Job Creation Targets

Questions (590)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

590. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the regional job targets and unemployment rate projections under A Programme for A Partnership Government for 2020 and Enterprise 2025, by year and region; the latest figures relating to these targets; the monitoring and reporting mechanisms in place; and her job targets up to 2020 by region, in tabular form. [12751/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

In the Programme for Partnership Government, agreed in early 2016, the Government set the target of an additional 200,000 new jobs to be created by 2020 with 135,000 of these for people located outside of Dublin. The recently launched Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020, which succeed the previous Regional Action Plans for Jobs 2015-2017/8, are a central pillar of the Government’s ambition to meet this target.

The key objective under the Regional Enterprise Plans is to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020, with the aim of having the unemployment rate of each region reduced (and maintained) to not more than one percentage point above the State average. Enterprise 2025 Renewed, reflects the same ambition in relation to regional unemployment.

There has been strong progress to date in delivering to the Programme for Government targets. According to the most recent CSO quarterly Labour Force Survey (seasonally unadjusted at regional level), the national employment target for 2020 has already been exceeded, with 2,281,300 in employment as of Q4 2018 (see Table 1). With nearly 133,000 jobs created outside Dublin since Q1 2016, the Government is well positioned to meet the regional employment growth target by the end of 2020.

Unemployment rates have declined significantly in all of the eight regions in the period Q1 2016 to Q4 2018. Table 2 contains unemployment rates by region and their relativity to the State average as of Q4 2018. Only two regions out of the eight currently have an unemployment rate over 1 percentage point above the State average.

The recently launched Regional Enterprise Plans set out a focused agenda to 2020 for each of the regions, complementing the core activities of the enterprise agencies and the LEOs, and also national level policy initiatives such as Future Jobs Ireland 2019. As part of the new Plans, Regional Steering Committees chaired by a representative from private industry will drive their delivery and provide formal Progress Reports to my Department at the end of 2019 and 2020.

Several funding streams being made available such as the Regional Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland and those under Project Ireland 2040 including the Urban and the Rural Regeneration and Development Funds are important elements in driving further progress on employment growth in regional and rural Ireland.

Table 1: Progress against Programme for Government targets (000’s) based on data from Q1 2016 to Q4 2018. All figures presented are based on seasonally unadjusted data

Achieved to Q4 2018

Achieved to Q4 2018

Target

‘000

Employment Q1 2016

‘000

Employment to Q4 2018

‘000

Number

‘000

% of target

New jobs by 2020

200.8

2,080.8

2,281.3

+200.5

100.2

Jobs outside of Dublin by 2020

135.0

1,447.0

1579.9

+132.9

98.4

Source: CSO Labour Force Survey

Table 2: ILO Unemployment Rate by Region, the Changes from Q1 2016 to Q4 2018 (% Points), and the difference from the State Average. All figures presented are based on seasonally unadjusted data

Please note: While this table presents the state unemployment rate for Q4 2018 as 5.4%, this figure is seasonally unadjusted and should be considered only within the context of regional progress. The seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate for Q4 2018 is 5.7%.

Annual change Q1 2016 to Q4 2018

Difference from State Q4 2018

Region*

Q1 2016

Q4 2018

(% Points)

(% Points)

Border

7.4%

3.8%

-3.6%

-1.6%

Midland

13.7%

6.6%

-7.1%

1.2%

West

10.9%

5.8%

-5.1%

0.4%

Dublin

7.1%

5.0%

-2.1%

-0.4%

Mid-East

7.7%

4.9%

-2.8%

-0.5%

Mid-West

10.7%

5.6%

-5.1%

0.2%

South-East

10.7%

7.7%

-3.0%

2.3%

South-West

8.4%

5.3%

-3.1%

-0.1%

State

8.8%

5.4%

-3.4%

-

Outside Dublin

9.4%

5.4%

-4.0%

0.0%

Source: CSO Labour Force Survey

* Due to regulation changes, the ‘NUTS3’ regional groupings (used by the CSO to compose regional employment data) have changed. Under the new groupings, County Louth has moved from the Border to the Mid-East region and what was formerly South Tipperary has moved from the South-East to the Mid-West Region. From Q1 2018, CSO Labour Force Survey data has been updated to take account of these changes.

1 All figures presented are based on seasonally unadjusted data

2 All figures presented are based on seasonally unadjusted data

Employment Data

Questions (591)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

591. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of young persons aged between 15 and 29 years of age classified as not in employment, education or training; the percentage as a proportion of the number of unemployed; the corresponding EU average rate in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12752/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The number of young persons aged between 15 and 29 years of age that are classified as ‘not in employment, education or training’ (NEET) is measured in the OECD publication ‘Education at a Glance 2018’.  As demonstrated in the following table, 13.1% of young adults in Ireland in the 15-29 year old age bracket can be classified as NEET. The EU22 average for young adults in the same age bracket is slightly higher at 13.4%.

OECD Education at a Glance 2018

Not in employment, education or training (NEET)

Ireland (2017)

13.1%

EU22 average (2017)

13.4%

The Labour Force Survey measures the NEET classification for 15-24 year olds. Using the latest data available, under this classification, 10.9% of young people in this age bracket can be classified as NEETs. The European average for this age bracket is also 10.9%. This is detailed in the following table. The Labour Force Survey also measures monthly unemployment for 15-24 year olds. In February 2018, this stood at 13.8%.

Labour Force Survey

Not in employment, education or training (NEET)

Ireland (2017)

10.9%

EU average (2017)

10.9%

Employment Data

Questions (592)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

592. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she is satisfied with the latest female participation rate in the labour force here compared with the EU rate; if she has carried out an analysis of this area; and the actions being taken to increase the rate. [12753/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department is fully aware of the importance of maintaining and increasing participation rates in the labour market. Particularly, as we draw closer to full employment, it is essential we continue to provide enterprise in Ireland with a high-quality, adaptable and flexible talent pool. My Department closely monitors trends in labour market participation rates. Using the latest available comparable data, the female participation rate in Ireland (56.4%) is significantly above the EU 28 average (52.1%). [1] While the female participation rate has been growing in Ireland over the last number of years, there is still untapped potential in this area.

My Department actively ensures that suitable policies are in place to support increased participation across the economy. For example, Action 28 of the Action Plan for Jobs 2018 called for the identification of ‘relevant policy issues for cohorts with low participation rates based on analysis of patterns of labour market participation’. This action was fulfilled in H2 2018 under the guidance of an interdepartmental steering group. The analysis undertaken focused on three cohorts: females aged 25-55, people aged 55 and over, and people aged under 55 with a disability. In focussing on these cohorts, the analysis identified areas for further examination and was a key input to Future Jobs Ireland.

Future Jobs Ireland identifies increasing participation in the labour force as one of its key pillars. It acknowledges that improving participation means the more equitable, balanced and sustainable development of our workforce. Future Jobs Ireland sets the target of a substantial 3 percentage point increase in overall participation rates for people aged 25 to 69 years by 2025 with higher increases for females and older people.  In order to achieve this target, the framework details relevant ambitions underpinned by deliverables. The ambitions and deliverables relevant to increasing female participation include, but are not limited to, the following:

- Encouraging participation in the labour force through high-quality Early Learning and Care. This ambition is underpinned by deliverables to complement the implementation of the Affordable Childcare Scheme including the introduction of additional ways to reduce costs, enhance supply and improve quality.

- Fostering participation in the labour force through flexible working solutions. This ambition assists in the development of an inclusive society. It is underpinned by a number of deliverables including the development of guidance for employers on family-friendly working options and the extension of unpaid Parental Leave to allow for greater flexibility of parents.

- Improving incentives to participate in the labour force. This ambition includes a deliverable to consider income tax arrangements for second earners that optimise financial incentive to work, taking account of the impact that the income tax system may have on female participation in the workforce.

- Encouraging adult dependents and beneficiaries of other full-time welfare payments to engage in activation, enter and/or stay in the workforce. This is ambition is underpinned by deliverables such as the development of a return to work service as part of the Public Employment Service offering; assisting women returned to work in the technology sector through Skillnets Ireland Women ReBOOT programme; and a review of recent analyses of inactivity to identify policy issues to support the development of policy responses.

- Undertaking promotional campaigns to encourage greater levels of participation in the labour force. This ambition is underpinned by deliverables including a communications campaign to promote awareness of the Public Employment Service as a real recruitment option, especially for those groups with lower participation rates; and the development of promotions for female participation as part of Jobs Week 2019 and Jobs Fairs.

[1] Eurostat Labour Force Survey, Activity rates by sex, age and citizenship (%), Females aged 15 and over; Q3 2018: available from http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/submitViewTableAction.do

Enterprise 2025

Questions (593)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

593. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the details of jobs multiplier models used for employment forecasts in Enterprise 2025 Renewed; the latest forecast for each year ahead in the 2020 to 2025 period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12755/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

Enterprise 2025 Renewed sets out an ambition for job creation focused on quality employment that is sustainable over the longer term with job creation throughout all regions. It updated employment growth projections on the basis of the Economic and Fiscal outlook, Budget 2018 published by the Department of Finance in October 2017, and Central Bank employment projections published in their Quarterly Bulletin, QB1 January 2018.

While not setting annual targets, Enterprise 2025 Renewed set the ambition to reach 2.3 million people in employment by 2020, an increase of circa 100,000 over the 2.2 million employed at Q3 2017 (CSO Labour Force Survey). The ambition is to have an unemployment rate of no more than 5.5% by 2020.  The Action Plan for Jobs 2018, which was launched together with Enterprise 2025 Renewed, targeted the creation of 50,000 jobs in 2018.  The CSO’s Quarter 4 Labour Force Survey statistical release reported an annual increase in employment of 2.3% or 50,500 in the year to the fourth quarter of 2018.

While forecasting is not an exact science and is particularly challenging for Ireland as a small open economy exposed to external drivers of change, Ireland has outperformed expectations to date with an unemployment rate in Q4 2018 of 5.4%.

Based on an assessment of the Economic Impact of Exports on the Irish Economy by Indecon for my Department in 2015, it is estimated that for every 10 jobs generated by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) directly, another 8 are generated in the wider economy. On this basis, this would translate into 412,302 jobs that were supported by FDI at the end of 2018. Similarly, a record 215,207 people were employed in Enterprise Ireland backed companies in 2018 which would directly and indirectly account for over 385,500 jobs in the Irish economy.

Future Jobs Ireland 2019, launched on 10 March, changes the policy emphasis from numbers of jobs to the creation of more productive and sustainable jobs. It focuses on the challenges ahead in terms of ensuring we have skilled people working in quality jobs in sustainable sectors. Future Jobs Ireland will also ensure our enterprises and workers are well positioned to adapt to the technological and other transformational changes our economy and society will face in the years ahead.

Future Jobs Ireland is organised around five pillars, namely:

1. Embracing Innovation and Technological Change;

2. Improving SME Productivity;

3. Enhancing Skills and Developing and Attracting Talent;

4. Increasing Participation in the Labour Force; and

5. Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy

Future Jobs Ireland 2019 sets out targets and core ambitions for each of these pillars, accompanied by a set of specific deliverables representing crucial steps toward achieving each ambition. The deliverables for 2019 represent the first stage of Future Jobs Ireland which will be built on in subsequent annual editions.

Oireachtas Joint Committee Reports

Questions (594)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

594. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of recommendations made in the Report on the Cost of Doing Business published by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation in July 2018; if each such recommendation has been completed, not completed or is ongoing, respectively; and the timeline for recommendations to be delivered by in tabular form. [12762/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

While many of the recommendations in the Joint Oireachtas Committee Report on the Cost of Doing Business relate to issues that are the responsibility of other Departments, there are a number of areas addressed by the Report that come under the remit of my Department including employment permits, the work of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, access to affordable finance for SMEs and supports for business productivity.

My Department is taking action on a number of these issues. We have reviewed the policies underpinning the current employment permits regime, to ensure that it is fully supportive of Ireland’s emerging labour market needs, be they skills or labour shortages in certain sectors. I recently announced that the spouses and partners of highly skilled workers coming here from outside the EEA will now have immediate access to the labour market. Effective from 26 March, I have also amended the Employment Permits Regulations to allow for the granting of General Employment Permits to certain chef grades.

The work of the Personal Injuries Commission, whose Second and Final Report were published in September 2018 by my Department, the implementation of the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance and the complementary work of the Cost of Insurance Working Group should help to reduce insurance costs for businesses. I was pleased to bring through the Oireachtas, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019, which was signed into law by President Higgins on 25 February 2019. This is an important piece of legislation as it enhances the role of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board to benefit users of the service and society more generally and it forms an integral part of the Government’s response to facilitate cost savings.

I am committed to ensuring that SMEs have access to appropriate and affordable finance and my Department supports ongoing key SME access to finance initiatives including the Credit Guarantee Scheme, the Brexit Loan Scheme, the Future Growth Loan Scheme and the Microenterprise Loan Fund Scheme. All these schemes have been developed to meet the specific needs of SMEs and to provide finance at low cost levels and better terms and conditions to SMEs than that available on the marketplace.

In addition to the wide range of existing supports provided by my Department and Agencies, Budget 2019 allocated additional funding for my Department to boost business productivity, for example doubling of the Retail Online Pilot Scheme to €1.25 million. An additional €2.75 million was also awarded to Enterprise Ireland for its SME Regional Innovation and Technology Clusters Programme and €5m to the LEOs to support a broad range of indigenous micro-enterprises to prepare for the challenges and opportunities associated with Brexit. Budget 2019 provides €8 million extra for my Department’s Brexit Response and expanding our Global Footprint. More broadly, I would draw the attention of the Deputy to Future Jobs Ireland 2019 which I launched with An Taoiseach earlier this month and which includes a dedicated pillar on improving SME productivity with a range of ambitions and deliverables for 2019.

It is important also to be aware of the role that the National Competitiveness Council plays in relation to competitiveness.  The NCC is an independent advisory body that reports to the Taoiseach and the Government, through the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, on key competitiveness issues facing the Irish economy and offers recommendations on policy actions required to enhance Ireland’s competitiveness position. The reports published by the NCC, which include The Cost of Doing Business Report, Ireland’s Competitiveness Scorecard and Ireland’s Competitiveness Challenge effectively monitor the cost of doing business in Ireland.

Imports and Exports Data

Questions (595, 596, 597)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

595. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the volume and value of imports on a percentage basis in 2017 and 2018, by country, in tabular form. [12763/19]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

596. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the volume and value of exports on a percentage basis in 2017 and 2018, by country, in tabular form. [12764/19]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

597. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount in value of goods exported from firms based here by country in 2017 and 2018; and the percentage share of such exports to each country in this period as a proportion of the total share, in tabular form. [12765/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 595 to 597, inclusive, together.

The data which the Deputy has sought is provided in the files in the following links and has been sourced from data published by the Central Statistics Office.  Data in respect of the value of services trade in 2018 for individual countries is not yet available.

Goods Export

Goods Import

Services Export and Import

Brexit Issues

Questions (598)

Denis Naughten

Question:

598. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to fulfil the commitment to report to Dáil Éireann on non-exporting indigenous local business as set out in section 8 of the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12770/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

As the Deputy is aware, having passed through all stages of the Oireachtas, this Bill was signed into law by the President on 17 March 2019.

 In accordance with Section 8 of that Act, preparations are in train to fulfil the obligations contained therein to present the relevant report to Dáil Éireann within the period of time envisaged under that section.

The Deputy will also be aware that, I have already commissioned a wide-ranging review by the OECD on SME and Entrepreneurship policies. Part of this extensive review is examining the provision of supports for indigenous businesses and how they are assisted by Government, Departments and agencies to grow. This report will examine the strategic framework and delivery system for SME and entrepreneurship policy in Ireland. The report will be published in Quarter 3 of this year.

IDA Ireland

Questions (599)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

599. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the details on matters (details supplied) in relation to IDA supported jobs in County Wexford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12783/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department and its agencies are working towards ambitious targets to ensure that employment and investment are distributed as evenly as possible across the country. Significant progress is being made with 58% of all IDA employment now outside of Dublin. In 2018 there were more IDA jobs added in the regions than at any time over the past 17 years.  

There are 19 IDA client companies located in County Wexford employing a total of 3,139 people. These companies have exhibited steady growth in recent years, as evidenced by the 5% increase in IDA supported employment in the County from 2017 to 2018.

Data on IDA-supported jobs is collated on a county-by-county basis. Information on the number of jobs in specific towns and locations is therefore unfortunately unavailable.

Enterprise Ireland (EI) client companies have also performed well in Wexford with 160 net new jobs added in 2018. This brings the total number of people employed in firms supported by EI to 4,674 across 115 client companies.

Looking ahead, the IDA will continue to work with its clients to identify opportunities for new investment or expansion in Wexford and the broader South-East region. In doing so, the agency will draw the attention of investors to the region's particular strengths including its ports and existing clusters of financial services, technology and high-value manufacturing firms. The IDA regularly engages with key stakeholders on the ground in Wexford including local authorities, public bodies, the education sector and companies from both its own client base but also from the indigenous sector. 

While the employment trends in Wexford are positive, the Government remains determined to achieve more. That is why work is continuing to unlock further the economic potential in the county. The IDA remains pivotal to this and the agency is engaging with its clients and with other enterprise agencies to create jobs and source new investment for Wexford.

Brexit Supports

Questions (600)

Gerry Adams

Question:

600. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of businesses in County Louth and east County Meath that have applied for working capital under the Brexit loan scheme which opened in March 2018; the number of such businesses that have been awarded financing to date; the value of this funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13050/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department and its agencies are working to provide extensive supports, schemes and advice to ensure that businesses are prepared for Brexit. These measures aim to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and to facilitate the practical actions to be taken in response to the UK's exit from the EU.

The Brexit Loan Scheme provides affordable working capital to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees that are or will be impacted by Brexit and meet the scheme criteria. The €23 million exchequer funding (€14 million from my Department and €9 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) has been leveraged to provide a fund of up to €300 million. 

It has been designed to assist eligible Irish businesses in the short-term to deal with the challenges of Brexit, which include the pressures of increased market instability and currency volatility. The scheme is open to both State Agency clients and businesses that do not have any relationship with State Agencies. Sole traders may also apply.

The scheme was launched in March 2018 and, at close of business on 15 March, there have been 523 eligibility applications received of which 472 eligibility applications have been approved and 89 loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €19.34 million.

The figures in the following table are those as to 12 March 2019 and as details are collected for each County details of County Meath are provided as a whole.

 -

 County Louth

 County Meath

Number of businesses who have applied for Working Capital under the Brexit Loan Scheme

20 businesses have applied for eligibility under the Brexit Loan Scheme with 19 of these being deemed eligible and 1 in progress.

24 businesses have applied for eligibility under the Brexit Loan Scheme with 20 of these being deemed eligible, 2 ineligible and 2 in progress.

No. of businesses that have been awarded financing to date

 2

 5

Value of funding

 €620,000

 €1,005,000

IDA Ireland Data

Questions (601)

Eamon Ryan

Question:

601. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the capital budget allocation to IDA Ireland in 2017, 2018 and 2019, in tabular form. [13263/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

IDA Ireland's capital allocation for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, as published in the Revised Estimates Volume, is detailed in the following table:

 Year

 Amount

 2019

 €142,000,000

 2018

 €132,000,000

 2017

 €137,000,000

The IDA’s 2018 capital allocation was reduced by €5 million as a result of the reclassification of its Winning Abroad programme from capital to current expenditure.  The Agency's current allocation was increased by the same amount.

This year I increased the IDA's capital allocation by €10 million to fund the next phase of the Agency's Regional Property Programme.  This Programme aims to encourage regional foreign direct investment through the provision of advance property solutions to prospective investors.  All five buildings completed in the first phase of this Programme, in Waterford, Athlone, Sligo, Castlebar and Tralee, are now occupied by multinational companies who have invested over €100 million in regional areas and have created hundreds of jobs with more expected over the medium term.  The next phase of the Programme will see the IDA delivering new buildings in Carlow, Dundalk, Monaghan, Sligo, Athlone, Waterford, Limerick and Galway.

Brexit Supports

Questions (602)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

602. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the supports in place for Irish exporters to the UK in context of Brexit. [13398/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The long-term response to Brexit is for companies across all sectors to become more competitive, more innovative and to diversify their export footprint into more international markets. The agencies under my Department have a wide range of supports available to enable companies to consolidate market share within the UK, and also to become more resilient by broadening their sales to other international markets.

Enterprise Ireland’s focus is to assist client companies to build on the strength of their 2018 performance by supporting them to start, innovate, be competitive and to diversify their global footprint. In delivering on this, new supports have been introduced, others streamlined, a Global Ambition campaign launched and an intensive programme initiated to support companies to take action and plan for Brexit so that they have the resilience necessary to navigate the challenges and opportunities posed by any kind of Brexit.

The Agency has assisted client companies to increase their exports to a record €22.71 billion in 2017, a growth of 7% compared to 2016’s exporting results. The UK market accounted for 34% of total exports, an increase of 4% on 2016 exporting figures.

The UK is the leading exporting destination for Enterprise Ireland supported companies and is the first export destination for many companies. Despite this, Enterprise Ireland supported companies, are increasingly diversifying their global footprint beyond the UK. The proportion of exports to the UK has reduced by 10% over the last ten years, reflecting the success Irish companies are having in substantially increasing and broadening their exports to other international markets. 

While Brexit presents an economy wide challenge, a number of exporting sectors are highly exposed to Brexit. In 2017, 1,574 client companies reported exports into the UK. Of this, a group of over 640 are highly exposed to Brexit and predominately span 6 sectors (construction services, construction products, engineering, agriculture machinery, timber, furniture and food). Enterprise Ireland is working intensively with this group to ensure that sustainability and growth plans are developed in line with the agency’s remit.

Enterprise Ireland has a broad range of supports to help companies prepare for Brexit including the Brexit Scorecard, Be Prepared Grant, Advisory Clinics, Agile Innovation Fund, Operational Excellence Offer and Market Discovery Fund. Recently launched EI supports including online Customs Training and Act On Consultancy.  In addition, the Local Enterprise Offices recently launched their customs training offering which is available to all companies.  Furthermore, the suite of enterprise supports in place cover a range of potential Brexit impacts.  These range from liquidity support through short term and longer term loans, to restructuring aid for businesses in severe operating difficulties, including an EU State aid approved Rescue and Restructure Scheme to deal with sudden shocks and an expanded network of overseas offices and in-market supports to help firms diversify markets and to consolidate market share in the UK where appropriate.

It is also vital that businesses themselves prepare for Brexit impacts and take actions to mitigate against any adverse effects. Firms that do business with the UK, whether buying goods or exporting products, should in particular, examine their supply chains to determine their vulnerabilities and take appropriate action.

Interdepartmental Working Groups

Questions (603)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

603. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the working groups established in her Department; the focus of their work; the membership composition of each; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13559/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

Details of working groups currently established in my Department are set out in the following table.

Working Group

Focus of Work

Membership Composition

Brexit Coordination Group

A forum, chaired by the Minister, comprising enterprise and regulatory bodies within the DBEI remit to update and discuss Brexit impacts and mitigation measures underway/planned

Chief Executive (or Chairperson as appropriate) of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, The Health and Safety Authority (including INAB), National Standards Authority of Ireland, The Consumer and Competition Protection Commission and The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority. Senior officials from each of the Divisions of the Department also participate

Enterprise Forum on Brexit & Global Challenges

A forum, chaired by the Minister, for discussion of enterprise policy implications arising from Brexit and other Global Challenges, with a particular focus on the implications and impacts for enterprises emerging from the UK’s exit from the EU

Representatives from Ibec, Small Firms Association, Financial Services Ireland, Food & Drink Industry Ireland, ISME, American Chambers, Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, Irish Exporters Association, Chambers Ireland, Retail Ireland, Retail Excellence Ireland, RGData, representatives from DBEI Agencies and policy officials from across DBEI

Cross Divisional Brexit Senior Officials Group

A Departmental forum to ensure a coordinated and coherent approach by the Department and its Agencies in handling preparations and negotiations for the UK exit from the EU

Senior officials from each functional Division in DBEI

Brexit Trade and Investment Group

A cross-Departmental forum for examination of trade & investment policy implications arising from Brexit including research commissioned on the strategic implications for Ireland arising from changing EU-UK trading relations after Brexit

Officials from D/Finance, DPER, Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, D/Taoiseach, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, DTTAS and Revenue

Brexit Skills Implementation Oversight Group

Implementation of Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report, “Addressing the Skills Needs Arising from the Potential Trade Implications of Brexit”

DBEI (chair), DES, DFAT, D/Taoiseach, DTTAS, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, InterTradeIreland, LEO network, Office of the Revenue Commissioners

High Level ICT Skills Action Plan Group

Development and Implementation of Third ICT Skills Action Plan, Technology Skills 2022

DBEI/DES (co-chairs), DCCAE, Enterprise Ireland, Higher Education Authority, IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland (Smart Futures), SOLAS, Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, Ibec, MiDAS, Third Level Computing Forum,

ADR Working Group

All matters relating to the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road

DBEI, Health and Safety Authority, Road Safety Authority, National Standards Authority of Ireland, Environmental Protection Agency, Dept. of Justice and Equality, Dept. of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Irish National Accreditation Board, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, An Garda Siochana

Farm Safety Task Force

Implementation of health and safety related suggestions from farming organisations

DBEI, Health and Safety Authority, Teagasc, Dept. of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Dept. of Education and Skills, Dept. of Employment and Social Protection, Dept. of Rural and Community Development, dept. of Health, Revenue Commissioners,

Lifts Advisory Group

Devising a policy for the installation of lifts with adjustments to head space and refuge requirements

DBEI, Health and Safety Authority, Dept. of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Office of Public Works, Engineers Ireland, Association of Chartered Engineers of Ireland, Irish Lift and Escalator Association

Interdepartmental Chemicals Group

To ensure that information on chemicals is shared across Government Departments and Agencies and to assist in collaboration

DBEI, Health and Safety Authority, Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dept. of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Poisons Information Centre, Revenue Commissioners, Dept. of Health, Health Products Regulatory Authority, Dept. of Defence

Dangerous Substances Steering Group

To assist in the review of the Dangerous Substances legislation being carried out by DBEI

DBEI, Health and Safety Authority, Dept. of Housing, Planning and Local Government, County and City Management Association, Chief Fire Officers’ Association, Dublin Fire Brigade, Dept. of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, Commission for Regulation of Utilities

ILO Interdepartmental Group

DBEI leads on Ireland’s engagement in the International Labour Organisation, a tripartite UN agency with responsibility for employment matters. In 2017 Ireland assumed a Titulaire seat (speaking and voting rights) on the ILO Governing Body (GB) for a three-year period. The ILO IDG was established in 2017 to prepare national positions on all items on the GB’s wide-ranging agenda. In line with the ILO’s unique tripartite nature, each ILO IDG meeting has a segment on exchange of views with the Social Partners which ICTU and Ibec attend

Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation Department of Education & Skills

Department of Justice & Equality

Department of Health

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport

Inter Departmental Group on Economic Migration Policy

To oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Review of Economic Migration Policy and the twice yearly review of the occupations lists and to monitor the guiding principles and operation on an ongoing basis.

Senior officials from lead policy Government Departments/Agencies:

DPER, DHPLG, DJE, DEASP, DH, DAFM, DTTS, DES, DBEI and SOLAS.

High Level Group for Horizon 2020

Strategy and policies for maximising Ireland’s performance under the 8th Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020 (2014-2020)

Representatives from Government Departments and Agencies involved in Research and Innovation - including:

- Department of Business & Innovation

- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine

- Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment

- Department of Education and Skills

- Department of Finance

- Department of Health

- Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

- Enterprise Ireland

- Environmental Protection Agency

- Health Research Board

- Higher Education Authority

- IDA Ireland

- InterTradeIreland

- Irish Research Council

- Irish Universities Association

- Marine Institute

- Science Foundation Ireland

- Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

- Teagasc

- Technological Higher Education Association

Innovation 2020 Implementation Group

Drive Implementation of Innovation 2020, Ireland's strategy for research and development, science and technology

Chaired by DBEI, the Group consists of high-level representation from research funding Government departments and agencies.

Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) National Oversight Group

The National Oversight Group was established to give overall strategic direction to the establishment and development of HIHI and it is responsible for setting the appropriate level of ambition at each stage of its future development.

The Group is chaired by an independent industry expert, has joint deputy chairs from DBEI and D/Health and comprises senior executives from EI, HSE, HRB, SFI, and IDA Ireland. HIHI are also represented.

National Advisory Committee on Ireland’s membership of ESO (the European Southern Observatory)

The National Advisory Committee on ESO is to provide guidance to the Irish delegates, contribute to national strategy and drive engagement of research and industry from Ireland’s recent membership.

The group is co-chaired by the Irish delegates to ESO Council, one is an astronomer and one from D/BEI. The group includes all Irish delegates to ESO, and national offices, and high-level representation from research agencies, industry, academia and Government Departments.

State Aid Technical WG

Scoping and designing schemes to support enterprises impacted by Brexit in line with State Aid rules.

Representatives from DG Competition, Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Enterprise Ireland

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Stakeholder Forum

The Forum was established to implement and support the actions in Ireland’s Corporate Social Responsibility Plans. The current plan is Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2017-2020.

DHR Communications,

Business in the Community Ireland,

Chambers Ireland,

IBEC,

ICTU,

Irish Small Firms Association,

Abbott,

Afanite,

Bank of Ireland,

Continuum,

Danone,

Dawn Meats,

Deloitte,

Ernst & Young,

ESB,

Grant Thornton,

Hotel Doolin,

IBM,

KPMG,

LIDL,

The Little Milk Company,

Marks and Spencer,

Musgrave,

Pramerica,

Transdev,

Ulster Bank,

Vodafone,

D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation,

D/Communication, Climate Action and Environment,

D/Education and Skills,

D/Employment Affairs and Social Protection,

D/Foreign Affairs and Trade,

D/Health & Healthy Ireland,

D/Justice and Equality,

D/Rural and Community Development,

D/Taoiseach,

Bord Bia,

Enterprise Ireland,

EPA,

IDA,

LEO – Head of Enterprise Network Representative,

NSAI,

Science Foundation Ireland

Kemmy Business School University of Limerick,

DCU,

Business to Arts,

Northside Partnership,

Volunteer Ireland,

Clean Technology Centre,

Retail Consultation Forum

The objective of establishing the Retail Consultation Forum is to provide a platform for a structured engagement between the Retail sector and relevant Government Departments/bodies.

Retail Ireland

Retail Ireland Skillnet

Retail Excellence RGDATA

Chambers Ireland

Irish Small & medium Enterprises

Irish Small Firms Association

CSNA

Irish Pharmacy Union

Hardware Association of Ireland

Fishers of Newtownmountkennedy

Ecco Ireland

Fitzpatrick Wholesales

Dolmen Catering

Mace Blackrock

Musgrave Group

TU Dublin, Aungier Street Campus

Dublin Town BID

Retail Ireland

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

Department of the Taoiseach

Department of Finance

Department of Education and Skills

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Department of Health

Waterford City and County Council – Local Government Management Agency Representative

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Department of Rural and Community Development

National Design Forum

The National Design Forum brings together all relevant stakeholders in order to move forward with the design agenda.

Stakeholders include representatives from the design sector, the business sector, the education sector and relevant Government Departments and agencies.

The key purpose of the Forum is to discuss key issues of relevance, with a view to identifying practical actions which could be taken by government (national or local), or by industry itself, to support the sector.

The Minister chairs the meetings, which take place 3-4 times per year.

Chaired by Minister Heather Humphreys and composed of representatives from DBEI, Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices, IDA Ireland, DCCoI, various third level institutions, business associations, and individuals who work in the design space.

Advisory Group in Small Business

The purpose of the Advisory Group on Small Business is to provide a platform for structured engagement between small business owners, their representative bodies, and the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, with a view to influencing policy.

Chaired by Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD and attended by members of DBEI, SFA, ISME, IFA, Retail Excellence, Enterprise Ireland, Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, Irish Hotel Federation, National Association of Community Enterprise Centres, Tax Institute and several small businesses.

Advisory Board for the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF)

The Advisory Board has been established to oversee the design and implementation of competitive calls for the DTIF and to make recommendations to the Minister regarding the projects to be funded under this programme.

The Advisory Board is chaired by D/BEI (Assistant Secretary) and includes senior representatives from Department of Education and Skills; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland.

dbeinnovation

(formerly New Ways of Working group – established in 2015)

dbeinnovation aims to further embed a culture of innovation across the Department and act as a vehicle for cross cutting and collaborative change. Its objectives are to:

- ensure strong staff engagement, deliver positive changes to the working environment, collaboratively tackle cross cutting issues, and to support, drive and implement civil and public service reform.

Four sub-groups currently exist under dbeinnovation; Mobility Sub-group, Innovation Culture Sub-group, Corporate Social Responsibility Sub-group, the Green Team Sub-group.

dbeinnovation comprises of a steering committee and a number of sub-groups that are set up to drive initiatives around specific topics. Both dbeinnovation’s steering committee, and its sub-groups, seek to establish membership that ensures cross-divisional, cross-location, and gender representation.

The steering committee is chaired by the Secretary General.

Departmental Data

Questions (604)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

604. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of complaints submitted to her Department in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of appeals made with respect to the outcome of such complaints; the number referred to the Office of the Ombudsman; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13774/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Customers who wish to complain about the quality of customer service provided by my Department can submit a complaint under the Department’s complaint procedures. These procedures, along with the Department’s customer charter and customer action plan, were updated recently in accordance with the customer service actions outlined for implementation in “Our Public Service 2020”. In keeping with best practice, the Department’s complaint procedures provide an accessible, transparent and user - friendly system of dealing with complaints about the quality of service received which are available on the Department's website. These complaint procedures do not, however, provide for complaints relating to business decisions taken by the Department e.g. the non-granting of an employment permit. Appropriate appeal mechanisms are available for these situations.

Complaints made about the quality of customer service provided by the Offices of my Department fall to be dealt with under the complaint procedures developed by each Office having regard to their business needs and appropriate appeal mechanisms are available for business decisions taken by the Offices of the Department.

The following table outlines the number of complaints received over the period 2017 and 2018 and to date in 2019.  

Year

Number of Complaints Received 

Number of Appeals of Outcome of each Complaint

Number of complaints referred to the Office of the Ombudsman?  

2017

Nil

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018

Nil

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 To Date

3

Nil

Nil

Protected Disclosures

Questions (605)

Martin Kenny

Question:

605. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Health the reason a former section 39 employee (details supplied) had their request to make a protected disclosure dismissed without examining the details of the protected disclosure. [12791/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

A protected disclosure is defined in the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 as a disclosure of information which, in the reasonable belief of a worker, tends to show one or more relevant wrongdoings came to the attention of the worker in connection with the worker’s employment; and is disclosed in the manner prescribed in the Act.

The Government is committed to facilitating the disclosure of wrongdoing and encouraging workers to make protected disclosures at the earliest possible opportunity.  Such disclosures are taken seriously and the worker making a protected disclosure receives appropriate protection as set out in the legislation. 

Protected disclosures must meet the criteria as set out in Section 5 of the 2014 Act.

Section 5 of the 2014 Act provides protection for workers who disclose information in relation to the following wrongdoings:

The commission of an offence;

1. The failure of a person to comply with any legal obligation, other than one arising under the worker's contract of employment or other contract whereby the worker undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services;

2. A miscarriage of justice;

3. A danger to the health and safety of any individual;

4. Damage to the environment;

5. An unlawful or otherwise improper use of funds or resources of a public body, or of other public money;

6. An act or omission by or on behalf of a public body that is oppressive, discriminatory or grossly negligent or constitutes gross mismanagement; or

7. Cases where information tending to show any matter falling within any of the preceding paragraphs has been, is being, or is likely to be concealed or destroyed.

A worker must make a disclosure in the manner set out in the Act to be entitled to the protections of the Act. Different standards apply depending on the person or body to whom the worker discloses. A disclosure may be made to an employer, or another person or entity as set out under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, should the relevant criteria be fulfilled.

I have instructed officials in the Department of Health to write directly to the individual in question to clarify exactly what his rights are under this legislation and to advise the individual accordingly. Provided the disclosure meets the criteria as set out under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, the individual in question may make a disclosure to the Department of Health, the HSE, a prescribed person under the Act, or another recognised person under the Act.

Medicinal Products Reimbursement

Questions (606)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

606. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health the reason for the delay in approving reimbursement under the long term illness scheme of Sativex spray in view of its benefit to persons with MS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12709/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE has statutory responsibility for decisions on pricing and reimbursement of medicines, in accordance with the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Act specifies the criteria for decisions on the reimbursement of medicines. As Minister for Health I have no role in this statutory process. 

I am informed by the HSE that a new application for the reimbursement of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol/Cannabidiol, THC/CBD (Sativex) was received in February 2018.

A rapid review by the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) was completed on 3 April 2018 and a full pharmacoeconomic assessment was recommended to assess the clinical and cost effectiveness of this medicine compared with the current standard of care.

The HSE commissioned a full pharmacoeconomic assessment on 20 April 2018 and requested that the manufacturer submit the required dossier to enable the application to be assessed.  

The NCPE engaged in a pre-submission consultation with the applicant company in September 2018.

The NCPE has not received a dossier from the applicant company to date. The submission of a dossier by the applicant company is the next required step.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (607)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

607. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will receive an appointment in Cork University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12730/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

 The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Hospitals Data

Questions (608, 609, 610, 611)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

608. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health the number of elective surgeries and procedures cancelled by specialty at Cork University Hospital for each month in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12731/19]

View answer

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

609. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health the number of elective surgeries and procedures cancelled by specialty at Mercy University Hospital for each month in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12732/19]

View answer

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

610. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health the number of elective surgeries and procedures cancelled by specialty at South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital for each month in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12733/19]

View answer

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

611. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Health the number of elective surgeries and procedures cancelled by specialty at St. Finbarr's Hospital for each month in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12734/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 608 to 611, inclusive, together.

Maintaining scheduled care access for all patients is a key priority for hospitals. I fully acknowledge the distress and inconvenience for patients and their families when elective procedures are cancelled, particularly for clinically urgent procedures.  

The HSE's annual service plan sets out the totality of Acute Hospitals' Inpatient and Day Case Activity to be delivered in the year. The HSE advise that preliminary inpatient and day case activity in 2018 was 1,699,559. The expected inpatient and day case activity to be delivered in 2019 is 1,706,875.

While very effort is made to avoid cancellation or postponement of planned procedures, the HSE advise that planned procedures and operations can be postponed or cancelled for a variety of reasons including capacity issues due to increased scheduled and unscheduled care demand, medical reasons, and patient choice.

Furthermore, the planning approach for peak periods, such as winter, anticipates that individual hospitals do not book or schedule patients for non-urgent elective admissions and procedures so as to ensure that available capacity is focussed on the predicted increase in emergency admissions through HSE emergency departments during these periods. Usually this results in hospitals not booking, as distinct from actually cancelling, elective admissions and procedures.

The HSE have further advised my Department that they do not collect detailed information centrally in relation to the reasons for cancellations and numbers per specialty.

However, some local information on cancellations may be available at hospital group level and I have asked South-Southwest Hospital Group to provide the Deputy with a response based on the information available to them at each of the sites requested.