Passport Applications

Questions (125)

John Brady

Question:

125. Deputy John Brady asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the timeframe for passport renewals for online applications and passport express; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21793/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Applications made via the online passport renewal service are currently being processed within the target turnaround time of 10 working days, excluding postage time. In fact the vast majority of applications are processed in a considerably shorter time period.

The Passport Service aims to process all passport renewal applications submitted via Passport Express within 15 working days. At present, renewal applications through Passport Express are being processed in an average time of 16 working days, excluding postage time.

The Passport Service is currently in its peak season for passport demand with the vast majority of applications being received between February and August each year. From January to April this year, the Passport Service has seen a 16% increase in passport applications compared to the same four month period in 2018. The number of passport applications is expected to continue to increase throughout 2019.

A number of measures have been taken by the Passport Service to manage the increase in demand including the recruitment of additional staff, the continuous implementation of technological and service improvements and the re-organisation of production processes and administrative arrangements.

At the end of 2018, the Passport Service employed 363.2 Full Time Equivalent staff. This is an increase of over 40 staff since the same point in 2017. Already this year, over 90 additional Full Time Equivalent staff have taken up roles in the Passport Service. Targeted overtime has been sanctioned for both permanent and temporary staff when required. The Passport Service has received approval to recruit over 230 Temporary Clerical Officers (TCOs) in 2019 to assist in processing passport applications and to deal with the queries from the general public. A dedicated Customer Service Hub has been established to deal with queries from the public and additional staff have been allocated.

The Passport Reform Programme continues to deliver major upgrades to the Passport Service technology platforms and business processes as well as significant customer service improvements. The award winning Online Passport Renewal Service has been the most significant project launched under the Programme to date. The second phase of the Online Passport Renewal Service was rolled out in November 2018. The online facility now allows for the renewal of children's passports and has expanded the cohort of adults eligible to renew online. The online service brings significant benefits to citizens with faster turnaround times and greater customer satisfaction. The online service has been instrumental in the management of overall passport operations and in allowing the passport service to allocate staff resources more efficiently to cope with unprecedented demand. Other projects that will advance in 2019 include the development of business process automation, document management systems and the roll out of mailing machines.

Syrian Conflict

Questions (126)

Niall Collins

Question:

126. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding the situation in Syria; the efforts being made at EU and international level to bring an end to this conflict; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21805/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The situation in Syria remains grave. Since 2011, the Syria conflict has cost the lives of well over 400,000 people. As the conflict enters its ninth year, nearly 12 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, and more than 80 per cent of people live below the poverty line. Over 6 million people are displaced inside Syria, and a further 5.6 million have fled to neighbouring countries and the wider region. The Assad regime and its allies have repeatedly targeted civilians, through deliberate attacks, including chemical attacks, on civilian infrastructure such as homes, hospitals and schools, the use of “starve or surrender” techniques and the denial of humanitarian assistance, and forced displacement in the interest of demographic engineering. Other groups, most notably ISIS, have also perpetrated atrocities.

While the conflict had been less intense in recent months, in recent weeks there has been an escalation of the conflict in the north-west of Syria, in the area around Idlib. Conflict there between the regime and other armed groups has displaced almost 200,000 people, has killed over 100 civilians, and has left hundreds injured. I condemn in particular the airstrikes that are reported to have targeted medical facilities and schools.

All parties must uphold their ceasefire commitments and cease military activities in the Idlib region. Any attempt at a purely military approach to the situation there risks endangering hundreds of thousands of others. Those with influence on the Syrian regime have a responsibility to exert pressure to ensure that civilians are protected, and to encourage the Syrian Government to engage fully with the UN-led peace process.

Ireland and the EU firmly believe that eight years of war have shown that military action cannot bring lasting peace to Syria. We support the UN-led efforts to bring about a political resolution to the conflict, in accordance with the 2012 Geneva Communiqué and UN Security Council Resolution 2254. What is needed to bring a sustainable end to the violence is a Syrian-owned and Syrian-led process. The EU provides direct assistance to the Geneva peace talks and has launched, in coordination with the UN, an initiative to develop political dialogue with key actors from the region to identify common ground.

The UN Special Envoy’s efforts are currently focused on establishing a constitutional committee, made up of Syrians of different political views, to chart the way forward for the country and unlock a broader political process. The UN Special Envoy has been engaging directly with Russia, Turkey and Iran on this, and we believe that they have a responsibility to support and assist his efforts.

At the EU-League of Arab States Ministerial meeting in February, I raised the ongoing conflict in Syria with my EU and Arab counterparts. At the EU-League of Arab States Summit in Egypt later that month, which the Taoiseach attended, EU and Arab countries reaffirmed their commitment to the UN-led process in Syria, and agreed that any sustainable solution to the Syrian conflict requires a genuine political transition.

Ireland is a strong and consistent donor to the Syria crisis response and our overall funding supports those in need inside Syria as well as Syrian refugees and vulnerable host communities in the region. In March 2019, Ireland pledged a further €25 million to the crisis, bringing the total amount of humanitarian assistance committed to the Syria crisis to over €143 million since 2012 – our largest ever response to any single crisis. To date, Ireland has disbursed €138m of this funding. Through its annual contributions to the EU Institutions, Ireland also supports the EU’s humanitarian response in Syria.

International Relations

Questions (127)

Niall Collins

Question:

127. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the efforts being made at EU level to de-escalate tension between the US and Iran; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21806/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I am concerned by the growing tensions between the United States and Iran which have escalated in recent months and weeks. Following US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) last year, both Ireland and the EU conveyed our great regret at the decision to the US Government, and have maintained that view. Ireland has clearly expressed our belief that there is no credible peaceful alternative to the JCPOA, which we believe was a significant diplomatic achievement, and one which Iran was in full compliance with, as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Middle East is a safer region with the JCPOA in operation, and would be less safe without it.

Ireland shares broader concerns expressed by the United States about some Iranian behaviour in the region, most notably in relation to Iran’s activities on ballistic missiles, and support for militant groups, especially in Syria and Yemen. However, Ireland believes that none of these concerns can be better addressed without the JCPOA in place.

I join my EU colleagues in regretting the continuing US efforts to tighten general economic sanctions on Iran, and Iran’s subsequent decision to partially suspend its operation of some commitments under the JCPOA. Ireland and the EU will continue to endeavour to ensure the effective implementation of the JCPOA and adherence to its commitments by all parties.

On 13 May, US Secretary of State Pompeo met with High Representative Mogherini in Brussels. HR/VP Mogherini urged the United States to exercise maximum restraint as tensions mount between the US and Iran and stressed the need for diplomatic dialogue. She reiterated the EU's continuing commitment to the JCPOA.

The Government and the European Union will continue to monitor tensions between the US and Iran, and where the opportunity arises with both Governments and relevant interlocutors, will encourage a return to amicable and constructive communication. This is clearly a situation of concern, but equally we should not ourselves contribute to raising the temperature. I continue to believe that neither the US nor Iran is seeking to move towards conflict.

International Bodies Membership

Questions (128)

Niall Collins

Question:

128. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if consideration has been given to applying for observer membership of the Arctic Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21844/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The 1996 Ottawa Declaration formally established the Arctic Council as a high level intergovernmental forum to promote cooperation among Arctic States and indigenous communities. Membership of the Council comprises the eight littoral States and six representative groups of the Arctic Indigenous peoples. Non Arctic States and other bodies can apply to become Observers, of which there are currently thirty nine - thirteen States and twenty six other groups.

The Arctic Council carries out important work in a number of areas which are of interest to Ireland, including the environment, biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development.

I have asked my Department to carry out a scoping exercise on the value and feasibility of Ireland applying for Observer Status at the Arctic Council, together with a consideration of the commitments and engagement it would involve. The Department and relevant Embassies have been engaging with Members and Observer Members of the Arctic Council and with stakeholders in Ireland on interest in broader engagement in the Arctic region, including on the obligations and merits of a possible application for observer status in the future. Observer status at the Arctic Council would involve not just the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade but also other Government Departments, agencies and other stakeholders, so wide engagement is required before making a decision on a recommendation to Government.

We hope to conclude this work later this year and the decision on whether or not to apply for observer status will be made on a solid understanding of the engagement and commitment required, and how Ireland could contribute positively to the work of the Council.

Applications for Observership of the Council are submitted to the incumbent Council Chair three months before the bi-annual Ministerial meeting, next slated to take place in Iceland in May 2021. The application must be accompanied by a memorandum setting out the proposed Observer’s ability to contribute to the work of the Council. In considering the general suitability of an applicant, the Council will consider a range of factors, including the extent to which the applicant has demonstrated a political willingness as well as financial ability to contribute to the work of the Council and their relevant Arctic interests and expertise.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (129)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

129. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of Brexit contingency planning for all scenarios, including a no-deal scenario; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21867/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The decision of the April European Council to extend the Article 50 process until 31 October 2019, at the request of Prime Minister May, reduced significantly the risk of an immediate no deal UK withdrawal from the EU. However, the deepening political impasse in the UK since then, and the failure to date of the UK Parliament to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, has raised the risk of a no deal departure from the EU in October. This scenario remains a serious concern and we are preparing accordingly.

The Government, across all Departments, will continue its planning, both at home and at EU level, for all possible scenarios. Government Departments and State Agencies have been preparing for Brexit since the 2016 referendum in the UK and will continue to do so, through extensive contingency planning and stakeholder engagement.

The immediate focus since December 2018 has been on ensuring the necessary contingency measures are in place to limit the potential negative impacts of a no deal Brexit. Much of this work, details of which were published in the Government's December 2018 Brexit Contingency Action Plan and subsequent updates, will continue to be relevant in any Brexit scenario. The period afforded by the agreed extension is being used to further deepen our no deal responses and to and add to or refine completed measures to maximise readiness for a no deal scenario. Many of the preparatory measures undertaken by businesses are good general business practice, and would be of benefit in any scenario.

The Deputy will be aware that legislative provisions have been passed by the Oireachtas in the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 and remain ready to be deployed if and when required.

Brexit, in whatever form it takes, will have a significant impact on Ireland. Government, businesses and citizens must make the necessary preparations to minimise its impact on our trade and our economy. We are determined to be as ready as we can be, whatever the outcome of the Brexit process.

Consular Services Data

Questions (130)

Seán Crowe

Question:

130. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of cases the consular division dealt with in each of the years from 2013 to 2018 regarding the death of an Irish citizen abroad, particularly citizens who were resident here and were, therefore, abroad for holidays or work reasons. [21892/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The number of cases notified to the Consular Directorate of my Department of deaths of Irish citizens abroad are as follows:

2013 - 231

2014 - 225

2015 - 272

2016 - 250

2017 - 320

2018 - 292

The statistics held by the Department do not distinguish between citizens resident in the State and those resident abroad, and of course would not include those cases where the death was not reported to the Department.

Overseas Development Aid Expenditure

Questions (131)

Seán Crowe

Question:

131. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if there is still a commitment to reach the target of spending 0.7% of gross national income on overseas development assistance; when he expects to achieve this target; the increase in overseas development aid spending it will require; and the way in which it is expected to reach this target in the coming years. [21963/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland’s new policy for international development, A Better World, was published in February. A Better World reaffirms the Government’s commitment, as outlined in Global Ireland 2025, to expand Ireland's official development assistance and make progress on delivering the United Nations target of allocating 0.7 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) for official development assistance by 2030.

A Better World provides the framework for this expansion. Based on current projections for economic growth, which may change as circumstances evolve, achieving the 0.7% target by 2030 would mean a tripling of the current allocations to ODA, and would require sustained, substantial managed annual increments given that the point of departure is 0.3% of GNI this year. Difficult choices will be required between competing priorities and ongoing careful planning and consultation with other Government Departments and stakeholders will be needed if this level of ambition is to be realised.

Good progress is being made with allocations to official development assistance increased by 32% since 2014. Budget 2019 saw the highest increase in funding available in over a decade, with Irish official development assistance in 2019 to reach almost €817 million, an increase of approximately €110 million and a 16% increase on the allocation announced in budget 2018.

The table sets out indicative allocations to ODA, based on current economic growth forecasts, which show a possible phased path to reaching the 0.7% target by 2030. Allocations will be decided annually as part of the normal budgetary process.

Year

ODA level € Million

Expected ODA/GNI % Target

2019

817

0.30%

2023

1400

0.50%

2025

1800

0.57%

2027

2100

0.62%

2030

2500

0.70%

Human Rights

Questions (132)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

132. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if, through diplomatic channels, he can assist in the protection of environmental and human rights defenders in La Guajira in north Colombia who have been receiving death threats, one of whom was recently in the Houses of the Oireachtas meeting Deputies and Senators. [22013/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Support for human rights defenders is a long established priority of Ireland’s foreign policy and we proudly play an active role in championing the promotion and protection of human rights defenders and of open civil society space globally.

I wholly condemn any threats, intimidation or violence against human rights defenders and social leaders, including the instances to which the Deputy refers. I am aware of this situation and of the broader climate of violence and intimidation which exists for political and community activists and leaders in Colombia, and I would like to take this opportunity to urge the Government of Colombia to investigate these cases in full.

As the Deputy will be aware, Ireland opened its new Embassy in Bogotá earlier this year. While Ireland’s new Embassy’s focus will be on developing the bilateral political and economic relationship with Colombia and on continuing to support the country’s transition to a post-conflict society, having a permanent presence in Bogotá means that we will be much better positioned to monitor issues such as the situation of human rights defenders in the country.

Officials at our new Embassy, as well as at my Department in Dublin, meet regularly with human rights leaders and civil society actors from across the country. The Embassy is following the situation in La Guajira closely and regularly engages with partner organisations in Colombia that are involved in monitoring human rights in this region.

Embassy officials intend to visit La Guajira in the near future and meet with human rights defenders and civil society groups. We also regularly raise human rights concerns in our exchanges with the Government and official representatives of Colombia, including the situation of human rights defenders and community leaders.

Ireland also engages on the issue of intimidation and violence against human rights defenders and civil society actors at EU level. Former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore in his position as EU Special Envoy to the Colombian peace process, a role in which he is supported by my Department, recently led the 11th session of the EU-Colombia Human Rights Dialogue.

Special Envoy Gilmore has visited the region of La Guajira in the past and, during this dialogue with representatives of the Colombian Government, he raised the alarmingly high figures of attacks against human rights defenders across the country. Particular reference was made to the disproportionately high level of violence against indigenous leaders, and the need for collective protection measures.

Ireland remains fully committed to supporting Colombia’s transition to a peaceful post-conflict society, a key element of which is the vindication and protection of human, environmental and social rights. Significant challenges remain, but Ireland supports the full implementation of the peace agreement, which will ensure a more peaceful, stable and prosperous future for all Colombians.

Ireland has provided more than €14 million in funding to Colombia since 2007, mainly channelled through the United Nations, and Colombian and international NGOs focusing on the areas of human rights, conflict prevention, peacebuilding and supporting livelihoods for rural populations.

My Department provides funding directly to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia to support its important work in promoting and protecting human rights, including in some of Colombia’s most isolated and challenging regions, as well as to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, which provides protection measures to community leaders and activists operating in Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America.

Ireland was also a founding member of the EU Trust Fund for Colombia, and will contribute €3 million over the five-year lifespan of the Fund. The Fund finances projects targeted at the marginalised rural areas of Colombia which have been most affected by conflict, and all projects incorporate a human rights and gender perspective.

I firmly believe that Colombia’s peace accord provides the framework in which the endemic violence and impunity which has afflicted Colombian society for decades can successfully be addressed. Ireland sees our partnership with Colombia as a long-term commitment, and we will continue to strongly support the full implementation of the accords.

We will continue to engage with the Colombian Government, EU and multilateral partners, and civil society groups and human rights defenders on this issue and on the broader human rights situation in the country. I can assure the Deputy of our continued commitment to assisting the Colombian people in their goal of achieving a brighter, more peaceful and more prosperous future for all Colombians.

Insurance Costs

Questions (133)

Robert Troy

Question:

133. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance if he will address the ongoing issue of returning immigrants being charged high car insurance due to their no claims bonus expiring, even though no claims have been made against the policy. [21598/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

At the outset it is important to note that as Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation. Neither I nor the Central Bank of Ireland can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance which expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products. Consequently, I am not in a position to direct insurance companies as to the pricing level or terms or conditions that they should apply in respect of particular categories of drivers or vehicles.

Notwithstanding this, the difficulties faced by returning emigrants in respect of motor insurance was recognised by the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s and was the subject of a particular recommendation. In this regard, a protocol was agreed between Insurance Ireland and the Department of Finance in relation to returning emigrants, under which insurance companies committed to accepting the driving experience of such drivers gained while abroad, when the driver has had previous driving experience in Ireland. The details of it is available on Insurance Ireland’s website and the websites of its member companies.

The guiding principle of the protocol is to ensure that a returning emigrant is not treated differently to any other driver, subject to verification of their continued driving experience and the normal acceptance criteria of the company. Thus, a returning emigrant will not be disadvantaged from spending that time abroad. Furthermore, under the protocol, insurance companies will not distinguish between countries on the basis of which side of the road driving takes place therein. My Department continues to review the implementation of this recommendation through its regular engagement with Insurance Ireland.

With regard to the specific scenario in the Deputy’s question more precisely, I understand that in general, insurance companies set a date by which a no-claims bonus will expire, where the driver has held no insurance in their own name for 2 or more years. This applies whether the person continues to reside in Ireland, or they decide to move abroad and this is primarily a commercial matter for insurance companies. The protocol recognises this scenario and states that if more than two years have passed since the Irish motor insurance policy was cancelled/lapsed, the Irish No Claims Discount is no longer valid. Notwithstanding this, Insurance Ireland members have agreed through the protocol that if the person has claims-free driving experience in a different country in their own name, they will take this experience into consideration if that person seeks a quotation from an insurer, on their return to Ireland, subject to the appropriate verifiable documentation being provided.

Finally, I believe that the overall implementation of the CIWG’s recommendations is having a significant impact with regard to private motor insurance. The latest CSO figures from April 2019 show that the price of motor insurance is now 24.4% lower than the July 2016 peak, consequently the average consumer should be seeing reductions when renewing their motor insurance. In addition, I would note that representations made to my Department from returning emigrants have dropped significantly in the last year. I am hopeful that this reflects that more are receiving insurance cover in line with the protocol referenced above. The Government is determined to continue working to ensure that these positive pricing trends can be extended to other forms of insurance, including those relevant to businesses.

National Broadband Plan Expenditure

Questions (134)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

134. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the projected budgetary impact of the national broadband plan from 2019 to 2024, or the latest available date; and the estimated way in which this will impact the gross general Government balance in each affected year and as a percentage of GDP and GNI, in tabular form. [21819/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Government's decision to proceed with the National Broadband Plan (NBP) was taken on the basis that additional expenditure required beyond that allocated within the National Development Plan (NDP) framework will be funded by future revenues and will accordingly not have funding repercussions for other planned projects within the NDP.

Based on preliminary assessments, current indications are that no additional budgetary impact is envisaged for 2019 or 2020, while the NBP will require c. €200m in additional funding in 2021 and 2022 and c. €300m in 2023. All else being equal, this will result in a corresponding deterioration in the general government balance of approximately 0.1 per cent of both GDP and GNI* on an annual basis as compared with the projections published as part of the Stability Programme Update 2019.

As the Deputy will be aware, projections for general government revenue and expenditure beyond 2023 have not been compiled by my Department.

Connectivity Fund

Questions (135)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

135. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the way in which his Department has used the funds the State received from the sale of its stake in a company (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21837/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The proceeds of the sale of the state's shareholding in Aer Lingus have been used to establish the Connectivity Fund which is managed by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF). The Connectivity Fund is being invested on a commercial basis as a sub portfolio of the ISIF fund, and consistent with the overall ISIF double bottom line mandate i.e. investing for both commercial return and economic impact.

The ISIF have advised me that it has completed four investments under the Connectivity Fund, namely:

- A $28 million co-investment in Aqua Comms DAC, a company that has developed fibre optic cables linking the USA, Ireland (Killala, Mayo) and the UK.

- A €35 million investment as a strategic domestic partner for daa plc long-term bond issuance, supporting construction of a new runway at Dublin Airport.

- Provision of a long term €14 million debt facility to finance a runway resurfacing project at Shannon Airport - a crucial regional and national infrastructure asset. This debt facility was signed in early 2017 and the runway resurfacing project has been completed on time and within budget.

- An €18 million Junior Debt facility to support the relocation of the Port of Cork from Tivoli to Ringaskiddy. The ISIF debt facility was provided alongside senior debt from AIB and the European Investment Bank and was structured to ensure certainty of funding for the Port Company. It also has tailored flexibility to meet the requirements of this nationally and regionally significant project.

These investments bring the total deployed under the Connectivity Fund to over €90 million. ISIF have informed me that there are a range of further pipeline connectivity-based investments on which it is currently working.

ISIF’s refocused strategy targets five priority themes, one of which is investment to support regional development. As such, the ISIF have advised that the Connectivity Fund will henceforth be focused on commercial investments that support improved regional connectivity.

Insurance Coverage

Questions (136)

Noel Rock

Question:

136. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Finance if measures will be introduced to prevent insurance companies from refusing insurance to family homes that are listed buildings; his plans for incentives to encourage insurers not to refuse insuring family homes that are listed buildings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21347/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

As Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation. Neither I nor the Central Bank of Ireland can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance which expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products. Consequently, I am not in a position to direct insurance companies to provide cover to any particular property type, including listed buildings, in the case where they are family homes.

It is my understanding that insurers use a combination of rating factors in making their individual decisions on whether to offer insurance cover and what terms to apply. My understanding also is that insurance companies do not all use the same combination of rating factors, and as a result prices and availability of cover varies across the market. In addition, insurance companies will price in accordance with their own past claims experience.

Finally, Insurance Ireland operates a free Insurance Information Service for those who have queries, complaints or difficulties in relation to obtaining insurance. Insurance Ireland can be contacted at feedback@insuranceireland.eu or 01-6761914.

Tax Data

Questions (137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

137. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue from tapering the personal, PAYE and earned income credits by 1.43% per €1,000 on an individual income between €100,000 and €170,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €170,000, based on the latest individualised income figures available to the Revenue Commissioners. [21398/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

138. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue from tapering out the personal, PAYE and earned income credit by 2.5% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €140,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €140,000, based on the latest individualised income figures available to the Revenue Commissioners. [21399/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

139. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue from tapering out the personal, PAYE and earned income credit by 2% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €150,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €150,000, based on the latest individualised income figures available to the Revenue Commissioners. [21400/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

140. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue from tapering out the personal, PAYE and earned income credit by 5% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €120,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €120,000, based on the latest individualised income figures available to the Revenue Commissioners. [21401/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

141. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue from tapering out the personal, PAYE and earned income credit by 5% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €120,000 per year resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €120,000 in addition to a USC rate of 2%, 3%, 4%, 5%, 6% and 7%, respectively, in excess of €120,000, based on the latest individualised income figures available to the Revenue Commissioners. [21402/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

142. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue from tapering out the personal, PAYE and earned income credit by 2.5% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €140,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €140,000 in addition to a USC rate of 2%, 3%, 4%, 5%, 6% and 7%, respectively, in excess of €140,000, based on the latest individualised income figures available to the Revenue Commissioners. [21403/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

143. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue from tapering out the personal, PAYE and earned income credit by 2% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €150,000 per year resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €150,000 in addition to a USC rate of 2%, 3%, 4%, 5%, 6% and 7%, respectively, in excess of €150,000, based on the latest individualised income figures available to the Revenue Commissioners. [21404/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

144. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue from tapering out the personal, PAYE credit and earned income credit from income in excess of €80,000, a reduced credit by 5% per €1,000 for gross income between €80,000 and €100,000 and a 0% credit on gross income in excess of €100,000, based on the latest individualised income figures available to the Revenue Commissioners. [21405/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

145. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue that would be raised through introducing a third rate of income tax (details supplied) on all income over €100,000, based on the latest individualised income figures available to the Revenue Commissioners. [21406/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 137 to 145, inclusive, together.

I refer the Deputy to the Income Tax Reform Plan which was published by my Department in 2016 and which discussed tapering of tax credits. As this report made clear, there are a number of technical issues and policy issues which would need to be addressed in order to achieve a tapered withdrawal of income tax credits, particularly for PAYE employees. I would also note in particular the negative impact it could have on the marginal rates of tax, an important benchmark for the competitiveness of the income tax system overall.

I have been advised by Revenue that the estimated yields requested are as follows.

Regarding Question 21398/19, the estimated yield from tapering out the personal, PAYE and Earned Income credits by 1.43% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €170,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is greater than €170,000, is estimated to be of the order of €150m and €180m for first and full year respectively.

Regarding Question 21399/19, the estimated yield from tapering out the personal, PAYE and Earned Income credits by 2.5% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €140,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is greater than €140,000, is estimated to be of the order of €185m and €220m for the first year and for a full year respectively.

Regarding Question 21400/19, the estimated yield from tapering out the personal, PAYE and Earned Income credits by 2% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €150,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €150,000, is estimated to be of the order of €170m and €205m for the first year and for a full year respectively.

Regarding Question 21401/19, the estimated yield from tapering out the personal, PAYE and Earned Income credits by 5% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €120,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €120,000, is estimated to be of the order of €220m and €265m for the first year and for a full year respectively.

Regarding Question 21402/19, the estimated yield from tapering out the personal, PAYE and Earned Income credits by 5% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €120,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €120,000, coupled with an additional USC rate of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7% on income in excess of €120,000 is set out in the following table:

First Year €m

Full Year €m

Tapering & USC 2%

365

455

Tapering & USC 3%

440

555

Tapering & USC 4%

515

650

Tapering & USC 5%

590

745

Tapering & USC 6%

660

845

Tapering & USC 7%

735

940

Regarding Question 21403/19, the estimated yield from tapering out the personal, PAYE and Earned Income credits by 2.5% per €1,000 on individual income between €100,000 and €140,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €140,000, coupled with additional USC rates of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7%, on incomes in excess of €140,000 is set out in the following table.

First Year €m

Full Year €m

Tapering & USC 2%

310

390

Tapering & USC 3%

370

470

Tapering & USC 4%

435

555

Tapering & USC 5%

495

635

Tapering & USC 6%

560

720

Tapering & USC 7%

620

800

Regarding Question 21404/19, the estimated yield from tapering out the personal, PAYE and Earned Income credits by 2% per €1,000 on individual incomes between €100,000 and €150,000 per year, resulting in no entitlement to these tax credits when income is in excess of €150,000, coupled with an additional USC rate of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7%, on income in excess of €150,000 is set out in the following table:

First Year €m

Full Year €m

Tapering & USC 2%

290

360

Tapering & USC 3%

345

440

Tapering & USC 4%

405

515

Tapering & USC 5%

465

595

Tapering & USC 6%

520

670

Tapering & USC 7%

580

750

Regarding Question 21405/19, the estimated yield from tapering out the personal, PAYE, and Earned Income credits on incomes in excess of €80,000, a reduced credit by 5% per €1,000 for gross income between €80,000 and €100,000 and a 0% credit on gross income in excess of €100,000 is in the order of €355m and €419m for the first and full year respectively.

Regarding Question 21406/19, I am informed by Revenue that due to the way in which taxpayers are assessed, where the tax liability is calculated on the total income of the taxpayer unit, it is not possible to estimate the effect of applying an additional rate of taxation on individual incomes in excess of €100,000 in the manner outlined.

A number of important caveats apply to the above estimates which are provisional and may be revised, including that they assume no behavioural response on the part of taxpayers to the changes, if implemented. They therefore should be treated with caution.

Further, as the Deputy will already be aware, the estimates in relation to the tapering of credits are based on tax returns for 2016 following a bespoke exercise undertaken to break down the gross incomes of taxpayer units to an individualised level and a manual estimation process (outside of Revenue’s usual tax modelling software). As that exercise can only split gross incomes, this estimation process required a number of assumptions to be made in relation to the distribution of credits.

In relation to those questions which contain changes to the Universal Social Charge, these figures for the USC are from the Revenue micro-simulation model, Tax Modeller, and are estimates for 2019. Therefore the figures provided in these Questions are a mixture of 2019 estimates and 2016 estimates.

Finally it should be noted that, while these costings are provided where possible based on estimated individual incomes, the tax system and the Revenue IT infrastructure used to assess tax liabilities remain configured on a taxpayer unit basis. There would be significant development work (and associated cost and time) required to implement any changes to this basis. Were such a change implemented, it may lead to outcomes different to those modelled at present using the estimated data.