Immigration Status

Questions (144)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

144. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the residency status of a person (details supplied); if residency will be considered under a case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50967/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the person concerned does not hold a current permission to remain in the State.

An application for permission to remain, on the basis of parentage of an Irish citizen child, has recently been received from the person referred to. The application is one of a sizeable number of applications on hand, and will be given full consideration in due course.

If any further information/documentation is required, my Department will be in direct contact with the applicant.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to 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 my Department is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Family Reunification Applications

Questions (145)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

145. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of an application for family reunification in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50968/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can advise that the persons referred to by the Deputy have no application for Family Reunification with my Department.

However, I can confirm that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received in my Department from the person referred to by the Deputy on 12 December 2018 and from the person's spouse on 8 November 2018. Both applications are at an advanced stage of processing and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. If any further documentation is required, it will be requested from the applicants in due course.

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

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. The nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to 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 is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Naturalisation Eligibility

Questions (146)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

146. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50969/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that as the person concerned has no current right of residency in the State, he would not be in a position to meet the lawful residency criteria applicable to persons applying to my Department for a Certificate of Naturalisation.

I can further inform the Deputy that the person concerned has not submitted written representations in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended).

The position in the State of the person concerned will now be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation. If any representations are submitted, they will be considered before a final decision is made.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to 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 my Department is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (147)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

147. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedure to be followed in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50970/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

All persons making an application for a certificate of naturalisation are required to provide satisfactory documentary evidence of their identity and nationality. This is usually in the form of a current valid passport but may include other original supporting documents, such as a previously held or out of date passport, a birth certificate or register of birth and a marriage certificate.

In rare circumstances where an applicant cannot produce their current passport or a previous passport, birth certificate or other supporting documents, the applicant will be required to provide a full explanation. Such explanation should, where possible, be supported by satisfactory evidence that they have attempted to obtain such documentation and correspondence from the relevant authorities or embassy responsible for the issuing of passports and birth certificates in their country, clearly stating the reasons the documentation cannot be provided. The Immigration Service will consider the explanation given and, if satisfied it is for reasons genuinely beyond the applicants control may suggest alternative means to the person to assist in establishing their identity.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service 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 email service except in the cases where the response is , in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Visa Applications

Questions (148)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

148. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration will be given to extending a 30 day short-stay visa in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50971/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the situation remains the same as advised in response to Parliamentary Question 48491/19 answered on the 21 November, 2019.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (149)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

149. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of a position in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50972/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

An application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy was received by my Department on the 26 April 2018. This application continues to be processed and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. If further documentation is required, it will be requested from the applicant in due course.

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

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. The nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

Queries in relation to the status of any immigration cases may be made directly to my Department by email 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 Question process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in the cases where the response is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (150)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

150. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position in regard to an application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50973/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

My Department received an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy on 20 July 2018. This application is at an advanced stage of processing and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. If further documentation is required, it will be requested from the applicant in due course.

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

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. However, the nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to 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 is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda Operations

Questions (151, 152)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

151. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if An Garda Síochána will be seeking to emulate the successful informational campaign that was carried out by police forces in the UK following the introduction of safe passing distance legislation. [51074/19]

View answer

Marc MacSharry

Question:

152. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his Department or agencies within his remit plan to purchase additional safe passing mats as donated by a company (details supplied) to the An Garda Síochána in 2019. [51075/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 151 and 152 together.

The Deputy will be aware that road traffic legislation is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross, T.D.

Further to regulations made by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) (Amendment) Regulations 2019), as of midnight, Tuesday 12th November 2019, new laws protecting cyclists have come into effect. The new legislation will make it an offence to dangerously overtake a pedal cyclist. Building on existing legislation, it provides for an increased fixed charge penalty of €120 and three penalty points for offenders.

I am not aware of any plans by An Garda Síochána to purchase safe passing mats.

Additional information on the roll-out of new signage awareness raising measures in relation to this matter can be requested from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Road Safety Authority.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (153)

Seán Fleming

Question:

153. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of persons employed on an agency basis in her Department and in each agency under her aegis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50797/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department currently has one staff member employed through an Employment Agency (Legal Researcher in the WRC).

With regard to the Agencies under my Department’s remit, The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has one Clerical Officer on a 4-week assignment from an agency. 

Enterprise Ireland currently has 13 temporary agency staff, 11 of whom work full-time hours and 2 of whom are engaged on a part-time basis. These resources are engaged to provide temporary, short-term support in areas of critical business need.

The Health and Safety Authority currently has 1 person employed in a temporary capacity on an agency basis. The person is employed at Clerical Officer level.

IDA Ireland currently has 8 people employed on an agency basis.

The National Standards Authority of Ireland currently has 5 persons employed on agency basis.

The Irish Auditing and Accountancy Supervisory Authority, The Personal Injuries Assessment Board and Science Foundation Ireland currently have no staff members employed on an agency basis.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (154)

Willie Penrose

Question:

154. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the bilateral meetings she has had with her EU counterparts to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50955/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

During the course of the year my Ministerial colleagues, Ministers of State Pat Breen and John Halligan, and I have continued to work closely with a range of EU partners. The EU agenda has always been important for Ireland and continues to be a priority.

The following tables list the EU counterparts with whom we have engaged during 2019 on various issues including current EU files at the Competitiveness and Trade Councils and bilateral trade relations.

In addition to the bilateral meetings listed, my Ministerial colleagues and I engage with our EU counterparts on an ongoing basis at numerous EU related events.

Minister Heather Humphreys 

 Date of Meeting

 Name & Title of EU Counterpart 

 24 January 2019

Margarethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition

 12 July 2019

Claudia Dorr-Voss, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany 

 1 October 2019

Phil Hogan, EU Trade Commissioner-Elect

 Minister Pat Breen 

Date of Meeting 

 Name & Title of EU Counterpart

 15 April 2019

Anna Linde, Minister for Foreign Trade, Sweden

 12 June 2019

Tanil Kiik, Minister of Social Affairs, Estonia

 12 June 2019

Kazimierz Kuberski, Deputy Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy, Poland

 5 July 2019

Simon Kollerup, Minister for Business, Denmark

 5 July 2019

Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade, Karel Havlicek 

 16 July 2019

Dr. Eurico Brilhante Dias, Secretary for Internationalisation, Portugal

 26 September 2019

Darko Horvat, Minister for Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, Croatia

 26 September 2019

Mona Keijzer, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Netherlands

 26 September 2019

Ibrahim Baylan, Minister for Enterprise, Sweden

 2 October 2019

Xiana Margarida Bertolo, Secretary of State for Business, Spain

 Minister John Halligan

 Date of Meeting

 Name & Title of EU Counterpart

 13 February 2019

Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, UK

 14 March 2019

Claude Meisch, Minister for Education, Childhood and Youth, Luxembourg 

 27 June 2019

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

 4 July 2019

Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, UK 

 26 September 2019

Blazenka Divjak, Minister of Science and Education, Croatia

Local Enterprise Offices

Questions (155)

Robert Troy

Question:

155. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the details of the productivity challenge voucher scheme run by the local enterprise offices; the firm size thresholds to be eligible to apply to the scheme; the current and capital budget allocation for the programme in each year over the 2016 to 2020 period, in tabular form; the number of participants in each year of the programme; and the maximum funding permitted for each successful investment. [50961/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

On the 12th July 2019, I announced the LEO Productivity Challenge Fund through the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Network to support our smallest businesses across the country. The Productivity Challenge is a national programme promoted under your Local Enterprise Office “Making it Happen” campaign which supports Ireland’s small businesses and enterprises, by providing them with the right advice and training resources to enhance productivity and efficiency, identify opportunities in addressing productivity gaps in line with Future Jobs Ireland, embedding “lean” practices, greening their business and in reducing waste.  This initiative will also focus on training and capability development thereby enhancing customer experience, time and performance management.

The fund of €500,000 is primarily aimed at supporting domestically focused small businesses to examine their current operations in order to identify opportunities in addressing productivity gaps, embedding “lean” practices, greening their business and in reducing waste.  This initiative will also focus on training and capability development thereby enhancing customer experience, time and performance management. The scheme, which was opened to applications from the 14th of October is aimed at enterprises with a turnover or balance sheet total of less than €10M and a workforce of fewer than 50 people across a variety of sectors.  Small Irish businesses or enterprises can apply for one of the 200 productivity vouchers valued at €2,500 each, to help them develop a more efficient and productive business operation.  To qualify, businesses should examine their current operations and identify opportunities for addressing productivity gaps or improving efficiency in their business. There is a finite quantity of vouchers, so it is a competition to find the most deserving applicants. The applicant must make a convincing case, demonstrating how their business could make the best use of this funding opportunity.  The productivity challenge aims to increase business productivity in any of the following ways:

- Improve the quality of products

- Reduce delivery times

- Lower the cost of production

- Reduce business waste

- Increase the ability to generate more revenue

The Productivity Voucher aims to improve the quality of what businesses make, reduce the costs of running the business and help deliver more, faster. It will help businesses find new ways to implement more efficient processes, innovative production techniques, improved delivery systems or find new ways to streamline the organisational methods within a business.

The Productivity Voucher can be used in small businesses to engage and leverage experts who can consult with the businesses and help them assess their value chains and operations. This process can cover supply chain management, internal business and production operations, right through to logistics and distribution networks. Additionally, it can be used to Invest in training & capability development. It will support the development of a more effective, capable and efficient workforce through relevant training.

The closing date for applications for The Productivity Challenge Fund was on the 22nd November. An Evaluation Panel is currently reviewing applications against the stated criteria to form a? shortlist of 200 businesses who will be selected to receive a Productivity Voucher worth €2,500.  Successful applicants will be informed prior to year-end 2019 ?by the Local Enterprise Office.

EU Meetings

Questions (156)

Robert Troy

Question:

156. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the details of the discussions at the recent EU Competitiveness Council meeting in Helsinki and the proposals by the Finnish presidency and the European Commission on corporation tax reporting (details supplied); and the position taken by Ireland to safeguard national interests. [50962/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The proposal for a Directive to amend Directive 2013/34/EU (the Accounting Directive) as regards disclosure of income tax information by certain undertakings and branches (country by country reporting) was made by the European Commission in April 2016. The proposal was on the Competitiveness Council Agenda on 28 November 2019 for general approach. In the absence of sufficient support for the presidency's proposal, the presidency announced that it would continue work on this file and that it would reflect on the best way for taking this forward.

Ireland supports transparency. However, in relation to this proposal on public country by country reporting of income tax, Ireland supported a joint statement to the Competitiveness Council which agreed with the Council Legal Service that the legal base for this proposal should be a tax base (Article 115 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), and therefore, should be considered by Ecofin Council. Moreover, we consider that this measure should have the benefit of tax expertise to ensure that it is consistent with existing reporting requirements and, importantly, with the international cooperation and exchange of information arrangements, which are based on confidentiality. Tax experts are best placed to ensure that international efforts to collect income tax from multinational corporations will not be undermined by new measures.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (157)

Robert Troy

Question:

157. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the costs accrued by her Department towards an advertorial placed in a newspaper (details supplied) which contained an article on her behalf. [50963/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

There were no costs incurred by my Department in relation to this article.

Jobs Data

Questions (158)

Robert Troy

Question:

158. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the estimated number of new jobs that would be created if the percentage of those aged 15 years of age and over in the labour force returned to participation levels of 67.4% as experienced in 2007. [50964/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

If the labour force participation rate returned to 67.4% we would have 317,900 additional people in the labour force (though not necessarily in employment) as of Q3 2019 (Source: CSO, Labour Force Survey).

Job Creation

Questions (159)

Robert Troy

Question:

159. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the regional spread and share of jobs created in the most recent labour force survey data. [50965/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Since becoming Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I have made jobs and enterprise in the regions my top priority. I want to have a situation where all regions are enabled to realise their potential as contributors to economic recovery and growth.

Since Q1 2015, when the Regional Action Plans for Jobs (RAPJ) commenced there has been an increase of 312,500 people in employment across the State as at Q3 2019, with 195,600 people in the regions outside of Co. Dublin entering employment in that period. That is over 62% - or almost 3 out of every 5 jobs created.

I was pleased to note the latest Labour Force Survey results for Q3 2019 which show continued good progress on regional employment in the past 12 months. In the year to Q3 2019, employment has increased in six of the eight regions. The West and Mid-East have experienced strong growth, with employment growing by 5.3% and 5% respectively. This exceeds employment growth in the State overall of 2.4%.  Moreover, the unemployment rate fell in five of the eight regions in the year to Q3 2019. The South-East with an unemployment rate of 7.3% is currently the only region with an unemployment rate in excess of the national average by one percentage point.

To continue to build on the progress on employment growth throughout the country, and to ensure that the jobs created are sustainable and of high quality, I launched nine new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 earlier this year. The principle behind the Regional Enterprise Plans is collaboration between regional stakeholders on initiatives that can help to realise the region’s enterprise development potential. These stakeholders include: Local Authorities, the LEOs, the enterprise agencies, the Regional Skills Forum, tourism bodies, private sector ‘enterprise champions’, the Higher Education Institutes and others.

The Regional Enterprise Plans continue to deliver to the Government's RAPJ target to generate an uplift of 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020 (from a Q1 2015 baseline), with the unemployment rate of each region reduced to not more than one percentage point above the national average.  

This Government introduced the Regional Enterprise Development Fund in 2017 to support the development and implementation of collaborative and innovative projects to sustain and add to employment at county, regional and national level in line with the overall ambition of the RAPJs and the current Regional Enterprise Plans initiative. To date, the REDF has been delivered through two competitive calls with 42 projects across all regions securing a total of just under €60 million.

On the 24 June 2019, I announced a further €45 million Call 3 of the Fund. Eligible projects under this Call are currently being evaluated and I expect to be able to announce the successful projects following the completion of the evaluation process.

HSE Funding

Questions (160)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

160. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the extent to which grant aid support will be offered to support a community-based organisation (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50827/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The funding of voluntary organisations is provided through Section 39 of the Health Act, 2004, which is administered by the HSE. As such, I have referred your question to the HSE for direct reply.

Speech and Language Therapy Provision

Questions (161)

John Curran

Question:

161. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health when a child (details supplied) who was referred to the HSE school age team in west Dublin for continued speech and language therapy will receive the therapy. [50671/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy's question relates to a service issue it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Hospital Appointments Status

Questions (162)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

162. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied) in University Hospital Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50673/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (163)

Denis Naughten

Question:

163. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be called for a procedure; the reason for the delay in same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50674/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.