Credit Unions Regulation

Questions (95)

Michael McGrath

Question:

95. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of credit unions that are currently subject to lending restrictions by the Central Bank of Ireland; the way this compares to the position at the end of 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45573/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The imposition of lending restrictions is the responsibility of the Registrar of Credit Unions, who is the independent regulator for credit unions. Within her independent regulatory discretion, the Registrar acts to support the prudential soundness of individual credit unions, to maintain sector stability and to protect the savings of credit union members. As Minister for Finance, my role is to ensure that the legal framework for credit unions is appropriate for the effective operation and supervision of credit unions.

The Registrar of Credit Unions advises me that it has been necessary to put lending restrictions in place in credit unions where there are regulatory concerns about the operation of these individual credit unions and the resultant risk to members' savings. The number of lending restrictions is a reflection of the Registrar's concerns about lending practices in the sector.

The Registrar has advised me that currently about 58% of all credit unions are subject to lending restrictions. This compares to a corresponding figure of 57% at the end of 2012. Almost all credit unions with a lending restriction in place have a maximum individual loan size restriction. Of the credit unions with lending restrictions, over 69% currently, which compares with 68% at the end of 2012, can lend €20,000 or more to an individual member, which is a sizeable amount and should cover most circumstances.

Of the credit unions with maximum individual loan size restrictions, 60% can lend from €20,000 to just under €30,000, 4% can lend from €30,000 to just under €45,000, 4% can lend from €45,000 to just under €75,000 and less than 2% can lend from €75,000 up to €100,000. Fewer than 2.6% of credit unions are restricted to issuing loans of less than €10,000 to an individual member. The figure in 2012 was fewer than 2.5%. While fewer than 1% of credit unions were restricted to issuing loans of less than €5,000 per member in 2012, no credit union is currently similarly restricted. These are the cases where the Registrar of Credit Unions has the more significant concerns in terms of risk to members' savings.

The Registrar has also advised that individual credit union lending restrictions currently in place are reviewed on a regular basis to determine whether they are still set at appropriate levels. Lending restrictions are typically given effect by regulatory directions. As from 1 August 2013 regulatory directions are appealable to the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal.

General Government Debt

Questions (96)

Michael McGrath

Question:

96. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the impact of the previously reported 2012 general government deficit of the EUROSTAT ruling in respect of the treatment of the revenue from the 4G licence sale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45574/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The revenue figure in relation to the sale of 4G licences was previously allocated as income in 2012. In nominal terms the effect of the change in treatment was a worsening of the 2012 general government deficit by €723 million and an improvement by the same amount in 2013. As a percentage of GDP this had an approximate impact of 0.44% in both years. The amendment to the accounting treatment of this item was included in the figures for both Budget 2014 documentation and the September 2013 EDP return submitted by the CSO.

Government Bonds

Questions Nos. 98 to 100, inclusive, answered with Question No. 68.

Questions (97)

Michael McGrath

Question:

97. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the level of sales of Irish Government bonds held by the Central Bank of Ireland following the deal in respect of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation promissory note undertaken to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45575/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I have been advised by the Central Bank that the portfolio of Government bonds now held by the Bank following the liquidation of IBRC will be sold as soon as possible, provided conditions of financial stability permit. The Bank has, however, undertaken that a minimum amount of bonds will be sold in accordance with the following schedule: to end 2014 (€0.5bn), 2015-2018 (€0.5bn p.a.), 2019-2023 (€1bn p.a.), 2024 and after (€2bn p.a.). The Bank normally reports in detail on its balance sheet only at annual intervals although it also publishes a more aggregate balance sheet on a monthly basis. While the latter does not contain details of its investment holdings, it is my understanding that, in its Annual Report for 2013, the Bank will report on any progress towards the €0.5 billion minimum sales by end-2014.

Questions Nos. 98 to 100, inclusive, answered with Question No. 68.

Departmental Budgets

Questions (101)

Seán Fleming

Question:

101. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the expenditure adjustment that will be made within his Department in 2014; the full-year impact of expenditure measures that will be taken in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45585/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Department of Finance's budget and staffing allocation reflects ongoing ambitious objectives and goals, across a broad spectrum of economic, fiscal, financial and international policies, set out in its Statement of Strategy. This is particularly important as we target an exit from the EU/IMF programme of support and the Government has recognised this in the ECF numbers and resources allocated to the Department. Notwithstanding this, my Department has achieved considerable economies in a number of areas through, for example, the abolition of payable orders, efficiencies in accommodation footprint, and process improvement efficiencies. The full extent of these efficiencies is not immediately obvious because the Department has taken-on additional clients in the shared services area (these services are not recharged to the clients) and premises lease savings will accrue to the Office of Public Works vote.

During the course of 2014 my Department will incur once-off funding costs in relation to a number of policy areas, including the Government approved National Payments Plan project. We have also included an estimate for legal fees related to actions linked to the banking sector. These additional costs exceed the various cost savings expected to be achieved in 2014 relating to improved work practices.

National Training Fund

Questions (102, 103)

Dara Calleary

Question:

102. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills the current level of the retained national training fund surplus; the estimated amount at the end of 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45592/13]

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Dara Calleary

Question:

103. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will set out in tabular form the gross receipts and expenditure in respect of the national training fund for each year from 2005 to 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45593/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 and 103 together. The information requested by the Deputy in respect of NTF gross receipts and expenditure is set out in tabular form. At the start of 2013 the retained NTF surplus was €155,003,907. It is estimated that the surplus will amount to €116,975,000 at the end of 2013.

-

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

-

Gross Receipts

329,599,000

374,814,180

433,299,870

419,459,071

374,543,416

310,187,483

400,102,076

317,877,514

Expenditure

312,738,283

352,718,974

394,598,181

399,146,178

366,482,465

395,221,769

326,269,322

340,896,121

Bus Éireann Services

Questions (104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109)

Clare Daly

Question:

104. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department has sent Bus Éireann a document purporting to be the unsigned affidavit of a private bus operator working for Bus Éireann in school transport, which alleges corruption in Bus Éireann in an area that is one of the 11 school transport areas, albeit not the Dundalk or Limerick areas. [45600/13]

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Clare Daly

Question:

105. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the date a document purporting to be the unsigned affidavit of a private bus operator working for Bus Éireann in school transport, which alleges corruption in Bus Éireann in an area that is one of the 11 school transport areas but not the Dundalk area and not the Limerick area, was sent to Bus Éireann by his Department. [45601/13]

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Clare Daly

Question:

106. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the complaints in a document purporting to be the unsigned affidavit of a private bus operator working for Bus Éireann in school transport, which alleges corruption in Bus Éireann in an area that is one of the 11 school transport areas but not the Dundalk area and not the Limerick area, are the first time these complaints have been made to Bus Éireann; if they are not the first time, the date on which they were first made; and the reason no action was taken by Bus Éireann on them at that time. [45602/13]

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Clare Daly

Question:

107. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm that the employees of Bus Éireann from whom a document purporting to be the unsigned affidavit of a private bus operator working for Bus Éireann in school transport, which alleges corruption in Bus Éireann in an area that is one of the 11 school transport areas but not the Dundalk area and not the Limerick area, originates, are still employees of Bus Éireann in October 2013. [45603/13]

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Clare Daly

Question:

108. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the assurances given to him by the CEO of Bus Éireann, in his letter dated 15 March 2012, on the non-existence of bullying and bribery in the Bus Éireann section of school transport has changed or if the CEO still holds the same view. [45604/13]

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Clare Daly

Question:

109. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has confidence in the assurance given by the CEO of Bus Éireann that the allegation noted in the CEO's letter to him regarding bullying and bribery are groundless; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45605/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 104 to 109, inclusive, together. A document of the type referred to by the Deputy was received in my Department on 12th September 2013. This document was referred to Bus Éireann that day for investigation in accordance with the Company's own internal procedures. I am informed by Bus Éireann that this specific complaint was not made previously. An unsubstantiated allegation was made in February 2010 alleging inducements in relation to the awarding of school bus contracts in the same office but no evidence was found, on investigation, to support this allegation. Additional information was requested from the complainant but was not forthcoming, nonetheless all staff in the office concerned were interviewed in connection with the matter at the time. No substance was found to the allegation. Bus Éireann has advised that, on receipt of the document, an investigation was immediately instigated in accordance with the Company's own internal procedures. This is currently ongoing. My Department, as with all such cases, will be advised of the steps taken, if any, arising from this investigation. It is inappropriate for me to comment further on this matter pending the outcome of this investigation.