Banking Sector Regulation

Questions (61)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

61. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance further to the sale by Bank of Ireland of its ICS Building Society loanbook to Dilosk Limited, if he will, as a substantial shareholder in Bank of Ireland, confirm the steps that have been taken to assess the suitability of Dilosk Limited to administer Irish mortgages; if the experience and background of the various directors and owners of Dilosk were examined by Bank of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28617/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Deputy will be aware that, although Bank of Ireland has recently announced it has agreed to sell the ICS distribution platform, together with €250m of mortgage loans, the completion of the sale is subject to the satisfaction of regulatory and other approvals. This regulatory approval requirement is standard for a transaction of this nature and would include the necessary due diligence relating to company operating capacity and suitability of officers. This transaction does not require my approval under the terms of the Relationship Framework Agreement.

Banking Sector Regulation

Questions (62)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

62. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance further to the sale by Bank of Ireland of its ICS Building Society loanbook to Dilosk Limited, if he will, as a substantial shareholder in Bank of Ireland, confirm the undertakings that have been provided by the buyer to adhere to the Central Bank of Ireland's code of conduct on dealing with mortgage arrears; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28618/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I can confirm for the Deputy that, as per its web site, Dilosk Limited has indicated that it has applied for authorisation from the Central Bank of Ireland to act as a retail credit firm. In addition to this, the company has stated that it intends to comply with all the relevant regulatory codes applicable to mortgage lending in Ireland including the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears.

Mortgage Data

Questions (63)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

63. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance further to the announcement that Permanent TSB has engaged Morgan Stanley to provide advice on the sale of a commercial real estate and subprime mortgage book, if he will confirm the par value and provisioning on the subprime mortgage book at the end of 2013; his views on the provisioning at the end of 2012 which indicates that PTSB values the subprime mortgage book at 68c in the euro; if PTSB’s provisioning is reflective of provisioning in other Irish banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28619/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Permanent TSB have informed me that as per the 2013 published annual accounts, the gross book value of the commercial real estate book as at the end of 2013 is €2.1bn. The total provisions on this portfolio are €0.9bn, giving a net book value of €1.2bn. Details regarding the Springboard portfolio are not separately disclosed. 

With regard to provisioning, as the Deputy will be aware, the Central Bank undertook the Balance Sheet Assessment (BSA) on a comparable basis for all covered banks in 2013 in accordance with a framework and requirements agreed with the Troika as part of the exit of the Programme. In their annual results for 2013 Permanent TSB confirmed that they had taken additional provisions on their loan portfolio as a result of the BSA and other factors.     

In common with all other significant banks in the Eurozone, the Irish banks are required to undergo a Comprehensive Assessment (CA) prior to the ECB assuming responsibility as the competent supervisory authority in November this year (2014). The CA has a number of components including an Asset Quality Review (AQR) and a Stress Test. The SSM AQR is similar to the CBI BSA exercise conducted in 2013 and will therefore review provisioning of the loan portfolios you refer to.

Financial Services Regulation

Questions (64)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

64. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance further to the recent investigations by the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission into collusion by foreign exchange dealers and manipulation of the daily WM/Reuters benchmark exchange rates, the steps the Central Bank of Ireland has taken to ensure that providers of foreign exchange services to Irish consumers and businesses are not overcharging their customers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28620/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I, as Minister for Finance have no statutory role in the supervision and regulation of foreign exchange services.

The Central Bank has informed me that it cannot comment on any investigations being undertaken by other regulators.

The Central Bank does not have a role in the setting of daily benchmark foreign exchange rates. However for clarification, the Central Bank has a wider role in relation to the approval of certain charges by credit institutions and bureau de change under Section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 (as amended) including the margins charged for foreign exchange services on top of the benchmark foreign exchange rates. Section 149 requires that credit institutions, prescribed credit institutions and bureaux de change must make a submission to the Central Bank if they wish to introduce any new customer charges or increase any existing customer charges in respect of certain services. Section 149 does not cover interest rates; it applies to fees and commissions only.

Bank Restructuring

Questions (65)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

65. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Finance further to the statement in the IMF staff report on Ireland published on 18 June 2014 (details supplied) if a decision on the Permanent TSB restructuring is not now expected until the end of 2014, when the ECB will have completed its stress testing-capital assessments of Irish banks. [28621/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, the ECB Comprehensive Assessment is currently underway. Work will be ongoing over the coming months with the final results due for publication in late 2014.

With regard to Permanent TSB, a way forward for was agreed with the Troika in April 2012 which envisaged it playing an important role in the future of Irish retail banking, being a more focused retail bank bringing an element of competition to the marketplace which has consolidated significantly since 2008.  In this regard Permanent TSB prepared a Restructuring Plan, which the Department of Finance submitted to the European Commission ("the Commission") in June 2012.  As requested by the Commission an updated version of the plan was submitted in August 2013 which is broadly in line with the June 2012 plan.

While no restructuring plan has been approved, Permanent TSB has made significant progress in delivering key elements of the Restructuring Plan and the business is being managed structurally in the way envisaged in the plan. Permanent TSB continues to work to enhance the value of our investments through the continued delivery of the Restructuring Plan, which will, if delivered, provide the State with more optionality regarding the future structure of Permanent TSB.

During 2013 Permanent TSB grew its presence and activity in the retail market in general and in the current account and deposit markets in particular, as well as in mortgages and term lending; and it launched several new products during the year.  Permanent TSB has also made material progress in relation to managing its portfolio of mortgages in arrears.

Discussions are ongoing at a technical level in relation to the restructuring plan, details of which are confidential between the parties and commercially sensitive. I do not intend to speculate on when that process might be concluded.

The current strategy is for Permanent TSB to be an independent bank, competing within targeted segments of the retail banking market, and I will continue to support the board and management in the delivery of that strategy. 

Tax Reliefs Application

Questions (66)

Derek Keating

Question:

66. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Finance if a family, who were left a property by their recently deceased parent who required full-time nursing home care and was part of the fair deal scheme where a liability on the property exists but who do not wish to sell the house but instead discharge the liability due under the scheme, can claim tax relief on moneys paid under the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28659/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that relief in respect of health expenses is allowed in accordance with the provisions of section 469 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA). 

Any contribution made by an individual in defraying expenses in the nature of maintenance or treatment in a nursing home on behalf of an individual, where that individual has received State support under section 3 of the Nursing Home Support Scheme Act 2009, otherwise known as the "Fair Deal Scheme", is treated as health expenses qualifying for relief. 

However, financial support (within the meaning of section 3(1) of the Nursing Home Support Scheme Act 2009) is not treated as health expenses for the purposes of section 469 of the TCA.  Financial support includes both the payment made by the Health Service Executive (HSE) following an application for support to assist a person in meeting the cost of care services, and the money advanced by the HSE by way of loan.  When a recipient of financial support dies, the loan is repayable out of their estate. 

In the circumstances outlined by the Deputy, the discharge of the liability due under the Scheme by the beneficiaries of the estate, is simply a repayment of the loan and is not a payment of health expenses for the purposes of section 469 of the TCA.  As such no tax relief is due.

Budget 2015

Questions (67)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

67. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance his plans to introduce a new car scrappage scheme in budget 2015. [28670/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware a car scrappage scheme was previously in place from January 2010 to June 2011. Under that scheme, Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) relief of up to €1,500 was provided where a car of 10 years or older was scrapped and a new car of CO2 emissions bands A or B purchased between January 2010 and December 2010, with reduced VRT relief of €1,250 in place between January 2011 and June 2011.

Any proposals that could potentially boost economic activity will be considered in the context of Budget 2015. However, I would point out that as the most recent car scrappage scheme ended only three years ago, I would be mindful of the potential deadweight cost associated with introducing a new scheme so soon after the previous scheme ended.

The Deputy will also be aware that motor car sales figures for the first five months of this year have been over 24.5% higher than the same period in 2013, suggesting the motor trade is showing signs of recovery.

Tax Yield

Questions (68, 69, 70)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

68. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the additional yield that could be generated for the Exchequer from an additional ten, 20, 30, 40 and 50 cent increase in excise duty on a 75 cl bottle of wine. [28673/14]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

69. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the additional yield that could be generated for the Exchequer from an additional one, two, three, four, five and ten cent increase in excise duty on a pint of beer or cider, and a standard measure of spirits. [28674/14]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

70. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the additional yield that could be generated for the Exchequer from an additional one, two, three, four, five and ten cent increase in excise duty on a packet of cigarettes and a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products. [28675/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 to 70, inclusive, together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated yield that could be raised in a full year from the proposed excise increases mentioned by the Deputy are as set out in the table below.

I am advised by the Commissioners that these estimates are based on the assumption of no exceptional change in behaviour by consumers following the increase in prices.  This assumption may not hold where consumers either reduce their tobacco consumption or substitute non-Irish duty paid consumption for duty paid consumption. For example, in the case of the latter, consumers might divert their consumption to tobacco or alcohol bought legally in another EU Member State or to illicit product.  

Duty Increase

1c

2c

3c

4c

5c

10c

20c

30c

40c

50c

Potential Yield *

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

Beer

6.7

13.3

20.0

26.6

33.2

66.1

 

 

 

 

Spirits

3.3

6.6

9.8

13.0

16.2

31.8

 

 

 

 

Cider & Perry

0.9

1.8

2.7

3.6

4.5

9.0

 

 

 

 

Cigarettes

1.3

2.5

3.8

5.0

6.3

12.5

 

 

 

 

Wine

 

 

 

 

 

5.3

10.4

15.3

20.2

24.9

*Assuming no behavioural change by consumers.

Home Renovation Incentive Scheme Administration

Questions (71)

Robert Troy

Question:

71. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance if he will review the current revenue system regarding home renovation incentive (details supplied). [28696/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that Revenue's HRI online system was developed to accept works and payments qualifying under the Home Renovation Incentive.  The Home Renovation Incentive applies to qualifying works carried out and paid for between 25 October 2013 and 31 December 2015.  Payments made before 25 October 2013 would therefore not qualify for relief under the Incentive.  There is no provision in the legislation for any retrospective claims and I have no plans to amend the Incentive.

Budget 2015

Questions (72)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

72. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding a car scrappage scheme (details supplied). [28738/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Deputy has previously raised the question of whether I would introduce a car 'swappage scheme', which SIMI proposed in their 2014 pre-Budget submissions. The proposal was considered at the time but given budgetary constraints was not proceeded with.

In respect of a car scrappage scheme, the Deputy will be aware that a scheme of that nature was previously in place from January 2010 to June 2011. Under that scheme, Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) relief of up to €1,500 was provided where a car of 10 years or older was scrapped and a new car of CO2 emissions bands A or B purchased between January 2010 and December 2010, with reduced VRT relief of €1,250 in place between January 2011 and June 2011.

Any proposals that could potentially boost economic activity will be considered in the context of Budget 2015. However, I would point out that as the most recent car scrappage scheme ended only three years ago, I would be mindful of the potential deadweight cost associated with introducing a new scheme so soon after the previous scheme ended.

The Deputy may be aware that motor car sales figures for the first five months of this year have been over 24.5% higher than the same period in 2013, suggesting the motor trade is showing signs of recovery.

SOLAS Training and Education Programmes Provision

Questions (73)

Clare Daly

Question:

73. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the National Learning Network has broadened its criteria for accepting students as opposed to only students with disabilities; and the rationale in doing so in view of the fact that disabled students may suffer at the expense of other students and lose the chance of badly needed education and training places, something which NLA was initially set up to cater for. [28560/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am informed by SOLAS that the entry criteria for courses under the Specialist Training Programme for people with disabilities, which are provided by NLN and other specialist training providers, have not changed.

However, NLN is also involved in the provision of other types of training such as Momentum and contract training courses which are not designed specifically for learners who have disabilities.

Student Grant Scheme Payments

Questions (74)

Michael McGrath

Question:

74. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the awarding of a 100% maintenance grant in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork has not been backdated for the full academic year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28565/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the student referred to by the Deputy has, on appeal, been awarded a grant at the 100% standard non-adjacent rate of maintenance and fees.

I understand from SUSI that the remaining balance will be paid shortly.

Student Grants Data

Questions (75)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

75. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students who were awarded Student Universal Support Ireland fee and maintenance grants for the 2013/14 academic year; the number of these students who were subsequently informed they were not entitled to same; the number of these students who have been told they will have to refund moneys to SUSI; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28581/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

According to figures provided to officials in my Department by Student Universal Support Ireland, fees and maintenance grants were awarded to almost 60,000 students, including new and renewal applicants, in respect of the 2013-14 academic year. The applications of almost 33,000 other applicants were either refused or cancelled.

1,484 students were initially awarded a grant but were subsequently refused. No payment was issued to students in the majority of these cases. However, 50 students received a payment and have been advised of the requirement to repay some or all of their grant.

The withdrawal of a previously awarded grant may occur for a number of reasons such as a student commencing a course other than the one in respect of which a grant was awarded, where the latter course is not an approved course. This can occur after the award of a grant has been notified to a student when SUSI seeks to confirm a student's course acceptance with the approved college. In such circumstances, no payment is issued.

Grant applications are also reviewed by SUSI on a continuous basis, including, in particular, when a student is being renewed from year to year. In these cases it can come to attention that an application was incorrectly assessed or that the circumstances that determine a student's eligibility are different, or have changed, from those on the basis of which a grant was initially awarded. This is particularly the case where a student's eligibility may have been marginal in one year and is selected for specific review prior to renewal in the following year.

Any overpayment of a grant is required to be repaid by the student in accordance with the Student Support Act 2011 and the Student Grant Scheme. SUSI implements a repayment policy under which students are asked to agree a repayment plan that is appropriate to their circumstances. SUSI deals with such repayments carefully and sensitively having regard to the ability of students to make repayments.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (76)

Dan Neville

Question:

76. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an extension to a school building (details supplied) in County Limerick. [28628/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The delivery of the school extension referred to by the Deputy has been devolved to Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (ETB).

The Design Team appointed by the ETB are currently finalising the Stage 2a submission (Developed Sketch Design). When complete, approval will be given to the ETB to proceed to Stage 2b (Detailed Design), which involves obtaining planning permission, fire certificate and disability access certificate and the completion of tender documents.

Departmental Communications

Questions (77)

Heather Humphreys

Question:

77. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan has been unable to obtain a P45 for 2011 from the Department despite requesting same on a number of occasions; if he will ensure that this document is issued without delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28633/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department has issued the documentation required to the person referenced in her correspondence.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Questions (78)

Clare Daly

Question:

78. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the salary and wages of staff of a State agency (details supplied) in view of the fact that the moneys are being paid out of the residential institutions statutory fund. [28643/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

There are currently 10 staff employed by Caranua, the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board, comprising: - the Chief Executive Officer at Principal Officer level, - 1 Assistant Principal Officer level Post, - 2 Higher Executive Officer level posts, - 4 Executive Officer level posts and- 2 administrative support posts, one at ETB Grade III the other at Clerical Officer level.

In addition, Caranua is currently utilising the services of an agency to provide additional administrative support with one person currently engaged on that basis. My Department has also recently approved in principle a proposal from Caranua to engage 6 temporary social workers for 12 weeks to assist it to clear the backlog of applications. My Department is also currently engaging with Caranua in relation to a further proposal to recruit additional clerical staff.

As the Deputy has noted, all expenditure incurred by Caranua in the performance of its functions, including its payroll costs, are met from the investment account operated by the National Treasury Management Agency. Caranua commenced accepting applications in January 2014 and I understand that to end May 2,762 applications had been received.

Clearly there is a need to try to minimise the administration overhead while ensuring that former residents' applications are processed as expeditiously as possible. The salary scales applicable to the 10 approved posts are as follows:Scale: Principal Officer (Civil Service) (PPC)€79,401 €82,587 €85,750 €88,936 €91,624 €94,410¹ €97,194²Scale: Assistant Principal Officer (Civil Service) (PPC)€65,000 €65,000 €66,040 €68,262 €70,479 €71,758 €73,995¹ €76,224²Scale: Higher Executive Officer (Civil Service)Non PPC€43,816 €45,125 €46,426 €47,730 €49,035 €50,347 €51,653 €53,532¹ €55,415²Scale: Higher Executive Officer (Civil Service)PPC€46,081 €47,458 €48,831 €50,204 €51,581 €52,955 €54,329 €56,314¹ €58,294²Scale: Executive Officer (Civil Service) PPC€27,464 €29,418 €30,516 €32,687 €34,360 €35,977 €37,588 €39,166 €40,760 €42,311 €43,909 €44,967 €46,473¹ €47,975²Scale: Education and Training Board Grade III € 23,188 € 24,277 € 25,362 € 26,452 € 27,542 € 28,626 € 29,683 € 30,738 € 31,800 € 32,857 € 33,919 € 35,919 € 35,919 €35,919 € 37,339Scale: Clerical Officer (Civil Service) PPC€21,345 €22,805 €23,177 €24,255 €25,339 €26,420 €27,502 €28,583 €29,635 €30,688 €31,743 €32,975 €33,840 €35,471 €36,753¹ €37,341²¹ After 3 years satisfactory service at the maximum. ² After 6 years satisfactory service at the maximum.Note: If an appointee is not an existing civil/public servant the relevant scale is the PPC scale. If an appointee is an existing civil servant appointed post 1995, the PPC scale applies and if the appointee is an existing civil servant before 1995 the Non PCC scale applies.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (79)

Finian McGrath

Question:

79. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding resource hours in respect of a child (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28650/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that in primary schools, additional teaching supports for pupils with special education needs are provided though two channels.

Under the terms of the General Allocation Model (GAM) of teaching supports, schools are resourced to cater for pupils whose educational psychological assessment places them in the high incidence, or less complex, disability category. All mainstream Primary schools have been allocated additional teaching resources under the GAM to cater for children with high incidence special educational needs.

Separately, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) allocates additional resource teaching hours to schools for children who have been assessed within the low incidence, or more complex, category of special need, as defined by my Department's Circular Sp Ed 02/05. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of Special Education supports and the staffing resources available to my Department. Details of the NCSE application criteria are available at www.ncse.ie.

It is a matter for schools to monitor and utilise their allocation of additional teaching support, including support allocated under the GAM, to best support the needs of identified pupils, in accordance with my Department's guidance.

Should a parent be dissatisfied with the manner in which the resources or facilities which have been provided to support their child's education are being applied in school, they should raise this matter directly with their school Principal or the Board of Management of the school. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

Teacher Secondment

Questions (80)

Micheál Martin

Question:

80. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if it is the case that from 2015 any teachers that have been on secondment from classroom work and employed in other educational duties under his Department for five years or more must either retire or return to the classroom; if so, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28652/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

A limit of five years is imposed on all new secondments to my Departments programmes. This approach allows for turnover of personnel which is in line with good practice in terms of refreshing skills and expertise and also allows for benefits to accrue to the releasing school on the person's return.

My Department, through the teacher support services, engages teachers on a full time basis annually for the provision of continuing professional development (CPD) through secondment from their schools. These arrangements provide flexibility and ensure that the needs and priorities of the service are met. The support services must engage in succession planning as a key strategy in ensuring continued support for teachers and school leaders in implementing national education policy priorities and CPD.

Teachers continue to be employed by their Boards of Management while on secondment to work with the support services. Secondments are renewed, where necessary, on an annual basis and are subject to a number of provisions including the five-year limit referenced above, the priority needs of the service and the Board of Management's continuing approval.