Departmental Funding

Questions (121, 122)

Denis Naughten

Question:

121. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance the funding his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12510/19]

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Denis Naughten

Question:

122. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance the funding that his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Roscommon in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12527/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 121 and 122 together.

My Department does not make investments from its Vote other than the routine acquisition of IT equipment and systems and certain premises expenses relating to the buildings it occupies.

Therefore, there was no funding provided by my Department to projects in County Galway and County Roscommon for the period in question.

There are eighteen bodies under the aegis of my Department. I am informed that two of these bodies, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and the Social Finance Foundation (SFF), have provided funding in the form of commercial loans in County Galway and County Roscommon in the years 2016 to 2018 and to date 2019. The SBCI provides loan funding to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. The SFF was established to address the needs of community organisations and social enterprises for loan funding which was difficult to obtain from mainstream financial institutions; it acts as a wholesale funder, providing funding to its lending partners Clann Credo and Community Finance Ireland. Details of the loan funding provided by these two bodies, all of which has been allocated, are set out in the table attached. The majority of the funding has been drawn down, with partial draw down indicated.

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has indicated that the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (“ISIF”) does not provide county level information as the publication of such information could inadvertently result in the disclosure of commercially sensitive information relating to underlying investee companies. The ISIF publishes bi-annual economic impact reporting which contains national and regional level data on the Fund's investments and economic impact. The ISIF H1 2018 Economic Impact Report is available on the ISIF website and sets out the regional spread of ISIF's investments, showing that 54 per cent of jobs supported and 47 per cent of capital invested are outside of Dublin. Approximately 6 per cent of investment and 4 per cent of economic activity achieved, to-date, are in the five Connacht counties.

It was not possible for the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) to respond to this information request in the time available and therefore I will make arrangements to provide a response in line with Standing Orders.

Body

Funding provided to projects in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date 2019

-

Co Galway

2016 - €79,000

2017 - €771,464

2018 - €457,251.75

Jan/Feb 2019 - €30,000

Social Finance Foundation

Co Roscommon

2016 - €57,438

2017 - €392,925.80

2018 - €369,757.54

Jan/Feb 2019 - €129,315.43

-

Co Galway

2016 - Liquidity Scheme: €16,863,179

Credit Guarantee Scheme: €180,000

2017 - Liquidity Scheme: €19,656,235

Credit Guarantee Scheme: €150,000

Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme: €7,085,837

2018 - Liquidity Scheme: €4,866,485

Credit Guarantee Scheme: €865,000

Brexit Loan Scheme: €565,000 (€500,000 drawn down)

2019 - Liquidity Scheme: €937,559

Credit Guarantee Scheme: €180,000

Brexit Loan Scheme: €400,000 ( Draw down info on Q1 2019 not due to be reported until 15th May 2019)

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

Co Roscommon

2016 - Liquidity Scheme: €2,905,162

2017 - Liquidity Scheme: €3,462,059

Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme: €133,394

2018 - Liquidity Scheme: €2,594,083

Credit Guarantee Scheme: €200,000

2019 - Liquidity Scheme: €244,671

Brexit Loan Scheme: €30,000 ( draw down info on Q1 2019 not due to be reported until 15th May 2019)

Brexit Staff

Questions (123, 127)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

123. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Finance the status of the recruitment of 450 new customs officials in view of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12558/19]

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Lisa Chambers

Question:

127. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of the new 600 customs officers that will be fully trained and in place on 30 March 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12703/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 123 and 127 together.

In September 2018, the Government granted approval in principle for the phased recruitment of an additional 600 Revenue staff to meet the challenges posed by Brexit. Budget 2019 provided Revenue with the funding needed for 270 of the additional 600 staff to be recruited during 2019 to manage an orderly UK withdrawal. Following the Government decision to give greater priority to the preparations for a No Deal Brexit in December 2018, it was agreed to accelerate Revenue’s recruitment plans.

I am advised by Revenue that they have appointed over 290 additional staff to customs roles up to 11 March 2019. Revenue plans to appoint an additional 110 staff to customs and related roles between now and 29 March 2019.

Revenue are on track to have appointed approximately 400 additional staff to customs and related roles for Brexit by 29 March 2019. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Revenue plans to appoint a further 200 staff during the rest of 2019.

Tax Code

Questions (124, 125)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

124. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance if an issue relating to sugar tax and below cost selling will be clarified (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12566/19]

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Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

125. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding implementation of the sugar tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12583/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 124 and 125 together.

The Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax (SSDT) was commenced in May 2018 following a positive decision from the European Commission that it is compatible with EU State aid rules. The tax is applied to water and juice based drinks, in ready to consume or concentrated form, that contain added sugar and have a total sugar content of 5 grams or more per 100 millilitres in their ready to consume form.

I have no function in regard to the issue of below cost selling.

Financial Services Regulation

Question No. 127 answered with Question No. 123.

Questions (126)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

126. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Finance the planned changes being considered or that may be made to crowd funding here; the timeframe in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12667/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Crowdfunding is currently an unregulated industry in Ireland. In my Budget 2019 speech, I announced that my Department will begin work, in conjunction with the Central Bank of Ireland, on the national regulation of crowdfunding in Ireland.

With regulation, crowdfunding has the potential to play an important role in broadening competition in the SME finance market, beyond the banking system which is a key priority in terms of access for finance for SMEs. Regulation will also ensure that sufficient consumer protections are in place for non-sophisticated or non-professional investors and that such investors have all of the relevant information and are made aware of the risks involved in investing via crowdfunding.

The potential benefits of crowdfunding have been recognised at a European level where the negotiations on a draft regulation on the regulation of crowdfunding are underway. The purpose of the draft European regulatory regime for all crowdfunding service providers operating in the European Union is to reduce regulatory divergence and obstacles, facilitate and support crowdfunding activity as a means of providing finance to SMEs, and as part of completing the Capital Markets Union.

Given the development of the European regulation, it may not be necessary to introduce a domestic regime for Ireland. However, if the draft European regulation is delayed for a considerable period, a domestic regime, which is aligned with the proposed European regime, will be brought forward.

Question No. 127 answered with Question No. 123.

Brexit Issues

Questions (128)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

128. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the status of the latest information available on the impact that a no-deal Brexit would have on the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12707/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Government has always been clear that Brexit, in whatever form it takes, will have a negative economic impact on Ireland and that the implications for our economy will be disproportionate relative to those for the rest of the EU. The harder the Brexit the more negative the impact will be on our economy.

While my Department’s central economic and fiscal planning scenario remains an orderly exit involving the UK leaving with a transition arrangement in place, the risk of a disorderly exit cannot be discounted.

In November 2018, a number of new research reports in the UK were published that showed that the impact in the UK would be larger than previously assumed. An initial ‘holding’ assessment was prepared by the Department of Finance in January, based on an initial application of the latest UK estimated, pending the completion of a more comprehensive model-based assessment with the ESRI. This was made public following consideration by government on 29 January 2019.

The initial assessment showed that in a disorderly exit, while in aggregate terms, the economy is likely to continue expanding, the pace of growth would be lower than is currently expected. The assessment suggests that the size of the economy will be around 4¼ percentage points smaller than our existing trajectory over the medium-term and will be around 6 percentage points smaller compared to a ‘no Brexit’ scenario.

It is important to recognise that such estimates may not capture the full impact, and the figures may be conservative. Indeed, the impact in certain exposed sectors and regions will be worse than the average.

My Department is therefore working with the ESRI on a new more comprehensive model-based assessment of the economic and fiscal impact of Brexit on Ireland. This work takes into account the recently published UK assessments, and substantial new microeconomic research that has been produced since the 2016 assessment. The assessment will include short-run disorderly impacts, tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, and the positive benefits of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that is redirected from the UK to Ireland. The results are expected to be published later this month and will inform my Department’s next set of macroeconomic forecasts in the Stability Programme Update in April.

The UK’s departure from the EU is an event without precedent in modern economic history – estimating the impact of this is challenging. Nevertheless, quantifying the impact is important to help Government to understand the possible macroeconomic implications and to design the appropriate policy response.

The Government has already taken significant action to get Ireland Brexit ready. Since the UK referendum, all of our national Budgets have been framed to prepare for the challenge of Brexit with dedicated measures announced in Budgets 2017, 2018 and 2019. This is supported by long-term planning through the National Development Plan and the National Planning Framework which will provide significant investment in Ireland’s public capital infrastructure.

Property Ownership

Questions (129)

Peter Burke

Question:

129. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a management company can apply to him for the transfer of ownership of a premises (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12665/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Where a company is dissolved without having disposed of its interest in a property, by virtue of Section 28 of the State Property Act 1954, the interest of the company in the property becomes vested in the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Pursuant to Section 31 of the State Property Act 1954, the Minister has a discretionary power to waive his interest.

In this case, the management company may submit an application to the Minister seeking a waiver (addressed to Property Management Services, Office of Public Works, Jonathan Swift Street, Trim, Co. Meath). The Minister will consider the application taking into account the advices of the OPW, in consultation with the CSSO.

Departmental Funding

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deput

under Standing Order 42A

Questions (130, 131)

Denis Naughten

Question:

130. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the funding his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12515/19]

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Denis Naughten

Question:

131. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the funding that his Department or agencies under the remit of his Department have provided to projects in County Roscommon in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12532/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 130 and 131 together.

My Department or the bodies under its aegis have not funded any projects in the counties in question. Due to the nature of its role, the purpose of projects undertaken by my Department is to deliver greater effectiveness and efficiency across the Civil and Public Service. While all counties ultimately benefit from my Department’s reform plans by delivering a more effective Civil and Public Service, project expenditure is primarily invested in the Department's own ICT systems.

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A