Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (416)

Carol Nolan

Question:

416. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Justice the status of the decision by the immigrant investor evaluation committee to deny an application (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2360/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) provides non-EEA nationals with a number of options to invest in Ireland. Successful applicants are granted a permission to reside in Ireland for a fixed period.

Projects seeking funding under the IIP are assessed by an Independent Evaluation Committee, composed of senior civil and public servants from relevant Government Departments and State Agencies involved in enterprise development in Ireland. The Evaluation Committee convenes at least four times a year to assess projects submitted for determination as suitable for IIP investment.

The Evaluation Committee makes a determination as to whether a project is suitable for IIP investment and if deemed suitable, the individual application will be submitted to me for final approval. The current structure for assessment of IIP projects ensures that significant external expertise is available in making a decision to recommend a project.

All enterprise applications are assessed on the basis of the profile of the applicant, the commercial viability of the project, employment outcomes associated with the proposed investment and the overall benefit to the Irish State. Where necessary, the Evaluation Committee will request policy input from the relevant Lead Department if that Department is not already represented on the Committee, for example, input from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on Social Housing projects.

The IIP is focused on supporting projects that are investment ready. A criteria for establishing same is that planning permission, where required, has been granted.

With regard to the project referred to by the Deputy, at the time that the application was being considered by the Evaluation Committee planning permission for the development had not been granted. The Evaluation Committee would not consider it appropriate for IIP permissions to be granted to projects where planning permission, if required, had not been approved. My Department understands that the planning permission issue in relation to this project is still ongoing.

Once the planning permission issue has been decided, and if successful, it will be open to applicants to submit fresh applications if they so wish. However, it would be preferable that before any further applications are submitted, that the Project Sponsors engage directly in a meaningful manner with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine to ensure that their previously highlighted concerns which contributed to the decision not to recommend the project as suitable for IIP funding are addressed appropriately.