Excise Duties Reliefs

Questions (140)

Mick Wallace

Question:

140. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Finance the revenue raised from the granting of special exemption orders in each of the years 2010 to 2017 and to date in 2018, by county, in tabular form. [4790/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Revenue is the licensing authority for most excise licences in the State however it does not have responsibility for handling applications for Special Exemption Orders.  These are the responsibility of the Courts Service, as is the collection of the appropriate excise duty.  On application for a Special Exemption Licence a fee is paid to the Courts Service by the publican.  The excise duty element of this fee is €110.

Revenue receives details each year from the Courts Service of the number of licences issued nationally.  The table below sets out the number of Special Exemption Licences issued nationally from 2010 to 2016, and the amount of excise duty collected in each of these years.  Details are not yet available for 2017 or to date in 2018.  Revenue do not have details at county level, the Courts Service may be able to provide that level of detail.

 

No. of Special Exemption Licences

Total Amount received by Revenue

2010

64,878

€7,136,580

2011

54,384

€5,982,240

2012

48,363

€5,319,930

2013

45,496

€5,004,560

2014

40,276

€4,430,360

2015

39,600

€4,356,000

2016

39,304

€4,323,440

TOTAL

332,301

€36,553,110

Ministerial Advisers Data

Questions (141)

Shane Cassells

Question:

141. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Finance the names of advisers he has appointed to his office since becoming Minister; the responsibilities of each; the previous employment of each; the salaries of each; and if he plans to make further additional appointments. [4868/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I wish to inform the Deputy that there are currently two Special Advisers employed in the Department of Finance, who are on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's payroll.

Ms Deborah Sweeney was appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from 6 May 2016. Ms Sweeney was re-appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from June 2017.

Mr Stephen Lynam was appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from 6 May 2016. Mr. Lynam was re-appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from June 2017.

Ms Sweeney is currently on the fourth point of the Principal Officer PPC Scale. Mr. Lynam is currently on the third point of the Principal Officer PPC scale.

Both Ms Sweeney and Mr Lynam were Special Advisers to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform immediately prior to their re-appointment in June 2017. The appointments were made in line with “Instructions to Personnel Officers - Ministerial Appointments for the 32nd Dáil” which include “Guidelines on staffing of Ministerial offices” issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.  

Special Advisers are appointed under Section 11 of the Public Service Regulations Act 1997 (2) A Special Adviser to a Minister or to a Minister of State, as in the case may be, shall

(a) assist the Minister or Minister of State, as the case may be, by –

(i) providing advice,

(ii) Monitoring, facilitating and securing the achievement of the Government objectives that relate to the Department, as requested by the Minister or the Minister of State, as the case may be, and

(iii) Performing such other functions as may be directed by the Minister or the Minister of State, as the case may be that are not otherwise provided for in this Act and do not involve the exercise of any specific powers conferred on the Minister or the Minister of State as the case may be or any other office holder by or under any other Act.

The appointments of Advisers are kept under review given the breath of my responsibilities across two Departments.

Pensions Legislation

Questions (142)

Michael McGrath

Question:

142. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his plans to amend the law to exempt approved retirement funds income from PRSI similar to the way in which annuity income is exempt (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4940/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Approved Retirement Funds (ARFs) are post-retirement investment vehicles through which individuals can invest the proceeds of their pension fund in retirement and draw cash as required. ARFs were introduced by Finance Act 1999 to provide control, flexibility and choice to holders of personal pensions and to proprietary director members of occupational pension schemes in relation to the drawing down of benefits from their pension plans. Prior to that Act, any person taking a pension from a Defined Contribution (DC) scheme or a Retirement Annuity Contract had no choice but to purchase an annuity with their remaining pension pot after drawing down the permissible tax-free retirement lump sum. The ARF arrangement extended the options at retirement so that, in addition to the annuity option, the balance of a pension fund could be taken in cash (subject to tax, as appropriate) or be invested in an ARF, subject to certain conditions.

The ARF option was extended, in Finance Act 2000, to the part of an employee’s occupational pension fund built up from Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) and in Finance Act 2011 it was further extended to cover an employee’s entire pension fund where the fund is a defined contribution (DC) occupational pension scheme.

Distributions from an ARF fall within the charge to Class S self-employed PRSI, or where the recipient of a distribution is a modified class contributor, Class K.

I do not currently have plans to amend this position, however all tax measures are kept under review by my Department as a matter of course. As I announced in Budget 2018 a working group has been established to plan the process of amalgamating USC and PRSI and all aspects of PRSI will be considered by the working group. 

Public Sector Staff Retirements

Questions (143, 144)

John Brassil

Question:

143. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if persons who work in the public service and are due to retire in 2018 will be afforded the opportunity to continue in their employment if they wish; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4736/18]

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Willie Penrose

Question:

144. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when legislative change to permit persons in the public service and other jobs who wish to work beyond the normal retirement age of 65 years of age to do so on a voluntary basis will be implemented (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4957/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 143 and 144 together.

I refer the Deputies to my response to PQ No 4003 on 30 January 2018.

Flood Prevention Measures

Questions (145)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

145. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to provide a long-term solution to recurring flooding in County Sligo, in particular the Owenmore river; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4741/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The core strategy for addressing areas at potentially significant risk from flooding is the Office of Public Works (OPW) Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme. The Programme involves the production of predictive flood mapping for each location, the development of preliminary flood risk management options and the production of Flood Risk Management Plans.

The CFRAM Programme focussed on 300 Areas for Further Assessment (AFAs) including 90 coastal areas, mainly in urban locations nationwide, identified as being at potentially significant risk of flooding. The proposed feasible measures, both structural and non-structural, identified for AFAs are outlined in the Flood Risk Management Plans.

Seven areas in County Sligo were identified as AFA’s, Ballymote. Ballysadare, Coolooney. Coolaney, Gorteen, Riverstown and Sligo town.

The Draft Flood Risk Management Plans were published for public consultation in 2016 and a significant volume of submissions were received for consideration. In Summer 2017, the OPW finalised all Plans and each Plan was submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for an independent review of the environmental assessments. This independent review is nearing completion, after which the Final Plans will be formally submitted to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for approval, in accordance with the statutory requirements.

I would hope in the coming weeks to seek the approval from the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for the Flood Risk Management Plans developed under the CFRAM process.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) carries out a programme of Arterial Drainage Maintenance to a total of 11,500km of river channel and approximately 730km of embankments nationally. These maintenance works relate to arterial drainage schemes completed by the OPW under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945 and 1995, whose purpose was primarily to improve the drainage of agricultural lands.

The Owenmore River does not form part of an arterial drainage scheme. The OPW therefore has no responsibility for the maintenance of the channels in the Owenmore Catchment. Statutory responsibility for the maintenance of the Owenmore Drainage District rests with Sligo County Council.

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Questions (146)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

146. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding for a flood relief scheme (details supplied) will be approved in order to allow the project to proceed without delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4772/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Glashaboy Flood Relief Scheme will be submitted to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for Confirmation under the Arterial Drainage Acts in the coming weeks. This is the final element of the planning process for the Scheme after which the procurement process will commence to bring the scheme to construction stage. Subject to a satisfactory outcome, it is anticipated that construction will commence before the end of this year. The scheme is being funded from within the allocated €430 million under the Government Capital Spending Plan 2016 – 2021. Provision for the cost of the Scheme is included in the Office of Public Works' multi annual capital allocation.

Civil Service Staff Data

Questions (147)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

147. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of civil servants who applied to transfer from Dublin zone 46 to another county in Munster, Leinster, Connacht and Ulster, respectively, by executive officer and clerical officer grade in each Department under the service-wide mobility scheme launched on 13 November 2017; the number of civil servants who requested a transfer to Dublin zone 46 by executive officer and clerical officer grade based in each province and county outside of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4814/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Civil Service Mobility scheme which comes under the remit of my department, and is administered through HR Shared Service, National Shared Service Office, offers an opportunity for staff members to apply for mobility through an open, fair, and transparent system. It is one of a number of arrangements to be put in place to fulfil the requirements of Action 15 of the Civil Service Renewal Plan which calls to ‘Expand career and mobility opportunities for staff across geographic, organisational and sectorial boundaries’.

The scheme is being implemented on a phased basis.  Phase 1A of the scheme for the general Civil Service grades of Clerical Officer (CO) and Executive Officer (EO) for mobility between and within all zones - excluding mobility transfers within Zone 46 (Dublin) launched on 13th November 2017.

There has been a high level of interest in the scheme since its launch with over 2,700 staff members applying for Mobility making an average of 8 application choices.

Phase 1B for the general Civil Service grades of CO and EO for mobility within the zone of Dublin and Phase 2 for the general Civil Service grades of HEO, AO and AP will launch at a later date.

The location choices in the scheme are not divided by county or province but zone.  Each applicant may express a preference for mobility for a maximum of 3 zones from a list of 46 zones (attached) with a choice of any or all organisations in each zone. Staff members can apply for mobility within their current zone (excluding Phase 1B Zone 46 Dublin) as well as other zones. A number of the zones also have an option to include or exclude a choice of satellite towns.  Further information on the Mobility scheme is available to view at http://hr.per.gov.ie/civil-service-mobility/.

To date, 711 staff members (403 COs and 308 EOs) based in Zone 46 (Dublin), have applied for Mobility outside Dublin. In the same period, 29 staff members (18 COs and 11 EOs) have applied for Mobility to Zone 46.

Ministerial Advisers Data

Questions (148)

Shane Cassells

Question:

148. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the names of advisers he has appointed to his office since becoming Minister; the responsibilities of each; the previous employment of each; the salaries of each; and if he plans to make further appointments. [4873/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I wish to inform the Deputy that there are currently two Special Advisers employed in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Ms Deborah Sweeney was appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from on 06 May 2016. Ms Deborah Sweeney was re-appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from June 2017.

Mr Stephen Lynam was appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from on 6 May 2016. Mr. Stephen Lynam was re-appointed as Special Adviser to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform with effect from June 2017.

Ms Deborah Sweeney is currently on the fourth point of the Principal Officer PPC Scale. Mr Stephen Lynam is currently on the third point of the Principal Officer PPC scale.

Both Ms Sweeney and Mr Lynam were Special Advisers to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform immediately prior to their re-appointment in June 2017 and their roles and responsibilities would have not had any significant change. The appointments were made in line with “Instructions to Personnel Officers - Ministerial Appointments for the 32nd Dáil” which include “Guidelines on staffing of Ministerial offices” issued by my Department.  

Special Advisers are appointed under Section 11 of the Public Service Regulations Act 1997 (2) A Special Adviser to a Minister or to a Minister of State, as in the case may be, shall

(a) assist the Minister or Minister of State, as the case may be, by –

(i) providing advice,

(ii) Monitoring, facilitating and securing the achievement of the Government objectives that relate to the Department, as requested by the Minister or the Minister of State, as the case may be, and

(iii) Performing such other functions as may be directed by the Minister or the Minister of State, as the case may be that are not otherwise provided for in this Act and do not involve the exercise of any specific powers conferred on the Minister or the Minister of State as the case may be or any other office holder by or under any other Act,

The appointments of Advisers are kept under review given the breath of my responsibilities across two Departments.

Public Private Partnerships Data

Questions (149)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

149. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if all tenders for public private partnerships pending the implementation of a system that allows for a full cost-benefit analysis of such projects will be suspended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4930/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I should first explain that PPPs are already subject to the same robust and rigorous project appraisal process as traditionally procured projects.  In ensuring Departments obtain the best value-for-money from public capital investment, PPPs, just as traditionally procured projects, are subject to the project appraisal requirements contained in the Public Spending Code.

The Public Spending Code (PSC) is designed to ensure that the State gets the best possible value for the resources at its disposal. The requirements of the Code are based on employing good practices at all stages of the expenditure life cycle. Departments and other public service bodies need to satisfy themselves that the expenditure practices they employ are of an acceptable standard, and that they consistently maintain these standards.  All projects over €20m, which would include all PPPs, should be subjected to a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) or Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA).  

In addition, all public investment projects valued at €20m or above must also be referred to the NDFA for advice in terms of the best way of financing the projects, which would also include all PPP projects.

PPPs will continue to be a procurement method available for appropriately structured projects which demonstrate value for money over a traditional procurement option and which meet the robust and rigorous tests for project appraisal that apply to all public investment projects under the Public Spending Code.