Labour Market

Questions (82)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

82. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Taoiseach the reason the figure for potential additional labour force in the labour force survey increased from 30,300 in the first quarter of 2017 to 108,200 in the first quarter of 2019; and the employment status in addition to labour force status of these persons. [24842/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is the official source of estimates of persons in employment, unemployed and not in the labour force (including the Potential Additional Labour Force) in the State.

The Potential Additional Labour Force (PALF) is the sum of the two groups 'persons seeking work but not immediately available' and 'persons available for work but not seeking'. Persons in the PALF are not part of the standard labour force, which encompasses only employed and unemployed people however, they have a stronger attachment to the labour market than other persons not in the labour force.

The LFS replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) in Q3 2017. This involved changes to the questionnaire, the interview mode, the introduction of a new sample, data processing changes and other methodological enhancements. As a result, there were changes in the levels of some series from Q3 2017 onwards.

The CSO adjusted the full QNHS series prior to Q3 2017 to enable comparability with the new LFS for some key indicators. Due to methodological constraints, only a limited number of indicators could be included in this process. Through extensive consultation with key users, the CSO determined that economic status (ILO), region, occupation, economic sector and highest level of education completed would be included in this process.

However, as the PALF was not included in the list of indicators used in this adjustment exercise, there is a break in the series before and after the introduction of the new survey in Q3 2017. Consequently, the series before and after Q3 2017 are not comparable and caution should be exercised when examining annual and quarterly changes.

The table shows a breakdown of the number of persons aged 15 years and over in the PALF for the years 2017-2019 and the percentage change between 2017 and 2019.

Number of persons (ILO) aged 15 years and over in the Potential Additional Labour Force (PALF), Q1 2017, Q1 2018 and Q1 2019 - Change Q1 17-Q1 19

Q1 17

Q1 18

Q1 19

Change

Q1 17- Q1 19

Not in labour force

1,454.2

1,470.3

1,480.2

26.0

Potential additional labour force

30.4

119.2

108.2

77.8

Seeking not immediately available

10.6

11.2

9.3

-1.3

of which: Actively seeking not available

[4.7]

[5.9]

[5.8]

[1.1]

Passive job-seekers

[4.3]

*

*

*

Job starting in less than 3 months not available/Job starting in more than 3 months

*

[4.6]

*

*

Available not seeking

19.8

108.1

98.9

79.1

of which: Discouraged workers

9.0

17.8

15.7

6.7

Others

10.8

90.2

83.2

72.4

Source: Labour Force Survey (LFS), Central Statistics Office, Ireland.

* Estimates for numbers of persons or averages where there are less than 30 persons in a cell are not produced as estimates are too small to be considered reliable.

Parentheses [ ] indicate where there are 30-49 persons in a cell, estimates are considered to have a wider margin of error and should be treated with caution.

Data may be subject to future revision.

Data may be subject to sampling or other survey errors, which are greater in respect of smaller values or estimates of change.

Reference period: Q1 Jan-Mar

Exports Data

Questions (83, 84)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

83. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Taoiseach the percentage of Irish firms that export to just one foreign market, according to the latest national and international data available. [24844/19]

View answer

Billy Kelleher

Question:

84. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Taoiseach the median number of export markets for Irish exporting firms, according to latest national and international data available. [24845/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 83 and 84 together.

The table shows the number of enterprises who exported goods in 2017 broken down by the number of partner trading countries.

The largest grouping is enterprises who exported to just one foreign market, this group made up 49% of all exporting enterprises in 2017.

The median number of export markets is two.

Table A: Goods exporting enterprises 2017

Number of Trading Partner Countries

Number of Enterprises

% of Total Number

of Enterprises

1

4,252

49

2

1,331

15

3-5

1,390

16

6-9

638

7

10-14

373

4

15-19

216

3

>20

414

5

Total

8,614

100

Citizens Assembly

Questions (85)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

85. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach the terms of reference for the citizens' assembly on gender equality. [25416/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The Government recently agreed that a Citizens’ Assembly be convened to bring forward proposals to advance gender equality that:

- challenge the remaining barriers, social norms and attitudes that facilitate gender discrimination towards girls and boys, women and men;

- in particular, seek to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in the workplace, politics and public life;

- recognise the importance of early years parental care and seek to facilitate greater work-life balance;

- examine the social responsibility of care and women and men’s co-responsibility for care, especially within the family;

and following on from that

prioritise the proposals, which may include policy, legislative or constitutional change, having regard to the legal requirements and the costs versus the potential impact.

Following an establishment phase it is expected that the Assembly will be up and running by end October 2019 and will run for a maximum of six months.

As with the Convention on the Constitution and the previous Citizens’ Assembly, the establishment of the Assemblies will be the subject of a Resolution of each House of the Oireachtas and that the Assemblies will also report to both Houses of the Oireachtas.

General Government Debt

Questions (86)

Michael McGrath

Question:

86. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Taoiseach the general Government debt for 2017 and 2018; and the reason the general Government debt increased by €5 billion between 2017 and 2018, in tabular form. [25204/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

General Government Debt (GGD) is a measure of the total gross consolidated debt of the State compiled by the Central Statistics Office. It is the measure used for comparative purposes across the European Union Member States.

National Debt is the net debt incurred by the Exchequer after taking account of cash and other financial assets. The national debt is the principal component of general government debt. The latter measure also includes extra-budgetary funds, non-commercial state-sponsored bodies and the debt of local authorities.

The developments in the General Government Debt forecast for the years 2019 to 2023, broken down into available components, were published in Table A5 of the Stability Programme Update 2019. The table is reproduced for the Deputy's convenience.

€ billions, unless stated

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

Opening general government debt

206.2

205.1

196.7

203.6

203.5

Exchequer borrowing requirement

2.1

-0.4

-0.6

0.2

-0.6

Change in Exchequer Deposits

-2.5

-8.3

5.1

-1.2

1.3

Net lending of NCSSBs*

-0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.3

Net lending of local government

0.2

0.2

-0.1

-0.2

-0.3

Change in collateral held

0

0

0

0

0

Other

-0.7

-0.1

2.3

0.8

1.8

Closing general government debt

205.1

196.7

203.6

203.5

206.0

General government debt to GDP ratio

61.1

55.8

55.4

53.2

51.6

*NCSSBs = Non-commercial semi-state bodies

Rockall Island Ownership

Questions (87, 88)

Micheál Martin

Question:

87. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with the First Minister of Scotland on 27 May 2019; the issues that were discussed; and the responses he gave. [24826/19]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

88. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has spoken to the First Minister of Scotland regarding Rockall recently; and if he or his officials have spoken to or written to the Scottish or British Governments regarding same. [24827/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 87 and 88 together.

I met with First Minister Sturgeon over a working lunch in Farmleigh on Monday 27 May when we considered how best to maintain and further develop the strong bilateral relations between Ireland and Scotland.

We also discussed recent latest political developments in the wake of the recent European Parliament and local elections as well as latest Brexit developments.

We acknowledged the strength and importance of bilateral relations and had a productive discussion on how we might further develop these links. We also discussed issues on which there is scope for greater co-operation.

First Minister Sturgeon and I looked forward to working closely together in the coming months. We are both committed to the work of the British Irish Council (BIC), a key institution of the Good Friday Agreement, and looked forward to meeting again at the next Summit of the Council, due to take place at the end of June.

Scottish First Minister Sturgeon did not raise Rockall at my recent meeting with her. It was subsequent to this meeting, that the Scottish Government indicated their intention to deploy fishery protection vessels to the area.

Discussions are ongoing at official level aimed at resolving this issue.

Departmental Properties

Questions (89)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

89. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach the amount of land purchased and leased, by size and amount expended, in the past five years to date; the location of same; the term of the lease and amount expended per year in cases in which land is leased. [25392/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

No land is owned, rented or leased by my Department or bodies under the aegis of my Department now or at any time in the past five years.

Departmental Properties

Questions (90)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

90. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach the number of buildings and property purchased and leased and the amount expended in the past five years to date; the location of same; the term of the lease and the amount expended per year in cases in which properties are leased. [25409/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

No property is owned, rented or leased by my Department or bodies under the aegis of my Department. The properties occupied by my Department and the National Economic and Social Development Office are provided and managed by the Office of Public Works.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (91, 92, 93)

Micheál Martin

Question:

91. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will address reports (details supplied) on a delay publishing the report by the Public Sector Pay Commission on pay in the Defence Forces by his officials; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24834/19]

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Micheál Martin

Question:

92. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when he received the Public Sector Pay Commission report on the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24835/19]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

93. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he has met his officials regarding the Public Sector Pay Commission report on pay in the Defence Forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24836/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 91 to 93, inclusive, together.

In accordance with the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, the Government tasked the Public Service Pay Commission to conduct a comprehensive examination and analysis of underlying difficulties in recruitment and retention in those sectors and employment streams identified in the Commission's Report of May 2017. This includes the Defence Sector.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform has indicated that he will be bringing the Report to Government shortly. The Government will give due consideration to the findings and recommendations.

I have engaged with my officials regarding the report pending its approval by Government.

Defence Forces Contracts

Questions (94)

Pat Deering

Question:

94. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the contractual service and financial obligations on members of the Defence Forces, by category (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25199/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Defence Act and Defence Forces Regulations set out the conditions of service for enlisted personnel and commissioned officers of the Permanent Defence Force and the Reserve Defence Force.

The terms of enlistment for persons enlisted to the Permanent Defence Force after 1 January 1994 are 5 years in the Permanent Defence Force and 7 years in the Reserve Defence Force.

Defence Forces Regulations provide for the discharge by purchase of enlisted personnel of the PDF before completion of their terms of enlistment. The financial cost for discharge after 3 months service for a line Private Grade 1 is €50. The financial cost for discharge by purchase of a line 3 star Private is €300.

Commissioned officers receive their commissions from the President and this can be for a fixed period or unlimited (until an officer reaches the prescribed retirement age). The discharge by purchase arrangements do not apply to commissioned officers who must seek permission to retire if they wish to do so before the prescribed retirement age or before their commission expires.

Enlisted personnel or officers may undertake training or education which have specified undertakings. The nature of the undertaking varies across training and education courses and generally requires individuals who undertake such training or education to commit to a specified length of service or, if exiting the Defence Forces before this service is completed, pay a prescribed sum of money.

For example Air Corps Pilots, have a service undertaking of 12 years on completion of their Wings Course. The individual officer retains financial liability for early termination of the service undertaking (for voluntary retirement) and calculations are carried out on an individual basis.

Cadets who are commissioned as officers, who go on to attend 3/4 year courses at third level, sign an undertaking based on the duration of the course they study. This also applies to Naval Service Cadet Courses. A service of 2 years is required for each academic year. Therefore, a service obligation of 6 years is required for a course of study of 3 years duration. An officer signs a Generic Undertaking Form (GUF) upon commencing a third level course. This form contains the details of his/her contractual obligations, both service and costs. A GUF is unique to each officer and all GUF's differ.

Defence Forces Recruitment

Questions (95)

Mick Wallace

Question:

95. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the Defence Forces report into the standards of height for entry has been presented to him; if so, if he will publish same; if not, when the report will be finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25304/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

A study group was convened by the Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) in September 2018 to review the standards of height for entry into the Defence Forces. The terms of reference provided for the group to assess and recommend changes to the current height standards.

The group contains representatives from all three services of the Defence Forces and includes medical personnel, personnel from training establishments and military HR.

A new appointment to the position of Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) was made on 3rd April 2019. On taking up office, the Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) reviewed the original submission and tasked the Working Group to reconvene and address a number of matters.

The military authorities have informed me that this work will be completed by the end of July 2019. I look forward to receiving recommendations in due course.

Defence Forces Properties

Questions (96)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

96. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will address a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25332/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The request to use military facilities for band practice has been considered. The Defence Forces have advised that the facility in question is used throughout the year for operational and training purposes. As a result, I regret that it is not possible to accede to this request on this occasion.

Departmental Properties

Questions (97, 98)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

97. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the amount of land purchased and leased, by size and amount expended, in the past five years to date; the location of same; the term of the lease and amount expended per year in cases in which land is leased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25382/19]

View answer

Catherine Murphy

Question:

98. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of buildings and property purchased and leased and the amount expended in the past five years to date; the location of same; the term of the lease and the amount expended per year in cases in which properties are leased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25399/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 97 and 98 together.

I am advised that the Department has not purchased any additional land or buildings for the period 2014 to date.

A total of €65,000 was expended on the leasing of land for use by the Defence Forces over the above period. This expenditure was incurred in respect of the leasing of some 29 acres of land in Co. Meath at an annual cost of €13,000 and lease term of 21 years.

In addition, Ground Rent is paid in respect of a number of properties, the details of which are shown in the following table.

Location

Total Expenditure 2014 to date

Cork

€563.02

Donegal

€14.67

Galway

€429.55

Kilkenny

€785.85

Wicklow

€206.33

Overall expenditure

€1,999.42

Defence Forces Reserve Strength

Questions (99)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

99. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of persons, by gender, in both the Army Reserve and the Naval Service Reserve in each of the years from 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25458/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

The information sought by the Deputy is in the process of being collated and verified by the military authorities. I will pass on the details to the Deputy when they become available.

Brexit Issues

Questions (100)

Micheál Martin

Question:

100. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the most recent expert report (details supplied) for the Northern Ireland Civil Service on the impact of a no-deal Brexit and its recommendation on seeking exemption from the WTO agreement; and if he has discussed this with his UK counterpart. [25193/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I am aware of the report commissioned by the Northern Ireland Civil Service to which the Deputy refers and which my officials are examining it in detail.

The report makes clear that micro and small enterprises in Northern Ireland will be the most adversely affected in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit, with the agrifood sector especially vulnerable. This scenario would also have the gravest consequences for cross border trade which is so significant to the Northern Ireland economy and thus for the all-island economy, the protection of which is a major priority for this Government.

This latest report’s findings are sobering and very much in line with other such reports and indeed with the letter from the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service to political parties there in April. Despite the considerable amount of mitigation work that has been undertaken to date across Departments in Northern Ireland, there are considerable and unavoidable risks to the local economy that cannot be mitigated. The report makes clear that there is limited room for manoeuvre for businesses and government in a no deal context.

I have repeatedly discussed my concerns around the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland with my British counterparts. I maintain frequent contact with UK Ministers. Over the course of the last several months, I have met with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt; Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley; and David Lidington, the UK Minister of the Cabinet Office.

I can assure the Deputy that the imperative of avoiding a no deal scenario will continue to inform the Government’s approach. From the outset, I have highlighted the risks which Brexit poses for Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement. I have repeatedly stated that a no deal Brexit is in no one’s interests, least of all for the people of Northern Ireland who will be most affected.

The Government remains firmly convinced that the Withdrawal Agreement remains the only way to ensure an orderly UK withdrawal, in a manner that protects the Single Market and the hard-won gains of the Good Friday Agreement. The backstop is the only viable solution on the table that avoids physical infrastructure and related checks and controls, preserves the all-island economy and fully protects the Good Friday Agreement, as well the integrity of the EU Single Market and Ireland’s place in it.

There should be no illusions in the UK that a change in political circumstances will convince the EU to make changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop. It cannot be opened or renegotiated. The European Council has made this consistently clear.

It is now more important than ever that all sides in the UK assume their responsibilities and ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, which provides much-needed legal certainty.

Let me be clear, however, that the need to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process does not disappear in a no deal scenario. We and the EU will insist that the issue of the border and protecting the Good Friday Agreement will need to be resolved as a condition for opening wider negotiations on the EU’s future relationship with the UK.

In the case of a no deal scenario, we will continue to work with the Commission on the shared twin objectives of protecting the integrity of the single market and Ireland’s place in it, and avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.

European Council Meetings

Questions (101)

Micheál Martin

Question:

101. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he spoke with his EU counterparts prior to the June European Council meeting regarding the need for an extension of the 31 October 2019 deadline for Brexit. [25598/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The European Council on 10 April agreed to extend that Article 50 process to 31 October, providing the UK with more time to ensure an orderly withdrawal. It also provided flexibility for the UK to leave before that date if Westminster ratifies the Withdrawal Agreement.

It would be for the UK alone to decide to request a further extension of the Article 50 process. We expect that should the UK make a request, the EU27 would carefully consider it, taking into account the reasons for a possible extension and the proposed duration. The EU will also need to consider how its own institutions and processes would be affected by any extension.

Throughout the Article 50 process, I, Minister of State McEntee, officials from my Department and of course our Embassies, have had frequent and ongoing contact with representatives from other EU27 Member States and the Commission. In recent weeks, I met with my Dutch, Maltese and Swedish counterparts, and will hold further meetings with other EU colleagues in the period ahead.

We remain firmly of the view that the only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal is to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement. Responsibility for avoiding a no deal Brexit lies firmly with the UK.

Passport Applications

Questions (102)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

102. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the case of an adopted child (details supplied) in County Leitrim will be reviewed. [24937/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

All passport applications are subject to the provisions of the Passports Act 2008. The Act provides, among other things, that a person must be an Irish citizen before a passport can be issued to him/her. In order to meet this requirement, each person must demonstrate an entitlement to Irish citizenship by providing acceptable documentary evidence of this entitlement.

Irish citizenship is governed by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, which is under the auspices of the Department of Justice and Equality. Citizenship may be obtained in a number of ways, including by birth, descent, naturalisation and adoption. Section 11 of the 1956 Act provides for citizenship of adopted children.

If a person, who is not already an Irish citizen, has been adopted by an Irish citizen, and that adoption was effected abroad, that person may be entitled to Irish citizenship subject to the adoption complying with the requirements for recognition under Irish law. In such instances, if the adoptive parent is an Irish citizen who was born abroad, it is not a requirement to have the adoptee to be registered on the Foreign Birth register.

The Passport Service will review any passport application submitted by a person adopted by an Irish citizen in accordance with the above provisions. Additional supporting documentation, including the applicant’s inter-country adoption certificate, may be requested in support of the application.

The Passport Service has made contact directly with the family in this case in order to arrange submission of the application.