decision and she was informed by the Social Welfare Appeals Office on the 30th May 2013 that the appeal had not been allowed.

The decision/appeal process for this application is now complete. If the person concerned has additional information which was not available to the deciding and appeals officers when they made their decisions, it is open to her to re-apply for the allowance.

Questions Nos. 134 and 135 withdrawn.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Questions (136)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

136. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal for invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35571/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 8th July 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When these have been received from the Department, the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral appeal hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (137, 138)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

137. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons with disabilities for whom the Employ Ability Service has catered for in the past two years; if she will list the supports and subsidies that service delivers for employees with disabilities and their employers; and the grants available for adapting workplace equipment and the cost of any wage subsidies granted in the same period. [35604/13]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

138. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection if there was a review of the Employ Ability Service and its supports since it came under the remit of her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35605/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 137 and 138 together.

The number of active participants being catered for through the supported employment programme provided under the Employ Ability Service at end 2011 was 2,903 and at end-2012 the equivalent number was 2,762. There has not been a formal review of the Employ Ability Service since it was transferred from FAS into the Department. The Employ Ability Service continues to represent a key element of the activation supports provided by the Department to enable and support people with disabilities to engage in the open labour market.

The aim of the service is to facilitate the integration of people with disabilities into paid employment in the open labour market; to provide support to assist with this integration process; and to help meet the labour requirements of employers. It does so by providing a job-coaching service with clients, including undertaking an Employment Needs Assessment with the jobseeker; identifying the type of employment the job seeker wishes to pursue; developing an Individual Employment Plan; match the participant with suitable employment opportunities; providing any necessary support and coaching in the workplace.

The Employ Ability Service will also work with employers to encourage them to avail of a range of other supports targeted at employers to encourage greater recruitment and retention of people with disabilities. These include in particular the Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Workplace Adaptation Grant and the Employee Retentions Grants Scheme as well as the Job Interview Interpreter Grant and the Personal Reader Grant.

The Wage Subsidy Scheme offers a financial subsidy to employers in the private sector to encourage them to employ people with disabilities. At end June 2013, there were some 1,246 beneficiaries of the scheme. Expenditure on the scheme amounted to some €10.065 m. in 2011 and €10.566m. in 2012.

The Workplace Adaptation Grant scheme is designed to encourage the retention of an employee with a disability by providing funding, up to a current limit of €6,350, towards the additional costs of adapting workplace equipment or the provision of equipment arising from the individual’s disability. Applications in excess of this sum can be considered on an individual basis up to a maximum of €9,523 if specialist training for assistive technology is required.

The Employee Retention Grant Scheme provides financial assistance to private sector employers to encourage them to retain employees who acquire an illness, condition or impairment which impacts on their ability to carry out their job. It does so by providing funding to either identify accommodation and/or training to enable the staff member to remain in his/her current position, or to re-train the staff member so that he/she can take up a different position within the organisation. Maximum grants of up to €15,000 are available under this scheme.