Regional Development

Ceisteanna (124)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

124. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which she can continue to assist business and enterprise throughout County Kildare using the medium of innovation and technology to enhance business development opportunities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4926/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Regional development is a key priority of mine and I am focused on maintaining existing jobs while also increasing the level of employment and investment in every county in Ireland.  Innovation is a critical element of regional economic sustainability and in order to grow regional firms must be enabled to achieve sales outside their region.

All of Enterprise Ireland’s Research Development and Innovation supports, (Innovation Vouchers/Partnerships Technology Centres/Gateways, Campus Incubators, SME Instrument), are open to all counties in Ireland including County Kildare.  For instance, NUI Maynooth performs research as part of a number of Technology Centres, including IMR, Food for Health Ireland and Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland (MCCI).

Innovation Value Institute (IVI) based in NUI Maynooth researches, develops and disseminates empirically proven and industry validated IT best practice through a unique open collaboration between leading academic and industry practitioners

There are 29 IDA supported client companies in County Kildare, which collectively employ 8,838 people - representing an increase of 4.5% over the previous year. The County has a strong contingent of overseas firms in the Technology, Financial Services and Pharmaceuticals sectors.  IDA clients such as Intel, Pfizer, and Procter and Gamble are all located in Kildare and continue to perform well.  

The IDA's efforts to increase FDI in Kildare is strengthened by the presence of NUI Maynooth in the County. The University has been involved in a number of research projects with IDA client companies and has seven research institutes on campus. These include the Hamilton Institute - a world leading research unit in ICT with a focus on drones, AI and robotics - and the Innovation Value Institute which has been co-developed with Intel.

I very much welcome INIT’s recent decision to locate their first operation outside of Germany in Kildare. In November 2018, the firm announced their plans to create a software development centre in Maynooth which will result in the creation of an additional 20 highly skilled jobs. This high-calibre investment reflects Kildare's significant potential and we will be working hard to attract further investment from overseas firms to the County.   

In addition, in 2018 Science Foundation Ireland approved grants of €3,716,400 in NUI Maynooth across a number of initiatives including the President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Programme and the Research Infrastructure Programme.

Regional Action Plan for Jobs

Ceisteanna (125)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

125. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to encourage and foster job opportunities throughout the regions with particular reference to the need to ensure an even spread of employment opportunities nationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4927/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Since becoming Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I have made jobs and enterprise in the regions my top priority. We want to have a situation where all regions are enabled to realise their potential as contributors to economic recovery and growth, and thereby reduce regional disparities.

Since the launch of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs (RAPJ) there has been an increase of 258,800 people in employment across the State since Q1 2015 to Q3 2018, with 163,500 people in the regions outside of Co. Dublin entering employment in that period, that is over 63% - or 3 out of every 5 jobs created.

To enhance the potential for enterprise development in the regions, and to add value to the core work of the enterprise agencies within the regions, I will shortly be launching nine new Regional Enterprise Plans which succeed the Regional Action Plan for Jobs (RAPJ) 2015-2017 initiative. The refresh and refocus of the RAPJs through these new Plans will ensure that through further collaborative initiatives we can enhance the attractiveness of regional locations for new investment and entrepreneurship and drive the creation of jobs of quality that are sustainable in the long term. The new Plans are also an essential element to strengthen the resilience of regions and regional enterprise in the face of new challenges, including Brexit.

Strategic investments within the overarching national context, through Project Ireland 2040 are also key to ensuring each region can contribute to, and participate in Ireland’s future national growth, and sustain a higher standard of living over the longer term.

In relation to specific measures to encourage and foster job opportunities throughout the regions, Enterprise Ireland provides advice and support to indigenous companies in every county, in urban and rural areas of Ireland, to start and scale, innovate and remain competitive on international markets, now and in the future. In addition, through the network of Local Enterprise Offices in every county in Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, in partnership with the Local Authorities, plays a critical role in driving and nurturing entrepreneurship all the way from an originating idea at local level, to taking-on global markets.

Enterprise Ireland’s Corporate Strategy “Build Scale Expand Reach 2017-2020” places the regions at the core of economic growth in Ireland. The strategy sets ambitious targets to sustain 200,000 existing jobs and to create 60,000 new jobs by 2020 and is founded on four core objectives:

- To maximise growth of Enterprise Ireland clients in the regions.

- To strengthen Regional Infrastructure to maximise future growth of Irish Enterprise in the Regions

- To support Entrepreneurship in the Regions

- Work in collaboration to deliver Regional Growth

In 2018 Enterprise Ireland supported companies employed 215,207 people. During that year, 18,846 new jobs were created resulting in a net gain of 9,119 jobs. Enterprise Ireland supported companies are estimated to sustain over 375,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide. Of the new jobs supported by Enterprise Ireland in 2018, 61% were created outside of Dublin, and currently, 64% of all Enterprise Ireland supported employment is located outside of Dublin.

Enterprise Ireland is working with client companies through a network of market and sector advisers from nine offices located throughout the country. Enterprise Ireland engages with established client companies throughout the country via teams of sectoral focused development advisors using a company-led diagnostic approach which is used to establish clients’ business needs. Based on this, the agency can tailor a support package to a company’s stage of growth and level of ambition. A support package focuses, where relevant, on six business pillars (Innovation, Finance, Operations, Sales and Marketing, People and Organisational Development).

Ensuring that there is an ecosystem to support and sustain enterprises in regions is essential for regional enterprise development and job creation. To assist with balanced regional enterprise growth, Enterprise Ireland initiatives include, for example,

- Investing €60 million in 42 projects to support regions across the country to build capability in key sectors under the competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund. All regions are being supported under this competitive fund.

- Increased the number of accelerators operating in the Irish market to support entrepreneurship and job creation under the 2015 - 2017 Accelerator Development Scheme, including funding to 4 Regional Accelerators.

- Up to January 2019, EI has supported 38 companies through the EI Competitive Start Fund (CSF) which is targeting a range of areas of focus, such as international entrepreneurs, graduates, fintech, agritech and female entrepreneurs.

- Up to October 2018, EI supported 171 entrepreneurs on the New Frontiers programme which is EI’s national entrepreneur development programme for innovative, early-stage start-ups, run in the 14 Institutes of Technology and two participating Universities across the country.

Enterprise Ireland also supports client companies in regions around the country navigate the uncertainty of Brexit and has engaged in a programme of building resilience in Irish exporting companies focused on innovation, market diversification and competitiveness; and addressing the awareness and preparedness of companies to Brexit.

As regards attracting Foreign Direct Investment, IDA Ireland's performance in 2018 resulted in the sixth consecutive year of strong growth under the Agency's current strategy. By the end of last year, total employment in the Agency's client companies stood at 229,057.

Every region in Ireland has seen foreign direct investment (FDI) employment gains and there are now over 132,000 people employed across 681 firms in IDA client companies located outside of Dublin. 56% of all net new FDI jobs created last year were based in regional locations.

Since the beginning of IDA Ireland’s ‘Winning’ Strategy, 407 Investments have been won for the regions and almost 27,000 net jobs have been added on the ground in locations outside Dublin. In addition, 58% of all IDA supported employment is now located outside of Dublin. This represents the highest number of people employed by IDA clients outside of Dublin in the history of the organisation.

The year 2018 saw more IDA jobs added in the regions than at any time over the past 17 years. There have been a number of positive FDI announcements in regional locations during 2018 such as:

- 600 jobs at Edwards Lifesciences in Limerick (March).

- 400 jobs at Wuxi, Dundalk and an investment €325m (April).

- 500 jobs at Abbott in Donegal (July)

- 200 jobs at Leetha Industries, Longford (May).

- 150 jobs at Jaguar LandRover, Shannon (January).

- 150 jobs at Phibro Health, Sligo (July).

Attracting to FDI to regional areas is not without its challenges. That’s largely because there is a global trend to base FDI around large urban areas where there is, for example, ready access to transport hubs and networks. Companies may also want to be located near competitors or clusters of other similar enterprises. 

The IDA's Regional Property Programme (RPP) remains an important tool through which investors can be encouraged to locate in areas outside of Dublin.  Budget 2019 saw the Agency allocated an additional €10m for the RPP on top of the €150 m for the RPP launched in 2015. This will help ensure that property solutions are in place for overseas companies considering investing or expanding, thereby encouraging more FDI to the regions. The IDA plans to develop new buildings in regional locations including Carlow, Dundalk, Monaghan, Sligo, Athlone, Waterford, Limerick and Galway.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (126)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

126. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she expects to be in a position to combat the effects of Brexit in respect of exports to the UK in the food and service sectors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4928/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The long-term response to Brexit is for companies across all sectors to become more competitive, more innovative and to diversify their export footprint into more international markets. The agencies under my Department have a wide range of supports available to enable companies to consolidate market share within the UK, and also to become more resilient by broadening their sales to other international markets.

Enterprise Ireland’s focus is to assist client companies to build on the strength of their 2018 performance by supporting them to start, innovate, be competitive and to diversify their global footprint. In delivering on this, new supports have been introduced, others streamlined, a Global Ambition campaign launched and an intensive programme initiated to support companies to take action and plan for Brexit so that they have the resilience necessary to navigate the challenges and opportunities posed by any kind of Brexit.

The Agency has assisted client companies to increase their exports to a record €22.71 billion in 2017, a growth of 7% compared to 2016’s exporting results. The UK market accounted for 34% of total exports, an increase of 4% on 2016 exporting figures.

The UK is the leading exporting destination for Enterprise Ireland supported companies and is the first export destination for many companies. Despite this, Enterprise Ireland supported companies, including food companies, are increasingly diversifying their global footprint beyond the UK. The proportion of exports to the UK has reduced by 10% over the last ten years, reflecting the success Irish companies are having in substantially increasing and broadening their exports to other international markets.

While Brexit presents an economy wide challenge, a number of exporting sectors are highly exposed to Brexit. In 2017, 1,574 client companies reported exports into the UK. Of this, a group of over 640 are highly exposed to Brexit and predominately span 6 sectors (construction services, construction products, engineering, agriculture machinery, timber, furniture and food). Enterprise Ireland is working intensively with this group to ensure that sustainability and growth plans are developed in line with the agency’s remit.

Enterprise Ireland has a broad range of supports to help companies prepare for Brexit including the Brexit Scorecard, Be Prepared Grant, Advisory Clinics, Agile Innovation Fund, Operational Excellence Offer and Market Discovery Fund. Recently launched EI supports including online Customs Training and Act On Consultancy.  Later in February, it is planned that the Local Enterprise Offices will be launching their customs training offering which will be available to all companies.  Furthermore, the suite of enterprise supports in place cover a range of potential Brexit impacts.  These range from liquidity support through short term and longer term loans, to restructuring aid for businesses in severe operating difficulties, including an EU State aid approved Rescue and Restructure Schemes in place to deal with sudden shocks and an expanded network of overseas offices and in-market supports to help firms diversify markets and to consolidate market share in the UK where appropriate.

While many businesses have taken preparedness actions, a number have yet to do so. It is vital that businesses prepare themselves for Brexit impacts and take actions to mitigate. Firms that do business with the UK, whether buying goods or exporting products, should examine their supply chains to determine their vulnerabilities and take appropriate action.

Small and Medium Enterprises Supports

Ceisteanna (127)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

127. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to assist small and medium enterprises; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4929/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department and I are fully committed to the continued growth and development of our small and medium indigenous enterprises. The Department is engaging and listening to the needs of small business, which account for 99.8% of all enterprises in the State.

My Department through its Agencies, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, provides a range of tailored supports to small and medium enterprises. Supports include access to finance, management development, mentoring supports, business development programmes, market supports and trade promotion.

In 2019 I am allocating an additional €3m to Enterprise Ireland and €5m to the Local Enterprise Offices.  This extra funding will assist our Agencies to reach more of our SMEs to help grow and scale their businesses which are at the heart of our economic growth.

Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) team provides support and advice to entrepreneurs and early stage companies that have an innovative product, service or technology, and the potential to export.

The 31 Local Enterprises Offices (LEOs) are the ‘first-stop-shop’ for advice and guidance, financial assistance and other non-financial supports for anyone intending to start or grow their own business. 

The LEOs provide a ‘signposting’ service in relation to all relevant State supports available through agencies such as Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, Education and Training Boards, the Credit Review Office and Microfinance Ireland. The LEOs can also offer advice and guidance in areas such as Local Authority rates, Public Procurement and other regulations affecting business.

In addition to the financial and soft supports provided by the Agencies, the Department has responsibility for the Supportingsmes.ie online tool. This is a cross government initiative to assist Irish start-ups and small businesses to navigate the range of Government supports. By answering 8 simple questions, the tool will then assist in directing you to your most relevant resource out of a total 170 Government supports listed.

The Department also provides a Mapping of Supports compilation containing over 850 public and private sector supports for small businesses and start-ups and this can be obtained on the Department’s website.

The National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship launched in 2014, is a five-year plan developed to foster and promote an entrepreneurial spirit in the SME and Entrepreneurship ecosystem. The 96 actions laid out within, are currently being reviewed for progress by my Department and a final report will be compiled in 2020.

To further my commitment to the future growth of our small and medium enterprises, my Department, in conjunction with the OECD Review of SME and Entrepreneurship issues and policies in Ireland in March 2018.

The aim of the review is to provide tailored analysis and recommendations to DBEI and the Irish government on how to improve the design and implementation of national SME and entrepreneurship policies and programmes, based on an assessment of the country’s current SME and entrepreneurship performance, framework conditions and policies based on international comparisons.

This is a collaborative body of work and involves considerable input from wider Government and stakeholders.

This review will be completed this summer and published in quarter 3 of this year. DBEI will also receive a SME Roadmap in tandem. This will assist my Department in developing a SME Strategy which will be part of the Future Jobs Framework. It will inform the whole of Government how best to address the needs of our SMEs and entrepreneurs through policy intervention going forward.

I and my Department will continue to hold structured dialogue with key stakeholders and advocate across Government to ensure the needs of SMEs are considered in the execution of national policy.

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (128)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

128. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she expects favourable consideration from the European Union to assist manufacturers and services providers throughout County Kildare and nationally in view of the negative impact of Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4930/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department has been working closely with the Commission and DG Competition since November 2017 through the Irish/EU Technical Working Group on State Aid.  The objective of the Group is to scope and design schemes to support enterprises impacted by Brexit in line with State Aid rules.  Much has been achieved by this Working Group.  It has examined and explored a range of opportunities within State Aid rules including the development of the Future Growth Loan Scheme under GBER rules, the expansion of Ireland’s Rescue and Restructuring Scheme to include Temporary liquidity aid. The work of the group has facilitated the maximum utilization of the State aid framework - supporting EI in providing €74 million in grants to Brexit impacted businesses in 2018.

On 24th January 2019, I met with the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager.  The focus of the meeting centered around the severe challenges that Irish businesses will face when the UK leaves the EU and the need for appropriate and timely State supports.  It was agreed that Irish officials will continue to work closely with the Commissioner's team in addressing any State aid issues that may arise to ensure a rapid and appropriate response as the ultimate shape of Brexit and its firm-level implication become known.  The Commissioner emphasized that the Commission stands ready to act urgently in mitigation against the impacts of Brexit on Irish firms. 

Small and Medium Enterprises Supports

Ceisteanna (129)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

129. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to assist small businesses affected by competition from outside the EU; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4931/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department has a strong focus of developing indigenous businesses. I am consistently engaging and listening to the needs of small businesses. I am aware of their importance as SMEs account for 99.8% of all enterprises in the State and are predominantly indigenous. We provide, principally through our Agencies, a range of tailored supports for enterprise of all types and sizes in Ireland. Supports include access to finance, management development, mentoring supports, business development programmes, market supports and trade promotion.

We continue to hold structured dialogue with key stakeholders and we advocate across Government to ensure the needs of SMEs are considered in the execution of national policy.

In 2014, the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship was launched, a five-year plan developed to foster and promote an entrepreneurial spirit in the SME and Entrepreneurship ecosystem. The 96 actions laid out within, are currently being reviewed for progress by my Department and a final report will be compiled in 2020.

To further underpin this commitment, my Department in conjunction with the OECD early last year, commenced a Review of SME and Entrepreneurship issues and policies in Ireland. This is an 18-month project and it aims to provide tailored analysis and recommendations to DBEI and the Irish government on how to improve the design and implementation of national SME and entrepreneurship policies and programmes, based on an assessment of the country’s current SME and entrepreneurship performance, framework conditions and policies based on international comparisons.

Government provides a number of supports and grants available to small businesses. A selection of these supports includes:

- The Brexit Loan Scheme launched in March 2018, is a €300 million loan fund offering affordable working capital to eligible Irish businesses with up to 499 employees, allowing them to innovate, change or adapt in response to challenges posed by Brexit,

- My Department’s online tool Supportingsmes.ie, directs small businesses to the most relevant State supports out of the 170 available,

- New Frontiers is a national entrepreneur development programme delivered locally through the Institutes of Technology (IoT’s) and funded by Enterprise Ireland,

- Technology Centres are public-private research centres of excellence that connect industry to the third level sector to increase the generation and availability of new, industrially relevant knowledge,

- The 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) located nationwide offer a range of financial supports to assist with the establishment and growth of micro-enterprises, and

- The LEOs also offer soft supports in the form of training (e.g. a Start Your Own Business course); provide a mentor to work with the business proposer; support micro enterprises in their loan applications to Micro Finance Ireland; and promote the Trading Online Voucher Scheme.

I allocated an extra €14m to the enterprise agencies and regulatory bodies under my Department, who work with firms at the coalface to develop their supports for business.As part of the increase to my Department for 2019, I allocated an additional €3m to Enterprise Ireland and €2m to IDA Ireland to enhance our Global Footprint. This will help companies to diversify into new markets as the UK leaves the EU.

The Local Enterprise Offices are present in every single county in Ireland and provide crucial supports for SMEs and start ups throughout the country. This year I allocated an additional €5m which is an increase of 22% on 2018. This extra funding will help deliver supports to more SMEs, particularly in the current changing landscape.

I also announced, as part of Budget 2019, a longer term loan facility, the Future Growth Scheme, of up to €300m to support capital investment by business, which is a collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, the Department of Finance, the European Investment Bank Group and SBCI.

A specific focus is being given to helping Irish SMEs grow their international sales, diversify their markets and secure new investments in Ireland. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has been very active in the 'Getting Ireland Brexit Ready' public information campaign. This campaign includes workshop events throughout the country aimed primarily at business and people most impacted by Brexit. Last year, we launched the €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme.  This scheme offers competitively priced loans to eligible businesses that require short-term finance to overcome the impacts of Brexit. An important benefit of the scheme is that loans of up to €500,000 are available unsecured.

I will continue to enhance the effectiveness of these measures to assist our SMEs by providing them with the tools and incentives to grow their businesses. Such measures allow our SMEs to attract and retain talented individuals and encourage investment in their ideas for the businesses to scale and internationalise.

Enterprise Support Schemes

Ceisteanna (130)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

130. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to assist enterprises headed by women nationally with particular reference to the need to address previously recognised employment black spots; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4932/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I and my Department have a concerted focus on creating a business environment which will see an increase in female headed enterprises. I am ensuring that my Department is at the forefront in the provision of supports and programmes to assist women to lead businesses, whether they are established businesses or new businesses.

Women make up more than half the population in Ireland. However, women are less likely to work or run their own business. The ERSI 2016 report “Ireland’s Economic outlook perspectives and policy challenges” report highlights that the female labour market participation rate is 52.8%, whereas the male participation rate is 68.5% (2011-15). The CSO statistics show that women make up 60% of the inactive population, i.e. those not in the work force.

This report indicates that female labour market participation has remained relatively robust during the recession, falling by just over one percentage point in the 2011-2015 period compared to the 2006-2010 period. The baseline projections from the ERSI are for participation rates to rise over the coming years. Female participation rate is projected to continue the upward trend that was interrupted by the crisis and rise to over 58 per cent over the next ten years.

I want to encourage more women to join the workforce but more importantly to lead the workforce. To assist women into taking the helm of enterprises, the Government must lead by example. Through a concerted effort throughout departments and agencies, the participation by women on State boards has increased over the last few years to 41 per cent. Unfortunately, female representation on corporate boards is lagging far behind. Women currently make up just 18.1 percent of directors of Irish-registered ISEQ20 companies, which is significantly lower than the EU average of 26.2 percent for large publicly-listed companies. That is why the Better Balance for Better Business initiative was launched at an event in Government Buildings in July last year.

The review group will examine the gender mix at the governance and senior management levels in companies, as well as the issues that arise in connection with the appointment of directors and senior management. Dr Orlaigh Quinn, Secretary General of my Department, is one of the leaders on this group alongside Martin Shanahan, chief executive of IDA Ireland and Julie Sinnamon, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland. It will engage with companies to make the case for change and will report annually on its progress.

Another method to encourage more businesses in Ireland to be led by women is to have businesses start with women at the helm. The 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Ireland data suggest a persistent gender divide in Ireland in the business startup rate in Ireland. A gender divide is evident in most countries. The 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report for Ireland indicates that the gender gap between male and female early stage entrepreneurs is 2:1. This reflects a continued narrowing of the margins since 2014 where it stood at 2.5 male to 1 female.

My Department is leading the way in providing a variety of programmes through its agencies to increase the number of women starting businesses and assisting them at every stage, from potential business leaders to women growing their businesses. My Department published the first National Entrepreneurship Policy Statement in 2014. Action 19 of the policy statement is to promote female entrepreneurship through identification and promotion of female role models, targeted events and awards, support for female entrepreneur networks and promotion of a dedicated area on corporate websites.

Enterprise Ireland have been at the forefront of examining the variance in the female to male ratio of start-ups and have put in place measures to address the imbalance. The Competitive Start Fund (CSF) for Female Entrepreneurs aims to support early stage start-ups.  The establishment of this programme has resulted in a spill-over effect with increased female participation in other EI programmes. In 2012, just eight percent of the 97 High-Potential Start Ups (HPSUs) were female-led. However, 22% of HPSU approvals went to female-led companies in 2018 and 22% of CSF approvals were for companies led by female entrepreneurs.

Enterprise Ireland also partners with key providers in providing training and capability development for early stage and establishes entrepreneurs.  It developed and supported a series of female accelerator programmes in partnership with knowledge providers.  These included:

- Going for Growth,

- DCU Ryan Academy Female Propeller Programme,

- NDRC Female Founders Programme, and

- CIT Female Exxcel Programme.

- The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are actively engaged in encouraging and inspiring an increase in female-led businesses through initiatives such as the annual National Women’s Enterprise Day and the Women in Business Networks. An important aspect of the networking programme is the promotion of successful female entrepreneurs as role models and the use of mentoring and networking opportunities which aims to build confidence of newly emerging female entrepreneurs and women operating established businesses.

- We have seen progress in the numbers of women availing of many of the Services provided by the LEOs. For example, in 2017, 57% of participants attending core training programme, such as Start Your Own Business, were female.

- From these actions and supports, it is evident that my Department has a strong focus on supporting female led enterprises. I want to see the numbers of these businesses increase for the betterment of the business environment and for society in general.

Primary Care Centres Provision

Ceisteanna (131)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

131. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Health if there will be no delay to a primary care centre (details supplied) in Dublin 12 in view of the new national children's hospital budget overrun. [4850/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Service Executive is currently developing its Capital Plan for 2019. The HSE Capital Plan will determine the projects that can progress in 2019 having regard to the available capital funding, the number of large national capital projects currently underway and the relevant priority of each project. The requirements of primary care centres and other health capital projects, currently at various stages of development, are being considered as part of this process.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (132)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

132. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4701/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Disability Services Funding

Ceisteanna (133)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

133. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if funding will be available for a full-time residential placement for a person (details supplied). [4703/19]

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 an individual case, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (134)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

134. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when a hospital appointment for required surgery will be facilitated in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4708/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (135)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

135. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of a hospital appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4709/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Health and Social Care Professionals Regulation

Ceisteanna (136)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

136. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health his views on the efficacy of self-regulation in the context of an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4710/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Medical Practitioners Act 2007 is the legislation governing the Medical Council’s work and determines the Divisions of the Register and the terms and conditions for registration of medical doctors on the Register. At a European level EU legislation provides for freedom of movement of professions, including doctors, among Member States. The Medical Council is the statutory body regulating medical doctors ensuring compliance with the Act.

The Medical Council and medical practitioners are legally bound by the provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 and must comply with the Act. Part 6 of the Act provides for the registration of medical practitioners. The Medical Council registers eligible medical practitioners in the appropriate Division of the Register, on fulfilling the application requirements.

The Medical Practitioners Act 2007 introduced a very significant change in the regulatory model for the medical profession in Ireland, providing for an enhanced and modern system of regulation. It ensures the protection of the public as the Act states that the object of the Medical Council is to protect the public by promoting and better ensuring high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among registered medical practitioners. Another reform in the Act was the change to membership of the Council in order to provide for a non-medical majority on the Council. It is comprised of 13 non-medical members and 12 medical members. Medical practitioners work with other people of standing and expertise on the Council to advance the interests of patients and the public.

A key responsibility of the Medical Council is to investigate complaints against medical doctors.

Prior to the 2007 Act, Fitness to Practice hearings were heard in private. Since the commencement of the Act, a hearing before the Fitness to Practice Committee, which are established to inquire into a complaint, are held in public generally except in some circumstances as set out in the 2007 Act. In addition to this the Act requires that the majority of the membership of the Fitness to Practice Committee shall consist of persons who are not medical practitioners.

The 2007 Act also introduced the requirement for all registered doctors to comply and maintain professional competence.

At the end of 2018 there were 22,996 doctors registered with the Medical Council. In 2018 there were 396 complaints received against doctors.

It is my view that the Medical Council is an effective regulatory body under the aegis of my Department. The significant changes brought about in the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 reformed the regulation of medical doctors in Ireland to ensure there is no self regulation and to protect the public.

Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (137)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

137. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the number of assaults recorded against psychiatric nurses in each of the years 2011 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4711/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

National Treatment Purchase Fund

Ceisteanna (138)

John Brassil

Ceist:

138. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the way in which patients are selected for referral via the NTPF to private hospitals for treatment with specific reference to a hospital (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4715/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The role of the NTPF is to authorise public hospitals to offer outsourced treatment to clinically suitable long waiting patients who are on an inpatient/day case waiting list for surgery, having been referred on to such a list following clinical assessment by a consultant/specialist at an outpatient clinic. NTPF authorisations are made in respect of the longest waiting patients first.

The 2019 Scheduled Care Access Plan is being finalised and will ensure an appropriate balance between high volume activities and offering treatment to complex long waiting patients. The NTPF will do this by inviting public hospitals to seek solutions for very long waiters either in the private sector or through insourcing.

Voluntary Sector Funding

Ceisteanna (139)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

139. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if a matter regarding funding for an organisation (details supplied) will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4717/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I am aware of the financial difficulties that the Irish Deaf Society is currently experiencing and concerns regarding its future sustainability.

The Irish Deaf Society focuses its service delivery on advocacy, training and development as distinct from the delivery of health and social care supports to the deaf community and for this reason, it does not receive core-funding from the Health Vote. However, there are a number of other funding options available to the Irish Deaf Society. It has received funding, in the past, from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Education & Skills. It has also received grants from the Department of Justice and Equality and the National Lottery.

I am currently working with colleagues in Government to see if this issue can be resolved and I remain hopeful of a positive outcome.

Ambulance Service

Ceisteanna (140)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

140. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied with the satellite navigation system in the national ambulance service and the use of the Eircode system at present; if an incident in the case of a person (details supplied) will be investigated; if assurances that a similar incident will not recur will be given; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4722/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly.

Voluntary Sector Funding

Ceisteanna (141)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

141. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4725/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I am aware of the financial difficulties that the Irish Deaf Society is currently experiencing and concerns regarding its future sustainability.

The Irish Deaf Society focuses its service delivery on advocacy, training and development as distinct from the delivery of health and social care supports to the deaf community and for this reason, it does not receive core-funding from the Health Vote. However, there are a number of other funding options available to the Irish Deaf Society. It has received funding, in the past, from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Education & Skills. It has also received grants from the Department of Justice and Equality and the National Lottery.

I am currently working with colleagues in Government to see if this issue can be resolved and I remain hopeful of a positive outcome.

Primary Care Centres

Ceisteanna (142)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

142. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if accessibility issues in a health centre (details supplied) in County Kerry will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4731/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the HSE has responsibility for the provision, along with the maintenance and operation, of Primary Care Centres and other Primary Care facilities the Executive has been asked to reply directly to the Deputy.

HSE Investigations

Ceisteanna (143)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

143. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if assistance in a matter will be provided to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4733/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

It appears from the attachment provided, that the individual concerned is following the correct process in pursuing this matter via the HSE's Dignity at Work policy and process.

With regard to the issues raised continuing throughout the investigation, the HSE Dignity at Work policy contains provisions regarding management's safeguarding of the health, safety and welfare of employees and patients/clients during such an investigation. As such, the individual concerned may wish to raise these ongoing issues with his support contact person, or the person investigating the complaint.

Hospital Facilities

Ceisteanna (144)

John Brassil

Ceist:

144. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the status of the construction of a helipad at Cork University Hospital to facilitate an air ambulance service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4734/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Civil Registration Service

Ceisteanna (145)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

145. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the status of staffing at an office (details supplied); his plans to increase staff at the location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4736/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Civil Registration Service is operated by the Health Service Executive (HSE) on behalf of the General Register Office under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection.

As this is a service matter I have referred your question to the HSE for direct response.

Bereavement Counselling Services Provision

Ceisteanna (146)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

146. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if he will review a matter (details supplied) with a view to extending the hours and finance being made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4737/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

HIQA Inspections

Ceisteanna (147)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

147. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health the percentage of HIQA inspections which are unannounced; his plans to increase the figure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4739/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) was established in 2007. HIQA is an independent authority established to drive high-quality and safe care for health and social care services in Ireland. HIQA’s mandate extends across a range of public, private and voluntary sector services. Reporting to the Minister for Health and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, HIQA’s role is to develop standards, inspect and review health and social care services and support informed decisions on how services are delivered.

HIQA operates under the Health Act 2007, which sets out the functions which the Authority is to carry out. HIQA has responsibility for setting standards for healthcare services, and monitoring compliance with those standards. It also regulates facilities providing care for the elderly and those with disabilities, and has a role with regard to inspecting some of the social care services which are accessed by children to determine if they are meeting the relevant National Standards. In addition, it undertakes functions in relation to Health Information and Health Technology Assessment.

The Act provides HIQA with the power to set standards for the healthcare services delivered by the HSE, and then to undertake monitoring programmes to assess compliance with these standards. In this regard, HIQA published the National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare in 2012; they represent the overarching standard which public health services are expected to meet. Flowing from these themes, HIQA have also developed standards for particular services, e.g. National Standards for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections in acute healthcare services. HIQA has in turn conducted a thematic inspection programme against these standards since 2012, which has resulted in the publication of over 300 reports of inspection visits to date. In addition, HIQA has also undertaken thematic inspection programmes in relation to nutrition and hydration in acute hospitals, and in relation to medication safety.

In such cases, HIQA typically undertakes both announced and unannounced inspection of healthcare facilities in order to ascertain the degree of adherence to expected standards. A report of the inspection visit will subsequently be published on HIQA’s website. In cases where remedial action is required, depending on the severity of the risk identified, HIQA may draw the matter to the attention of hospital management during the inspection and request an immediate response, or in less severe cases, will raise the issue in writing. In either case, an appropriate management response would be expected.

The information the Deputy has requested is as follows;

Year

Total percentage of unannounced inspections

2014

42%

2015

40%

2016

67%

2017

55%

2018

57%

Vaccination Programme

Ceisteanna (148)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

148. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his plans to introduce funding for a catch-up programme for meningitis B vaccinations for children born before October 2016 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4748/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) is an independent committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland which is comprised of experts in a number of specialties, including infectious diseases, paediatrics, and public health, which makes recommendations to my Department on vaccination policy in Ireland. Its recommendations are based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practice in relation to immunisation. NIAC continues to revise recommendations so as to allow for the introduction of new vaccines in Ireland and to keep abreast of changes in the patterns of disease.

On foot of a recommendation by NIAC, the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule was amended in 2016 to include the introduction of the Meningitis B vaccine for all babies born on or after 1 October 2016. This change to the immunisation schedule took effect from 1 December 2016. The first dose of the vaccine is administered to children when they reach two months of age; a second dose is administered at four months and a third and final dose at twelve months. Meningitis B disease is most common in babies under 1 year of age and the scheduling of the administration of the vaccine under the immunisation programme as recommended by NIAC takes this into account.

All vaccines administered through the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule are provided free of charge. Ireland is the second country in Europe to make the Men B vaccine available free of charge as part of its national immunisation programme.

There are no plans to introduce a catch-up programme for the Men B vaccine to older children. Those who have a medical card are eligible to have the vaccine administered by their GP free of charge. However, the purchase of the vaccine is not covered by the medical card scheme.

In Ireland, the following meningitis vaccines are provided to children born on or after 1 October 2016 as part of the Primary Childhood Immunisation Schedule:

- 2 months - 6-in-1, pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) and Men B;

- 4 months - 6-in-1 and Men B (Meningococcal B);

- 6 months - 6-in-1, PCV and Men C (Meningococcal C);

- 12 months - Men B;

- 13 months - Hib/Men C and PCV.

Note that the 6-in-1 vaccine contains Hib (Haemophilus influenzae b).

Adolescents are also given a Men C booster vaccine in the first year of secondary school against meningitis as part of the School Immunisation Programme.

It is important to note that, although some of the recent notified cases are related to Meningitis B, none of the deaths have been attributed to this strain of the disease.