Departmental Funding

Questions (283)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

283. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his plans to increase the resources and-or funding available to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24455/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I am aware that the Office of the Director, in common with the other Divisions and Offices of my Department, participated in a Departmental Workforce Planning exercise in 2012 and again in 2013. Notwithstanding the merits of the various submissions received, the moratorium on recruitment and the need to observe Employment Control Framework targets severely limit the capacity of my Department to respond, as requested. Staff assignments are made by reference to the priority needs of the Department and its offices as a whole.

The ODCE's revised workforce plan has specifically highlighted the centrality of accountancy skills as being fundamental to that Office's ability to deal with the more complex issues and investigations which it has been facing since the economic downturn. Despite the severe limitations referred to above, I am strongly supportive of the case made by the ODCE to rebalance its staff complement to increase the accountancy expertise available to the Office. I have recently written to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform requesting his assistance in expediting the necessary sanction from his Department to fill these important posts.

Legislative Measures

Questions (284)

Seán Fleming

Question:

284. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the legislative provisions in respect of his Department that has been passed by the Oireachtas since 2011 but have not come into effect to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24153/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

My Department has identified the following legislative provisions that have been passed by the Oireachtas since 2011 but have not come into effect to date: sections 2, 7 and 8 of the Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 have not been commenced or been given effect to date. It is expected that section 2 of that Act, which provides for small private companies to apply directly to the Circuit Court for examinership, will be commenced shortly. The commencement of this section, under section 11(3) of the 2013 Act, will coincide with the date of giving effect to the revised Circuit Court Rules necessary to facilitate this.

Section 7 of that Act provides for the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) to raise a levy to fund the discharge by it of external quality assurance functions with regard to the audit of Public Interest Entities (PIEs). Under Section 11(5) and (6), as referred to under Section 11(3), it is provided that effect cannot be given to the provisions of Section 7 prior to the transfer of this quality assurance function to IAASA, which requires further legislation.

Section 8 of that Act provides for Ireland to take up an EU member state option set out in Commission Decision 2011/30/EU to apply investigation and penalty systems to certain third country auditors/audit entities which carry out audits on companies incorporated in specific third countries and territories, whose transferable securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market in the State. An Order is required under Section 11(3) to commence Section 8 under which Regulations may be made in this matter. It is the intention to designate IAASA as the competent authority for the functions in question when further necessary operational arrangements have been put in place.

Job Creation Data

Questions (285)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

285. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of jobs that have been created through the ConnectIreland initiative; the companies that provided these jobs; the origin of these companies; the start up costs associated with the establishment of ConnectIreland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24170/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The 'Succeed in Ireland' initiative was launched in March 2012 as one of the key action points in the Action Plan for Jobs 2012. This unique pilot initiative is managed by IDA Ireland and delivered on its behalf, under contract, by ConnectIreland, a subsidiary of the Taxback Group. Connect Ireland markets, promotes and implements the ‘Succeed in Ireland’ initiative in the international marketplace. Under the terms of the contract, ConnectIreland and IDA Ireland work to convert potential leads identified by ‘Connectors’ into investments and job creation in Ireland.

Up to Friday last, 6 June 2014, there have been a total of 20 projects approved by IDA Ireland under the initiative, with the potential to create 498 jobs. Details of the number of projects approved in each of the three years 2012 to 2014, inclusive, are set out in tabular statement A. Of the 20 projects approved to date, 13 have been publicly announced and are listed on the tabular statement B. On the basis of information received from ConnectIreland, IDA Ireland has informed me that, at present, there are in the region of 150 jobs now on the ground arising from the initiative. Under the agreed terms of its contract ConnectIreland has covered all start-up costs associated with the establishment of the initiative. Payments will be made to ConnectIreland on a phased basis by IDA Ireland in respect of each sustainable job that has been in place for a period of over two years. To date, no Exchequer funding has been expended as payments by IDA Ireland to ConnectIreland under the initiative have not yet fallen due. An independent evaluation of the initiative is currently underway and, following completion of that evaluation, I will bring a memorandum to Government on the matter.

TABLE A

Table showing the number of ConnectIreland projects approved by IDA Ireland in each of the years 2012, 2013 & to date in 2014

Year

Number of Projects approved

2012

3

2013

10

2014 ( to date)

7

TABLE B

Table showing the number of ConnectIreland Projects that have been publicly announced

Company Name

Origin

Location

Jobs

Intergeo Services

US

Carlow

30

Flagship Management

US

Kinvara Co Calway

15

Mafic (Black Basalt) Ireland

Luxembourg

Kells Co Meath

70

Ark Energy Consulting Ltd

Italy

Longford

10

The Magni Group

US

Mallow Co Cork

50

Improv Asylum

US

Dublin

12

SMI

US

Dublin

10

Sound &Sea

US

Cork

55

Bayne Law

US

Cork

6

Wired Ireland

France

Dublin

8

Lobo Leasing

US

Dublin

15

Sure Power Consulting

US

Dublin

25

Pepper Home Loans

Australia

Shannon Co Clare

49

Work Permit Applications

Questions (286)

Michael McGrath

Question:

286. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the position regarding an appeal for an employment permit in respect of a person (details supplied); when a decision is due in the case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24323/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

This application was refused on 27 March 2014 as Intra-Company Transfer employment permits are considered for senior management earning a minimum annual remuneration of €40,000, key personnel earning a minimum annual remuneration of €40,000, or personnel undergoing a training programme earning a minimum annual remuneration of €30,000 provided it is adequately demonstrated that a detailed training programme will be undertaken by the transferee. It appeared from the information provided in support of this application that the transferee would be on a gross annual remuneration of less than €40,000 and would not be undertaking a training programme but instead would provide training. In accordance with Section 13 of the Employment Permits Act, the applicant sought a review of this decision and I understand that further information has recently been sought by my Department that may assist in consideration of this review. On receipt of this information the matter will receive further attention.

Trade Missions

Questions (287)

Seán Kenny

Question:

287. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his plans to have a trade mission to Germany; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24330/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Germany is Europe's largest economy and one of Ireland’s top four trading partners. In 2013 Irish goods exports to Germany were valued at over €6.5 billion and services exports in 2012 (the most recent data available) were valued at over €8 billion. Germany is also the third-largest source of tourists to Ireland, with almost half a million German tourists visiting Ireland in 2013. As part of the Governments' 2014 ministerial-led St Patrick's Day "Promote Ireland" programme, the Minister of State, Deputy, Fergus O’Dowd visited Germany. In 2013 both Minister of State, Deputy Sean Sherlock, and I led Enterprise Ireland Trade Missions to Germany. My programme focused on building on the strong relationships that exist already with the aim of growing exports and creating the jobs we need. My programme included:

- 9 bilateral meetings with IDA and Enterprise Ireland target companies;

- A trade/investment event with over 100 companies;

- 5 Irish tourism/cultural events;

- 2 Bord Bia events to promote Irish food exports;

- Interviews with German media as part of the continuing drive to rebuild Ireland's reputation.

I am confident that this jobs focused trade and investment-related programme has helped Enterprise Ireland clients cement relationships with their German partners and win access to key decision-makers in target sectors which should facilitate employment growth. It has also helped German investors to continue to see Ireland as an attractive location for foreign direct investment and further expand operations and employment in Ireland. While further missions to Germany are not planned for 2014, Enterprise Ireland has an office in Dusseldorf from where it will continue to provide services to Irish-owned companies looking to develop their businesses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Regional Development

Questions (288)

Robert Troy

Question:

288. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the exact number of visits that have been carried out at the Industrial Development Agency park, Mullingar, County Westmeath over 2013 and 2014; and if he will outline his strategy for attracting businesses to Mullingar over the coming year. [24372/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Westmeath is part of IDA Ireland's Midlands Region along with Counties Longford, Laois, Offaly, and Roscommon. In this region IDA prioritises the marketing of the linked Gateway of Athlone/Tullamore/Mullingar.

I have been informed by IDA Ireland that the agency successfully secured 16 agency sponsored site visits by potential investors to the midlands region with 1 visiting Mullingar in 2013. To date this year, the region has received 7 site visits. These site visits were from new companies visiting the location for the first time and from senior executives of existing companies.

There are many complex factors influencing investor location decision-making such as the increasing preference of investors globally for cities of scale with 1 million plus population, significant challenges from lower cost locations in the UK and Eastern Europe and attractive regional aid. In the region as a whole, there are currently 43 IDA Ireland client companies employing 4,812 people. IDA Ireland has formed strong relationships with these companies and, having regard to the fact that 70% approximately of all FDI investments won by IDA Ireland is from the existing client base, the agency continues to work closely with them in order to ensure their long term sustainability and to encourage their growth, development and continuing re-investment in their sites. IDA Ireland works closely with third level educational institutions in the region so that the skill-sets necessary to attract high value added employment to the Region are being developed.

As part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2014, we are bringing a particular focus to regional job creation and are delivering a range of measures to support this goal. One such measure is that IDA Ireland will commence building new advanced manufacturing facilities in Waterford and Athlone and office space in Letterkenny. The Athlone building will provide an enhanced platform to attract FDI to the Midlands Region. The other IDA Parks in the Midlands, including Mullingar Business Park are essential infrastructure to provide for FDI clients and also for indigenous companies interested in developing their business in the Midlands Region. With the improved infrastructure that is now in place, a significant number of people commute within the Midlands Region. Indeed, a project win in one Midlands location has a positive impact on the other surrounding areas due to the close proximity of all main locations. The Agency has also explained that they have invested in specific marketing materials for the Midlands Region to support their marketing effort and launched the digital Connect and Invest site earlier this year. This is proactively used by IDA Ireland regional and overseas teams to market and promote the Midlands to overseas clients wishing to invest in the Region and covers all aspects such as the clusters of companies, infrastructure, talent, lifestyle and the overall business environment offered by the region. We must also remember that it is the investor in all cases who decides where to invest and an investment win for Ireland regardless of the location has to be seen as a plus for the country as a whole.

Job Creation

Questions (289, 290, 291)

Ciara Conway

Question:

289. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound actions his Department are in involved with in the interests of job creation in Waterford; the way these actions are being tracked and measured in terms of progression; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24414/14]

View answer

Ciara Conway

Question:

290. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if work is underway or has been carried out to learn lessons from counties Cork and Galway in order that their successes in terms of job creation, and Industrial Development Agency created jobs in particular, can be applied in Waterford (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24415/14]

View answer

Ciara Conway

Question:

291. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will provide details of the feedback and follow-up from potential investors who looked at Waterford via the Industrial Development Agency and decided against locating there; if work has been done to collate and process the feedback with a view to addressing the issues cited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24416/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 289 to 291, inclusive, together.

Following the closure of the Talk Talk Call Centre, I initiated the South East Action Plan and established the South East Forum to drive implementation of that Plan, in late 2011. My Department engages with the key State players on the Forum to monitor developments on the detailed actions set out in the Plan, and I myself have held a number of meetings with the Forum. In addition, I have asked the Forum to look at the measures recommended in the recent Oireachtas Committee Report on the region, as part of its ongoing work.

Significant progress on job creation has been made, including the establishment of the new Call Centre operation, Eistech, supported by Enterprise Ireland, which now employs more staff than previously worked for Talk Talk in the city. There have been several other job creation initiatives for the region as a result of the work of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland including projects by Glanbia, Nypro, Feedhenry, Dawn Meats and Danone.

Other enterprise support initiatives have been developed to support new start-ups, graduate placements and research projects. It is heartening that data from the Central Statistics Office has confirmed that, in 2013, an additional 15,000 jobs have been created in the region, resulting in the unemployment rate having dropped from 18.8% to 15.5%, which, while of course is unacceptably high, represents solid progress. In Waterford itself, the number of people on the Live Register has decreased steadily over the past two years and is down 3,000 from its peak in 2010.

Specifically in the case of IDA Ireland, the agency informs me that site visits by potential investors are one of the key means to sell a regional location and gives both IDA Ireland and local stakeholders an opportunity to showcase the region. In this respect, I am glad to say that in the two year period since the establishment of the South East Action Plan the number of site visits to Waterford has almost doubled to 40 for the period 2012 / 2013, as opposed to 22 for the period 2010/ 2011. The availability of suitable property solutions is also very important for potential clients and the construction of IDA Ireland’s new 2,438 sq. m. advanced technology building at IDA Ireland’s Technology Park, Waterford will be a strong attractor for the region. As over 65% of IDA Ireland’s business comes from its existing client portfolio, the agency works constantly with its existing portfolio of client companies in the area encouraging them to embed and grow their businesses. Examples of the success of this strategy have been the Investment announcements by Nypro and Sanofi during 2013.

I understand from IDA Ireland that its clients decisions on where to locate are down to how well a particular location meets the company needs and are usually based on a strong cluster of industries in their sector, eg medical technologies in Galway and Pharmaceuticals in Cork, a strong skill base and the availability of suitable property solutions. To enhance the attraction of Waterford as an investment location, IDA Ireland has rolled out a dedicated digital marketing initiative for inward investment focusing on the South East Region and Waterford (Connect and Invest Waterford). IDA believes that this initiative will enhance the marketability of Waterford for investment at a very early stage in a prospective client’s decision making process.

In an effort to attract and support investment and enterprise development in regional locations, the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 includes a commitment to develop a framework for a Regional Enterprise Strategy to better integrate the efforts of the enterprise development agencies and other regional stakeholders in supporting enterprises. My intention is that the framework will be developed on a pilot basis initially, focusing on the Midlands region, and involving the agencies under the remit of my own Department – Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices. The objective is to enhance synergies between the agencies and their client companies and build on the competitive strengths of the region to maximise the potential for job creation. The role which other public bodies in the region can play in working towards this objective will also be examined as the project develops. The aim is that this framework will serve as a model for other regions of the country.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (292)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

292. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the amount his Department and its agencies spent on taxis in 2011, 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24580/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The amount spent by my Department and offices on our corporate taxi account, for the years 2011 to date, is set out in the following tabular statement:

Year

Amount Spent

2011

€12,160

2012

€10,585

2013

€17,690 (to include additional expenditure arising from Ireland’s hosting

of the EU Presidency)

2014 (Jan to May)

€6,345

In line with Department policy, every effort is made to minimise the use of taxis. With reference to the expenditure on taxis incurred by any agency funded by my Department, this is a day to day matter for the agencies concerned and is not an area in which I have any function. Agencies under the aegis of my Department have been asked to provide a reply directly to the Deputy.

Ministerial Responsibilities

Questions (293, 294)

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

293. Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will list, in tabular form, all legislation and specific sections therein that refer to powers delegated to the Minister of State with special responsibility for small business; if he will detail the title of the civil servants who are responsible for reporting directly to said Minister of State and what they are responsible for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24609/14]

View answer

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

294. Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will list in tabular form all legislation and specific sections therein that refer to powers delegated to the Minister of State with special responsibility for research and innovation; if he will detail the title of the civil servants who are responsible for reporting directly to said Minister of State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24617/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 293 and 294 together.

The two Ministers of State assigned to my Department are Deputy John Perry, Minister with special responsibility for Small Business and Deputy Seán Sherlock, Minister with special responsibility for Research and Innovation. A range of functions relevant to his responsibilities in the area of Small Business was delegated to Minister Perry by the Enterprise, Trade and Innovation (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) (No. 5) Order 2011 (S.I. No. 242 of 2011). A separate Delegation of Functions Order was made as regards Research and Innovation in respect of Minister Sherlock – this was the Enterprise, Trade and Innovation (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) (No. 4) Order 2011 (S.I. 241 of 2011). Details of the legislation and specific sections that refer to powers delegated to each Minister of State are set out in the Schedules to each of the respective Orders and both orders were signed by An Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny, on 24 May 2011. Copies of the Orders are available on the Irish Statute Book website at www.irishstatutebook.ie.

The relevant legislation as specified in each of these Orders, together with details of the grades of the civil servants working in the offices of Minister Perry and Minister Sherlock are set out in the tables below. These staff are established civil servants, recruited to the civil service in line with standard recruitment practices through the Public Appointments Service. Senior managers within the Department would also report as appropriate to Ministers of the Department on issues relating to their remit in the normal course of the business of the Department. Powers delegated to Minister Perry as specified in S.I. No. 242 of 2011.

LEGISLATION/SECTIONS

Oil Burners (Standards) Act 1960 (No. 24 of 1960)

Packaged Goods (Quantity Control) Act 1980 (No. 11 of 1980)

Metrology Act 1996 (No. 27 of 1996)

National Standards Authority of Ireland Act 1996 (No. 28 of 1996)

Prompt Payment of Accounts Act 1997 (No. 31 of 1997)

Section 10 of the Industrial Development Act 1995 (No. 28 of 1995)

European Communities (Late Payment in Commercial Transactions) Regulations 2002 (S.I. No. 388 of 2002)

European Communities (Directive 2000/31/EC) Regulations 2003 (S.I. No. 68 of 2003)

European Union (Provision of Services) Regulations 2010 (S.I. No. 533 of 2010)

The grades of civil servants working in the office of Minister Perry are as follows:

 Private Office

1 Higher Executive Officer Private Secretary

1 Staff Officer

1 Clerical Officer

 Constituency Office

1 Clerical Officer

Powers delegated to Minister Sherlock as specified in S.I. No. 241 of 2011

ACTS

Part II of the Science and Technology Act 1987 (No. 30 of 1987)

Patents Act 1992 (No. 1 of 1992)

Trade Marks Act 1996 (No. 6 of 1996)

Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (No. 28 of 2000)

Industrial Designs Act 2001 (No. 39 of 2001)

Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland) Act 2003 (No. 30 of 2003)

Patents (Amendment) Act 2006 (No. 31 of 2006)

The grades of civil servants working in the office of Minister Sherlock are as follows:

 Private Office

1 Executive Officer Private Secretary

2 Clerical Officers

 Constituency Office

0.5 Clerical Officer

Pension Provisions

Questions (295)

Arthur Spring

Question:

295. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person (details supplied) in County Kerry was entitled to a tax free lump sum on finishing work. [24360/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The person concerned was redeployed to my Department in January 2012 together with approximately 700 FÁS staff. As part of the terms of the redeployment, all former FÁS staff retained the terms and conditions of employment that applied prior to their transfer to this Department. The records my Department received from FÁS in respect of the person concerned show that they were employed as a temporary part time cleaner in Tralee working 12.5 hours per week. They were employed in a non-pensionable capacity and as such would have no entitlements to a pension and lump sum. As the nature of their employment was non-pensionable and temporary, they were allowed to continue working beyond the normal maximum retirement age of 65, which they reached on 13 September 2001. The Human Resources Division of my Department have been in touch with FÁS to ascertain if there would have been any provision within their schemes to pay the person concerned a special gratuity if they were to resign. Unfortunately, they have advised us that no such provision exists. As such, I regret to inform you that the person concerned would not qualify for a special payment or a tax free lump sum.

Pension Provisions

Question No. 297 withdrawn.

Question No. 298 answered with Question No. 101.

Questions (296)

Alan Farrell

Question:

296. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Social Protection the amount it would cost the Exchequer to increase the contributory and non-contributory pensions by 10%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24454/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The cost of increasing all contributory and non-contributory pensions (with proportionate increases for qualified adults) by 10% per week for those aged 66 and over is estimated at €613 million in 2015.

Question No. 297 withdrawn.
Question No. 298 answered with Question No. 101.

Pension Provisions

Questions (299)

Joan Collins

Question:

299. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to protect and improve the living standards of pensioners. [24277/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The biggest single block of expenditure in the Department is expenditure on pensions which will amount to €6.5 billion or 33% of overall expenditure this year. It is expected that demographic change will see this grow, e.g., approximately 17,000 additional pensioners are in receipt of State pension each year, and in 2013 the Department had to make provision for an additional €190 million for the increasing number of pensioners. The overall concern of the Government in recent budgets has been to protect the primary weekly social welfare rates. Maintaining the rate of the State pension and other core payments is critical in protecting people from poverty.

Whilst an objective of the pension system in Ireland is to provide an adequate and sustainable basic standard of living through direct State supports, it is also to encourage people (through tax reliefs) to make supplementary pension provision so that they may have an adequate replacement income when they retire from work. The State pension has been successful in ensuring older people have an adequate income. However, many people retiring from work will have a significant income gap if they do not have supplementary pension provision. Recent figures indicate that only half of workers aged between 20 and 69 years have a supplementary pension and this relatively low coverage is of concern. Accordingly, it is a priority for the Government to increase supplementary pension coverage and the Programme for Government includes a commitment to reforming the pension system to progressively achieve universal coverage, with particular focus on lower-paid workers.

Universal Social Charge Application

Questions (300)

Brian Stanley

Question:

300. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason the universal social charge is not taken into account or disregarded when calculating means for social welfare payments. [24088/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The earnings assessed for social assistance means testing purposes generally is based on earnings net of PRSI contributions, superannuation/PRSA contributions and trade union subscriptions. No account is taken in the calculation of any income taxes payable on earnings i.e. the assessment is based on gross earnings before tax. Given that the universal social charge is a tax, the impact of this charge is, therefore, not taken into account when means testing welfare entitlements.

The one exception to this arrangement relates to entitlement to Family Income Supplement. This has been, for many years, assessed net of all statutory charges including income tax. This approach has been continued and the universal social charge is taken account of for the purposes of entitlement to this scheme.

The programme for government contained a commitment to review the universal social charge. This review was completed by the Department of Finance, and Budget 2012 contained a number of changes to the USC that will help low paid, part-time and seasonal workers. From 1 January 2012, the exemption level has been raised from €4,004 to €10,036 (€193 per week). It was estimated at that time that the measure would benefit nearly 330,000 people including part-time workers in receipt of primary weekly welfare payments.