Insurance Fraud

Questions (396)

Michael McGrath

Question:

396. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the consequences for lawyers and legal advisers for bringing fraudulent personal injury cases to court; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31428/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The rights and obligations of solicitors, who are deemed to be officers of the court, derive from section 78 of the Judicature (Ireland) Act 1877 along with section 61 of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act of 1961. Substantial rights and duties accrue, therefore, by virtue of this relationship. The Superior Courts have an inherent supervisory role over solicitors including, particularly, the High Court, which can impose sanctions for professional misconduct up to and including the striking off of any solicitor concerned. This is to ensure that solicitors comply with their ethical obligations and act with the highest standards of conduct while also allowing the court to discipline or penalise solicitors who have failed in their duty to the court. The court therefore relies on solicitors to comply with their duties and to take careful instructions from their clients, to prepare their pleadings carefully, and to represent their client as best they can while complying with their duties to the court of candour and disclosure.

Similarly, barristers have a duty to the court. Under the Professional Code of the Honorable Society of the King's Inns it is the duty of barristers to act at all times with honesty and integrity and not to engage in conduct which is prejudicial to the administration of justice. They are also obliged to comply with the provisions of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 and any relevant code issued by the Regulatory Authority.  Specifically, barristers have an over-riding duty to the court to ensure, in the public interest, that the proper and efficient administration of justice is achieved and they must assist the court in the administration of justice and must not deceive or knowingly mislead the court.  The Code of Conduct of the Bar of Ireland also provides that a barrister shall not knowingly make, procure or countenance the making of any false or misleading statement of fact, whether express or implied, written or parol, with regard to any matter in which the barrister is engaged to any court or other body.

It should be noted, therefore, that the courts supervision of these matters is in addition to those broader measures that also apply to solicitors and barristers in the conduct of their business under their respective professional regulatory regimes. These are matters which will fall, to a growing extent, to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority which will come into substantial operational mode in this area from October 2019. This will happen under Part 6 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 which I will be commencing at that time. The Authority will then deal with disciplinary and conduct matters in relation to both solicitors and barristers.  This will be bolstered by the separate establishment of the new Legal Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal which will address serious misconduct in relation to both solicitors and barristers - including in terms of their possible striking off or disbarment with the approval of the High Court.

As I have set out , there are serious consequences for any legal practitioner who may be found to have acted in contravention of those duties owed to the court, including as the Deputy has raised, where this may involve an element of fraud. I would also point out that this is without prejudice to any investigation of such fraudulent matters by the competent authorities under the criminal law.

Insurance Fraud

Questions (397)

Michael McGrath

Question:

397. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the integrated insurance fraud database will be up and running; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31429/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I would like to thank the Deputy for raising this matter again. On 6 February 2018, in response to parliamentary question 65, I advised the Deputy that my Department had established a Working Group to progress the action points raised under recommendation 25 of the Cost of Insurance Working Group's Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance, i.e. the establishment of a fully functioning integrated insurance fraud database for industry.

This Working Group continues to meet in order to establish an appropriate mechanism whereby insurance companies can share information to assist in the combatting of fraud. However, data protection-related issues have dominated the group’s deliberations and ultimately have made it impossible to establish the database by the end of 2018, as had been scheduled.

The Working Group has engaged in discussions with the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC), the respective UK bodies dealing with insurance fraud (the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department and the Insurance Fraud Bureau), and completed a report which includes the recommended agreed parameters of the database, who is to be responsible, how it will be funded, and who will have access.

As noted last year, the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the related Data Protection Bill will have a significant impact on any new data sharing arrangements between industry members and between the industry and An Garda Síochána. As such, the establishment of any new data sharing structures will require careful consideration against the changes to the legislative landscape. More generally, a critical balance will also be sought to ensure that data sharing between insurers is maximised while, at the same time, the data rights of the public are protected. Any changes, therefore, must be proportional to their effect.

The report of the Working Group was submitted to the Office of the Attorney General and the ODPC and in response, the ODPC strongly endorsed the group’s view that a detailed Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) was required in order to answer outstanding concerns regarding the potential addition of new datasets to Insurance Ireland's existing InsuranceLink database, and the increased sharing of data.

The ODPC recommended that further work be completed to detail the evidential requirements for the creation of a new database or the enhancement of the existing InsuranceLink database. The benefits of such a database should be assessed against the potential harm or detriments that could occur to individuals and their fundamental rights. The Office of the Attorney General has also considered the Working Group’s report and further consultation will take place following the conclusion of the outstanding data protection matters.

In October last year, Insurance Ireland completed a DPIA in relation to matters such as the information currently held on InsuranceLink, as well as the specific additional data it is proposed will be shared, plus the additional circumstances under which the data will be shared.

Since receiving the DPIA, my officials conducted preliminary consultations with the ODPC, followed by more detailed consultations with the Department's internal Data Protection Support and Compliance Office (DPSCO). Subsequently, it was agreed by the Working Group (which met most recently in June 2019) that my officials would submit Insurance Ireland’s DPIA on InsuranceLink to the ODPC on behalf of Insurance Ireland. The DPIA was submitted to the ODPC, in accordance with Article 36 of the GDPR, on 14 June 2019 and a response is awaited.

Engagement will continue with the insurance industry to see if it is possible to develop an enhanced version of the existing industry database, with the management of the database to be with an independent, not-for-profit body. This approach will provide for complete and open access to the data held on the database for all existing and new entrant market participants.

Subject to consultation with the ODPC, the next phase towards implementation of recommendation 25 will require the identification of such an appropriate independent body to manage the database. These matters will continue to be monitored by the Cost of Insurance Working Group, who produce public-facing reports to track the progress of each recommendation on a routine basis: https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation-information/fbc791-the-cost-of-insurance-working-group

Courts Service Data

Questions (398)

Michael McGrath

Question:

398. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Courts Service will establish and maintain a register of personal injury actions; the reason this has not been done; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31432/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, recommendation 27 of the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance prepared by the Cost of Insurance Working Group is to review section 30 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 which provides that the Courts Service will establish and maintain a register of personal injuries actions. 

My Department submitted a report to the Cost of Insurance Working Group in February 2019 following its review of section 30 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004. The main conclusion within the report is that the Courts Service believes that it is not in a position to proceed with the setting up of a register at this time for a number of reasons, including data protection concerns, technical/resources considerations, and the lack of perceived benefits from developing a register only including Court actions.

I understand that the Cost of Insurance Working Group now regard this action as completed but not as envisaged.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that the Department of Finance produces regular quarterly updates on the progress of the main Report of the Working Group on the Cost of Insurance by reference to the specific recommendations made, including those which fall to my Department. The most recent of these, publicly available on the website of the Department of Finance, is the 8th Quarterly Progress Update which was published on 4 March 2019, which can be accessed on https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/2621f0-m/.

Naturalisation Certificates

Questions (399)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

399. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when consideration will be given to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31457/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that there is no record of a current application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy. A decision on his previous application issued by letter to his legal representative on 14 May 2018.

A determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria attendant to naturalisation can only be made after an application is received, and every application is considered on its individual merits, regardless of whether the applicant had applied previously.

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. The fact that a person may have had an application refused does not preclude or disqualify them from submitting a fresh application in the future. Indeed, the letter advising an applicant of a negative decision also informs them that they may re-apply for the grant of a certificate of naturalisation at any time. The letter advises that, when considering making such a re-application, they should give due regard to the reasons for the refusal which were contained in the submission attached to the refusal letter and that any further application will be considered taking into account all statutory and administrative conditions applicable at the time of application.

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 I know the Deputy will appreciate that 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

Brexit Preparations

Questions (400, 422)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

400. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the resources that will be made available to businesses in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31358/19]

View answer

Robert Troy

Question:

422. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the preparations underway in her Department for a hard no-deal Brexit; the schemes being operationalised with other Departments; when these will be ready to be deployed; and when her Department will publish such plans. [31116/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 400, 422.

Since the June 2016 decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, my Department and its agencies have worked to put a wide range of Brexit supports in place for businesses. The package of Brexit supports encompasses finance, advisory and awareness. DBEI’s focus is on helping firms to improve their competitiveness and innovation, and to diversify markets.

My Department and its agencies are working to provide extensive supports, schemes and advice to ensure that businesses are prepared for Brexit. The suite of enterprise and finance supports now in place covers the spectrum of potential Brexit impacts and aims to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and the practical preparatory actions to be taken over the coming months.

I made Brexit one of my top priorities in the allocations of funding for 2019 in my Department and I have allocated further funding to Brexit-related support from agencies and offices of my Department as part of Budget 2019. I have allocated an additional €5 million capital funding to the Local Enterprise Offices, an increase of 22% for 2019, and a further €1 million allocated to InterTrade Ireland to help SMEs prepare for the particular North-South challenges associated with Brexit. I have allocated an additional €3m to Enterprise Ireland and €2m to IDA Ireland to expand their global footprints and drive the diversification of trade and investment. Additional resources have also been distributed across Science Foundation Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority and the NSAI for 2019 to support enterprises adjust to the new relationships with the UK and pursue new opportunities.

InterTrade Ireland (ITI) works with SMEs on an all-Ireland basis and is particularly well-placed, given its remit to develop cross-border trade, to help SMEs prepare for the particular North-South challenges associated with Brexit.

The ITI Brexit Advisory Service provides a focal point for SMEs working to navigate any changes in cross-border trading relationships arising as a result of Brexit. As part of the service, ITI has organised a series of awareness events focused on improving knowledge of customs processes and procedures and identifying actions that can be taken in areas such as logistics and supply chain management. To date, more than 4,000 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service.

ITI offers a Brexit Start to Plan voucher and Brexit Implementation Voucher schemes, which enables businesses to get professional advice on how best to plan, prepare and implement for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. These supports help businesses obtain advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services.

ITI Brexit Start to Plan vouchers are worth up to €2,250 (inclusive of VAT) each. 1,613 businesses have applied for a Brexit Start to Plan voucher, of which 1,405 have been approved. ITI new Brexit Implementation Voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5,625 (inclusive of VAT), with InterTradeIreland paying 50%. This will allow businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship.

The Local Enterprise Offices [LEOs] are the first-stop-shop for anyone seeking guidance and support on starting or growing their business. The LEOs have organised various events to enable companies to learn about the potential impacts and opportunities of Brexit.

In addition, 644 LEO clients have received one-to-one mentoring solely focused on Brexit. Technical Assistance Grants for Micro Export are offered as an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities. 605 LEO clients have been approved for the Technical Assistance Grant.

The Local Enterprise Office interactive one day Prepare Your Business for Customs workshop helps businesses understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed in a post Brexit environment. 531 Participants have so far attended this Customs Training. Also, additional capital funding of €5 million was announced in Budget 2019 for local enterprise development.

Moreover, the six LEOs in the Border region are working together with their Northern Ireland counterparts under the EU Co-Innovate Programme. The aim of Co-Innovate is to give SMEs from the manufacturing and tradable services sectors in the eligible regions the tools and tailored support to help them to innovate, differentiate and compete successfully.

The €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme, developed in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, provides relatively short term working capital, 1 to 3 years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme was announced in Budget 2019. The scheme 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 is jointly funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Loans of €50,000 to €3m will be available, with loans of under €500,000 being provided on an unsecured basis. The scheme is available to eligible Irish businesses, including those in the primary agriculture and seafood sectors, to support strategic, long-term investment in a post-Brexit environment.

Enterprise Ireland has established a Prepare for Brexit online portal and communications campaign, as well as an online “Brexit SME Scorecard” to help Irish businesses self-asses their exposure to Brexit and a “Be Prepared Grant” to support SME clients in planning to mitigate risks arising from Brexit. It has also launched a new Eurozone Strategy to help SMEs broaden their export footprint beyond the UK.

Over 3,700 business have used Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Scorecard to date and 85% of EI client firms are now taking actions. EI is working closely with regionally-important larger companies in exposed sectors such as food to support strategic investments to build resilience – EI invested€74 million in these businesses in 2018. EI has also hosted 11 Brexit Advisory Clinics.

In addition, eligible EI client companies can respond to the threats and opportunities posed by Brexit by accessing the Agile Innovation Fund. This fund supports clients to quickly develop innovations and respond to opportunities and threats in new and existing markets. The new Fund allows companies to access up to 50% in support of innovation projects with a total cost of up to €300,000. A recent EI survey showed that EI clients that have availed of Innovation Capability, Funding and Collaboration support saw a 67% increase in global sales.

EI also launched a Customs Insights online course which is a new online training support to help all businesses understand how customs work including the documentation and process required to operate and succeed post Brexit. The Customs Insights course explains in clear and simple terms the main customs rules and included the key actions companies can take to prepare for customs after Brexit and the options from Revenue that are available to make the customs process more efficient. This will be available for any company to use whether they are importers or exporters and also whether they are agency clients or not.

The majority of the above schemes are open to all SMEs, not just agency clients. Enterprise Ireland will continue to engage with its clients to ensure they have the supports required to prepare for any kind of Brexit.

In my meeting with Commissioner Vestager on 24th January 2019, we discussed the severe challenges that Irish businesses, especially SMEs, will face when the UK leaves the European Union and the need for appropriate and timely State supports. We agreed that Irish officials will continue to work closely with the Commissioner’s team in addressing any State aid issues that may arise to ensure a rapid and appropriate response as the ultimate shape of Brexit and its firm-level implications become known. The Commissioner emphasised that the Commission stands ready to act urgently in mitigation against the impacts of Brexit on Irish firms.

In addition, in November 2017, the Commission approved a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme for Ireland for Undertakings in Difficulty. Under the scheme, an undertaking is considered to be in difficulty when, without intervention by the State, it will almost certainly be condemned to going out of business in the short or medium term. This scheme was put in place as it was considered prudent to have contingency measures in place so that my Department can respond swiftly to changing circumstances as necessary. In May 2018 this scheme was extended to include Temporary Restructuring support for those enterprises with acute liquidity needs. To date, no enterprise has sought rescue and restructuring aid for temporary restructuring support.

While the nature of the UK's departure from the EU still remains to be determined, Brexit continues to represent a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland. I want businesses, particularly those most impacted by Brexit, to know my Department and agencies are here to help.

Cyber Security Protocols

Questions (401)

Jack Chambers

Question:

401. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the cybersecurity protocols under the remit of her Department; if it has had a cybersecurity breach in the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30580/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department has not had a cybersecurity breach in the past 12 months.

In line with best practice my Department adopts a defence in depth approach to cybersecurity protection with a combination of technological controls and processes in place. These controls include policies and practices on system patching and upgrades, penetration testing of internet facing systems, and good practice least privileged access principles.

My Department recognises that ensuring the security of information and information systems is an ongoing process. This includes regular reviews of systems and practices and my Department has just concluded one such review of its security practices which will inform work in this area going forward. This work builds on existing initiatives which focus on ensuring continuity of ICT availability, on building good ICT security practice, and on building staff awareness of best practices approaches to ICT security.

Local Enterprise Offices Data

Questions (402)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

402. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of local enterprise offices here; the number of staff that work in each office in tabular form; the number of staff that work in the LEO section of her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30616/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

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

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

The following table sets out the number of sanctioned LEO staff through the DBEI pay allocation for each of the 31 LEOs. The LEOs report their staffing complement quarterly with the next deadline for submission on the 15th July 2019.

LEO

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

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

Carlow

5

5

Cavan

5

5

Clare

6

6

Cork City

8

8

Cork N&W

9

9

Cork South

7

7

Donegal

6

6

Dublin City

11

11

Dublin South

9

8

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

8

5

Fingal

9

9

Galway

8

8

Kerry

6

6

Kildare

8

8

Kilkenny

6

5

Laois

5

4

Leitrim

5

5

Limerick

9

8

Longford

5

5

Louth

6

5

Mayo

6

6

Meath

8

8

Monaghan

5

4

Offaly

5

5

Roscommon

5

5

Sligo

5

5

Tipperary

8

7

Waterford

8

8

Westmeath

6

6

Wexford

6

6

Wicklow

6

6

Total

209

199

Fire Safety Regulations

Questions (403, 404)

Catherine Martin

Question:

403. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her attention has been drawn to upcoming changes to the furniture and furnishings (fire safety) regulations of the UK (details supplied); if she has liaised with UK officials on the findings of their 2009 research and 2014 consultation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30639/19]

View answer

Catherine Martin

Question:

404. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if consideration has been given to reassessing fire safety regulations for domestic furniture in view of environmental and health concerns relating to flame retardants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30640/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 403 and 404 together.

In the area of furniture fire safety, there are no harmonised EU standards. The Irish standards and regulations were introduced to protect consumers by preventing the rapid spread of a fire started on or near furniture. These standards are in line with those introduced in the UK, which is particularly relevant given the cross-border trade in furniture on the island of Ireland and the presence of furniture manufacturers along the border area.

The UK has undertaken two consultations (in 2014 and 2016) on the suitability of the UK regulations but has yet to amend its regulations. In view of the similarity of the regulations in both jurisdictions, my Department has liaised very closely with the relevant department in the UK and continues to monitor the situation to keep abreast of developments in that jurisdiction. My Department also liaises, both formally and informally, with other stakeholders in Ireland on the issue.

Having similar regulations in place on both sides of the border gives consumers clarity and certainty that uniform safety standards apply, while manufacturers have certainty that their products can be sold in both jurisdictions without going to the added expense of manufacturing furniture according to different standards and legislation. Any change in existing regulations, or replacement thereof, will have to provide a robust level of safety when it comes to furniture going on fire.

My Department is conscious of the need to ensure that if replacement regulations are to be introduced, they must be effective and evidence-based, bearing in mind the tension between short term effects (in relation to flame retardant chemicals providing time to escape a fire and the impact on fire crews’ operations) and possible long-term health considerations. There is also a need to ensure that if the Regulations are to change there will be no reduction in safety for the consumers of Ireland.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (405)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

405. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the percentage of businesses that have a formal Brexit plan in place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30732/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

While the nature of the UK's departure from the EU still remains to be determined, Brexit continues to represent a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland. That is why my Department and its agencies have put in place extensive supports, schemes and advisory resources to ensure that businesses are prepared for Brexit. While we cannot yet know the form that Brexit will take, these measures aim to raise awareness and, where appropriate, to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

My Department's ongoing engagement with businesses indicates that the proportion of businesses preparing for Brexit is increasing, particularly among those businesses identified as most exposed to Brexit-related impacts, and that awareness of the key Brexit challenges is also increasing. Almost 60% of Irish SMEs report a good understanding of the likely implications of Brexit impacts that are relevant to their business. The findings of our latest research suggest that planning for Brexit is increasing with almost 50% of SMEs taking some form of active engagement (up from 42% in 2018) in the form of planning or any other mitigating steps. Among the most impacted businesses, progress is also being made, for example more than half of exporters indicate that they have a Brexit plan. Among Enterprise Ireland clients, 85% have taken action in respect of Brexit.

Over the last two years my Department has worked to raise awareness of the key Brexit challenges which include supply chain, tariffs, customs, regulatory standards, working capital and movement of labour, goods and services; to build business preparedness levels; and to put a comprehensive set of supports in place for businesses. My Department and I have been active in the promotion of schemes and supports through participation in different campaigns, including the whole-of-Government 'Getting Ireland Brexit Ready' public information campaign. This campaign features workshop events throughout the country, aimed primarily at business and people most impacted by Brexit. In addition to these, Enterprise Ireland has also rolled out a series of Brexit Advisory Clinics to help businesses across the country to better understand their exposure to Brexit and the mitigating actions available to them.

While there is little clarity on the means by which the UK will leave the EU in October, my Department and its agencies are working to provide extensive supports to ensure that businesses across the country are prepared for the UK’s exit from the EU, whatever the circumstances of its departure. Evidence now shows a marked increase in the number of impacted businesses preparing for change, which is both encouraging and welcome but I am conscious that the delays to Brexit may have led some businesses to defer their immediate planning. However, the UK’s exit from the EU will mean changes for Irish businesses and I want businesses to know that my Department and its agencies are here to help.

Brexit Data

Questions (406, 443)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

406. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the uptake of each Brexit related support under the remit of her Department in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30733/19]

View answer

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

443. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the uptake of the schemes which are available to businesses to prepare for Brexit in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31426/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 406 and 443 together.

As nature of the UK's departure from the EU still remains to be determined, Brexit continues to represent a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland, one which cannot be underestimated. That is why my Department and its agencies have put in place extensive supports, schemes and advisory resources to ensure that to ensure that businesses around the country are prepared for Brexit.

While we cannot yet know the form that Brexit will take, these measures aim to assist businesses in identifying and managing key risk areas and develop practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

For example, I allocated an additional €5m to the network of Local Enterprise Offices, €3m to Enterprise Ireland, €2m to IDA Ireland and €1m to InterTradeIreland to help businesses prepare for Brexit, together with funding for the longer-term Future Growth Loan Scheme and the IDA Regional Property Programme. I also provided extra staff for the regulatory bodies of my Department to ensure they are properly resourced to address the additional demands that Brexit will create.

The Local Enterprise Offices [LEOs] are the first-stop-shop for anyone seeking guidance and support on starting or growing their business. The LEOs have organised various events to enable companies to learn about the potential impacts and opportunities of Brexit.

In addition, 644 LEO clients have received one-to-one mentoring solely focused on Brexit. Technical Assistance Grants for Micro Export are offered as an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities. 605 LEO clients have been approved for the Technical Assistance Grant.

The Local Enterprise Office interactive one day Prepare Your Business for Customs workshop helps businesses understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed in a post Brexit environment. 531 Participants have so far attended this Customs Training.

InterTrade Ireland also plays a major role as part of Ireland’s Brexit response and offers Brexit-related advisory services to eligible businesses. So far this year, more than 3,200 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service.

ITI offers a Brexit Start to Plan voucher and Brexit Implementation Voucher schemes, which enables businesses to get professional advice on how best to plan, prepare and implement for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. These supports help businesses obtain advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services.

ITI Brexit Start to Plan vouchers are worth up to €2,250 (inclusive of VAT) each. 1,613 businesses have applied for a Brexit Start to Plan voucher, of which 1,405 have been approved. ITI new Brexit Implementation Voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5,625 (inclusive of VAT), with InterTradeIreland paying 50%. This will allow businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship.

The Brexit Loan Scheme provides relatively short-term working capital, 1 to 3 years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them to innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. Businesses can confirm their eligibility with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and, if deemed eligible, can apply to one of the participating finance providers for a loan under the scheme.

As at 5 July, there have been 669 applications for eligibility under the scheme, of which 608 have been approved to date by SBCI. 150 of those applications have progressed to sanction at bank value, to a total value of €32.93 million.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €300 million of loans available with a term of 8-10 years. This scheme is available to eligible businesses in Ireland and the primary agriculture (farmers) and seafood sectors to support strategic long-term investment. The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, the scheme operator, opened for eligibility applications on 17th April and up to July 8 it received 524 eligibility applications and issued 482 eligibility letters.

Enterprise Ireland has established a Prepare for Brexit online portal and communications campaign, as well as an online “Brexit SME Scorecard” to help Irish businesses self-asses their exposure to Brexit and a “Be Prepared Grant” to support SME clients in planning to mitigate risks arising from Brexit. It has also launched a new Eurozone Strategy to help SMEs broaden their export footprint beyond the UK.

Over 5,300 business have used Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Scorecard to date and 85% of EI client firms have a plan in place, while 199 applications for the Be Prepared grant have been approved. 266 EI clients have received funding under its “Act On” programme, which supports the engagement of a consultant to help clients identify weaknesses and improve resilience. EI has also hosted 16 Brexit Advisory Clinics.

EI also launched a Customs Insights Online course at the beginning of the year. This is a new online training support to help all businesses understand how customs work including the documentation and process required to operate and succeed post Brexit. The Customs Insights course explains in clear and simple terms the main customs rules and included the key actions companies can take to prepare for customs after Brexit and the options from Revenue that are available to make the customs process more efficient. This will be available for any company to use whether they are importers or exporters and also whether they are agency clients or not. There have been over 1,260 Customs Insights Course participants.

While I have seen a very positive uptake of the supports available, I am conscious that the delays to Brexit may have led businesses to defer their immediate planning. However, the UK’s exit from the EU will mean changes for Irish businesses. I want businesses to know that my Department and its agencies are here to help. The existing supports, schemes and advice are in place to ensure that businesses are prepared for any Brexit scenario.

Scheme

Uptake (28 June 2019 unless otherwise stated)

Brexit Loan Scheme

669 applications received, 608 approved by SBCI, 150 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €32.93 million.

(Uptake as of 5 July)

Future Growth Loan Scheme

524 applications received, 482 approved by SBCI, 17 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €2.96 million.

(Uptake as of 8 July)

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

5,334 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1095 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

199 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

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

171 companies have been approved under this initiative[1]

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard   

3,833 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,269 Customs Insights Course participants

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

55 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

266 “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

1,073 Strategic Consultancy Grants have been approved

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

605 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant[2]

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

340 LEO clients have participated in the programme

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

644 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

4,655 Participants at the Brexit Information events

Customs Training Participants

531 Participants attended Customs Training

InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service

3,219 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service in 2019. This is in addition to the 4,175 engagements in 2018.

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

There have been 1,613 applications, with 1,405 approved and 20 still pending assessment.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enterprise Ireland

11 retailers were awarded funding in March 2019. A second call of the Scheme will open on 19 June and will close 31 July 2019.

1. The Market Discovery Fund figure listed is lower than that of the end of February document figure of 251. The updated figure refers to the number of businesses approved, while the earlier number of 251 referred to the number of projects approved. This is now how it is reported to the Board, where projects was used previously.

2. The figure of 651 provided on 08 May was incorrect and should have indicated uptake of 551. This was due to human error

Living Wage

Questions (407)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

407. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the estimated cost of implementing a living wage €12.30 for all employees directly employed and or in agencies under her remit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30764/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Remuneration for staff within my Department is set by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in line with Government policy. I have no remit in this area.

With regard to the Deputy's specific question, please see calculations set out below.

The additional salary cost to the Department of introducing a minimum hourly rate of €12.30 per hour for directly employed staff is estimated to be €14,684 (€16,152 inclusive of employers PRSI) per annum. This figure includes the Offices of the Department (Companies Registration Office, Registry of Friendly Societies, Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Patents Office, Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court).

In respect of the Agencies of the Department, I have set out the information in the paragraph and table below.

The indicative additional annual cost across the Agencies funded through my Department's Vote would be €88,083. This covers the Competition & Consumer Protection Commission, Enterprise Ireland, Health and Safety Authority, IDA Ireland, Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority, National Standards Authority of Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland. A breakdown by Agency is set out in the table below.

Name of Agency

Cost per annum

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

€1,357

Enterprise Ireland

€20,451

Health and Safety Authority

€22,078

IDA Ireland

€34,417

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority

€1,459

National Standards Authority of Ireland

€8,312

Science Foundation Ireland.

0

Total

€88,083

It should be noted that the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) and InterTrade Ireland are not included in the table and paragraph above. This is because PIAB is self-financing and does not receive any Pay provision through my Department’s Vote. Any additional Pay cost on foot of the introduction of a living wage of €12.30 per hour would have to be borne through the fees mechanism operated by the PIAB. The staff of Inter-Trade Ireland, which is part-funded through my Department's Vote, are all based in Northern Ireland.

Departmental Data

Questions (408)

Denis Naughten

Question:

408. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the different income streams directly paid by persons to her Department or agencies under her remit, such as motor tax; the number of persons making annual payments; the value of same; the number of payments made through staged or increment payments; the value of same; the additional income generated as a result of payments being made on an incremental basis; if incremental payments are not available, the reason for same; the corresponding figures for 1999 and 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30847/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Several of the Department’s Offices, such as the Companies Registration Office, the Patents Office and the Employment Permits area of the Department provide services to the public with a fee generation element.  These fee charges are to cover the economic cost of the State providing the service to the public. These fee charges are recorded as Appropriations-in-Aid (A&As) in the annual Appropriation Account for the Department. 

Typically, the Department will generate in the region of €50m in A&As [or Receipts] per annum from Offices’ fee generation and other sources, such as pension related deductions and the pension levy on staff. The actual level of such receipts being returned to the Exchequer is usually dependent on the level of economic activity being undertaken in the economy.

It does not appear that any of the A&As received by my Department fall under the scope of the Deputy's question. Details of the of the most recently published AinAs, as per the 2017 Appropriation Account, are set out in the following table. Should the Deputy wish to receive further information on any of the specific income streams listed this can be provided.  

Appropriations-in-aid 2017

 

 € '000

Employment Rights and Industrial Relations

 

 

1

Receipts from the Social Insurance Fund

2

Employment permit fees

7,670

3

Employment agency licences

378

4

WRC fixed penalty notices

7

5

WRC court award costs

19

Insurance and Company Law

 

 

6

Companies Registration Office

19,560

7

Registry of Friendly Societies

57

Trade, Competition and Market Rights

 

 

8

Receipts under the Trade Marks Act 1963 and Patents Act 1964

9,353

9

Occasional trading licences

10

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

535

11

Merger notifications

576

Other

 

 

12

ODCE legal

9

13

Local enterprise development

14

Miscellaneous

713

15

Enterprise policy a

3,189

16

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission b

1,130

17

IAASA pay refund

18

PIAB pay and superannuation

1,207

19

HSA superannuation

481

20

Temporary Loan Guarantee Scheme

584

21

Expert Group on Future Skills Needs

343

22

Receipts from pension  related deduction on public service remuneration

6,731

 

Total

52,542

a

Enterprise Policy shows amounts received from the Enterprise agencies in relation to staff pension contributions. The agencies are Intertrade Ireland, IDA, EI and SFI.

 

b

Receipts under this line are in part-recoupment of the expenditure under subhead C.8.

 

Project Ireland 2040

Questions (409, 410, 411)

Jack Chambers

Question:

409. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the capital projects which have been delayed under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of her Department and agencies in tabular form; when these projects will commence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30876/19]

View answer

Jack Chambers

Question:

410. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the capital projects which have commenced under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of her Department and agencies in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30912/19]

View answer

Jack Chambers

Question:

411. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if expenditure estimates for capital projects under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of her Department and agencies match projected cost requirements in tabular from; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30958/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 409 to 411, inclusive, together.

Project Ireland 2040 is the overarching policy and planning framework for the social, economic and cultural development of the country. Its foundation is the National Planning Framework (NPF) and it includes a detailed investment plan for the period 2018-2027.

Project Ireland 2040, in highlighting the employment challenge, has identified the likely need to create in excess of 660,000 additional jobs in the period up to 2040. Project Ireland 2040 contains 10 Strategic Outcomes, one of which is; A Strong Economy, supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills. The Department together with its Enterprise agencies have a key role to play in delivering this Strategic Outcome. The National Development Plan sets out the configuration for public capital investment over the period 2018-2027 to drive the implementation of Project 2040 and the National Strategic Outcomes of the NPF. Insofar as the capital funding for DBEI is concerned, the Plan commits a total of €3.16 billion for DBEI capital priority projects over the first five years of the plan out to 2022, i.e. an increase of over 28%.

The Capital funding provided to my Department is mainly in the way of grants to support the multi-annual programmes of our enterprise development and innovation agencies.

The NDP identified the following specific Business, Enterprise and Innovation Priority Investments under the “Strong Economy supported by Enterprise, Innovation and Skills” National Strategic Outcome, whose delivery is the prime responsibility of DBEI;

- Expansion of Advanced Manufacturing Supports, linking centres and capacity across all regions Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund

- Strengthened SFI Research Centres and EI Technology Centres in higher education in all regions

- Participation in EU High Performance Computing Programme

- Upgrading of the Tyndall National Institute in Cork

- New Space Technologies Programme, to the benefit of firms in the regions

- Membership of CERN

- New cycles of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, benefiting Higher Education in all regions

- New Regional Sectoral Clusters to scale and internationalise enterprise in all regions

- New regional ‘Technology and Innovation Poles’, led through the Institutes of Technologies

- Brexit Business Transformation through firm level supports

- Expanding Enterprise Ireland budget for research and development

- Expanding IDA Regional Property Programme, to attract investment to regions

- A National Design Centre

- Seed and Venture Capital Funding to support regional start-ups and growth

- eHubs for entrepreneurship and start-ups in every county

The additional €65million in capital money provided to my Department through the 2019 Estimates has allowed it to progress a number of the DBEI priority projects further in 2019. Specifically,

- the €20m funding provided to the Disruptive Technologies Fund ensured that the funding for projects approved under the first phase of the Fund could be drawn down in 2019

- the additional €10m provided to the IDA has enabled it to continue and expand its programme of providing property solutions, strategic sites and grants to deliver FDI across the regions of the country

- the €6m provided to the Future Growth Loan Scheme, which builds upon the €17m provided to the Scheme in 2018, will assist business to access the finance necessary to enable them to strategically transform/adapt to the impact of Brexit

- the additional €2.75million in capital funding provided to EI has enabled it to progress a number of regionally focussed initiatives with Institutes of Technology through a programme of Regional Innovation and Technology Clusters to support regions across the country to build enterprise capability

- the capital funding provided to EI will has also allowed it to roll out the new €175million Seed and Venture Programme which will focus on fostering a strong pipeline of high growth innovative businesses by increasing the availability of risk capital for start-up/early stage enterprises

- the Department’s increased capital funding will ensure that Ireland can continue to expand and deepen its membership of and collaborations with international research organisations such as the European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency

- the additional capital funding also allowed the new programmes for Postgraduate Research at Masters and PhD levels to continue to be rolled out

- the additional funding being provided to SFI has enabled it to refresh its Research Centres Programme thereby strengthening collaboration with enterprises across all regions of the country

- the additional funding being provided to the Tyndall Institute has enabled it to continue to upgrade and expand and stay at the forefront of new technologies

The capital allocation for DBEI in the first five years of the NDP to 2022 will enable us to continue the positive start to delivering on the ambition of the NPF and NDP. It is recognised that the full implementation of the Priority Investment Projects under NSO 5 will also require the allocation of substantial capital funding over the period of the Plan and DBEI and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) will work together as part of the annual estimates processes to ensure that all the aforementioned Business, Enterprise and Innovation Priority Investment Projects are fully implemented within the lifetime of the Plan to secure the desired outcomes.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (412, 413)

Barry Cowen

Question:

412. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of capital projects being undertaken by her Department; the final agreed tender price; the estimated cost of each capital project in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31068/19]

View answer

Barry Cowen

Question:

413. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the capital projects completed since 2010; the final agreed tender price for each project; the actual cost of each project; if the actual cost exceeded the tender price; the reason therefor in each case in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31084/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 412 and 413 together.

The Capital funding provided to my Department is mainly in the way of grants to support the multi-annual programmes of our enterprise development and innovation agencies. 

The following table sets out the breakdown of the capital allocation across my Department’s subheads from 2011-2019. Due to a change in the Vote structure between 2011 and 2019 some subhead numbers may no longer correspond with those previously published. I have used the current structure for the sake of clarity. 

Subhead

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

A.4 - INTERTRADE IRELAND

6,695

5,695

5,695

5,530

5,530

5,760

6,000

6,000

6,000

A.5 - IDA IRELAND

142,000

132,000

137,000

112,000

90,000

89,000

79,000

86,000

86,000

A.6 - NSAI - G-I-A FOR ADMIN & GEN EXPS

500

500

500

500

500

500

500

500

500

A.7 - ENTERPRISE IRELAND

65,750

63,000

63,000

56,000

50,000

49,000

55,000

70,500

72,500 

A.8 - LOCAL ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT

27,500

22,500

22,500

18,500

18,500

18,500

15,000

15,000

15,000

A.9 - TEMPORARY PARTIAL CREDIT GUARANTEE SCHEME

500

500

500

500

500

1,500

500

10,000

 

A.10 - MATCHING FUNDING FOR INTERREG

3,000

3,000

3,000

2,770

3,000

3,000

3,000

3,000

2,000 

A.14 - FUTURE GROWTH LOAN SCHEME

6,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.15 - HUMANITARIAN RELIEF SCHEME

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B.4 - SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

300,250

293,250

289,000

278,100

270,330

258,040

275,200

291,200

295,393 

Enterprise Ireland

122,000

122,000

122,000

117,600

113,430

110,600

127,000

132,000

131,393 

Science Foundation Ireland

172,750

166,750

162,500

157,000

154,000

144,540

145,300

156,000

160,800 

Tyndall Institute

5,500

4,500

4,500

3,500

2,900

2,900

2,900

3,000

3,000 

International Leverage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

200

200

B.5 - PROGRAMME FOR RESEARCH IN THIRD LEVEL INSTITUTIONS

24,300

14,300

14,400

10,377

32,014

16,700

16,700

26,800

27,007

B.6 - SUBSCRIPTIONS TO INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS, ETC.

23,504

20,255

19,405

18,723

18,626

 

 

 

 

European Molecular Biology Conf

202

202

200

195

191

 

 

 

 

European Molecular Biology Laboratory

1,248

1,248

1,223

1,186

1,112

 

 

 

 

EUREKA - Involved in S&T Research

33

33

33

33

33

 

 

 

 

COST

11

11

0

0

11

 

 

 

 

European Space Agency

18,313

17,814

17,779

17,279

17,279

 

 

 

 

CECAM 

30

30

30

30

 

 

 

 

 

LOFAR 

91

91

90

 

 

 

 

 

 

ELIXIR 

76

76

50

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESO (European Southern Observatory)

3,500

750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B.9 - DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES INNOVATION FUND

20,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHANNON FREE AIRPORT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LIMITED

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,600

5,000

3,600

TOTAL

620,000

555,000

555,000

503,000

489,000

442,000

454,500

514,000

508,000

The enterprise supports are mainly by way of grants to our Enterprise Agencies such as the IDA to enable them to attract Foreign Direct Investment and to EI, the Local Enterprise Offices and Intertrade Ireland to enable them to support local indigenous and cross border businesses to start, scale and export. My Department’s Jobs and Enterprise Development Programme also supports a number of specific initiatives in the area of access to finance for SMEs and other indigenous businesses.

The innovation supports are mainly to research focussed bodies such as SFI, Enterprise Ireland, the Tyndall Institute, and supporting Ireland’s membership of International Research Organisations such as the European Space Agency, the European Southern Observatory and other Research focussed Agencies.

In terms of reviews, the Enterprise Agencies themselves and the Department, through its Enterprise Strategy, Competitiveness and Evaluation Division and the Irish Government's Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) of the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, undertake regular assessments, ongoing reviews and formal evaluations of the various Capital programmes being supported by the exchequer to ensure that they are;

- in line with Government policy;

- meeting a national strategic need;

- represent best use of resources available to the Agency;

- effective and can be delivered to ensure best value for money for the Exchequer.  

Brexit Staff

Questions (414)

Robert Troy

Question:

414. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of Brexit staff hired by her Department and agencies under her remit in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, following the announcement of additional staff recruitment as a Brexit measure in Budgets 2017, 2018 and 2019; and the number of new staff hires and replacement staff in tabular form. [31102/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

With regard to my own Department, a dedicated Brexit Unit was established in 2016 and is led at Assistant Secretary level within the EU Affairs, Trade Policy and Licensing Division, to coordinate and represent the Departmental and Agencies response to Brexit and to support me in my position at the Cabinet Committee dealing with Brexit. The Unit also leads on engagement with a broad range of stakeholders to inform and validate our response to Brexit.

When the Unit was set up in 2016 it consisted of three staff, one Principal Officer, one Assistant Principal Officer and one Higher Executive Officer. Additional staffing of two Assistant Principal Officers, one Higher Executive Officer and one Clerical Officer were appointed in 2017. The Department also appointed a further AO to the Unit in early 2019 but this position has recently become vacant.

Also within this Division, two officials (Assistant Principal Officer and Administrative Officer) working in the Trade Policy Unit are assigned to Brexit related trade matters as part of their portfolios.

In the Division with responsibility for Indigenous Enterprise, two posts were approved (Assistant Principal Officer and Administrative Officer) to work solely on Brexit mitigation measures to support business impacted by Brexit.

A team of three was approved to establish a new Getting Business Brexit Ready Unit. This unit was comprised of one Assistant Principal Officer, one Administrative Officer and one Executive Officer. All three appointments were made in January 2019. A decision was later made to subsume the AP role into our Communications team to promote awareness of DBEI Brexit supports to all businesses in Ireland.

Staff expertise is also being drawn from across a number of different policy areas of the Department in shaping our Brexit response and a number of areas that are most impacted have been assigned additional staff including but not exclusively to deal with Brexit. We are continually prioritising the Brexit challenges and will actively keep the staffing requirements under review through workforce planning.

I have set out in the table below the number of additional staff appointed to Brexit related positions in my Department and in the Agencies under its remit during 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019.

In relation to the second part of the Deputy’s question, it is not possible to provide the numbers for all new hires and replacement staff over the three-year period in the time allotted. However, I have supplied the total headcount for my Department and each of the relevant agencies in the following table for further information.  

 

Department / Agency

2017

2018

2019

Headcount as at end Q2 2019 

Department

5

3

4

 915

NSAI

0

4

4

 150

HSA1

0

6

4

 179

SFI

2

3

0

 61

Enterprise   Ireland2

27

20

5

 624

IDA Ireland

10

7

0

 313

1 The HSA have advised that a further two staff will be in place by end July and recruitment is underway for a further 2 posts.

2 The recruitment process in Enterprise Ireland is ongoing with 5 posts remaining to be filled.

While there are eight Agencies under the remit of my Department, the 5 listed above are the agencies in receipt of funding for additional Brexit related posts.

Given the wide mission that my Department and its Agencies have, the UK’s decision to leave the European Union continues to impact significantly on all policy fields. In this context, officers across all areas may deal with Brexit related policy issues and/or queries depending on their nature; and many other posts within the Department and its Agencies have responsibilities relating to Brexit.

Brexit Data

Questions (415)

Robert Troy

Question:

415. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applicants and participants in Brexit schemes and supports provided by her Department or agencies under her remit in tabular form; and the amount allocated and expended to each such scheme in each year since being established. [31103/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

As the nature of the UK's departure from the EU still remains to be determined, Brexit continues to represent a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland, one which cannot be underestimated. That is why my Department started developing supports for businesses from the time when Brexit first became a possibility.

My Department and its agencies have put in place extensive supports, schemes and advisory resources to ensure that to ensure that businesses around the country are prepared for Brexit. While we cannot yet know the form that Brexit will take, these measures aim to assist businesses in identifying and managing key risk areas and develop practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

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 also provided extra staff for the regulatory bodies of my Department to ensure they are properly resourced to address the additional demands that Brexit will create.

I allocated an extra €5m to the 31 Local Enterprise Offices [LEOs], up 22% on 2018. The LEOs are the first-stop-shop for anyone seeking guidance and support on starting or growing their business. The LEOs are there to support businesses in preparing for Brexit, to ensure that businesses are informed and have plans in place to manage the new trading relationships on the island and with the UK more generally. The LEOs have organised various events to enable companies to learn about the potential impacts and opportunities of Brexit.

In addition, 644 LEO clients have received one-to-one mentoring solely focused on Brexit. Technical Assistance Grants for Micro Export are offered as an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities. 605 LEO clients have been approved for the Technical Assistance Grant.

The Local Enterprise Office interactive one day Prepare Your Business for Customs workshop helps businesses understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed in a post Brexit environment. 531 Participants have so far attended this Customs Training.

As part of my Department’s response to Brexit, I allocated €3 million in additional resources to Enterprise Ireland [EI] in budget 2019. EI has established a Prepare for Brexit online portal and communications campaign, as well as an online “Brexit SME Scorecard” to help Irish businesses self-asses their exposure to Brexit and a “Be Prepared Grant” to support SME clients in planning to mitigate risks arising from Brexit. It has also launched a new Eurozone Strategy to help SMEs broaden their export footprint beyond the UK.

Over 5,300 business have used EI’s Brexit Scorecard to date and 85% of EI client firms have a plan in place, while 199 applications for the Be Prepared grant have been approved. 266 EI clients have received funding under its “Act On” programme, which supports the engagement of a consultant to help clients identify weaknesses and improve resilience. EI has also hosted 16 Brexit Advisory Clinics.

EI also launched a Customs Insights Online course at the beginning of the year. This is a new online training support to help all businesses understand how customs work including the documentation and process required to operate and succeed post Brexit. The Customs Insights course explains in clear and simple terms the main customs rules and included the key actions companies can take to prepare for customs after Brexit and the options from Revenue that are available to make the customs process more efficient. This will be available for any company to use whether they are importers or exporters and also whether they are agency clients or not. There have been over 1,260 Customs Insights Course participants.

I also allocated €2.75m additional capital to EI 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.

As part of my Department’s response to Brexit, I allocated €2million in additional resources to IDA Ireland, while an extra €10 million has been allocated for the Agency’s Regional Property Programme. IDA Ireland continues to work closely with international clients, from a range of sectors, to help them assess and prepare for the potential impacts of Brexit, and to capitalise on any opportunities for additional Brexit-related foreign direct investment (FDI) in the future.

The IDA offers support and advice on Brexit-related risks and opportunities and the Agency’s Brexit Toolkit, which is available to clients, includes the full range of supports across training, research and development and capital investment.

The Agency is working hard to avail of new investment opportunities from non-traditional target markets. The Agency’s efforts in this context have already yielded positive results, with over 80 Brexit-related investments and 5,300 associated jobs won to date. In addition, the Agency has recently launched a marketing campaign in key international markets to communicate clearly to both current and potential investors that, Ireland’s investment proposition remains strong and that Ireland remains an attractive location for investment.

Funding to InterTrade Ireland has been increased by 18%. InterTrade Ireland plays a major role as part of Ireland’s Brexit response and offers Brexit-related advisory services to eligible businesses. So far this year, more than 3,200 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service. 

ITI offers a Brexit Start to Plan voucher and Brexit Implementation Voucher schemes, which enables businesses to get professional advice on how best to plan, prepare and implement for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. These supports help businesses obtain advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services.

ITI Brexit Start to Plan vouchers are worth up to €2,250 (inclusive of VAT) each. 1,613 businesses have applied for a Brexit Start to Plan voucher, of which 1,405 have been approved. ITI new Brexit Implementation Voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5,625 (inclusive of VAT), with InterTrade Ireland paying 50%. This will allow businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship.

The Brexit Loan Scheme, using a combination of Irish Exchequer and EU guarantees, has 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 Brexit Loan Scheme provides relatively short-term working capital, 1 to 3 years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them to innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. Businesses can confirm their eligibility with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and, if deemed eligible, can apply to one of the participating finance providers for a loan under the scheme. 

As at 5 July, there have been 669 applications for eligibility under the scheme, of which 608 have been approved to date by SBCI. 150 of those applications have progressed to sanction at bank value, to a total value of €32.93 million.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme, launched in March, makes up to €300 million of loans available with a term of 8-10 years. This scheme is available to eligible businesses in Ireland and the primary agriculture (farmers) and seafood sectors to support strategic long-term investment. The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, the scheme operator, opened for eligibility applications on 17th April and up to July 8 it received 524 eligibility applications and issued 482 eligibility letters.

The first table attached sets out the uptake of the different Brexit-related supports available through the Department and its agencies as at 28 June 2019.

The second 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.

While I have seen a very positive uptake of the supports available, I am conscious that the delays to Brexit may have led businesses to defer their immediate planning. However, the UK’s exit from the EU will mean changes for Irish businesses. I want businesses to know that my Department and its agencies are here to help.  The existing supports, schemes and advice are in place to ensure that businesses are prepared for any Brexit scenario. 

Scheme

Uptake (28 June 2019)

Brexit Loan Scheme

669 applications received, 608 approved by SBCI, 150 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €32.93 million.

(Uptake as of 5 July)

Future Growth Loan Scheme

524 applications received, 482 approved by SBCI, 17 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €2.96 million.

(Uptake as of 8 July)

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

5,334 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1095 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

199 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

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

171 companies have been approved under this initiative[1]

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard   

3,833 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,269 Customs Insights Course participants

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

55 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

266 “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

1,073 Strategic Consultancy Grants have been approved

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

605 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant[1]

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

340 LEO clients have participated in the programme

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

644 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

4,655 Participants at the Brexit Information events

Customs Training Participants

531 Participants attended Customs Training

InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service

3,219 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service in 2019. This is in addition to the 4,175 engagements in 2018.

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

There have been 1,613 applications, with 1,405 approved and 20 still pending assessment.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enterprise Ireland

11 retailers were awarded funding in March 2019. A second call of the Scheme will open on 19 June and will close 31 July 2019.

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 31 st 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.

 

Employment Data

Questions (416)

Robert Troy

Question:

416. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the female employment rate in addition to the corresponding EU average rate; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31108/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department is fully aware of the importance of maintaining and increasing employment rates in the labour market. Particularly, as we draw closer to full employment, it is essential we continue to provide enterprise in Ireland with a high-quality, adaptable and flexible talent pool. My Department closely monitors the trends in labour market employment rates. As of Q1 2019, the employment rate of women aged 15-64 in Ireland is 64.3%. This is higher than the EU average, which is 63.5%.[1]

Future Jobs Ireland is committed to a more equitable, balanced and sustainable development of our workforce. As such it has identified increasing participation in the labour force as one of its key pillars. Future Jobs Ireland sets the target of a substantial 3 percentage point increase in overall participation rates for people aged 25 to 69 years by 2025 with higher increases for females and older people.  In order to achieve this target, the framework details relevant ambitions underpinned by deliverables. The ambitions and deliverables relevant to increasing female participation include, but are not limited to, the following:

- Encouraging participation in the labour force through high-quality Early Learning and Care. This ambition is underpinned by deliverables to complement the implementation of the Affordable Childcare Scheme including the introduction of additional ways to reduce costs, enhance supply and improve quality.

-   Fostering participation in the labour force through flexible working solutions. This ambition assists in the development of an inclusive society. It is underpinned by a number of deliverables including the development of guidance for employers on family-friendly working options and the extension of unpaid Parental Leave to allow for greater flexibility of parents.

  Improving incentives to participate in the labour force. This ambition includes a deliverable to consider income tax arrangements for second earners that optimise financial incentives to work, taking account of the impact that the income tax system may have on female participation in the workforce.

-   Encouraging adult dependents and beneficiaries of other full-time welfare payments to engage in activation, enter and/or stay in the workforce. This ambition is underpinned by deliverables such as the development of a return to work service as part of the Public Employment Service offering; assisting women returned to work in the technology sector through Skillnets Ireland Women ReBOOT programme; and a review of recent analyses of inactivity to identify policy issues to support the development of policy responses.

Undertaking promotional campaigns to encourage greater levels of participation in the labour force. This ambition is underpinned by deliverables including a communications campaign to promote awareness of the Public Employment Service as a real recruitment option, especially for those groups with lower participation rates; and the development of promotions for female participation as part of Jobs Week 2019 and Jobs Fairs.

[1] Employment rates by sex, age and citizenship (%), European Labour Force Survey, Eurostat, Q1 2019