EU Data

Ceisteanna (207)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

207. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of companies that have AEO status; the number awarded AEO status in each of the years 2014 to 2017 and to date in 2018; the average number of AEO applications that the Revenue Commissioners are processing per month; if an assessment has been made of the number of companies that may require AEO status as a consequence of the UK leaving the single market and the customs union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21321/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the EU established its Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) concept based on internationally recognised standards, created a legal basis for it in 2008, and updated and amended the conditions and benefits of same in the Union Customs Code (UCC) through its implementing and delegated Acts. The AEO programme, which aims to enhance international supply chain security and to facilitate legitimate trade, is open to all supply chain actors.

An AEO is an economic operator who is deemed reliable in the context of their customs related operations, and therefore, is entitled to enjoy benefits throughout the EU. There is no legal obligation for economic operators to become an AEO, it is a matter of the operators own choice based on their specific situation.

According to Article 38 of the UCC, the status of AEO consists of different types of authorisations: AEO for Customs Simplifications (AEOC), AEO for Security and Safety (AEOS) and AEO Customs Simplifications/Security and Safety (a combination of the AEOC and AEOS). The criteria, against which applicants are assessed and must meet, fall within the following general headings:

- Record of compliance with customs legislation and taxation rules, including no record of serious criminal offences relating to the economic activity of the applicant;

- Demonstration of a high level of control of its operations and of the flow of the goods, by means of a system of managing commercial and, where appropriate, transport records, which allows appropriate customs controls;

- Proven financial solvency.

And depending of the type of AEO:

- Practical standards of competence or professional qualifications directly related to the activity carried out (AEOC);

- Appropriate security and safety standards (AEOS).

All applicants for AEO are assessed for their suitability, based on the EU agreed criteria, on a case by case basis. Revenue assess if the applicant meets the required criteria and determines whether AEO status should be authorised, or not, and what conditions or arrangements are appropriate for each particular case. There is no fee for application, nor is there any required size or scale of business.

I am advised by Revenue that 144 economic operators currently hold AEO status in Ireland. The breakdown for each of the years 2014 to 2017 and to date in 2018 is as follows: 2014, 12; 2015, 8; 2016, 10; 2017, 17 and 2018 (to 9th May 2018), 5. I am advised that on average Revenue has received 1 application per month.

With regards to the number of companies that may require AEO status as a consequence of the UK leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union, as already stated, there is no legal obligation for economic operators to become an AEO, it is a matter of the operators own choice based on their specific situation. Revenue is meeting with representative groups and attending industry seminars to discuss the potential issues resulting from Brexit. Revenue continues to advise businesses to examine the possible impacts of Brexit on their supply chains and to consider applying for one or more of the authorisations or simplifications available that best suit their business model.

Advice and assistance on customs authorisations and simplifications is available on the Revenue website Revenue will continue to engage with representative groups, taking account of developments in the ongoing EU-UK negotiations.

European Stability Mechanism

Ceisteanna (208)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

208. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on his meeting with Mr. Klaus Regling, Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism on 8 May 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21349/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I met with the Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Klaus Regling, on Tuesday, 8 May 2018. We had a positive and constructive discussion on a number of issues including the Irish economy and the future of the Economic and Monetary Union, with a focus on the future role of the ESM.

Mr. Regling noted that Ireland’s economic recovery since the crisis is ‘remarkable’. I updated him on recent developments which highlight the robust recovery and strong performance of the economy. I also outlined some of the more pressing challenges that need to be monitored and managed carefully. We discussed Brexit and its potential impact on the Irish economy, the ongoing necessity for investment in infrastructure such as housing and transport, and the legacy issue of non-performing loans which continues to impact the banking sector.

We agreed on the need to continue to strengthen the economic and monetary union, and reviewed the possible development of the ESM in that context.

Discussions on the future role and remit of the ESM include a review of the ESM lending toolkit and whether the ESM should play a greater role in programme design and monitoring in the future. The potential development of the role of the ESM of course requires careful consideration and deliberation and work is ongoing, at both technical and political level, in advance of the June European Council at which EU Heads of State of Government will reflect further on deepening the economic and monetary union.

Banking Sector Reform

Ceisteanna (209)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

209. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance when the public banking report compiled by his Department and the Department of Rural and Community Development will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21350/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, my Department, along with the Department of Rural and Community Development are responsible for fulfilling the Programme for Government commitment to "thoroughly investigate the German Sparkassen model for the development of local public banks that operate within well-defined regions".

Local public banking is where a State, or other public body, has ownership of a financial institution. The German local public banks, known as Sparkassen, are not permitted to operate beyond specific geographic regions in which they are located. The business model of Sparkassen is not to maximise profits, but rather promote economic development and financial inclusion in the particular region in which they operate. Another important element of this business model is that Sparkassen work closely with local SMEs in their area.

The investigation of local public banking has consisted of a consultation process, engaging with stakeholders and interested parties. This consultation process was carried out last year by the Department of Rural and Community Development, assisted by the Department of Finance.

As well as the public consultation process, there has also been detailed analysis of a proposal for a potential model of local public banking in Ireland, based on the German Sparkassen model. This proposal was put forward by Irish Rural Link and the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC), the international development wing of the Sparkassen group. There has been considerable engagement between officials in both Departments and representatives from Irish Rural Link and SBFIC.

Officials in my Department and the Department of Community and Rural Development have been working closely together and they have now completed the report on the findings of their analysis of the Sparkassen local public banking model in Ireland. Along with my colleague, Minister Ring, I expect to be in a position to bring this joint Report on the local public banking to Government for approval in the coming weeks.

Once the Report has been approved by Government, it is anticipated that it will then be published.

The Deputy may also be interested to know that there are already significant Government measures in place to support access to finance by Irish SMEs. These include the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), the Supporting SMEs Online Tool, the Microenterprise Loan Fund, Local Enterprise Offices, the Credit Review Office and the Credit and Counter Guarantee Schemes.

Additionally, my Department is working with other Government departments to develop tailored and innovative schemes to meet the evolving needs of Irish SMEs, such as the Agricultural Cashflow Support Loan Scheme and the Brexit Loan Scheme I announced in Budgets 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Employment Investment Incentive Scheme

Ceisteanna (210, 212)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

210. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the comments by the chair of the Revenue Commissioners regarding the need to reform the administration of the business expansion scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21351/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

212. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to comments made by the chair of the Revenue Commissioners regarding the need to reform the administration of the business expansion scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21378/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 210 and 212 together.

I understand that the Deputies may be referring to a recent report in the Sunday Business Post on the Employment and Investment Incentive (EII).

I am aware of the comments made by the Revenue Chairman.

As the Deputies may be aware, I announced a comprehensive review of the EII Scheme last November.

That review is now underway and is being conducted by Indecon Economic Consultants. Amongst other matters, it will consider operational aspects of the scheme. As part of the exercise, I am sure that the consultants will take account of all views expressed in this regard, including those of the Revenue Commissioners.

The Deputies may also wish to be aware that a public consultation process has been launched as part of the review process. The details are available on my Department’s website.

Consumer Protection

Question No. 212 answered with Question No. 210.

Question No. 213 answered with Question No. 211.

Ceisteanna (211, 213)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

211. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his plans to implement the recommendations of a report (details supplied) to equip persons to make better financial decisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21352/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

213. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Finance his plans to implement the recommendations of a report (details supplied) to equip persons to make better financial decisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21379/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 211 and 213 together.

As the Deputies are aware, the Central Bank has responsibility for the regulation and supervision of financial institutions in terms of consumer protection and prudential requirements and for ensuring on-going compliance with applicable statutory obligations. Under the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code 2012 (the Code), a regulated entity must ensure that in all its dealings with customers and within the context of its authorisation it acts honestly, fairly and professionally in the best interests of its customers and the integrity of the market.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has a specific statutory remit to provide financial information and education to assist consumers. The CCPC comes under the aegis of my colleague the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

My Department has also been active in the provision of advice to consumers through the www.switchyourbank.ie website.

The provision of financial education is part of the overall framework of the provision of financial services and the Collins Institute report is a valuable contribution to the consideration of how best to ensure that consumers are in a position to make the right choices for themselves in relation to financial services. I will continue to consider these issues in conjunction with my colleagues in Government who also have responsibility in these areas.

Question No. 212 answered with Question No. 210.
Question No. 213 answered with Question No. 211.

State Claims Agency

Ceisteanna (214)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

214. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if officials in his Department have been involved in reviewing the way in which the State Claims Agency handles sensitive cases. [21063/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The State Claims Agency (SCA) is part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which is a body under the aegis of the Minister for Finance. On this basis, officials in my Department are in regular contact with the SCA regarding my role as the responsible Minister. This contact does not extend to monitoring the SCA’s day-to-day operations, including its handling of sensitive cases, as the SCA is part of the NTMA, which has its own governance structures as established by the Oireachtas under the National Treasury Management Agency Amendment (Amendment) Act 2014. The Board of the NTMA oversees those governance structures and both the Secretaries General of the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform are ex-officio members of the Board.

The Secretary General of the Department of Finance and a senior official from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform also sit on the NTMA Board’s State Claims Agency Strategy Sub-Committee. This Sub-Committee, which has been operational since September 2017, assists the SCA in providing advice on strategic, policy and organisational issues.

While the SCA is a body under my aegis, of necessity, the handling of cases related to a particular Minister’s area of responsibility require close coordination with the Department concerned. On this basis the NTMA (Amendment) Act 2000, under which the SCA was established, provides for the SCA to deal directly with the bodies which are delegated to it for claims management on behalf of the relevant Minister.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Ceisteanna (215)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

215. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of a completion date for construction works at the new Bailieborough Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20929/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works has acquired a property in Bailieborough for a new Garda Station. The OPW is now finalising planning documentation and a Part 9 Planning application will be lodged in the next number of weeks. Until Planning, the required Public Procurement Process and Contract award are completed it is not possible to give a definitive date for construction completion.

Budget Targets

Ceisteanna (216, 217, 218)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

216. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the €1.5 billion earmarked for capital spending he specified at the Oireachtas Select Committee on Budgetary Oversight on 18 April 2018 was included in the calculations for the fiscal space already published; if it represents additional capital commitments since budget 2018 and reduces the €3.2 billion of fiscal space forecast to be available for budget 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21134/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

217. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the items of spending already committed to which have reduced the fiscal space for budget 2019 identified in budget 2018 and the previous summer economic statement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21136/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

218. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the breakdown of each commitment entered into since budget 2018 which has affected the fiscal space; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21137/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 216, 217 and 218 together.

Table 3 on Page 22 of the Summer Economic Statement (SES) 2017 set out an amount of €3.2 billion in respect of the estimated net fiscal space for 2019. In arriving at this net amount, the fiscal space impact of certain pre-committed voted expenditure was deducted from the gross fiscal space. The nominal amounts relating to these pre-commitments were set out in Table 1.3 on Page 9 of the Mid-Year Expenditure Report (MYER) 2017, with €0.4 billion of current expenditure in respect of demographics and €0.3 billion of capital expenditure arising from increases set out in the Public Capital Plan and from prior year budget adjustments.

The SES and the MYER did not reflect the impact of the abolition of domestic water charges and the consequent change in funding arrangements for Irish Water. Irish Water expenditure was therefore included within the overall General Government expenditure amounts in the SES, and reflected increases in relation to Irish Water’s capital investment programme. With funding in respect of domestic water services now being provided through voted expenditure, €0.1 billion of the overall year-on-year increase in voted capital expenditure in 2019 arises from the change in funding arrangements for Irish Water and is therefore technical in nature. This technical change was reflected in the multi-annual capital ceilings included in the Revised Estimates Volume (REV) 2018 published in December last year.

Consequently, of the €2.6 billion in voted expenditure pre-commitments set out in the Stability Programme Update 2018, the fiscal space impact of nominal amounts of €0.4 billion in voted current expenditure and €0.4 billion in voted capital expenditure, including the €0.1 billion in relation to Irish Water capital expenditure, were taken into account in arriving at the estimated net fiscal space amount of €3.2 billion for 2019 in last year’s SES.

Table 4 on Page 23 of the SES outlines the indicative allocation of available net fiscal space for 2018-2021. This Table outlines an indicative allocation of €1.5 billion in fiscal space for expenditure in 2019, with over €0.9 billion of this amount for current expenditure and just under €0.6 billion for capital expenditure. This was the pre-Budget position and expenditure allocations made as part of the Budget Estimates process in October last year, set out in Expenditure Report 2018, utilise most of this indicative allocation.

In relation to current expenditure there are pre-commitments that arose after the SES of €0.7 billion that would need to be funded from the current expenditure fiscal space amount or from savings/reprioritisation. There is a cost of €0.4 billion arising in 2019 from the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA). This amount was not included as pre-committed expenditure in the SES or the MYER as the agreement at that stage was subject to ratification by the membership of the Public Service Unions and Staff Associations. In addition, as outlined in the Expenditure Report 2018, there was a cost estimated, at that time, of €0.2 billion in respect of the carryover impact of certain Budget 2018 measures that would need to be met from the available resources for 2019 or from savings/reprioritisation. The current estimate of the carryover impact into 2019 is €0.3 billion. This estimated carryover impact will be reviewed in the context of this year’s MYER to take account of expenditure developments during the first half of this year.

In Budget 2018 last October, additional capital was allocated over the four year period 2018 to 2021 following the mid-term review of the Capital Plan. Expenditure Report 2018 set out gross voted capital expenditure amounts of €5.3 billion for 2018 and €6.6 billion for 2019. These amounts were in line with the increases set out in the MYER, with just over €0.3 billion in the pre-Budget position and just under €1 billion to be allocated as part of the Budget 2018 process. The fiscal space impact of the additional capital allocated during the Budget 2018 process is in line with the indicative allocations of fiscal space for capital grants and gross fixed capital formation of just under €0.6 billion in aggregate. Consequently, these increases fully utilise the indicative fiscal space for capital grants and gross fixed capital formation set out in the SES for 2019.

The National Development Plan revised the Departmental capital expenditure ceilings for 2019 to 2021, published in REV 2018, to facilitate the early commencement of a number of funds. The voted capital expenditure amount in the Stability Programme Update for 2019 reflects the additional funding allocated in the National Development Plan in respect of the Rural, Urban, and Innovation Funds. With the cost of the funds being partly covered by an unallocated capital reserve, the additional cost arising in 2019 is less than €0.1 billion.

Consequently, the expenditure pre-commitments outlined in the Stability Programme Update that arose after publication of last year’s SES and MYER amount to €1.8 billion, with an impact of c. €1.4 billion after taking into account the estimated effect of the capital smoothing adjustment that applies under the Expenditure Benchmark.

State Properties

Ceisteanna (219)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

219. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when a location (details supplied) will be redeveloped; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21391/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Commissioners of Public Works are currently examining all options in relation to the re-development of the Hawkins House site, with a view to maximising the benefit of the site to the State.

This process must also take account of the re-development proposals of the adjacent property owners, as the Hawkins House site is part of a wider Dublin City Council Local Area Plan.

Office of Public Works Projects

Ceisteanna (220)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

220. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the timeframe for the OPW to issue Dublin City Council with a formal letter regarding the new pedestrian way to a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21392/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The proposed walk way traverses the area that is the subject of the Dublin City Council Local Area Plan. Given that there are currently three separate property owners involved, the Commissioners of Public Works are of the view that any necessary communication with Dublin City Council would be best dealt with, in consultation with the other owners, when the re-development of the entire site is underway.

Translation Services Provision

Ceisteanna (221)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

221. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there are open tenders through the Office of Government Procurement for multi-supplier frameworks for translation and interpretation; if there has been a delay in such tenders; when such competitions will be opened; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20804/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) and its sector partners put in place framework agreements through which public sector bodies can buy goods and services. The OGP has established three Framework Agreements to deliver translation and interpretation services to public bodies.

These are for the provision of:

- Interpretation Services (excluding Irish), established in February 2016;

- Translation Services (excluding Irish), established in March 2016; and

- Irish Language Translation Services, established in July 2017.

Draw down from these Frameworks is by way of mini-competitions through supplementary request for tenders (SRFTs) amongst framework suppliers only. The OGP is progressing competitions under these Frameworks. However, there has been a lengthy delay in one mini-competition under the Framework Agreement for the provision of Interpretation Services (excluding Irish) due to a legal challenge.

Labour Court Recommendations

Ceisteanna (222)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

222. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will implement the 2008 Labour Court recommendation regarding pension provision for supervisors of community employment schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20843/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I would refer the Deputy to my response to PQ 54985/17 of 16 January 2018.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (223)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

223. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the value of contracts for goods or services from companies (details supplied) since 2010. [20858/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

In response to the Deputy’s question, the value of the contracts for goods and services with the companies HP Inc.; HP Enterprise; DXC Technology in the period in question are listed in the following table:

Year

Company

Amount

2013

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Nil

Hewlett Packard Inc.

Nil

DXC Technology

Nil

2014

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Nil

Hewlett Packard Inc.

Nil

DXC Technology

Nil

2015

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Nil

Hewlett Packard Inc.

Nil

DXC Technology

Nil

2016

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Nil

Hewlett Packard Inc.

€42,029.10

DXC Technology

Nil

2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Nil

Hewlett Packard Inc.

€174,189.66

DXC Technology

Nil

2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Nil

Hewlett Packard Inc.

€9,505.44

DXC Technology

Flood Prevention Measures

Ceisteanna (224)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

224. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason the Office of Public Works has decided not to complete the proposed flood mitigation works at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20874/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Claregalway Flood Relief Scheme has been in construction since mid 2016 following the Confirmation of the Scheme by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in November, 2015, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Detailed site investigations in Miontagh North have established that the poor local ground conditions in this particular area mean that the proposed road raising as originally intended cannot be carried out without the risk of destabilising the existing road.

OPW in consultation with Galway County Council is, however, continuing to examine potential alternatives to establish what other works could be undertaken to raise the level of this road and /or provide access for residents in severe flood events without putting the existing road at risk of collapse.