Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (257)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

257. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Finance the status of capital projects within the remit of his Department; the amount spent on each project to date; and the anticipated completion date. [34202/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

My Department’s capital allocation provides for the routine acquisition of IT equipment and systems and certain premises expenses relating to the buildings it occupies. Aside from these types of capital expenditure, my Department does not have any long or medium term capital projects.

National Economic Dialogue

Questions (258)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

258. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance the step-by-step process for a representative organisation to attend and participate at the national economic dialogue held annually. [34290/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The National Economic Dialogue provides an opportunity to consider how to make best use of the available resources in the interests of all citizens and is an important annual part of the budgetary process. The Dialogue facilitates a responsive, transparent and inclusive debate among relevant stakeholders about the challenges facing the economy and the options for the allocation of public resources.

The aim is to ensure an appropriate balance between the relevant stakeholders to facilitate discussion of budgetary issues affecting a broad social spectrum. To this end, representatives of community, voluntary and environmental groups as well as business, trade unions, research institutes, the media, the diaspora and members of the Select Committee on Budgetary Oversight participate in the discussions.

The list of participants in the Dialogue is chosen to achieve the desired balance. The list is reviewed annually and is approved by me as Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform in advance of each year’s dialogue.

I believe the National Economic Dialogue is a very constructive exercise. Decisions that have been made on the content of previous budgets have been influenced by previous Dialogues and I intend to reflect on this year’s discussion when formulating Budget 2020.

Credit Unions

Questions No. 260 answered with Question No. 145.

Question No. 261 answered with Question No. 259.

Question No. 262 answered with Question No. 145.

Question No. 263 answered with Question No. 259.

Questions (259, 261, 263)

Seán Fleming

Question:

259. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance when he consulted the credit union advisory committee in advance of the announcement of an increase in the industry funding levy on credit unions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34301/19]

View answer

Seán Fleming

Question:

261. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance if he met and consulted with an organisation (details supplied) in advance of the announcement of an increase in the industry funding levy on credit unions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34313/19]

View answer

Seán Fleming

Question:

263. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider reimplementing the industry funding levy on credit unions at the previous level in view of the fact that other levies in this industry in the past generated far more funding than was required and subsequently had to be returned to the credit unions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34331/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take questions Nos. 259, 261 and 263 together.

Section 32D of the Central Bank Act 1942, as amended, provides that the Central Bank may, with the approval of the Minister for Finance, make Regulations prescribing an annual Industry Funding Levy to be paid by regulated financial service providers to the Central Bank of Ireland. The Industry Funding Levy is not specific to credit unions and there is no requirement under the legislation for the Central Bank to consult with anyone other than the Minister for Finance. Nor is there any legislative requirement for the Minister for Finance to consult with the Credit Union Advisory Committee (CUAC) or with any other third parties prior to providing his approval.

It is worth noting that credit union sector was consulted on the proposed changes to the industry funding levy in 2012/2013 and in 2015 and that the final report of the CUAC Implementation Group published in January 2019 made specific reference to the Central Bank's intention to increase the industry funding levy for credit unions to 50% on a phased basis, which had been made public by the Central Bank in November 2018.

In relation to the organization referred to, I wish to inform the Deputy that I have had extensive engagement with them and the credit union sector to date this year. In February, I held a credit union stakeholder engagement event which was attended by the President of the organisation that the Deputy refers to in his question. I also attended and spoke at that organisation's AGM in April. These events provided me with valuable feedback from the credit union sector itself.

The Deputy will also be pleased to note that I intend to arrange a further stakeholder engagement session with the president of the organisation referred to, along with other credit union representative bodies, to cover a range of topics of importance to the sector including legislative and regulatory issues. The Deputy may also wish to note that officials within my Department have regular and extensive engagement with the sector, including the credit union representative bodies. In addition the Credit Union Advisory Committee is currently engaged in a comprehensive workplan, including a survey of all credit union directors, which I hope will provide valuable data to inform future policy.

Since 2004 the amount of the Industry Funding Levy payable by each credit union has been capped at a rate of 0.01% of total assets. The Central Bank indicated, in its Funding Strategy and 2018 Guide to the Industry Funding Levy, that it intended to seek my approval to increase the proportion of financial regulation costs to be recovered from credit unions on a phased basis setting out an initial target of 50% to be reached by 2021.

In response to the Central Bank's request I recommended that credit union contributions should not increase beyond the 50% target until:

1. The levy trajectory has reached the planned 50% rate, at which time the impact on the viability of the sector will be better understood; and

2. A public consultation regarding increasing the levy rate for credit unions beyond 50% is undertaken, which would include a regulatory impact assessment of such a change on the sector.

In contrast to this, recovery rates in 2018 for all other industry categories ranged from 65% to 100%, and the Central Bank intends to increase all to 100% funding over the next number of years.

It is not clear from the Deputy's question what funds he believes were generated from levies which were subsequently returned to credit unions. However, the Deputy might wish to note that the Department of Finance, in collaboration with the Central Bank, has prepared a public consultation paper on potential changes to the Credit Institutions Resolution Fund Levy, which is expected to reduce materially from 2020. This consultation, which has now been published on the Department of Finance website, is open to all persons and I would strongly encourage all stakeholders to submit feedback by 9 August 2019.

It is also important to note that as Minister for Finance I have reduced the Stabilisation Scheme Levy materially following a review process which included a submission from the organisation referred to and that since 2017 no further levies have been charged by the Credit Union Restructuring Board (ReBo). I have previously committed to a further review of the Stabilisation Scheme in 2020.

Questions No. 260 answered with Question No. 145.
Question No. 261 answered with Question No. 259.
Question No. 262 answered with Question No. 145.
Question No. 263 answered with Question No. 259.

Brexit Preparations

Question No. 265 answered with Question No. 247.

Questions (264)

Michael McGrath

Question:

264. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if the Revenue Commissioners will implement a traffic light customs system between here and Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit as outlined to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach in May 2017; if the preparations made at the time have been completely dropped; if so, when this decision was taken; the person who took same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34404/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Government has been very clear since the UK decided to leave the EU that we are committed to protecting the Good Friday Agreement and the gains of the peace process, including protecting the all-island economy and avoiding the emergence of a hard border on the island of Ireland. Those objectives are delivered by the Withdrawal Agreement and backstop, and it is the only solution currently on the table that delivers the outcomes that everyone, including the UK, wants to achieve.

In the absence of the Withdrawal Agreement, there are no easy solutions. As the Contingency Action Plan states “there should be no illusion – a no deal Brexit would result in far-reaching change on the island of Ireland”.

The Government is therefore working closely with the European Commission to meet the shared twin objectives of protecting the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it, and avoiding a hard border, including physical infrastructure in a no deal scenario. This work is examining the necessary checks to preserve Ireland’s full participation in the Single Market and Customs Union. The EU has been clear that it is determined to do all it can, deal or no deal, to avoid the need for a border and to protect the peace process. Ireland and the EU are at one on this.

Both the EU and the UK Government agree that no one has yet come up with any alternatives aimed at avoiding a hard border that are better than those set out in the Withdrawal Agreement. The backstop remains the only viable solution on the table that avoids any 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.

Question No. 265 answered with Question No. 247.

Corporation Tax

Questions (266)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

266. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the estimated amount of tax revenue that would be generated by applying a 12.5% minimum effective tax rate on total gross profits before deductions, allowances or reliefs. [34566/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I understand that the Deputy is seeking the changes to estimated tax revenue if corporation tax was amended to result in a 12.5% minimum effective tax rate being imposed on total Gross Trading Profits, without accounting for the standard deductions, allowances and reliefs which are a part of the Irish Corporation Tax system.

The trading profits of companies in Ireland are generally taxed at the standard Corporation Tax rate of 12.5 per cent, which applies to a company’s Total Taxable Income.

I would note that the difference between Gross Trading Profits and the Total Taxable Income, can be chiefly explained by the effect of capital allowances and trading losses. The provision of capital allowances for capital expenditure is a standard feature of our corporate tax system, and that unused capital allowances may be carried forward into future years. Such capital expenditure includes money a company spends on buying or maintaining land, buildings or equipment. It is also standard practice in OECD countries to allow trading losses to be carried forward into future years, in recognition that business cycles operate over more than one year.

Some of the main features of the current Corporation Tax regime are its simplicity and that it applies to a broad base. Changing this rate (or imposing additional levies of corporate profits) would involve increased complexity and could change the attractiveness of Ireland's corporate tax offering.

It is difficult to estimate any potential change in corporation tax yield from a proposed change to the corporation tax code of this nature. For example, some companies who have non-trading income taxed at 25% or capital gains taxed at 33% may not see any increase in corporation tax payable. I am also informed by Revenue that it is not possible to accurately predict the effect that changes to the operation of corporation tax in the manner proposed would have on the behaviour and decisions of large, multinational companies. This uncertainty prevents a reliable estimate being made of any yield that may accrue to the Exchequer.

Non-Principal Private Residence Charge Yield

Questions (267)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

267. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance the estimated amount of revenue that would be generated by imposing a €600 per year tax on all second homes, a €1,000 per year tax on all third or fourth homes, and a €1,500 per year tax on all fifth or subsequent homes. [34567/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by Revenue that the estimated Exchequer yield from the introduction of the additional taxes suggested by the Deputy could be in the region of €400 million in a full year. This yield assumes that that tax would be imposed on all non-principal private residences, excluding residential properties in the ownership of local authorities and approved housing bodies.

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Questions (268)

Shane Cassells

Question:

268. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Finance the expenditure by his Department on social media advertising and promotional material within the past year in tabular form. [34613/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The amount my Department incurred in respect of social media advertising and promotional material within the past year are in tabular form below.

Year

Amount

2018

€402,210.00**

2019

€2,066.40

**The €402,210 above relates to the Switch Your Bank campaign and was funded, in its entirety, by AIB and Permanent TSB, as part of a range of competition measures agreed with the European Commission to raise awareness and promote customer switching of financial products.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

Questions (269)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

269. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons working in his Department on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour; the number disaggregated by professional role; and the estimated cost of increasing salaries of those on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour to a wage of €12.30 per hour. [34678/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I wish to inform the Deputy that the cost of implementing a living wage of €12.30 per hour for 3 Service Officers and 25 Clerical Officers, directly employed by my Department would be approximately €82,000 annually.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (270)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

270. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the necessary sanitary facilities for truck drivers have been put in place at all ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32044/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Welfare facilities have been provided in Dublin Port and Rosslare Europort to cater for truck drivers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (271)

James Browne

Question:

271. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to rely on his extraordinary powers to make directions to the Office of Public Works in circumstances in which planning permission is needed to provide the necessary facilities for a Border control post at Rosslare Europort. [32181/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Planning route towards the delivery of Border Control Facilities at Rosslare Europort within the 'Central Case' scenario is currently being considered.

Statutory Retirement Age

Questions (272)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

272. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding public service employees who have indicated their wish to continue past retirement age, with particular reference to the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32729/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

As the Deputy is aware, on 5 December 2017, the Government made the decision to increase the compulsory retirement age to 70, for public servants recruited prior to 1 April 2004. Primary legislation was necessary in order to bring that change into effect. It was made clear at the time that until such legislation was enacted, the compulsory retirement age of 65, which applied to the vast majority of this cohort, remained in effect and pre-2004 public servants reaching that age would be required to retire.

Interim arrangements were provided for the cohort of public servants who reached their compulsory retirement age of 65 between the date of the Government Decision and the enactment of the legislation because, while they would be aware of the Government’s decision, they would be unable to avail of it. The interim arrangements permitted these individuals to be rehired post-retirement for a period of 1 year until they reached the age of eligibility for the State Pension (Contributory). Without those specific arrangements, they would have been required to cease working on reaching the age of 65.

The Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018 was enacted on 26 December 2018. Under the Act, any relevant public servant who had not already reached their compulsory retirement age of 65 before that date has a new compulsory retirement age of 70. Enactment of the legislation had no effect on those public servants who retired at 65 prior to the 26 December 2018 and who availed of a one year contract under the interim arrangements. Their contract terms continue to apply and they cease working when they reach the age of 66, as previously provided for.

Section 3 of the 2018 Act also provides that I, as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, within three months of the passing of the Act, would prepare and lay before the Oireachtas a report on the public servants who were forced to retire between 6 December 2017 and the commencement of the Act, due to reaching the age of 65 years, and on potential remedies to assist this cohort of worker. This Report was laid before the Oireachtas on 26 March 2019 and is publicly available on the www.gov.ie website and in the Oireachtas Library online catalogue.

Having considered all of the issues outlined in the Report, I am satisfied that the interim arrangements were an appropriate temporary policy response at the time of the Government Decision, pending enactment of the legislation. The terms of those arrangements were clear, unambiguous and made known to those who availed of them. Accordingly, for the reasons set out in the report, I decided not to make any changes to those terms.

Individual public servants who wish to clarify issues regarding their retirement age are advised to contact their employer's HR office who are best placed to assist them.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Questions (273)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

273. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding a claim by community employment supervisors for a pension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32860/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

This issue relates to a claim by community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors who have been seeking, through their union representatives, the allocation of Exchequer funding to implement a 2008 Labour Court recommendation relating to the provision of a pension scheme.

The matter was the subject of extensive discussion at the Community Sector High Level Forum which was reconvened to examine certain issues pertaining to the Community Employment sector and in particular to ensure that the matter was fully examined having regard to both costs and precedent. The membership of this Forum includes public service management and union representatives. The implications arising from this claim extend beyond the CE Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors cadre and impact across the entire Community and Voluntary sector.

A detailed scoping exercise was carried out by my Department in 2017 in order to comprehensively examine and assess the full potential implications of the issues under consideration.

The scoping exercise clearly illustrated that this matter presents very significant issues for the Exchequer, with a potential cost exposure for the State of between €188 million per annum and €347m depending on the size of the sector which is difficult to ascertain, were consequential demands to be made to fund employer pension contributions for all similar State funded Community and Voluntary organisations. This excludes any provision for immediate ex-gratia lump sum payment of pension for those imminently retiring, as sought, which could, depending on the size of the sector, give rise to a further Exchequer cost exposure of up to €318 million.

The Forum met in the period subsequent to the conduct of the scoping exercise where relevant matters in respect of this issue were discussed in comprehensive detail with the members of the Forum. These discussions provided a clear understanding to each of the parties of their respective positions in relation to this matter and in this context the formal engagement process between the parties was accordingly concluded on this basis.

It continues to be the position that state organisations are not the employer of the particular employees concerned and accordingly it is not for the State to provide funding for occupational pension scheme provision.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (274)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

274. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there is sufficient space, including loading bays and parking spaces for trucks, at Dublin Port, particularly in the context of Brexit; the way in which the additional capacity that would be needed is determined; the measures put in place to mitigate against traffic delays at the port; if the necessary infrastructure and additional spaces will be in place by 31 October 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33869/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

A total of eight separate projects were delivered in Dublin Port, in preparation for the original disorderly deadline of 29th March 2019.

A further two projects have been added to expand capacity for physical and live animal inspection's in advance of the extended disorderly deadline of 31 October 2019.

The overall inspection capacity required in the context of Brexit is detailed within the 'Central Case' brief, that was compiled by the Government Departments with responsibility for the various inspections of goods and live animals.

Plans are in place to address potential traffic delays at Dublin Port with ongoing coordination between DTTAS, Dublin Port Authority, OPW, Dublin City Council, An Garda Síochána and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

Legislative Measures

Questions (275)

Martin Heydon

Question:

275. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the primary legislation enacted since May 2016; and if the legislation in each case placed additional regulatory burdens on small and medium enterprises. [31487/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The table below sets out the primary legislation enacted by my Department since May 2016:

Primary Legislation

Date

Appropriation Act 2016

20 December 2016

Statute Law Revision Act 2016

26 December 2016

Ministers and Secretaries Act 2017

19 July 2017

National Shared Services Office Act 2017

26 July 2017

Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017

16 December 2017

Appropriation Act 2017

18 December 2017

Appropriation Act 2018

20 December 2018

Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018

26 December 2018

Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment Act) 2018

27 December 2018

Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019

4 March 2019

This legislation does not place regulatory burdens on small and medium enterprises. The Deputy may be aware that a key objective of the Public Service Reform programme that is led by my Department is to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery, including services to small and medium enterprises.

Legislative Measures

Questions (276)

Pat Deering

Question:

276. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the secondary legislation enacted since 1 January 2018; and if the legislation in each case placed additional regulatory burdens on small and medium enterprises. [31495/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The table below sets out the secondary legislation enacted by my Department since January 2018:

Secondary Legislation

-

Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Payments to State Solicitors) Regulations 2018

SI No. 33 of 2018

Finance Act 2004 (Section 91) (Deferred Surrender to Central Fund) Order 2018

SI No. 122 of 2018

National Treasury Management Agency (Delegation of Claims for Costs Management Functions) Order 2018

SI No. 191 of 2018 *

Oireachtas (Allowances) (Chairpersons of Oireachtas Committees and Holders of Certain Parliamentary Offices) Order 2018

SI No. 216 of 2018 *

National Shared Services Office (Delegation of Functions) Order 2018

SI No. 267 of 2018 *

National Shared Services Office (Appointment of Public Service Bodies) Order 2018

SI No. 268 of 2018 *

Appointment of Special Adviser (Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform) Order 2018

SI No. 346 of 2018 *

Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 (Judicial Remuneration) (Section 46(9)) Order 2018

SI No. 370 of 2018 *

Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 (Judicial Remuneration) (Section 46(9A)) Order 2018

SI No. 371 of 2018 *

Superannuation (Designation of Approved Organisations) Regulations, 2018

SI. No. 394 of 2018

Ethics in Public Office (Designated Positions in Public Bodies) (Amendment) Regulations 2018

SI No. 483 of 2018

Ethics in Public Office (Prescribed Public Bodies, Designated Directorships of Public Bodies and Designated Positions in Public Bodies) (Amendment) Regulations 2018

SI No. 484 of 2018

Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Payments to State Solicitors) (Adjustment) (No. 2) Regulations 2018

SI No. 559 of 2018

Planning and Development Act, 2000 Section 181 (2)(A) Order No. 1, 2019

SI No. 57 of 2019

Planning and Development Act, 2000 Section 181 (2)(A) Order No. 2, 2019

SI No. 100 of 2019

Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 (Relevant Authorities) Regulations 2019

SI No. 143 of 2019

Finance Act 2004 (Section 91) (Deferred Surrender to Central Fund) Order 2019

SI No. 125 of 2019

Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 (Designated Public Officials) Regulations 2019

SI No. 144 of 2019

Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) Order 2019

SI. No. 189 of 2019

Single Public Service Pension Scheme (Purchase and Transfer of Retirement Benefits) Regulations 2019

SI No. 252 of 2019

Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 (Judicial Remuneration (Section 46(9)) Order 2019

SI No. 256 of 2019 *

Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 (Judicial Remuneration) (Section 46(9A)) Order 2019

SI No. 257 of 2019 *

European Union (Electronic Invoicing in Public Procurement) Regulations 2019

SI No. 258 of 2019

Planning and Development Act, 2000 Section 181(2)(A) Order No. 3 of 2019

SI No. 284 of 2019

Planning and Development Act, 2000 Section 181(2)(A) Order No. 4 of 2019

SI No. 285 of 2019

* Denotes signed by the Taoiseach rather than the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

This secondary legislation does not place regulatory burdens on small and medium enterprises. The Deputy may be aware that a key objective of the Public Service Reform programme that is led by my Department is to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery, including services to small and medium enterprises.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

Questions (277)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

277. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of persons working in his Department on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour; the number disaggregated by professional role; the estimated cost of increasing salaries of those on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour to a wage of €12.30 per hour; and the estimated cost of instituting a minimum salary of €12.30 per hour within the public sector in each of the years 2020 to 2024. [31544/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

It is important that the nature of Ireland’s statutory National Minimum Wage and the Living Wage concept, recently set at €12.30 by the Living Wage Technical Group, are clearly understood. As the Deputy will be aware, the Living Wage has no legislative basis and is therefore not a statutory entitlement. The National Minimum Wage is a statutory entitlement and has a legislative basis. The Low Pay Commission annually assesses the appropriate level of the National Minimum Wage. The current national minimum hourly rate of pay, since 1 January 2019, is €9.80 per hour, as set out in the National Minimum Wage Order 2018.

The suggested Living Wage of €12.30 per hour based on the Civil Service 37 hour standard net working week equates to an annual salary of €23,747.

None of the staff in my Department earn less than the National Minimum Wage. There are 12 Clerical Officers in my Department on the first point of the Clerical Officer PPC pay scale earning less than €23,747 per annum. The annual cost of implementing the Living Wage in the Department, calculated on a 37 hour standard net working week, at this point in time would be €2,100. It should be noted that the annual salaries of these staff will exceed €23,747 when they move on to the second point of the pay scale.

As the Deputy will be aware, pay increases within the Public Service are set through collective agreement. Pay increases under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 set out increases up to 2020 but not beyond this date. They included 1% in October 2018; 1% for those earning under €30,000 in January 2019; 1.75% in September 2019; and 2% in October 2020.

Legislative Reviews

Questions (278)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

278. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of reviews carried out by his Department pursuant to Standing Order 164A of Dáil Éireann; the legislation to which each review refers; the number and title of each piece of legislation in respect of which a review pursuant to Standing Order 164A has not been undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31635/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The position in respect of post-enactment reports varies according to the nature of the legislation in question. The position since 2016 is set out below.

The Appropriation Act is an annual Act required to provide authorisation in law for all the expenditure that has been undertaken in a given year on the basis of the estimates and to provide legal basis for spending to continue in the year following. The Appropriation Act is exempted in terms of Standing Order 164A.

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation makes provision for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to submit annual reports by the end of June each year on the findings of a review of the operation, effectiveness and impact of the legislation, which encompasses the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017. Reports have been submitted to the Oireachtas every year from 2012 to 2019.

The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 provided that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform would commence a review of the operation of the Act 12 months after enactment, and make a report to each House of the Oireachtas. The first review of the Act was submitted to the Oireachtas and published in April 2017. Further details are available at the following link: https://www.gov.ie/pdf/7756/?page=1.

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 was commenced in full on 15 July 2014. As mandated by section 2, the first statutory review of the Act’s operation was published in July 2018 and can be accessed at the following link: https://www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/3750/051218105136-8df038b13a654f8d8408495c167444e9.pdf#page=1

The Statute Law Revision Act 2016 was commenced in full on enactment. Its sole purpose was to repeal archaic pre-independence legislation. As such there is nothing to review, as all of the Statute Law Revision Acts do not “operate” in a meaningful sense. Their entire purpose of repealing other legislation was fulfilled on the day of enactment.

The legislation passed by the current Dáil in respect of which reviews pursuant to Standing Order 164A have not been undertaken are the Ministers and Secretaries Act 2017 and the National Shared Services Office Act 2017.

Coastal Erosion

Questions (279, 280)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

279. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the necessary financial assistance will be provided to Fingal County Council to tackle the alarming rate of coastal erosion that is occurring at the Burrow, Portrane, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31795/19]

View answer

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

280. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress made to date in the preparation of a national coastal erosion strategy and plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31796/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 279 and 280 together.

In respect of coastal erosion at the Burrow, Portrane, County Dublin, I am advised that Fingal County Council is leading on this issue, as it is a matter for local authorities in the first instance to assess and address problems of coastal erosion in their areas. Where necessary, Local Authorities may put forward proposals to relevant central Government Departments, including the OPW, for funding of appropriate measures depending on the infrastructure or assets under threat.

In 2018, in response to serious coastal erosion problems at The Burrow, Portrane, Fingal County Council implemented temporary interim emergency measures to protect properties at risk. Funding of €456,464 was approved under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for these works.

Consultants appointed by Fingal County Council are currently assessing options for a longer term permanent solution for the Portrane Peninsula. I have also been informed by Fingal County Council that the assessment of options will be followed by extensive public consultation and environmental assessment and consent processes, which are likely to take several months to conclude. The Council has further confirmed that it is probable therefore that the study and the associated approved plan for the peninsula will take at least until the middle of 2020 to complete.

If a viable option is identified, the Council may submit a further application for funding to the OPW or other Government Departments as appropriate.

With regard to the preparation of a national coastal erosion strategy and plan, discussions are ongoing between a number of Government Departments and agencies in relation to managing those strategic issues associated with coastal erosion.

Construction Sector Strategy

Questions (281)

Micheál Martin

Question:

281. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his role in preparing the report on productivity in the construction sector; the parties involved; the reason for same; if it involves a three-tier consultation process; when it will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31838/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Since the launch of Project Ireland 2040, public infrastructure investment has been prioritised and is estimated to grow to €7.3bn in 2019. Employment levels within the industry have been on an upward trend and output is improving.

However, the BUILD report published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform shows that productivity in the Irish construction sector is lower than the European average and highlights the potential opportunities from increasing technology adoption and learning from best international practice. This can ensure a more sustainable sector and drive value for money.

That is why my Department is working to identify and assess actions which are relevant to the construction industry in Ireland and set out clearly defined and implementable actions for both the industry and for policy makers.

In addition to a wider phase of desk-based research, the industry consultation process comprises a number of elements including an online survey, a call for submissions, interviews and small focus group sessions, and workshops. The process is due to be completed later in 2019.