Residency Permits

Questions (129)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

129. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if residency or stamp 4 will be updated in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52530/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the person referred to has recently submitted an application for renewal of permission to remain in the State. Any information submitted alongside their application will be taken into account when the application reaches examination stage. Applications are dealt with strictly in chronological order. We are unable to provide a timeframe for completion however, the person concerned can be assured that there will be no avoidable delay in finalising their case.

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.

Residency Permits

Questions (130)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

130. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if residency or stamp 4 will be updated in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52531/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the person referred to has recently submitted an application for renewal of permission to remain in the State. Any information submitted alongside their application will be taken into account when the application reaches examination stage. Applications are dealt with strictly in chronological order. I am unable to provide a timeframe for completion however, the person concerned can be assured that there will be no avoidable delay in finalising their case.

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.

Immigration Status

Questions (131)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

131. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) can avail of the appropriate stamp status to facilitate studies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52532/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

My Department has no immigration record of the person mentioned by the Deputy. In order to apply for permission to study in the State, the person concerned must apply to my Department, in writing.

The person concerned should outline their current circumstances, their future intentions in the State and include any documentation they feel necessary to support the application. The application should be sent, via registered post, to; Immigration Service Delivery, Unit 1 - Residence Division, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

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.

Immigration Status

Questions (132)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

132. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52533/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that there is no record of an active immigration application from the person referred to. However, I can advise that the person referred to has permission to remain in the State on a Stamp 4 basis until 7 September 2020.

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.

Deportation Orders Re-examination

Questions (133)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

133. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if short-term or temporary permission to remain will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); if the information will be considered in the request for revocation of a deportation order; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52534/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the person referred to instituted Judicial Review proceedings on 4 December 2019. These Judicial Review proceedings are ongoing at present and as the matter is subjudice, I cannot comment further at this time.

Queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made directly to the 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, I inadequate or too long awaited.

Immigration Status

Questions (134)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

134. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if information sought by Parliamentary Question No. 145 of 10 October 2019 in the case of a person (details supplied) can be made available through freedom of information notwithstanding the privacy of a parliamentary question; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52535/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that it would be open to the person concerned to submit a Freedom of Information request to my Department, marked for the attention of the FOI Unit and addressed to the Department of Justice and Equality, 51 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2. A request can also be submitted by email to foi@justice.ie.

Any such request must come directly from the person concerned and not on their behalf.

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.

Immigration Status

Questions (135)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

135. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the residency status and eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52536/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can confirm that the person referred to by the Deputy was naturalised by my Department on 31 March 2014.

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.

Deportation Orders Re-examination

Questions (136)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

136. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his Department will facilitate a new application to revoke an order for deportation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52538/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order signed on 29 September 2017. This Order requires the person to remove themselves from the State and remain outside the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Order is a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

As previously advised, representations were received from the person concerned, pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), requesting that the Deportation Order be revoked including information regarding her marriage. Following the detailed consideration of the information submitted in support of the request, the Deportation Order was affirmed and notified to the person concerned by letter dated 27 November 2018. There are no outstanding correspondence or applications on file for this 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.

Immigration Status

Questions (137)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

137. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an existing stamp 4 is sufficient to meet immigration requirements while studying in the UK in the case of a person (details supplied); if the person's stay in the UK for education purposes is likely to affect eligibility for naturalisation; if travel documents will be returned to the person in the interim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52539/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The person to whom the question refers was granted Subsidiary Protection on the 16 July, 2014 and has permission to remain in the State on Stamp 4 conditions until 16 June, 2020.

My Department cannot comment on UK immigration rules, therefore the person in question should visit the UK Home Office website at https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/student-visas.

It may also be advisable to contact the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) at https://www.ucas.com/.

I can inform the Deputy that the person referred to does not have an application for naturalisation with my Department at this time.

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. However, where an applicant is found to be non-resident for substantial periods of time then those periods will not be reckonable for the purposes of satisfying the residency conditions for naturalisation. This is of particular importance with regard to the requirement to have 1 year continuous residence in the State immediately prior to the date of application, and may also mean the requirement of total residence is not met.

A reasonable and generous period of 6 weeks is allowed to provide for absences for normal holidays and other short absences such as for a family bereavement. Absences totalling 6 weeks or more in any year will be deducted in total when calculating residency.

Full details of the eligibility criteria and extensive guidelines are available on the Immigration Service Delivery website at https://www.irishimmigration.ie/citizenship/.

I confirm that my Department is not in possession of a travel document from the person referred to by the Deputy.

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.

Visa Applications

Questions (138)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

138. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedure to be followed in the case of a person (details supplied); if the person's relationship with an Irish citizen is likely to be considered in the determination of the case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52540/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can advise the Deputy that non-EEA nationals who visit the State may be granted a maximum of 90 days visitor permission by an immigration officer when they enter at the port of entry. This applies to both non-visa required nationals and visa required nationals.

It is a general policy of my Department not to grant an extension of a visitor permission. The visitor is expected to leave the State by the end of the original period for which the permission was granted.

If there is a change of circumstances since the original visitor permission or visa was granted then my Department will consider an application for an extension of the visitor permission. However, it is generally only in cases where unforeseen circumstances arise that my Department will grant an extension of visitor permission - for example where there is an unexpected illness of the visitor or of a member of the sponsoring family.

If unforeseen circumstances occur which mean that a visitor needs to extend their visitor permission, they must apply in writing by post to:

Extension of Visitor Permission

Residence Division Unit 6

Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service

PO Box 12695

Dublin 2

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.

Family Reunification Applications

Questions (139)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

139. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if this parliamentary question is acceptable as an appeal in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52541/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Following full consideration of this case, on 3 December, 2019 I decided to refuse the application from the person concerned for permission to remain based on marriage to an Irish national on . The reasons for the refusal were outlined in the refusal letter to the person concerned.

This Parliamentary Question cannot be accepted as an appeal, however, in line with the provisions of the Policy Document on non EEA Family Reunification it is open to the person concerned to appeal this decision in writing within two calendar months of the refusal date. Appeals must be submitted direct to;

Spouse of Irish National Unit (Appeals),

Immigration Service, Residence Division - Unit 6,

P.O Box 12695 ,

Dublin 2

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.

Execution of Wills

Questions (140)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

140. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of cases in which siblings objected to wills being made in favour of third parties that appear to have influenced the person making the will at a vulnerable time; if this can be prevented in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52542/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions, which include the provision of information on the courts system. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made with the Courts Service.

On foot of those enquiries, I have been informed that regrettably the information is not maintained in such a way as to provide the response sought by the Deputy. It can only be retrieved by way of a manual examination of each individual court record. As I am sure the Deputy will appreciate, such a lengthy process would require the expenditure of a disproportionate amount of the Courts Service's resources and it is therefore not possible to provide the level of detail sought.

With regard to the issue of legislative protection in relation to these matters, the position is that Part VII of the Succession Act 1965 sets out a number of legal requirements for the making of a valid will:

- It must be in writing;

- The testator must be over 18 years of age (the testator may be under 18 if he or she is or has been married);

- The testator must be of sound mind;

- The testator must sign or mark the will in the presence of two witnesses;

- The two witnesses must sign the will in the testator's presence;

- The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the will;

- The witnesses must see the testator sign the will;

- The signature of the testator must be at the end of the will.

These statutory provisions, as interpreted by the superior courts in relevant case law, provide robust safeguards in relation to the validity of wills.

It is, of course, possible for a person to commence legal proceedings challenging a will on the grounds of either the diminished capacity of the testator to make a valid will, or the testator's ability to make decisions freely in disposing of their property by will.

When determining whether or not a testator had the capacity to make a will, courts will generally consider whether they understood the nature of the act of making the will and its effect, and whether the testator understood the extent of the property of which they were disposing.

Where undue influence is alleged, the law places the burden of proving such undue influence on the person alleging it. In order to succeed, the court must be satisfied that:

(a) The person alleged to exert the influence had the power or opportunity to do so;

(b) Undue influence was in fact exerted; and

(c) The will was the product of that influence.

While I have no current plans to amend legislation in this area, the operation of the relevant legislation is kept under review by my Department.

Residency Permits

Questions (141)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

141. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when stamp 4 will be renewed in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52550/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the person concerned held Stamp 4 permission to remain in the State until 26 September 2019. The person concerned was advised that renewal of this permission was to be applied for two weeks in advance of the expiry date at their local District Headquarters.

The person concerned must make an appointment for renewal of their permission to remain at the Burgh Quay registration office.

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.

Work Permits Applications

Questions (142)

Robert Troy

Question:

142. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the reason a critical skills employment permit application made by a company (details supplied) is taking a long time to process. [52300/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

In March 2018, following a comprehensive review of the occupation lists for employment permit purposes, the employment permits system was amended to broaden the availability of permits to all chef grades, with the exception of commis chef ,subject to a quota of 610. The Employment Permits Section of my Department informs me that this quota has now exhausted. The application of a quota is to ensure that in the longer-term, strategies are put in place to source labour supply from both the domestic and European labour markets.

The State's general policy is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills needs from within the workforce of the State and other EEA states. Where specific skills prove difficult to source within the State and EEA, the employment permits system offers a conduit into the Irish labour market for non-EEA nationals with in-demand skills and is operated as a vacancy led system.

Before consideration can be given to extending quotas, sectors needs to submit a business case clearly demonstrating that the recruitment difficulties are shortages across the EEA not to other factors such as salary and/or employment conditions. Sectors also needs to detail the strategies in place for training/upskilling/career development and show that they are engaging systematically with the employment services of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The views of the lead policy Government Department for the sector, in this case, the Department of Tourism, Transport and Trade is an important part of the decision-making process.

The occupation lists are subject to a twice yearly review and the most recent review is almost finalised. Submissions received, including those from employer representative bodies in the sector, are under consideration as part of that review. I expect to receive the Review Report imminently and will be considering its recommendations, based on available evidence, in relation to possible changes to the lists including an extension to the quota for chefs.

Applications for employment permits remain in the processing queue until they are either withdrawn or processed. The applicant may choose to leave their application in the processing queue pending the outcome of the review of the occupational lists or the applicant may withdraw their application and apply for a 90% refund. Any application that has been withdrawn will lose its place in the processing queue.

Departmental Budgets

Questions (143)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

143. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the capital allocation of her Department in each of the years 2020 to 2025; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each year. [52204/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Expenditure Report published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as part of the Budget process set the 2020 capital allocation for my Department at €630m. This represents an increase of €10million on our 2019 capital allocation of €620million. The distribution of this allocation to the various capital programmes on my Department’s Vote will be set out in the 2020 Revised Estimates Volume which is due to be published in the coming days.

Whilst the definitive capital allocations for my Department for the years beyond 2020 will be determined as part of the normal estimates processes, the National Development Plan set out indicative Departmental capital allocations for the period 2018 to 2022. The indicative allocations for my Department for that period are set out in the Table below.

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

Capital Allocation

€555m

€620m

€630m

€640m

€715m

As advised my Department’s definitive capital allocations for the years 2021 to 2025 and the distribution of those allocations as and between the various capital programmes on our Vote will be determined as part of the annual estimates process for each of the years in question.

Enterprise Support Schemes

Questions (144)

Robert Troy

Question:

144. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applicants to the regional technology clustering fund by county and academic institution; the approved applications to the fund announced on 6 December 2019; the funding approved for each; the number of applicants not approved by county and academic institution; the reason for refusal; if there is an appeal mechanism in place to appeal refusal decisions; the amount allocated to the fund in 2019 and 2020; and the amount expended to date in tabular form. [52364/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

On 6th December 2019, my colleague Joe McHugh TD and I announced funding to be awarded by Enterprise Ireland under the Regional Technology Clustering Fund. The Regional Technology Clustering Fund provides a platform for engagement between enterprise and regionally-based academic institutions – the Institutes of Technology (IoT) and Technological Universities (TU) – in order to drive productivity and competitiveness in SMEs in and across the regions. The funding very much complements the core ambitions of Future Jobs Ireland, which in 2020 will have clustering as a key theme.

There were 18 applications received under the Regional Technology Clustering Fund Call. Twelve applicants have been approved funding. Unsuccessful applicants are welcome to contact Enterprise Ireland for feedback on their applications.

The table below presents the funding awarded to successful projects in the various Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities, such funding to be drawn down as the Initiative progresses:

Applicant Name

Project Summary

Fund awarded (€)

Dundalk IT

Development of a Connected Health & Wellbeing Industry Cluster in the North East, capitalising on internationally recognised research, innovation and business development strengths and expertise at DKIT.

287,928

Sligo IT

A Border Regions Manufacturing Cluster initiative will increase the engagement and connectivity of the three border IoTs – Sligo, Dundalk and Letterkenny. – with the economy and industry overall, and with manufacturing SMEs and micro/small companies throughout Counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth. It will help to strengthen productivity, competitiveness and internationalisation tin this exposed manufacturing sector, which is facing the urgent issues of Brexit, internationalisation, automation/industry 4.0 and digitalisation, new technologies and the low carbon economy.

297,314

TU Dublin

Construction is a strategically important sector for economic growth and employment in Ireland. The proposed project seeks to address current fragmentation with the development of the first national Construction Sector Cluster (positioned as part of the Design & Construct at Broombridge). It will place an emphasis on skills development, technology enhancement, productivity and process improvement, sustainable development, knowledge transfer and internationalisation for SMEs.

354,669

Letterkenny IT

The establishment of the Killybegs Marine Cluster will help boost productivity, increase market share, enhance innovation, and harness the opportunities that the bountiful renewable energy resource off the North West coast presents.

297,314

Cork IT

The proposed Cyber Security SME Cluster will drive the development of indigenous cyber security SMEs and digitally-dependent SMEs with a need for cyber security solutions. It will include a start-up ecosystem, and will foster productivity, drive competitiveness and support internationalisation. It will leverage the connections with industry through the national cyber security cluster organisation, Cyber Ireland.

406,340

Galway-Mayo IT (A)

The Wood and Furniture Manufacturing Cluster with help the sector to scale rapidly and sustainably. It will help businesses to improve competitiveness, productivity and collaboration; develop and adopt innovative technologies; efficiently create novel products and services; and enhance access to talent, R&D capacities and international supports.

363,671

Limerick IT

The Irish Digital Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing Cluster (IDEAM) will bring together and support the growth of three individual networks, namely Limerick for Engineering, Limerick for IT and the Precision and Turned Parts Manufacturing Association (PTMA) through an overarching cluster. It will become a one-stop-shop for Manufacturing SMEs for all aspects of digital transformation.

406,520

Tralee IT (A)

The AgriTech Cluster aims to build, develop and maintain a cluster of companies from across Ireland to drive AgriTech SME productivity, competitiveness and internationalisation.

290,364

Galway-Mayo IT (B)

The MedTech and Life Sciences Cluster will enable SMEs to scale rapidly through increased engagement in research, development and innovation activities and the efficient creation of novel products and services. It will help them to capitalising on future trends, especially in Digital Health, and to adopt innovative technologies.

363,671

Athlone IT

An Industry 4.0 Cluster will support SMEs to capitalise on the opportunities presented by Industry 4.0, maximising their productivity, competitiveness, internationalisation and growth potential.

377,520

Tralee IT (B)

Circular BioEconomy Cluster South West will work to enhance the knowledge, technology, skills, networking and innovation to help deliver the transition to a low carbon economy.

290,774

Carlow IT

Development of an industry-led Engineering Cluster to expand capability and competitiveness in the South East of Ireland.

377,520

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (145)

Niall Collins

Question:

145. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in her Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52395/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Ministers of my Department have not been issued with credit cards. The Department itself operates a total of three credit cards. These cards have been issued to named senior officials whose areas of responsibility may involve the on-line purchase of goods and services required by the Department.. There are defined procedures for the use of the Department's credit cards. These procedures stipulate that purchases of goods or services by means of the Department's credit card must be properly approved and in accordance with prescribed authorisation procedures and relevant procurement rules.

Expenditure on the Department's credit cards is monitored and reconciled on a monthly basis by my Department's Finance Unit. All items of expenditure by my Department, including expenditure by means of the Departmental credit cards, is subject to audit by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Since 2016 to-date, a total of €68,830.32 has been spent on the Department's three cards broken down as follows:

2016

2017

2018

2019

€10,171.89

€20,466.55

€20,970.95

€17,220.93

The total bank charges paid in that period was €1.18.

As regards the recoupment of work- related expenses on personally held credit cards , all expense claims , including the aforementioned recoupments , are subject to normal verification and authorisation processes, including approval by an officer than the claimant.

The use of credit cards in the Department's Agencies is an operational matter for the Agencies concerned. Information on the use of credit cards by our Agencies is not routinely collected by my Department. The Department does, however, have Oversight Performance and Delivery Agreements in place with all its Agencies as required by the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and these oblige the Agencies to comply with the Department's requirements in relation to financial management, monitoring and control. Such requirements are underpinned by Guidelines on Public Financial Procedures published by the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform.

I am satisfied that there are robust controls in place in relation to the use of credit cards in my Department and that the Agencies of the Department are fully aware of the need to ensure that such controls are also in place in relation to the use of credit cards in their respective organisations.

Enterprise Support Services Provision

Questions (146)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

146. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the assistance available to a new startup company (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52424/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Local Enterprise Offices are the ‘First Stop Shop’ for anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in Ireland. The Local Enterprise Office provides advice, information and support to anyone starting up or growing their business. With 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network in Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices offer you a wide range of experience, skills and services.

The LEOs provide a ‘signposting’ service in relation to all relevant State supports available through agencies such as Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, Education and Training Boards, the Credit Review Office and Microfinance Ireland. The LEOs can also offer advice and guidance in areas such as Local Authority rates, Public Procurement and other regulations affecting business.

The LEOs can offer direct grant aid to microenterprises (up to 10 employees) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities. Subject to certain eligibility criteria, the LEOs can provide financial assistance within three main categories

- Feasibility Grants (investigating the potential of a business idea)

- Priming Grants (to part-fund a start-up)

- Business Development grants for existing businesses that want to expand.

Companies may also avail of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme which is administered by the LEOs on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE). An initiative under the Government’s National Digital Strategy, eligible businesses can apply for a voucher of up to €2,500 matched by own funding. The Scheme helps small businesses trade more online to boost their sales and reach new markets. Funding can be used towards eligible costs such as digital marketing strategies, e-commerce websites or app development.

The LEOs may be able to offer ‘soft’ support in the form of training or provide a mentor to work with the business which include courses such as:

- The Mentor Programme is designed to match up the knowledge, skills, insights and entrepreneurial capability of experienced business practitioners with small business owner/ managers who need practical and strategic one to one advice and guidance.

- The LEO Management Development programmes provide the owner-manager with the management, leadership, business skills and knowledge to achieve sustainability and growth in their business.

- LEAN for Micro is a targeted programme for Local Enterprise Office clients to help small businesses boost competitiveness, increase performance and profitability as well as building resilience within their companies.

I am confident that over the coming year the LEO network will continue their robust and meaningful engagement with their many clients and will remain an integral component in the Government’s toolkit to prepare our SME sector to face any challenges they face by assisting Start-ups and Small enterprises throughout the country. I would strongly suggest that any new Start-up should contact their Local Enterprise Office, which can be found on the LEO Website (www.localenterprise.ie) and enquire as to what supports are available to them.

Brexit Data

Questions (147)

Peter Burke

Question:

147. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of firms that availed of InterTradeIreland support to secure Brexit advisory services in 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost in both years; and the average grant. [52507/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

InterTradeIreland (ITI) is playing a major role as part of the Government’s wider Brexit response. It provides a range of Brexit supports and advice through its special Brexit Advisory Service. That service has engaged with more than 5,402 SMEs this year, in addition to the 4,175 SMEs it assisted in 2018. The cost of ITI’s Brexit Advisory Service for 2018 and 2019 was approximately €1 million and €2.1 million respectively.

A key aspect of the Brexit Advisory Service is the provision of Brexit Vouchers, of which there are two types. The “Planning Voucher”, which is valued at €2,250, enables recipient firms to obtain expert advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services. There has been strong demand for this scheme, with over 1,799 vouchers approved to date.

ITI expanded its range of Brexit supports in 2019 to include a new “Brexit Implementation Voucher”. Valued at €5,625, with ITI paying 50%, it allows businesses to implement critical changes and strengthen their preparation for the new trading relationship ahead.

The Government has been increasing ITI’s budget steadily in recent years to ensure the body has the resources it needs to support firms preparing for Brexit. My Department provided additional funding to the body – in 2017, 2018 and 2019 – to allow it to undertake a range of initiatives, through its Brexit Advisory Service, aimed at assisting SMEs. I intend to provide an additional €1 million in capital funding to the body in 2020, which will further facilitate this important work.

Enterprise Support Services Provision

Questions (148)

Tom Neville

Question:

148. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount of the first two rounds of the disruptive technology innovation fund allocated to projects involving third level institutions. [52526/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) is a €500 million fund established under Project Ireland 2040 and forms a key part in the delivery of Pillar 1, embracing innovation and technological change, under the Future Jobs Ireland framework.

A particular focus of the Fund is to encourage research, development and innovation collaboration between enterprises located in Ireland, working with one or more Research Performing Organisations (RPOs), including third-level institutions such as universities and Institutes of Technology. Under Call 2, collaborations were required to have at least three project partners with at least two of these to be enterprises.

On 7 December 2019, I announced details of the successful applicants under Call 2 of the Fund. A total of €65m was awarded to 16 projects which will be drawn down over three years. This is in addition to the €75m awarded to 27 projects under Call 1 in 2018.

In Call 1, the €75 million awarded to 27 projects was split between RPOs and companies (SMEs and multinationals), with RPOs receiving approximately 53% of the funding and companies receiving approximately 47% of the funding.

For Call 2, the €65 million awarded to 16 projects was also split between RPOs and companies with approximately 37% going to RPOs and 63% going to companies.

Of course, companies have to match the DTIF funding that they receive.

RPOs, most of which are third-level institutions, are involved in 41 of the 43 projects that were awarded investment under Calls 1 and 2 of DTIF. Just two These projects have been awarded €137m of the total €140m allocated. In all, 11 of the projects funded to date are led by an RPO.