Ticket Touting

Questions (574)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

574. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the timeframe for introducing ticket touting legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19142/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department is working with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel on the preparation of amendments to the Prohibition of Above-cost Ticket Touting Bill which is a priority piece of legislation. While my aim is to finalise these amendments as soon as possible, it is not possible to provide a precise time frame for their completion. When these amendments are finalised, the proposed legislation will have to be submitted to the European Commission in accordance with the provisions of Directive (EU) 2015/1535 on the procedure for the provision of information on technical regulations and rules on information society services. The Directive requires Member States to postpone the adoption of any legislation within its scope for three months from the date of its submission to the Commission.

Work Permits Applications

Questions (575)

Niall Collins

Question:

575. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if assistance will be provided regarding clarification of permit applications for persons (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19261/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department inform me that a Critical Skills Employment Permit has issued on 1st May 2019 for each of the two named persons (details supplied).

My officials have contacted the applicant in each case to inform them of the decision.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Staff

Questions (576)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

576. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of full and part-time staff, respectively, employed in the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission by grade, legal personnel and other staff in tabular form; and the funding allocated to the Commission in 2019. [19277/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The information sought by the Deputy is set out in the table below.

2019

Staff Numbers

No of Staff

89

Full-time

89

Part-Time

0

Grades

Principal Officer

7

Assistant Principal (Higher)

5

Assistant Principal

12

Case Officer

11

Higher Executive Officer

32

Administrative Officer

1

Staff Officer

0

Executive Officer

18

Clerical Officer

2

Services Officer

1

Legal Personnel*

6

Exchequer Funding

€12,577,000

* Legal Personnel includes staff employed as Legal Advisors (PO & AP equivalents & are included under these headings for the total count), it does not include Case Officers or HEOs who are qualified lawyers employed as investigators.

Note: The above figures in the table are based on the CCPC full-time equivalent headcount at the end of Q1 - 2019. Where the grade title is different, secondees have been categorised in the closest relevant Civil Service grades.

In addition, the CCPC has four Members including its Chairperson who were appointed following a competition conducted by the Public Appointments Service in accordance with section 12 of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014. A Detective Sergeant is also on secondment from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Questions (577)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

577. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of investigative cases commenced for suspected anti-competitive conduct that does not fall within the definition of a cartel; the number of inspections carried out; the number of prosecutions made; the number of fines issued, the value of fines issued; the number of collected and uncollected fines; the average fine per case in which fines were issued; and the average length of anti-competitive investigations to date in each year since the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was established in tabular form. [19278/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of domestic and EU competition law in the State. Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the Commission is independent in the performance of its functions. As investigations and enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Commission, I, as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in these matters.

The information sought by the Deputy in relation to civil investigative actions has been provided by the CCPC and is set out in the table below for the period 31 October 2014 to 30 April 2019.

Actions

Nos.

Number of investigative cases commenced:

12139 files screened*

The number of inspections carried out:

Four

The number of prosecutions made:

NATen investigations closed with commitments

The number of cases which concluded with fines issued:

NA

The amount in Euro of fines issued:

NA

The number of collected and uncollected fines:

NA

The average fine per case:

NA

The average length of anti-competitive investigations to date.

12 to 36 Months

*Please note this figure relates to the period January 2016 to 30 April 2019.

When the CCPC receives a complaint in relation to potential anti-competitive behaviour it is examined through a screening process before a decision can be made as to whether there is sufficient evidence to open an investigation. The CCPC cannot make administrative decisions or determinations concerning breaches of competition law. Only the courts can issue decisions confirming if a particular practice constitutes a breach of competition law.

The Irish Courts cannot impose fines on individuals or undertakings in civil proceedings for breaches of competition law. The most the CCPC can achieve by taking civil proceedings before the Courts is a declaration that the conduct is illegal and an injunction to prevent the company or individual from continuing such conduct.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Questions (578)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

578. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of investigative cases commenced for suspected anti-competitive conduct which falls within the definition of a cartel; the number of inspections carried out; the number of prosecutions and cartel decisions made; the number of cases which concluded with fines issued; the value of fines issued; the number of collected and uncollected fines; the average fine per cartel; and the average length of cartel investigations to date in each year since the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was established in tabular form. [19279/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of domestic and EU competition law in the State. Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the Commission is independent in the performance of its functions. As investigations and enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Commission, I, as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in the matter.

The information sought by the Deputy in relation to criminal investigative actions has been provided by the CCPC and is set out in the table below for the period 31 October 2014 to 30 April 2019.

Information sought

-

Number of investigative cases commenced (cartel)

Four investigations launched 56 files screened

The number of searches carried out

Twenty five

The number of prosecutions and cartel decisions made

Two (company and individual) – Ireland’s first conviction for bid-rigging

The number of cases which concluded with fines issued

One resulting in two prosecutions & two convictions

The amount in Euro of fines issued;

€55,000*

The number of collected and uncollected fines

As above

The average fine per cartel;

NA

The average length of cartel investigations to date in each year

18 – 36 months

*The leniency of the original sentence and fines (€17,500) imposed in 2017 were appealed by the DPP and in June 2018 the Court of Appeal increased the fines imposed on the individual convicted.

When the CCPC receives a complaint in relation to potential anti-competitive behaviour it is examined through a screening process before a decision can be made as to whether there is sufficient evidence to open an investigation. The CCPC’s role is to investigate alleged cartels and when sufficient evidence of a cartel is obtained, the CCPC submits a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions with the recommendation that the parties be prosecuted on indictment.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Staff

Questions (579)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

579. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of staff allocated since the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was established working on competition enforcement in absolute terms and as a percentage of total staff. [19280/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The information sought by the Deputy is set out in the table below.

-

No of CCPC Staff

Full-Time

Part-Time

No. of staff working on competition enforcement in absolute terms**

Percentage of total staff

No of Commission Members

2019*

89

89

0

30

33.70%

4

2018

90

90

0

29

32.22%

4

2017

85

85

0

27

31.76%

4

2016

85

85

0

23

27.06%

4

2015

85

85

0

17

20.00%

4

2014

82

82

0

21

25.61%

4

* These figures are based on the full-time equivalent headcount at the end of Q1 - 2019.

** Note: a number of officials working on competition enforcement also work on car crime and pyramid selling.

In addition to the total CCPC staff in the above table, the CCPC has four Members including its Chairperson who were appointed following a competition conducted by the Public Appointments Service in accordance with section 12 of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014. A Detective Sergeant is also on secondment from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).

IDA Ireland Supports

Questions (580)

Alan Kelly

Question:

580. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a facility (details supplied) has received supports from IDA Ireland and-or Enterprise Ireland; if so, the type of supports; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19303/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Rockshel is not a client company of IDA Ireland or Enterprise Ireland and therefore has not received grant funding from either agency. IDA Ireland staff have, however, met with representatives from the company and my Department and its agencies are available to explore potential for further cooperation and support.

Corporate Governance

Questions (581)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

581. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if an investigation is under way here by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in view of the British Competition and Markets Authority recently calling for rapid legislation to end the dominance of the big four accounting firms and address problems of poor working practices and conflicts of interest in the sector; and if not, his plans to call for an investigation. [19313/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of domestic and EU competition law in the State. Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the Commission is independent in the performance of its functions. As investigations and enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Commission, I, as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in the matter.

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the recommendations of the UK Competition and Markets Authority in its final report of the Statutory Audit Services Market Study. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the recommendations from a report relating to another jurisdiction.

Local Enterprise Offices Data

Questions (582)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

582. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of local enterprise offices; the number of staff that work in each office in tabular form; the number of staff that work in the LEO section of her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19341/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

There are 31 Local Enterprise Office (LEOs) located across the Local Authority network in Ireland. The LEOs are the ‘first-stop-shop’ for advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports for anyone intending to start or grow a business.

Table 1 below sets out the number of sanctioned LEO staff through the DBEI pay allocation for each of the 31 LEOs.

In respect to my Department there are 5 DBEI staff with specific LEO Liaison Unit responsibilities comprising one Principal Officer, one Assistant Principal Officer, one Higher Executive Officer, one Executive Officer and one Clerical Officer.

Table 1:

LEO

Sanctioned LEO Staffing Allocation funded through DBEI Pay Contribution as at 31st March 2019

Actual LEO Staffing funded through DBEI Pay Contribution as at 31st March 2019

Carlow

5

5

Cavan

5

5

Clare

6

6

Cork City

8

8

Cork N&W

9

9

Cork South

7

7

Donegal

6

6

Dublin City

11

11

Dublin South

9

8

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

8

5

Fingal

9

9

Galway

8

8

Kerry

6

6

Kildare

8

8

Kilkenny

6

5

Laois

5

4

Leitrim

5

5

Limerick

9

8

Longford

5

5

Louth

6

5

Mayo

6

6

Meath

8

8

Monaghan

5

4

Offaly

5

5

Roscommon

5

5

Sligo

5

5

Tipperary

8

7

Waterford

8

8

Westmeath

6

6

Wexford

6

6

Wicklow

6

6

Total

209

199

Local Enterprise Offices Funding

Questions (583)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

583. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the budget allocation for local enterprise offices in each of the years 2014 to 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19342/19]

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 their own business. The LEOs offer direct grant aid to microenterprises (10 employees or fewer) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities. Subject to certain eligibility criteria, the LEOs provide financial assistance within three main categories, i.e., Feasibility, Priming and Business Development grants for existing businesses that want to expand.

For anyone interested in starting or growing a business, the LEOs may be able to offer ‘soft’ support in the form of training (e.g. a Start Your Own Business course); a mentor to work with the business proposer; or targeted programmes such as Lean for Micro (to help boost business productivity and competitiveness).

The table below details the capital allocation to the Local Enterprise Offices for the years 2014 – 2019:

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

€18,500,000

€18,500,000

€18,500,000

€22,500,000

€22,500,000

€27,500,000

Co-operative Sector

Questions (584)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

584. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the spend on developing and promoting workers' co-operatives in each of the years 2015 to 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19345/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The co-operative model is one of a number of legal options that are available to those considering establishing themselves in business, and the different models have their own distinct characteristics. It is, of course, up to each individual operation to choose the model that best suits the nature of the business and the desired ethos of the entity. The Department does not promote one business model over another.

My Department’s role is to facilitate the development of co-operatives, rather than actively encourage or promote them. My responsibility lies in the legislative provision for co-operatives in general. Any initiatives to facilitate or promote the development of co-operatives in particular sectors, for example childcare, education, housing, energy retro-fitting, environmental protection, would be a matter for my colleagues in the respective Government Departments.

My Department supports co-operatives in the same way as it supports other enterprises. My Department provides a range of grants and funding streams for ambitious start-ups, principally through the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). The 31 LEOs are located throughout the country and provide a range of supports for the micro and small business sector. As the “first-stop-shop” for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports to those wishing to start or grow their own business, the LEOs:

- provide a sign-posting service to all relevant State supports

- offer direct grant aid to micro-enterprises (10 employees or fewer) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities

- offer “soft” supports in the form of training and mentoring

- assist with loan applications to Micro Finance Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland have a number of targeted supports for start-ups, including co-operative start-ups, that have global ambition, the potential to scale and meet Enterprise Ireland’s eligibility criteria. Enterprise Ireland supports enterprises in regional and rural areas to start, innovate and remain competitive in international markets, now and into the future. Supports include competitive feasibility funding, mentoring grants and innovation vouchers.

During the period 2015 to 2018 Enterprise Ireland, an agency of my Department paid approximately €16.1m to 7 co-operatives. Regarding the Local Enterprise Offices, they approved €28,550 to 4 co-operatives during the same period.

Departmental Agencies Funding

Questions (585)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

585. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the 2018 and 2019 budget allocations for IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and local enterprise offices in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19346/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Budget allocations for IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices for 2018 and 2019 are set out in the table below. The table shows the allocations as published in the 2018 and 2019 Revised Estimates Volumes and does not account for any Supplementary Estimates or Carryovers of unspent capital monies as provided for under Section 91 of the Finance Act, 2004.

Budget Allocations

2018

(€,000)

2019

(€,000)

IDA

Current

Capital

Total

48,780

132,000

180,780

51,670

142,000

193,670

Enterprise Ireland*

Current

Capital

Total

87,998

185,000

272,998

92,068

187,750

279,818

Local Enterprise Development

Current

Capital

Total

10,431

22,500

32,931

10,431

27,500

37,931

* Incorporating allocations across the following DBEI Programme Areas:

A – Jobs Enterprise Development

B - Innovation

The Deputy will see from the above table that the exchequer allocation for all three agencies was increased in 2019.

The more than €12 million in additional funding allocated to the IDA in 2019 will allow it to increase its global footprint thereby enabling it to strengthen its presence in key markets. It will also support further development of the Regional Property Programme. This will help ensure that property solutions are in place for overseas companies considering investing or expanding, thereby encouraging more FDI to the regions. The IDA plans to develop new buildings in regional locations including Carlow, Dundalk, Monaghan, Sligo, Athlone, Waterford, Limerick and Galway. These important initiatives are part of the IDA’s Brexit response and specific Investment Priority Projects set out in our National Development Plan, ‘Ireland 2040’ under National Strategic Outcome 5 ‘Strong Economy Supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills’ which includes a commitment to the provision of further investment by the IDA in regional property solutions.

Almost €7 million in additional funding has been provided to Enterprise Ireland in 2019. This will support the creation of new ‘Regional Innovation and Technology Clusters’ via the Institutes of Technology, building their facilities, expertise and supportive capabilities as drivers of global enterprises in and across the regions. This is one of the priority projects as set out in ‘Project 2040’. It will also allow EI to further progress its Global Footprint plans. This will involve the recruitment of additional staff and promotional/training activities through targeted programmes such as; Irish Advantage, Online Customs training etc. The expansion of EI’s global footprint is a key initiative of the Agency’s Brexit response.

The Local Enterprise Offices have received a substantial increase of €5 million in their Capital funding for 2019. This is in recognition of their pivotal role in developing and supporting competitive and innovative local businesses across the regions and particularly in supporting them to deal with the implications of Brexit. The additional funding will allow the LEOs to build upon their specific strengths in furthering enterprise development and job creation in their local areas. Funding will be presented through competitive funding to maximise its potential in supporting high quality proposals for regional job creation.

The increases provided to the respective Enterprise Agencies demonstrated the Government’s continued commitment to ensure that they have the necessary resources to carry out their pivotal roles in getting business Brexit ready, driving indigenous enterprise and regional growth and preparing for the Future of Jobs in tomorrow’s economy.

InterTradeIreland Funding

Questions (586)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

586. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the companies supported by InterTradeIreland in 2018; the number of jobs supported by InterTradeIreland in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19363/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

This year marks 20 years since InterTradeIreland (ITI) was founded. In that period, over 39,000 SMEs have benefitted from their programmes, support and assistance, resulting in 14,800 new jobs being created or protected. This has generated a business development value of over €1.2 billion and has made a major contribution to the enhancement of economic cooperation across the island.

While ITI's mandate does not have a specific focus on job creation, the body has nonetheless had a significant role in supporting and fostering employment. In 2018, 3,054 companies engaged in North South business through the body's trade and innovation activities & services. This had a total jobs impact of 2,043, which represents both new jobs created and the protection of existing positions as a direct result of company participation on an ITI programme.

InterTradeIreland Funding

Questions (587)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

587. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the budget allocation for InterTradeIreland in 2018 and 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19364/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

InterTradeIreland (ITI), one of the six North-South Implementation Bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement, operates a range of enterprise support programmes to help develop cross border trade. The body is jointly funded by my Department and its Northern Ireland counterpart, the Department for the Economy.

In 2018, my Department's budget allocation to ITI was €8.125 million. In 2019 this was increased by 17.5% to a total of €9.145 million. The additional funding has helped ensure that ITI can meet demand for its services from companies seeking advice on how to prepare for Brexit. The Government will continue to support ITI's important work, and keep its budgetary requirements under review, in the period ahead.

Ministerial Travel

Questions (588)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

588. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the details and cost of flights, accommodation and other expenses borne by Enterprise Ireland for Ministers and officials from her Department in 2017 and 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19412/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

A central element of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for 2017-2020 is to build scale and expand the reach of Irish exporting companies. In that regard, the primary objective of Enterprise Ireland’s trade missions and events is to support such companies in growing their global footprint. To support the internationalisation activity of Enterprise Ireland clients, Enterprise Ireland will undertake 207 international and domestic trade events in 2019.

Enterprise Ireland ran 62 Ministerial-led international events in 2018, including trade missions to Germany, Italy, China, and the US.

The cost of flights, accommodation and other expenses borne by Enterprise Ireland for Ministers and officials from her Department in 2018 is presented in the table below. The figures presented are for trade events at which both a Minister and an Official were present.

Expenses borne by Enterprise Ireland for Ministers and officials from her Department in 2018

Ministerial Delegation Expenses

Airfares

Hotel

Taxis/Car Hire etc

Meals & Entertainment

Total

Total €

61,161.15

41,014.84

6,855.65

6,027.78

115,059.42

As agreed with the Deputy, Enterprise Ireland will provide the information relating to 2017 as soon as it is available.

Ministerial Travel

Questions (589)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

589. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the details and cost of flights, accommodation and other expenses borne by IDA Ireland for Ministers and officials from her Department in 2017 and 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19413/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Investment missions supported by IDA Ireland provide valuable opportunities to engage with businesses and secure new investment. They also further strengthen the economic relationship between Ireland and our most important trading partners.

It is important to remember as well that foreign direct investment (FDI) remains an extremely competitive sector internationally. Every project is hard-won and IDA investment missions are an important tool through which the Agency can showcase Ireland as a destination where overseas firms can successfully grow their businesses.

The tables below set out details of expenditure incurred by IDA Ireland in respect of Ministers and Departmental personnel on IDA-related business overseas in 2017 and 2018.

Table A: Costs incurred by IDA Ireland in 2017 for Ministers and Departmental personnel in respect of IDA-related business overseas

Flights

Accommodation

Transportation

Other

2930.20

7211.55

9,128.16

994.85

Table B: Costs incurred by IDA Ireland in 2018 for Ministers and Departmental personnel in respect of IDA-related business overseas

Flights

Accommodation

Transportation

Other

0

2327.93

9015.76

550.36

Work Permits Eligibility

Questions (590)

Peter Burke

Question:

590. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she will review the rules relating to work permits for non-EU nationals due to the critical shortages being experienced in small factories (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19478/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

During the review of Economic Migration Policy published last year, I requested that the emerging labour shortages being experienced in the agri-sector be prioritised. In May 2018 a pilot quota based scheme of General employment permits for dairy farm assistants, horticulture workers and meat processing operatives was put in place to address the immediate needs of the sector. The scheme allows workers from non-EEA countries to access employment opportunities with all employers in the sector who are seeking labour. To date this pilot scheme has proved very successful for a range of employers in the sector with a total of 1,378 out of the total quota of 1,500 permits for Meat Processing Operatives granted. The application of a quota based system is to ensure that in the longer-term, strategies are put in place to source labour supply from both the domestic and European labour markets and to invest in innovative technologies for the sector.

Applications for employment permits are open to all employers, regardless of size or number of vacancies held, to seek a permit following submission of an application form and appropriate documents as required. All applications for employment permits are processed in line with the Employment Permits Acts and associated Regulations which lay down in legislation the criteria in relation to the application and grant and refusal of an employment permit. Applications are processed in date order. Under the Employment Permit Acts, the Minister may refuse an application where either the employer or employee has received a conviction under employment permit or employment rights legislation in the previous 5 years.

In order to assist with the application process, the Department has produced a suite of information to assist in the application process including details on how to carry out the Labour Market Needs Test, a ‘User Guide' to our online application system and a comprehensive FAQ Document which answers the most common queries received regarding employment permits. My officials have also produced a checklist document specifically for Meat Processing Operatives which, if followed, should result in the granting of an employment permit. This information can be found in the Employment Permits section of my Department’s website at www.dbei.gov.ie. My officials are also available by phone on LoCall 1890 201 616 or by e-mail at employmentpermits@dbei.gov.ie to answer any queries regarding employment permits.

In addition, officials from the Department regularly engage directly with stakeholders, and have been invited by various representative groups such as the Irish Farmers Association to deliver presentations on the employment permit system. Officials also attended both the Tullamore Show and the National Ploughing Championships in 2018 as part of this engagement process.

IDA Ireland Site Visits

Questions (591)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

591. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of IDA Ireland site visits by county in each of the years 2016 to 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19501/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Information on IDA Ireland site visits for the period in question is set out in the table below. This includes details on the number of site visits over the first three months of 2019.

Whilst site visits remain an important tool in helping showcase regional locations to investors, it is important to remember - as I have made clear before - that the final decision as to where to invest rests solely with the company concerned. It is also the case that site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential, as a significant proportion of all new foreign direct investment (FDI) comes from existing IDA clients already present in the country.

More broadly, creating more jobs in the regions is a priority for both the IDA and my Department in 2019 as we seek to build on the progress made over the last number of years. In 2018, for example, the IDA delivered 113 regional investments with 56% of net new jobs created outside Dublin. The last four years have seen 44,500 new FDI-driven jobs generated outside the capital.

County

2016

2017

2018

Q1 2019

Carlow

9

8

7

3

Cavan

2

2

2

1

Clare

18

22

13

5

Cork

49

51

61

17

Donegal

7

2

8

1

Dublin

284

327

269

56

Galway

42

62

54

9

Kerry

3

9

10

0

Kildare

8

10

8

3

Kilkenny

10

6

5

5

Laois

6

4

10

2

Leitrim

8

5

6

0

Limerick

49

42

35

12

Longford

6

7

5

0

Louth

24

22

20

10

Mayo

5

7

10

2

Meath

8

3

6

1

Monaghan

2

1

3

1

Offaly

4

5

5

1

Roscommon

1

3

3

0

Sligo

20

18

15

8

Tipperary

8

8

5

3

Waterford

17

11

21

8

Westmeath

36

42

22

6

Wexford

7

3

3

1

Wicklow

5

2

1

4

Total

638

682

607

159

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (592)

Seán Fleming

Question:

592. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she has met with an organisation (details supplied) in 2019; if she will meet the organisation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19616/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

To date I have not met with the Irish Hairdressing Federation nor have I received a request to do so.

Trade Missions

Questions (593)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

593. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of companies that travelled with the IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland trade mission to the United States of America for St. Patrick's Day. [13895/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

While IDA Ireland client companies do not travel abroad as part of trade missions, 110 Enterprise Ireland supported companies participated in business development events and meetings across the US during the week of St. Patrick’s Day with the goal of advancing partnerships and driving new business.

Labour Court Recommendations

Questions (594)

Noel Rock

Question:

594. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her attention has been drawn to the Labour Court recommendation for a company (details supplied) to award pay increases to its long-term staff which the company has not complied with; if assistance can be offered in the dispute; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20078/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

I am aware of the ongoing industrial relations issues at the company referred to by the Deputy. I am also aware that the Labour Court issued a recommendation on the 5th April 2019 in relation to a claim before it, with the Court noting that this issue has already been before it, resulting in previous recommendations.

Ireland’s system of industrial relations is essentially voluntary in nature and it has been the consistent policy of successive Irish Governments to support the development of an institutional framework supportive of this voluntary system through which good industrial relations can prosper. In line with the voluntary nature of industrial relations in Ireland, recommendations of the Labour Court made under industrial relations legislation are not binding on the parties although it is expected that the parties involved give serious consideration to the Court’s Recommendation.

The Labour Court is an independent statutory body and discharges its functions independently of the Minister, therefore it would not be appropriate for me to intervene in any way.

I would urge the parties involved to engage constructively with each other with a view to resolving their differences. The State's industrial relations machinery remains available to assist as appropriate.

Mental Health Services

Questions (595)

Joan Burton

Question:

595. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health when negotiations will conclude with the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs, Education and Skills and the Taoiseach concerning the youth mental health pathfinder initiative; when approval to launch same will be granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18415/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The proposal to establish a cross-governmental youth mental health Pathfinder team with participation from the Department of Health, the Department of Education & Skills and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs has Civil Service Management Board and Ministerial approval.

The proposal is to formalise a new model for collaborative working within Government on a statutory footing by utilising section 12 of the Public Service Management Act 1997 . This section of the 1997 Act has never been used before. Various administrative, budgetary, governance and legal arrangements need to be put in place to ensure a robust and workable model for Pathfinder.

The Department of Health has engaged extensively with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and as a result the participating Departments are considering a number of implementation options that address the above issues.

I am due to meet with Minister Donohoe and his officials on the 29th of this month, I hope to make substantial progress on the matter in the coming months.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Questions (596)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

596. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if an assessment has been carried out on the number of homes left empty due to the effect the sale of those homes would have on the qualification of the owner for the fair deal scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18641/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), commonly referred to as Fair Deal, is a system of financial support for people who require long-term residential care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means while the State pays the balance of the cost. The Scheme aims to ensure that long-term nursing home care is accessible and affordable for everyone and that people are cared for in the most appropriate settings.

Participants in the Scheme contribute up to 80% of their assessable income, such as their pension and a maximum of 7.5% per annum of the value of assets held, such as their principal private residence or cash assets. The first €36,000 of an individual’s assets is not counted at all in the financial assessment. The capital value of an individual’s principal private residence is only included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care. This is known as the three year cap.

The Scheme has no restrictions in place in relation to the sale of a home. However, if a participant in the Scheme were to sell an asset, such as a home, after their first financial assessment the proceeds of the sale would therefore become a cash asset. The three-year cap will then no longer apply and the participant must pay a contribution of 7.5% based on this cash asset.

A participant in the scheme can request a financial review if 12 months have passed since their initial review. However, the HSE may review a financial assessment at any stage.

Under the NHSS rental income is considered income for the purpose of the financial assessment of means and is assessed at 80% less any allowable deductions.

Action 17 of the Strategy for the Rental Sector commits the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government (DHPLG) to examine the treatment under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme's financial assessment of income from the rental of a person's principal private residence where they move into long term residential care. The Department of Health is currently engaging with the DHPLG in this regard to examine the policy and legal implications on this issue. Any changes to the treatment of rental income under the Scheme require careful policy analysis and consideration and if changes were to be proposed primary legislation would be required to give effect to them. An analysis of the number, type and location of vacant homes arising from their owners entering long term care supported by the NHSS will form part of this collaborative work between the respective Departments. Work will continue on this area throughout 2019.

Prisoner Transfers

Questions (597)

James Browne

Question:

597. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the average, shortest and longest wait, respectively, facing a prisoner who is awaiting a transfer from the Irish Prison Service to the Central Mental Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19269/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible

Drug Treatment Programmes Funding

Questions (598)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

598. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the ongoing drugs crisis in north County Wexford and that a group (details supplied) involved in the community response to the crisis has had its funding cut by 30%; his plans to address the crisis in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19336/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (599)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

599. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question 102 of 30 January 2019, the position regarding the increase in public service pensions that has been sanctioned but not implemented; when pay increases to qualifying pensions will be applied in CHO 2; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19486/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly on this matter.

Tobacco Control Measures

Questions (600)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

600. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Health the feasibility of introducing a licence system with a minimum annual fee of €500 to be paid by tobacco retailers; the estimated costs associated with developing, maintaining and administering same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19562/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In 2014 the Government approved the development of a General Scheme of a Bill to provide for measures in relation to tobacco products and nicotine-inhaling products such as e-cigarettes. One of the primary policy objectives of the Bill is the introduction of a new licensing system for the retail sale of tobacco products and nicotine – inhaling products. The levels at which the fees for licences to sell those products will be set have yet to be determined. My department continues to consult with the HSE in developing the provisions for the establishment and maintenance of the licensing system.

In addition to the licensing system the Bill is intended to prohibit the sale of tobacco products from self - service vending machines and from temporary or mobile units and to prohibit the sale of tobacco products at locations intended for children and events organised for children. The legislation will also prohibit the sale of tobacco products by persons under 18 years (the sale of tobacco to persons under 18 is already prohibited) and prohibit the sale of nicotine-inhaling products by and to persons under 18 years.

It is intended that a Memorandum for Government seeking approval to publish the General Scheme of the Bill and to proceed to formal drafting will be submitted in the coming months.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (601)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

601. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health the reason an application for a medical card was issued a closure letter despite the primary care reimbursement service, PCRS, confirming to this Deputy that supporting documentation as sought by the HSE had been received ten days prior to closure but remained unlogged and therefore not considered as part of the file in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18386/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly.