Question No. 549 answered with Question No. 466.

Prisoner Releases

Questions (550)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

550. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the process by which a prisoner can apply for and secure a temporary release; the regulations governing the process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20067/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the legislative basis for temporary release is fully set out in the Criminal Justice Act 1960, as amended by the Criminal Justice (Temporary Release of Prisoners) Act 2003. An application can be made by a prisoner through the Governor of the prison in which they are located. Each application is considered on its individual merits and the safety of the public is paramount when decisions are made.

Prisoner Complaints Procedures

Questions (551)

Seán Fleming

Question:

551. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce a penal ombudsman; the progress on this matter to date; the timescale for the matter to be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20074/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy may be referring to plans to introduce a role for the Ombudsman in the prisoner complaints system.

The late Judge Reilly, who was independent of Government in his post of Inspector, carried out a review of the prisoner complaints system in June 2016 and made a number of recommendations. This report, entitled “Review, Evaluation and Analysis of the Operation of the present Irish Prison Service Complaints Procedure", is available on my Department's website - www.justice.ie.

Two of the key recommendations in the Inspector's report are that the complaints category system above be simplified and that prisoners’ complaints should be subject to review by the Ombudsman, who would also be able to deal with complaints directly in the case of undue delay. The recommendations in the report were accepted and my officials and officials from the Irish Prison Service have been in advanced discussions with the Ombudsman's office with the aim of establishing an effective complaints system for prisoners.

In these discussions with the Ombudsman, it has been agreed that his engagement with the process will begin after the new complaints procedure has been introduced and bedded down as an internal IPS process in the first instance. This IPS process requires administrative supports such as additional personnel, changes to the Prison Rules, drafting of new policy documents and a new ICT system. Work is well advanced on all of these measures and the IPS expect to introduce the new prisoner complaints system by the fourth quarter of 2019. I understand that the ability of the Ombudsman Office to facilitate their role in the process is dependent on the approval of additional resources to their office.

Direct Provision System

Questions (552)

Noel Rock

Question:

552. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to complaints from residents in direct provision centres that food served to them is culturally inappropriate and inedible and that the food provided does not address cultural and multi-faith residents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20079/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Reception & Integration Agency (RIA) accommodation centres provide food options on a catered or independent living basis to reflect the ethnic needs of the residents.

It is a contractual obligation on all contractors of accommodation centres that culturally appropriate food options should be provided to residents. Contractors must prepare menus that meet the reasonable dietary needs of the different ethnic groups accommodated at the accommodation centre and the reasonable prescribed dietary needs of any person accommodated at the centre. Menus must include a vegetarian option and all food products provided must have a traceability system that complies with food safety requirements. It is a contractual obligation for accommodation centres that a 28 day menu be provided and that residents are consulted on that 28 day menu.

Those accommodation centres which have moved to the independent living model, whereby residents are provided with ingredients and household items at no cost and cook for themselves, must provide a wide range of products which are culturally appropriate and meet the dietary needs of residents. Independent living provides applicants with a significant degree of autonomy and prepares them for life in Ireland after the protection process. As of early April 2019, over 2,200 applicants across eight centres can avail of the independent living model. The Department of Justice & Equality anticipates that all of the commercially owned centres under contract to it will have moved to the independent living model by mid-2020. The regional tendering processes also requires potential contractors to ensure that the food products made available to residents are culturally appropriate.

Residents may advise the accommodation centre manager of any dietary requirement that they have and this will be facilitated, where possible. Arrangements can also be made to cater for particular religious needs ( e.g Muslims observing Ramadan).

Complaints by residents may arise from time to time in relation to dietary matters and any such complaint may be brought to the centre manager. If the resident is not satisfied with the outcome, she or he may also make a complaint to RIA, which will be investigated by RIA and action taken as appropriate.

If a resident is not satisfied with how his or her complaint is dealt with, she or he may make a complaint to the office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman received nine complaints relating to food provided in accommodation centres during 2018.

All accommodation centres are subject to regular unannounced inspections by both staff from the Reception and Integration Agency and an independent inspector. Part of the inspection process deals directly with the provision of food services. Meals are assessed during inspection for quality, cultural appropriateness and variety of menu options. Any issues identified are notified to the contractor to be addressed immediately.

Following the McMahon Report, a Standards Advisory Group was set up in 2017. The work of this group is to build on the recommendations of that Report and to develop a set of standards for accommodation provided for those people seeking the protection of the State. A Working Document detailing the proposed set of standards has recently issued for widespread consultation and included in the standards is commitments in relation to food including access to a varied diet that respects their cultural, religious, dietary, nutritional and medical requirements.

If the Deputy is aware of any issues relating to the provision of food in an accommodation centre, I would be grateful if he could forward on those concerns so they can be addressed.

Work Permits Applications

Questions (553)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

553. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the steps she will take to reduce delays in view of the fact that applications for employment permits are taking up to 13 weeks to process and in further view of the impact these delays are having on the tourist industry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18834/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

My officials in the Employment Permits section of my Department inform me that current processing times for employment permits are:

- 3 weeks for Trusted Partner applications (which made up 71% of all applications in 2018).

- 11 weeks for Standard applications (which made up 29% of applications in 2018).

The Department is continuing to take steps to improve these processing times. The main reason for the delays is the current high level of demand for employment permits, due to our economic success, growing labour market and reduced labour surplus.

During 2018 some 16,800 applications were received which was approx. 30% higher than 2017. This strong demand has continued into 2019 with a 15% increase in applications received to date (5,323 applications received at end of April).

During 2018 13,398 permits were granted representing an almost 20% increase over last year. Quarter 4 in 2018 saw the highest number of permits issued in any quarter in the previous 10 years. The high levels of permits being issued has continued into 2019 with a 42% increase in permits issued through Quarter 1 when compared to the same period in 2018. A total of 5,030 permits have issued (out of 5,846 applications processed) at end of April 2019 (which includes a number of permits that were applied for in 2018).

Through a combination of increased resources, staff working overtime and ICT and operational improvements, processing times are reducing with further improvements anticipated for standard applications in the coming weeks.

As well as the short-term measures introduced to date, my officials have sought tenders for a Business Processing Re-engineering study to be carried out to identify further efficiencies and identify possible new system requirements including exploring the development of a new IT system which will take advantage of all the new technologies available, including full digitisation. In parallel with this new development, the Department is determined to continue to reduce processing times and is engaging extensively with stakeholders to ensure that they understand the process and that they comply with the application requirements so that no unnecessary delays occur.

Work Permits Data

Questions (554)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

554. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on issues raised regarding employment permits and the claims made in correspondence (details supplied) concerning the hiring process to fill the roles in question; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18890/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Ireland’s Employment Permits system acts as a conduit for key skills which are required to develop enterprise in the State, while simultaneously protecting the balance of the labour market and the employment rights of those migrants who come to work here. By design it is pro-cyclical, expanding and contracting in tandem with fluctuations in the economy. The system is ordered through a list structure to prioritise particular capabilities, especially those where, due to rapid sectoral growth or technological development, there is a shortage or absence of specific skills immediately in the labour market. The lists, which identify critical skills, and skills for which there is ample capacity already in the resident labour market, are reviewed on a bi-annual basis, to keep the orientation of economic migration firmly in step with the precise needs of the labour market.

Where specific skills prove difficult to source within the State and wider EEA, therefore, an employment permit may be sought by an employer to hire a non-EEA national, subject to the Employment Permits Acts and Regulations. The Employment Permits Acts and associated Regulations set out the criteria in relation to the application, grant and refusal of an employment permit.

Critical Skills Employment Permits are granted for occupations on the critical skills occupations list where annual remuneration exceeds €30,000 and in addition for eligible occupations, i.e. which are not on the ineligible occupation list, where remuneration exceeds €60,000 per annum. The sales roles which are included on the critical skills list are those where the focus is either International sales, or business to business IT sales, where the prospective employee is fluent in the official language of a non-EEA state. Where the application satisfies these and other criteria in relation to, for example, qualifications, an employment permit will be granted.

The Workplace Relations Inspectorate of my Department has responsibility for the monitoring and enforcement of the rights, protections and entitlements under the employment protection legislation and operates without any differentiation with regard to worker nationality. These responsibilities encompass compliance with the Employment Permits Acts. All allegations of breaches of the Employment Permits Acts are referred the WRC for their investigation. The WRC act independently of the Minister and the Department in their exercise of their statutory functions and do not comment on the outcomes of individual investigations.

Work Permits Applications

Questions (555)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

555. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a review of a work permit application on behalf of a person (details supplied) has been considered by the employments permit section; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19105/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department inform me that an application for a General Employment Permit for the person concerned was received on 8th January 2019. On 15 March 2019, this application was refused as the position on offer is on the List of Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits,

In addition the employer failed to fulfil the Labour Market Needs Test (LMNT) as prior to submitting the application for an Employment Permit, the Employer did not advertise the vacancy in the required manner and the application did not include the required copy of the signed Contract of Employment.

On 8th April 2019, the applicant sought a review of this decision, and, on 4th May 2019, the Reviewing Officer confirmed the decision to refuse this application. The Reviewing Officer found that the occupation being applied for, "Specialist in Assistive Technology and Specialised Seating/Occupational Therapist", is ineligible for an employment permit as it is classified as an Occupational Therapist. Furthermore, no evidence was provided to show that the LMNT had been carried out as required in advance of the permit application. The applicant has been notified of this decision in writing.

A refusal to grant an employment permit does not preclude an applicant from submitting another application for an employment permit. Such an application should comply with all of the legislative requirements for the particular employment permit type including that the occupation for which an employment permit is being sought is eligible for an employment permit.

In order to assist with the application process, my officials have produced a suite of information including details on how to carry out the LMNT, various Checklist documents which, if followed, should result in the granting of an employment permit and a User Guide to our online application system. All of this information, as well as details of occupations ineligible for employment permits, can be found in the Employment Permits section of my Department’s website at www.dbei.gov.ie

Labour Court Recommendations

Questions (556)

Michael McGrath

Question:

556. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a Labour Court recommendation (details supplied) of 22 July 2008 was signed by the relevant Minister; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19117/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Labour Court is an independent statutory office under the aegis of my Department with responsibility for adjudicating on disputes between employers and employees under industrial relations and employment rights legislation. As such I, as Minister, have no involvement when the Labour Court exercises its quasi- judicial functions.

The specific details provided by the Deputy relate to a 2008 recommendation from the Labour Court under the Industrial Relations Act 1946. Recommendations made by the Labour Court under this legislation are not binding on the parties concerned; however, the parties are expected to give serious consideration to the Court's recommendation. The position is that in industrial relations matters under Ireland's voluntary system of industrial relations the Labour Court operates as an industrial relations tribunal. It hears both sides in a case and then issues a recommendation setting out its opinion on the dispute and the terms under which it should be settled.

There is no statutory mechanism by which recommendations of the Labour Court made under the Industrial Relations Acts 1946 to 2015 can be enforced in law. Ultimately, under the Industrial Relations Acts, responsibility for the settlement of a dispute rests with the parties.

Trade Missions

Questions (557)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

557. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to have a trade mission to the east coast of the United States of America. [18609/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

International trade missions and events support the goal of securing high-level market access for Irish companies aiming to grow business overseas and increase domestic employment.

An extensive schedule of international trade missions and events for 2019 was launched in February this year. This covers a total of 207 events within Ireland and international locations, to include 73 Ministerial led trade missions and events. This schedule includes trade missions across the Eurozone, North America, Asia Pacific, UK, Nordics, Central Europe and Latin America.

Mr. Pat Breen, T.D., Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection will lead a trade mission to New York on 22 and 23 May. I plan to lead an Enterprise Ireland/IDA multi sector trade mission to the east coast of the United States in October.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (558)

Joan Burton

Question:

558. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to produce a macroeconomic assessment of the impact of Brexit on the all-island economy (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18625/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department is keenly aware of the impacts Brexit may have on the economies of Ireland and Northern Ireland, though the macroeconomic impacts for both and jointly would depend to a great extent on the type of Brexit that ultimately emerges. I can point to the range of informative research that my Department and its agencies have undertaken to inform how we best understand the impacts of Brexit and support enterprises that are likely to face particular challenges.

Over the past two years, my Department has provided funding to InterTradeIreland (ITI) for a series of research reports undertaken by the ESRI on behalf of ITI. This research assessed the potential implications of Brexit for cross-border trade in four research stages. The first research report examined cross border trading patterns and the potential impacts on overall trade of the application of EU WTO tariffs, including the impact of Non-Tariff Barriers and changes to the euro-sterling exchange rate. The second report examined the patterns of cross-border trade on the island of Ireland, focusing on the role of supply chain links. This report showed that for over half (51%) of Irish exporters, Northern Ireland is the destination for more than 50% of their exports, while for just over 25% of Irish firms, Northern Ireland is the destination for more than 95% of their exports. It showed that Northern Ireland accounts for between 10-12% of total exports from Ireland to the UK as a whole and accounted for 7-8% of imports. A third report took an in-depth look at small firms participating in cross-border exporting; export performance; and determinants of export destinations for firms across the island of Ireland. Finally, a fourth report examined the capacity of firms to absorb shocks using detailed firm-level patterns of risk exposure across Ireland and Northern Ireland, providing insight into how dispersed across firms a post-Brexit shock to trade costs could be. This research has been made publicly available.

InterTradeIreland also produce a comprehensive quarterly all-island survey, the All-Island Business Monitor, which tracks economic indicators such as business position, sales employment and other topical issues. The latest Business Monitor (Quarter 4, 2018) highlights the impact the uncertainty caused by Brexit is having on small and medium businesses, and particularly those engaged in cross-border trade. This research has helped ITI and my Department to better understand the potential impact of Brexit on firms across the island, especially those involved in cross-border trade, and informs our Brexit related work. The Government, through my Department, has provided an additional €1 million in funding for 2019 to support this work, and will continue to liaise closely with the body to ensure it has the support it needs to support businesses at this time.

In addition, my Department has undertaken extensive research to assess Brexit's potential implications for business, conducting a qualitative assessment on “The firm-level impact of Brexit on Most Exposed Sectors”, published in June 2018. The research, conducted jointly with Deloitte, engaged with firms, including some operating on an all-island basis, representing large, medium and small employers to get their insights on what would be their principal concerns if they were to be faced with a ‘hard’ Brexit scenario. The findings indicate that the greatest level of concern relates to the free movement of goods, the re-emergence of a hard border and the possible imposition of tariffs on trade. The study highlighted that a no-deal Brexit would have serious implications across many aspects of a firm’s operations.

My Department also previously commissioned research to model the implications of Brexit for the Irish economy and trade. This independent study undertaken by Copenhagen Economics on behalf of the Department, quantifies the impact of possible new barriers to trade which might emerge as a result of Brexit. The study considered a range of possible Brexit scenarios in order to determine the possible impact of Brexit on Ireland’s trade performance (i.e. imports and exports), and ultimately on Irish GDP. The study examined the impacts on the Republic of Ireland only. All of the scenarios considered produce a result that is less favourable for Ireland than a non-Brexit scenario. Nevertheless, regardless of the scenario, the Irish economy is still expected to record strong, positive growth out to 2030 – Brexit has a dampening impact, however, resulting in a lower growth rate than would otherwise have occurred

The study analysed the impact of these scenarios across 24 sectors of the Irish economy. The impact of Brexit in five sectors was found to account for approximately 90 per cent of the total economic impact, these were Agri-Food; Pharma-Chemicals; Wholesale & Retail; Electrical Machinery; and Air Transport.

The economies of Ireland and Northern Ireland are closely connected. An open border has allowed industries of all types to develop in both jurisdictions without constraints. I have had the privilege on a number of occasions to meet with enterprises that operate smoothly and successfully on an all-Ireland basis. We know how important the ease of this cross border trade is to enterprises based here in Ireland, and you are well aware of Ireland's negotiating position in this regard.

My Department has focused on undertaking research and engagement with firms that ensures we continue to provide the supports required by Irish based enterprises as they navigate the uncertainties and challenges posed by Brexit.

Emigrant Support Services

Questions (559)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

559. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if financial incentives will be considered to encourage fully qualified engineers born and educated here to return from abroad to work in industry here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18665/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation currently has no plans to offer financial incentives to engineers to return to Ireland to work in industry here. However, through Enterprise Ireland, the Department does invest in techlifeireland.com, a website focused on building awareness globally amongst Information and Communication Technology engineers of the wide variety of jobs available in here and quality of life available in Ireland.

Regional Development

Questions (560)

Carol Nolan

Question:

560. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the implementation of the midlands regional enterprise plan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18866/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I launched the new Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 on the 6th February in Mountmellick, Co. Laois. This was the first of nine Regional Enterprise Plans that I launched during February and March of this year. The Plans have emerged from a 'bottom-up' process to refresh and refocus the Regional Action Plan for Jobs (RAPJ) 2015-2017, and the new Plans remain focused on delivering on the employment targets set to 2020 under the original RAPJs.

Implementation of the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 is now underway. The Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan Steering Committee held its first meeting under the new Plan in Westmeath on the 28th March 2019. At that meeting, the Steering Committee approved the formation of a number of Working Groups which will be responsible for the delivery of the specific Strategic Objectives and actions in the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan. The Working Groups have been requested to set out their work plans for 2019 with regard to the steps to be taken in order to implement and achieve the relevant Strategic Objectives and actions that they are aligned to.

These Working Groups will meet as regularly as required and will report back to the Steering Committee on their progress. In turn, the Steering Committee will present, through its Chair, a Progress Report to me at the end of 2019 and 2020. These Progress Reports will be published by my Department.

It will be a matter for the Chair and Committee members to decide on the frequency of meetings however, there will be a minimum of two meetings of the Steering Committee annually for the period of the Plan. In addition, I will meet with the Chairs of all nine Regional Steering Committees collectively later this year to discuss progress on the Plans.

Regional Development

Questions (561)

Carol Nolan

Question:

561. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the grants and supports available to assist in the transition of the midlands region from a carbon intensive region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18867/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I launched the new Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 on the 6th February last in Mountmellick, Co. Laois. The Plan is one of 9 Plans that have emerged from a 'bottom-up' process to refresh and refocus the Regional Action Plan for Jobs (RAPJ) 2015-2017, and the new Plans remain focused on delivering on the employment targets set to 2020 under the original RAPJs.

The Midland Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 has identified seven strategic Objectives to build on the strengths of the region.

The first of these Objectives aims to ‘Ensure that the Midlands is well positioned to address the challenges posed by the transition to a low carbon economy and renewable energy.’

To deliver on the Objective there are 6 Actions that include support to develop and designate on a pilot basis Portlaoise as a ‘Low Carbon Town’, develop and implement county climate adaptation strategies, consider the feasibility of developing an Energy Park, and to conduct trials in aquaculture and herb production.

In October 2018 Bord na Móna detailed plans to implement Strand 1 of its “Brown to Green” strategy to consolidate and simplify traditional peat harvesting operations, announcing that 21 bogs across the Midland region would cease production in 2019. This “Brown to Green” strategy aligns the company with national and EU decarbonisation policies to accelerate the development of renewable energy assets and accelerate investment in high-value recycling and resource recovery

In response to the Strand 1 announcement, a Regional Transition Team was established by Offaly County Council to:

- Pursue funding opportunities and actions to mitigate the Impact of the Bord na Móna job losses on the individuals concerned and the impact on the local and regional economy, and

- Position the region to develop alternative forms of employment, attract investment and maximise existing employment opportunities and resources.

The Midland Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 supports the work of the Regional Transition Team.

As regards grants and supports to assist in the transition from a carbon intensive region, these are administered by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, through the Climate Action Fund administered by that Department and grants provided by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

Finally, it is important to note that the Government has put several funding streams in place to support regional development including my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund; the Rural and Urban Regeneration and Development Funds under Project Ireland 2040; and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

Under the €60 million competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), the Midland region has secured total funding of over €3.4 million to date under the two completed Calls.

Industrial Relations

Questions (562)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

562. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to put in place legislation placing legal obligations on private sector employers to negotiate with a union on behalf of employee members; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18897/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

At the outset, I must emphasise that Ireland’s system of industrial relations is essentially voluntary in nature and responsibility for the resolution of industrial disputes between employers and workers rests with the employer, the workers and their representatives.

The right of workers to form associations and join a trade union is enshrined in Article 40 of the Irish Constitution. However, our Superior Courts have established that the Constitutional guarantee of the freedom of association does not guarantee workers the right to have their union recognised for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Notwithstanding this, it has been the consistent policy of successive Irish Governments to promote collective bargaining through legislation and by the development of an institutional framework supportive of a voluntary system of industrial relations that is premised upon freedom of contract and freedom of association. There is an extensive range of statutory provisions designed to support collective bargaining within the concept of voluntarism. The freedom of association and the right to organise and bargain collectively are also guaranteed in a number of international instruments which the State has ratified and which it is, therefore, bound to uphold under international law.

A decision by this Government to legislate for an improved framework in this area resulted in the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 which came into effect on 1st August 2015.

The legislation provides a clear and balanced mechanism by which the fairness of the employment conditions of workers in their totality can be assessed in employments where collective bargaining does not take place and brings clarity and certainty for employers in terms of managing their workplaces in this respect.

Given this background, and the robust measures which have been put in place to support collective bargaining within a voluntarist industrial relations framework, the Government has no plans to legislate further on trade union recognition.

IDA Ireland Data

Questions (563, 567)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

563. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the land and property acquired by IDA Ireland in 2017 and 2018; the price paid for the land and property, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19071/19]

View answer

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

567. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the properties and land rented by IDA Ireland in 2018, in tabular form including overseas properties; the yearly rent paid per property; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19076/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 563 and 567 together.

It is important that the IDA has a supply of available properties that can be offered to firms considering making job-rich investments in Ireland, particularly for the regions. This helps diminish the lead-in time for potential investments and can be a key factor in securing projects for regional locations. The Agency works closely with city and county councils to ensure that any property acquisitions are in line with local area, county and city development plans.

When acquiring property, the IDA obtains independent valuations advice from an Agency-appointed property firm. This helps ensure the best outcome is achieved in terms of value for money.

Table A below details the properties acquired by IDA Ireland in 2017 and 2018 and the price paid in respect of each. Table B details the annual rent paid in 2018 by the IDA on non-Agency owned properties.

Table A: land and buildings acquired by IDA Ireland in 2017-2018 and price paid

Holding No.

Location

Acquisition Completed Date

Consideration €

Type

Hectares Purchased

94

Land at Garrycastle Athlone Business & Technology (B&T) Park & Advanced Factory 4, Garrycastle Athlone B&T Park

26/05/2017

€1,987,750

Land & Building

1.46

2020

Kerry Business & Technology Park

14/09/2017

122,500

Land

1.0

267

Private Finance (PF) Building 1 Kilbride, Arklow, Co. Wicklow

08/01/2018

762,500

Building

0.5666

2036

Lands at Gorteens and Kilmurray, Slieverue, Co Kilkenny

14/02/2018

3,446,000

Land

27.89

2038

Collinstown, Leixlip Co. Kildare

14/11/2018

7,500,000

Land

7.40

239

Unit 507 Waterford Industrial Estate

20/12/2018

1,850,000

Building

0.6151

298

Barnahealy, Loughbeg, Ringaskiddy, Cork

20/12/2018

1,100,000

Land

8.28

Total

16,768,750

Table B: Rent paid by IDA Ireland on non-Agency owned properties in 2018

Location

Annual Rent

Wilton Park House, Dublin

2,094,937

Athlone

185,231

Cavan

11,377

Limerick

33,000

Sligo

97,133

Frankfurt

97,302

London*

315,814

Paris*

44,200

Atlanta

59,332

Boston

70,852

Chicago

118,033

Irvine County

75,212

Mountainview

179,199

New York*

505,477

Austin *

37,091

Toronto

1,639

Mumbai

189,694

Shanghai *

115,099

Shenzhen

47,383

Beijing *

50,644

Tokyo*

110,422

Seoul *

27,189

Singapore *

33,217

Sydney*

32,791

Private Finance Lease Properties**

616,851

Total

5,149,119

*Shared accommodation with another State Agency or Irish Government.

**IDA Ireland leases a number of properties from third parties. The Agency receives rental income, by way of sub-leases, on a number of these properties. The figure shown in the table is the net figure when the rent paid by the IDA is offset by rental income received.

IDA Ireland Jobs Data

Questions (564)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

564. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of new jobs created by IDA Ireland client companies in 2018, by county in tabular form; the number of jobs in client companies in each county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19072/19]

View answer

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. As reflected in IDA Ireland's annual results for 2018, significant progress is being made with 58% of all IDA-supported employment now outside of Dublin. This represents the highest number of people employed by IDA clients outside of the capital in the Agency's history. The last year has also seen more IDA jobs added in the regions than at any time over the past 17 years. I am determined, together with the IDA, to see this trend continue and we will be doing everything possible to encourage more firms to invest further in the regions.

The table below shows the number of IDA supported jobs by county in 2017 and 2018.

County

2017

2018

Cavan

1,155

1,096

Donegal

3,392

3,564

Leitrim

884

909

Louth

3,764

3,903

Monaghan

150

162

Sligo

2,238

2,251

Dublin

90,529

96,760

Kildare

8,452

8,838

Meath

1,565

1,632

Wicklow

2,230

2,618

Laois

134

122

Longford

745

900

Offaly

1,167

1,232

Westmeath

2,973

3,466

Clare

7,006

6,948

Limerick

10,607

11,796

Tipperary North Riding

335

204

Carlow

875

1,150

Kilkenny

716

711

Tipperary South Riding

3,330

3,516

Waterford

6,690

7,064

Wexford

2,987

3,139

Cork

36,780

38,867

Kerry

2,187

2,241

Galway

18,503

19,969

Mayo

4,484

4,828

Roscommon

1,139

1,171

Total

215,017

229,057

Enterprise Ireland Data

Questions (565)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

565. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of new jobs created by Enterprise Ireland client companies in 2018, by county in tabular form; the number of jobs in client companies in each county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19073/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

On an annual basis Enterprise Ireland (EI) works with approximately 5,000 manufacturing and internationally traded services companies through the agency’s network of 10 offices in Ireland and 33 international offices.

In 2018 EI client companies reported strong employment performance with 215,207 people employed and 18,846 new jobs created. The tables below present the figures for the following:

- The number of new jobs supported by EI in 2018 by county

- The number of total jobs supported by EI in 2018 by county

Table 1: The number of new jobs supported by EI in 2018 by county

By county

2018 Total Gains (PFT+Other)

Carlow

332

Cavan

549

Clare

425

Cork

1,810

Donegal

512

Dublin

7,286

Galway

658

Kerry

237

Kildare

393

Kilkenny

430

Laois

179

Leitrim

63

Limerick

874

Longford

216

Louth

565

Mayo

582

Meath

563

Monaghan

514

Offaly

342

Roscommon

127

Sligo

158

Tipperary

448

Waterford

681

Westmeath

196

Wexford

276

Wicklow

430

Grand Total

18,846

Table 2: The number of total jobs supported by EI by county

By county

2018 Total Jobs

Carlow

3,221

Cavan

5,842

Clare

4,102

Cork

23,902

Donegal

3,818

Dublin

76,815

Galway

8,091

Kerry

4,727

Kildare

8,923

Kilkenny

4,549

Laois

1,527

Leitrim

607

Limerick

9,553

Longford

2,979

Louth

5,923

Mayo

4,692

Meath

7,135

Monaghan

5,626

Offaly

4,307

Roscommon

1,764

Sligo

1,916

Tipperary

5,921

Waterford

6,849

Westmeath

3,536

Wexford

4,674

Wicklow

4,208

Grand Total

215,207

Support to client companies is tailored to meet the individual needs of each client company in order to equip them to succeed in global markets. Every EI client company is assigned a developmental adviser who works with them to identify areas that can be optimised and improved. These areas are not just addressed through direct financial assistance, but through a wide range of soft supports, such as mentoring and management development programmes.

Local Enterprise Offices Data

Question No. 567 answered with Question No. 563.

Questions (566)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

566. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of new jobs created by local enterprise office client companies in 2018, by county in tabular form; the number of jobs in client companies in each county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19075/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are the “first-stop-shop” for providing advice, guidance, financial assistance and other supports to those wishing to start or grow a business.

In 2018 there was a gross gain of 8,007 new jobs which saw a net gain of 3,656 for the year. The LEOs have 7,164 client companies who support 36,666 jobs. This is the 5th year in a row of employment growth for the LEOs, which support our indigenous businesses to create jobs locally.

The table below details the breakdown by county.

LEO

2018 No. of LEO Clients

2018 All Jobs Total

2018 Gross Job Gains

2018 Net Job Gains

Carlow

219

1153

150

57

Cavan

202

1374

231

146

Clare

239

1270

248

104

Cork city

164

810

250

88

Cork South

274

1393

345

68

Cork West/North

208

957

212

120

Donegal

214

1294

360

203

Dublin City

394

1736

490

343

Dublin DLR

292

1695

260

145

Dublin Fingal

223

1031

179

125

Dublin South

303

1491

400

153

Galway County/City

263

1116

188

111

Kerry

263

1295

167

104

Kildare

199

1239

436

285

Kilkenny

210

1257

317

103

Laois

122

635

125

67

Leitrim

161

437

82

24

Limerick

301

1926

430

213

Longford

254

1195

133

70

Louth

250

982

210

98

Mayo

234

1224

340

130

Meath

255

1255

231

143

Monaghan

152

1164

252

134

Offaly

201

1063

224

68

Roscommon

172

857

219

80

Sligo

236

920

160

33

Tipperary

258

1295

366

168

Waterford

331

1447

306

100

Westmeath

225

1172

254

66

Wexford

227

1308

302

33

Wicklow

118

675

140

74

Total

7164

36666

8007

3656

Question No. 567 answered with Question No. 563.

Enterprise Ireland Data

Questions (568)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

568. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the properties and land rented by Enterprise Ireland in 2018, including oversees properties in tabular form; the yearly rent paid per property; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19077/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

On an annual basis Enterprise Ireland works with approximately 5,000 companies through a network of market and sector advisers based across 10 national offices and 33 international offices. The rent, and associated income, related to offices rented by Enterprise Ireland is presented in the table below.

In various offices, Enterprise Ireland shares office space with colleagues from other Irish State agencies and client companies.

Office space leased by Enterprise Ireland in 2018 and the rent paid per property

Rent

Rental

Location

Paid 2018

Income 2018

Head Office - Dublin

East Point Business Park

2,920,905

Regional Offices

Letterkenny

29,520

Tralee

49,200

Westpark - Shannon

492,433

Overseas Offices

Amsterdam

83,505

*

21,529

Austin

56,255

**

2,045

Beijing

161,811

**

20,400

Boston

108,532

Brussels

54,659

Chicago

45,453

Doha

33,183

Dubai

104,574

*

10,440

Dusseldorf

126,590

*

26,324

Hong Kong

82,657

Istanbul

44,930

Johannesburg

38,459

London

504,605

*

309,634

Manchester

2,500

Milan

95,115

*

43,753

Mumbai

164,260

Paris

115,238

Sao Paulo

43,532

Toronto

45,410

**

8,217

Budapest

10,400

New York

709,700

**

78,897

Madrid

56,837

Moscow

21,316

Prague

28,186

Riyadh

12,000

San Francisco

215,199

**

2,963

Seoul

74,665

Shanghai

51,120

Singapore

73,142

Stockholm

34,330

Sydney

77,835

Tokyo

85,750

Warsaw

52,448

Total

6,906,253

524,203

* Includes rent paid to Enterprise Ireland re the sublet of office space to other Irish State agencies.

** Includes rent paid to Enterprise Ireland re the sublet of incubator space for client companies.

Local Enterprise Offices Data

Questions (569)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

569. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the properties and land rented by local enterprise offices in 2018, in tabular form; the yearly rent paid per property; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19078/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department established the network of the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide in 2014. The LEOs are operated by way of a partnership between Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities. They operate as a “first stop shop” for those looking to start a business or for small businesses looking for support, the Local Enterprise Offices are now a significant source of job creation and a hub of entrepreneurship across the country.

As the Local Enterprise Offices are business units within the Local Authority, the Local Authority will be the tenant in the cases of LEOs in rented accommodation. Any information and detail in relation to rental contracts and properties is a matter for the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Local Enterprise Offices Data

Questions (570, 571, 572)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

570. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of persons with disabilities that received support through the 31 local enterprise offices to set up a business since their establishment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19093/19]

View answer

Mattie McGrath

Question:

571. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of persons with disabilities that secured employment in companies supported by the 31 local enterprise offices since their establishment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19094/19]

View answer

Mattie McGrath

Question:

572. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if measures to ensure that persons with disabilities are supported to set up businesses through the local enterprise offices will be introduced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19095/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 570 to 572, inclusive, together.

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are the ‘first-stop-shop’ for advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports for anyone intending to start or grow a business.

In that regard, the LEOs provide a ‘signposting’ service in relation to all relevant State supports available through agencies such as Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, Education and Training Boards, the Credit Review Office and Microfinance Ireland.

The Local Enterprise Offices operate on an equal opportunities basis. In that regard, information in respect of a client’s disability or otherwise is not relevant, and this also applies to the collation of the LEO Annual Employment Survey with regard to individuals employed in businesses supported by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices.

Employment Data

Questions (573)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

573. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her Department and the officers and agencies under her remit encourage remote working; the number of persons in her Department and the offices and agencies under her remit that work remotely; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19140/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department including its Offices has 5 staff engaged in formal remote working arrangements at work patterns of between 1 and 4 days per week. In addition, my Department’s ICT Unit provides remote working ICT facilities to any staff whose role requires them to work away from their office on a regular basis. Currently, 230 staff in the Department and its Offices are assigned laptops or tablets for use whenever they require to work away from the office. In addition, a pool of loan laptops or tablets is available to other staff to work remotely where business needs allow.

My Department's Agencies' remote working arrangements are outlined below.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)

At present the CCPC has one DBEI assignee working remotely on a full-time basis and one CCPC employee working remotely 1 to 2 days per week. All other requests for remote working are intermittent and considered on a case by case basis, whilst ensuring it suits the business needs of the organisation.

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland has an e-working policy that supports and encourages remote working (e-working) among its employees. Applications are invited from staff once a year and arrangements are put in place to facilitate e-working, typically one day per week for a 12 month period.

All staff who made applications under Enterprise Ireland’s e-working policy in the current year were approved. 33 staff from various sections across the organisation are currently availing of e-working. In addition, a number of staff work remotely on an ad-hoc basis and the organisation’s IT infrastructure supports and enables the operation of this type of remote working.

Health and Safety Authority (HSA)

The HSA has in place a Voluntary Remote Access (VRA) scheme which allows, on an agreed basis, a HSA staff member to carry out administrative functions from their home or other location using their HSA issued laptop. Administrative staff can work a maximum of 2 days/20% of the week out of the office if approved by their line manager. The HSA’s field inspectors spend up to 90% of their time out of the office remote working or inspecting workplaces. Most of their administrative and data entry work is carried out from home with attendance in the office usually only required once a week.

121 field staff (HSA Inspectors and Irish National Accreditation Board Officers) and 24 office staff (which includes the senior management team) are approved for use of VRA.

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA)

All IAASA staff are provided with laptop devices which facilitate remote working. Audit Inspection staff spend the majority of their time in Public-Interest Entity audit firms. All other staff are primarily office-based. IAASA allows flexibility to work remotely, but does not require remote working.

IDA Ireland

IDA is currently formulating a policy on home working/remote working to coincide with its relocation to a new Global HQ in September 2019. No formal remote working policy is currently in place.

National Standards Authority of Ireland

In NSAI e-working is an approved arrangement by which employees work part of the week at home using approved internet and telecoms. E-working is limited to a maximum of 2 days per week and must be combined with core office-based hours/days each week. The number of people in NSAI currently availing of a formal e-working arrangement is 22.

Personal injuries Assessment Board

PIAB currently do not have a policy on remote working, but intend setting up a focus group to review this area in the near future.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

SFI currently offers remote working where, subject to certain conditions, employees may work from home for up to 2 days per month. 9 employees are currently availing of the working from home option.