Written Answers

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 85, inclusive, resubmitted.

Statutory Instruments

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

86 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach if he has exercised his powers under the Statistics Act 1993, including his power under section 25; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25096/10]

Under Section 25 of the Statistics Act 1993 the following Statutory Instruments are currently in force:

Statutory Instruments Currently in Force

S.I. No. 774 of 2005: European Communities (Statistical Classification of Building and Construction Activities) Regulations 2005

S.I. No. 909 of 2005: Statistics (Business Registers) Order 2005

S.I. No. 247 of 2006: (European Communities (Statistics) (Business Accounts Surveys) Regulations 2006

S.I. No. 248 of 2006 Statistics (Business Accounts Surveys)

S.I. No. 78 of 2008: Statistics (Census of Industrial Production) Order 2008

S.I. No. 314 of 2008: Statistics (Labour Costs Surveys) Order

S.I. No. 141 of 2008: Statistics (Outward Foreign Affiliates) Order 2008

S.I. No. 77 of 2008: Statistics (Service Inquiries) Order 2008

S.I. No. 313 of 2008: Statistics (Survey of Industrial Commodities Production) Order 2008

S.I. No. 56 of 2009: European Communities (Statistics in respect of Carriage of Passengers Freight and Mail by Air) Regulations 2008

S.I. No. 115 of 2009: Statistics (Building and Construction Inquiries) Order 2009

S.I. No. 73 of 2009: Statistics (Quarterly Survey of Construction) Order 2009

S.I. No. 103 of 2009: Statistics (Services Turnover) Order 2009

S.I. No. 92 of 2010: Statistics (National Employment Survey) Order 2010

S.I. No. 91 of 2010: Statistics (Service Inquiries) (Amendment) Order 2010

S.I. No.154 of 2010: Statistics (Monthly Industrial Inquiry) Order 2010

S.I. No. 181 of 2010: Statistics (Census of Agriculture) Order 2010

S.I. No. 206 of 2010: Statistics (Balance of Payments) Order 2010

S.I. No. 207 of 2010: Statistics (Census of Population) Order 2010

Departmental Allowances

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

87 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach if his Department pays allowances to former Taoisigh to maintain personal assistants; the former Taoisigh to whom such allowances are or have been paid; the amount per annum of each allowance; the cost of the allowances in 2010; the total cost since their introduction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25352/10]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

88 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach the facilities and allowances provided by his Department to former Taoisigh; the cost of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25353/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 87 and 88 together.

Under the terms of an initiative introduced by the Department of Finance in August 2001, my Department pays the salary of secretarial assistants employed by former Taoisigh, up to the maximum of the Higher Executive Officer (standard) scale. The initiative provides that a former Taoiseach may employ two secretarial assistants for a period not exceeding five years from the date when s/he was last Taoiseach. After the five year period has elapsed only one secretarial assistant may be employed. The initiative also includes provision for purchase of computer equipment necessary for this type of service.

While there are no guidelines in relation to the type of work for which secretarial assistants are employed by former Taoisigh, I understand that they carry out a normal range of secretarial duties to support the former Taoisigh in carrying out those aspects of work associated with their former roles which remain after their period in office has ceased. However, under the initiative the secretarial assistant cannot engage in constituency or active party political work.

The table below provides details of the costs incurred in providing secretarial assistants to former Taoisigh who have availed of the scheme since its introduction.

Former Taoiseach

Cost of Scheme by Year

Mr. Charles J. Haughey

2001 : €7,806

2002 : €32,475

2003 : €32,475

2004 : €35,538

2005 : €36,984

2006 : €54,609

Dr. Garret Fitzgerald

2001 : €2,602

2002 : €32,475

2003 : €32,475

2004 : €35,538

2005 : €36,984

2006 : €38,514

2007 : €41,857

2008 : €44,965

2009 : €38,055

Mr. Albert Reynolds

2001 : €6,824

2002 : €21,737

2003 : €35,034

2004 : €42,275

2005 : €52,051

2006 : €14,794

2007 : €19,145

2008 : €49,575

2009 : €44,890

2010 : €12,365

Mr. John Bruton

2001 : €26,020

2002 : €32,475

2003 : €18,943

2004 : €35,538

2005 : €36,984

2006 : €38,514

2007 : €40,635

2008 : €11,103

2009 : €0

2010 : €1,766

Mr. Bertie Ahern

2008 : €74,983

2009 : €114,369

2010 : €41,307

My Department also provided Dr. Garret FitzGerald with the use of computer equipment to the value of €1,913 during this period.

My Department also pays in respect of the use of airport VIP facilities and mobile phones by former Taoisigh. The costs for these in 2009 were €3,871 and €5,763 respectively. Former Taoisigh are invited to major State functions, e.g. the National Day of Commemoration, the 1916 Commemoration: cost figures are not compiled in respect of this.

Decentralisation Programme

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

89 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the cost incurred to date by his Department arising from the decentralisation proposals; the extent if known of any further or likely costs in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24793/10]

In consultation with the Department of Finance and the Office of Public Works (OPW), my Department opened an advance office in Carlow on 30 July 2007 for the staff of the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) and the Companies Registration Office (CRO). It is my understanding from the OPW, which has primary responsibility for the procurement of suitable office accommodation for the Government's Decentralisation Programme, that the fit-out costs of the advance office in Carlow were approximately €2,068,000 and that the yearly rental cost for this temporary office is in the region of €369,000.

The non-property decentralisation costs incurred from January 2004 (when the Government's Decentralisation Programme started) to end May 2010 amount to €505,323. The breakdown of the €505,323 figure into its constituent elements is as follows:

Office Machinery

171,849

Salaries & Allowances

136,980

Incidental

124,057

Consultancy

29,620

Office Premises

27,883

Travel and Subsistence

14,628

Postal & Telecom Services

306

The OPW has also acquired a site, at a cost of €1,440,000, in Carlow town centre for the construction of a permanent office there for the staff of NERA and the CRO and for other staff of my Department who were scheduled to decentralise to Carlow. The former Minister of State, Noel Ahern TD, announced on 13 December 2007 that the OPW had invited the Macquarie Partnership to be the consortium to become the ‘successful tenderer' in respect of this project. However, as the construction of the permanent office in Carlow had not started and as no contracts had been signed, the Minister for Finance decided, in December 2009 in the context of the Budget, to defer construction of the proposed permanent office for my Department in Carlow for the time being, pending an overall review of the Government's Decentralisation Programme in late 2011.

Apart from the ongoing costs associated with having NERA and CRO staff in the advance office in Carlow, it is not anticipated that there will be any further costs incurred by the OPW on behalf of my Department between now and the completion of the review of the Government's Decentralisation Programme in late 2011.

Employment Figures

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

90 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of jobs lost or created in County Kildare in the past two and a half years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24794/10]

The industrial development agency figures for job gains and losses are compiled annually in the Forfás Annual Employment Survey, the most up to date of which details employment figures up until 2009. The figures are in respect of numbers of persons employed in firms assisted by IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Shannon Development, which come under the aegis of my Department. As the information is compiled on an annualised basis, the figures in respect of 2010 will not be available until 2011. Details of the agency figures for job gains and losses are set out in the following tabular statement.

Statistical information in relation to the County and City Enterprise Boards is collated on an annual basis. My Department does not collect or retain information on the number of specific job losses or gains in County and City Enterprise Board assisted companies.

However statistical information in relation to details of jobs existing in companies assisted by Kildare County Enterprise Board is set out in the following tabular statement for the two years to end 2009. Figures in respect of 2010 will be available in early 2011.

The Government through the industrial development agencies, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Shannon Development together with the County and City Enterprise Boards, are committed to promoting County Kildare as a location of choice for investment, enterprise development and job creation.

Job Gains (Permanent Full-Time) IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Shannon Development

2008

2009

County Kildare

463

380

Job Loss (Permanent, Full-Time) In IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Shannon Development

2008

2009

County Kildare

-1,333

-2,114

Kildare County Enterprise Board

End 2008

End 2009

No. jobs existing in CEB-supported companies*

975.0

897.5

*Excluding jobs in existence prior to CEB support.

Work Permits

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

91 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the extent to which persons employed on foot of work permits are free to opt for an alternative employer; the extent to which he has facilitated this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24796/10]

It is current Government policy to issue new work permits for highly skilled, highly paid positions or for non-EEA nationals who are already legally resident in the State on valid employment permits or where there is an officially recognised scarcity of workers of a particular type or qualification. There are no restrictions on non-EEA nationals changing employer after a period of one year and my Department already facilitates those who wish to change employers with new employment permits.

The Employment Permits Act 2006 sets out in legislation the rules governing employment permits. One of the main focuses of this Act was in increasing the rights and protections afforded to migrant workers and the means to ensure redress in the event of exploitative practices. The Act's provisions gave immigrants greater freedom, autonomy and control over their own employment choices by enabling workers for the first time to apply and re-apply for their own permit and allowing workers to change their employer after a period of a year and move to another employment in order to take advantage of better conditions or career options. Last year, my Department issued almost 1,500 employment permits in respect of employees changing to new employers.

It is important to retain the current arrangements, which operate to protect employees, as they allow the system to trace employers who employ permit holders. I believe that the current arrangements for moving jobs are sufficiently flexible. A properly controlled employment permit system requires that permits be issued to a specific employee for a specific job with a specific employer. To do otherwise would not only risk abuse of the employment permit system but would make it much more difficult to ensure that employers observed the employment rights of employees.

My Department condemns any practices by employers that may result in non-compliance with employment rights entitlements or any other mistreatment of employees including those on employment permits. Ireland's Employment Rights Legislation establishes the statutory rights applicable to all people working in Ireland whether they are Irish citizens or otherwise. I would urge all whose employment rights are being breached by an employer or those who know of such exploitation to contact the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA).

The Employment Permits Act 2006 allows for regular review of Ireland's economic migration policies and my Department keeps these policies under review, in line with the emerging needs of the labour market, on an on-going basis.

Economic Competitiveness

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

92 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the innovative steps he has taken to date to facilitate economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24797/10]

Since the onset of the global downturn, Agencies and groups associated with my Department, including Forfás, EI, IDA and the National Competitiveness Council, have examined the underlying factors affecting Ireland's competitive position and our ability to grow indigenous enterprise, as well as continue to attract mobile international investment, with a view to returning to economic growth. Specific actions to both protect jobs and create opportunities for employment in the future are set out in reports such as "Jobs and Growth 2010", the report of the High Level Action Group on Green Enterprise and the Innovation Taskforce.

Supporting jobs and promoting economic growth involve direct and indirect measures. My Department and the enterprise development agencies have a role to play in both, by directly supporting business and by ensuring that the policies pursued across Government are consistent and support our overall national objectives of promoting employment and strengthening the smart economy.

Our enterprise support policies have consistently evolved to meet the needs of both foreign direct investment (FDI) and growth–orientated indigenous firms. The enterprise agencies have a range of new schemes which have been designed in response to the economic downturn.

Enterprise Ireland launched its "Job Expansion Scheme" earlier this year. This is designed to assist Enterprise Ireland client companies achieve increased employment through increased sales and international trade, through a competitive fund. Enterprise Ireland is also providing supports to 3 programmes in a "LEAN" Initiative, which is focused on helping companies improve their processes and overall competitiveness to ensure they can compete in the global market. Enterprise Ireland is targeting the creation of 40,000 new jobs over the period 2010-2014 and through the multiplier effect this is expected to lead to an additional 28,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy.

The 35 City and County Enterprise Boards are the principal deliverers of State support to the micro-enterprise sector and, in particular, they have deepened their role in promoting a culture of entrepreneurship in their locality. I am examining the CEB network and will bring proposals to Government in the coming weeks on the best structure to support micro-enterprise.

The recently launched IDA strategy entitled "Horizon 2020" presents a view for the next decade, outlines the opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and sets the goals to capitalise on these opportunities. In addition to setting challenging job targets of 62,000 new jobs to be created in the medium term (2010 to 2014), which will generate an additional 43,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy, IDA aims to support this strategy by focusing on the Transformation Agenda with its client companies to allow them become leaner, more flexible and innovative; by targeting investments in new forms of FDI — partnership opportunities from the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China); and by targeting growth prospects in nanotechnology, biotech, alternative energy and nanotechnology to name a few.

The Taoiseach has asked me to chair the High Level Implementation Committee to oversee implementation of the Report of the Innovation Task Force. This Report contained many new ideas, as well as calling for a reinforcement and better alignment of existing efforts and programmes.

I chaired the first meeting of the Implementation Committee on 1 June, where we identified the issues where we can move immediately to implementation; the need, in the first instance, to constitute and deploy expert working groups as specified by the Task Force; and the requirement for close engagement with agencies and other Government Departments to progress implementation. The Committee will meet on three more occasions in 2010; in late July, October and December.

Following this first meeting, an Intellectual Property Implementation Group, was appointed and charged with developing and realizing the intellectual property related (IP) recommendations of the Innovation Taskforce Report and of a detailed IP review conducted by Forfás for my Department. The development of an IP Strategy will help Ireland maximise the return on public investment and support the commercialisation of Irish research and development.

Since my appointment as the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, I have met with a range of stakeholder groups, including individual companies and business people both in Ireland and abroad. In my discussions, I have underlined that my priority is to facilitate economic recovery through ensuring that the business environment is supportive of Irish enterprise, both manufacturing and services, in order to grow exports and to continue to encourage high value foreign investment. Most commentators, including the Central Bank and Economic Social and Research Institute, now forecast positive growth in the second half of this year.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

93 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the degree to which he has identified the most commonly recognised factors currently affecting the competitiveness of the economy; the degree to which he proposes to put in place the necessary corrective measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24798/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

94 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation his plans to bring job creation costs in this economy into line with competing jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24799/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 and 94 together.

The National Competitiveness Council's report, "Benchmarking Ireland's Performance", provides a comprehensive assessment of Ireland's competitiveness on an annual basis.

Our competitiveness is derived from a complex set of factors, not all of which are within our control. The factors with the greatest influence on our competitiveness are costs, productivity and exchange rates with our trade and investment partners, and the overall business environment. The business environment covers areas such as regulation, infrastructure and the availability of necessary business services.

Since January 2008, Ireland has regained competitiveness as domestic inflation remains below that of our main trading partners and the euro weakened. We are seeing lower business costs, which is easing pressures on the business sector. Wage costs, asset prices and energy prices are all on a downward trend. Annual inflation fell by 2.5% in the twelve months to April, in contrast to the rest of the euro area where it rose by 1.5%. The Irish consumer price level relative to its trading partners is now back to levels last seen in 2000/2001.

The price of services to business fell by 5.7% in Q3 2009 compared to Q3 2008, with the largest price reductions in architecture, engineering and technical testing (-9.8%), and computer programming and consultancy (-8.5%). The European Commission forecast that our Unit Labour Costs will fall by 9.4% over the 2009 to 2011 period, against a projected increase of 3.5% for the Eurozone. This equates to a positive swing of 13% in Ireland's favour over the three year period to 2011.

The Government introduced an extensive package of measures to contain energy costs last summer — and this is reflected in a much improved position relative to competitors. Data released in May shows that electricity and gas prices fell for all types of energy consumers in the second half of 2009, and have moved closer to the EU average for most business users.

Competitiveness also includes boosting the total productive capacity of the economy. We are doing this, for example, through targeting R&D and Innovation to drive productivity and ensure that we have the skills and technologies available in Ireland that will give us a competitive advantage. The entire Irish economy must be a smart economy, that is to say, a high-productivity and technologically advanced economy if we are to compete with the rest of the world. The Taoiseach appointed me to Chair the group tasked with implementation of the recommendations of the Innovation task force and this met for the first time earlier this month.

We are focused on opportunities for growth in a number of key sectors. For example, the Green Enterprise report estimated that 80,000 new jobs could be created in the coming years and there are other opportunities for growth in high-end manufacturing and services. Since my appointment as the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, I have met with a range of stakeholder groups, including individual companies and business people both in Ireland and abroad. In my discussions, I have underlined that my priority is to ensure that the business environment is supportive of Irish enterprise, both manufacturing and services, to grow exports and to continue to encourage high value foreign investment.

Employment Figures

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

95 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the total net number of jobs lost or created throughout the economy in the past two and a half years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24800/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

96 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of new jobs created throughout the economy in the two and a half years on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24801/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

97 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of jobs lost throughout the economy in the past two and a half years on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24802/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95 to 97, inclusive, together.

The only figures available to my Department are those in respect of job gains and losses in client companies of the enterprise development agencies.

The agency employment figures are compiled annually in the Forfás Annual Employment Survey, the most up to date of which details figures for jobs lost and gained up until 2009. The figures are in respect of numbers of persons employed in firms assisted by IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Shannon Development, which come under the aegis of my Department. As the information is compiled on an annualised basis, the figures in respect of 2010 will not be available until 2011. Details of the agency figures are set out in the following tabular statement.

My Department does not collect or retain information on the number of specific jobs created or lost in County and City Enterprise Board assisted companies. However statistical information in relation to details of jobs existing in companies assisted by the County and City Enterprise Boards is set out in the following tabular statement for the two years to end 2009. Figures in respect of 2010 will be available in early 2011.

Job Gains and Loss (Permanent Full-Time) IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Shannon Development in 2008 and 2009

Gains 2008

Loss 2008

Net 2008

Gains 2009

Loss 2009

Net 2009

All Regions

25,061

-31,845

-6,784

12,329

-45,593

-33,264

Carlow

302

-334

-32

73

-605

-532

Kilkenny

170

-395

-225

102

-760

-658

Tipperary South Riding

562

-418

144

288

-595

-307

Waterford

556

-1,385

-829

376

-1,969

-1,593

Wexford

487

-519

-32

319

-630

-311

Cavan

834

-393

441

91

-952

-861

Donegal

319

-504

-185

295

-772

-477

Leitrim

82

-128

-46

18

-194

-176

Louth

568

-1,071

-503

352

-1,160

-808

Monaghan

356

-1,047

-691

126

-836

-710

Sligo

167

-251

-84

139

-506

-367

Clare

801

-664

137

411

-1,467

-1,056

Limerick

814

-1,791

-977

586

-3,857

-3,271

Tipperary North Riding

97

-704

-607

9

-579

-570

Cork

3,452

-2,878

574

2,306

-5,463

-3,157

Kerry

348

-491

-143

187

-848

-661

Dublin

9,177

-10,214

-1,037

4,196

-14,297

-10,101

Galway

1,498

-1,992

-494

738

-2,266

-1,528

Mayo

377

-558

-181

300

-558

-258

Roscommon

80

-390

-310

46

-425

-379

Kildare

463

-1,333

-870

380

-2,114

-1,734

Meath

365

-673

-308

315

-909

-594

Wicklow

313

-959

-646

108

-975

-867

Laois

93

-189

-96

19

-318

-299

Longford

171

-252

-81

128

-365

-237

Offaly

719

-464

255

125

-833

-708

Westmeath

520

-645

-125

296

-1,340

-1,044

Jobs Existing in CEB-assisted Companies*

CEB

2008

2009

Carlow

924.0

843.0

Cavan

1,075.5

947.0

Clare

1,496.5

1,417.5

Cork City

892.0

770.5

Cork North

462.0

387.0

Cork South

942.5

916.0

Cork West

643.5

571.0

Donegal

1,816.5

1,688.0

Dublin City

1,811.0

1,873.0

Fingal

1,061.0

1,050.0

South Dublin

954.0

855.5

Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown

851.0

807.0

Galway

1,688.0

1,743.0

Kerry

1,089.0

1,170.5

Kildare

975.0

897.5

Kilkenny

782.5

664.0

Laois

848.5

656.0

Leitrim

368.5

300.5

Limerick City

682.5

590.5

Limerick County

890.0

842.0

Longford

787.0

745.0

Louth

1,212.5

973.5

Mayo

1,314.5

1,223.0

Meath

1,026.0

908.0

Monaghan

912.0

873.5

Offaly

792.0

593.5

Roscommon

853.5

620.0

Sligo

788.0

735.0

Tipperary NR

519.5

413.0

Tipperary SR

783.5

655.5

Waterford City

809.5

662.0

Waterford County

587.5

547.0

Westmeath

1,131.0

1,004.5

Wexford

1,252.0

1,076.0

Wicklow

789.0

707.5

Totals

33,811.0

30,726.5

*Excluding jobs in existence prior to CEB support.

Redundancy Payments

David Stanton

Ceist:

98 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation when payment will be awarded in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25072/10]

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that the statutory redundancy lump sum application for the individual was authorised for payment on 31 May, 2010. Payment of the amount due to the individual is expected to issue shortly.

Research Funding

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

99 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the position regarding an application for research funding (details supplied). [25118/10]

Following the Taoiseach's announcement in Dáil Éireann on March 23rd 2010 regarding the transfer of various Departmental functions, responsibility for the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) has now moved from the Department of Education and Skills to my Department.

A comprehensive assessment process for PRTLI Cycle 5 was undertaken by an international panel and this panel has completed its work. I expect to make an announcement shortly following confirmation of overall funding allocations for my Department.

Redundancy Payments

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

100 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation further to Parliamentary Question No. 94 of 29 April, 2010 when a redundancy payment will be awarded to the person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25154/10]

My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. There are two types of payment made from the SIF — rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees, and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation.

As I informed the Deputy in my answer of 29 April 2010 my Department received a lump sum claim for the individual concerned on 11 January, 2010. In the course of processing the claim, a query was raised with the employer. I understand that this has been resolved in recent days and that the claim has now been authorised for payment. Payment is expected to issue in the next two to three week period.

Departmental Staff

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

101 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will provide a list of all members of staff of his Department and offices stating the total amount paid to each person in 2009 including basic salary, allowances and overtime. [25191/10]

Information on salary, allowance and overtime payments to named individuals working for a named employer constitutes "personal data" for the purposes of the Data Protection Acts as the individuals concerned are or can be identified from the data.

Such data in respect of staff of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation is held for the purposes of paying appropriate levels of salary, and where applicable, allowance and overtime, to them. The Department, as a "data controller" for the purposes of the Data Protection Acts, is required to comply with those Acts. Section 2 of the Data Protection Act 1988, as amended, requires data controllers to ensure appropriate security measures against, among other things, unauthorised disclosure of the data. Consequently, other than as required by law (i.e. to the Revenue Commissioners), the Department does not disclose salary etc. details of any individual member of staff unless explicitly authorised to do so by that member of staff.

However, I can advise the Deputy that in 2009 expenditure by my Department on salaries, allowances and overtime was as shown in the table below. These expenditure figures relate to the staff of the Department and its offices (1,074.93 FTE at 1 January 2009) plus staff employed directly by the National Consumer Agency (NCA) who are not members of Department's staff but for whom the Department provides a payroll facility.

Number of staff at 01.01.2009

(1) Total Salary Payments in 2009

(2) Total Allowance Payments in 2009

(3) Total Overtime Payments in 2009

Total of (1), (2) and (3)

Full time Equivalent (FTE)

1,074.93

52,757, 916

1,348,581

834,937

54,941,434

Redundancy Payments

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

102 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation when redundancy payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25225/10]

My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. There are two types of payment made from the SIF — rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees, and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation.

I can confirm that my Department received a lump sum claim for the individual concerned on 4 May, 2010. This claim awaits processing. In respect of redundancy lump sum payments paid directly to employees, such as in this instance, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from October 2009.

In relation to Redundancy claims, the scale of the challenge is evident from the statistics that show incoming redundancy claims in 2009 amounted to 77,001 which represents a threefold increase over the level of claims lodged in 2007 and earlier years. In 2007, claims received were of the order of 25,000.

Efforts continue to be made by my Department to deliver more acceptable turnaround processing times for Redundancy payments given the difficulties that this gives rise to for both individual employees and the business community. Measures already taken in the Department in 2009 to alleviate the pressures on the Payments area include:

almostdoubling the number of staff through reassignment to a current level of 52 full time equivalents;

prioritisation of the Department'sovertime budget towards staff in the Section to tackle the backlog outside normal hours;

establishment of aspecial call handling facility in NERA to deal with the huge volume of telephone calls from people and businesses concerned about their payments;

Better quality information relating to current processing times on the Department's website;

Engagement with the Revenue Commissioners to facilitate theoffset of redundancy rebate payments by employers against existing outstanding tax liabilities which those employers owe to the Revenue Commissioners.

The backlog and waiting times remain at unacceptable levels. However, improvements are evident. I should point out that my Department has, in 2009, processed 50,664 claims, up 70% on 2008. In the period 1 January 2010 to 31 May 2010 new claims amounted to 28,587 — a fall off of almost 20% on the corresponding 5 month period in 2009 when 35,559 new claims were lodged. The reduction in incoming claims is most welcome. Inroads are being made in the backlog of claims reducing from 42,591 in December 2009 to a current level of 34,881 at end May 2010. In the first five months 34,036 claims were processed, up 130% on the same period last year.

Responsibility for the payment functions arising under the Redundancy and Insolvency payment schemes is due to be transferred to the Department of Social Protection with effect from 1 January 2011. In transferring the functions between Departments, it is the intention that this will operate seamlessly and without any adverse impact on the service levels being experienced by individuals or the business community awaiting payment of redundancy claims.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

103 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will support the case of a person (details supplied). [25240/10]

My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. There are two types of payment made from the SIF — rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees, and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation.

I wish to advise the Deputy that on the basis of valid claims entered in the Redundancy Payments System in my Department, there is no record of a redundancy claim having been received in respect of the individual in question. Application should be submitted to my Department on an RP50 form completed and signed as appropriate by the employer and the employee. This form can be completed online or downloaded from the Department's website at www.entemp.ie. In the case of forms submitted online, it is necessary also to submit a signed hardcopy of the form. Claims are not imported onto the Redundancy Payments System until a signed copy is received.

It is also my Department's practice not to enter incomplete claims on the system as these claims cannot be processed until the necessary documentation is submitted. Forms are returned to allow missing details and/or supporting documentation to be submitted. The documentation required in support of lump sum claims is set out on my Department's website at www.entemp.ie. Submission of correctly completed Redundancy claim forms (RP50s) with all of the required documentation greatly facilitates the processing of claims.

The documentation required in support of lump sum claims is evidence of the employer's inability to pay the redundancy entitlements to the employees. This involves requesting a statement from the company's Accountant or Solicitor attesting to the inadequacy of assets to make the redundancy payments and the latest set of financial accounts for the company. The employer is also asked to admit liability for the 40% liability attaching to the company arising from the redundancy payments.

If this information is provided to the Department, the employees are paid their redundancy entitlement from the Social Insurance Fund. Upon payment, the Department pursues the company for the 40% share that the company would ordinarily have been expected to pay to the employees.

If the necessary supporting documentation required from the employer is not provided to my Department, the employee will be advised by my Department to take a case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) against the employer to seek a determination establishing the employee's right and entitlement to redundancy. Once such a determination is available, the Department is then in a position to make the payment to the employee concerned. Should the outstanding documentation be provided by the employer during the period while the case is pending a hearing before the EAT, this would allow the claim to be processed by my Department in the usual way.

Industrial Development

Michael Creed

Ceist:

104 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of visits organised by the Industrial Development Authority of visiting industrialists to County Cork since January 2009; the way the sites visited were selected; the outcome of each of these site visits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25263/10]

I have been informed by IDA Ireland that from the beginning of January 2009 to the end of May 2010 there have been a total of 51 site visits to County Cork (including the City).

Typically, a company is shown three or four selected towns, which can meet its requirements for skills, labour, site and/or buildings and infrastructure. In selecting locations to show companies, IDA Ireland seeks to include locations which have been affected by closures/job losses and also gives priority to the Border, Midlands and West regions.

It is not possible to indicate the outcome of these particular site visits because it is often the case, following such visits, that a considerable number of meetings and discussions take place between the potential investor and IDA Ireland before the company makes a final decision on location.

While IDA Ireland seeks to influence the selection of location, the final decision on both visits and final location is taken, in all cases, by the promoting company.

Redundancy Payments

Joe Carey

Ceist:

105 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will expedite the redundancy payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; when payment will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25329/10]

My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. There are two types of payment made from the SIF — rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees, and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation.

I can confirm that my Department received a statutory lump sum claim for the individual concerned on 28 May, 2010 claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer. In respect of lump sum payments paid directly to employees in instances where employers are unable to pay the statutory redundancy entitlements, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating also from October 2009.

In relation to Redundancy claims, the scale of the challenge is evident from the statistics that show incoming redundancy claims in 2009 amounted to 77,001 which represents a threefold increase over the level of claims lodged in 2007 and earlier years. In 2007, claims received were of the order of 25,000.

Efforts continue to be made by my Department to deliver more acceptable turnaround processing times for Redundancy payments given the difficulties that this gives rise to for both individual employees and the business community. Measures already taken in the Department in 2009 to alleviate the pressures on the Payments area include:

almostdoubling the number of staff through reassignment to a current level of 52 full time equivalents;

prioritisation of the Department'sovertime budget towards staff in the Section to tackle the backlog outside normal hours;

establishment of aspecial call handling facility in NERA to deal with the huge volume of telephone calls from people and businesses concerned about their payments;

Better quality information relating to current processing times on the Department's website;

Engagement with the Revenue Commissioners to facilitate theoffset of redundancy rebate payments by employers against existing outstanding tax liabilities which those employers owe to the Revenue Commissioners.

The backlog and waiting times remain at unacceptable levels. However, improvements are evident. I should point out that my Department has, in 2009, processed 50,664 claims, up 70% on 2008. In the period 1 January 2010 to 31 May 2010 new claims amounted to 28,587 — a fall off of almost 20% on the corresponding 5 month period in 2009 when 35,559 new claims were lodged. The reduction in incoming claims is most welcome and while inroads are being made in the backlog of claims, it remains at an unsustainably high level — reducing from 42,591 in December 2009 to a current level of 34,881 at end May 2010. In the first five months 34,036 claims were processed, up 130% on the same period last year.

Responsibility for the payment functions arising under the Redundancy and Insolvency payment schemes is due to be transferred to the Department of Social Protection with effect from 1 January 2011. In transferring the functions between Departments, it is the intention that this will operate seamlessly and without any adverse impact on the service levels being experienced by individuals or the business community awaiting payment of redundancy claims.

Grocery Industry

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

106 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation his plans to introduce a code of practice which will protect smaller grocer outlets from aggressive low pricing by large retailers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25336/10]

The Renewed Programme for Government contains a specific commitment to "implement a Code of Practice for doing business in the Grocery Goods sector to develop a fair trading relationship between retailers and their suppliers" and "to review progress of the Code and if necessary to put in place a mandatory code". The introduction of a Code is intended to ensure that there is a fair balance in the relationships between the various stakeholders in the grocery goods sector. The Code is not intended to protect one stakeholder over another nor is the Code intended to prevent stakeholders such as retailers and suppliers from engaging in robust contractual negotiations as happens in most other sectors of the economy.

The Government will give effect to this commitment by including a specific provision in the legislation, currently being prepared to merge the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority, which will allow for the introduction of a statutory Code of Conduct in the grocery goods sector. I expect to publish this legislation later this year.

In the interim period, until the legislation is enacted, the opportunity will be taken to explore with all relevant stakeholders the possibilities of agreeing a Voluntary Code. To this end I recently appointed a facilitator to engage with stakeholders in relation to the drawing up of a Voluntary Code.

The Government recognises the importance of ensuring that there is a fair balance in the relationships between the various players in the grocery goods sector, particularly given the importance of this sector to the national economy. The introduction of a Code, as provided for in the Programme for Government, is intended to achieve such a balance taking into account the interests of all stakeholders including the interests of the consumer.

Insofar as the issue of prices is concerned, Government policy has consistently favoured the promotion of competition and consumer choice as the best way of tackling high prices. Previous policies which sought to control prices by legal instruments such as maximum price control orders, as applied particularly in the 1980s, were not effective as the experience was that maximum permitted prices often became the minimum price and price inflation in that era was in double digits.

In support of the policy of promoting competition, competition law prohibits undertakings who hold a dominant position in the market from abusing that position of dominance. In this regard undertakings who engage in practices such as predatory pricing with the aim of eliminating competitors and, following such elimination to significantly raise prices, may be engaging in an abuse of dominance. Persons who have evidence of undertakings engaging in an abuse of dominance should bring that evidence to the attention of the Competition Authority in order that it may be investigated. It is important to point out, however, that predatory pricing should not be confused with competitive pricing which is the result of a properly functioning market. The purpose of competitive pricing is to retain market share whereas predatory pricing is aimed at driving efficient competitors out of the market by abusing a dominant position.

Departmental Expenditure

James Reilly

Ceist:

107 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the cost of rebranding his Department from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; if he will provided a breakdown of this cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25499/10]

As the Deputy is aware, the name of my Department was officially changed on 2nd May last from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. The estimated costs associated with this name change are anticipated to be in the region of €10,000. This includes the costs of stationery, signage and changes to my Department's website. Every effort has been made to keep costs, which will be provided from within my Department's existing resources, to a minimum. Where possible, work associated with the name change has been undertaken in-house by the staff in my Department.

The vast majority of the tasks, associated with my Department's name change, have already been completed, and any outstanding work will be completed over the coming weeks. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of final costs for these changes at this point.

Enterprise Support Services

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

108 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he has considered establishing a fully serviced office and workshop infrastructure dedicated to new start up businesses (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25522/10]

The 35 County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) were set up in 1993 to provide support for micro-enterprises in the start-up and expansion phases, to promote and develop indigenous micro-enterprise potential and to stimulate economic activity and entrepreneurship at local level. The CEBs deliver a series of Programmes to underpin this role and they can provide both financial and non-financial assistance to a project promoter.

Subject to certain eligibility criteria new and developing enterprises may qualify for financial support from the CEBs in the form of Priming Grants, Business Expansion/Development Grants and Feasibility/Innovation Grants. The provision of non-financial assistance can take the form of a wide range of business advice and information services, management capability training and development programmes as well as business networks such as women-in-business networks, etc.

In order to more fully explore the range of options that may be available, potential entrepreneurs are advised to contact their local CEB to discuss their business needs with the relevant staff of the Board. Contact details for individual CEBs can be found by accessing the following website: www.enterpriseboards.ie

Employment Figures

Michael Ring

Ceist:

109 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of jobs created by the assistance of the Industrial Development Authority in County Mayo on a year by year basis for the past five years in tabular form; the breakdown of the jobs that were lost in County Mayo for the same period; the companies that lost or increased jobs for the past five years; and the number of people currently employed in IDA supported factories in County Mayo in tabular form. [25530/10]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

110 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of occasions that an agency (details supplied) has brought industrialists to visit locations in County Mayo in the past five years in tabular format. [25531/10]

Michael Ring

Ceist:

111 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of occasions that representatives from an agency (details supplied) have visited County Mayo in the past five years in tabular format. [25537/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 111, inclusive, together.

The Forfás Annual Employment Survey reports on job gains and losses in companies that are supported by the industrial development agencies. Data is compiled on an annualised basis and is aggregated at county level. Details of the number of new jobs created and jobs lost, as well as the number of people employed in IDA supported companies in Mayo, in each of the years from 2005 to 2009, is set out in the attached tabular statement.

Data is given in confidence for statistical purposes only and it is not possible to give details of the number of jobs lost in individual companies.

In the same five year period, there were a total of 13 site visits by potential investors to County Mayo. Details of the number of visits in each of those years is set out in the following tabular statement.

As regards the number of visits by IDA personnel to County Mayo in the period it is not possible to furnish such a figure. The Mayo region is looked after by IDA's Western Regional office. The Regional Manager and Regional Executive in Galway attend numerous meetings in Mayo in any given year, meeting such bodies as Mayo County Council, Mayo County Enterprise Board and various regional Chambers of Commerce. The officials also accompany potential investors on itineraries to the County. In addition, a number of IDA Project Executives, who are not based in Galway, regularly visit the various IDA supported companies based in Mayo. The region is also visited by personnel from IDA's Property Division, who have responsibility for the upkeep of the parks in the Mayo region and are also responsible for any new site development work happening in the area.

Table showing the numbers of jobs gained and lost and the total employment figures in IDA supported companies in County Mayo in each of the years 2005 to 2009.

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Total Permanent Employment

3,038

2,973

3,004

3,010

2,918

New Jobs created

86

37

114

132

97

Job Losses

243

102

83

126

189

Table showing the number of site visits by potential investors to Mayo in each of the years 2005 to 2009

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Number of site visits

2

3

4

3

1

Enterprise Support Services

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

112 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the funding streams that are available to a new business enterprise in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25549/10]

My Department does not provide direct funding or grants to businesses but provides funding to a number of State Agencies, including the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) and Enterprise Ireland, through whom assistance is delivered directly to businesses.

Subject to certain eligibility criteria new and developing micro-enterprises may qualify for financial support from the CEBs in the form of Priming, Expansion/Development and Feasibility/Innovation Grants. All of the CEBs operate to the same criteria in relation to the assistance which they can offer i.e. they can support the establishment and/or the development of enterprises provided that the projects have the capacity to achieve commercial viability and which over time may develop into strong exporting entities. The criteria under which financial assistance is available from the CEBs are based primarily on factors such as the sector of the economy in which an enterprise is operating or intends to operate and the size or proposed size of the enterprise. Support to an enterprise must not give rise to displacement of existing enterprises.

Priority is given to projects in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors. It is considered inappropriate to support other areas such as retail enterprises, personal services (e.g. hairdressers, gardeners, etc), professional services (accountants, solicitors, etc) lacking export potential, and construction, as it is considered that these enterprises generally give rise to unacceptable deadweight (where projects would have proceeded anyway) and/or displacement (where the projects simply displace business from other players in the market) concerns.

I would advise the company to remain in contact with their local CEB in North Cork to explore their options as their business develops as the CEBs also deliver a range of non-financial supports in the form of business advice, training and mentoring designed to improve management capability development within micro-enterprises to help new and existing enterprises to operate effectively and efficiently so as to last and grow, which may be available to the company.

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

113 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the sources of funding available to a person who wishes to carry out market research on an idea for a new business. [25588/10]

My Department does not provide direct funding or grants to businesses but rather provides funding to a number of State Agencies, including the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) through whom assistance is delivered directly to businesses.

Subject to certain eligibility criteria new and developing micro-enterprises may qualify for financial support from the CEBs in the form of Priming, Expansion/Development Grants and Feasibility/Innovation Grants. In addition, the CEBs deliver a range of non-financial supports to improve management capability development within micro-enterprises designed to help new and existing enterprises to operate effectively and efficiently so as to last and grow.

However, in order to more fully explore the range of options that may be available, potential entrepreneurs are advised to contact their local CEB to discuss their business needs with the relevant staff of the Board. Contact details for individual CEBs can be found by accessing the following website: www.enterpriseboards.ie

Work Permits

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

114 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation further to Parliamentary Question No. 157 of 9 February 2010, if he will furnish a reply to the issues raised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25589/10]

My Department processes applications in respect of the different types of employment permits (Green Cards Permits, Work Permits, Spousal/Dependant Permits and Intra-company Transfer Permits). All applications are processed in line with the Employment Permits Act 2006.

I set out hereunder the figures as requested by the Deputy. I apologise to the Deputy for the delay in responding but the figures requested were not readily available and necessitated a new report being created.

New employment permits issued in the last 5 years broken down by new first time permits and repeat new permits

Type of Permit

All New Permits

Repeat New Permits (employees changing employer)

First Time Permits

2009

3,899

1,453

2,446

Work Permit

2,068

1,009

1,059

Green Card

756

191

565

Intra-Company Transfer

292

2

290

Spousal/Dependent

770

251

519

Training

13

0

13

2008

8,419

2,307

6,112

Work Permit

3,541

1,468

2,073

Green Card

2,110

301

1,809

Intra-Company Transfer

419

4

415

Spousal/Dependent

2,194

534

1,660

Training

155

0

155

2007

9,914

2,473

7,441

Work Permit

4,664

1,731

2,933

Green Card

2,839

396

2,443

Intra-Company Transfer

377

0

377

Spousal/Dependent

1,907

345

1,562

Training

127

1

126

2006

7,308

2,389

4,919

Work Permit

6,315

2,201

4,114

Spousal/Dependent

993

188

805

2005

7,632

2,522

5,110

Work Permit

6,841

2,343

4,498

Spousal/Dependent

791

179

612

Note: The total figure for new permits issued may differ slightly from those already provided but our stats views give a picture at a certain point in time and some of the permits issued in previous years may have subsequently been cancelled.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

115 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation his plans to review the work permit system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25686/10]

Since 2004, a key element of Irish labour market policy has been to ensure that general labour and skills needs are met from indigenous labour and from within the workforce of the European Union. For strategic skills or labour shortages in designated occupations in key economic sectors, Government policy is to issue employment permits for the employment of non-EEA nationals for specific vacancies and in response to employer demand. The various schemes that give effect to such policies — Green Cards, Work Permits, Spousal and Dependant Work Permits and permits for Intra-company Transferees — were introduced following enactment of the Employment Permits Act 2006 and came into effect on 1st February 2007.

In early 2009, the Department undertook a review of employment permit arrangements to ensure their ongoing relevance to the needs of the Irish labour market. As an outcome of this review, more stringent eligibility criteria were implemented for prospective new entrants to the work permit schemes from 1st June 2009 onwards. The main changes to the Work Permits Scheme were:

Making more job categories ineligible for new work permits (equestrian work riders, domestic workers and HGV drivers now ineligible), and an ongoing assessment of other occupational categories regarding their continued eligibility.

No new permits for jobs carrying a salary level of less than €30,000 per annum except on an exceptional basis.

Strengthening the labour market needs test by doubling FÁS advertisement of the job vacancy from 4 weeks to 8 weeks, and national press advertisement from 3 days to 6 days.

More stringent conditions for the renewal of permits — higher fees and requirement for labour market needs test on renewal.

Spouses and dependants of new principal work permit holders, who have entered the State after 1st June 2009, having to apply for work permits in their own right and are subject to the standard eligibility criteria and fees for work permits.

The Employment Permits Act 2006 allows for regular review of Ireland's economic migration policies and my Department keeps these policies under review, in line with the emerging needs of the labour market, on an on-going basis.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

116 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation his plans to review the green card system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25687/10]

Since 2004, a key element of Irish labour market policy has been to ensure that general labour and skills needs are met from indigenous labour and from within the workforce of the European Union. For strategic skills or labour shortages in designated occupations in key economic sectors, Government policy is to issue employment permits for the employment of non-EEA nationals for specific vacancies and in response to employer demand. The various schemes that give effect to such policies — Green Cards, Work Permits, Spousal and Dependant Work Permits and permits for Intra-company Transferees — were introduced following enactment of the Employment Permits Act 2006 and came into effect on 1st February 2007.

In early 2009, the Department undertook a review of employment permit arrangements to ensure their ongoing relevance to the needs of the Irish labour market. As an outcome of this review, more stringent eligibility criteria were implemented for prospective new entrants to the work permit schemes from 1st June 2009 onwards.

In relation to the Green Card Scheme, some 21 occupations, mainly in financial services, were removed from the Green Card eligibility list where the salary payable for the job is in the range €30,000-€59,999 per annum. These occupations continue to be eligible for Green Cards where the salary payable to the jobholder is €60,000 or more per annum.

The Employment Permits Act 2006 allows for regular review of Ireland's economic migration policies and my Department keeps these policies under review, in line with the emerging needs of the labour market, on an on-going basis.

Financial Services

David Stanton

Ceist:

117 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance the way that persons who hold neither a passport nor a driving licence can prove their identity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25076/10]

I assume that the Deputy's question relates to the obligation on financial institutions and others to identify their customers under the Anti Money Laundering provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1994.

Section 32 of that Act requires financial institutions and others to take reasonable measures to identify their customers. Recommended procedures for the implementation of this provision are set out in Guidance Notes issued under the aegis of the Money Laundering Steering Committee which is chaired by the Department of Finance and includes representatives of financial services industry bodies, the regulatory authorities and State Agencies, including the Garda Síochána.

Identification of a customer comprises two elements. These are name verification (typically evidenced by photograph — bearing document such as passport, driving licence or other reputable source document) and address verification. Paragraph 28 of the Guidance Notes states that any measures adopted by credit institutions should not deny a person access to financial services solely on the grounds that they do not possess certain specified identification documentation. Paragraph 45 of the Guidance Notes provides for those persons who cannot reasonably be expected to produce certain forms of identification, such as a person who does not have a passport or driving licence and/or whose name and Irish address does not appear on a utility bill, electoral register or directory.

The credit institution may use either of the following methods, as an alternative to a passport/driving licence, to verify name:

Identification form with photograph signed by a member of the Gardai or

Documentation/cards issued by a Government Department showing the name of the person and

Letter/statement from a person in a position of responsibility (e.g. a solicitor, accountant, doctor, minister of religion, teacher, social worker, community employment scheme supervisor) who is in a position to confirm the person's identity to the credit institution. In such instances the person providing the letter/statement must present themselves to the relevant credit institution providing proof of their own identity and verifying their status to the credit institution.

The Deputy may be aware that the Anti Money Laundering provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1994 will be replaced by the Criminal Justice Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act 2010 whose provisions are expected to be commenced shortly. The new Act requires customers to be identified on the basis of documents or information that a credit institution has reasonable grounds to believe can be relied upon to confirm the identity of the customer including documents from a Government source. This requirement will be supplemented by guidelines which will give examples of the type of documents which may be accepted for identification purposes. The range of acceptable documents under any new guidelines is likely to be broadly similar to those provided for under existing guidelines.

Drug Seizures

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

118 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if he will detail, in tabular form, the quantity and type of illegal drug seized at each of the State’s airports in 2009 and, in a separate table, to date in 2010. [25323/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the tables below set out the amounts of illegal drugs, together with the number of seizures and estimated value, seized by Revenue's Customs Service in 2009 and 2010 to date at airports in the State.

2009 — Drug Seizures

DUBLIN AIRPORT

DRUG TYPE

NUMBER OF SEIZURES

VOLUME (KGS)

VALUE (EURO)

AMPHETAMINE

1

0.0010

15

CANNABIS HERBAL

170

201.9914

2,423,695

CANNABIS RESIN

91

14.0169

97,014

COCAINE

26

28.2020

1,974,152

CRACK COCAINE

1

0.0440

4,400

ECSTASY

3

0.0139

233

HEROIN

1

0.0015

300

KHAT

8

47.2500

94,500

LSD

1

0.3000

10,000

MAGIC MUSHROOMS

4

0.0990

250

MESCALINE

2

7.4000

59,200

METHAMPHAMINE

1

0.0010

70

TOTAL

309

299.3207

4,663,829

CORK AIRPORT

DRUG TYPE

NUMBER OF SEIZURES

VOLUME (KGS)

VALUE (EURO)

AMPHETAMINE

3

0.0072

110

CANNABIS HERBAL

177

1.1172

11,763

CANNABIS RESIN

73

0.3801

2,558

COCAINE

2

0.8310

58,170

ECSTASY

1

0.0066

110

TOTAL

256

2.3421

72,711

SHANNON AIRPORT

DRUG TYPE

NUMBER OF SEIZURES

VOLUME (KGS)

VALUE (EURO)

AMPHETAMINE

2

1.0000

15,000

CANNABIS HERBAL

9

7.3050

87,660

CANNABIS RESIN

5

0.7720

4,704

COCAINE

3

2.1620

151,340

TOTAL

19

11.239

258,704

IRELAND WEST KNOCK AIRPORT

DRUG TYPE

NUMBER OF SEIZURES

VOLUME (KGS)

VALUE (EURO)

AMPHETAMINE

5

0.0045

153

CANNABIS HERBAL

15

0.0865

1,054

CANNABIS RESIN

5

0.025

175

ECSTASY

2

2 Tabs

10

TOTAL

27

0.116

1,392

WATERFORD

DRUG TYPE

NUMBER OF SEIZURES

VOLUME (KGS)

VALUE (EURO)

CANNABIS HERBAL

5

1.0290

12,348

TOTAL

5

1.0290

12,348

There were no drug seizures in 2009 at any other airport.

2010 — Drug Seizures

DUBLIN AIRPORT

DRUG TYPE

NUMBER OF SEIZURES

VOLUME (KGS)

VALUE (EURO)

AMPHETAMINE

1

0.0020

30

ANABOLIC STEROIDS

1

5.8805

39,200

CANNABIS HERBAL

102

1.4224

12,613

CANNABIS RESIN

45

1.3185

7,911

COCAINE

8

6.1710

431,970

HEROIN

1

0.2650

39,750

KHAT

2

43.3000

86,600

LSD

1

0.0900

3,000

MAGIC MUSHROOMS

3

0.0470

470

TOTAL

164

58.4964

621,544

CORK AIRPORT

DRUG TYPE

NUMBER OF SEIZURES

VOLUME (KGS)

VALUE (EURO)

CANNABIS HERBAL

51

9.8555

118,222

CANNABIS RESIN

14

0.0581

349

MAGIC MUSHROOMS

1

0.0150

150

TOTAL

66

9.9286

118,721

SHANNON AIRPORT

DRUG TYPE

NUMBER OF SEIZURES

VOLUME (KGS)

VALUE (EURO)

AMPHETAMINE

2

0.0070

105

CANNABIS HERBAL

7

1.2190

14,628

CANNABIS RESIN

2

0.0125

75

COCAINE

7

0.1250

8,750

TOTAL

18

1.3635

23,558

IRELAND WEST KNOCK AIRPORT

DRUG TYPE

NUMBER OF SEIZURES

VOLUME (KGS)

VALUE (EURO)

CANNABIS HERBAL

7

0.049

588

CANNABIS RESIN

2

0.004

24

TOTAL

9

0.053

612

WATERFORD

DRUG TYPE

NUMBER OF SEIZURES

VOLUME (KGS)

VALUE (EURO)

COCAINE

1

3.5000

245,000

TOTAL

1

3.5000

245,000

There were no drug seizures in 2010 to date at any other airport.

Tax Code

James Bannon

Ceist:

119 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Finance the reason a person (details supplied) in County Longford is being taxed on his dividend; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25034/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the person in question has not claimed a refund of any Dividend Withholding Tax since he last received a refund of such tax for 2006. I am also advised that his Revenue District has sent the relevant forms to him. On receipt of the completed forms, any due refunds will be processed expeditiously.

Financial Institutions Support Scheme

Joan Burton

Ceist:

120 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the extent to which the savings of credit union members are covered by the deposit guarantee scheme; the financial contribution that the credit union movement has made to date to the coinsurance fund underpinning the deposit guarantee scheme; the financial contribution that the credit union movement is expected to make to the coinsurance fund underpinning the deposit guarantee scheme in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25068/10]

The Deposit Guarantee Scheme covers credit union savers for 100 per cent of their savings up to a maximum of €100,000 per institution.

With regard to the coinsurance fund, I assume that the Deputy refers to the amount maintained by credit unions in the deposit protection account at the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland (CBFSAI) under Section 4 of the Financial Services (Deposit Guarantee Scheme) Act 2009 (the Act). This requires that credit institutions maintain an amount on deposit with the CBFSAI in the deposit protection account. The amount is prescribed by the Minister for Finance by regulations. Section 12(2) of the Act provides that Section 4 will come into operation on such day as the Minister may appoint by order. In addition, Section 7 of the Act provides that a group or groups of credit unions may, subject to the prior approval of the Minister, make an aggregate payment or payments on behalf of each credit union which is a member of such a group in satisfaction of the amount of a deposit in the deposit protection account. My Department, in consultation with the CBFSAI, is considering the amount of the deposit to be paid and the method of payment of the deposit and I will make a decision of this in the near future. I will then, as Minister for Finance, appoint the date of commencement of Section 4 of the Act for credit unions.

The amount of the deposit to be held in the deposit protection account has already been set in European Communities (Deposit Guarantee Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 at 0.2% of a financial institution's total deposits held in EU Member States. This represents a figure of €26m approx. across the credit union movement. As provided for in Section 5 of the Act, the amount of the deposit by a credit institution in the deposit protection account, after the initial calculation, shall be recalculated annually by the CBFSAI for each credit institution or class of credit institutions by reference to the returns made by them.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

121 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the formula for calculating the guarantee fees paid by credit institutions participating in the eligible liabilities guarantee scheme; the changes that are being made to the fee structure at the request of the EU Commission; if the fee structure differentiates between credit institutions with varying credit ratings; the level of fee income expected to be derived from the ELG scheme in 2010, 2011 and 2012; if fee income from the ELG scheme is to be paid into a fund or account administered by the Central Bank; if this fee income is held on deposit or if it is invested to generate a return; and when it is envisaged that the fee income accrued is to be transferred to the Exchequer. [25069/10]

There are a number of aspects to the Deputy's questions and I will answer each individually.

The formula for calculating the guarantee fees paid under ELG is based on European Central Bank recommendations on government guarantees for bank debt dated 20 October 2008, available at http://www.ecb.int/pub/pdf/other/recommendations_on_guaranteesen.pdf .

I am aware that the European Commission has produced a staff working document on the application of State Aid rules on Government Guarantee Schemes covering bank debt to be issued after 30 June. The pricing structure outlined in the document will be taken into account in discussions between the Department and the European Commission on a possible extension of the ELG Scheme.

In line with the ECB recommendations above, the fee structure is differentiated for institutions based on their credit ratings for liabilities with a maturity of greater than one year. A flat rate fee of 50bp applies to all liabilities of less than or equal to one year.

The ELG Scheme envisages that institutions will issue unguaranteed debt, which has began to happen, and will gradually reduce their dependence on the guarantee. This makes it is difficult to estimate what fees will be received over the coming years. However on the basis of information we have to date, we have estimated that €700m will be received in 2010, €600m will be received in 2011 and €300m in 2012.

The fee income is paid into an interest bearing mandated account in the Central Bank where it is held on deposit. To date €90.5m has been received which was in respect of Q1 2010.

I have previously referred to the €1bn which will be raised under CIFS and ELG by end September 2010 and which will be transferred to the Exchequer thereafter. I am presently considering the best mechanism for receiving and holding payments under ELG after September.

Proposed Legislation

James Reilly

Ceist:

122 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Finance if he will defer the proposed section 35 amendment to the Credit Union Act 1997 until the outcome of the strategic review of the credit union sector is clear; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25075/10]

The credit union sector has been seeking relaxation of the Section 35 lending limits in an effort to facilitate borrowers who have run into difficulties in repaying their loans and need to have them rescheduled to allow for repayment over a longer period of time. The lending limits are set in primary legislation and an amendment to Section 35 is, therefore, required to be made at this point. Accompanying measures are also required to balance the increased flexibility in relation to rescheduling and the Registrar of Credit Union does not have the power to impose these additional conditions that are required to be introduced across the sector.

The restrictions contained in Section 35 of the Credit Union Act 1997 are an important asset and liability instrument which has protected the financial stability of the credit union movement over many years and it would not be prudent to await the outcome of the strategic review. While the review itself is planned to be completed by March 2011, any primary legislation arising would require some considerable further time to implement. The credit union sector needs to be safeguarded further now to ensure that it can continue to provide assistance to its members in the current difficult economic climate while at the same time lending only within its capacity to do so.

I have decided therefore to proceed with the amendments to Section 35 now.

National Asset Management Agency

Joan Burton

Ceist:

123 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the way it is possible that certain persons whose loans have been, or are in the process of being, transferred to the National Asset Management Agency reportedly continue to engage in significant property deals in other jurisdictions without making any serious attempt to discharge debts owed to the banks and NAMA; if his attention has been drawn to reports of certain high profile developers successfully relocating to other jurisdictions; if his further attention has been drawn to comments made by the chairman of NAMA to the effect that many developers whose loans have been, or are in the process of being, transferred to NAMA inappropriately continue to lead lives of luxury, thumbing their noses at the ordinary taxpayers who have to foot the bill for bank bailouts and to take on the risk of inherent in the NAMA project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25101/10]

I am aware that the Chairman of NAMA has reiterated that NAMA intends to enforce security on borrowers who fail to demonstrate either the will or the capacity to deliver on debt reduction targets. In this regard, the Chairman made it clear that NAMA will require each borrower to set out how he plans to reduce his debt significantly over a three to five year horizon. Failure to demonstrate the capacity to do so would leave NAMA with no option but to foreclose. The Chairman also made it clear that NAMA reserves the right to recover arrears at any stage if it emerges that a debtor recovers the capacity to repay his or her debts.

I am also advised that NAMA has informed borrowers whose loans have transferred to it that the Agency will be very stringent in terms of any management costs allowed to them as part of their business plans.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

124 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if the transfer of the first tranche of loans to the National Asset Management Agency has been fully completed for all participating institutions; if a significant amount of loans scheduled for transfer to NAMA in the first tranche were subject to very significant discounts of up to 100%, due to the deficiencies of legal title and documentation; if the discount was then challenged by the credit institutions; the loans, if any, originally scheduled for transfer to NAMA in the first tranche that are now not being transferred due to a challenge by the relevant credit institution to the transfer price or haircut or where significant losses are incurred by a credit institution on loans which had been scheduled for transfer to NAMA but, due to a challenge in respect of the transfer price or haircut, they remain on the books of the credit institution, and if he proposes to replenish from State funds any resulting negative. [25102/10]

The transfer of the first tranche of loans to NAMA from the five participating institutions concluded in May 2010. The total transferred was some €15.3 billion and the consideration paid was €7.7 billion, making an overall discount of 50% on this tranche.

I am advised by NAMA that some of the loans transferred have been subjected to 100% discounts because of various legal deficiencies. In a number of other cases, institutions asked for additional time in order to remedy deficiencies. This was granted by NAMA subject to strict deadlines and, in most of those cases, appropriate remedial action was taken by the institutions. Where an institution failed to remedy the deficiency, the full discount was applied.

Where a valuation remains in dispute between NAMA and an institution, the loan is not left with the institution; it is acquired by NAMA. The institution may only challenge that valuation under Section 121 of the NAMA Act 2009. After completion of all transfers from the institution, Section 122 of the Act provides for disputes on the overall portfolio valuation to be referred to a Valuation Panel for review providing certain criteria are fulfilled.

Tax Incentive Schemes

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

125 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if supports are available for the development of retirement villages by the private sector. [25150/10]

There are no specific incentives in place for the development of retirement villages by the private sector.

Financial Institutions Support Scheme

James Reilly

Ceist:

126 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 94 of 2 June 2010, if he will provide a breakdown of this data by bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25184/10]

James Reilly

Ceist:

127 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 94 of 2 June 2010, the total liabilities of the banks broken down by these categories; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25185/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 126 and 127 together.

I indicated in my reply to PQ Reference No. 22449 on 27 May that total liabilities covered under the Covered Institutions Financial Support Scheme (CIFS) and the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme (ELG) was €269 at end March 2010. I further stated that, as of end April, a total of €188bn was expected to mature before 1 October. This figure assumes demand deposits mature in the first month and notice deposits mature as if notice were given at end April. I also said that the position of individual covered institutions is sensitive commercially and I therefore confined my reply to aggregate figures.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

128 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the nature and extent of continuing obligations of the State to bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank after September 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25237/10]

In September 2008 the Government implemented the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme 2008 (CIFS scheme) to safeguard the Irish banking system. The CIFS scheme covered all deposits (retail, commercial, institutional and interbank), covered bonds, senior debt and dated subordinated debt (lower tier II) until 29 September 2010. Anglo Irish Bank has a continuing contractual obligation to all of its bondholders.

On 9 December 2009 the State entered into the Credit Institutions (Eligible Liabilities Guarantee) Scheme 2009 (the ELG Scheme) as a further measure to maintain the stability of the financial system of the State. The ELG Scheme provides for an unconditional and irrevocable State guarantee for certain eligible liabilities (including deposits) of up to five years in maturity incurred by participating institutions in the relevant period.

At 31 May 2010 €2.39bn of Anglo bonds with maturities after 30 September 2010 had been guaranteed under the ELG scheme. In addition to these bonds, Anglo has both commercial paper and certificate of deposit programmes operated under the ELG scheme.

Courts Service

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

129 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the inability of the new CAT form, CA24, to be completed on-line and if a system compatible with the Revenue On-line System can be developed. [25238/10]

The Deputy will be aware that Finance Act 2010 introduced significant changes to modernise and simplify the probate process and Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) administration.

A key element of the change is the abolition of the requirement to present two copies of the Inland Revenue Affidavit (Form CA24) to the Revenue Commissioners, in connection with the issue of a High Court certificate, prior to submitting the Inland Revenue Affidavit to the Probate Office. The two copies of the Inland Revenue Affidavit are now submitted directly to the Probate Office, which then forwards one copy to Revenue when the Grant of Representation is issued.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the opportunity was taken, as part of the modernisation and simplification of CAT administration, to re-design the Inland Revenue Affidavit to facilitate scanning and the information sought is primarily unchanged.

Neither the old nor the new versions of the Inland Revenue Affidavit is capable of being filed on-line using a system similar to Revenue's On-line System (ROS). To provide for such a system, the Courts Service would have to develop an appropriate secure IT platform. However, putting the Inland Revenue Affidavit in an on-line environment will be kept under review by Revenue and the Courts Service in the context of the development and roll-out of e-Government services over the coming years.

Departmental Properties

Brian Hayes

Ceist:

130 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Finance the annual rent paid on behalf of each Government Department for office space from 2006 to date in 2010 in tabular form; if there has been a rent review on each property; the outcome of the rent review; the date of the rent review; if the review went to arbitration; the outcome of the arbitration; the name of the company and or persons that are the landlord; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25239/10]

The Office of Public Works is currently collating the information requested by the Deputy and this information will be made available at the earliest possible date.

Tax Yield

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

131 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the number of transactions in respect of stamp duty on residential property transactions for 2009 and each of the preceding five years; if the residential property was a new house or apartment or a second hand property; the band of stamp duty into which the property fell; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25259/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that stamp duty data on residential property transactions are not captured in such a manner that would enable a breakdown to be provided between second-hand and new residential properties and between house and apartment property types. As the majority of new houses purchases are exempt from stamp duty — only new properties in excess of 125 square metres for owner-occupiers or new properties purchased as investments are stampable — it can be reasonably assumed that the bulk of stamp duty paid transactions in respect of residential property relates to second-hand properties.

The available information is in respect of the total number of residential property transactions, where stamp duty was paid in the years 2004 to 2009, broken down by reference to the consideration price bands corresponding to the rates of stamp duty, and is set out in the following tables:

Stamp Duty on — Residential Property 2004

Consideration Price Bands:

Number of Duty Paid Transactions

€127,001 – €190,500

10,706

€190,501 – €254,000

13,432

€254,001 – €317,500

8,504

€317,501 – €381,000

4,679

€381,001 – €635,000

4,653

Over €635,000

1,968

Total

43,942

Stamp Duty on — Residential Property 2005

Consideration Price Bands:

Number of Duty Paid Transactions

€127,001 – €190,500

11,268

€190,501 – €254,000

11,014

€254,001 – €317,500

7,181

€317,501 – €381,000

5,919

€381,001 – €635,000

6,478

Over €635,000

2,939

Total

44,799

Stamp Duty on — Residential Property 2006

Consideration Price Bands:

Number of Duty Paid Transactions

€127,001 – €190,500

10,877

€190,501 – €254,000

11,088

€254,001 – €317,500

8,007

€317,501 – €381,000

8,600

€381,001 – €635,000

9,833

Over €635,000

4,496

Total

52,901

Stamp Duty on — Residential Property 2007

(a) Deeds executed up to 5 November 2007

Consideration Price Bands:

Number of Duty Paid Transactions

€127,001 – €190,500

8,159

€190,501 – €254,000

8,512

€254,001 – €317,500

6,568

€317,501 – €381,000

5,785

€381,001 – €635,000

7,231

Over €635,000

3,364

Total

39,619

(b) Deeds executed on or after 5 November 2007

Consideration Price Bands:

Number of Duty Paid Transactions

€0 – €125,000

15

€125,001 – €1,000,000

1,374

Over €1,000,000

71

Total

1,460

Stamp Duty on — Residential Property 2008

Consideration Price Bands:

Number of Duty Paid Transactions

€0 – €125,000

120

€125,001 – €1,000,000

24,473

Over €1,000,000

778

Total

25,371

Stamp Duty on — Residential Property 2009

Consideration Price Bands:

Number of Duty Paid Transactions

€0 – €125,000

277

€125,001 – €1,000,000

11,289

Over €1,000,000

200

Total

11,766

For the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 figures are available to show that some duty paid transactions fall within the lowest consideration price band because they formed part of a larger transaction or series of transactions.

Particulars of transactions where no stamp duty is payable are not normally captured and, accordingly, it is not possible to provide reliable information in relation to exempt categories.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

132 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the number of exemptions granted in respect of stamp duty on residential property transactions in 2009 and each of the preceding five years; if he will provide a breakdown of same based on the nature of the exemption; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25261/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that, while particulars of transactions where no stamp duty is payable are not normally captured, some relevant information is available on the number of transactions qualifying for the first time buyer exemption from Stamp Duty introduced in Finance (No. 2) Act 2007.

The figures for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 are as follows:

First Time Buyer Transactions exempted from Stamp Duty under the provisions of Finance (No. 2) Act 2007

Year

Number of transactions

2007

3,093

2008

5,178

2009

1,958

Insurance Industry

Pádraic McCormack

Ceist:

133 Deputy Pádraic McCormack asked the Minister for Finance if house insurance is available to persons whose houses were flooded in the November and December 2009 floods; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25277/10]

My Department has been liaising with the Irish Insurance Federation in order to establish how many people are unable to get flood cover and where these people are located.

The IIF has indicated that approximately 98% of householders who have household insurance currently have flood cover. They point out that insurers look at the claims history of the individual risk when deciding what underwriting action to take. They also look at any flood protection measures implemented by the local authority or OPW in the area. They say that where the flood risk is higher than normal people will generally pay a higher premium, or have a higher flood excess on their policy. They make the further point that withdrawal of flood cover at renewal generally only happens in exceptional cases e.g. repeated flooding, as the industry tries to provide such cover wherever possible.

My Department is currently seeking more detailed information from the IIF on the non-availability of flood cover, but particularly in relation to location. The intention is that there would be a match up of these problem areas where people are having difficulties obtaining or renewing cover with whatever corresponding remedial work is being carried out by the Office of Public Works. By approaching it in this way it should allow better resource allocation of the remedial works and also better address the underlying problems.

When this information is provided it should give us a better idea of the scale and nature of the flood insurance problem.

Departmental Expenditure

Joan Burton

Ceist:

134 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the cost of the acquisition of the former Motorola premises in Swords, County Dublin, for the National Museum in respect of annual rent or lease costs; the incurred and expected refurbishment costs of using the building for museum storage; the plans for other facilities used for such storage; if he will confirm that the owner of the facility at Swords is a well known developer (details supplied); if liabilities to the National Asset Management Agency will be offset against the rent payable by the museum or Department on the lease if the developer is in the NAMA process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25289/10]

The Office of Public Works (OPW) will pay an annual rent of €1m in respect of the former Motorola premises in Swords. The cost for the adaptation works to facilitate the National Museum's requirements is of the order of €1,560,000.

OPW is evaluating a range of options for the space, which will become available after the National Museum transfers its stored collections to the new facility.

The premises are leased from the person referred to in the question.

The question of whether a landlord is involved in the NAMA process is outside the remit of the OPW, as the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 does not provide a Statutory provision for a State body withholding money owed to an entity, which owes money to NAMA, in order to satisfy the debt to NAMA.

Judicial Remuneration

Joan Burton

Ceist:

135 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of judges in each category of judge that is Supreme, High, Circuit, District and so on who have volunteered pension levy sacrifices in line with that imposed on public servants; the average pension levy sacrifice for judges for each category; the number of judges who are refusing to make a pension levy sacrifice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25291/10]

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 does not apply to the Judiciary for constitutional reasons. However, arrangements were put in place on an administrative basis between the Chief Justice and the Revenue Commissioners in April 2009 to facilitate voluntary payments by members of the Judiciary in the context of the pension related deduction scheme.

I have no function in relation to those arrangements. However, I understand that information in relation to the voluntary payments in 2009 was published in Revenue's Annual Report for 2009. I also understand that information covering the period up to 1 March 2010, was forwarded to the Deputy arising from Parliamentary Question No. Reference 10738/10. I am informed that the reply to that PQ was prepared in March 2010, prior to the enactment of the Finance Act 2010 but there was a delay in the information reaching the Deputy.

The Deputy will be aware that Section 161 of the Finance Act 2010 replaced the administrative arrangements mentioned above by providing for a voluntary scheme which enables members of the Judiciary to make a gift to the State of an equivalent amount to the pension related deduction imposed on State employees under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009. Subsection (8) of that Section specifically provides that:

"(8) The Revenue Commissioners shall publish for each year of assessment only details of the number of donors who avail of this scheme in the year, and the aggregate amounts gifted for the year".

The Deputy will appreciate that in view of this provision, information cannot be made available at this stage in respect of voluntary payments in 2010 under the Section 161 arrangements, but I understand from the Revenue Commissioners that it is their intention to publish information in accordance with section 161(8) after the end of the year of assessment.

I am further advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the category of judge is not a relevant factor for the operation of a voluntary scheme and accordingly a breakdown of payments received as between judges of the different Courts is not available under either the old or new arrangements.

Flood Relief

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

136 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Finance if the Office of Public Works has proceeded with the work plan set out in the aftermath of the flooding in Cork; if the steering group led by the OPW and comprising Cork City Council, Cork County Council and the ESB has met; if so the number of meetings that have taken place; if the plan to model dam discharge scenarios and assess their flood extent and risk has been completed; if the inspection of the quay walls to identify gaps and low points has been completed; if the assessment of local flood protection works has been carried out; if structural assessment of quay walls has been completed; when the results of this work will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25330/10]

Arising from the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study for the Lee catchment, a plan of prioritised flood risk mitigation measures was launched earlier this year as a Public Consultation document. The Plan identifies specific viable structural and non-structural options for managing the flood risks within the catchment as a whole and for localised high-risk areas.

The period of public consultation for the Plan finished on 30 April 2010. A substantial number of observations were received during the public consultation. These contributions are currently being considered and will be incorporated into the final Plan, as appropriate.

In addition to the measures being pursued through the CFRAM framework, consultants have been appointed to undertake a hydrological and hydraulic review of the November 2009 floods for the Rivers Lee and Owenboy. This review will examine, inter alia, rainfall depths and return periods, flood flow paths, extents and probabilities, with a view to providing an up-to-date model for this catchment. The initial review of the modelling is due to take place in mid-Summer.

A Steering Group has been set up, comprising of Cork City and County Councils, ESB and OPW, to deal specifically with Lower Lee Flood Risk Management issues and has already met twice. Procurement of consultants to bring the current proposals to a point, which confirms their feasibility, will shortly be commenced. The consultants will have the benefit of having the results of the various dam discharge scenarios, currently being undertaken, available to them. It is anticipated that proposed measures, if found to be feasible, would then be brought to public exhibition in 2011.

The OPW understands that the City Council has already carried out surveys of the quay walls. The OPW has agreed to fund interim repair works at two locations of Cork Quay Walls. This funding is subject to the invitation of tenders by Cork City Council and will not exceed the sum of €450,000 for each location. An allocation of €318,600 has also been made to Cork County Council for flood mitigation works at Crookstown. It would be open to both Councils to submit further applications for minor interim works.

Insurance Industry

Kathleen Lynch

Ceist:

137 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 163 of 1 June 2010, if the assurances his Department has given to the UK Treasury regarding the operation of a company (details supplied) is restricted to new business written in the UK since the appointment of the administrator or if it encompasses previous policies written by the company in the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25333/10]

The assurances given by my Department regarding the administration of the company in question covers all policyholders in the company, including those in the UK, and is not restricted to new business written since the appointment of the Joint Administrators.

Freedom of Information

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

138 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the number of requests for information under freedom of information legislation in each year from 2003 to date in 2010; the extent to which applications have been categorised as between persons seeking general information and those seeking personal information relative to themselves, those seeking personal information relative to others, those seeking information from Government Departments other than Oireachtas Members; the number of Oireachtas Members seeking information under such headings; the number of requests refused in each category over the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25355/10]

The table below gives the breakdown of requests received for personal and non-personal information for the years 2003 to 2010, the numbers received by Government Departments and the numbers of requests received from Oireachtas members and public representatives. Figures are not kept in relation to a breakdown of personal and non-personal requests refused and figures are not kept of requests made by Oireachtas members only. An elected member who makes an FOI request does so in their capacity as a member of the public. The Act confers no additional or special rights to a member of the Oireachtas.

The figures for mixed requests are also shown to provide full information on the number of requests received by Government Departments.

The figures for 2010 have not been compiled at this stage and are therefore not available.

Year

Number of Non personal requests received

Number of Personal requests received

*Number of Mixed requests received

Number of Requests to Govt Depts.

Number of requests made by Oireachtas/Public representatives to Govt Depts.

2003

3,813

4,882

252

8,947

250

2004

1,525

3,684

196

5,405

67

2005

1,583

5,429

128

7,140

73

2006

1,648

2,584

31

4,263

80

2007

1,372

1,805

53

3,230

61

2008

2,226

2,145

70

4,441

117

2009

2,557

2,242

38

4,837

87

2010

Total

14,724

22,771

768

38,263

735

*The number of mixed requests received refers to those requests for records that contain both personal and non-personal information.

Tax Code

Joan Burton

Ceist:

139 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will itemise all tax expenditures and reliefs, including their expected cost for 2010 and for 2011, assuming no policy change; the total revenue that would be raised on a 2011 and full-year basis through the abolition of each, through the standard-rating of each and through excluding each for all incomes over €100,000 and €125,000 respectively. [25358/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the total identifiable costs to the Exchequer of all income tax and corporation tax allowances, reliefs, exemptions and tax credits available are set out in the following tables for 2006, the most recent year for which the necessary detailed historical information is available. Relevant notes relating to items in the tables are also included.

Estimates of the prospective yield to the Exchequer in 2011 from the abolition or standard rating of each deduction and relief from incomes over the specified ranges are not available. These estimates could not be provided without undertaking an extensive and costly development of the Revenue tax model nor would they capture any behavioural change on the part of taxpayers as a consequence of such change or their economic effects.

Cost of Tax Credits, Allowances and Reliefs 2006 and 2005

The following table IT 6 shows the estimated cost in terms of revenue forgone of the personal tax credits and the main reliefs and deductions allowable under the income tax system. A number of reliefs which apply both to individuals and companies is also included and the cost shown in relation to these reliefs covers income tax and corporation tax.

An adjustment is included in the cost figures applying to income tax to compensate for incomplete numbers of tax returns on record at the time of compiling the estimates.

The tax credits and reliefs listed in the table serve varying purposes. Many are essentially structural reliefs through which individual tax liabilities are adjusted to reflect relative taxable capacity. The main personal tax credits are a good example of this since they may be regarded as part of the progressive income tax structure representing a band of income chargeable at a zero rate. Others, such as relief for interest paid in full or investment in corporate trades, are tax-based incentives in favour of specific groups or activities which are designed to promote certain aspects of public policy.

In computing taxable profits, account needs to be taken in some way of the depreciation of capital assets incurred in earning those profits. To this extent, the figures in the table of the "costs" of capital allowances should not be regarded as measuring a "loss of tax revenue" on profits. To compute such "loss", regard would have to be had to the excess of the amount of the capital allowances at current rates over the amount of the normal allowances.

The figures shown for the basic personal tax credits (married, single and widowed) are the costs of these tax credits as if all other tax credits and the exemption limits did not apply. They do not include individuals who are not on Revenue records because their incomes are below the income tax thresholds. The cost figures for the exemption limits are based on the excess of the exemption limits over the basic personal tax credits.

The figures of cost are for 2006 and 2005 and all figures are based on tax due in respect of assessments for each year and not on tax receipts within that year.

The figure against each credit or allowance represents the additional tax which would become payable if the tax credit or allowance were withdrawn assuming no consequent change in the behaviour of taxpayers (for example, in relation to the reliefs for savings), or the amounts of payments (for example, interest payable on certain savings schemes might need adjustment to take account of the new tax liability).

The numbers of claimants of each credit or relief are shown for both years to the extent that they are available. The numbers included are the taxpayers who would be adversely affected by the withdrawal of the respective credit or relief.

In the calculations, each tax credit or allowance has been dealt with separately and on the assumption that the rest of the tax system remained unchanged. It would be therefore inaccurate to calculate the effect of withdrawing all the credits, reliefs and allowances by simply totalling the figures. For example, the costs shown for capital allowances and stock relief are also calculated on the basis of separate withdrawal of these reliefs. Their combined cost would be greater than the sum of the separate costs because allowances are not always fully set off against available profits. For instance, a person with €1,000 gross trading profits, €1,000 capital allowances and €1,000 stock relief would pay no tax if either of the reliefs were withdrawn but would pay tax on €1,000 profits if both reliefs were withdrawn. In this case, the cost of each relief separately is nil but the combined cost is tax on €1,000. Basic data is not available to enable an estimate of the combined cost of these reliefs to be made.

The figures for estimates based on tax returns have been grossed up to an overall expected level to adjust for incompleteness in the numbers of returns on record at the time the data was extracted for analytical purposes.

Finally, the estimates shown in many cases are tentative and are subject to revision in the light of later information. Some of the cost figures included in the table for 2005 reflect revisions to figures previously published in the 2007 Report.

INCOME TAX AND CORPORATION TAX

TABLE IT6: Cost of Tax Credits, Allowances and Reliefs 2005 and 2006

(1) Estimated cost for

Tax Relief Provision

2005

2006

€m

Numbers

€m

Numbers

INCOME TAX

Exemption limits:

General Exemption(2)

0.0

0

0.0

0

Child Addition(2)

0.3

1,000

0.2

800

Age Exemption(2)

61.5

49,600

62.0

50,100

Married Person’s Credit(3)

2,268.9

756,500

2,396.9

777,700

Single Person’s Credit(3)

1,854.3

1,330,100

2,137.2

1,494,700

Widowed Person’s Credit(3)

132.2

71,500

155.2

78,400

Additional Credit to Widowed Person in Year of Bereavement

4.7

4,000

4.5

4,000

Additional Bereavement Credit to Widowed Parent

4.3

2,400

4.9

2,300

Additional Personal Credit for Lone Parent

194.1

124,900

186.1

123,100

Homecarer Credit

63.9

87,900

61.8

85,000

Additional Credit for Incapacitated Child

10.3

10,400

16.0

11,000

Employee (PAYE) Credit

2,030.8

1,493,300

2,522.0

1,626,700

Dependent Relative Credit

1.0

15,200

1.4

15,500

Person Taking Care of Incapacitated Taxpayer

1.8

660

2.8

820

Age Credit

20.6

68,800

28.3

76,700

Blind Person’s Credit

0.8

890

1.2

880

Medical Insurance Premiums(4)

229.6

1,073,400

260.5

1,134,800

Health Expenses

134.0

260,700

167.2

348,800

Contributions Under Permanent Health Benefit Schemes, after Deduction of Tax on Benefits Received(5)

3.2

21,600

3.1

23,000

Employees’ Contributions To Approved Superannuation Schemes(6)

423.4

565,200

543.3

693,100

Employers’ Contributions To Approved Superannuation Schemes(6)

90.0

296,500

120.0

363,100

Exemption of Investment Income and Gains of Approved Superannuation Funds(6) (7) (11)*

1,050.0

N/A

1,200.0

N/A

Exemption of employers’ contributions from employee BIK(6)

370.0

296,500

510.0

363,100

Tax Relief on “tax free” lump sums(6)

120.0

N/A

130.0

N/A

Retirement Annuity Contracts(6)

357.7

121,200

435.9

125,900

Personal Retirement Savings Account(6)

42.2

32,900

56.4

45,200

Interest paid:

Loans relating to Principal Private Residence

279.0

587,800

351.6

668,400

Other(8)

22.2

4,800

31.1

4,900

Rent Paid in Private Tenancies

48.1

144,500

64.0

171,800

Expenses Allowable to Employees under Schedule E

65.0

908,800

71.2

960,400

Third Level Education Fees

14.3

29,900

15.7

30,800

Exemption of Certain Earnings of Writers, Composers and Artists

34.8

2,220

65.9

2,890

Dispositions (Including Maintenance Payments made to Separated Spouses)

18.9

6,100

20.2

7,640

Exemption of Interest on Savings Certificates, National Instalment Savings & Index Linked Savings Bonds

129.5

N/A

216.3

N/A

Rent a Room

3.3

2,820

3.9

3,560

Exemption of Income of Charities, Colleges, Hospitals, Schools, Friendly Societies, etc.(9)

19.8

N/A

35.0

N/A

Donations to Approved Bodies

34.0

63,800

49.5

107,100

Donations to Sports Bodies(10)

0.2

430

0.3

580

Retirement Relief for certain Sports Persons(10)

0.3

42

0.2

32

Exemption of Irish Government Securities where owner not ordinarily resident in Ireland(11)*

169.3

N/A

197.0

N/A

Exemption of Statutory Redundancy Payments

72.8

22,000

77.7

22,100

Service Charges

17.2

304,700

21.4

363,900

Top Slicing Relief — Reduced Tax Rate for Payments in Excess of Exemption Amounts Made as Compensation for Loss of Office

11.1

1,480

20.2

2,050

Revenue Job Assist allowance

0.4

550

0.3

360

Allowance for seafarers

0.4

200

0.3

170

Trade Union Subscriptions

11.8

272,100

19.2

294,300

Exemption From Tax of Certain Social Welfare Payments:

Child benefit*

366.6

373,500

377.4

375,300

Early childcare Supplement*

N/A

N/A

64.9

192,000

Maternity allowance*

9.6

10,800

12.2

14,900

Exemption of Income arising from the Provision of Childcare Services

N/A

N/A

0.3

230.0

Approved Profit Sharing Schemes*

55.8

55,000

87.8

87,500

Savings-Related Share Option Schemes*

6.2

N/A

2.8

N/A

Approved Share Option Schemes*

0.4

464

3.4

1,400

Relief for New Shares Purchased by Employees

N/A

N/A

0.2

184

Investment in Corporate Trades (BES)

16

1,650

21.4

2,000

Investment in Seed Capital

1.3

42

1.2

42

Stock Relief*

2.0

N/A

2.0

N/A

Relief for expenditure on significant buildings and gardens

3.3

84

6.2

180

Donation of Heritage items

5.8

7

5.7

5

Special Savings Incentive Scheme

597.4

1,083,600

438.9

718,570

INCOME TAX AND/OR CORPORATION TAX(12)

Employee Share Ownership Trusts*

1.8

16,800

6.3

16,300

Total Capital Allowances:(13)

1,877.5

266,200

2,036.3

260,700

Rented Residential Relief — Section 23(14)*

239.7

4,126

252.4

4,132

Effective Rate of 10% for Manufacturing and Certain Other Activities(15)

396

3,034

384.1

2,831

Double Taxation Relief

439.1

13,200

590.0

15,400

Investment in Films*

15.7

1,500

36.4

3,500

Group Relief

421.6

1,578

255.6

1,592

Research & Development Tax Credit(16)

65.2

135

74.7

141

NOTES ON TABLE IT 6

(1) Figures accompanied by an asterisk* are particularly tentative and subject to a considerable margin of error.

(2) The cost figures for the exemption limits are based on the excess of the exemption limits over the basic personal tax credits. They include the cost of marginal relief for taxpayers whose incomes are not greatly in excess of the exemption limits.

(3) The figures shown for the basic personal tax credits (married, single and widowed) are the costs of these tax credits as if all other tax credits and the exemption limits did not apply. They do not include individuals who are not on Revenue records because their incomes are below the income tax thresholds.

(4) Arising from the change over to Tax Relief at Source the figures relate to the number of policies issued. These include policies where subscriptions were paid by businesses on behalf of their employees.

(5) Part of the cost of contributions to Permanent Health Benefit Schemes is not identifiable as a result of the move to a “net pay” basis for contributions by PAYE taxpayers from 6 April 2001.

(6) See the following table “Green Paper on Pensions” for background commentary and cost figures for 2007.

(7) Arising from the work on the “Green Paper on Pensions” (2007) the basis for costing this item was changed for 2005 and is not directly comparable with the figures for earlier years. See also the following table “Green Paper on Pensions” for more recent figures.

(8) “Other” relates to borrowings for purposes such as acquiring an interest in a company or partnership or to pay death duties.

(9) The cost of exempting the income of charities, colleges, hospitals, schools, friendly societies, etc. from income tax includes the sums repaid in respect of tax credits, income tax deducted at source (certain dividends, other investment income and payments received under covenant), and also includes tax on (see Note 10) (a) donations made by the PAYE and self-employed sectors to approved bodies (b) income tax repayments on foot of PAYE donations. It also includes the cost of exempting certain bodies from the deduction on income arising from government securities. Information is not available about other income received gross.

(10) The cost figures for relief for donations to Approved Sports Bodies and for certain Sports Persons are based on self assessment returns.

(11) In the absence of other information, tax has been assumed at the standard rate of income tax even though a different rate might be appropriate in many cases.

(12) The costs included for corporation tax are by reference to accounting periods which ended in the years 2005 and 2006.

(13) The cost shown for capital allowances does not include any cost associated with “unused capital allowances”, that is, capital allowances which are not absorbed by a company in the accounting period in which they arise because they exceed the amount of the company’s profits of that accounting period which are available for offset. Unused capital allowances can be offset as losses against taxable profits arising in the previous accounting period and against certain profits arising in future accounting periods and can be offset against the profits of another company in the same group of companies. It is estimated that €3,340 million of unused capital allowances were claimed in respect of 2006 accounting periods but as the proportion of this item which is included in previous years losses and in group relief is not separately identifiable a reliable estimate of the cost of the capital allowance element cannot be provided.

(14) The tax cost shown for section 23 type relief is the estimated ultimate tax cost relating to the total allowable expenditure in respect of claims made in 2005 and 2006 tax returns for the first time. The cost shown is for income tax cases only.

(15) The cost does not include any notional cost associated with IFSC companies. The International Financial Services activity in Ireland represents new business which has developed as a result of, among other things, the concessionary tax rate. This means that as the cost of the concessionary rate is not just the difference between the concessionary tax rate and the full tax rate, it is therefore not quantifiable. In regard to the cost shown for the effective rate of 10 per cent for manufacturing and certain other activities, no account is taken of the fact that without these incentives, many enterprises may not have set up here. To the extent that profits earned by such enterprises would not have been available for Irish tax purposes, part of the cost figure shown might be regarded as notional.

(16) The costs shown for R&D is for claims for R&D on corporation tax returns for accounting periods ending in 2005 and 2006. However, the cost includes the cost associated with claims where the company was entitled to the credit but was unable to absorb it in that accounting year.

Green Paper on Pensions — updated estimates of cost for 2007

As part of the work on the Green Paper on Pensions, a review was carried out of the current regime of incentives for supplementary pension provision with a view to developing more comprehensive and reliable estimates of the cost of reliefs in this area. The review examined, among other things, the current reliefs and incentives for investment in supplementary pensions and the data available on which to base reliable estimates of the costs in revenue foregone to the Exchequer.

The review drew on newly available 2007 aggregate data on contributions to pension schemes by employers and employees arising from a P35 initiative introduced on foot of provisions that were included in Finance Act 2004 with a view to improving data quality. Estimates of the cost of tax for private pension provision updated for 2007 are included in the table below:

Estimate of the cost of tax and PRSI reliefs for private pension provision 2007.

Estimated costs

Numbers*

€ million

Employees’ Contributions to approved Superannuation Schemes

590

708,100

Employers’ Contributions to approved Superannuation Schemes

150

385,100**

Estimated cost of exemption of employers’ contributions from employee BIK

540

385,100

Exemption of investment income and gains of approved Superannuation Funds

900

Not available

Retirement Annuity Contracts (RACs)

420

123,900

Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs)

65

56,400

Estimated cost of tax relief on “tax-free” lump sum payments

130

Estimated cost of PRSI and Health Levy relief on employee and employer contributions

240

Not available

Gross cost of tax relief

3,035

Estimated tax yield from payment of pension benefits

410

Net cost of tax relief

2,625

*Numbers as included in P35 returns from employers to Revenue for 2007. Figures are as verified to date but may be understated and subject to revision.

**This is numbers of employees for whom employers are contributing to occupational pension funds as included in P35 returns to Revenue for 2007. Figures are as verified to date but may be understated and subject to revision.

The breakdown and make-up of these estimated costs of reliefs differ from presentations of costs in this area for previous years in a number of respects and are not directly comparable. For further details on the cost of tax and other reliefs and the changes in the methodology, refer to pages 106 and 107 of the Green Paper on Pensions which is available at www.pensionsgreenpaper.ie.

Certain property-based tax incentives and incomes exempt from tax — uptake and estimated potential cost to the Exchequer in terms of income tax and corporation tax forgone based on 2006 tax returns

Provisions were included in the Finance Acts of 2003 and 2004 to enable new statistical data on the uptake of tax relief for certain property-based tax incentives and incomes exempt from tax to be obtained from tax returns. This information, derived from changes introduced by the Revenue Commissioners to income tax returns and corporation tax returns for 2006, is set out in the following table.

The figures shown include the amounts claimed in the year but exclude amounts carried forward into the year either as losses or capital allowances, and include any amounts of unused losses and/or capital allowances which will be carried forward to subsequent years.

Tax Incentive/Income Exemption

Amount Claimed

Assumed maximum tax cost €m

Number of claimants

€m

€m

Urban renewal

351.7

140.5

3,436

Town Renewal

93.0

38.7

1,149

Seaside Resorts

15.7

6.4

1,167

Rural Renewal

94.0

38.0

2,137

Multi-storey car parks

40.2

16.6

119

Living Over the shop

7.1

2.7

82

Enterprise Areas

7.4

3.0

129

Park and Ride

6.9

2.8

32

Holiday Cottages

22.9

9.5

660

Hotels

277.1

106.6

1,515

Nursing Homes

35.5

14.7

538

Housing for the Elderly/infirm

3.4

1.4

95

Hostels

1.96

0.82

23

Guest Houses

0.2

0.1

7

Convalescent Homes

4.1

1.7

18

Qualifying Private Hospitals

25.2

10.6

284

Qualifying sports injury clinics

0.1

0

3

Buildings Used for certain childcare purposes

14.3

6.0

304

Student Accommodation

162.5

64.3

1,059

Exemption of profits or gains from Greyhounds

0.4

0.1

6

Exemption of profits or gains from Stallions

90.7

22.5

185

Exemption of profits or gains from Woodlands

13.6

5.4

1,231

Exempt Patents (section 234, TCA 1997)

395.0

83.8

1,120

Totals

1,662.9

576.2

15,299

Notes:

The figures shown relate to the various reliefs/incentives and exemptions as specified in the 2006 form 11 and CT1.

There were concerns that in some instances the new, separately categorised data on property incentives may not have been correctly entered on the Tax returns. Revenue drew the attention of the relevant tax practitioner bodies to these deficiencies to rectify them in future returns and also increased awareness among its own staff involved in processing tax returns of the need to ensure, through closer examination of the returns, that they are correctly completed.

The estimated costs have assumed tax foregone at the 42% rate in the case of income tax and 12.5% in the case of corporation tax. This means the figures shown correspond to the maximum Exchequer cost in terms of income tax and corporation tax. However, the actual Exchequer cost could be lower, particularly in relation to the exempt income items, as the income could be subject to deductions for allowable expenses and other costs thereby reducing the level of income that would be actually subject to tax.

Some of the costs shown above are included in the costs shown for capital allowances and section 23 relief in Table IT6. For example, exempt income included above is not part of capital allowances.

Reliefs in Respect of which Costs are not Currently Quantifiable or are Negligible or are not Identifiable within Total Aggregates.

Exemption in respect of certain income derived from the leasing of farm land;

Relief for new shares purchased on issue by employees;

Relief from averaging of farm profits;

Exemption for income arising from payments in respect of personal injuries;

Exemption of certain payments made by Haemophilia HIV Trust;

Exemption of Pensions, Benefits or Gratuities Payable to Veterans of the War of Independence their Widows or Dependents;

Exemption of lump sum retirement payments;

Relief for allowable motor expenses;

Tapering relief allowable for taxation of car benefits in kind;

Reduced tax rate of 10% for authorised unit trust schemes;

Reduced tax rate of 10% for special investment schemes;

Exemption of certain grants made by Údarás na Gaeltachta;

Relief for investment income reserved for policy holders in life assurance companies;

Relief for various business related expenses such as staff recruitment, rent, legal fees, and other general expenses;

Exemption in certain circumstances on the interest on quoted bearer Eurobonds;

Exemption of payments made as compensation for loss of office;

Exemption of scholarship income;

Exemption for income received under Sceim na bhFoghlaimeoiri Gaeilge.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

140 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 342, of 3 November, 2009, if he will provide a breakdown of the numbers, where available, and the cost to the Exchequer of the tax relief for pension investment scheme for those earning less than €10,000, less than €20,000, less than €30,000, less than the average industrial wage, less than €40,000, less than €50,000, less than €60,000, less than €70,000, less than €80,000, less than €90,000, less than €100,000, and more than €100,000; and the extra revenue which would be generated for the Exchequer by limiting tax relief for pension investment to those in each of the pay brackets set out above. [25361/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the latest relevant information available is in respect of income tax relief allowed for contributions to Retirement Annuity Contracts (RACs) and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) for the income tax year 2007.

RACs and PRSAs are available to the self-employed and to employees not in occupational pension schemes. The information is set out in tables following this reply which provide the number of cases, amount of deduction and reduction in tax for tax relief for RACs and PRSAs for the various contribution ranges. The information is based on income returns contained in Revenue records at the time the data were compiled for analytical purposes, representing close on 90% of all returns expected. A married couple who has elected or has deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

The figures for the total number of cases and the total reduction in tax shown in the tables are lower than those indicated in the table supplied with the reply I gave on 3 November 2009 to Parliamentary Question ref 38545/09 tabled by the Deputy. This is due to the fact that the figures in the tables represent under 90 per cent of all income tax returns expected for 2007, while the figures supplied on 3 November were, in accordance with normal practice, grossed-up at aggregate level to adjust for this incompleteness.

The latest tax year for which income tax returns are required to have been made (and in respect of which data on contributions to RACs and PRSAs would be included) is 2008. The deadline for making those returns was 31 October 2009 (or 17 November 2009 if submitted via the Revenue on-line Service — ROS). I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that it takes time to process the various data on the returns received and, moreover, that many return forms for 2008 continue to be received in the months beyond the October/November deadlines. Before providing any figures for 2008, the Revenue Commissioners prefer to have as high a proportion of tax returns for that year as is possible represented in the data by allowing sufficient time to elapse to ensure that an acceptable level of maturity in the figures is attained. In that context, it is hoped that sufficient data should be available by September next to provide comparable tables for 2008,

It is not possible to provide corresponding figures in regard to the take-up of the tax relief for pension contributions by employers and employees to occupational pension schemes as the relevant data are not captured in such a way as to make this possible. Provisions were included in the Finance Act 2004 with a view to improving data quality and transparency without overburdening taxpayers or employers. The Act includes provisions that require employers to provide data on superannuation contributions in the P35 form to be filed by employers from 2006 on. These changes have yielded additional information regarding the overall cost of tax relief for pension contributions but, as the returns are aggregated at employer level, they cannot provide a precise basis for measuring the potential impact on the Exchequer of any proposals to limit tax relief for pension investment for individuals across different income ranges.

INCOME TAX 2007

Personal Retirement Savings Accounts — by range of Gross Income.

Range of gross income

Totals

From

To

Number of cases

Amount of deduction

Reduction in tax

Tax due for payment

Gross Tax*

Reduction in tax as % of Gross Tax

%

10,000

150

230,848

1,818

165

1,983

91.7

10,000

20,000

790

1,519,146

224,686

152,616

377,302

59.6

20,000

30,000

2,240

4,615,210

879,802

2,171,028

3,050,830

28.8

30,000

32,730

724

1,688,295

329,412

1,262,871

1,592,283

20.7

32,730

40,000

1,934

5,089,074

1,326,500

4,880,218

6,206,718

21.4

40,000

50,000

2,193

7,066,857

2,258,955

9,097,529

11,356,484

19.9

50,000

60,000

1,798

6,614,692

2,198,980

10,841,069

13,040,049

16.9

60,000

70,000

1,503

6,798,996

2,111,219

11,647,236

13,758,455

15.3

70,000

80,000

1,170

6,200,782

2,219,156

11,752,273

13,971,429

15.9

80,000

90,000

912

5,625,655

2,193,256

11,821,124

14,014,380

15.7

90,000

100,000

615

4,705,744

1,900,412

9,609,226

11,509,639

16.5

Over

100,000

2,621

42,381,897

17,300,020

121,388,445

138,688,466

12.5

Totals

16,650

92,537,196

32,944,217

194,623,801

227,568,018

14.5

*"Gross tax" means the tax that would be duebefore relief is allowed for PRSA deductions Average Industrial Wage is €32,730.

The figures do not include contributions made by employees through employers' payroll systems and in respect of which tax relief is provided on the net pay basis. Information on such contributions is not captured in such a way as to make it possible to provide disaggregated figures.

INCOME TAX 2007

Retirement Annuity — by range of Gross Income.

Range of gross income

Totals

From

To

Number of cases

Amount of deduction

Reduction in tax

Tax due for payment

Gross Tax*

Reduction in tax as % of Gross Tax

%

10,000

816

1,090,619

15,433

1,273

16,706

92.4

10,000

20,000

4,023

7,610,530

1,056,140

1,125,139

2,181,279

48.4

20,000

30,000

9,121

19,640,312

3,639,370

8,985,960

12,625,330

28.8

30,000

32,730

3,168

7,509,033

1,460,629

5,112,254

6,572,883

22.2

32,730

40,000

9,127

23,785,995

5,543,666

20,635,934

26,179,600

21.2

40,000

50,000

12,354

39,221,676

11,425,057

44,823,408

56,248,465

20.3

50,000

60,000

10,986

42,422,932

13,034,048

58,431,806

71,465,854

18.2

60,000

70,000

9,541

42,982,398

13,008,673

68,507,813

81,516,486

16.0

70,000

80,000

7,947

42,617,895

12,764,454

74,628,321

87,392,775

14.6

80,000

90,000

6,330

41,510,052

12,996,014

74,152,710

87,148,724

14.9

90,000

100,000

4,897

38,251,287

12,508,260

70,817,423

83,325,683

15.0

Over

100,000

24,586

630,019,771

243,535,147

1,362,193,618

1,605,728,766

15.2

Totals

102,896

936,662,500

330,986,892

1,789,415,659

2,120,402,551

15.6

*"Gross tax" means the tax that would be duebefore relief is allowed for retirement annuity deductions Average Industrial Wage is €32,730.

The figures do not include contributions made by employees through employers' payroll systems and in respect of which tax relief is provided on the net pay basis. Information on such contributions is not captured in such a way as to make it possible to provide disaggregated figures.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

141 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the cost to the Exchequer of the health and medical expenses relief scheme; the projected cost to the Exchequer for the years 2010 and 2011; the number of taxpayers who availed of this scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25362/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the most recent year for which final information is available on the cost to the Exchequer, and the numbers of taxpayers availing, of the tax relief for health expenses is the income tax year 2006. In 2006, an estimated 349,000 taxpayers availed of the health expenses relief at an estimated cost to the Exchequer of €165 million.

I am not in a position to provide the data requested by the Deputy for the years 2010 and 2011 in relation to the above mentioned relief.

The numbers availing represent income earners who were in a position to absorb at least some of the tax relief and thereby give rise to an Exchequer cost. They do not include the numbers of potential claimants whose entitlements to other tax reliefs or credits were sufficient to reduce their liability to tax to nil without reference to the specific relief.

A married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

142 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the cost to the Exchequer of the tuition fees tax relief scheme; the number of taxpayers who avail of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25363/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the most recent year for which final information is available on the cost to the Exchequer, and the numbers of taxpayers availing, of the tax relief for tuition fees is for the income tax year 2006. The relevant figures are shown in the following table:

Year

Estimated cost to the Exchequer

Estimated Numbers

€m

2006

16

30,800

The numbers availing represent income earners who were in a position to absorb at least some of the tax relief and thereby give rise to an Exchequer cost. They do not include the numbers of potential claimants whose entitlements to other tax reliefs or credits were sufficient to reduce their liability to tax to nil without reference to the specific relief. The numbers availing are rounded to the nearest hundred as appropriate.

A married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

143 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the cost to the Exchequer of the medical insurance premiums tax relief at source scheme; the number of taxpayers who avail of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25364/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the cost to the Exchequer of tax relief allowed for medical insurance premia in 2009 is provisionally estimated at €374 million.

The numbers availing of the scheme relate to the number of policies issued as it is not possible to compile a reliable count of the number of individual claimants. For 2008, the latest year for which it is available, the number of policies issued is provisionally estimated at 1,017,400.

The cost figure above does not include the cost to the Exchequer of €216 million of the age-related tax relief at source, which is established by the Health Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. This tax credit is part of a scheme designed to address the issues covered by the Supreme Court judgment of 2008 that found against the risk equalisation scheme for the provision of private health insurance.

The scheme is two-fold, an age-related tax credit to compensate for the higher cost of insurance for older persons, which is funded by a levy on health insurance companies based on the number of people covered by policies underwritten by them. This scheme is a temporary measure for three years from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2011. It is intended that it will be revenue-neutral over its duration.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

144 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the cost to the Exchequer of the home carer tax credit; the number of taxpayers who avail of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25365/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that provisional estimates, on a preliminary basis, of the cost to the Exchequer of the home carer tax credit and the associated number of income earners availing of it for the income tax years 2010 are as follows:

Tax year

Estimated cost to the Exchequer

Estimated numbers availing

€m

2010

57

68,400

The figures for 2010 are estimates from the Revenue tax forecasting model using actual data for the year 2007, adjusted as necessary, for income and employment growth for the years in question and are therefore provisional and subject to revision. The numbers availing represent income earners who were in a position to absorb at least some of the home carer tax credit and thereby give rise to an Exchequer cost. They do not include the numbers of potential claimants whose entitlements to other tax credits were sufficient to reduce their liability to tax to nil without reference to the home carer credit. The numbers availing are rounded to the nearest hundred as appropriate.

A married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

Tax Yield

Joan Burton

Ceist:

145 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from an increase in the standard rate of income tax by 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% or 5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25366/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year yield to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2010 incomes, of changing the standard rate of tax by 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% or 5% would be approximately €420 million, €840 million, €1,260 million, €1,680 million and €2,100 million respectively.

The figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2007 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends for the year 2010. They are therefore provisional and likely to be revised.

A basis for providing corresponding figures for 2011 is not yet available.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

146 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from an increase in the higher rate of income tax by 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% or 5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25367/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year yield to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2010 incomes, of changing the higher rate of tax by 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% or 5% would be approximately €145 million, €290 million, €435 million, €580 million and €725 million respectively.

The figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2007 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends for the year 2010. They are therefore provisional and likely to be revised.

A basis for providing corresponding figures for 2011 is not yet available.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

147 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from a reduction in the personal income tax credit of €100, €200 for a married couple with one income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25368/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year yield to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2010 incomes, of reducing the single person tax credit by €100 would be of the order of €155 million. The reduction mentioned in the Deputy's question is assumed to apply in similar measure to widowed persons and to include the normal consequential reductions in the tax credit for lone parents and the married tax credit.

The figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2007 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends for the year 2010. They are therefore provisional and likely to be revised.

A basis for providing corresponding figures for 2011 is not yet available.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

148 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from the introduction of a new rate of tax of 48% on individual incomes over €100,000 and married couple incomes over €200,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25373/10]

It is assumed that the threshold for the proposed new tax band mentioned by the Deputy would not alter the existing standard rate band structure applying to single and widowed persons, to lone parents and married couples.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated full year yield to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2010 incomes, of the introduction of a new 48% rate would be of the order of €375 million. Given the current band structures, major issues would need to be resolved as to how in practice such a new rate could be integrated into the current system and how this would affect the relative position of different types of income earners.

This figure is an estimate from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2007, adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends for the year 2010. It is therefore provisional and likely to be revised.

A basis for providing corresponding figures for 2011 is not yet available.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

149 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from increasing the carbon tax to a rate of €25 per tonne of carbon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25374/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated notional yield, inclusive of VAT, in 2010 and 2011 from the carbon tax if the rate remains at €15 per tonne or was set at €25 per tonne is set out below:

2010 Est. Yield (inclusive of VAT)

2011 Est. Yield (inclusive of VAT)

€m

€m

Carbon Tax @ €15 per tonne

250

330

Carbon Tax @ €25 per tonne

420

550

Joan Burton

Ceist:

150 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from increasing the rate of capital acquisitions tax by 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% or 5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25375/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated full year yield to the Exchequer from increasing the Capital Acquisitions Tax rate by 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% or 5%, based on the Budget estimate of €240 million for 2010, could be in the region of €9.5 million, €19 million, €29 million, €38 million and €48 million respectively.

It should be noted that this estimate is based upon an assumption that there would be no behavioural impact of such an increase, which could lead to a less than expected result from a change to the tax rate. In addition, the realisation of any estimated yield from an increase in taxation on assets relating to property is subject to movements in the value of such assets, which are currently occurring in the economy.

A basis for providing corresponding figures for 2011 is not yet available.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

151 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from increasing the rate of capital gains tax by 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% or 5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25376/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated full year gain from increasing the rate of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) by 1% is €16 million; by 2% is €32 million; by 3% is €48 million; by 4% is €64 million; and by 5% is €80 million. These estimates assume no behavioural changes on the part of taxpayers.

CGT is very dependent on individual behaviour and a change in rate may not produce a corresponding increase or decrease in tax yield. In current economic conditions any estimate of additional yield must be treated with caution. In addition, increasing the rate could, in theory, lead to a reduction in yield from the tax.

A basis for providing corresponding figures for 2011 is not yet available.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

152 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from introducing a tax at the rate of one cent per text on mobile telephone texts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25377/10]

I am informed by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) that no projections are made for mobile telephone usage, whether calls or texts. The only basis for estimating the yield from a tax on text messages is the figures for mobile telephone usage per quarter supplied by the companies to ComReg. In the 12 months to end December 2009, the last 12 month period for which figures are available, over 11.912 billion SMS messages and over 56 million MMS messages were sent in Ireland, a total of over 11.969 billion messages. At those usage rates, a levy of one cent on such messages could raise c. €119 million per annum. However, this potential yield does not take account of any behavioural impact that might result if a levy was directly imposed on customers or imposed on the mobile phone companies and passed on to customers.

While I am not aware of a similar tax anywhere else in the world, I would point out to the Deputy that text messages are already subject to VAT at 21%.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

153 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from the imposition of a cap of €50,000 on artists’ tax exemption; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25378/10]

It is assumed that the imposition of a cap of €50,000 as mentioned in the question would have the effect of withdrawing the tax exemption from all qualifying income in excess of €50,000. On this basis, I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year yield to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to the claims for the exemption made in income tax returns for the tax year 2007, the latest year for which the necessary detailed information is available, could have been of the order of €20 million.

However, it should be noted that this figure does not take account of the current application of the restriction of reliefs measure to the exemption of certain earnings of writers, composers and artists and thus the actual yield achievable at this stage could be significantly lower. The restriction was originally provided for in section 17 of Finance Act 2006 and was significantly tightened in Section 23 of Finance Act 2010. Individuals are now subject to the restriction where they have adjusted income of €125,000 and claim specified tax reliefs of €80,000 or more. Those subject to the full restriction will pay an effective income tax rate of 30% in addition to PRSI and levies.

In addition, it must be stressed that this estimate assumes no significant behavioural change on the part of the affected taxpayers. Moreover, the application of income tax to this income source could also lead to additional claims being made for expenses and allowances by persons currently exempt.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

154 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from the abolition of tax relief on trade union subscriptions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25379/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the most recent year for which the necessary detailed information is available regarding tax relief for trade union subscriptions is the income tax year 2006, in which the cost to the Exchequer is estimated at approximately €19 million. On this basis, the full year yield to the Exchequer of abolishing tax relief for trade union subscriptions would be of the same order, although it should be noted that the value of the relief was increased from €300 to €350 in Budget 2008. At that time, it was estimated that the increase in the relief would cost approximately €3 million in a full year.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

155 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from the abolition of heritage relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25380/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that estimates of the full year cost to the Exchequer of tax reliefs for heritage items and property are reproduced in the following table:

Heritage Relief

Year

Cost

€m

Payment of tax by means of donation of heritage items.

2009

0.7

Payment of tax by means of donation of heritage property to the Irish heritage trust.

2009

0.0

Income tax relief for expenditure on heritage buildings and gardens.

2006

6.0

CAT exemption for heritage property and heritage property of companies.

2008

0.0

On this basis, the full year yield to the Exchequer of abolishing these reliefs would be of the same order.

A basis for providing corresponding figures for 2010 and 2011 is not yet available.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

156 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from the imposition of a cap of €200,000 on public sector salaries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25381/10]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

157 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from the implementation of a cap of €175,000 on public sector salaries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25382/10]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

158 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from increasing the public sector pension levy by 1% on salaries between €150,000 and €200,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25383/10]

I propose to takes Questions Nos. 156 to 158, inclusive, together.

The implementation of the pay reductions provided for under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act, 2009 substantially altered the range of earnings of public servants to that which applied in 2009. The estimates sought by the Deputy are based upon the pay reductions implemented with effect from 1 January 2010.

A substantial cohort of staff, principally medical consultants, who were earning in excess of €200,000 in 2009 are, after the implementation of the pay reduction, encompassed by the proposed pay cap thresholds of €175,000 and €200,000. On this basis, it is estimated that if a cap was imposed on public sector salaries at €200,000 it would yield savings in the region of €1.6m in 2010 and €3.1m on a full year basis in 2011, while it is estimated that a similar cap on salaries at €175,000 would produce savings of the order of €9.1m in 2010 and €18.2m on a full year basis in 2011.

The estimated yield through the application of an increase of an additional 1% in the pension levy on all earnings in the case of those earning above €150,000 would be in the region of €2.5m in 2010 and €5m on a full year basis in 2011.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

159 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield in 2010 and 2011 from the abolition of performance related pay in the public sector, including the Civil Service and the Health Service Executive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25384/10]

It is estimated that the abolition of performance related awards in the public service would yield approximately €8.0 million in 2010 and 2011.

Tax Code

Joan Burton

Ceist:

160 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected cost to the Exchequer in 2010 and 2011 of tax relief on rental income for residential properties and for commercial properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25385/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that based on personal income tax returns filed by non-PAYE taxpayers for the year 2008, the latest year for which this information is available, the amount of tax foregone by allowing a deduction for interest on borrowings to be offset against rental income assessable under Case V, Schedule D is estimated to have been of the order of €1,150 million.

This estimate is based on assuming that tax relief was allowed at the top income tax rate of 41% and the figure provided could therefore be regarded as the maximum Exchequer cost in respect of those taxpayers. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they are not in a position to provide data for 2009 and later years as the tax returns for that year and subsequent years are not yet due.

The figures for 2008 are subject to adjustment in the event of late returns being filed or where returns already filed are subsequently amended.

It should be noted that any corresponding data returned by PAYE taxpayers in the income tax return form 12 is not captured in the Revenue computer system. However, any PAYE taxpayer with non-PAYE income greater than €3,174 is required to complete an income tax return form 11. This return is the source of the figures provided in this reply.

The Deputy will no doubt be aware that the level at which interest repayments can be claimed against tax for residential rental properties was reduced from 100% to 75% in section 5 of the Finance Act 2009 at an estimated full year yield of €95 million.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

161 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the expected cost to the Exchequer in 2010 and 2011 of property related tax schemes, including legacy schemes that are now closed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25386/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the relevant information available on the cost to the Exchequer of all property related tax schemes is based on personal income tax returns filed by non-PAYE taxpayers and corporation tax returns filed by companies for the year 2008, the latest year for which this information is available. These are set out in the following table:

Scheme

2008

€m

Urban Renewal

84.5

Town Renewal

23.7

Seaside Resorts

5.7

Rural Renewal

34.2

Multi-storey car parks

6.6

Living over the Shop

2.5

Enterprise Areas

2.5

Park & Ride

0.7

Holiday Cottages

10.8

Hotels

114.7

Nursing Homes

19.4

Housing for the Elderly/Infirm

3.0

Hostels

0.66

Guest Houses

0.11

Convalescent Homes

0.5

Qualifying (Private) Hospitals

11.8

Qualifying Sports Injury Clinics

1.5

Buildings Used for Childcare Purposes

12.0

Mental Health Centres

0.0

Student Accommodation

22.7

Registered Caravan Parks

0.6

It should be noted that any corresponding data returned by PAYE taxpayers in the income tax return (Form 12) is not captured in the Revenue computer system. However, any PAYE taxpayer with non-PAYE income greater than €3,174 is required to complete an income tax return (Form 11).

The estimated relief claimed has assumed tax forgone at the 41% rate for 2008 in the case of individuals and 12.5% in the case of companies. The figures shown correspond to the maximum Exchequer cost in terms of income tax and corporation tax.

The figures for 2008 are subject to adjustment in the event of late returns being filed or where returns already filed are subsequently amended.

Projections for income tax receipts are based on assumed movements in macro-economic parameters and not by reference to the costs of individual tax reliefs. Accordingly, I am not in a position to provide the projected cost data requested by the Deputy for the years 2010 and 2011 in relation to the above-mentioned reliefs.

Tax Yield

Joan Burton

Ceist:

162 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the yield to the Exchequer from an increase of 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent and 50 cent in the excise duty on 20 cigarettes, and a pro rata increase in excise on other tobacco products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25387/10]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

163 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the yield to the Exchequer from an increase of 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent and 50 cent in the excise duty on a pint of beer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25388/10]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

164 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the yield to the Exchequer from an increase of 5 cent, 10 cent and 50 cent in the excise duty on a litre of wine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25389/10]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

165 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the yield to the Exchequer from an increase of 5 cent, 10 cent and 50 cent in the excise duty on a pint of cider; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25390/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 to 165, inclusive, together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year yields arising from the increases requested, inclusive of VAT, are as set out in the following table:

1 cent, inclusive of VAT

5 cent, inclusive of VAT

10 cent, inclusive of VAT

50 cent, inclusive of VAT

Est Yield €m

Est Yield €m

Est Yield €m

Est Yield €m

Beer

Pint

7.2

36.0

71.4

337.9

Cider

Pint

5.1

10.1

47.8

Wine

75cl Bottle

3.1

6.2

29.2

Cigarettes

Pack of 20

1.6

7.9

15.8

77.8

Joan Burton

Ceist:

166 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the yield to the Exchequer from an increase of 5 cent, 10 cent and 50 cent in the excise duty on a litre of petrol; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25391/10]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

167 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the yield to the Exchequer from an increase of 5 cent, 10 cent and 50 cent in the excise duty on a litre of autodiesel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25392/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 166 and 167 together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated full year yield to the Exchequer from Mineral Oil Tax in respect of petrol and auto-diesel at the stated increases, inclusive of VAT, is as follows:

Excise Duty Increase (inclusive of VAT)

Estimated Yield for Petrol

Estimated Yield for Auto-diesel

€m

€m

5 cent

86.9

96.0

10 cent

172.1

190.3

50 cent

806.2

883.3

Joan Burton

Ceist:

168 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 298 of 6 October 2009, the amount of tax revenue which would be raised on a 2011 and full year basis by introducing a minimum effective tax rate for those availing of all tax reliefs, that is by expanding the list of specified reliefs to which the minimum effective tax rate is currently applied, to include all tax reliefs including tax credits at earnings thresholds of €500,000, €250,000, €200,000, €150,000, €125,000, and €100,000, if he will estimate the amount of tax revenue which would be raised on a 2011 and full year basis at each of the thresholds above if the minimum effective tax rate was set at 30%. [25393/10]

The existing restriction of reliefs, or horizontal measure is activated where individuals have an adjusted income of €125,000 and claim specified reliefs of €80,000 or more. Those subject to the full restriction, at adjusted incomes of €400,000 or greater, will pay an effective income tax rate of 30% in addition to PRSI and levies.

The list of specified reliefs that are subject to the restriction are set out in Schedule 25B of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. Broadly, the reliefs restricted are the various property based tax incentives and certain other reliefs such as the Business Expansion Scheme, film relief and donations relief. Also restricted are certain tax exemptions including artistic income and patent royalties. The normal deductible items available to the broad range of taxpayers such as medical expenses, trade union subscriptions, the personal tax credits and exemptions such as that for child benefit are not restricted. Similarly, normal business expenses and deductions for capital allowances on plant and machinery, as well as genuine business related trading losses are not restricted.

The calculations requested by the Deputy on the basis of restricting all tax reliefs and tax credits could only be provided by a significant development of the costing model, which would be prohibitive in terms of the resources required.

Tax Code

Joan Burton

Ceist:

169 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the cost to the Exchequer of the rent relief for private accommodation scheme and the yield in 2011 from the abolition of this relief. [25394/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the most recent year for which the necessary detailed information is available regarding the rent relief for private accommodation scheme is the income tax year 2006, in which the cost to the Exchequer is estimated at approximately €64 million. On this basis, the full year yield to the Exchequer of abolishing the rent relief for private accommodation scheme would be of the same order, although it should be noted that the value of the relief was increased in Budgets 2007 and 2008. A basis for providing an estimate of yield in 2011 from abolition is not available.

State Banking Sector

Joan Burton

Ceist:

170 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the reason Anglo Irish Bank website advertises under the heading Business Banking, that at Anglo Irish Bank we understand your business needs; we provide clients with the following services: Corporate Lending, Asset Finance, Film Finance, International Trade and so on (details supplied) in view of the fact that in 2009 Anglo Irish Bank entered into a subscription agreement with the Government which, in line with EU guidance, required that all new lending was to be solely to the bank’s existing customer base, to be confined to amounts which were previously committed or approved to protect asset quality and to be aimed at reducing overall risk to the bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25463/10]

As the Deputy is aware under the Relationship Framework the day-to-day operations of the bank are the responsibility of the Board of Anglo Irish Bank. In view of this it is the responsibility of the Bank to ensure that the content on the website is regularly reviewed and changed in response to the changing business environment facing the Bank.

Some of the content highlighted by the Deputy has been amended to reflect the changed circumstances of the Bank. This process is continuing with the objective of accurately reflecting the Bank's position as it now stands and is expected to be completed shortly.

Tax Code

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

171 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Finance the proposals he has in regard to the taxing of disablement pension gratuities and payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25480/10]

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the tax treatment of disablement payments from the Department of Social Protection. The position is that where the Department of Social Protection pays a disablement pension to an individual, such pension is taxable. However, where the Department of Social Protection does not pay a disablement pension to an individual but instead pays that individual a ‘one off' payment in respect of that individual's disablement, then such ‘one off' payment is not taxable.

Tax Yield

Michael Ring

Ceist:

172 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance the tax take on a specific price range of vehicles (details supplied) in the past year in tabular format. [25521/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the amount of tax payable, on a price range of cars valued between €15,000 and €45,000 as requested, for each of the CO2 Emissions Categories is shown in the table below:

CO2 Emissions

0-120g

121-140g

141-155g

156-170g

171-190g

191-225g

226g and Over

VRT Rate

14%

16%

20%

24%

28%

32%

36%

Sample Price

15,000

15,000

15,000

15,000

15,000

15,000

15,000

VRT

2,100

2,400

3,000

3,600

4,200

4,800

5,400

VAT

2,239

2,187

2,083

1,979

1,874

1,770

1,666

Total

4,339

4,587

5,083

5,579

6,074

6,570

7,066

Sample Price

20,000

20,000

20,000

20,000

20,000

20,000

20,000

VRT

2,800

3,200

4,000

4,800

5,600

6,400

7,200

VAT

2,985

2,916

2,777

2,638

2,499

2,360

2,221

Total

5,785

6,116

6,777

7,438

8,099

8,760

9,421

Sample Price

25,000

25,000

25,000

25,000

25,000

25,000

25,000

VRT

3,500

4,000

5,000

6,000

7,000

8,000

9,000

VAT

3,731

3,645

3,471

3,298

3,124

2,950

2,777

Total

7,231

7,645

8,471

9,298

10,124

10,950

11,777

Sample Price

30,000

30,000

30,000

30,000

30,000

30,000

30,000

VRT

4,200

4,800

6,000

7,200

8,400

9,600

10,800

VAT

4,478

4,374

4,165

3,957

3,749

3,540

3,332

Total

8,678

9,174

10,165

11,157

12,149

13,140

14,132

Sample Price

35,000

35,000

35,000

35,000

35,000

35,000

35,000

VRT

4,900

5,600

7,000

8,400

9,800

11,200

12,600

VAT

5,224

5,102

4,860

4,617

4,374

4,131

3,888

Total

10,124

10,702

11,860

13,017

14,174

15,331

16,488

Sample Price

40,000

40,000

40,000

40,000

40,000

40,000

40,000

VRT

5,600

6,400

8,000

9,600

11,200

12,800

14,400

VAT

5,970

5,831

5,554

5,276

4,998

4,721

4,443

Total

11,570

12,231

13,554

14,876

16,198

17,521

18,843

Sample Price

45,000

45,000

45,000

45,000

45,000

45,000

45,000

VRT

6,300

7,200

9,000

10,800

12,600

14,400

16,200

VAT

6,717

6,560

6,248

5,936

5,623

5,311

4,998

Total

13,017

13,760

15,248

16,736

18,223

19,711

21,198

Motor Fuels

Liz McManus

Ceist:

173 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Finance his views on a statement from an association (details supplied) that petrol and diesel prices are up approximately 10% since January 2010 and that this rise is mainly due to taxation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23032/10]

In early January 2010 petrol was on average around 122.9 cent per litre and auto-diesel 114.9 cent per litre. Currently they are around 133.9 and 124.9 cent per litre respectively. The carbon tax, inclusive of VAT, amounted to around 4.2 cent in the case of petrol and 4.9 cent on auto-diesel. However it should be noted that the carbon tax applied to such fuels released from warehouse after Budget night 9 December 2009, and furthermore the standard rate of VAT was reduced from 21.5% to 21% with effect from 1 January 2010. Consequently, while tax may have contributed somewhat to the increase in fuel prices, the main contributing factors to the increase in fuel prices since early January 2010 arise outside of taxation.

Tax Code

Liz McManus

Ceist:

174 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Finance if he plans to exempt gas fired combined heat and power from carbon tax in the next budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23029/10]

CHP is an energy efficient process that I have supported through the introduction of generous tax reliefs such as capital allowances and consequently I do not think it appropriate to put in place a further tax subsidy. We need to ensure the carbon tax has a broad base and I don't want to undermine that principle. I would also like to point out that a long-term impact of the carbon tax will be to incentivise energy efficient processes such as CHP.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

175 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Finance if he will comment on claims that just €130 million from the €250 million revenue gained from the carbon levy has been going to earmarked schemes; if he will outline the energy efficiency measures to benefit from the carbon tax; the percentage of revenue gained from the carbon tax that will be spent on energy efficiency measures in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23020/10]

It is estimated that the carbon tax, inclusive of VAT, will yield approximately €250 million in 2010. The revenue will, amongst other things, be used to boost energy efficiency, to support rural transport and to alleviate fuel poverty. It is the general practice not to ring-fence revenues for specific purposes but rather take an overall view on priorities in the context of Expenditure decisions which, of course, are dependent on Exchequer revenues. In this regard revenues from the carbon tax will facilitate investment in the aforementioned areas.

Departmental Properties

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

176 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance the capital value of the property portfolio of the Office of Public Works for the year 2009; the basis on which this has been computed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24651/10]

For the major part of the portfolio, valuation estimates are based on building cost norms, and standard land values have been used.

Prestige buildings included in the valuation, such as Dublin Castle, Leinster House and the National Gallery, are valued differently, given their unique status.

The capital value of the property portfolio of the Office of Public Works as attributed for the purpose of the Appropriation Account, at 31 December 2009 was approximately €3.2 billion.

Properties under the State ownership of other Ministers, for example certain heritage properties, including national monument properties, are excluded from the valuation.

Tax Code

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

177 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 89 of 2 June 2010, the number of taxpayers, including individuals and companies, who made claims under the following schemes in 2007 and 2008, urban renewal, town renewal, seaside resorts, rural renewal, multi-storey car parks, living over the shop, enterprise areas, park and ride, holiday cottages, hotels, nursing homes, housing for the elderly or infirm, hostels, guest houses, convalescent homes, qualifying private hospitals, qualifying sports injury clinics, buildings used for child care purposes, mental health centres, student accommodation and registered caravan parks in tabular form; if the building had to be completed and occupied for the specific purpose to qualify for allowances in respect of taxpayers who constructed or incurred expenditure in relation to each of these headings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25569/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the relevant information available on the number of taxpayers, including individuals and companies, who made claims under the following schemes is based on personal income tax returns filed by non-PAYE taxpayers and corporation tax returns filed by companies for the years 2007 and 2008. These are set out in the following table:

Number of Taxpayers

SCHEMES

2007

2008

Urban Renewal

3,501

3,271

Town Renewal

1,128

965

Seaside Resorts

1,231

1,051

Rural Renewal

2,807

2,634

Multi-storey car parks

147

136

Living over the Shop

93

81

Enterprise Areas

137

138

Park & Ride

33

19

Holiday Cottages

832

833

Hotels

1,893

1,966

Nursing Homes

687

725

Housing for the Elderly/Infirm

166

179

Hostels

24

21

Guest Houses

8

10

Convalescent Homes

27

33

Qualifying (Private) Hospitals

325

330

Qualifying Sports Injury Clinics

59

58

Buildings used for child care purposes

420

511

Mental Health Centres

6

4

Student Accommodation

941

790

Registered Caravan Parks

N/A

10

The information available on the numbers of claimants is based on personal income tax returns filed by non-PAYE taxpayers (Form 11) and corporation tax returns filed by companies for the years 2007 and 2008, the latest year for which this information is available.

It should be noted that any corresponding data returned by PAYE taxpayers in the income tax return (Form 12) is not captured in the Revenue computer system. However, any PAYE taxpayer with non-PAYE income greater than €3,174 is required to complete an income tax return (Form 11).

The estimated relief claimed has assumed tax forgone at the 41% rate for 2007 and 2008 in the case of individuals and 12.5% in the case of companies for both years. The figures shown correspond to the maximum Exchequer cost in terms of income tax and corporation tax.

The figures for 2008 are subject to adjustment in the event of late returns being filed or where returns already filed are subsequently amended.

I have also been given information by the Revenue Commissioners in relation to when a building can qualify for allowances. This depends on the particular scheme or type of building. In general, buildings that are to be used for commercial purposes in the various area-based schemes, such as the Urban Renewal Scheme, can qualify for allowances in a number of ways. In the case of an initial allowance (i.e. an accelerated up-front allowance), the allowance is given for the chargeable period in which the expenditure is incurred or, in the case of a lease, the chargeable period in which the tenancy commences. Annual allowances are given when the building is in use for the purposes of a trade or profession or, in the case of a lease, when the building has been let on bona fide, arm's length commercial terms. Thus, it is not necessary in all cases that the building be occupied for a specific purpose before allowances are given.

In general, in the case of the sectoral schemes, such as hotels, nursing homes and hospitals, the building has to be in use for a specific purpose before allowances are given. This is the case whether the building is occupied by an owner-operator or is leased. However, in the case of residential units associated with registered nursing homes, the allowances can be claimed when the units have been leased to the nursing home for onward leasing to the elderly or infirm tenants.

In the case of residential buildings, ‘section 23' type relief and the relief under the Countrywide Refurbishment scheme are given when the building has been leased, while owner-occupier relief is given when the building is occupied by the owner of the building.

This information is given in tabular form below. The table that was recently given to the Deputy in the reply to Parliamentary Question Number 23749 has been adapted for this purpose.

Schemes

Initial Allowance

When allowances given

1. Commercial

Urban Renewal 1994

25%

In use for trade or profession or let

Customs House Dock

50%

In use for trade or profession or let

Temple Bar Area

50%/25%

In use for trade or profession or let

Seaside Resorts

50%

In use for specified purpose or let

Enterprise Areas

25%/50%

In use for specified purpose or let

Urban Renewal 1999

50%

In use for trade or profession or let

Multi-storey Car Parks

50%

In use for specified purpose or let

Town Renewal

50%

In use for trade or profession or let

Rural Renewal

50%

In use for trade or profession or let

Living over the Shop

50%

In use for trade or profession or let

Park and Ride

50%

In use for specified purpose or let

Third Level Buildings

No

In use for specified purpose

Qualifying Sports Injury Clinics

No

In use for specified purpose

Hotels

No

In use for specified purpose

Childcare Facilities

100%

In use for specified purpose

Holiday Cottages

No

In use for specified purpose

Nursing Homes

No

In use for specified purpose

Housing for elderly/infirm

No

In use for specified purpose or let to associated registered nursing home

Convalescent Homes

No

In use for specified purpose

Qualifying Hospitals

No

In use for specified purpose

Qualifying Mental Health Centres

No

In use for specified purpose

Specialist Palliative Care Units

No

In use for specified purpose (scheme awaiting Commencement Order)

Mid-Shannon Corridor Tourism Infrastructure Scheme

No

In use for specified purpose

Registered Guest Houses & Holiday Hostels

No

In use for specified purpose

Registered Holiday Camps

No

In use for specified purpose

Registered Caravan & Camping Sites

No

In use for specified purpose

2. Residential

Section 23 relief (incl Student Accommodation)

No

Building let

Owner-Occupier relief

No

Building occupied by owner

Countrywide Refurbishment

No

Building let

Tobacco Smuggling

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

178 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Finance his views on the key actions from the UK 2008 Strategy, Tackling Tobacco Smuggling Together (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25570/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they are familiar with the UK strategy paper on tackling tobacco smuggling referred to and that in many respects its content mirrors the overall approach taken by Revenue in regard to tobacco smuggling.

With regard to particular aspects outlined, I can advise the Deputy that Revenue works closely with the legitimate tobacco industry, including individual manufacturers and ITMAC, to identify current trends and trading patterns with a view to detecting illicit cigarettes on sale in the State. Liaison and sharing of information also takes place with the Office of Tobacco Control. Ireland, together with other Member States and the EU Commission, has signed international anti-smuggling agreements with Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco International and agreements with other tobacco manufacturers are pending.

With regard to performance reporting, Revenue regularly publishes, both in press releases and on its website, details of major tobacco seizures and of convictions for tobacco smuggling and its Annual Report provides yearly statistics in this regard.

In considering the level of Customs controls at Irish ports and airports it must be borne in mind that a large majority of tobacco smuggled to Ireland by passengers comes via intra-Community flights, in particular those arriving from some of the new Member States in Eastern Europe. In this regard the operating environment for Customs has been shaped to a significant degree by the introduction of the EU Internal Market and the related principles of freedom of movement. Of specific relevance is the abolition of routine and systematic Customs checks on goods and passengers moving within any part of the EU. In this context specialist intelligence teams based at all the main airports use profiling and risk analysis together with detector dogs to assist them in identifying contraband.

The main volumes of illicit tobacco arrive in Ireland through maritime freight. The strategy utilised to counter this involves the use of intelligence and profiling techniques, together with the latest scanning technology, to detect contraband in containers. In this regard Revenue recently acquired a second Mobile Container Scanner for use in the State's ports.

In excess of thirty voluntary cooperation agreements have been signed by Revenue with port and airport operators, carriers and freight agents. In addition, Revenue continues to receive informal assistance from a wide spectrum of the import/export trade.

Revenue works closely with the European Anti- Fraud Office, OLAF in their efforts at tackling the illicit sale of tobacco. Revenue also provides and receives intelligence from other Customs Administrations. This international cooperation and sharing of intelligence and expertise plays an important role in combating illegal tobacco smuggling on a global scale.

There is also close co-operation with An Garda Síochána and multi-agency operations are mounted where appropriate to detect the distribution and sale of illicit tobacco products. In particular, since 2008 enforcement officers have been conducting checks at retail outlets, markets and distribution centres in an ongoing operation entitled "Downstream". This operation focuses on seizing illicit cigarettes that evaded detection at the point of importation.

On the legislative front, my Department, in consultation with Revenue, regularly reviews the adequacy of the legislative framework supporting the overall enforcement strategy. In this context the penalties for smuggling were significantly increased in this year's Finance Act.

National Solidarity Bond

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

179 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance the details of the uptake to 31 May 2010 of the National Solidarity Bond including the number of applicants and the total amounts. [24652/10]

In Budget 2010, I announced the Government's intention to launch a National Solidarity Bond, the purpose of which is to allow citizens an opportunity to invest and provide money to the State to stimulate economic recovery and to assist in the maintenance and creation of employment. The necessary legislative basis was provided in this year's Finance Act and the Bond was launched on Tuesday 4 May.

As of Friday last, 11 June, a total of €47 million had been invested by 1,800 customers. On average, this means that, each working day since it was launched, some 64 customers invested a total of €1.7 million in the Bond.

The Deputy asked specifically for the uptake on the Bond to Monday 31 May. As of that date, the amount invested in the Bond was approximately €34 million from 1,300 customers.

Brochures, application forms, terms and conditions and Frequently Asked Questions on the National Solidarity Bond are available on the internet (www.StateSavings.ie) and additional information is available from a dedicated telephone line 1850 30 50 60 or by visiting any Post Office.

Pension Provisions

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

180 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance if he will furnish the details requested in Parliamentary Question No. 299 of 19 January 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25647/10]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to a similar question on 13th May, 2010. While some of the Bodies have produced preliminary estimated figures for the value of the assets and liabilities of the funds, final valuations as at the transfer dates will only be available when the audited accounts of the funds are finalised. I would be happy to advise the Deputy when I receive the final audited accounts for each of the funds.

Banks Recapitalisation

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

181 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if he has audited the delivery of lending commitments by banks (details supplied) made as part of the €7 billion recapitalisation agreement in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25654/10]

As part of the recapitalisation package announced on 11 February, Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland committed to increase lending capacity to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by 10% and to provide an additional 30% capacity for lending to first time buyers in 2009. AIB and Bank of Ireland also committed to public campaigns to actively promote small business lending at competitive rates with increased transparency on the criteria to be met.

Both my officials and the Financial Regulator receive quarterly reports in relation to the lending commitments made. The performance of the banks in this regard was published in the NAMA supplementary information booklet (blue book). The main highlights showed that AIB and Bank of Ireland both lent in excess of €2.5bn to SMEs in 2009 while there was significant lending to FTBs. Both banks have maintained a strong presence in the promotion of mortgages to FTBs.

In the context of NAMA and the associated recapitalisations I sought further contributions to economic recovery from the banks. In my statement on 30 March I announced further specific lending targets on the main business banks, AIB and Bank of Ireland. They will make available for targeted lending not less than €3 billion each for new or increased credit facilities to SMEs in both 2010 and 2011. The two banks have each submitted SME lending plans both by geography and sector for 2010 and 2011 in light of the €3 billion target. These plans are being reviewed by my officials and Mr. John Trethowan, the Credit Reviewer.

National Asset Management Agency

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

182 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance if there is any evidence to the effect that some housing estates, partially constructed or otherwise incomplete, are being stripped out and the fittings disposed of; if such alleged activity relates to any developments acquired by the National Asset Management Agency or other interested parties including financial institutions in which NAMA has an interest; if approval for such activity has been sought, granted or is pending on such matters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25659/10]

Participating institutions have a duty under section 71 of the NAMA Act 2009 to administer, service and deal with all eligible bank assets with professional skill, care and diligence. In addition, NAMA has powers under section 141 of the Act to take measures to protect the value or conditions of land or buildings where it has acquired bank assets secured by a charge over land.

The transfer of the first tranche of loans from the five participating institutions concluded last month. At this early stage, NAMA has taken over only the loans of the largest borrowers and has not realised any underlying securities.

NAMA has advised me that it is not aware of developments in which its borrowers have an interest being stripped out of fittings in the manner in which he has described. There is an onus on such borrowers to take appropriate security measures to protect such property.

If the Deputy is aware of instances of possible illegal activities, he should bring the matter to the attention of the appropriate authorities.

Banking Sector Regulation

Joan Burton

Ceist:

183 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the recent statement by the Financial Services Ombudsman calling for a change in the law allowing that office to name financial institutions which it has found against; his plans to introduce such legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25664/10]

The Financial Services Ombudsman has requested the power to name institutions where it is in the public interest to do so. I am now reviewing the issue. My officials have sought legal advice to help inform the deliberations to formulate a clear policy position. This is a complex issue which requires detailed examination prior to bringing forward legislation. For example, the criteria for publishing would have to be identified in the legislation. Any amendment to the current legislation would need to be validated, justified and applied in an objective and reasonable manner to all financial services providers. I will reflect on the options and consider possible legislative solutions in the context of the second Central Bank Reform Bill later this year.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

184 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his plans to change the law allowing the levies imposed by the Financial Services Ombudsman to be imposed in proportion to the number of proven complaints against each institution as is the case in the UK in an effort to encourage banks and other financial institutions to improve conduct of business and customer complaints handling procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25665/10]

The Financial Services Ombudsman Council determines, by regulation, the levies and charges payable by each financial service provider. The regulations do not take effect until I consent to their making. The regulations prescribe the amount of the levies and the charges that are to apply to specified classes of financial service providers. All such providers contribute towards the funding of the Financial Services Ombudsman and of the Council. Now that the office is 5 years in existence I am advised that the Ombudsman and the Council are to review the method for determining the levies and charges and their manner of collection.

I am advised that a legislative change is not required should the Ombudsman and the Council wish to amend the methodology of determining the levies and the manner of collection.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

185 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that in most jurisdictions the costs of financial regulation are paid 100% by the financial industry; his plans to amend the existing legislation requiring the financial services industry to pay 100% of the costs of regulation in the proposed Central Bank Commission compared to just 50% at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25666/10]

Primary legislation would not be necessary to achieve 100% industry funding of financial regulation and the Central Bank Reform Bill 2010 does not contain any specific proposals in this regard. However, I have asked officials in my Department to undertake a process of consultation with the Central Bank and Financial Services Regulatory Authority and representatives of the financial services industry with a view to examining how we might move towards 100% funding of the regulation of financial services by the industry. The Governor of the Central Bank, in a statement to the financial services industry in December 2009, also signalled his expectation of an increasing degree of industry funding for financial regulation.

Under the provisions of the Central Bank Act 1942 (Section 33J) Regulations 2009 a supplementary levy was imposed on credit institutions covered by the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme 2008 which is designed to recoup 100% of the costs of the more intensive level of supervision necessary to ensure compliance by relevant credit institutions with the provisions of the Scheme.

Banks Recapitalisation

Joan Burton

Ceist:

186 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if the policy of curtailing performance bonuses in Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland announced on 11 February 2009 as part of the recapitalisation programme will be continued for the foreseeable future; if he will confirm that no bonuses have been sanctioned in 2009 or to date in 2010; if he will confirm that he does not propose to sanction any bonuses in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25667/10]

The provision for the curtailment of performance bonuses for senior executives of the named institutions is contained in the respective Subscription Agreements for the preference share investment by the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission in each of these institutions. These Agreements specify that no performance bonuses for senior executives are to be paid for the years 2009 and 2010. Thereafter, any proposal to pay an annual performance bonus to any senior executive is subject to agreement between the bank concerned and the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission. I have issued directions to the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission governing these investments which, inter alia, require the Commission to consult me before agreeing to any changes to remuneration arrangements pursuant to the Subscription Agreements.

Financial Institutions Support Scheme

Joan Burton

Ceist:

187 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the actions and measures he has put in place to ensure that the remuneration packages of senior executives in the financial institutions covered under the Government guarantee in 2010 are in accordance with the recommendations of the Covered Institutions Remuneration Oversight Committee report; if he has sought advice from CIROC on this matter; if he has requested the CIROC to undertake further work or supervision of remuneration policies and packages since they submitted their report in March 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25668/10]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

188 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the actions he has taken since March 2009 to further review the remuneration plans and policies of financial institutions in view of the recommendation by the Covered Institutions Remuneration Oversight Committee in their report of March 2009, section 1.13, that the remuneration plans of the financial institutions covered under the Government guarantee required further review since the CIROC committee did not have access in March 2009 to all the relevant information to confirm if the institutions were complying with section 47 of the guarantee scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25669/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 187 and 188 together.

Under the terms of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme [the Scheme], I established the Covered Institutions Remuneration Oversight Committee (CIROC) to oversee all remuneration plans of senior executives of the covered institutions. Paragraph 47 of the Scheme 2008 required that each covered institution prepare a plan to structure the remuneration packages of directors and executives so as to take account of the objectives of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008. For this purpose, remuneration includes total salary, bonuses, pension payments and any other benefits received from a covered institution and its group entities, or otherwise received by a director or executive arising from the performance of his or her functions as a director or executive. These plans covered executive bonuses including share options, if any.

CIROC reported on 27 February 2009, recommending reductions in prevailing base salary, bonus and pension levels for Chief Executives, Chairs and ordinary board members that it considered to be, in many cases, markedly excessive. These recommendations were then to be incorporated in revised remuneration plans of the covered institutions to reflect compliance with the Act.

CIROC fulfilled its mandate by submitting its report to me in February 2009 on the covered institutions and has no further function under the terms of the existing scheme. However, through the terms of the respective subscription agreements and/or relationship frameworks, the Government has implemented further controls on remuneration policy at the respective covered institutions beyond the provisions of CIROC.

It can be seen from the publication of the respective 2009 financial statements of the covered institutions that, taking the above into consideration, the recommendations of CIROC are generally been implemented and accordingly the objectives of Act are being taken account of by the covered institutions in setting their remuneration policies. The Deputy will be aware that exceptions to some of the CIROC recommendations have been made but these were subject to approval in advance based on particular circumstances.

On the specific issue of "pension cap" practice noted by CIROC and their view that it was unacceptable that arrangements should be put in place which would be inconsistent with the intent of the relevant legislation I specifically informed the affected institutions that this practice should cease immediately and this has happened. At two of the covered institutions payments continue to be made because of pre-existing contractual arrangements to four individuals. In all of these cases reductions in base salary and/or the "pension cash payment" have been made.

Corporate Governance

Joan Burton

Ceist:

189 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if his Department was consulted and or had an input into the consultation paper CP 41 on corporate governance in financial institutions published by the Financial Regulator in April 2010; his views on whether the code as currently drafted is sufficient to deal with the failures of corporate governance in financial institutions here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25670/10]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

190 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the proposal in the draft code on corporate governance institutions to omit the provision that any director who has served more than nine years on a board is no longer deemed independent; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this is a key provision in the Financial Reporting Council Combined Code on Corporate Governance; his views on whether this omission will weaken the code; his further views on whether this provision should be included in the code; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25671/10]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

191 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the proposal in the draft code on corporate governance in financial institutions to omit the whistle blowing provision requiring audit committees to review arrangements by which staff of a company may, in confidence, raise concerns about possible improprieties in matters of financial reports or other matters, which is a provision in the Financial Reporting Council Combined code on corporate governance; his views on whether this omission will weaken the code; if he believes this provision should be included in the code; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25672/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 to 191, inclusive, together.

The Financial Regulator is currently undertaking a public consultation on corporate governance through its consultation paper, Corporate Governance in Financial Institutions, published in April 2010.

The consultation paper has been prepared and issued directly by the Financial Regulator, on foot of a commitment in the renewed Programme for Government, to develop new statutory rules in relation to the governance of major financial institutions.

As the Deputy is aware the Financial Regulator is independent in the performance of its functions and my Department has not had any role in the preparation of the consultation paper.

The consultation paper sets out proposed minimum requirements as to how banks and insurance companies should organise the governance of their institutions including membership of the Board of Directors, the role of the Chairman and the operation of various board committees. It is proposed that the requirements will apply to all credit institutions and insurance companies licensed or authorised by the Financial Regulator including Irish licensed and authorised subsidiaries of international financial services groups.

The Financial Regulator's consultation paper also sets out the statutory basis on which it will implement the proposed new corporate governance rules.

It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the specific issues raised by the Deputy as these are a matter for the Financial Regulator to consider in finalising its proposed corporate governance standards. The Deputy may, however, wish to bring her views to the attention of the Financial Regulator by way of a formal submission to its consultation. I am informed that the Financial Regulator has invited views on its consultation paper up to 30 June 2010.

Financial Institutions Support Scheme

Joan Burton

Ceist:

192 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the actions and measures he has put in place to ensure that the financial institutions covered under the Government guarantee have compiled with Section 44 of Statutory Instrument 411 of 2008, which required institutions not to pass on the costs of the guarantee in an unwarranted manner; if any studies or research have been undertaken to confirm compliance with this provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25673/10]

My Department and the Financial Regulator have set up mechanisms for monitoring the financial institutions in relation to the Guarantee. The Scheme requires that covered institutions submit a compliance certificate to the Financial Regulator each quarter which must be certified by the CEO and Chairman of the institutions and reviewed by the institutions external auditors. The requirement that costs are not passed on in an unwarranted manner must be addressed under this compliance certificate. Nothing has arisen to date which suggests that the Covered Institutions are not acting in accordance with Section 44. Additionally, the Financial Regulator monitors, reviews, and approves bank charges as outlined under section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act. In particular, the Financial Regulator must be notified of any charge imposed by a bank in relation to the provision of a service to a consumer and any increase in a charge previously notified. The notification to the Financial Regulator must be accompanied by a statement of commercial justification (including a detailed statement of cost) and details of the estimated amount of additional income accruing from the proposal. The Financial Regulator can waive or reduce a fee notified to it under section 149.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

193 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the actions the financial institutions covered under the Government guarantee have taken to comply with section 45 of Statutory Instrument 411 of 2008 on corporate social responsibility; if he will provide copies of the biannual reports submitted by the Irish Banking Federation; the progress made on the delivery of a national payments strategy, actions taken to promote financial inclusion and financial education and the implementation of the next phase of the Government’s social finance initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25674/10]

In accordance with Paragraph 45 of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme 2008, the biannual reports on Corporate Social Responsibility are published on each institution's website. Copies of the reports are also available on the IBF website. In relation to progress on the specific issues mentioned, in 2009 the Social Finance Foundation reached agreement with twelve banks and building societies to access €72 million in funding over the period 2009-2020. This funding is being provided by the institutions at a discounted rate of interest and is key to the future of the Foundation, and the growth of social finance in Ireland. This new funding arrangement is consistent with the requirements on the "covered" financial institutions in the area of corporate social responsibility under the terms of the Government Guarantee Scheme introduced in September 2008.

In relation to payments, the Government's policy is to promote the increased use of electronic payments throughout the economy, with the longer-term objective of significant reductions, over a number of years, in the volume of paper-based payments in use throughout the economy. This policy is fully aligned and is developing in tandem with market and regulatory developments at EU level, including the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), the introduction of the Payment Services Directive from November 2009 and the introduction of the revised Electronic Money Directive from April 2011. In promoting this policy objective, the Government has reduced stamp duty on combined ATM cards from €10 to €5 in Budget 2009, building upon changes in the previous year's Budget. Stamp duty on cheques was also increased from 30 cent to 50 cent per cheque, to act as a further disincentive to cheque usage.

I previously indicated the need to establish new governance arrangements to further promote the development of electronic payments in our economy. As part of this process, the National Payments Implementation Programme Advisory Group has provided recommendations in a report on the possible mechanisms and mandate to further promote the development of electronic payments. I am currently considering these recommendations.

In accordance with the Government's recapitalisations in February 2009 the recapitalised banks were committed to work towards broadening the provision of basic or introductory bank accounts in order to progress financial inclusion. Specific proposals have not yet been finalised. Basic bank accounts are current accounts designed for people who are unbanked and for those who want to ensure that they cannot overdraw their account or who might not meet the banks' criteria for opening a standard current account. While the features of a basic bank account can differ the following European Commission definition captures its essence: "A basic bank account is understood as a bank account which includes services like making and receiving electronic payments for goods and services (e.g. transfers, direct debits, standing orders) and making withdrawals, but excludes any overdraft facility".

The Financial Regulator has included in its Consumer Protection Code a requirement that any measures adopted in relation to the identification of consumers should not deny a person access to financial services solely on the grounds that they do not possess certain specified identification documentation. In relation to financial education, the information and education role of the Financial Regulator was recently transferred to the National Consumer Agency (NCA). The NCA recently invited a number of stakeholders (including covered institutions) to form a working group to co-ordinate some of the key commitments in the Report of the National Steering Group on Financial Education — published in 2009. Specifically, the NCA plans to develop a workplace financial education programme.

Corporate Governance.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

194 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the State agencies under the aegis of his Department to which the 2009 code of practice for the governance of State bodies applies; if all these agencies have submitted assurances and reports confirming compliance with the code in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25675/10]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

195 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he has reviewed the compliance by State bodies that come under his remit with the code of practice for the governance of State bodies; if he will name the State bodies that have not achieved full compliance and the reason for same; the action taken by his Department and the results of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25676/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 194 and 195 together.

As regards the bodies under the aegis of my Department, the following is the position in relation to compliance with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.

National Treasury Management Agency

The National Treasury Management Agency's legal structure does not follow the general semi-state model in all respects. The National Treasury Management Agency is currently carrying out a detailed review of how the code can be adapted to the specific structure of the Agency and its associated bodies.

An Post National Lottery

The National Lottery Company, which operates the National Lottery under a licence issued by the Minister for Finance, is a subsidiary of An Post, which is under the aegis of my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Corporate Governance of the National Lottery Company is a matter, in the first instance, for the Board of the Company and are overseen by An Post as parent company and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources as parent Department. The annual reports of the National Lottery Company for each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 confirm that the Company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.

Anglo Irish Bank

The Bank has confirmed in its annual report for 2009 that during 2009 the bank adopted the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and is working with my Department towards full compliance. Compliance with the code is currently being reviewed by the Department. It is likely that some elements of the code will be superseded by other reporting requirements.

Financial Services Ombudsman Council and Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau

The Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau have confirmed that both it and the Financial Services Ombudsman Council are compliant with the Code of Governance of State Bodies.

Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal

The Financial Services Appeals Tribunal have confirmed that they have a code of conduct in place which is compliant with the Code of Governance of State Bodies.

While within the current statutory provisions, the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland are independent of the Minister for Finance in this area, I understand that the Board of the Central Bank and the Regulatory Authority have adopted codes of practice which reflect the document prepared by my Department.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

196 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the reason the Financial Regulator is not subject to the code of practice for the governance of State bodies; his plans to change this in the upcoming legislative and regulatory reforms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25677/10]

In accordance with the Central Bank Act 1942 (as amended), the Treaty of Rome and the Statute of the European System of Central Banks, the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority as a constituent part of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland is an independent body and not subject to direction by the Minister for Finance in this regard. The Central Bank Reform Bill 2010 creates a single, fully-integrated Central Bank with a unitary board chaired by the Governor of the Central Bank. New and more transparent arrangements for the accountability of the Central Bank to the Minister for Finance and the Oireachtas will facilitate a more thorough and regular examination of the financial regulatory authorities including the extent to which they conform to best practice in relation to governance. However, I understand that the board of the Central Bank and the Regulatory Authority have adopted codes of practice which reflect the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies prepared by my Department.

Economic Policy

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

197 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance when the European Council will consider the European Commission’s communication COM (2010) 25; the powers the European Council has to veto the Irish budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20965/10]

The European Council has taken a number of steps in recent weeks and months to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area. However, there is a broad understanding that economic governance within the euro area needs to be improved. The Commission has contributed a Communication (2010) 250 on reinforcing economic policy coordination to which I assume the Deputy refers. The President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy has established a Task Force to look more closely at reform and is considering many of the Commission's proposals. The Task Force — of which I am a member — has met twice already and is looking at a number of issues, including a crisis resolution mechanism for the euro area, addressing macroeconomic imbalances, reinforcing the Stability and Growth Pact and enhanced budgetary coordination. In discussing these issues, a general view is emerging that all avenues for improvements that could be advanced quickly should be considered, while taking account of national budgetary procedures and the role of national parliaments. The President will provide an interim oral report to the European Council this Thursday 17 June. A final report will be made to the European Council in October.

Tax Code

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

198 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance his views on the need to review the €10 air travel tax in view of the recent catastrophe for air travel and tourism here due to the Icelandic volcanic eruption; if he will publish the cost benefit analysis for the air travel tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17858/10]

I have no plans to abolish the air travel tax. The air travel tax was one of a number of Budgetary measures introduced recently that was necessary in the context of an overall response to the fiscal challenges we face. I have stated before that the impact of the tax on passenger numbers is being overstated.

Flood Relief

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

199 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance the measures he has taken to prevent a repeat of the 2009 flooding; the assistance that his agencies are providing to local communities to minimise the threat of flooding in the future; if funding is available to support local initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21983/10]

The severe flood events of November 2009 were as a result of, in part, unprecedented rainfall events during late October and November. In light of the severe flooding, the Government allocated €68.326m, including €50m for Capital expenditure, to be administered by the Office of Public Works, for flood risk management activities for 2010. This increased allocation will allow OPW to continue with and expand its Programmes for flood relief activities.

Within the overall allocation, there has been an increase for Minor Flood and Coastal Protection Works to be undertaken by Local Authorities in 2010. OPW allocated €6.7m in March this year under the Programme, and a further €3.9m earlier this month to a total of 24 Local Authorities. The application assessment process is continuing, and OPW are liaising with a number of Local Authorities regarding applications in respect of which additional information is required. In addition, it is still open to Local Authorities to make further applications under this Programme, which may be considered, having regard to the overall resources available.

OPW has undertaken a rigorous collection of data and information since the November 2009 floods, and has already met with several local authorities to review the flood events of November 2009 and identify actions required. Indeed, a Feasibility Study for Bandon, Co Cork has already commenced and may result in a full flood defence scheme for the town. OPW is also continuing to actively pursue potential mitigation measures in a number of other locations where it is envisaged the works would be carried out by OPW's own workforce on behalf of the relevant Local Authorities. All these works are in addition to the major schemes already under construction in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Mallow Co Cork, Fermoy Co Cork, Ennis Co Clare, Mornington Co Meath and the River Dodder in Dublin, and the schemes at various stages of development which include Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Templemore, Co. Tipperary, Bray and Arklow, Co. Wicklow amongst others. OPW is also in discussions with Dublin City Council with a view to undertaking its first major coastal flooding scheme in Clontarf, Dublin City.

In recognition of the flooding situation countrywide, OPW has profiled expenditure of approximately €300m up to 2014 with expenditure in excess of €200m being profiled on capital works in this period. I am confident that this expenditure under the current work programmes being undertaken by the Office of Public Works will reduce the national level of flood risk to people, infrastructure, businesses and the environment.

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

200 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Finance if measures are being put in place to prevent the recurrence of flooding in Cork City in the coming winter; the basis for any such measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22248/10]

Arising from the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study for the Lee catchment, a plan of prioritised flood risk mitigation measures was launched earlier this year as a Public Consultation document. The Plan identifies specific viable structural and non-structural options for managing the flood risks within the catchment as a whole and for localised high-risk areas. The period of public consultation for the Plan finished on 30 April 2010. A substantial number of observations were received during the public consultation. These contributions are currently being considered and will be incorporated into the final Plan, as appropriate.

In addition to the measures being pursued through the CFRAM framework, consultants have been appointed to undertake a hydrological and hydraulic review of the November 2009 floods for the Rivers Lee and Owenboy. This review will examine, inter alia, rainfall depths and return periods, flood flow paths, extents and probabilities, with a view to providing an up-to-date model for this catchment. The initial review of the modelling is due to take place in mid-Summer. The OPW understands that the City Council has already carried out surveys of the quay walls. OPW has agreed to fund interim repair works at two locations of Cork Quay Walls. This funding is subject to the invitation of tenders by Cork City Council and will not exceed the sum of €450,000 for each location. An allocation of €318,600 has also been made to Cork County Council for flood mitigation works at Crookstown. It would be open to both the Councils to submit further applications for minor interim works.

Health Service Allowances

James Bannon

Ceist:

201 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Longford in regard to their mobility allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25039/10]

I regret that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive, it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course. However, I would also recommend that the Deputy inform the individual mentioned that it is open to them to contact their local health office directly.

Hospital Services

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

202 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will endeavour to save the Lifford, Sheil and Rock hospitals in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25328/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

203 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount a hospital (details supplied) has been penalised or awarded under the Health Service Executive Casemix management system between 2005 and to date in 2010 inclusively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25028/10]

As indicated to the Deputy in my previous response, it was not possible to answer the original question due to industrial action. This industrial action currently remains in place and continues to affect the provision of substantive replies to certain Parliamentary Questions. If the matter raised continues to be of concern, it will be necessary for the Deputy to resubmit the original question again when the current industrial action has been resolved.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

204 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount a hospital (details supplied) has been penalised or awarded under the Health Service Executive Casemix management system between 2005 and 2010 inclusively. [25029/10]

As indicated to the Deputy in my previous response, it was not possible to answer the original question due to industrial action. This industrial action currently remains in place and continues to affect the provision of substantive replies to certain Parliamentary Questions. If the matter raised continues to be of concern, it will be necessary for the Deputy to resubmit the original question again when the current industrial action has been resolved.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

205 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount a hospital (details supplied) has been penalised or awarded under the Health Service Executive Casemix management system between 2005 and 2010 inclusively. [25030/10]

As indicated to the Deputy in my previous response, it was not possible to answer the original question due to industrial action. This industrial action currently remains in place and continues to affect the provision of substantive replies to certain Parliamentary Questions. If the matter raised continues to be of concern, it will be necessary for the Deputy to resubmit the original question again when the current industrial action has been resolved.

Cancer Screening Programme

James Reilly

Ceist:

206 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the details of the implementation of the colorectal screening programme, including the number of hospitals that have expressed interest in being screening units; the number of screening units envisaged under the plan; the location of these units; the colonoscopy capacity that must be built; the number of persons who will benefit from the programme; when screening will commence; the cost of rolling out the screening programme; the progress made in implementing the plan to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25042/10]

Work has already commenced on the establishment of a national colorectal cancer screening programme. This programme will initially be offered to men and women aged between 60 and 69 years. Screening will commence in early 2012 following an intensive period of preparation which began in January 2010. The programme will be extended to all those in the 55-74 year age group as logistics and resources allow.

The HSE's National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) has responsibility for the implementation of the screening programme and it is working closely with colleagues across the Health Service Executive on preparations for this.

As part of the two year pre-implementation phase for the programme, the NCSS is undertaking a series of baseline assessment visits nationwide to assess colonoscopy capacity in existing hospital services. Between 10 and 12 screening centres will be required by the programme. One of the criteria for hospitals wishing to participate in the programme is that they reduce waiting times for urgent colonoscopies to less than 4 weeks prior to the initiation of the screening programme. Thirty public hospitals expressed an interest in providing colonoscopy services to support a national screening programme and all visits are due for completion by December 2010. The outcome of the baseline assessment visits will identify potential areas for improvement and additional investment and staffing requirements. The NCSS will report these findings to my Department.

There are estimated to be around 400,000 people in the initial target age group (60 to 69 years). Half of these will be invited for screening each year. Based on expected uptake rates and incidence rates, it is expected that around 6,000 colonoscopies would take place each year within the screening programme. Currently, around 59,000 colonoscopies are performed in the public healthcare system annually.

The cost of the screening programme during the pre-implementation phase will be found from within existing NCSS resources. The programme will be introduced in early 2012 to the 60 — 69 year age cohort, with additional costs of at least €5.5m for this purpose. There will also be costs associated with the refurbishment and equipping of the colonoscopy centres to ensure they meet appropriate standards. The programme will be extended to those aged 55 to 74 years of age as logistics and resources allow.

The screening programme will not be allowed to adversely affect waiting times for urgent colonoscopies in the symptomatic services. The need to comply with the 4 week time limit for urgent colonoscopies has been emphasised to the HSE and I am satisfied that the public health service is capable of delivering a quality assured service for both symptomatic and screening colonoscopies.

James Reilly

Ceist:

207 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if all patients in need of a colonoscopy are seen within her one month target waiting time; the number of patients waiting more than one month; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25043/10]

James Reilly

Ceist:

208 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons waiting for a colonoscopy in public hospitals; the number of persons waiting between four weeks and three months, between three and six months, between six and 12 months, between one and two years and more than two years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25044/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 207 and 208 together

The matter raised by the Deputy is an operational one and would, in the normal course of events, be referred to the HSE for direct reply. However, I will set out the position for the Deputy in so far as information is available to my Department.

In approving its National Service Plan for 2010, I have instructed the HSE to ensure that urgent colonoscopies are provided within four weeks. In the case of non-urgent colonoscopies, the HSE has instructed hospitals to refer patients waiting for longer than three months to the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

The latest information (May 2010) available to my Department shows that in the 19 hospitals which reported data on colonoscopy waiting times, no patient is waiting longer than 28 days for an urgent colonoscopy. In the case of non-urgent colonoscopies, the latest figures (May 2010) available to my Department from the NTPF show 877 people waiting between three and six months, 179 people waiting between six and twelve months and a total of 25 people waiting longer than a year. Colonoscopies are carried out for a range of possible conditions and this figure would include cases where cancer is not suspected.

James Reilly

Ceist:

209 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of bowel cancer to the health services per annum; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25045/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

James Reilly

Ceist:

210 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of cases of bowel cancer over the past 20 years; the projected numbers of bowel cancer over the next 20 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25046/10]

Statistics in relation to cancer incidence are collated by the National Cancer Registry. My Department has asked the Director of the Registry to examine this matter and to reply directly to the Deputy.

James Reilly

Ceist:

211 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if BreastCheck will be made available for women over 64 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25047/10]

James Reilly

Ceist:

212 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if BreastCheck was extended to the 65 years to 69 years age group, the number of women who would benefit from screening; the estimated cost of extending screening to this age group; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25048/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 211 and 212 together.

BreastCheck provides free mammograms to all women aged 50-64. The national roll-out of BreastCheck reached all counties in 2009. During 2009 approximately 122,000 women were screened. The National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) projected cost of BreastCheck in 2010 is €22.4m.

It remains my intention to extend Breastcheck to women in the 65-69 age group as soon as resources and capacity allow. In the meantime women of any age who have concerns about breast cancer should seek the advice of their GP who will, if appropriate, refer them to the symptomatic breast services in one of the eight designated specialist cancer centres.

The NCSS has estimated that there are approximately 85,000 women in the age group 65-69 and that the additional cost of expanding the programme over a number of years would be around €5 million, with a capital investment of approximately €3 million. However its main priority in 2010 is to maximise national uptake in the 50-64 year age cohort.

The other priority for the NCSS is to ensure that preparatory work for the national colorectal screening programme takes place this year and in 2011 in order for screening to commence in early 2012 for men and women in the 60 to 69 age group.

James Reilly

Ceist:

213 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of breast cancer to the health services per annum; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25049/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Nursing Home Subventions

James Reilly

Ceist:

214 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a matter (details supplied). [25063/10]

Under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009, a specified person can act on behalf of the applicant in relation to an application for State support in circumstances where the applicant lacks capacity. The person does not need to have an enduring power of attorney or any other form of legal appointment in place in order to do this. This authority is set out in primary legislation; a fact which should be recognised by financial institutions when a person is compiling the documentation required to support an application.

The issue of a person obtaining bank and credit union statements in respect of another extends far beyond the scope of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. The requirement to provide evidence of income/assets applies in respect of means-tested schemes generally, including those operated by the Department of Social Protection. To this end, the Deputy may wish to note that the Department of Social Protection provides for the appointment of an agent where a person is unable to manage their own financial affairs. It is likely that anyone who needs assistance applying for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme would already have an agent in place to assist with the collection of their pension and the management of their financial affairs.

Mental Health Services

James Reilly

Ceist:

215 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to open more centres for persons with mental health issues; when these centres will open; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25064/10]

I regret that due to the current industrial action in the Health Service Executive I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. However, if this matter remains of continuing concern to you, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Ambulance Service

James Reilly

Ceist:

216 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of money spent annually transporting patients by taxi in County Kildare and nationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25066/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with the HSE in due course.

Mental Health Services

Simon Coveney

Ceist:

217 Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of community mental health teams that are currently in existence; the location of same; their staffing complement; and the plans that are in place for increasing the number of adequately resourced community mental health teams. [25074/10]

I regret that due to the current industrial action in the Health Service Executive I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. However, if this matter remains of continuing concern to you, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Medical Cards

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

218 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will change the medical card income guideline to allow the pension levy paid by civil servants to be deducted from gross income in the same way as tax and PRSI contributions in arriving at a weekly income. [25081/10]

The assessment of eligibility for a medical card is a statutory function of the Health Service Executive (HSE). In assessing eligibility, the HSE must have regard to the overall financial situation of the applicant and his/her spouse and dependants. The HSE has guidelines to assist its staff in assessing the financial situation of applicants. Under the current guidelines, the Pension Levy payable by public servants is not deductible from gross income for assessment purposes.

My Department is currently reviewing the legislation relating to eligibility for health and personal social services with a view to making the system as fair and transparent as possible. As part of this exercise, a review of the eligibility criteria for medical cards is being undertaken. This includes consideration of assessable income and outgoings.

Mental Health Services

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

219 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will commit to ending the use of adult inpatient beds for children; if she will commit to developing adequately staffing child and adolescent community mental health teams to ensure appropriate, accessible and good quality mental health services to all children in need under 18 years; if she will establish a national directory with comprehensive information on the types of service available; and if she will provide details of each service at a regional level. [25084/10]

I accept that it is inappropriate to admit children to units providing care and treatment to adults but I recognise that in the absence of an alternative, such admissions are sometimes necessary for the safety and treatment of the child. In arriving at a decision to admit a child to an adult unit, due consideration is given to the risks to the child of not admitting him / her, and the potential adverse effects of such an admission. The Mental Health Commission has issued a code of practice relating to the admission of children under the Mental Health Act 2001 which outlines arrangements and facilities that should be put in place to ensure the protection and safety of such children. An addendum to this code of practice was issued by the Commission in June 2009 which provides that: a) No child under 16 years is to be admitted to an adult unit in an approved centre from 1st July 2009; b) No child under 17 years is to be admitted to an adult unit in an approved centre from 1st December 2010; and c) No child under 18 years is to be admitted to an adult unit in an approved centre from 1st December 2011.

I am confident that the addendum to the code of practice coupled with recent developments in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) will ensure that going forward, the number of children admitted to adult facilities will reduce significantly, and in due course be eliminated. In this regard the development of CAMHS is a priority for the HSE. There are now 55 consultant led child and adolescent teams in place throughout the country and a further 8 teams are in development. During 2009 the bed capacity for children and adolescents almost doubled, bringing the total number of in-patient beds to 30. Construction is almost complete on two purpose built 20-bed units in Cork and Galway and work commenced recently on the Linn Dara, Child and Adolescent Facility at Cherry Orchard, which will provide a day hospital as well as accommodation for mental health teams and administrative staff, and training and library facilities.

In October 2009, the HSE launched the first annual report on CAMHS which provides comprehensive data on activity in the CAMHS services. The HSE now has baseline information which can be built on to improve performance and to assist in decisions regarding how mental health services are developed into the future. The appointment by the HSE of an Assistant National Director as national lead on Mental Health in November, 2009, is key to ensuring that the delivery of mental health services is in line with legislation and Government policy.

Health Services

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

220 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will support the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [25087/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Nursing Home Subventions

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

221 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter (details supplied). [25088/10]

Applications for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme are made to the local Nursing Homes Support Office. Details of these are at the back of the Information Booklet which is available from the Nursing Homes Support Offices or on-line at www.hse.ie or www.dohc.ie.

The latest figures available indicate that 10,600 applications for the scheme have been received. With regard to the time taken to process applications, I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Medical Cards

Jack Wall

Ceist:

222 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a renewal of a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25117/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

223 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical card will issue to persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25126/10]

As indicated to the Deputy in my previous responses, it was not possible to answer the original questions due to industrial action. This industrial action currently remains in place and continues to affect the provision of substantive replies to certain Parliamentary Questions. If the matter raised continues to be of concern, it will be necessary for the Deputy to resubmit the original question again when the current industrial action has been resolved.

Health Services

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

224 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when residential care will be offered to persons (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25127/10]

I regret that due to the current industrial action in the Health Service Executive I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. However, if this matter remains of continuing concern to you, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Medical Cards

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

225 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical card will be awarded in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25128/10]

As indicated to the Deputy in my previous responses, it was not possible to answer the original questions due to industrial action. This industrial action currently remains in place and continues to affect the provision of substantive replies to certain Parliamentary Questions. If the matter raised continues to be of concern, it will be necessary for the Deputy to resubmit the original question again when the current industrial action has been resolved.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

226 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical card will issue to persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25129/10]

As indicated to the Deputy in my previous responses, it was not possible to answer the original questions due to industrial action. This industrial action currently remains in place and continues to affect the provision of substantive replies to certain Parliamentary Questions. If the matter raised continues to be of concern, it will be necessary for the Deputy to resubmit the original question again when the current industrial action has been resolved.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

227 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25130/10]

As indicated to the Deputy in my previous responses, it was not possible to answer the original questions due to industrial action. This industrial action currently remains in place and continues to affect the provision of substantive replies to certain Parliamentary Questions. If the matter raised continues to be of concern, it will be necessary for the Deputy to resubmit the original question again when the current industrial action has been resolved.

Health Services

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

228 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if provision of extra speech and language sessions will be arranged in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25131/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Hospital Services

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

229 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if the reply to correspondence (details supplied) remains factually correct in its entirety having regard to the question raised at that juncture; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25132/10]

I understand the Deputy is referring to Parliamentary Question No. 451 which was raised by him on 16th September 2009, and to a reply which was issued to him by the Executive dated 23rd October 2009. I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would like to invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Services

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

230 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be accepted onto a drug rehabilitation course; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25133/10]

As indicated to the Deputy in my previous response on Tuesday 18th May and Thursday 27th May, it was not possible to answer the original question due to industrial action. This industrial action currently remains in place and continues to affect the provision of substantive replies to certain Parliamentary Questions. If the matter raised continues to be of concern, it will be necessary for the Deputy to resubmit the original question again when the current industrial action has been resolved.

Hospital Services

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

231 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when rheumatology OPD review appointment will be offered to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25134/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would like to invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

232 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when surgery will be offered to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25135/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would like to invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Departmental Correspondence

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

233 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she or her Department has received correspondence from a person (details supplied) in County Kildare in relation to their stay in the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin 24; her plans to address and respond to this matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25136/10]

As outlined in my reply of 18 May to the Deputy, correspondence from the individual concerned was received in my Department on 29 March. As the matter was a service issue, it was referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE), which was asked to reply directly to the individual concerned. My Department wrote to the individual concerned on 31 March to inform her of this. My Department is examining the issues raised in this individual's correspondence in the broader clinical governance context.

Health Services

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

234 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the full extent of support services available to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25139/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Departmental Incentives

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

235 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on the development of retirement villages by the private sector and if any supports are available from her Department or the Health Service Executive for their development. [25149/10]

There are no specific incentives in place by my Department or the HSE for the development of retirement villages by the private sector.

It is however open to any private provider to approach the HSE at local level to seek relevant advice in relation to providing the type of service referred to by the Deputy.

I do not have any plans at this time for any supports beyond this position.

Hospital Services

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

236 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will confirm whether the Health Service Executive has made arrangements for the urgent referral of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25153/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that, due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive, it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to the Deputy, however, I would invite him to raise it with me again in due course.

Inter-Country Adoptions

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

237 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding negotiations on a bilateral, inter-country adoption agreement with Vietnam; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25157/10]

In the process of re-negotiating the bilateral agreement on inter-country adoption with Vietnam serious issues came to light in relation to the Vietnamese adoption process. The issues were contained in the report on inter-country adoption commissioned by UNICEF and the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice and carried out by International Social Services (ISS). An earlier report published last August by the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) was also considered in this regard. The UNICEF/ISS report, which was accepted by the Vietnamese Government, "proposes that Vietnam suspends inter-country adoptions for the necessary period during the year 2010 that will enable it to ensure optimal implementation of the Hague Convention and to prepare for the entry into force of the new law on adoption in 2011". The Report also raises serious questions regarding adoption practices in Vietnam, including as follows:

(a) inter-country adoptions from Vietnam are essentially influenced by foreign demand, i.e. the availability of children who are "adoptable" abroad corresponds more to the existence of foreign prospective adopters than to the actual needs of "abandoned" and orphaned children;

(b) the circumstances under which babies become "adoptable" are invariably unclear and disturbing;

(c) the inter-country adoption system is grounded in a remarkably unhealthy relationship between the mediating agencies and specific residential facilities; and

(d) Governments and central authorities of "receiving countries" collectively at least, and individually in many instances have not effectively committed themselves to applying the basic principles of the Hague Convention or the recommendations of the treaty's practical operation, in their dealings with Vietnam.

Having considered the contents of the two reports the Government decided, on 13th of January, to suspend indefinitely negotiations on a new bilateral inter-country adoption agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. As a result of this decision, all inter-country adoptions from Vietnam will be suspended until such time as the Adoption Bill 2009 has been enacted and both Ireland and Vietnam have ratified the provisions of the Hague Convention.

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

238 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a bilateral, inter-country adoption agreement with Russia; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25158/10]

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

245 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide a list of countries that have ratified the Hague Convention. [25165/10]

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

246 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of bilateral agreements for inter-country adoption with Ireland as the receiving country. [25166/10]

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

247 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps that have been or are being taken to establish bilateral agreements with non-Hague Convention countries and the timeframe for same in view of the fact that the Adoption Bill 2009 provides for the making and recognition of inter-country adoptions in accordance with bilateral agreements. [25167/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 and 245 to 247, inclusive, together.

The Adoption Bill, 2009, is designed to give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption. The new legislation, which incorporates the provisions of the Hague Convention, is designed to provide a framework to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed and that all adoptions are effected in the best interests of the child. Future inter-country adoption arrangements will be governed by the terms of the Adoption Bill 2009 when enacted.

There are currently no bilateral agreements for inter-country adoptions in place. Consideration of a possible bilateral agreement with Russia following the enactment and commencement of the new adoption legislation is at an early stage.

The Adoption Board has provided a List of Countries/Territories that are compliant/non-compliant with the Hague Convention and/or Irish Adoption Law. Details are available on the Adoption Board website at www.adoptionboard.ie

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

239 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of applications currently with the Health Service Executive for adoptions from Russia and Vietnam. [25159/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern, however, I would invite the Deputy to raise it with me again in due course.

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

240 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding applicants who have now received declarations for inter-country adoptions from Russia; and if these adoptions can proceed prior to the ratification of the Adoption Bill 2009. [25160/10]

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

241 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding applicants who have now received referrals for inter-country adoptions from Russia; and if these adoptions can proceed after the ratification of the Adoption Bill 2009. [25161/10]

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

242 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding applicants who have commenced the inter-country adoption process under the 1991 Act; and the implications for applicants who have not yet received a declaration, for applicants who have received a declaration and for applicants who have received a referral in terms of the establishment of the new Act. [25162/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 240 to 242, inclusive, together.

The Adoption Bill, 2009, is designed to give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption. The new legislation, which incorporates the provisions of the Hague Convention, is designed to provide a framework to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed and that all adoptions are effected in the best interests of the child. Future inter-country adoption arrangements will be governed by the terms of the Adoption Bill 2009 when enacted.

I brought forward on Committee Stage an amendment to the Adoption Bill 2009 that will enable prospective adoptive parents to proceed with adoption from a non-Hague or non-bilateral country, if prior to the establishment date, they have been issued with a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability to adopt. The proposed amendment requires that the Adoption Authority (to be set up under the Act) would be satisfied that the particular adoption meets all the standards of the Hague Convention.

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

243 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will confirm that the proposed Adoption Bill 2009 recognises direct adoptions from Hague Convention ratified contracting states when such adoptions are legislated for and administered in line with Hague Convention good practice guidelines; and, if not, if she will add an amendment to the Adoption Bill 2009 giving recognition to such adoptions. [25163/10]

The Adoption Bill, 2009, is designed to give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption. The new legislation, which incorporates the provisions of the Hague Convention, is designed to provide a framework to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed and that all adoptions are effected in the best interests of the child. Future inter-country adoption arrangements will be governed by the terms of the Adoption Bill 2009 when enacted.

There is nothing in the provisions of the Adoption Bill 2009, currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas, which will preclude couples/individuals from effecting a valid, Hague standard adoption from Hague ratified contracting States. With regard to ‘independent' adoptions, Part 13 of the Adoption Bill outlines the restrictions on a person in seeking to make arrangements for adoptions. It also identifies the particular role of accredited authorities in this regard.

As with all applications, the Adoption Board reserves all of its statutory rights and functions in the matter of applications made to it, without partiality or prior commitment.

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

244 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to include a grandfather clause (details supplied) in the new adoption Act; and if this will be limited to cases in which the application was already in process at the time of the establishment of the Bill. [25164/10]

The Adoption Bill, 2009, is designed to give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption. The new legislation, which incorporates the provisions of the Hague Convention, is designed to provide a framework to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed and that all adoptions are effected in the best interests of the child. Future inter-country adoption arrangements will be governed by the terms of the Adoption Bill 2009 when enacted.

The issue of a ‘grandfather' clause was previously given careful and detailed consideration in the preparation of the legislation. It was decided against including such a provision in the Bill as it would represent a considerable dilution of the intent of the legislation in terms of setting improved standards for inter-country adoption.

Questions Nos. 245 to 247, inclusive, answered with Question No. 238.

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

248 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the establishment of an independent assessment agency for inter-country adoption in view of the resource issues in question and current waiting times for assessment for inter-country adoption. [25168/10]

Applicants for inter-country adoption must undergo a detailed statutory assessment process, which is undertaken by professional Social Workers, and must be approved by the Adoption Board before a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability to adopt abroad can be issued to them from the Board.

I acknowledge that persons applying for inter-country adoption have been experiencing unacceptably long delays as regards waiting times for assessment. Requests for assessment for inter-country adoption continue to be high and Ireland traditionally has one of the highest rates for inter-country adoption in Europe. The Health Service Executive has responsibility for the assessments of applicants for adoption through its social work service. I have asked the Health Service Executive to do everything possible to reduce waiting times and assessment times for prospective adopters which currently are excessively long. In addition, the Adoption Bill 2009 provides for the registration of accredited bodies to carry out aspects of the adoption process, including assessment.

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

249 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to expedite the inter-country adoption process in line with Hague Convention guidelines (Article 35) and if she will seek to replace the phrase as soon as practicable contained in sections 37(3), 37(4) and 39(1) of the new Bill with more appropriate wording. [25169/10]

The Adoption Bill, 2009, is designed to give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption. The new legislation, which incorporates the provisions of the Hague Convention, is designed to provide a framework to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed and that all adoptions are effected in the best interests of the child. Future inter-country adoption arrangements will be governed by the terms of the Adoption Bill 2009 when enacted.

The Adoption Bill, 2009 is currently at Report Stage in the Dáil and has already completed all stages in the Seanad. Final amendments to the Bill are being considered in the course of this legislative process.

I acknowledge that persons applying for inter-country adoption have been experiencing unacceptably long delays as regards waiting times for assessment. Requests for assessment for inter-country adoption continue to be high and Ireland traditionally has one of the highest rates for inter-country adoption in Europe. The Health Service Executive has responsibility for the assessments of applicants for adoption through its social work service. I have asked the Health Service Executive to do everything possible to reduce waiting times and assessment times for prospective adopters which currently are excessively long. In addition, the Adoption Bill 2009 provides for the registration of accredited bodies to carry out aspects of the adoption process, including assessment.

Health Service Waiting Lists

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

250 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive has reduced waiting lists under its nationwide system of application introduced in counties Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare in 2008 by 35% in the 12 months from September 2008; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25170/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to the Deputy's Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern, however, I would invite the Deputy to raise it with me again in due course.

Adoption Services

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

251 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps that will be taken in the Adoption Bill 2009 to provide a statutory basis for information and tracing services to adopted persons to include automatic access to birth certificates, information and tracing services on a statutory basis, automatic rights to know that you are adopted and automatic access to medical records. [25171/10]

The Information and Tracing Unit in the Adoption Board provides an advice and referral service for those seeking to trace or to obtain medical or personal information. This unit provides services directly to adoptees, natural mothers and birth families. It also works closely with the registered adoption societies and the HSE nationwide information and tracing services. Improvements to this service have been effected by the computerisation of the unique adoption files held by the Board.

The National Adoption Contact Register was established in 2005 to assist adopted people and their natural families to make contact with each other, exchange information or state their contact preferences. They decide, through a range of information and contact options, how to proceed. Already 440 matches have been made on the Register representing over 900 individuals who have now received a service. The operation of the Register was reviewed in 2007 and a major upgrading of it has recently been completed.

The Adoption Board, together with the societies, the HSE and the support groups, developed the "Standardised Framework for the Provision of a National Information and Tracing Service". This framework was published in November 2007. It sets standards and provides guidance and advice for information and tracing services providers nationally. The standardised Framework is currently being piloted nationally. In relation to Information and Tracing for persons adopted from abroad, the Adoption Board is undertaking a process, with Romanian authorities initially, to determine how best to address the needs of those adopted from abroad.

Registration of domestic adoptions is governed by Section 22 of the Adoption Act 1952. Under that provision, an tArd Chlaraitheoir (Registrar General) is required to maintain a register of domestic adoptions (i.e. adoptions effected in Ireland, regardless of where the adopted person was born). The register is called the Adopted Children Register. An index to the register is maintained and can be searched by any person. Any person may obtain a copy of any entry in the register. The legislation also provides for an index linking the birth entry in the register of births (in the case of an Irish-born adopted person) with the entry in the Adopted Children Register. Information from this index may not be given to any person except by order of a court or the Adoption Board. I am aware that the treatment of adopted persons in this regard differs from the rest of the population but consideration of this issue must take place in the context of the complex legal, ethical and constitutional issues arising from the need to fairly balance the rights of all parties to the adoption process.

During the Committee stage debate for the Adoption Bill I indicated my intention to bring forward legislation in this area. In this regard, the policy position is currently being assessed by my Office. Once this process is complete Government approval will be sought to commence the process of preparing legislation.

Services for People with Disabilities

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

252 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children who have been assessed and diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder in the mid-Leinster region in the past five years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25172/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

253 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder currently receiving therapy, including psychology, occupational, speech and language and physiotherapy from the Early Intervention Team in County Laois; the number of children with a diagnosis of ASD currently receiving therapy from the Early Intervention Team in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25173/10]

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

254 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder currently receiving physiotherapy in post-early intervention services in County Laois; the number of children with a diagnosis of ASD currently receiving therapy in post-early intervention services in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25174/10]

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

255 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder currently on waiting lists for assessment by an early intervention team in County Laois; the number of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder currently on waiting lists for assessment by an early intervention team in County Offaly. [25175/10]

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

256 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children with suspected autism spectrum disorder currently on waiting lists for assessment by post-early intervention services in County Laois; the number of children with suspected autism spectrum disorder currently on waiting lists for post-early intervention services in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25176/10]

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

257 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder currently on waiting lists for therapy from an early intervention team in County Laois; the number of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder currently on waiting lists for therapy from an early intervention team in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25177/10]

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

258 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder currently on waiting lists for therapy from a post-early intervention team in County Laois; the number of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder currently on waiting lists for therapy from a post-early intervention team in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25178/10]

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

259 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the approximate time frame that children with autism spectrum disorder may expect to wait for assessment and therapy from an early intervention team in County Laois; the approximate time frame that children with autism spectrum disorder may expect to wait for assessment and therapy from an early intervention team in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25179/10]

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

260 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the approximate time frame that children with autism spectrum disorder may expect to wait for assessment and therapy from a post-early intervention team in County Laois; the approximate time that children with autism spectrum disorder may expect to wait for assessment and therapy from a post-early intervention team in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25180/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 253 to 260, inclusive, together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Service Staff

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

261 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of posts currently vacant, including those in which therapists are on maternity leave, on the early intervention team in County Laois; the number of posts currently vacant, including those in which therapists are on maternity leave, on the early intervention team in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25181/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that, due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive, it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

262 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of posts currently vacant, including those from which therapists are on maternity leave, on the post-early intervention team in County Laois; the number of posts currently vacant, including those in which therapists are on maternity leave, on the post-early intervention team in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25182/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that, due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive, it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

263 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the policy regarding the filling of vacant posts where therapists, including occupational, speech and language and physiotherapy services, are on leave, including maternity leave; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25183/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that, due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive, it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Services

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

264 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will explain the decision of the Health Service Executive to cease respite support for an organisation (details supplied) in Dublin 7; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25188/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in duecourse.

Substance Misuse Strategy

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

265 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the potential impact of a ban on alcohol advertising on underage drinking or health costs associated with the abuse of alcohol; and if she has adopted a policy position on this issue. [25208/10]

In 2009 the Science Group of the European Alcohol and Health Forum, which was an independent group of scientists commissioned by the EU, published a report on alcohol marketing. The Science Group stated that "the findings of the review are clear, namely that commercial communications increase the likelihood that adolescents will start to use alcohol and to drink more if they are already using alcohol." Therefore, controlling the volume and placement of alcohol advertising or, indeed, the introduction of a ban on alcohol advertising would be expected to impact positively on the health effects and health care costs associated with the use and misuse of alcohol in Ireland.

On 31st March, 2009 the Government agreed to include alcohol in a National Substance Misuse Strategy that would be coordinated jointly by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs and my Department. A Steering Group has been established to develop the alcohol element of the National Substance Misuse Strategy. It will base its recommendations on evidence based measures to deal with the significant public health issue of alcohol in areas such as supply, pricing, prevention, treatment and advertising. The Department's future policy in relation to alcohol advertising will be informed by the recommendations of the Steering Group. The Report of the Steering Group is expected to be submitted to Government by the end of the year.

Medical Cards

Michael Ring

Ceist:

266 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when persons (details supplied) in County Mayo will be approved for medical cards. [25230/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Services

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

267 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason for the current practice of instructing patients to dispose of crutches once their ailment has passed and the rationale for public hospitals, not seeking to recover such items; her estimates of the cost of this practice in a full year; and if she will examine whether there are savings to be made in amending this policy in favour of a recycling or reuse initiative. [25242/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Semi-State Bodies

James Reilly

Ceist:

268 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the date on which the VHI 2009 annual report will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25251/10]

The VHI Board will sign off on the annual report at its next meeting on 24 June 2010. VHI Healthcare expects that the report will be available for publication by the end of July 2010.

Hospital Services

James Reilly

Ceist:

269 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide a detailed update on the roll-out of the national network for radiation oncology services including, in tabular form, a breakdown of the total number and location of linear accelerators in the country, at both public and private facilities, at the time of the announcement of the national network for radiation oncology plan in 2005; the total number of linear accelerators procured since the announcement of the plan including the location of these new accelerators and the money invested to date; an update on the number of linear accelerators that have yet to be purchased; the proposed location for same; the cost for same; how these facilities will be funded; the revised deadlines for completion of the plan; the details of existing radiotherapy arrangements with private facilities; the arrangements in place with the Northern Ireland health authorities for services for patients in the north west; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25252/10]

In 2005, as set out in the following table, there were six linear accelerators in St Luke's Hospital, Rathgar, four in Cork University Hospital (CUH) and three at Galway University Hospital (GUH). At present, there are 15 linear accelerators in the public system; eight at St Luke's, four at CUH and three at GUH. The increase in capacity at St Luke's follows the commissioning of two new and two replacement linear accelerators in 2008, to provide interim capacity pending the roll-out of the National Plan for Radiation Oncology (NPRO). Agreements are in place under which the National Cancer Control Programme purchases services for HSE patients from the south-east and the mid-west from private facilities in Waterford and Limerick.

On completion of Phase 1 of the NPRO at the end of this year, radiation oncology services will be provided at new facilities in Beaumont and St James's Hospital, with four linear accelerators in each. On completion of the two new facilities, some staff and resources from St Luke's will transfer to the new centres and the three facilities will form the St Luke's Radiation Oncology Network for Dublin Mid-Leinster and Dublin North-East. This will provide adequate capacity to deal with patient needs until at least 2015. As regards the number of linear accelerators in the private system, this is a matter for the providers of those services.

Location

No. of Linear Accelerators 2005

No. of Linear Accelerators 2010

Phase 1 National Plan for Radiation Oncology (end 2010/early 2011)

St Luke’s

6

8

4*

Galway University Hospital

3

3

3

Cork University Hospital

4

4

4

St James’s Hospital

4

Beaumont Hospital

4

*As the eight new linear accelerators in Beaumont and St James's are commissioned, older machines at St Luke's will be decommissioned, leaving a total of 12 linear accelerators in the St Luke's Radiation Oncology Network. This is a net increase of four on the current numbers.

The NPRO provides for the national infrastructure for radiation oncology for the next 25 years. A total of approximately €75.5m in capital funding will be spent by end 2010 on the NPRO. This includes the four linear accelerators provided for St Luke's in 2008, the new facilities at St James's and Beaumont Hospitals and preparations for Phase 2 of the Plan.

On completion of the NPRO, it will provide a fully integrated national solution to deliver equity of access for patients irrespective of geographic location. Phase 2 of the NPRO, presently under consideration, will be delivered through Public Private Partnership and will provide additional capacity at St James's and Beaumont Hospitals, GUH and CUH. Satellite centres will be developed at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick and at Waterford Regional Hospital. Details of additional linear accelerators or costs of these plans must remain confidential until completion of the procurement process for these facilities, which awaits the Government's consideration of the Public Sector Benchmark for the Plan.

Government also agreed in 2005 that the best option for patients in the north west was to facilitate access for those patients to radiation oncology services as part of North/South cooperation on cancer. Accordingly, patients may be referred from Letterkenny General Hospital in Donegal to Belfast City Hospital. Also, following the announcement of Minister McGimpsey of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland of the provision of a satellite radiotherapy centre, linked to Belfast City Hospital, at Altnagelvin, I undertook to make a capital contribution towards the project in addition to meeting the ongoing costs of patients from the Republic. The business case for the project has been finalised and a decision is awaited from the Northern Ireland authorities. I understand that the facility is expected to be operational by 2015.

Pension Provisions

Michael Ring

Ceist:

270 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their gratuity payment and pension payment from the Health Service Executive following their retirement several months ago. [25266/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Services

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

271 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 423 of 19 January 2010, the position regarding the implementation of the report of the universal neonatal hearing screening group in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25321/10]

The implementation and development of a Neonatal Hearing Screening programme is part of the Health Service Executive Service Plan for 2010. A National Review of Audiology services is currently underway. Part of this review involves a report on the introduction of Universal Neonatal Hearing Screening. This report is expected later this year.

Medical Cards

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

272 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health and Children when a decision will issue on a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [25325/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Children in Care

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

273 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive has competed its review of the joint protocol “Children missing from care”, with the Garda; if it is being implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25350/10]

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

294 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children if a joint Garda and Health Service Executive review of the protocol on reporting the disappearance of migrant children has been completed; the changes recommended and implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25602/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 273 and 294 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action in the public service by members of IMPACT, the HSE is not in a position to provide a response to this Parliamentary Question within the normal timeframe.

Hospital Services

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

274 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children when the misdiagnosis of miscarriage in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, County Louth, and the resulting hospital internal inquiry was first brought to her attention; the action that she has taken; the further action she intends to take in view of this and similar cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25351/10]

I would first like to say that all incidents of this kind are serious and are treated as such. They are distressing to the women and families involved and I wish to again express my sincerest sympathies to all of those that are affected. On 7 August 2009, the Solicitors for this person wrote to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda seeking certain assurances about her care and other actions to be carried out by the hospital. On the same day, the solicitors wrote a short letter to me enclosing a copy of that letter. This was also copied to the CEO of the HSE and to the State Claims Agency.

The case was handled by my Department in line with the Patient Safety Protocol which was adopted in September 2008. The protocol deals with correspondence from patients, doctors, health service staff and solicitors. It is managed by the Chief Medical Officer on my behalf as a medical assessment of any potential patient safety issue is required. Both my Department and the hospital treated the letters with urgency. Within one week the HSE responded to the solicitors and a further letter was sent on 24 August. I was copied on both these letters.

In line with the Protocol, my Department followed up by telephone and by letter with the HSE to determine if there were risk issues arising from their investigation of the case. The HSE reviewed the case and confirmed that it had put a number of measures in place to ensure that the chances of making an error of this kind again are minimised. The Chief Medical Officer was satisfied that the case had been dealt with appropriately by the HSE. At the time of completion by April last, it was assessed that the review and follow up actions for patient safety had been put in place at the hospital.

Measures put in place by the HSE in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, following this incident include:

A policy was put in place to ensure that no patient is prescribed a drug to take prior to a D&C (Dilation and Curettage) until the diagnosis of ‘missed miscarriage' has been confirmed by a qualified sonographer through a second scan;

A "split" examination couch was put in place in the unit to facilitate the scanning procedure;

The scan machine that was in use in the hospital was replaced;

In July of this year a dedicated qualified sonographer will be assigned from 9.00 to 13.00;

The adjacent rooms/offices of the Gynaecological ward are used to speak privately with women and their partners.

A number of actions have been agreed by the HSE in conjunction with my Department to ensure the safe management of early pregnancy loss across the country. The HSE is in the process of initiating a review of cases over the past five years to determine the number of patients who were recommended drug or surgical treatment when the diagnosis of miscarriage was made in error, and where subsequent information demonstrated that the pregnancy was viable. The terms for the conduct of the review are being finalised at present and will be made public very shortly. At that stage the HSE will be in a position to provide an indicative timeline for the completion of the review.

Health Services

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

275 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she is satisfied with the level of respite care currently available in Dublin; her views on whether the decision to cease respite support (details supplied) will have a negative effect on residents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25464/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Service Staff

Pádraic McCormack

Ceist:

276 Deputy Pádraic McCormack asked the Minister for Health and Children if the moratorium on recruitment in the Health Service Executive West can be lifted in order that an audiological scientist can be appointed, as was promised in 2007, to provide essential paediatric audiology services in Galway many children with hearing loss are finding it difficult to cope daily without the necessary support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25466/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Hospital Staff

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

277 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children when the Health Service Executive will confirm the appointment of a new consultant haematologist for Letterkenny General Hospital, County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25468/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

HIV Infection

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

278 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of new cases of HIV diagnosed in each of the past five years, in each local health office area. [25490/10]

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter it falls under the remit of the HSE. I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Services

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

279 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the options available to those under 18 years of age who require residential treatment for eating disorders. [25506/10]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

280 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to make residential treatment for eating disorders available in the State to public patients under the age of 18 years. [25507/10]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

281 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has discussed with her Northern Ireland counterpart the possibility of establishing an all-Ireland residential care unit for under-18 year olds with eating disorders. [25508/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 279 to 281, inclusive, together.

While North South co-operation continues in many areas of health, currently I have no plans to discuss this issue with my Northern Ireland counterpart. However the Deputy may wish to note that The Eating Disorders Network Programme, a CAWT (Co-operation and Working Together) initiative, has received funding of Stg£2.5million from the European Union. As well as providing 12 whole time equivalent eating disorders practitioners, the project will improve the quality of care pathways for people with eating disorders, raise awareness and develop skills to improve therapeutic capacity and build carer support group capacity within communities in the border region. A Project Manager has now been appointed and a cross border clinical pathways working group established.

I regret that due to the current industrial action in the Health Service Executive I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to the remainder of the questions. However, if these matters remain of continuing concern to you, I would invite you to raise them with me again in due course.

Legislative Programme

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

282 Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Health and Children when the legislation for organ donation will be completed; and the stage this is currently at. [25518/10]

I intend to bring a draft General Scheme of a Human Tissue Bill, which includes the issue of organ donation for transplantation, to Government for its approval, as soon as it is finalised. Subject to this approval, I will publish the General Scheme of a Human Tissue Bill. Two separate but related public consultations took place in 2009 to inform the preparation of the draft legislation. The first was a consultation process on consent for organ donation which took place between January and March 2009. Invitations for written submissions were complemented by a consultative forum which took place in February in Dublin Castle. The second public consultation was in relation to proposals for a General Scheme of a Human Tissue Bill which took place between April and May 2009. Information on these consultations is available on the Department's website. Consultations with Government Departments and Offices are on-going and the draft General Scheme of a Human Tissue Bill will be further developed based on the outcome of the consultations.

Scéim Teanga Fheidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

283 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Jan O’Sullivan den Aire Sláinte agus Leanaí i bhfianaise go bhfuil cigirí Fheidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte (FSS) ag tabhairt cuairte ar naíonraí Gaeilge lasmuigh de limistéar Iarthair FSS faoi láthair agus gur as Béarla a labhraíonn formhór na gcigirí seo, in ainneoin pholasaí luath-thumoideachais iomláin an naíonra Gaeilge, an féidir leis an Aire a rá an mbeidh seirbhís Ghaeilge ar fáil sa teanga náisiúnta do na naíonraí Gaeilge ó chigirí FSS mar chuid de Scéim Teanga FSS; más rud é go mbeidh, cén staid ag a bhfuil an Scéim Teanga sin; an bhfuil tuar ag an Aire cén uair a bheidh Scéim Teanga FSS aontaithe; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [25534/10]

Ba mhaith liom a chur in iúl don Teachta go bhfuil gníomh tionscail ar siúl i bhFeidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte faoi láthair is dá bhrí sin ní féidir leis an bhFeidhmeannacht an t-eolas atá á lorg a sholáthar.

Má tá an t-ábhar seo mar chúis imní duit ag dul ar aghaidh, áfach iarraim ort é a chur faoi mo bhráid arís ag uair éigin eile.

Health Services

James Reilly

Ceist:

284 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the names and addresses of public and private nursing homes that have been shut down as a result of not meeting Health Information and Quality Authority and Faircare standards; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25540/10]

As the Deputy is aware under the Health Act, 2007 statutory responsibility is given to the Chief Inspector of Social Services, part of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) for inspecting and registering categories of designated centres, including nursing homes for older people.

This system of registration and inspection commenced on 1 July, 2009. While some centres have decided to close for various reasons since the introduction of the new regime only one home has been deregistered. In this regard, pursuant to Sections 59 and 60 of the Health Act 2007, an ex parte interim order was made by the District Court in Bray, Co. Wicklow on 29 March 2010 cancelling the registration of Glenbervie Nursing Home, Sidmonton Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow as a designated centre under part 8 of the Health Act 2007, with effect from 30 March 2010. The service provider decided not to contest the decision and the order was confirmed as final and permanent pursuant to Section 61(3)(a) of the Act on 23 April 2010.

Medical Cards

Michael Ring

Ceist:

285 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their renewed medical card. [25552/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Vaccination Programme

James Reilly

Ceist:

286 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide a breakdown of the amount spent on swine flu, including vaccination, the Health Service Executive swine flu awareness campaign, general practitioner rates and surgical equipment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25585/10]

James Reilly

Ceist:

287 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of swine flu vaccines purchased by the Health Service Executive; the cost of same; the number of swine flu vaccines administered to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25586/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 286 and 287 together.

The issues raised by the Deputy are service issues which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive. I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the HSE, it is not possible for the Executive to supply responses to all the queries raised. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Children in Care

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

288 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to the Health Service Executive details of the number of children who died while in care over a ten-year period, the number of such children who were unaccompanied minors in State care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25587/10]

The HSE has confirmed that the number of children who died in State Care since the year 2000 is 188. I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action in the public service by members of IMPACT, the HSE is not in a position to provide a response to the remaining portion of this Parliamentary Question within the normal timeframe.

Services for People with Disabilities

Pat Breen

Ceist:

289 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to plans to reduce services to an organisation (details supplied); the impact these cutbacks will have; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25592/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Medical Cards

Pat Breen

Ceist:

290 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the situation regarding the provision of dental treatment for medical card holders; her plans for medical card holders who can only receive emergency treatment at present; the difficulties that are arising as a result of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25596/10]

The Government's decision to limit the funding available to the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) was made in view of the current position of the public finances and the 60% increase in expenditure in the DTSS over the past five years. The Health Service Executive (HSE) has introduced measures to contain DTSS expenditure at the 2008 level of approximately €63 million.

Under the new measures the range of treatments available are being prioritised. Some treatments which had previously been available in the Scheme, for example, dental cleaning and polishing have been suspended. Other treatments, such as oral examinations and fillings, will continue to be provided but will be limited in number or frequency. More complex, non-routine treatments, such as protracted periodontal treatments, will be available only in the case of clinical emergencies. While I understand that the suspension or reduction in some services will cause difficulties for some patients it is important that those with greatest need take priority. These measures have been introduced to protect access to emergency dental care for medical card holders and to safeguard services for children and special needs groups. The HSE will monitor the ongoing effect of these changes from a clinical and budgetary perspective. The dental and oral health services currently provided through the HSE Public Dental Service will not be affected by these changes to the DTSS.

Asylum Applications

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

291 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 130 of 11 May 2010, the reason for the difference in the number of asylum applications as outlined in the reply and the numbers placed in care as outlined in Parliamentary Question No. 170 of 9 July 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25599/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action in the public service by members of IMPACT, the HSE is not in a position to provide a response to this Parliamentary Question within the normal timeframe.

Children in Care

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

292 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 170 of 9 July 2009, if she will provide complete figures for 2009 and from January 2010 to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25600/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action in the public service by members of IMPACT, the HSE is not in a position to provide a response to this Parliamentary Question within the normal timeframe.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

293 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 172 of 9 July 2009, if she will provide complete figures for 2009 and from January 2010 to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25601/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action in the public service by members of IMPACT, the HSE is not in a position to provide a response to this Parliamentary Question within the normal timeframe.

Question No. 294 answered with Question No. 273.

Hospital Services

James Reilly

Ceist:

295 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons included in the five year review carried out by the Health Service Executive into diagnosed miscarriages; the length of time it will take to conduct this review; if she will provide details of the way in which the HSE will determine the number of patients who were recommended drug or surgical treatment when the diagnosis of miscarriage was made in error and where subsequent information demonstrated that the pregnancy was viable; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25684/10]

The HSE is in the process of initiating a review of cases over the past five years to determine the number of patients who were recommended drug or surgical treatment when the diagnosis of miscarriage was made in error, and where subsequent information demonstrated that the pregnancy was viable. The terms for the conduct of the review are being finalised at present and will be made public very shortly. At that stage the HSE will be in a position to provide an indicative timeline for the completion of the review.

National Emergency Measures

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

296 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport if his Department anticipates that the oil spill off America’s Gulf coast will damage Irish waters and coastlines; if he will outline any pertinent contingency and response measures that have been developed by his Department or the National Emergency Co-ordinating Centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25486/10]

It is anticipated that the oil spill off America's Gulf Coast will not damage Irish waters and coastlines as the possibility that it will reach our shores is considered remote and normal biological processes when oil meets water would nullify further significant distribution beyond the current area of the incident.

Under the Sea Pollution Act 1991 as amended every Local, Port and Harbour Authority is required to prepare oil and hazardous and noxious substance Contingency Plans and to submit them to the Department of Transport for approval. The Coast Guard on behalf of the Department facilitate training every year in oil spill response and clean-up procedures.

The National Emergency Coordination Centre is managed by the Office of Emergency Planning and would facilitate any inter-Departmental emergency meetings if required.

Cross-Border Projects

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

297 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport the amount that has been allocated for the A5 upgrade project in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; when it will be finished; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25283/10]

Under the agreement of March 2007 between the Irish and British Governments on a funding package to support the restored Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish Government made a commitment to provide funding of £400/€580 million in a roads investment package for Northern Ireland which will contribute to the upgrading of the A5 road from Aughnacloy to Derry/Londonderry to dual-carriageway status.

Drawdown depends on the achievement of agreed project milestones and clearance by the Cross-Border Roads Steering Group and North-South Ministerial Council. €9 million was provided in 2009 by the Government for the A5 and a provision for funding of €9.074 million has been made for 2010. The 2011 and 2012 project allocations will be agreed as normal in the context of the overall estimates process.

The A5 project is being implemented by the Roads Service of Northern Ireland (RSNI). The expected completion date of the project is July 2015.

Appointments to State Boards

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

298 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on all appointments to the board and executive of the National Transport Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25489/10]

I can report to the Deputy that, since its establishment in December 2009, I have appointed the following members to the Board of the National Transport Authority (NTA):

NATIONAL TRANSPORT AUTHORITY

Mr. John Fitzgerald (Chairperson)

Mr. Gerry Murphy (CEO)

Mr. John Tierney (Dublin City Manager)

Ms. Linda Saunders

Dr. Berna Grist

Mr. Frank King

Mr. Damian Usher

Ms. Valerie O’Reilly

Ms. Margaret O’Shaughnessy

Mr. Jim Deegan

With regard to the Executive of the Authority, Mr. Gerry Murphy was appointed Chief Executive of the NTA and Ms. Anne Graham was appointed Director of Corporate Affairs, both effective from 1 December 2009. I understand that other members of the Executive will be appointed in due course.

Traffic Management

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

299 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding motorcyclists' use of bus lanes; and if motorcyclists are permitted to use this facility in order to improve traffic flows and motorcyclist safety. [25539/10]

The current rules governing use of bus lanes were established through the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997-1998. The regulations, which have national application, generally limit the use of bus lanes to buses and, in the case of with-flow bus lanes, to cyclists also. The key consideration underpinning the current policy is that bus lanes are provided to support and promote bus-based public transport and to protect the carrying capacity of bus lanes so as to optimise journey times for the members of the public who use that mode of transport.

Taxis are available for hire on-street to the public at large and are regarded as being an element of the public transport service and are, accordingly, permitted to use with-flow bus lanes. I have no proposals to extend further the types of vehicles permitted to use bus lanes.

Road Network

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

300 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Transport his views on the R340 in Connemara; if he will address the ongoing difficulties being experienced regarding potholes and other road hazards in the section of the road between Recess south and Glen Turkeen in Cashel. [25551/10]

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities own resources supplemented by State road grants paid by my Department. On 22nd February, I announced the 2010 regional and local road grant allocations. A total of €411.409 million is being provided to local authorities this year for the maintenance and improvement of regional and local roads.

From this allocation, Galway County Council has been allocated a total of €23,101,894 for works on regional and local roads in 2010. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded from this allocation is a matter for Galway County Council.

Airport Development Projects

Pat Breen

Ceist:

301 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Transport, further to Parliamentary Question No. 143 of 10 June 2010, why the constructed length of Runway 10/28 at Dublin Airport, being a mere 2,637 metres long, is 868 metres less than its original proposed length of 3,505 metres; if the red zones were accordingly set 60 metres from the as-built thresholds; if he will make available a map of such revised red zones; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25594/10]

I understand from the Dublin Airport Authority that with regard to Runway 10-28 the "Red Zones" were positioned based on the originally planned maximum length. There has been no revision to the original Red Zones and consequently I do not have a map of such revised Red Zones.

Visa Applications

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

302 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the case of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25108/10]

I can inform the Deputy that the persons concerned are required to be in possession of a valid Irish visa prior to seeking entry to the State. Comprehensive information with regard to the visa application process is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie).

The provision of a multiple entry visa is available to applicants in certain circumstances. It is not the general practice of the Visa Office to issue multiple journey visas unless a compliant travel history to Ireland in the recent past has been shown. That being said it is open to an applicant to seek a multiple entry visa in circumstances where there is no previous travel history to the State. Essentially the onus rests with the applicant to establish to the satisfaction of the Visa Officer as to why a multiple entry visa is warranted.

Residency Permits

Jack Wall

Ceist:

303 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the procedure that a person must adhere to in meeting with legislative requirements (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25017/10]

Marriage to an Irish national does not confer an automatic right of residence in the State. A non EEA national who wishes to reside in the State on the basis of their marriage to an Irish national must make an application for permission to remain in the State. There is presently no legislative basis for this process pending the implementation of the revised Immigration Bill.

There are currently two routes in which a non EEA national can apply for temporary permission to reside in the State on the basis of marriage to an Irish national.

1. If they are a non visa required national who has entered the State legally within the last 90 days or if they are a visa required national and they are within the period of permission to remain granted to them on arrival in the State (except short stay ‘c' visas) or if they have current permission to remain in the State on an alternative basis both the applicant and their Irish national spouse should attend at their local Garda National Immigration Bureau Registration Office with the following documentation: original marriage certificate; original passport; Irish spouse's original passport and birth certificate; and evidence of their joint address.

2. If they do not have current permission to remain in the State a written application must be made to the following address: Spouse of Irish National Unit, Immigration Services Section, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, 1st Floor, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

The following original documentation should be included with their application; details of their immigration history in this State; their current legal status; original marriage certificate detailed information regarding their relationship history and the context in which their marriage took place; evidence of their current address of their joint habitual residence; original passport and birth certificate; Irish spouse's original passport and birth certificate; divorce papers from applicant (if applicable); other supporting documentation — photographs; and accommodation details: Rent Book, Joint Tenancy Agreement/Proof of Home Ownership, Utility Bills, Financial Statements, letter from Community Welfare Officer/Social Worker or Tax Credit form from the Revenue Commissioners.

Information detailing the requirements for such applications can be found on the INIS website — www.inis.gov.ie — by selecting Immigration and then Spouse of an Irish National.

Garda Vetting Services

Jack Wall

Ceist:

304 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform how a voluntary group (details supplied) catering for 500 children can ensure that their volunteers are Garda vetted. [25077/10]

The Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) provides employment vetting for a large number of organisations in Ireland which are registered with the Gardaí for this purpose and which employ persons in a full-time, part-time, voluntary or training capacity to work with children and/or vulnerable adults.

The strategic expansion of the Garda vetting service is taking place by way of a phased roll-out to an increasing number of organisations in the child and vulnerable adult care sectors. This target group is the clear policy priority. Phasing the expansion of vetting is necessary to prevent an unmanageable surge in vetting application numbers. This expansion will continue on a phased basis until vetting is provided for all personnel working in a full-time, part-time and/or voluntary capacity with children and/or vulnerable adults.

In this context, any organisation seeking the services of the GCVU should contact it with a view to registering with it.

Citizenship Applications

Jack Wall

Ceist:

305 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the procedure involved for a person aged 18 years to obtain nationality in view of the fact that they have lived here for the past eight years and want to make this State their permanent home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25079/10]

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The standard conditions for a person aged 18 years are that they must: be of good character; have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years; intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation; have made, either before a Judge of the District Court in open court or in such a manner as the Minister, for special reasons allows, a declaration in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, waive some or all of the statutory conditions in certain circumstances i.e. where an applicant is of Irish descent or of Irish associations; where an applicant is a person who is a refugee within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; or where an applicant is a Stateless person within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless persons.

It is open to the person concerned to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation with the citizenship Division of my Department if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements.

Garda Deployment

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

306 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 570 of 20 April 2010, if the Garda Commissioner has accepted and intends to implement any of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate’s recommendations on personnel allocation. [25082/10]

As stated in the response to Parliamentary Question No. 570 of 20 April 2010, the contents of the Report of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate on Resource Allocation are being examined by the Garda Commissioner and his senior management.

I am informed that, following discussions with Garda management, the Garda Inspectorate intends to publish an update in July 2010 on the implementation of their recommendations.

Garda Stations

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

307 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will confirm the exact opening hours for the public to visit a Garda station (details supplied); if the hours are not published in the window of the Garda station, how the public are expected to know when it is open in order to transact necessary business; if he will further confirm if any proposals are in existence with regard to the provision of a regular Garda car to this station and extensive area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25104/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the opening hours of the Glynn Garda Station are from 10am to 1pm when the Garda is on duty. The opening hours of the station are published in a prominent position in the front window of the Garda Station and the details of the official mobile phone and private phone number for the Garda are also provided on this notice.

When the Garda is not on duty or is on duty away from the Garda Station, the ‘Green Man' telecommunications system at the Garda Station diverts all callers to the Garda Station either directly to the Garda or to the Divisional / District Headquarters at Wexford.

I am further informed that there are 54 vehicles allocated to the Wexford Division. The responsibility for the efficient deployment of all official vehicles in a Division is vested in the Divisional Officer who may switch vehicles from station to station as the occasion demands.

Mobile patrols of the sub-district and surrounding area are conducted in conjunction with Garda personnel from Castlebridge and Taghmon Garda Stations, supported by additional patrols by uniform and plain-clothes personnel from Wexford District and the Divisional Traffic Corps personnel.

Asylum Applications

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

308 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25120/10]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 14 April 2005. In accordance with Section 9 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), he was entitled to remain in the State until his application for asylum was decided. His asylum application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 20 February 2007, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. In addition, he was notified of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006).

The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and this application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

309 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25121/10]

I refer the Deputy to my detailed Reply to his earlier Parliamentary Question, No 145 of Thursday, 5 November 2009, and the written Reply to that Question.

The position in the State of the person concerned now falls to be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.