Immigration Status

Questions (320)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

320. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of a case pursuant to section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21984/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), written representations have been submitted on behalf of the persons concerned.

These representations, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation, in advance of final decisions being made. 

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Policing of Events

Questions (321)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

321. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount An Garda Síochána received from organisations (details supplied) in 2018 and to date in 2019 towards policing their events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21992/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that section 30 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for An Garda Síochána to charge for policing services provided for events on private property or in areas open to the public.  The section covers events such as sports fixtures, concerts, festivals, the making of films, TV programmes and so on. Policing services may be provided where it is in the public interest and consistent with Garda functions. 

Setting the level of fees applicable to the provision of services under section 30 of the Act by An Garda Síochána and related matters are for the Garda Commissioner, as the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that policing services in these cases may include both a public service duty and a non-public service duty element.  In general, An Garda Síochána seeks to recover the costs associated with provision of non-public service duties at commercial events.  I am further informed that the cost to the event holder is determined by the number of Gardaí deployed and the hours they are deployed for. An Garda Síochána issues invoices to all relevant event holders.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table sets out the payments for non-public service duties received by An Garda Síochána from the GAA, FAI and IRFU in 2018 and to date in 2019.

 

2018

2019 (to 20 May 2019)

GAA

€821,394.00

€246,692.00

FAI

€184,479.00

€0.00

IRFU

€234,909.00

€177,599.00

Student Visas Applications

Questions (322)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

322. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of an application for the 2005 to 2010 student scheme in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22010/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that it received an application under the Special Scheme for Students in respect of the person concerned on 10 December 2018.  The Deputy will appreciate that applications are dealt with in chronological order.  I understand that the application is now under consideration and it is expected that INIS will issue a decision by the end of this month.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited. 

Earcaíocht sa Gharda Síochána

Questions (323)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

323. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais cé mhéad iarratas a fuarthas sa trí bhabhta dheireannacha earcaíochta a bhí ag an nGarda Síochána; cén líon acu seo i ngach cás a bhain leis an ngnáthshruth earcaíochta agus cén líon acu a bhain leis an sruth sainiúil Gaeilge; cén líon iarratasóirí ar éirigh leo as gach sruth i ngach babhta earcaíochta; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [22075/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Tá earcaíocht don Gharda Síochána faoi rialú Rialacháin an Gharda Síochána (Ligean Isteach agus Ceapacháin), 2013. Déanann an tSeirbhís um Cheapacháin Phoiblí (PAS), thar ceann Choimisinéir na nGardaí, na céimeanna earcaíochta tosaigh a bhaineann le roghnú Gardaí faoi Oiliúint a bhainistiú, agus is é nó í an Coimisinéir a bhainistíonn na céimeanna deiridh den phróiseas earcaíochta, ina ndéantar iarrthóirí a ghrinnfhiosrú agus ina ndéanann siad tástáil inniúlachta fisiciúla maille le scrúdú liachta. Níl aon bhaint dhíreach agamsa, mar Aire, leis an ábhar.

Faoi mar is eol don Teachta, tá clár earcaíochta luathaithe don Gharda Síochána ag dul ar aghaidh d’fhonn 15,000 Garda a bhaint amach mar chuid d’fhórsa saothair foriomlán Gardaí ina mbeadh 21,000 duine faoi 2021.

Clár uaillmhianach earcaíochta atá anseo agus beidh píblíne leanúnach d’iarrthóirí oiriúnacha ag teastáil chuige sin. Chun freastal ar an riachtanas sin reáchtáil an Garda Síochána sé fheachtas earcaíochta ó Nollaig 2013 i leith, lena n-áirítear an feachtas earcaíochta is déanaí, ar tháinig deireadh leis mí Abreáin. Tá curtha in iúl dom ag Coimisinéir na nGardaí go bhfuil an Garda Síochána lántiomanta dá n-oibleagáidí faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla a chomhlíonadh. I dtaca leis sin de, áiríodh i bhfeachtais earcaíochta a reáchtáladh le déanaí sain-sruth Gaeilge i gcomhair cainteoirí líofa Gaeilge ar daoine iad a chomhlíonann na critéir incháilitheachta eile go léir don chomórtas earcaíochta, chomh maith. Ceanglaítear ar iarrthóirí a dhéanann iarratas faoin sruth sin gnéithe áirithe roghnúcháin a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge – mar shampla, agallamh atá bunaithe ar inniúlacht, maille le tástáil Gaeilge scríofa. Déantar iarrthóirí a n-éiríonn leo as na sruthanna sin a shannadh do limistéir Ghaeltachta ar feadh tréimhse ama arna cinneadh ag Coimisinéir an Gharda Síochána. Leagtar amach anseo thíos na figiúirí is déanaí i leith iarratas a fuarthas i leith an tSrutha Ghinearálta agus i leith Shruth na Líofachta sa Ghaeilge araon maidir le comórtais 2016, 2017 agus 2018, arna soláthar dom ag an tSeirbhís um Cheapacháin Phoiblí.

Comórtas

An líon iarratas a fuarthas

(a bheag nó a mhór)

 

Gardaí faoi Oiliúint 9/2016

 

An Sruth Ginearálta

5100

Sruth na Líofachta sa Ghaeilge

120

 

 

 

Gardaí faoi Oiliúint 2017

 

An Sruth Ginearálta

5300

Sruth na Líofachta sa Ghaeilge

115

 

 

 

Gardaí faoi Oiliúint 2018

 

An Sruth Ginearálta

6200

Sruth na Líofachta sa Ghaeilge

185

 

 

Tá curtha in iúl dom ag Coimisinéir na nGardaí go bhfuil na céimeanna deiridh den phróiseas earcaíochta, ina ndéantar iarrthóirí a ghrinnfhiosrú agus ina ndéanann siad tástáil inniúlachta fisiciúla maille le scrúdú liachta, arna mbainistiú ag an gCoimisinéir, curtha i gcrích go rathúil ag 12 iarratasóir ar Shruthanna na Líofachta sa Ghaeilge i gcomórtais sna blianta 2016 agus 2017 go n-uige seo. Tá roinnt iarratasóirí ó shruth 2018 na Líofachta sa Ghaeilge agus ó fheachtais earcaíochta roimhe sin atá á bpróiseáil i gcónaí. Tá obair ar siúl, chomh maith, sa tSeirbhís um Cheapacháin Phoiblí i ndáil le feachtas 2109, ar tháinig deireadh leis mí Aibreáin. Níl mionsonraí i ndáil leis an bhfeachtas sin ar fáil go fóill.

Faoi réir formheasa deiridh ón nGarda Síochána, déantar iarrthóirí a n-éiríonn leo ó na feachtais sin a bhreithniú ar dtús maidir le daoine a ghlacadh isteach i gColáiste na nGardaí, de réir áit an iarrthóra san Ord Fiúntais. Níl aon fhráma réamhshocraithe ama ann do thairiscintí d’iarratasóirí mar go bhfuil sé sin ag brath ar a gcomhaid a bheith comhlánaithe go hiomlán agus ar na dátaí chun daoine a ghlacadh isteach i gColáiste na nGardaí. Fanann na hiarratasóirí go léir ar an bpainéal go dtí pé am a ndéantar áit i gColáiste na nGardaí a thairiscint dóibh, ach amháin na daoine a mheastar a bheith mí-oiriúnach, na daoine a dteipeann orthu sa Tástáil Liachta nó sa Tástáil Inniúlachta Fisiciúla (TIF) nó a tharraingíonn siar as an gcomórtas. Meastar go bhféadfaidh sé go rachaidh iarratasóirí a n-éiríonn leo ón bhfeachtas earcaíochta a bhí ann le déanaí isteach i gColáiste na nGardaí ó thart ar lár 2020.

Legislative Reviews

Questions (324)

Micheál Martin

Question:

324. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to address the defamation laws; his further plans to introduce a serious harm test similar to that which is running successfully in the UK; his views on damage claims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22113/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department is currently engaging in a statutory review of the Defamation Act 2009 as required by section 5 of that Act. The review is an important priority for me and for my Department. I expect a draft report with options for reform to be submitted to me in the coming weeks. The review has undergone some delay, due to other urgent legislative priorities and also due to important judgments from the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights in the intervening period since the announcement of the review. These judgments will be taken into account in the review.

The Review is addressing several issues that have been raised in submissions to the Review, including questions relating to the level of damages which has been raised by the print media in recent campaigns in this field. Specifically, the review will address, among other issues:  

- Whether changes should be made to the respective roles of the judge and the jury in High Court defamation cases, in particular in relation to the question of damages;

- Whether any change should be made to the level or type of damages which may be awarded in defamation cases, or to the factors to be taken into account in making that determination.

The core aim of defamation law in general is to find the right balance between protecting an individual’s good name and privacy, and protecting the right to freedom of expression, taking account of the vital role in our democracy played by a free and independent press. It is important that the Defamation Act operates in practice to ensure that damages awarded to a plaintiff are fair and proportionate to the harm suffered by them in the context of a defamatory statement.

The Deputy refers to the so called “serious harm” test which was introduced in section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013 in England and Wales. Since the enactment of the 2013 Act in England and Wales, this test requires a claimant when initiating a defamation action to prove that a potentially defamatory statement has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant before the case can proceed. The effects of this requirement on defamation law in England and Wales and its possible effects in the Irish context are being considered as part of the review. This is only one of several options being examined at the moment to determine which reforms would be most effective and appropriate in the Irish legal context.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (325)

Alan Kelly

Question:

325. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an application for naturalisation by a person (details supplied) sent by post from Dáil Éireann on 28 March 2019 has been received; when they can expect to receive the return of their British passport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22125/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy on 2 April 2019. Processing of this application is on-going, with a view to establishing whether the conditions for naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, are satisfied. On completion of the necessary processing the application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. The applicants original passport will be returned to them in the coming days.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited. 

Apprenticeship Programmes

Questions (326)

Peter Burke

Question:

326. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if there is a basic rate of payment per hour for apprenticeships for electricians; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21567/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Statutory responsibility for the management of the National Apprenticeship System in Ireland falls under the remit of SOLAS, an agency under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills.

In general, I understand that in relation to apprentice electricians, the rate of pay is a contractual matter between the employer and the apprentice. 

In so far as my Department is concerned, the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 provides for a statutory framework for establishing minimum rates of pay as well as other terms and conditions of employment for specified types or classes of workers.

In this context the Labour Court were asked in October 2018 under Section 14 of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 to examine the terms and conditions of employment in the Electrical Contracting Sector.

The Court as it is required to do, published its intention to undertake an examination and invited submissions from interested parties.  The Labour Court concluded its review and submitted its recommendation to myself on 23 April 2019.

The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 requires me, within six weeks of receipt of the Labour Court recommendation, to either accept or reject the recommendation and to make an Order to give legal effect to the terms of the recommendation.

In this instance,  as I was satisfied that the Court had complied with its obligations under the 2015 Act I accepted the recommendation on 9 May 2019. The Act requires that a draft of any Order proposed must obtain approval of both House of the Oireachtas before it can be made.   A draft of the Order was laid before the Houses on 9 May 2019 as required by Section 17(4) of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015.  When signed, the Order will be effective from the 1st September 2019 and will be binding across the sector and enforceable by the Workplace Relations Commission.

In its recommendation, the Court has set out hourly rates specifically for apprentices in the electrical contracting sector.  

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (327)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

327. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount spent in fees to companies (details supplied) by her Department in each of the years 2011 to 2018. [21574/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

As requested by the Deputy, the table below sets out the amount of fees, inclusive of VAT, paid to the companies concerned in each of the years from 2011 to 2018.

Supplier

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOTAL 2011-2018

PWC

€0.00

€40,646.58

€0.00

€94,903.75

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€11,070.00

€146,620.33

KPMG

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€61,500.00

€43,050.00

€104,550.00

ERNST & YOUNG

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€61,460.64

21,906.30

€0.00

€0.00

€0.00

€83,366.94

DELOITTE

€0.00

€122,847.89

€0.00

€0.00

€23,249.46

€8,260.68

€86,038.50

€2,644.50

€243,041.03

Total All Suppliers

€0.00

€163,494.47

€0.00

€156,364.39

€45,155.76

€8,260.68

€147,538.50

€56,764.50

€577,578.30

Brexit Supports

Questions (328)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

328. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the uptake of all Brexit supports; the number of companies that have sought support and grants; the number of companies that have grants and supports sanctioned to date; the expenditure for each grant and support in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21864/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

While the immediate risk of a no-deal UK exit has diminished with the extension to 31 October, Brexit remains a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland, which cannot be underestimated. That is why my Department has put in place a range of supports to help businesses prepare for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The Government’s priority is to ensure that businesses around the country can manage risks and avail of any opportunities. This has informed the range of advisory and financial supports that are in place.

My Department’s total exchequer allocation increased by 9.1% year on year, up from €871m to €950.2m. This is made up of a record €620m in capital and €330.2m in current funding, which includes an increase of €65m in capital – up 11.7% on last year’s allocation of €555m; and, an increase of €14.2m in current – almost 4.5% more than our 2018 allocation of €316m.

I allocated an extra €5m to the 31 Local Enterprise Offices [LEOs], up 22% on 2018, which have a presence in every county, to support start-ups and growth and, in particular, to support businesses to prepare for Brexit. The LEOs will work with the broad range of small and micro indigenous enterprises across sectors to ensure that they are informed and have plans in place to manage the new trading relationships on the island and with the UK more generally. This includes a new customs training programme for all businesses, exporters and importers, rolled out in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland.

I was also pleased to announce an additional capital allocation of €2.75m to Enterprise Ireland to start developing regional innovation and technology clusters with Institutes of Technology right across the country, positioning them as drivers of world-class start-ups and growth enterprises and helping businesses adjust to market changes, including Brexit.

Through Enterprise Ireland, I also doubled funding for the Online Retail Pilot Scheme to €1.25m in 2019, which will support SMEs in the retail sector to have a stronger online presence and find new markets. This new Scheme follows through on my commitment to increase the scale and internationalisation of indigenous enterprise; increase productivity in high-employment sectors; and encourage Brexit readiness. I announced the first 11 successful applicants on Friday 01 March last and there will be a further call for proposals this year. In addition, Enterprise Ireland invested €74 million in Brexit impacted businesses in 2018.

Funding to InterTradeIreland has been increased by 18% and they, along with the LEOs, are offering a range of Brexit-focused supports to companies, including those engaged in cross-border trade with Northern Ireland.

The Brexit Loan Scheme, using a combination of Irish Exchequer and EU guarantees, leveraged up to €300 million of lending at a maximum interest rate 4% at a cost to the Exchequer of €23 million - €14 million provided by my Department and €9 million provided by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme was announced in Budget 2019. The scheme opened for eligibility applications on Wednesday 17 April and it will provide a longer-term facility, 8 to 10 years, of up to €300m to support strategic capital investment for a post-Brexit environment by business at competitive rates. This scheme is jointly funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (€37.2 million) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (€24.8 million) at a total cost to the Exchequer of €62 million.

The first table attached sets out the respective exchequer increases in allocations to ITI, EI, IDA and the LEOs between 2018 and 2019 and the cost/expenditure of the supports available. Whilst these increases are not all due to Brexit, they are mainly provided to assist the enterprise agencies in their responses to the challenges posed by Brexit.

The second table attached sets out the uptake of the different Brexit-related supports available through the Department and its agencies as at 20 May 2019. Where available, the total number of applications has also been included.

Finally, while we have had great success through the Action Plan for Jobs in reducing unemployment from 16% to 5.6%, in the context of Brexit and other global challenges, it is important that we move our focus beyond numbers of jobs created to quality and sustainable jobs.

Future Jobs Ireland is our plan to meet all these challenges. Launched on 10 March 2019, it includes ambitious targets and actions to drive this transformation of our economy. These includes funds, policies and initiatives that; enhance productivity, especially among SMEs; promote indigenous entrepreneurship, especially in the regions; encourage clustering and stronger links between domestic and foreign owned firms; and assist businesses to move up the value chain, to protect jobs and to build resilience for the future.

IDA total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €33.7 million when compared with 2018.

Enterprise Ireland total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €6.8 million when compared with 2018.

LEOs total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €5 million when compared with 2018.

ITI total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €1 million when compared with 2018.

Scheme

Expenditure/Cost

Brexit Loan Scheme

The scheme will cost the Exchequer €23 million (€14 million provide by Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and €9 million provided by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine).

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

€304,553 to 16/05/2019

Enterprise Ireland Market Discovery Fund - A support to EI clients to research new markets

€443,786 to 16/05/2019

Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation Fund - Gives rapid fast-track access to innovation funding

€736,105 to 16/05/2019

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

€265,341 to 16/05/2019

Enterprise Ireland Brexit “Act On Programme” – A support funding the engagement of a consultant to devise report with recommendations to help clients address weaknesses and improve resilience

€480,000 to 16/05/2019

Enterprise Ireland Strategic Consultancy Grant – A grant to assist EI clients to hire a strategic consultant for a set period

€1,373,218 to 16/05/2019

Local Enterprise Office Technical Assistance Grant for Micro Export - an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities

2018 Expenditure

€560,275

1 Jan to 31st March 2019 Expenditure

€124,607

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro - The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI Lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients

2018 Expenditure

€951,129

1 Jan to 31st March 2019 Expenditure

€127,121

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

There isn’t a specific budget allocation for LEO Brexit mentoring. It is included in the LEOs overall Measure 2 allocation.

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

2018 Expenditure

€128,601

1 Jan to 31st March 2019 Expenditure

€33,181

The Prepare Your Business for Customs workshop helps businesses understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed in a post Brexit world.

2018 Expenditure

n/a

1 Jan to 31st March 2019 Expenditure

€24,600

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

InterTradeIreland offer two Brexit Vouchers – a planning voucher which provides 100% financial support towards professional advice to help Businesses identify Brexit exposures and to plan.

The second “implementation” voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5,625, which allows businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship post-Brexit. InterTradeIreland pay 50% of the cost of this voucher.

Expenditure to date in 2019: £860,000.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enteprise Ireland

Eleven retailers were awarded funding in March 2019 as part of the new €1.25m fund, with €625,000 available under the first competitive call to support retail businesses to strengthen their online offering. There will be a second competitive call in 2019 with a fund of €625,000.

Scheme

Uptake (20 May 2019)

620 applications received, 563 approved by SBCI, 132 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €28.997 million.

Brexit Loan Scheme

(Uptake as of 17 May 2019)

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Scorecard - online platform for Irish companies to self-assess their exposure to Brexit

5,227 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1043 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

194 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Market Discovery Fund - A support to EI clients to research new markets

154 projects have been approved under this initiative[1]

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard

3,447 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,240 Customs Insights Course participants

Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation Fund - Gives rapid fast-track access to innovation funding

48 Agile Innovation projects have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

16 Brexit Advisory Clinics have been run with over 1,200 in attendance

Enterprise Ireland Brexit “Act On Programme” – A support funding the engagement of a consultant to devise report with recommendations to help clients address weaknesses and improve resilience

240 “Act on” Plans have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Strategic Consultancy Grant – A grant to assist EI clients to hire a strategic consultant for a set period

1,067 Strategic Consultancy Grants have been approved[2]

Local Enterprise Office Technical Assistance Grant for Micro Export - an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities

571 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant (end April 2019)[3]

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro - The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI Lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients

308 LEO clients have participated in the programme (end March 2019)

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

616 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit (end March 2019)

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

4,385 Participants at the Brexit Information events (end March 2019)

Customs Training Participants

249 Participants attended Customs Training

InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service

3,011 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service in 2019. This is in addition to the 4,175 engagements in 2018.

IDA Ireland

Questions (329)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

329. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation further to Parliamentary Question No 106 of 10 April 2019, the progress made in marketing the site in question; if there have been further meetings between the IDA and the site owners; if there have been site visits from potential investors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22047/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

As indicated previously, the IDA met with the site's new owners last December and have been provided with marketing information for the Liffey Business Campus. While there have been no further meetings between the IDA and the site's owners, the Agency is continuing to actively market the site for investment to both existing and potential clients through its network of offices in Ireland and overseas.

The IDA does not provide details on client itineraries to specific locations - whether in Kildare or elsewhere - for reasons of commercial sensitivity and confidentiality. Instead, IDA site visit data is collated on a county-by-county basis. In the first quarter of 2019 there were three site visits to County Kildare.

More broadly, the Agency's efforts to attract more investment to Kildare will be assisted by the County's strong profile as a home to overseas firms in the technology, financial services and pharmaceuticals sectors. IDA client companies such as Intel, Pfizer, and Procter and Gamble are all located there and continue to perform well. Kildare has seen a 4.5% increase in foreign direct investment-driven employment over the last 12 months with 386 net new jobs added.

While clear progress has been made in creating new jobs and economic opportunities in Kildare, the Government is determined to achieve more. Efforts will continue in 2019 and beyond, whether in support of indigenous or overseas enterprise, to help create generate more employment and business growth in the County.

HSE Staff Remuneration

Questions (330)

Peter Burke

Question:

330. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Health the details of pay restoration for healthcare assistants (details supplied) in the HSE since the economic crash; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21447/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

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

Home Help Service

Questions (331, 419)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

331. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health the reason the Department has not paid the gratuity due to certain home help workers in lieu of pension payments in line with recommendations of the Labour Court to date. [21829/19]

View answer

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

419. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Health when the gratuity payment due to certain home help workers will be made in lieu of pension payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21828/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 331 and 419 together.

The Deputy is referring to Home Help workers who are employed by voluntary providers of home help services which are funded under section 39 of the Health Act 2004.

As these home help workers are not employed by the HSE, the HSE and the Department have no role in determining the salaries or other terms and conditions applying to these staff including any pension arrangements.

A joint working group was established, as agreed as part of the 2015 Lansdowne Road talks, to consider a number of issues in relation to section 39 organisations.  Unfortunately it was not possible to reach an agreement between the parties on the issue of gratuity payments.

Motorised Transport Grant

Questions (332)

David Cullinane

Question:

332. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Health his plans to open the disability car scheme to new claimants; his further plans to offer disability cars that are more than five years old and have been replaced to persons not on the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21863/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Deputy has clarified that his question relates specifically to the Motorised Transport Grant scheme and whether the scheme is still open to persons who would have availed of the scheme, prior to its closure in 2013.

The Motorised Transport Grant scheme operated as a means-tested grant to assist persons with severe disabilities with the purchase or adaptation of a car, where that car was essential to retain employment.  The maximum grant payable once to an individual in any three year period, was €5,020.  Previous recipients of the grant who wished to be considered for a further grant, had to re-apply for consideration.  The grant did not roll-over on an automatic basis.

Prior to the closure of the Motorised Transport Grant scheme in February 2013, approximately 300 persons per annum qualified for a grant, at an estimated cost of €1.3 million per annum.  There are no plans for its replacement.

With regard to the proposals for a new Health (Transport Support) Bill, the Deputy may be aware that my colleague, the Minister for Health and I, brought a Memorandum to Government on proposals for a new Transport Support Payment Scheme.  Following consideration of the matter, it was decided to withdraw the Memorandum from the Cabinet Agenda at that time.  I intend to revert to Government in due course with revised proposals to reflect the discussions at that Cabinet meeting and further discussions between myself and Minister Harris on the best way to progress the Transport Scheme.

It is important to note that the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme, operated by the Revenue Commissioners, remains in place.  This scheme provides VRT and VAT relief, an exemption from road tax and a fuel grant to drivers and passengers with a disability, who qualify under the relevant criteria set out in governing regulations made by the Minister for Finance. Specifically adapted vehicles driven by persons with a disability are also exempt from payment of tolls on national roads and toll bridges. Transport Infrastructure Ireland has responsibility for this particular scheme.

There are improvements in access to a range of transport support schemes available to persons with disabilities in the State and on-going work is being carried out by Government Departments, agencies and transport providers to further improve access to public transport services. Under the National Disability Inclusion Strategy, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for the continued development of accessibility and availability of public transport for people with a disability.

Respite Care Services Provision

Questions (333)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

333. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Health his plans to provide respite care at another facility for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21356/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

The Programme for Partnership Government states that the Government wishes to provide more accessible respite care to facilitate full support for people with a disability.

As the Deputy's question relates to an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.