Job Creation

Questions (27)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

27. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which job creation prospects remain positive with particular reference to the indigenous and FDI manufacturing and services sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50535/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Forfás’ Making it in Ireland: Manufacturing 2020 Strategy sets out the actions needed to address various issues affecting the development and competitiveness of the Manufacturing sector in Ireland. Key actions are proposed across a wide range of areas. The Forfás Strategy sets a target to create an additional 20,000 jobs in the sector by 2016. The most up to date figures available for job creation in the manufacturing and services sector are included in the Forfás Employment Survey 2012. There is no data available on a month to month basis for each of these sectors.

Despite the losses in earlier years in manufacturing, there are now 205,700 people directly employed in the sector in Ireland, and a similar number of people employed indirectly: the total supported within the sector is therefore just over 400,000. In the years 2011 and 2012 there was a net increase of 3,700 jobs in the Manufacturing sector. The Services sector accounts for two thirds of total employment within Ireland. While the majority of service firms are not supported by the State, in respect of agency supported companies, the total number of jobs lost in 2012 was 6,950; the number of jobs gained in 2012 was 13,229. Therefore the total net new full-time jobs created in the agency supported service industry for 2012 is 6,279. This is positive growth in both sectors. In addition, the indicators are now looking equally positive in the Private Sector where 3,000 jobs are being created every month as our competitiveness improves and consumer confidence slowly returns.

The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 included a series of actions across a wide number of sectors including manufacturing and services. By implementing the 2012 and 2013 Action Plans for Jobs and the new 2014 Action Plan for Jobs , to be developed in the New Year, the Government is confident that further growth in employment in both sectors will be achieved.

Intellectual Property Management

Questions (28)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

28. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his plans to publish new legislation in the area of intellectual property rights; his plans to make Ireland a hub for intellectual property transactions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44971/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

My Department is currently engaged with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel on the drafting of an Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 which propose amendments to both the Patents Act 1992 and the Trade Marks Act 1996. It is intended to expand the current research exemption under the Patents Act 1992 to include a wider range of activities in the nature of studies, tests and trials etc. and the consequential practical requirements necessary for the purpose of obtaining marketing authorisation for medicinal or veterinary products. This expanded exemption will cover acts done in this country relating to the acquisition of a marketing authorisation in a non-EEA country. These amendments will bring Ireland’s research exemption into line with other competitor countries for investment by pharmaceutical companies.

The proposed amendment to the Trade Marks Act is designed to resolve a technical conflict between the Trade Marks Act and the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trade Marks which needs to be reconciled before Ireland can accede to the Singapore Treaty. Accession to the Treaty would reinforce Ireland’s participation in the Trade Mark Law Treaty of 1994 and enable Ireland to participate in the future direction of the administration of trade mark law at international level. Moreover, following the publication last month of the report of the independent Copyright Review Committee, Modernising Copyright, my Department is currently considering and evaluating the recommendations contained in the Report. I expect, upon completion of this evaluation, to be in a position to bring the results of our examination to Government with recommendations, including in relation to proposed legislative amendments, with a view to stimulating innovation and to ensure that Ireland is well positioned to meet the needs of the digital age.

In order to deliver on a commitment in the Programme for Government which was further articulated in the Action Plan for Jobs 2012, my Department commissioned a Feasibility Study to examine what structures and policies could be developed to make Ireland a world centre for managing and trading in intellectual property. The objectives of the study were to identify and describe the emerging trends in IP Portfolio Management in corporations globally; and taking account of such global emerging trends, to identify options and models for Ireland to leverage its existing strengths to become an internationally attractive centre for managing and trading in IP, such that this could realise an economic and jobs potential.

The Study, which was undertaken by Deloitte, is now being considered by officials in my Department in the context of wider policy developments and economic conditions domestically and globally.

Job Retention

Questions (29)

Denis Naughten

Question:

29. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps he is taking to secure jobs at the MBNA site in Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50401/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The process regarding the sale of Bank of America’s (BOA’s) UK credit card businesses remains on-going. The former MBNA Credit Card Processing facility in Carrick-on-Shannon now comprises two operations. Firstly, a new operation called AvantCard was established following the purchase of part of BOA’s Credit Card portfolio by Apollo. This operation employs approximately 250 staff who transferred from BOA to AvantCard (Apollo) under TUPE regulations on 13 March 2013. I welcome this positive development. The second operation remains in the ownership of BOA and employs approximately 200 people who take care of the UK credit card business. Apollo has acquired the entire building in Carrick and has leased back office space to BOA. We welcome this investment in Carrick-on-Shannon by Apollo.

BOA continues to look for a buyer for the remainder of the UK credit card book. IDA Ireland is in regular contact with Bank of America management in Dublin and with the parent company in the US to monitor developments. IDA met with senior executives of Apollo in London in September 2013 where the transfer of the Carrick facility and staff to Apollo, and further investment opportunities for the group in Ireland, were discussed. IDA will remain in contact with the company and will continue to highlight the strengths of the Carrick site to a broad range of potential investors.

Employment Rights

Questions (30)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

30. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation when the bill on trade union recognition will be brought forward and the mechanisms that will be contained in the bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50560/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to reform the current law on employees' right to engage in collective bargaining (the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2001), so as to ensure compliance by the State with recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. With this in mind, in late 2012 I wrote to relevant stakeholders inviting their observations on the matter. Submissions were subsequently received and a series of initial first step meetings took place between Departmental officials and stakeholders around mid-2013. Discussions with stakeholders are ongoing.

I hope to be in a position to bring the matter to Cabinet soon. In this context, I am certain that satisfactory arrangements can be put in place that will reconcile Ireland’s constitutional, social and economic traditions, and international obligations, whilst at the same time ensuring continued success in building Ireland’s domestic jobs-base and in attracting overseas investment into the economy.

Job Creation

Question No. 32 answered with Question No. 12.

Questions (31)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

31. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which specific sectors of the economy are expected to perform best in the area of job creation and competitiveness at home and abroad over the next two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50536/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The Government’s Action Plan for Jobs has set the objective of supporting the creation of 100,000 extra jobs in the economy over the period 2012 to 2016 through a series of annual measures aimed at improving Ireland’s competitiveness and making it easier for enterprises to do business. Broadly speaking, the Action Plan for Jobs envisages that an extra 20,000 jobs can be created in manufacturing activities, while 30,000 jobs can be created in internationally traded services. These will support a further 50,000 new indirect jobs in the economy.

As part of the Action Plan for Jobs, we have, with the help of Forfás, assessed the job potential of several sectors. These include manufacturing, agri-food, ICT, tourism, Business Process Outsourcing, international financial services, retail, construction and the Green Economy. There is a strong mix of both multinational companies and indigenous SMEs involved in these sectors. Enterprise Ireland has set a target of supporting 10,500 new jobs on a gross basis in 2013, while IDA Ireland aims to generate 13,000 gross new jobs this year.

Both the Department of Finance and the ESRI have recently produced improved employment forecasts for 2013 and 2014. These improved forecasts are supported by the latest employment statistics published by the Central Statistics Office yesterday (26 November) which show that employment increased by 58,000 in the year to Quarter 3 2013, net of a reduction of 3,900 in public sector numbers. This is the fourth Quarter in succession where employment has grown on an annual basis. Increases in employment have been recorded in eight of the fourteen economic sectors categorised by the CSO, including Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing, Construction, ICT, and Accommodation and Food services which are targeted for attention under the Action Plan for Jobs.

We have now moved from a situation where the private sector was losing over 7,000 jobs per month before this Government came to office, to the present situation where it is creating 5,000 jobs per month. I am currently preparing the 2014 Action Plan on behalf of the Government and we will continue, through that process, to build on the success of the actions we have taken over the last two years.

Question No. 32 answered with Question No. 12.

Human Rights Issues

Questions (33)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

33. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade further to Parliamentary Question No. 110 of 19 November 2013, if he will address the question as to whether he supports the Asia Floor Wage campaign as established by the Asian Workers for Asian Workers; if he will support and promote a minimum living wage in African countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51071/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I have noted with interest the Asia Floor Wage campaign which has been initiated by a civil society and trade union movement alliance. I am aware that there are many countries where labour rights are poor or non-existent. Ireland’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights is a fundamental feature of our foreign policy. Under Ireland’s new policy for International Development – One World, One Future, we are committed to ensuring that economic development is compatible with human rights, including the right to decent work. Our engagement in this area will be informed by, among other international standards, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

In this regard, Irish Aid currently provides assistance to the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) ’Decent Work Agenda’ through a partnership programme that covers the four year period 2012-2015. The development of international labour standards is one of the most important functions of the ILO. The ILO is the only international body that is tripartite, having representatives of governments, employers and workers. The unique tripartite structure of the ILO gives an equal voice to workers, employers and governments to ensure that the views of the social partners are closely reflected in labour standards and in shaping policies and programmes.

The ILO’s ‘Decent Work’ agenda emphasises the central role of work to people's well-being and in broader social and economic advancement. Irish Aid will continue to support this important agenda through targeted support to the work of the ILO in Irish Aid’s key partner countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and in priority areas agreed by the ILO and Irish Aid. Our partnership with the ILO enjoys the strong support of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation.