Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base Proposals

Ceisteanna (155)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

155. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Finance the discussions held to date at EU level in relation to the introduction of a common consolidated corporation tax; if this is likely in the next three years; the plans Ireland has to prevent same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7931/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The European Commission's current proposals for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) were published in October 2016 and first discussed at the November 2016 ECOFIN meeting. The proposal was prepared by the Commission without any input from Member States. The re-launched CCCTB is split into two separate Directives – a Directive for a Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) and a second Directive for a Consolidated CCTB. Although the Commission presented these as a unified package, the CCTB is being discussed first and consolidation will only be discussed once the CCTB is agreed.

At the December 2016 ECOFIN, Council Conclusions were approved in respect of the Commission's wider package which included the CCCTB proposal but there was no specific discussion of the proposals at that meeting. The work on the CCCTB proposal is now taking place in technical working groups at Council and Ireland is actively involved in this work.

By its nature, the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) is a complex and detailed proposal and Member States need to fully analyse and consider its potential impact on national tax systems. Member States are discussing and debating the various aspects of the proposal in the relevant tax working parties. These discussions are ongoing but much more technical consideration is needed.

In June 2018, Germany and France issued a common position paper on the Commission’s proposal for a CCTB Directive. The German-French position paper suggests a number of modifications. Member States have been discussing these proposals and other modifications in recent months.

Tax Rebates

Ceisteanna (156)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

156. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance when a final reply will issue to correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7958/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Export Repayment Scheme is provided for in section 135D, Finance Act 1992 and was commenced on 8 April 2013.

The scheme is available to category A (passenger) vehicles that are removed or exported from the State. The category A rate is calculated based the level of CO2 the vehicles emit and can be as high as 36% of the value of the vehicle. Motor homes are classed as Category B vehicles and therefore are subject to a flat VRT rate of 13.3%, lower than the lowest rate of 14% which applies to the cleanest passenger vehicles. This is a preferential treatment considering the levels of emissions emitted by motorhomes.

VRT seeks to reflect the negative externalities caused by using the vehicle in the State. These externalities are the costs to society and to the environment that, without the tax, would not otherwise be reflected in the price of the vehicle and for which the consumer would not otherwise have to pay. In the case of motor vehicles, these include environment externalities such as air pollution.

Section 135D only provides for vehicles charged at the category A rate of VRT, and as motor homes fall under the preferential VRT category B, there is no provision for the repayment of VRT on the export of motor homes.

Mortgage Book Sales

Ceisteanna (157)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

157. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance the action he has taken to deal with a bank (details supplied) selling mortgages to unregulated vulture funds against the wishes and without the consent of the mortgage holders; and if this constitutes a breach of the code of conduct. [7962/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy may be aware, PTSB transacted two loan sales in 2018 as follows:

1. Project Glas in July; and

2. Project Glenbeigh in November

In the case of Project Glas, the portfolio of loans was sold to Start Mortgages. For Project Glenbeigh, PTSB confirmed that Pepper would take over servicing of loans within six months of the transaction being announced.

It is important to highlight that both Start Mortgages and Pepper are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. When dealing with borrowers, these firms are required to comply with the Consumer Protection Code (CPC) and the Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) when dealing with borrowers who are in arrears. In addition, Start Mortgages and Pepper have confirmed that any restructuring agreements in place with borrowers at the date of the respective transactions remain in place.

In early 2018, I asked the Central Bank to carry out a review of the CCMA to ensure it remains as effective as possible. The result of this review was published in October 2018 and it is very positive to note that the key findings included confirmation that, for borrowers who engaged with the process, the CCMA is working effectively as it is intended in the context of the sale of loans by regulated lenders.

In relation to borrower consent, the Deputy may be referring to the Central Bank of Ireland voluntary Code of Practice on the Transfer of Mortgages which dates from 1991. Since that date, certain financial markets have become more developed, including the securitisation market, with most mortgage loan agreements now including a clause that allows the original lender to sell the loan on to another firm.

Property Tax Exemptions

Ceisteanna (158)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

158. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance the steps available to affected homeowners to not have to pay the local property tax in view of the situation for homeowners in County Donegal arising from mica; his plans to introduce an exemption to the local property tax for affected homeowners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7966/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The legislation governing the administration of Local Property Tax (LPT) provides for a limited number of exemptions from LPT.

There is no specific exemption for properties affected by Mica and there are no plans to introduce such an exemption.

LPT operates on a self-assessment basis and it is a matter for the property owner in the first instance to file an LPT Return, if they have not already done so, and to calculate the tax due based on his or her assessment of the market value of the property as at 1 May 2013.

When making an assessment, issues such as the presence of Mica would be one of the factors that a property owner should take into account in valuing their property.

Further information and assistance in regard to valuations is available via the Revenue LPT Helpline on 01-738 36 26.

Tax Appeals Commission

Ceisteanna (159)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

159. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the status of the implementation of the recommendations of the independent review of the workload and operations of the Tax Appeals Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8081/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, the independent review of the Tax Appeals Commission (TAC) makes a number of recommendations which I support in full. Progress has been made on implementing these recommendations since the publication of the review on Budget Day last year.

Proposed legislation was submitted before Cabinet today (19 February) for approval. This legislation will provide for the role and responsibilities of a Chairperson of the TAC and recruitment for a Chairperson will commence immediately following enactment. It will also clarify some aspects of the existing appeals legislation to facilitate the appeals process.

The Appeals Commissioners and my Department are in regular contact about governance matters and corporate supports. Work is ongoing to identify the supports required and assist the TAC in putting the necessary governance structures in place. A new administration working group (which includes the Commissioners, and officials from my Department and the Revenue Commissioners) has been formed and meets regularly to address issues relating to the administration of tax appeals.

I provided for a near doubling of the TAC budget for 2019 to facilitate the recommended staff increases and improvements to computer equipment. The TAC have sought to increase their staff complement through recruitment as per the recommendations of the report. A permanent head of administration at Principal Officer grade will commence work at the Commission on 27 February. This follows a number of seconded Principal Officers from my Department who filled the role on a fixed term basis.

A competition for Temporary Appeal Commissioners is due to be launched by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) this week. The competition will seek to fill two positions (or full-time equivalents) with immediate effect and to establish a panel of suitable candidates should further appointments be required. Consideration will be given to applicants with relevant experience from a range of professional backgrounds, including those with experience in Revenue or in Customs as well as those with qualifications in tax and in the legal field.

As recommended by the review, the TAC has requested the PAS to appoint an IT specialist at the grade of Assistant Principal Officer. With the appointment of this position an ICT Liaison Group will commence meetings. This will include officials from the TAC, Revenue and the Department of Finance, who will meet to discuss and develop specifications for a new appeal case management system, as well as other IT matters. In the interim, work has commenced to address existing IT hardware needs within the TAC.

The TAC have also requested the PAS to appoint four Clerical Officers. These roles should be filled shortly. Overall, the aim is to double the TAC’s staff complement over the course of 2019, from 17 to 33.

While a backlog of appeals remains, the addition of Temporary Appeal Commissioners and support staff should allow the TAC to make progress in addressing the current active appeals on hand. Further recruitment, such as the appointment of a Chairperson of the Commission as well as additional case managers as recommended by the review, will help to further reduce delays in the processing of appeals.

I am conscious that an effective tax appeals process is an essential part of a functioning tax system and my officials will continue to keep all matters relating to the TAC under active review until such time as the backlogs are addressed.

Tax Exemptions

Ceisteanna (160, 161, 162)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

160. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated extra revenue that would be expected to accrue for each reduction of €2,500 until a threshold of €100,000 in the high earners' restriction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8139/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

161. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated extra revenue that would be expected to accrue for each increase of €5,000 in the maximum reliefs allowed under the high earners' restriction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8261/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

162. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated extra revenue that would be expected to accrue for each reduction of 1% (details supplied) in the aggregate of specified reliefs of adjusted income allowed under the high earners' restriction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8262/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 160 to 162, inclusive, together.

The 2006 and 2007 Finance Acts introduced, with effect from 1 January 2007, measures to limit the use of certain tax reliefs and exemptions (known as “specified reliefs”) by high-income individuals who, by means of the cumulative use of various tax incentives, had in previous years the potential to substantially reduce their tax liabilities. The overall objective is to ensure that, from 2007, individuals with an adjusted income of €500,000 or more (where the full restriction applied) pay an effective rate of Income Tax of approximately 20 per cent on a combination of adjusted income and ring-fenced income. The restriction began to apply where an individual’s adjusted income exceeded €250,000 and the full restriction applied where an individual had adjusted income of €500,000 or more.

The 2010 Finance Act introduced further limitations on the use of specified reliefs, with effect from 1 January 2010. These limitations are designed to ensure that individuals with an adjusted income level of €400,000 or more (where the full restriction applies) pay an effective rate of Income Tax of approximately 30 per cent on a combination of adjusted income and ring-fenced income. In addition, the adjusted income on which the restriction begins to apply was reduced to €125,000.

In relation to the Deputy's question regarding the estimated extra revenue that would be expected to accrue for each reduction in €2,500 until a threshold of €100,000 in the High Earners’ Restriction, I am advised by Revenue that it is not possible to accurately estimate the yield from the proposed change. Taxpayers are not required to submit a form RR1 (which is submitted by taxpayers to provide their calculation of the restriction) unless their adjusted income exceeds €125,000, therefore there is no basis on which to identify those affected by lowering the threshold.

In relation to the Deputy's question regarding the estimated extra revenue that would be expected to accrue for each increase of €5,000 in the maximum reliefs allowed under the High Earners' Restriction, Revenue advise me that increasing the relief threshold amount would result in fewer taxpayers being subject to the restriction. Therefore it is not expected that such a change would result in an additional yield in revenue.

In relation to the Deputy's question regarding the estimated extra revenue that would be expected to accrue for each reduction of 1% in the aggregate of specified reliefs of adjusted income allowed under the high earners’ restriction, I am advised by Revenue that lowering the percentage level of specified reliefs to adjusted income to less than 20% could result in additional cases being subject to the restriction. However, as there is no RR1 return for these cases, they are not readily identifiable and so there is no basis on which to estimate a yield associated with these changes.

VAT Rate Application

Ceisteanna (163)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

163. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Finance if a ban on the below invoice cost selling of alcohol would result in an increase in VAT revenues; if it is within his power to cease the practice of below invoice cost selling; if it is possible through secondary legislation to cease the practice of below invoice cost selling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8266/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Where a retailer is in a situation of net VAT gain as a result of below cost selling, this is not a loss to the Exchequer or an additional benefit to the retailer, it is merely how VAT is charged.

VAT is a tax on the value added to a supply, and the collection and recovery of VAT takes place at each stage of the chain of supply from manufacturing to retailer. Under EU and domestic VAT rules, traders who are registered for VAT collect VAT on the goods and services that they sell. In turn, such traders are entitled to recover the VAT they incur on their business inputs used in the purchase or production of goods or delivery of services. Consequently, if there is a decrease in value at any stage in the process the trader is entitled to a refund of the excess of VAT incurred over that collected.

Consultancy Contracts Expenditure

Ceisteanna (164)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

164. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to cost overruns on contracts within his Department with a value in excess of €10 million that came in more than 10% over budget in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8423/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I can confirm that my Department has had no contracts with a value in excess of €10 million or more between 2016 up to and including today's date.

Revenue Commissioners Enforcement Activity

Ceisteanna (165, 167, 168)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

165. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the amount of cash seized from persons exiting and entering the State by the Revenue Commissioners enforcement officers at Weston Aerodrome in the past ten years; the amount of cash returned to persons on appeal to the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8486/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

167. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the amount of cash seized from persons exiting and entering the State by the Revenue Commissioners enforcement officers at locations (details supplied) in the past ten years; the amount of cash returned to persons on appeal to the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8490/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

168. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the amount of cash seized from persons exiting and entering the State by the Revenue Commissioners enforcement officers at Shannon and Cork airports in the past ten years; the amount of cash returned to persons on appeal to the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8497/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 165, 167 and 168 together.

I am advised by Revenue that cash is seized by them, in accordance with the Criminal Justice Act 1994, as amended by the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2005, if it is believed to be from the proceeds of crime. The following tables detail the amounts of cash seized from passengers entering or leaving the State through the following airports: Knock, Galway, Cork, Kerry and Shannon airports for each of the years 2009 - 2018. The amount returned on appeal is also shown. I am advised that no cash was seized at Weston, Sligo, Donegal and Waterford Airports.

Knock Airport

Year

Amount Seized €

Amount returned on appeal €

2009

Nil

Nil

2010

Nil

Nil

2011

124,100

124,100

2012

Nil

Nil

2013

19,919.18

19,919.18

2014

Nil

Nil

2015

Nil

Nil

2016

Nil

Nil

2017

Nil

Nil

2018

Nil

Nil

Total

144,019.18

144,019.18

Galway Airport

Year

Amount Seized €

Amount returned on appeal €

2009

Nil

Nil

2010

10,135

Nil

2011

Nil

Nil

2012

Nil

Nil

2013

Nil

Nil

2014

Nil

Nil

2015

Nil

Nil

2016

Nil

Nil

2017

Nil

Nil

2018

Nil

Nil

Total

10,135

Nil

Cork Airport

Year

Amount Seized €

Amount returned on appeal €

2009

65,280

14,780

2010

104,105

71,965

2011

59,740

Nil

2012

61,070

37,270

2013

59,940

Nil

2014

49,840

Nil

2015

63,000

63,000

2016

9,700

Nil

2017

18,160

12,460

2018

70,800

Nil

Total

561,635

199,475

Kerry Airport

Year

Amount Seized €

Amount returned on appeal €

2009

Nil

Nil

2010

57,850

7,850

2011

33,430

5,870

2012

26,400

6,400

2013

Nil

Nil

2014

Nil

Nil

2015

Nil

Nil

2016

Nil

Nil

2017

Nil

Nil

2018

3,770

3,770

Total

121,450

23,890

Shannon Airport

Year

Amount Seized €

Amount returned on appeal €

2009

156,964.59

137,064.59

2010

279,699.68

23,450

2011

Nil

Nil

2012

Nil

Nil

2013

Nil

Nil

2014

20,000

20,000

2015

58,488

49,788

2016

26,800

6,800

2017

3,616.68

3,616.68

2018

21,782.25

9,040

Total

567,351.20

249,759.27

Banking Sector Recruitment

Questions Nos. 167 and 168 answered with Question No. 165.

Ceisteanna (166)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

166. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance if a specific appointment has been approved by him and the EU Central Bank (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8489/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware, a Relationship Framework has been specified that defines the nature of the relationship between the Minister for Finance and AIB. These Frameworks were first published on 30 March 2012 and the latest AIB Relationship Framework can be found at; http://www.finance.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/AIB-Relationship-Framework-Agreement.pdf .

On 19 December 2018, under the terms of the framework agreement, AIB submitted a consultation letter to the Minister in regard to the appointment of a new Chief Executive and Executive Director of AIB Group. The Minister noted the contents of this consultation and on 28 January 2019 the bank was informed as such.

Notwithstanding the fact that the State is a significant shareholder in the institution, the commercial independence of the bank is protected by the Relationship Framework (which was insisted upon by the European Commission). The regulatory process behind this appointment is run directly and independently with the appropriate regulatory authorities

However I have received the following response from AIB:

"On 14 December 2018 AIB Group plc announced that it has concluded the selection process for Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and Executive Director, and Dr. Colin Hunt is proposed as the successful candidate. The Bank has commenced the required regulatory fitness and probity assessment process and consultation with the Minister for Finance in respect of the proposed appointment. Subject to the satisfactory conclusion of the aforementioned processes, Colin Hunt will succeed Bernard Byrne, who announced on 26 October 2018, his intention to step down this year. An announcement regarding the effective date of the appointment will be made in due course."

Questions Nos. 167 and 168 answered with Question No. 165.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (169)

John Curran

Ceist:

169. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a person who is a pensioner who previously worked in a position (details supplied) is due a pension increase as a result of pay restoration for civil servants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7755/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The public service pension increase policy that is currently in place in respect of pre-existing public service pension schemes represents a time-limited (expires end-2020), conditions-bound return to the non-statutory, pay-linked method of pension adjustment which prevailed until the onset of the financial emergency.

Pay increases agreed as part of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018–2020 (PSSA) are passed on to eligible pensions, to bring the pay level on which the pension is based up to the level of the pay of those still serving in the same grade and on the same scale point, once those pay increases are applied to serving staff.

However, the Deputy should note that not all pensions are eligible for an increase due to the fact that the pay levels on which some pensions are based still exceed the in-service pay level of the corresponding grade and scale point, even after pay increases have been applied.

Public service pension recipients seeking information with respect to their eligibility for pension increases are advised to contact their pension paying authority - in this case, the Payroll Shared Services Centre (PSSC) - who will have the necessary information to respond on an individual basis.

Departmental Properties

Ceisteanna (170)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

170. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a reception was held on 28 December 2018 at Stewards Lodge, Farmleigh; the nature and purpose of the reception; and the persons who attended. [7761/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Taoiseach hosted some staff and friends for Christmas drinks that evening. There are agreed procedures regarding the use of Stewards Lodge by Taoisigh. No costs were incurred by the Office of Public Works or by the Department of the Taoiseach with regard to the use of Stewards Lodge on the date in question.

Forensic Science Ireland Laboratory

Ceisteanna (171, 172, 173)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

171. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of a new State forensic science laboratory; the reason for the delay in the construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7787/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

172. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position with regard to the premises of the national forensic library; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7788/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

173. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the spend to date on preparatory works for a new facility for the national forensic library; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7789/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 171 to 173, inclusive, together.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is managing the delivery of the new Forensic Science Laboratory at the Backweston Campus, Co. Kildare. The Deputy should be aware that enabling works for the laboratory commenced in October 2017 and have now been completed. This was at a total cost of €2,849,006, including VAT.

However, due to recent changes in international forensic laboratory standards, the merging of the Garda Technical Bureau with Forensic Science Ireland and changes to staff numbers, it was necessary to add further material to the tender documentation. The issues involved, relate primarily to laboratory interior finishes and mechanical and electrical adjustments.

On completion of this examination it was possible to re-invite tenders from the shortlist of building contractors for the new Forensics Laboratory in Q4 2018. Tender submissions will be received in Q1 and Q2, 2019. Tender assessment will take place in Q2/3 2019. On completion of the assessment and following the statutory standstill period, it is anticipated that construction should commence in Q3/Q4 2019. When the construction contract for the main building is placed, the estimated construction period is 24 months followed by a validation and test period prior to occupation.

National Children's Hospital Expenditure

Ceisteanna (174)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

174. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the cost overrun in relation to the national children’s hospital; the capital projects which will be deferred as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8071/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

In my role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform I am responsible for setting the overall capital allocations across Departments and for monitoring monthly expenditure at a Departmental level. Responsibility for the management of individual projects rests with the relevant sponsoring Department or Agency.

Government has agreed to reallocate €75 million, from within the existing €7.3 billion capital allocation for 2019, to accommodate the additional funding requirements for the National Children’s Hospital this year. The reallocation will apply to projects such as the A5 Motorway in Northern Ireland, which is paused due to external issues. The Department of Health will also re-profile €24 million in capital funding across both 2019 and 2020 to facilitate multi-annual management of projects and works within the capital envelopes and to ensure the timely delivery of the National Children's Hospital project. A full list of the adjustments is set out as follows;

- re-scheduling of €27 million arising in relation to the A5 Motorway in Northern Ireland;

- re-scheduling of €10 million arising in relation to the National Forensic Science Laboratory;

- advance payment of a sum of €10 million from the Department of Education and Skills in respect of higher education facilities at the National Children’s Hospital;

- an updating of the scheduled draw-down of €16 million from the two Project Ireland 2040 Regeneration Funds, which are being profiled for expenditure throughout the course of both 2019 and 2020 without delays in project planning, design and delivery;

- re-profiling of payments of €4 million under certain programmes of investment in Communications, Climate Action & Environment;

- €3 million from the re-profiling of investment under the Flood Risk Management Programme of the Office of Public Works to allow for capacity to be built up over the course of the NDP period;

- revision of the schedule of drawdown of funding in the PER and Finance Groups of Votes totalling €3 million; and

- €2 million through changes to the timing of payments relating to certain capital works by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with full project delivery scheduled across both 2019 and 2020.

While it is important to recognise and acknowledge the increased costs of the National Children’s Hospital project it is equally important to acknowledge the many projects that have been delivered on time and on budget through Project Ireland 2040.

We are continuing important investment programmes for roads and light rail, improving our environment, with 90 new schools under construction in 2019 and 700 benefiting from minor improvements. Investment will provide 10,000 social housing units and support better health outcomes with primary care facilities to be opened or upgraded in 18 locations nationwide.

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Ceisteanna (175)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

175. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the Templemore, County Tipperary, flood relief programme following reports of €3 million being diverted from flood relief programmes nationally to fill the health budget deficit in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8083/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Construction of the River Mall (Templemore) Flood Relief Scheme is currently ongoing. To date, approximately 35% of the works have been completed, which include 450 m of new channel excavation, 4 field bridges completed at various locations with another bridge substantially complete, and demolition and site clearance of a commercial property on the Richmond Road. Liaison is ongoing with relevant stakeholders, including local landowners, Inland Fisheries Ireland, the ESB, and Tipperary County Council. It is hoped to have the scheme works substantially completed by the end of 2019.

Arising from the Government decision of Tuesday, 12 February 2019, in relation to capital reallocations related to the cost overrun on the National Children's hospital, the Office of Public Works is reviewing the most appropriate means of achieving the required capital savings of €3 million in the flood risk management area. Expenditure on any particular project or programme in any year is dependent on many variables related to the progress of the project and programme. The OPW can state that all capital projects committed to will be delivered.

National Lottery Funding Disbursement

Ceisteanna (176)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

176. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there is an annual report detailing the distribution of moneys from the national lottery fund; the way in which these funds are apportioned; if he is satisfied that there are clear guidelines within each Department for the processing of grant applications from the fund from county groups and others; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8210/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

In accordance the National Lottery Act 2013, the following sectoral areas are funded under the Good Cause provision of the Act:

a) sport and recreation;

b) national culture and heritage (including the Irish language);

c) health of the community;

d) youth, welfare and amenities;

f) natural environment;

The Act also provides that the proceeds may be applied to such other purposes, if any, as the Government may determine from time to time. Funding is provided by the Oireachtas, in accordance with the Act, through expenditure subheads which form part of Departmental Programmes.

For well over a decade, the total allocation for these subheads has exceeded the amount available from the National Lottery. These subheads are described as being part-funded by the National Lottery and the balance of the expenditure allocation for the subheads comes from normal Exchequer sources.

All expenditure under these sub-heads, including that funded by the Lottery, counts towards the Government’s expenditure ceiling in the year in question. As such, decisions on funding of Good Causes are taken as part of the normal Budgetary process in line with Government decisions on overall expenditure and Departmental priorities.

Each Department and Office that receives moneys from the National Lottery fund will subsequently receive grant applications from the members of the public and groups, and each organisation is responsible for processing applications, distribution of funding and reporting on same.

Each Department and Office is also subject to audit from the Comptroller and Auditor General, who provide independent assurance that public funds and resources are used in accordance with the law, managed to good effect and properly accounted for. All Departments and Offices must also comply with the DPER Circular 13/2014 - Management of and Accountability for Grants from Exchequer Funds in regard to the payment of grants.

A breakdown by Department of all the expenditure areas that are supported through National Lottery proceeds is set out in Appendix 1 of the Annual Revised Estimates for Public Services.