Defence Forces Medical Services

Ceisteanna (66)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

66. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the general medical qualifications held by each of the Defence Forces medical officers involved in malaria chemoprophylaxis. [4988/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

All Defence Forces Medical Officers must possess at a minimum the professional qualifications of Medical Bachelor (M.B.), Bachelor of Surgery (B.CH), Bachelor in the Art of Obstetrics (B.A.O) or equivalent.  They must hold current, full registration with the Medical Council of Ireland. By date of entry into the Defence Forces they must also have had three (3) years post graduate experience.

I am informed by the military authorities that all Defence Forces Medical Officers have a clinical commitment to patients, and as such could be involved in the preparation and examination of personnel for overseas deployment which may include malaria chemoprophylaxis.

Internal Audits

Ceisteanna (67)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

67. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his Department has completed an external quality assurance assessment of its internal audit function as required by the Institute of Internal Audit standards that were introduced in 2012 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5108/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

My Department is committed to undertaking an independent quality assurance assessment of its internal audit function and arrangements are currently being finalised to go to tender to obtain this service.

Apprenticeship Data

Ceisteanna (68)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

68. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of persons enrolled in apprenticeships in his Department and State agencies under his remit, by gender, in tabular form; and if he will list each such apprenticeship. [5254/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

There are currently five civilian employees undergoing apprentice training with my Department. Details of the grades and gender as sought by the Deputy are set out in the following table. 

 Apprenticeship

Gender 

 Fitter x 3

 Male

 Electrician

 Male

 Welder

 Male

Internal Audits

Ceisteanna (69)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

69. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his Department has completed an external quality assurance assessment of its internal audit function as required by the Institute of Internal Audit standards that were introduced in 2012 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5112/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

An external quality assessment of the Internal Audit function in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is currently underway and will be completed in February 2018. In November 2012, following extensive consultation with Heads of Internal Audit, Audit Committees and Senior Management across the range of Vote Holders, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform determined that the Institute of Internal Auditors International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (IIA Standards) should apply across all Irish Government Departments and other Vote Holders. These Standards require that an external assessment of an internal audit function must be conducted periodically.

Apprenticeship Data

Ceisteanna (70)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

70. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of persons enrolled in apprenticeships in his Department and State agencies under his remit, by gender, in tabular form; and if he will list each such apprenticeship. [5258/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

There are no apprentices enrolled in my Department and there is no scheme in place in this Department that facilitates apprenticeships.

In recent years, the Department has offered a limited number of 11 month internships for graduates in the areas of human rights, conflict resolution and legal affairs. Such internships, when they arise, are advertised through the careers offices of Irish third-level institutions and also on our website at www.dfa.ie . Internship positions also arise from time to time with the Department’s Development Cooperation Division, which administers the Irish Aid programme.

Stock Markets Regulation

Ceisteanna (71)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

71. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that when a company bought shares in a bank (details supplied) in 2013 it had access to loan-loss data that was not available to other retail shareholders in view of the fact that it was the bank's policy at the time not to reveal all losses to shareholders; the steps that were taken to avoid the potential for insider trading to have occurred during that transaction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5011/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I can confirm for the Deputy that my attention has not been drawn to any such scenario as described in this question.

In relation to the Deputy's assertion that it was the bank's policy not to reveal all losses to shareholders, I would highlight that the rules relating to the correct level of provisioning, and consequent losses, are determined by the relevant accounting standards. It is the responsibility of the board of the bank to ensure that these rules have been properly applied and that this is subject to external audit review.  Nothing has been brought to my attention to suggest that the bank has not applied these rules correctly.

Finally, the Deputy has asked what steps were taken to avoid the potential for insider trading. As a publicly listed company, the bank is required to comply with all Market Abuse regulations and I am not aware of any issues in this regard. However, should the Deputy have concerns, she should contact the Central Bank of Ireland which is the appropriate authority to investigate such a matter.

Tracker Mortgage Examination

Ceisteanna (72)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

72. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the reason persons with a bank (details supplied) who have been informed they have been impacted by the tracker mortgage scandal have not had their rate corrected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5059/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Central Bank has advised that the Tracker Mortgage Examination is on-going. However, it also advises that it is not in a position to comment on its supervisory engagements with individual lenders. Nevertheless, the Bank continues to engage with and challenge all lenders to ensure that they identify all tracker impacted customers in a timely manner and to ensure that all lenders are acting in their customers’ best interests.

It is important to note that it is only when lenders have completed the customer identification process that it can be known with certainty if customers are impacted. As set out in the Examination framework, when groups of impacted customers are identified, in the first instance, the lender must stop charging the incorrect rate of interest on the customer’s account. The lender must then communicate this to the customer to ensure that any further customer detriment is stopped as early as possible. Once a full review of the customer’s account is complete, following external independent third party assurance, the lender will then issue a letter to the customer explaining the nature of the error, the correct rate to apply to the customer’s account and information on the next steps in the Tracker Examination, including the redress and compensation process.

Repatriation of Money

Ceisteanna (73, 74)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

73. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Finance the implications the recent repatriation of a company's (details supplied) $38 billion tax bill to the US will have for the company's potential tax liability of €13 billion, held in escrow pending appeal of the August 2016 European Commission ruling, should the ongoing European Court of Justice case find in favour of the August 2016 ruling. [5098/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

74. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether a company's (details supplied) potential tax liability of €13 billion will accrue here or the US should the European Court of Justice find in favour of the August 2016 European Commission ruling; and his further views on whether the moves at EU level towards territorial taxation will result in retrospective mechanisms being used by EU countries to ensure taxation due to them will be repatriated. [5099/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 73 and 74 together.

As the Deputy is aware, I am not at liberty, nor is it appropriate for me, to discuss the tax affairs of individual companies.

The Government profoundly disagrees with the European Commission’s analysis in the Apple State Aid case.

An appeal is therefore being brought before the European Courts. Such an appeal takes the form of an application to the General Court of the European Union (GCEU), asking it to annul the Commission’s Final Decision.

The Attorney General prepared the legal grounds in support of the annulment proceedings and the application was lodged in the GCEU in 2016.  As is normal practice, a summary of these have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. They were also published on the Department of Finance’s website in December 2016.

The case has been granted priority status and is progressing through the various stages of private written proceedings before the GCEU.  It is at the discretion of the court to determine if there will be oral proceedings, either in public or in private.  It will likely be several years before the matter is ultimately settled by the European Courts. 

As this is the subject of open legal proceedings, it will not be possible to comment further, in particular on any of the individual elements of the State’s legal case in defence of our position. This is important to ensure that we do not prejudice our own legal case.

Notwithstanding the appeal, Ireland is obliged to comply with binding Articles of the Commission’s Decision regarding recovery. Officials and experts from across the State have been engaged in intensive work to ensure that Ireland complies with all its recovery obligations as soon as possible.

Ireland has never accepted the Commission’s analysis in the Apple State aid Decision.

However, we have always been clear that the Government is fully committed to ensuring that recovery of the alleged Apple State aid takes place without delay and has committed significant resources to ensuring this is achieved as quickly as possible whilst ensuring that the interests of the Irish taxpayer are adequately protected.  

Significant progress has been made on this complex issue and the establishment of an escrow fund, in compliance with all relevant Irish constitutional and European Union law requirements, is close to completion. Officials and experts from across the State have been engaged in intensive work to ensure that Ireland complies with all its recovery obligations as soon as possible.

Internal Audits

Ceisteanna (75)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

75. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if his Department has completed an external quality assurance assessment of its internal audit function as required by the Institute of Internal Audit standards that were introduced in 2012 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5111/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Internal and EU Audit Unit of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) provides an internal audit service to my Department on a shared service basis.    

As required by the Internal Audit Standards launched by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in 2012, the Internal Audit Unit function underwent an External Quality Assessment (EQA) which was carried out in November 2015 by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, the standard setting body for internal audit.  The objective of the EQA was to provide an independent assessment of the effectiveness of the internal audit function as applied across the two Government Departments.  This included considering the team’s conformance to the International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF), the globally recognised standard for quality in Internal Auditing.

The overall assessment conclusion was that the internal audit function met the highest grade rating used by the Institute of Internal Auditors i.e. "generally conforms" to the IIA’s professional standards. This means that the Internal Audit team may state in its audit reports that the work “has been performed in accordance with the IPPF”.

Tax Code

Ceisteanna (76)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

76. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance if DIRT is being applied and charged in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5182/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that their records do not indicate if DIRT is being applied or charged by the relevant financial institution on the person concerned. The person concerned should contact the relevant financial institution to establish if DIRT has been applied or charged. If it has, the person concerned may be entitled to a refund of some or all of the DIRT applied or charged.

Knowledge Development Box

Ceisteanna (77)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

77. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the number of firms by size (details supplied) that have applied for the knowledge development box scheme for SMEs since being established, in tabular form. [5246/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The purpose of the Knowledge Development Box (KDB) is to encourage companies to develop intellectual property and thereby engage in substantive R&D operations that have a positive impact on the Irish economy. The KDB applies for accounting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2016. The claimant company has a period of up to 24 months to make a claim for KDB relief.

I am informed by Revenue that a small number of companies (fewer than 10) with accounting periods ended on or before 31 December 2016 have claimed KDB relief. Due to taxpayer confidentiality, Revenue cannot comment on the size or nature of the claimant companies to date. However, the tax cost of these claims to date is less than €5 million. It is possible that this cost could change due to the 24 month period available to claim the relief.