Court Judgments

Ceisteanna (227)

Mick Barry

Ceist:

227. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 273 of 29 November 2017, if he will instruct the Office of the Chief State Solicitor to make an appropriate payment in view of the conclusion of a High Court case (details supplied). [13224/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As I stated in response to the Deputy's previous question, I am aware of the case to which he refers.  As I also stated then, the award in this case was made by the Supreme Court.

While I should emphasise that I was not a party to these proceedings and am not a party to any discussions aimed at resolving the issues, I have had further enquires made with the Chief State Solicitor's Office and have been informed that no final decision has been made to date on how this matter will be resolved. Both the Garda Síochána and the Chief State Solicitor's Office are still considering how to advance the issue.

Health and Safety Authority

Ceisteanna (228)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

228. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise that have been made by the Health and Safety Authority since January 2016; the purpose of the requested additional funding, staff resources or expertise; the response of her Department to each request in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13136/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Details in relation to additional funding and staffing requests from the Health and Safety Authority are set out in the tables.

It should be noted that given the role and remit of the Health and Safety Authority it is staffed by a mixture of technical expertise grades at inspector level and administrative grades. The technical inspector grades cover the Occupational Safety and Health remit of the Authority (which includes sectors such as construction, agriculture, mines and quarries, transport and storage and occupational health and welfare) as well as the Authority’s Chemicals Programme, Market Surveillance functions and INAB (Irish National Accreditation Board) Programmes.

My Department monitors the funding and staffing requirements of the HSA on an ongoing basis and works closely with the Health and Safety Authority in this regard with a view to ensuring that the HSA is properly resourced to the greatest extent possible.

Table 1: HSA Additional Funding January 2016 to date

Year

Purpose of Request

DBEI Response

2016

Additional ICT funding sought as well as   additional funding for targeted media campaigns in relation to worker safety and health in 2016.

Additional non-pay funding of €340,000 provided to HSA for 2016.

2017

Increase in core funding for pay, non-pay and pensions sought by the HSA in respect of the 2017 Estimates Submission as well as specific additional funding for safety promotion programmes.

Additional pay, non-pay and pensions funding provided to the HSA for 2017 i.e. pay allocation increased by €300,000 (with €150,000 to cover pay restoration under Lansdowne Road Agreement), non-pay allocation increased by €227,000 and pensions allocation increased by €41,000.

In additional a non-pay allocation of €400,000 as provided for safety promotion programmes.

2018

Increase in non-pay funding for 2018 to fund safety promotional and supporting activities in ongoing high-risk sectors sought in the context of the 2018 Estimates

Additional pay, non-pay and pensions funding provided to the HSA for 2018 i.e. pay allocation increased by €763,000  (€363,000 to cover costs under Lansdowne Road Agreement and €400,000 to cover additional Brexit related posts), non-pay allocation increased by €300,000 and pensions allocation increased by €100,000.

Table 2: HSA Staff Resources January 2016 to date

Number

Date of Request

Purpose of Request

Department Response

2016

1.

May

Replacement for Clerical Officer

Sanction Granted

2.

June

Replacement for Assistant Principal Officer

Sanction Granted

3.

August

Replacement Higher Executive Officer

Sanction Granted

4.

August

Replacement for Grade I Inspector

Sanction Granted

5.

August

Replacement for Grade II Inspector

Sanction Granted

6.

September

Replacement for Executive Officer

Sanction Granted

7.

October

Application to make Grade I Inspector substantive

Sanction Granted

8.

October

Replacement for Grade III Inspector

Sanction Granted

9.

December

New Clerical Officer post 

Sanction Granted

10.

December

Replacement for Grade III Inspector

Sanction Granted

11.

December

Replacement for Grade III Inspector

Sanction Granted

12.

December

Replacement for Grade III Inspector

Sanction Granted

2017

13.

January

New Clerical Officer post

Sanction Granted

14.

February

Executive Officer post

Sanction Granted

15.

March

New Assistant Principal Officer post

Sanction Granted

16.

March

New Grade III Inspector post

Sanction Granted

17.

April

Replacement for Grade III Inspector

Sanction Granted

18.

May

Temporary replacement for Programme Manager

Sanction Granted

19.

June

Replacement for Grade II Inspector

Sanction Granted

20.

August

New Accreditation Officer Grade II Inspector post

Sanction Granted

21.

October

Application to make a HEO substantive

Sanction Granted

22.

November

Replacement for Grade III Inspector

Sanction Granted

23.

November

Temporary replacement for Assistant Chief Executive

Refused

24.

November

Replacement for Assistant Chief Executive Officer

Sanction Granted

25.

November

Replacement for Executive Officer

Sanction Granted

26.

December

Replacement for Chief Executive Officer

Sanction Granted

2018

27.

January

New Higher Executive Officer post

Application under consideration

28.

January

New Grade III Inspector post

Sanction Granted

29.

January

New Grade III Inspector post

Sanction Granted

30.

January

New Grade III Inspector post

Sanction Granted

31.

January

New Grade III Inspector post

Sanction Granted

32.

January

New Grade III Inspector post

Sanction Granted

33.

January

New Grade III Inspector post

Sanction Granted

34.

January

New Grade III Inspector post

Sanction Granted

35.

February

New Grade I Inspector post

Application under consideration

36.

February

New Assistant Principal Officer post

Application under consideration

37.

February

Temporary replacement for three Grade III Inspectors currently on extended leave

Application under consideration

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Ceisteanna (229)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

229. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise that have been made by the Competition and Consumer Protection Authority since January 2016; the purpose of the requested additional funding, staff resources or expertise; the response of her Department to each request in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13137/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Regarding its financial resources, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s (CCPC) allocation is divided between “General Administration” and “Financial Information and Education Functions” expenditure. The first element covers the general administration and expenses of the CCPC in relation to the exercise of its statutory functions, except for its financial information and education functions, and these expenses are funded through an Exchequer grant each year. The second element is funded by a Levy imposed on regulated financial service providers. As the Levy is not collected until after mid-year, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation prefunds the expenditure by the CCPC on these functions, on the proviso that the Department is reimbursed by way of Appropriations-in-Aid before year end. It is therefore Exchequer neutral.

The CCPC’s combined allocations since 2015, its first full year since its establishment in October 2014, are set out in the following table:

 Year

Allocation (Exchequer and Levy)

Pay and non-pay

  ’000s 

Outturn

  ’000s

2015

2016

12,230

12,141

9,124

9,181

2017

2018

12,138

12,226

9,757

N/A

In July 2015, the CCPC was given approval by the Department under the Strategic Resource Management Framework to fill 25 vacant posts subject to the CCPC remaining within its allocated pay budget.

In August 2016, the CCPC requested an extra €2.438m proposing to cover, amongst other matters, once-off expenses arising from its planned move to new offices, once-off expenditure on new ICT systems, additional research and communications projects (€2.040m) and the costs associated with a simultaneous request for additional personnel (€398,000). As part of that request for additional funding, the CCPC requested 6 additional personnel viz. 3 Executive Officers in its Communications and Market Insights Division, one Assistant Principal in its Consumer Enforcement Division, one Higher Executive Officer in its Organisational Development Unit and one Executive Officer in its Regulation and Advocacy Unit. As the CCPC’s outturn for 2015 was less than the 2015 allocation and its expenditure in 2016 was estimated to come under the monies allocated to it for that year, its request of August 2016 for extra resources was not granted.

In July 2017, the CCPC requested an extra €235,000 in its non-pay Exchequer allocation to cover new projects arising in the areas of cyber security, research in relation to the Waste sector, Personal Contract Plans, Brexit and expenditure on the implementation of the Grocery Goods Regulations. This request was approved. Also in 2017, the CCPC requested one additional staff member (a Higher Executive Officer in its Legal Services Division) for which sanction was approved by my Department.

To date in 2018, the CCPC has requested 3 additional staff members (one Digital investigation specialist at Higher Executive Officer level, one temporary Assistant Principal post in its Legal Service Division and one Higher Executive Officer in its Legal Services Division). It has received sanction for the first two posts and my Department is currently considering the last request.

It should be noted that these figures do not include requests since 2016 for backfilling of vacancies due to resignations, promotions, transfers, retirements, etc. and neither does it refer to any request for the reconfiguration of grades in the CCPC. 

Labour Court

Ceisteanna (230)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

230. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise that have been made by the Labour Court since January 2016; the purpose of the requested additional funding, staff resources or expertise; the response of her Department to each request in tabular from; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13138/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Labour Court is an independent statutory office under the aegis of my Department. The Court was established under the Industrial Relations Act, 1946, to exercise the functions assigned to it by the Act. The functions of the Court have been altered and extended by subsequent legislation, including the Workplace Relations Act 2015 which provided that the Labour Court is now the sole appellate body in disputes under employment rights legislation. 

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to support and adequately resource the Labour Court to allow it to fulfil its mandate.

As part of the reform of the workplace relations bodies in 2015, and in anticipation of an increased workload, the Labour Court was expanded to include an additional Division to bring the composition of the Court to four Divisions.  Each Division of the Court comprises a Chair or Deputy Chair and two ordinary members.

Apart from the appointment of an additional division of the Court in 2015, the Court has not, in general, in the period since 1 January 2016 made requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise. An exception to this relates to the temporary appointment of an Ordinary Member to the Court for a three-month period in August 2017 to cover for an existing member of the Court who was at that time unable to perform the required functions. 

In addition, in terms of expertise, due to the longer than anticipated period involved in the recruitment and appointment of a Registrar to the Court, the Court tendered for specialist legal expertise to cover the period leading up to the appointment of a new Registrar in March 2018.

Vacant Properties

Ceisteanna (231)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

231. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the suite of measures and supports she has available and plans to introduce to encourage existing businesses and new business start-ups take up live occupancy of vacant commercial properties that are having an impact on the viability of existing enterprises along the urban streetscapes and other shopping and commercial zones. [13025/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Government is committed to providing supports that will assist the key stakeholders in towns and villages to make their centres vibrant and vital. My Department continues to offer a suite of measures to support businesses to grow and new business start-ups, primarily through our enterprise agencies and the Local Enterprise Offices.

As noted in the Framework for Town Centre Renewal, many Local Authorities offer grants to landlords and prospective new tenants to offset against commercial rates in order to incentivise occupancy and improve the retail mix, streetscape and general ambience. Local Authorities fall under the aegis of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

My Department does not have a “suite of measures or supports” to encourage existing businesses and new business start-ups to take up live occupancy of vacant commercial properties nor are there any plans to introduce such measures per se.

Under the auspices of the Retail Consultation Forum, which I chair, the ‘Framework for Town Centre Renewal’ was launched in April 2017. This Framework identifies the key attributes of a successful town centre and provides a blue print for action by key stakeholders to work collaboratively in addressing the challenges of creating vibrant and viable town centres through a three-stage process including: stakeholder engagement, carrying out a town centre ‘health check’, and preparing a Town Centre Plan. In relation to the challenge of high levels of town centre property vacancy, the Framework advocates a balanced approach that doesn’t undermine existing stakeholders.

Under the Action Plan for Jobs 2018, the Department of Rural and Community Development will continue to develop a range of programmes to support rural economic development, including the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. The Framework for Town Centre Renewal is a useful tool for towns and villages applying for funding under this scheme. Elsewhere, incentives to support urban regeneration are the responsibility of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Ministerial Staff Data

Ceisteanna (232)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

232. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the details of each non-Civil Service appointment she has made to a role in her Department; the persons appointed; the role, qualifications and salary of each; and the guidelines that apply in respect of party political fundraising. [13152/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I have employed the services of two Special Advisers, details of whom are available through the Department of Public Expenditure website, but are set out below for the Deputy’s information.

Name

Role

Salary

Ms Lucy Moylan

Special Adviser

PO Standard Scale (Point 1)

Mr. Pauric McPhillips

Special Adviser

PO Standard Scale (Point 2)

In relation to my two Special Advisers, both have Degrees in Communications and extensive experience relevant to their role and both are paid in accordance with the standard arrangements put in place by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. One, who began in the role last September, is paid on the first point of the Principal Officer (Standard Scale) and the other, who began in the role in May 2016 has progressed to the second point of the Principal Officer (Standard Scale).

I also have two Civilian Drivers who are paid at the Civilian Driver rate which is a single-point scale, without incremental progression.

The above appointees are subject to the terms and conditions of The Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour. Matters in relation to Political activity are set out in Circular 09/2009: Civil Servants and Political Activity. Under part 13 of this Circular, Special Advisors are exempt from the provisions restricting Civil Servants from engaging in certain political activity. The Circular does not cover fundraising, however this is a matter for political parties and does not come within the scope of the activities of Government Departments.

IDA Ireland Jobs Data

Ceisteanna (233)

James Browne

Ceist:

233. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the percentage of IDA Ireland-supported jobs in the south east as a proportion of all IDA Ireland-supported jobs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13187/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

This Government is strongly committed to regional development and my Department and its agencies are working towards ambitious targets to ensure that employment and investment are as evenly distributed across the country as possible.

The employment situation in the South East, which covers Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary, has been steadily improving in recent years. There has, for example, been a substantial increase in job creation in the region since the commencement of the National Action Plan for Jobs initiative in 2012, with an additional 33,600 in employment in Q2 2017 compared to Q1 2012.

Looking ahead, the IDA is targeting - as part of its 2015-2019 strategy - an increase of investment in the South East region of 30% to 40% by 2019. To achieve this, the Agency will continue to draw the attention of potential investors to the region's particular strengths. These include the South East's accessibility, its ports and its existing cluster of medical technology firms. The Agency will work closely with its existing clients in the region to help strengthen and potentially grow their respective workforces.

This existing base of IDA Ireland clients in the South East is comprised of 75 companies who collectively employ 14,785 people in the region. This represents approximately 7% of the total number of people employed by IDA client companies across Ireland.

Action Plan for Jobs

Ceisteanna (234)

James Browne

Ceist:

234. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the regions that have not met their regional Action Plan for Jobs target; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13189/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Programme for Partnership Government commitment is to support the creation of 200,000 jobs by 2020, including 135,000 jobs outside of Dublin. 

Regional job creation targets have been set through the Regional Action Plan for Jobs, the primary objective of which is to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020 and to ensure the unemployment rate of each region is within one percentage point of the State average. As such, there still remains two years for all regions to reach these targets.

The published targets for jobs to be created, in addition to data from the CSO showing job creation and unemployment rates in each of the 8 NUTSIII regions, are laid out in the following table:

Region

Published Regional APJ targets by 2020

Net new jobs created Q1 2015 –Q2 2017

Unemployment Rate at Q4 2017

North East/North West

28,000

12,000

4.9%

Midland

14,000

9,500

7.7%

West

25,000

15,500

5.9%

Dublin

66,000

48,200

6.1%

Mid-East

25,000

19,300

5.2%

Mid-West

23,000

16,600

6.6%

South-East

25,000

16,200

7.3%

South-West       

40,000

29,400

6.2%

State

246,000

166,800

6.1%

Over the year to Q2 2017, CSO data shows an increase of 53,500 people in employment across the State since Q2 2016, with 84% of this increase in numbers employed outside Dublin. All regions have seen increases in numbers employed in the year to Q2 2017; all regions also saw a decrease in numbers unemployed.

While overall results are strong, it is clear that not all regions are improving at the same rate, and there is no room for complacency. The unemployment rate in two of the regions (Midlands: 7.7% and South East: 7.3%) is, at Q4 2017, at least 1 percentage point above the State average of 6.1%. A continued focus on these regions is required to ensure they are being supported to achieve their economic potential.

It should be noted that the introduction of a new methodology for calculating labour market statistics by the CSO through the Q3 2017 Labour Force Survey (formerly Quarterly National Household Survey) has resulted in a “break” in the regional series, such that previous Quarters are not comparable over time with the most recent Q3/Q4 results. Q2 2017 and previous Quarters are therefore used to describe longer term trends at regional level.

As set out in the national Action Plan for Jobs 2018, my Department will be working with the Regional Implementation Committees for the Regional Action Plans for Jobs over the coming weeks and months to refresh and refocus those Plans, maintaining the emphasis on delivery of regional jobs targets to 2020.

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Ceisteanna (235)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

235. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the number of requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise that have been made by Food Safety Authority of Ireland since January 2016; the purpose of the requested additional funding, staff resources or expertise; the response of his Department to each request in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13144/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

From 1 January 2016 to date, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) made requests to the Department of Health for additional staff and funding on a number of occasions and approvals were granted (as per the table).

In addition to the staffing approvals listed in the attached table, during the period January 2016 to date, the FSAI submitted requests to the Department for the following staff:

- Data & Analysis Manager (2016) - New;

- Executive, Communications (2016) - Replacement;

- Executive, HR (2016) - New;

- Receptionist (2017) - Replacement; and

- Technical Executive (temporary contract) (2017) - New.

The FSAI has indicated that it will reconsider the prioritisation of these and other staff requirements it may have in the context of its new strategy which is being developed in 2018. 

In addition to the funding approvals set out in the attached table, in September 2016, the FSAI indicated that it would require additional funding of €1 million in 2017 and in September 2017, it indicated that it would require an additional €500,000 in 2018 and €1 million in 2019.

These requests were the subject of discussion between the Department and FSAI but they were not approved at the time.  The Department is currently liaising with FSAI regarding its 2018 funding requirements.

2018

Title and Grade

No. of posts

Date of Approval

Replacement/New

Grade between HEO and AP – Senior Technical Executive, IT

1

20.03.2018

Replacement

AP Equivalent (Risk Manager)

1

15.03.2018

New

2017

Title and Grade

No. of posts

Date of Approval

Replacement/New

Director of Corporate Affairs

1

09.03.2017

New

Finance & Planning Manager

1

20.04.2017

Replacement

Enforcement Policy Manager

1

20.04.2017

Replacement

Training Compliance Manager

1

20.04.2017

Replacement

Technical Executive, PHN

1

20.04.2017

Replacement

Technical Executive Chemical Safety

1

20.04.2017

Replacement

Administrative Assistants

6

20.04.2017

Replacement

Finance & Planning Manager

1

10.05.2047

Replacement

Enforcement Policy Manager

1

10.05.2017

Replacement

Technical Executive, PHN

1

10.05.2017

Replacement

Technical Executive, PHN

1

27.06.2017

Replacement

HEO Equivalent

1

25.08.2017

Replacement

HEO Equivalent

1

15.09.2017

Replacement

CO Equivalent

1

20.11.2017

Replacement

Number of posts for 2017

19

2016

Title and Grade

No. of posts

Date of Approval

Replacement/New

Administrative Assistant

1

26.01.2016

Replacement

Administrative Assistant

1

10.03.2016

Replacement

Administrative Assistant

1

14.03.2016

Replacement

HEO Equivalent

1

04.05.2016

Replacement

Technical Executive

1

13.05.2016

Replacement

Technical Executive

1

03.08.2016

Replacement

Senior Technical Executive

1

11.08.2016

Replacement

Senior Technical Executive

1

26.08.2016

Replacement

Senior Technical Executive – IT Grade

1

10.11.2016

Replacement

Enforcement Policy Executives

2

16.12.2016

Replacement

Number of posts sanctioned for 2016

11

Approvals for Additional Funding

Year

Amount

Reason for funding

-

2016

€2,500,000

Once-off Capital funding required in 2017 for FSAI’s relocation to new offices

Approved

2016

€355,000

To meet additional VAT costs post FSAI’s relocation

Approved but deferred until required in 2018

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (236)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

236. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health if works in a facility (details supplied) for persons with disabilities will be completed in a timely manner in view of the fact that the disability services team has reverted to a foundation with a recommendation that the remaining works should proceed to completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13235/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.