Crime Data

Ceisteanna (232)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

232. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons who have reoffended while on bail in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12384/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have requested the information from the Garda authorities and I will contact the Deputy directly when the report is to hand.

Prisoner Data

Ceisteanna (233)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

233. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons deemed to have absconded and who still remain free over the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12385/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that Irish Prison records indicate that over the past 10 years 298 persons are deemed to have absconded, and that 15 remain unlawfully at large.  Annual figures provided in the following table show a significant reduction in the number of absconders, particularly since 2012 when the Director General of the Irish Prison Service established a project team to examine this issue, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Year 

Number of Absconders 

Number Still at large 

 2019

 2018

6

0

 2017

4

1

 2016

9

0

 2015

15

2

 2014

11

 2013

16

 2012

58

 2011

76

 2010

 103

An Garda Síochána are informed when prisoners abscond and they have the power to detain, arrest, and return such persons to prison. Experience has shown that the vast majority of offenders who abscond return voluntarily or are returned to custody to complete their sentences within a short time frame.

Garda Promotions

Ceisteanna (234)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

234. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of promotional positions vacant and remaining to be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12386/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware it is the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

I am advised by the Commissioner that competitions for promotion to the rank of sergeant and inspector were held last year in order to bring the number in these ranks up to the full strength as agreed under the Employment Control Framework (ECF). The allocation of successful candidates is currently underway, with 300 newly promoted Sergeants and 113 new promoted Inspectors having been appointed to date.

Since 1 January 2017 the process of selecting and appointing members to the ranks of Assistant Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent lies with the Policing Authority.  The Authority held competitions for each of these ranks in 2017 and for Superintendent and Chief Superintendent ranks in 2018. A panel of candidates for both ranks was established by the Authority. The existence of panels ensures that as vacancies arise they can be filled without any undue delay.  As Minister, I have no role in the selection and appointment of candidates to these ranks with the exception of members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) whose appointment by the Authority must be approved by the Government.

Appointments to the ranks of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner are made by Government upon the nomination of the Authority.

Appointments to the ranks of sergeant and inspector are a matter for the Commissioner under section 14 of Garda Síochána Act 2005.

In common with Government Departments, An Garda Síochána conducts internal promotional competitions as appropriate which affords staff opportunities to progress in their careers within the organisation if they so wish. 

All positions at Executive Officer grade and above are potential promotional opportunities for Garda Staff.  At this time, An Garda Síochána is recruiting through the Public Appointments Service for posts from Principal Officer level to Clerical Officer level.  There is also currently an internal Executive Officer competition underway.  It is planned to hold further internal competitions at Higher Executive Officer and Assistant Principal Officer level later this year.  Panels created as a result of these competitions will be used to fill posts as approved by the Policing Authority and in accordance with centrally agreed sequences.   

In addition, Garda Staff in An Garda Síochána are Civil Servants of the State and as such are entitled, if otherwise qualified, to participate in interdepartmental competitions for promotion or open competitions for any post within the Civil Service conducted by the Public Appointments Service.   

For the Deputy's information I have set out in the table the Garda strength of each rank as compared to the ECF as of 31 January 2019, the latest date for which figures are currently available, as supplied by the Garda Commissioner. 

Strength of each rank as compared to the ECF as of 31 January 2019

Rank

Strength

ECF

Vacancies

Commissioner

1

1

0

D/Commissioner

1

2

1

A/Commissioner

9

9

0

Chief Superintendent

45

47

2

Superintendent

161

168

7

Inspector

342

381

39

Sergeant

1,993

2,110

117

Intellectual Property Management

Ceisteanna (235)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

235. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to publish a task force on digital piracy. [12146/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department is responsible for ensuring that Ireland has a robust legal framework to allow for the protection of intellectual property rights. Protection of such rights from piracy, whether digital or otherwise, is undertaken by rightsholders pursuing civil proceedings. A number of successful cases have been taken in recent years, which have included the establishment of a formal graduated response system to tackle infringements based on a court ruling in 2015.

As enforcement falls across a number of Departments and agencies such as Customs and an Garda Siochana I have no plans to establish a task force on digital piracy.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment holds responsibility for the Government's Digital Strategy.

Regional Development Initiatives

Ceisteanna (236, 238, 241)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

236. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which her Department continues to promote rural areas for investment through technology; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11503/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

238. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which she continues to encourage local and foreign investment in the regions through innovation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11801/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

241. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the full potential of innovation and technology is fully available throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11804/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 236, 238 and 241 together.

Regional development remains an absolute priority of mine. I am focused on both supporting and sustaining existing employment levels in regional Ireland while also working to create new economic opportunities and jobs in every county of Ireland.

I remain optimistic about the job creation potential of Irish companies across the regions. To date, I have launched eight of the nine Regional Enterprise Plans that my Department has spearheaded with regional stakeholders. The final plan for the South East will be launched on 22 March. These Plans will play an important role in encouraging regional investment and job creation across the regions, including through technology.

I want to emphasise that creating jobs in the regions will remain key objective of the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and my Department. We are collectively focused on delivering the fairest possible spread of investment across the country. The energy and resources we have invested into regional growth is, as the evidence illustrates, producing results. We will continue to do our utmost to encourage further such job growth across all parts of Ireland in the time ahead.

My Department launched the €500 million Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund in June 2018. In December 2018, I was delighted to announce the 27 projects that were approved in principle for funding under the first Call. These projects will receive over €70 million in government funding between now and 2021 and they represent the health, food, ICT and manufacturing sectors in Ireland.

I would point out that the approved projects involve partners right across the country, showing that excellence in collaborative research, development and innovation transcends county borders and every part of Ireland is capable of participation in one of the most unique Funds Ireland has developed. Specifically, 18 of our successful projects involve enterprise partners based outside the capital and they are located country-wide in Limerick, Cork, Galway, Kildare, Monaghan, Waterford, Louth and Tipperary.

Work Permits Eligibility

Question No. 238 answered with Question No. 236.

Ceisteanna (237)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

237. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if an employment permit will be granted to a person (details supplied); and the recourse the person has to maintain current employment and progress the person's career in this role. [11587/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department inform me that it has no record of any application for an employment permit for the above named person (details supplied).

The State's general policy is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills needs from within the domestic and/or other EEA countries. Where specific skills prove difficult to source within the State/EEA, an employment permit may be sought by an employer to hire a non-EEA national in line with the Employment Permits Acts and associated Regulations which lay down in legislation the criteria in relation to the application, grant and refusal of an employment permit.

In order to apply for an employment permit a non-EEA national must have a secured a job offer for an eligible occupation from an Irish registered employer.

Details on how to apply for an employment permit are available on our website at the following link - https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/

My officials have produced a comprehensive Frequently Asked Question document covering all aspects of the Employment Permits regime which is available here - https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Workplace-and-Skills/Employment-Permits/FAQs/Employment-Permits-FAQs-2018.pdf

The employment permits system is managed through the operation of the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List and Ineligible Categories of Employment List for the purposes of granting an employment permit. The role of Community Employment Supervisor is currently ineligible for an employment permit.

Changes to access to the Irish labour market for specific occupations via the employment permits system are made on the basis of research undertaken by the Expert Group of Future Skills Needs, the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (Solas) and, coordinated by the National Skills Council, the annual National Skills Bulletin and the annual Vacancy Overview Report in tandem with a public consultation process.

A review of the lists of occupations for employment permits is currently being finalised with a further review to take place in the second half of the year. In order to remove a skill from this list, there needs to be a clear demonstration that recruitment difficulties are solely due to shortages across the EEA and not to other factors such as salary and/or employment conditions. Organisations in the sector would need to provide the necessary data to substantiate their claims. A detailed evidence-based case for removal of Community Employment Supervisors from the ineligible list, based on this detailed data would then need to be put forward through the lead policy Department, in this instance the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, to my Department for review and consideration by a standing Interdepartmental Group.

It is open to the named individual, subject to obtaining a job offer, to apply for an employment permit in respect of an employment that is eligible for an employment permit.

Finally, it should be noted that my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, has responsibility for issuing immigration permissions and visas.

Question No. 238 answered with Question No. 236.

Job Creation Data

Ceisteanna (239)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

239. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the full extent of job creation throughout the regions in the past year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11802/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Year on year, the recently published Q4 2018 CSO Labour Force Survey employment figures are overall very positive. In the year from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018 the figures show that employment continues to grow strongly with 50,500 jobs created, bringing total employment to 2,281,300, the highest number at work ever recorded.

The number of people in employment has increased in six of the eight regions in the year from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. The exception to this is the Mid-West and the Border region.

In the year from Q4 2017 – Q4 2018, just under half (49 percent) of the new jobs created were for people living outside of Co. Dublin.

Recently, I announced very good results from the Local Enterprise Offices around the country. Overall, they supported the creation of 3,656 new jobs (net) in 2018.

All regions saw increases in IDA employment over 2018, with the Midlands region experiencing the highest growth at 14 percent.

Also, two-thirds (64 percent) of new Enterprise Ireland jobs created in 2018 were outside of Dublin. The North West saw the largest level of increases at 9 percent.

There has been an increase of 266,900 people in employment across the State since Q1 2015, when the Government first launched the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017 (RAPJ), with 166,400 people in the regions outside of Co. Dublin entering employment in this Q1 2015 to Q4 2018 period.

In addition, unemployment has fallen in every region since the launch of the RAPJs. Only two regions, the Midlands and South-East, are currently outside the unemployment target set for 2020, i.e. over one percentage point greater than the State average.

Under the new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 for each of the nine regions, which I am currently launching, the Government remains committed to achieving an overall jobs uplift of between 10 and 15 per cent in each region by 2020 and to bring and/or maintain unemployment levels in each region to within at least one percentage point of the State average.

The new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020, will build on the very strong progress made on employment creation under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017. Shaped from the ‘bottom-up’ by regional stakeholders, and overseen by my Department, the new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 complement national level policies and programmes emanating from the ‘top-down’ and, there is strong alignment with Ireland’s national enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed and the recently launched Future Jobs Ireland initiative.

The principle behind the Regional Enterprise Plans is collaboration between regional stakeholders on initiatives that can help to realise the region’s enterprise development potential so that all regions can meet and exceed the regional job creation targets set to 2020. These stakeholders include: the Local Authorities, the LEOs, the enterprise agencies, the Regional Skills Forum, tourism bodies, private sector ‘enterprise champions’, and others.

As well as meeting the numerical targets, the new Regional Enterprise Plans are also about creating jobs that are of good quality and sustainable over the longer term. The Government is focused on this agenda at the national level through the Future Jobs Ireland initiative, and is focused on this agenda through these new Regional Enterprise Plans.

Job Creation

Question No. 241 answered with Question No. 236.

Ceisteanna (240)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

240. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which enterprise and innovation continues to feature as a basis for job creation throughout all parts of the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11803/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Enterprise development continues to be a key pillar in the creation of jobs in all regions across the country.

I am currently in the process of finalising the launches of the new Regional Enterprise Plans in every region, with eight Plans launched to date, with the ninth Plan (South-East) scheduled to be launched by the end of this month.

The Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 are enterprise focused documents that are the result of a refresh and refocus of the Regional Action Plans for Jobs to ensure their relevance and impact out to 2020, so that they continue to deliver jobs across the country, in every region, and can be robust to address the challenges we face, including Brexit.

The principle behind the Regional Enterprise Plans is collaboration between regional stakeholders on initiatives that can help to realise the region’s enterprise development potential. These stakeholders include: Local Authorities, the LEOs, the enterprise agencies, the Regional Skills Forum, tourism bodies, private sector ‘enterprise champions’, the Higher Education Institutes and others.

Shaped from the ‘bottom-up’ by regional stakeholders, and overseen by my Department, the new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 complement national level policies and programmes emanating from the ‘top-down’.  There is a strong alignment with Ireland’s national enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed and the recently launched Future Jobs Ireland strategy.

They are two-year, focused Plans, which are also ‘live’ documents, so new initiatives can be adopted during their operation by the regional stakeholders working together.

Enterprise Ireland’s results for 2018 show the progress that the Agency have been making in driving enterprise development at a national and regional level.  Client companies assisted by Enterprise Ireland created 18,846 jobs in 2018 and 64% of the jobs created were outside Dublin with all regions recording increases in employment.  There were 215,207 people employed by Enterprise Ireland supported companies in 2018, the highest total employment in the history of the agency.  Last year, Enterprise Ireland supported 82 high potential start-ups and 50 competitive start fund approvals as well as 245 client investments of over €500k.

The IDA’s results for 2018 demonstrate the progress we have been making in encouraging regional investment. Last year, 56% of all new jobs created by the Agency’s overseas clients were in locations outside Dublin. Every region in the country saw FDI-driven job gains. There are now over 132,000 people employed in IDA client firms outside the capital, representing nearly 60% of IDA-supported employment. These are all promising figures and show how real strides have been made in boosting FDI-related job creation across Ireland.  Last year, the Agency delivered 113 regional investments.

In 2018 clients supported by the Local Enterprise Offices increased employment by 8,007 gross new jobs which resulted in 3,656 net jobs being created across the LEO client portfolio to bring the total number employed to 36,666.

The LEOs approved grants to 1,259 clients in 2018, with over €18.2m. in funding to projects approved.  Also, in 2018, the LEOs provided training to 34,907 participants. Of these, 3,944 participants took part in the LEO-run ‘Start Your Own Business’ programmes.  The LEOs have continued to support, build resilience and scale up within their client base.  In 2018, 171 of LEO client companies progressed to Enterprise Ireland along with 796 associated jobs, this is an increase from 60 companies in 2017.

We will continue to reinforce and strengthen these positive trends and to further job creation and investment across the entirety of the country.

Question No. 241 answered with Question No. 236.

Research Funding Data

Ceisteanna (242)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

242. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the gross expenditure on research and development as a percentage of GDP and GNI; the average gross expenditure as a percentage of GDP of EU-15 countries, EU-27 countries and OECD countries in tabular form. [11852/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

International comparisons for Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) as a percentage of GDP are available for 2016 (latest data). Table 1 shows Civil GERD (excluding military expenditure) as a percentage of GDP for EU and OECD countries and of GNP and GNI* for Ireland in 2016. Ireland's Civil GERD as a percentage of GDP was 1.18 and as a percentage of GNP and GNI* was 1.46 and 1.84 respectively. This compares to an EU 28 country average of 1.93, an EU 15 country average of 2.06 and an OECD country average of 2.24 as a percentage of GDP. More information can be found in the R&D Budget 2017-2018 at the following link:

https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/The-R-D-Budget-2017-2018.html

In particular, Figure 16 on page 31 of the R&D Budget shows Civil GERD as a percentage of GDP for all OECD countries for which data is available. Ireland's Civil GERD as a percentage of GNP and GNI* is included for comparison.

Table 1: Civil GERD by country/region as percentage of GDP and of GNP and GNI* for Ireland, 2016

Country/Region

%

OECD Countries

2.24

EU (15 countries)

2.06

EU (28 countries)

1.93

Ireland GNI*

1.84

Ireland GNP

1.46

Ireland GDP

1.18

Research Funding Data

Ceisteanna (243)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

243. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the gross expenditure on research and development activities by Department and expressed by each Department as a percentage of total expenditure on research and development in tabular form. [11853/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The following table shows Government Budget Allocations on R&D (GBARD) by funding Department for 2017 and each Department's GBARD as a percentage of total GBARD. GBARD is all the public funding allocated to R&D performed across all sectors of the economy, e.g. within the higher education sector, by businesses or by Government Departments and agencies. Government Sector R&D (GOVERD) is R&D performed in-house in Government departments or agencies.

The GBARD data is taken from the R&D Budget 2017-2018, published by the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation. 2017 is the latest data available. The R&D Budget 2017-2018 is available at the following link: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/The-R-D-Budget-2017-2018.html

Table 1: Government Budget Allocations on R&D by Funding Department, 2017

Funding Department

GBARD €000's

Percentage

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

380,572.2

51.5%

Department of Education and Skills

180,438.1

24.4%

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

95,105.0

12.9%

Department of Health

48,697.0

6.6%

Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment

19,571.0

2.6%

Department of Public Expenditure & Reform

6,826.0

0.9%

Department of Culture, Heritage & Gaeltacht

2,463.0

0.3%

Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government

1,510.7

0.2%

Central Bank

1,225.7

0.2%

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

983.0

0.1%

Department of the Taoiseach

908.0

0.1%

Department of Social Protection

782.0

0.1%

Office of Public Works

265.0

0.0%

Grand Total

739,346.6

100.0%

Regional Action Plan for Jobs

Ceisteanna (244)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

244. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the progress to date on the implementation plans for jobs for the midlands region by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11864/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The recently published CSO Labour Force Survey employment figures for Q4 2018, which are only available at the regional level, show that there has been excellent progress in employment growth in the Midlands region since the launch of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017. 

From Q1 2015 (baseline year) to Q4 2018, there are 20,000 more people in employment in the Midlands, representing an increase of 18.5 percent.

Unemployment has more than halved over the same period from 14.9 percent to 6.6 percent.  This is a substantial and welcome reduction, although there is more progress yet to be achieved to bring unemployment down to within one percentage point of the State average (5.4%).

The Enterprise Agencies under the remit of my Department continue to work to contribute to employment and economic growth in the Midlands and throughout all regions. New job creation results for 2018 on a county by county basis for the Midlands are set out in Table 1.

Table 1: Numbers employed in client companies and 2018 increase (in brackets)

County

Enterprise Ireland

IDA Ireland

Local Enterprise Offices

Laois

1,527   (+83)

122   (-12)

635   (+67)

Longford

2,979   (+113)

900  (+155)

1,195   (+70)

Offaly

4,307   (+252)

1,232   (+65)

1,063   (+6)

Westmeath

3,536   (+35) 

3,466   (+493)

1,172  (+66)

Under the recently launched Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020, I and my Department remain committed to achieving an overall jobs uplift of between 10 and 15 per cent in each region by 2020 and to bring and/or maintain unemployment levels in each region to within at least one percentage point of the State average.

As well as meeting the numerical targets, this is also about creating jobs that are of good quality and sustainable over the longer term in line with the Government’s objectives under Future Jobs Ireland which was launched on 10 March.

The new Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020, which I launched on 6th February in Mountmellick, Co. Laois, is focused around seven ‘Strategic Objectives’ which will drive enterprise and job creation:

- Strategic Objective 1: Ensure that the Midlands is well positioned to address the challenges posed by the transition to a low carbon economy and renewable energy;  

- Strategic Objective 2: Leverage opportunities in big data and data analytics from iLOFAR;

- Strategic Objective 3: Position and support the growth of the Midlands as an advanced manufacturing centre of excellence.;

- Strategic Objective 4: Enhance the collective offering of the Midlands as a place to live, work and invest in;

- Strategic Objective 5: Strengthen the attractiveness of the Midlands as a destination to visit;

- Strategic Objective 6: Harness the potential of the food and beverage industry in the Midlands; and

- Strategic Objective 7: Ensure the availability of skills and talent to realise the Midlands’ economic potential and address upskilling requirements.

The Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan Steering Committee has now begun the process to drive delivery of the actions within the new Plan, in consultation with and overseen by my Department.

Job Creation Data

Ceisteanna (245)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

245. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the additional jobs created in 2018 in the Border and west region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11867/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Border region (including Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan) has shown very good progress in employment levels since the launch of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017.  From Q1 2015 (baseline year) to Q4 2018, a total of 8,200 more people are now in employment. Unemployment has more than halved in the Border region falling from 8.6 percent to 3.8 percent during this period.

Unemployment has reduced from 4.8 percent down to 3.8 percent over the last 12 months and the Border region has now the lowest unemployment rate amongst all of the regions nationally.

The Enterprise Agencies have reported good progress on new employment creation in client companies during 2018 in the Border region. In the North-West (Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim), IDA supported employment was up 3 percent, while Enterprise Ireland supported employment was up 9 percent. There was also a net job gain of 260 in the North-West in LEO supported companies. In the North-East (including Cavan, Monaghan and Louth) IDA supported employment was up 3 percent, while Enterprise Ireland supported employment was also up 3 percent. There was also a net job gain of 378 in the companies supported by the three North-East LEOs.

The West region (Galway, Mayo and Roscommon) has shown excellent progress in employment growth since the launch of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017.  From Q1 2015 (baseline year) to Q4 2018, a total of 32,800 more people are in employment in the West region.  From Q1 2015 (baseline year) to Q4 2018, unemployment has more than halved in the West region, falling from 12.6 percent to 5.8 percent.

The Enterprise Agencies have also reported good progress on new employment creation in client companies in the West over the past year. During 2018, IDA supported employment grew by 6 percent, while Enterprise Ireland supported employment was up 5 percent. There was also a net job gain of 321 in LEO supported companies located in the West region.

The Government remains committed to achieving an overall jobs uplift of between 10 and 15 per cent in each region by 2020 and to bring and/or maintain unemployment levels in each region to within at least one percentage point of the State average.

To that end, in April 2018, I am in the process of launching nine new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 (including Plans for the West, North-West and North-East incl. Co. Louth), which build on the very strong progress made on employment creation under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs 2015-2017.

Shaped from the ‘bottom-up’ by regional stakeholders, and overseen by my Department, the new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 complement national level policies and programmes emanating from the ‘top-down’ and, there is strong alignment with Ireland’s national enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed and the forthcoming Future Jobs Ireland initiative.

The principle behind the Regional Enterprise Plans is collaboration between regional stakeholders on initiatives that can help to realise the region’s enterprise development potential so that all regions can meet and exceed the regional job creation targets set to 2020. These stakeholders include:  local authorities, the LEOs, the enterprise agencies, the Regional Skills Forum, tourism bodies, private sector ‘enterprise champions’, and others.

The Regional Enterprise Plans are also about creating jobs that are of good quality and sustainable over the longer term. The Government is focused on this agenda at the national level through the Future Jobs Ireland initiative, and is focused on this agenda through these new Regional Enterprise Plans.

IDA Ireland Portfolio

Ceisteanna (246)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

246. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the IDA is working with Enterprise Ireland to secure a tenant for a location (details supplied); and if it will consider putting enterprise units in place at the location. [12036/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

While IDA Ireland is focused on inward investment, the Agency manages its property portfolio for the benefit of both its own clients and those of Enterprise Ireland.  The IDA’s property team, for example, works closely with Enterprise Ireland to support the needs of indigenous companies who may be seeking appropriate properties. There is also ongoing engagement between the two agencies about the property needs of their respective clients. This includes plans to develop campus style property solutions to support development and business to business collaborations.

In relation to the specific location referred to, I am informed by the IDA that the Agency currently do not have plans to construct buildings at the approximately six-hectare site in the Fermoy Business Park.  However, I understand that it is serviced to accommodate both manufacturing and office facilities. The site is also being actively marketed by the Agency in the context of its ongoing work to attract further investment and employment to Cork.

Enterprise Support Schemes

Ceisteanna (247)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

247. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she will consider providing supports to an industry (details supplied) as a result of the recent regulatory changes which have negatively affected the profession; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12096/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Government, since 2011 has been firmly focused on restoring the economy to a more stable footing and sustaining existing jobs and growing employment in all sectors and in all parts of the country. The economy has recovered strongly and there are now more people at work than any time in the last decade. With the increase in employment and increase in earnings, there is now more spending in the economy and this is to the benefit of all businesses, including hairdressing and personal care sectors.

The supports of my Department to improve access to credit for businesses are available to businesses in the hairdressing and personal care sectors. These include loans of up to €25,000 available through Micro Finance Ireland, the Credit Guarantee Scheme which is operated with the three pillar banks and also the Brexit Working Capital Loan Scheme. I am aware that many businesses may import products for the UK and Brexit may give rise to extra costs. I would also encourage businesses from all sectors to engage with their Local Enterprise Office (LEO), which offer a range of advisory and other supports in every county. In particular at this time of Brexit uncertainty I would encourage personal care businesses to consider participating in the LEO Customs Training programmes if appropriate so they can remain competitive in a post-Brexit environment. Skillnet Ireland and the Education and Training Boards are also engaged with the sector and again I would encourage business owners to engage directly with local providers on their changing skills requirements, in particular where there are requirements for reskilling and upskilling.

Stabilising the public finances and prudent fiscal management is an essential underpinning for a strong and growing economy and is essential to ensuring future growth prospects for all sectors. The Government’s ability to directly fund locally trading businesses is more constrained due to considerations of displacement, fairness and equity between businesses.

This Government has played its part in supporting the personal care sector when it most needed it with the introduction of the reduced VAT rate in 2011, which helped to sustain employment throughout the country in the sector.

As the Minister for Finance noted in introducing Budget 2019, while a Government’s decision to provide stimulus to the economy is often an easy one to make, judging when it is appropriate to withdraw stimulus measures is always more challenging. The Minister for Finance gave a commitment in the 2018 Finance Bill to undertake an economic analysis of the 9 per cent rate. The review found that the reduced rate has done its job. In the context of the new economic reality where the economy is strong, growth is broadly balanced and full employment is within sight, the Minister noted that it was appropriate to increase the rate of VAT and underlines the Government’s commitment to responsibly manage the public finances and maintain a broad tax base. While it is unfortunate that consumer price inflation in the hairdressing sector as reported by the CSO increased by 4.9% in the year to January 2019, it is to be hoped that this is a once-off increase as the sector adjusts to recent changes for the sector.

Regional Enterprise Development Fund Data

Ceisteanna (248)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

248. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applications made to the regional enterprise development fund; the number of approved grants made under the fund by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11391/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Regional Enterprise Development Fund is a €60m competitive fund introduced by my Department and administered by Enterprise Ireland. It is aimed at supporting collaborative and innovative projects that can help to sustain and add to employment at a national, regional and county level.

The REDF was designed to support the ambition in the Programme for Government to create an additional 200,000 new jobs by 2020, of which 135,000 are to be located outside of Dublin. One of the principal criteria within the scheme is that proposed projects would strengthen the potential for job creation in their region, thereby contributing to delivering on the Government’s ambition.

The REDF is all about supporting local and regional initiatives that will build on sectoral strengths and help to create jobs across the regions.

In total, 152 applications were received under the first and second calls of REDF, comprising a total of 75 projects under call 1 and 77 projects under call 2.

Eligible projects submitted went through a rigorous 7-stage process before being awarded funding. A standard scoring template was used at all stages to ensure consistency of approach.

As this was a competitive process, not all projects were successful. However, to ensure a balanced regional spread, I committed to ensuring that each region would benefit by at least €2 million from the Fund once the required standard for projects is met under the evaluation criteria. This threshold has now been met across all regions.

In total, 42 projects have been awarded funding over two completed Calls worth a total of €60m, with projects supported in every region. The lead region and participant counties for each approved project are included in the following table.

Project

Region/County

Monaghan County Enterprise Board

North East/Monaghan

Bioconnect Innovation Centre Clg

North East/Monaghan, Cavan

Focused Engineering Network Dac

North East/Monaghan, Cavan, Louth

Donegal Digital Innovation Clg

North West/Donegal

Leitrim County Enterprise Fund

North West/Midlands/Leitrim/Cavan/Longford

Leitrim Food Enterprise Zone Clg

North West/North East/Leitrim, Cavan, Sligo, Donegal

Sligo County Enterprise Fund Clg

North West/Sligo, Mayo, Leitrim

Bia Innovator Campus Clg

West/Galway

Galway City Innovation District Clg

West/Galway

Midc Páirc Na Mara

West/Galway

The Burren Lowlands Clg

West/Mid West/Galway, Clare

Emerald Aerocluster Clg

Mid West/Limerick/Clare

Irish Bioeconomy Foundation Clg

Mid West/South East/National/Tipperary

Bnest Social Initiative DAC

Mid West/South West/Limerick, Clare, Tipperary, Cork, Kerry

Clare Mez (Maritime Economic Zone) Dac

Mid West/Clare

Hospital Food Units Dac

Mid/West/Limerick, Clare, Tipperary

Agritech Centre Of Excellence

South West/Kerry

Cork Urban Enterprises

South West/North Cork City

IT@Cork CLG

South West/Cork

Kerryscitech

South West/Kerry

Mol Teic Clg

South West/Kerry

Rdi Hub Clg

South West/Kerry

Sneem Innovation & Tech Services

South West/Kerry

Cit Consortium Projects Dac

South West/Cork, Kerry

Ludgate Operations Clg

South West/Cork

Vista Agri 4.0 Hub Clg

South West/Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Tipperary

Insurtech Network Centre Dac

South East/Carlow

Three D DAC

Waterford

National Design Innovation Hub Dac

South East/Carlow, Kilkenny

Incupharm DAC

South East/Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary

Crystal Valley Tech Clg

South East/Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary

County Kildare Community Network

Mid East/Kildare

Boyne Valley Food Innovation District Dac

Mid East/North East/Meath, Cavan, Monaghan, Louth

Bpo Cluster Ireland Clg

Dublin

Dublin Enterprise & Tech Centre

Dublin

Ghala DAC

Dublin

Social & Local Enterprise Alliance Dac

Dublin

Innovate Dublin Communities Clg

Dublin

St. Paul's Area Development Enterprise Clg

Dublin

Irish Manufacturing Research

Midlands/Westmeath/National

Mountmellick Development Association Clg

Midlands/Laois

Offaly Innovation & Design Centre Clg

Midlands/Offaly

Trade Agreements

Ceisteanna (249)

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

249. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on whether it is appropriate for her Department to object to trade deals that do not satisfy a precondition (details supplied) at EU level; and her further views on the ongoing negotiations regarding two trade agreements with the USA and that with Mercosur, in view of their lack of compliance with the Paris Agreement. [12304/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Competence on Trade is vested in the European Commission under the Common Commercial Policy in the EU Treaties. In that regard, the Commission proposes legislative and negotiating Proposals which Member States and the European Parliament then consider. Once concluded, all Trade Agreements are considered by the Member States in Council for formal approval. In considering Commission Proposals for Negotiating Directives - or Mandates - the Member States take due regard of the overall trade policies of the Union, and the Commission can only commence formal trade negotiations once the Member States have given their approval. In this regard, both the Commission and the Member States, as well as the European Parliament, would consider how to reflect the latest EU policies on issues such as labour rights, consumer standards, the environment, sustainable development and so on, including, where appropriate, climate change.

When considering trade discussions with the United States, it is important to record that the European Union and the US have the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship and enjoy the most integrated economic relationship in the world. The EU and the US economies together account for about half the entire world GDP and for nearly a third of world trade flows. This relationship has proved indispensable not only for the prosperity of both sides of the Atlantic for many years but for many other countries including least developed countries who participate in global supply chains. Likewise, Ireland and the US have a longstanding bilateral relationship which has proved hugely beneficial in many ways for both our countries. Taking these factors into account, Ireland and the EU remain fully committed to a continued strong partnership with the US as equal partners.

It is in this context that Commission President Juncker met with US President Trump in July 2018, in Washington, to launch a new phase in the relationship between the United States and the European Union aimed at de-escalating growing trade tensions, which would impact the jobs of our citizens. In the Joint Statement the EU and US agreed to dialogue on a range of specific, yet limited, trade matters.

In September 2018, EU Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmström met U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer to initiate the Executive Working Group (EWG), established to improve trade relations between the US and EU. The EWG has met a number of times since, to discuss the scope of future formal negotiations, most recently in Washington on 6th March 2019. As part of the Commission's commitment to transparency, an interim progress report was published on 30th January 2019, providing a detailed overview on the state of play of the talks to that date.

On 18th January 2019 the EU Commission adopted proposals for "Negotiating Directives" - or Mandates - for its proposed trade talks with the United States: one on conformity assessment, (making it easier for companies to prove their products meet technical requirements on both sides of the Atlantic) and one on the elimination of tariffs for industrial goods (excluding agricultural products). The EU Commission published the draft mandates at the same time as submitting them to the EU Member States.

Subsequently on 19th February 2019 the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) endorsed the launch of formal trade negotiations with the United States. It is anticipated that a further non-binding plenary vote of the European Parliament will take place on the resolution on 14th March 2019.

If approved by Member States in Council, the finalized mandates would set the parameters for formal negotiations to commence. However, it is important to note that these two mandates are of a limited scope, covering two distinct areas agreed in the July 2018 Joint Statement. As I have indicated, they do not constitute a mandate for negotiations on a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, which would involve negotiations across a far wider range of sectors and topics including sustainable development. Additionally, while these negotiations are proceeding both sides are committed to not introducing new tariff measures.

The de-escalation in trade tensions between the US and EU achieved by last July's accord has been of benefit to Irish trade interests and jobs. Equally, a possible future agreement on conformity assessment as well as the elimination of tariffs for industrial goods, would be a positive development to stimulate growth, create employment and continue to grow our economy.

Ireland, along with its EU partners, will determine its final position on the proposed mandates, taking account of issues such as climate and environmental factors and other sustainable development matters and also in the context of our desire for open, free trade and investment flows between Ireland and the US in a rules-based trading system supporting many thousands of jobs.

Separately, the EU has been negotiating a trade agreement with the four founding members of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) for several years. If concluded an EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement would be the EU’s largest trade deal to date, four times the size of the trade agreement with Japan. The EU mandate to commence talks was approved in 1999 and aims to eliminate trade tariffs between the EU and the Mercosur region. Irish exporters are currently subject to trade tariffs, barriers and restrictions, when exporting to Mercosur and the proposed Free Trade Agreement should make exports from Ireland more attractive and potentially increase demand for Irish products.

Sectoral opportunities for Ireland in further enhancing a trading relationship with this region include software and services in telecommunications, financial services, digital content and travel, engineering products and services, life sciences, agriculture, food and beverages, and education services. On the other hand, Ireland like other Member States has strong concerns in relation to agriculture, especially the potential impact that these negotiations present to the EU beef sector.

To date, there have been 37 rounds of negotiations and negotiations are still ongoing with the next round planned for the week of 11th – 15th March in Buenos Aires.

Both the EU and Mercosur are each committed to implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (250)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

250. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applicants and participants in Brexit schemes and supports provided by her Department or agencies under her remit in tabular form; and the amount allocated and expended to each such scheme in each year since being established. [12421/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Brexit represents a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland, which cannot be underestimated. That is why my Department started developing supports for businesses from the time when Brexit first became a possibility. Government’s priority is to ensure that businesses around the country can manage risks and avail of any opportunities. This has informed the range of advisory and financial supports that are in place.

My Department’s total exchequer allocation increased by 9.1% year on year, up from €871m to €950.2m. This is made up of a record €620m in capital and €330.2m in current funding, which includes an increase of €65m in capital – up 11.7% on last year’s allocation of €555m; and, an increase of €14.2m in current – almost 4.5% more than our 2018 allocation of €316m.

I allocated an extra €5m to the 31 Local Enterprise Offices [LEOs], up 22% on 2018, which have a presence in every county, to support start-ups and growth and, in particular, to support businesses to prepare for Brexit. The LEOs will work with the broad range of small and micro indigenous enterprises across sectors to ensure that they are informed and have plans in place to manage the new trading relationships on the island and with the UK more generally. This includes a new customs training programme for all businesses, exporters and importers, rolled out in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland.

I was also pleased to announce an additional capital allocation of €2.75m to Enterprise Ireland to start developing regional innovation and technology clusters with Institutes of Technology right across the country, positioning them as drivers of world-class start-ups and growth enterprises and helping businesses adjust to market changes, including Brexit.

Through Enterprise Ireland, I also doubled funding for the Online Retail Pilot Scheme to €1.25m in 2019, which will support SMEs in the retail sector to have a stronger online presence and find new markets. This new Scheme follows through on my commitment to increase the scale and internationalisation of indigenous enterprise; increase productivity in high-employment sectors; and encourage Brexit readiness. I announced the first 11 successful applicants on Friday 1st March last and there will be a further call for proposals this year. In addition, Enterprise Ireland invested €74 million in Brexit impacted businesses in 2018.

Funding to InterTradeIreland has been increased by 18% and they, along with the LEOs, are offering a range of Brexit-focused supports to companies, including those engaged in cross-border trade with Northern Ireland.

The Brexit Loan Scheme, using a combination of Irish Exchequer and EU guarantees, leveraged up to €300 million of lending at a maximum interest rate 4% at a cost to the Exchequer of €23 million - €14 million provided by my Department and €9 million provided by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme was announced in Budget 2019. The scheme will be available in early 2019 and it will provide a longer-term facility, 8 to 10 years, of up to €300m to support strategic capital investment for a post-Brexit environment by business at competitive rates. This Scheme is jointly funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (€37.2 million) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (€24.8 million) at a total cost to the Exchequer of €62 million.

The first table sets out the respective exchequer increases in allocations to ITI, EI, IDA and the LEOs between 2018 and 2019 and the cost/expenditure of the supports available. Whilst these increases are not all due to Brexit, they are mainly provided to assist the enterprise agencies in their responses to the challenges posed by Brexit.

The second table sets out the uptake of the different Brexit-related supports available through the Department and its agencies as at 28 February 2019.

IDA total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €33.7 million when compared with 2018.

Enterprise Ireland total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €6.8 million when compared with 2018.

LEOs total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €5 million when compared with 2018.

ITI total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €1 million when compared with 2018.

Table 1.

Scheme

Expenditure/Cost

Brexit Loan Scheme

The scheme will cost the Exchequer €23 million (€14 million provide by Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and €9 million provided by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine).

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

€258,024 to beginning of March

Enterprise Ireland Market Discovery Fund - A support to EI clients to research new markets

€362,919 to beginning of March

Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation Fund - Gives rapid fast-track access to innovation funding

€569,033 to beginning of March

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

€237,801 to beginning of March

Enterprise Ireland Brexit “Act On Programme” – A support funding the engagement of a consultant to devise report with recommendations to help clients address weaknesses and improve resilience

€380,000 to end of January

Enterprise Ireland Strategic Consultancy Grant – A grant to assist EI clients to hire a strategic consultant for a set period

€1,324,730 to beginning of March

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro – The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients.

2017 Expenditure

€188,829

1 Jan to 30 Sept 2018 Expenditure

€365,744

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro - The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI Lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients

2017 Expenditure

€529,922

1 Jan to 30 Sept 2018 Expenditure

€518,411

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

There isn’t a specific budget allocation for LEO Brexit mentoring. It is included in the LEOs overall Measure 2 allocation.

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

2017 Expenditure

€85,509

1 Jan to 30 Sept 2018 Expenditure

€57,855

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

ITI offers 100% financial support up to £2000/€2250 (inclusive of VAT) towards professional advice in relation to Brexit matters.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enteprise Ireland

Eleven retailers were awarded funding in March 2019 as part of the new €1.25m fund, with €625,000 available under the first competitive call to support retail businesses to strengthen their online offering.

Table 2: Brexit preparedness supports - uptake of available schemes

Scheme

Uptake (end Feb)

Brexit Loan Scheme

504 applications received, 450 approved by SBCI, 83 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €17.47 million (as of 08 March)

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Scorecard - online platform for Irish companies to self-assess their exposure to Brexit

4,435 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 722 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

168 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Market Discovery Fund - A support to EI clients to research new markets

251 projects have been approved under this initiative

Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation Fund - Gives rapid fast-track access to innovation funding

43 Agile Innovation projects have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

13 Brexit Advisory Clinics have been run with over 1,000 in attendance

Enterprise Ireland Brexit “Act On Programme” – A support funding the engagement of a consultant to devise report with recommendations to help clients address weaknesses and improve resilience

190 “Act on” Plans have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Strategic Consultancy Grant – A grant to assist EI clients to hire a strategic consultant for a set period

1,057 Strategic Consultancy Grants have been approved

Local Enterprise Office Technical Assistance Grant for Micro Export - an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities

431 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant (end January 2019)

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro - The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI Lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients

221 LEO clients have participated in the programme (end January 2019)

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

471 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit (end January 2019)

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

3,996 Participants at the Brexit Information events (end January 2019)

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

There have been 1,172 applications, with 840 approved and 7 still pending assessment.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enterprise Ireland

Applications are currently being assessed by Enterprise Ireland and the successful applicants will be announced in Q1 2019. There will also be a second call in 2019.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (251)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

251. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of firms that have applied for working capital under the Brexit SME loan scheme; the number of firms that have been sanctioned financing to date by firm size (details supplied); and the total value of same in tabular form. [12422/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Brexit Loan Scheme provides affordable working capital to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees that are or will be Brexit impacted and which meet the scheme criteria. The €23 million exchequer funding announced in the 2018 Budget (€14 million from my Department and €9 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) has been leveraged to provide a fund of up to €300 million over the lifetime of the scheme.

The scheme features a two-stage application process. First, businesses must apply to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to confirm their eligibility for the scheme. Businesses can use guidelines provided on the SBCI website to determine if they are eligible, and if so, to complete the eligibility form. As part of the process, businesses must submit a business plan, demonstrating the means by which they intend to innovate, change or adapt to meet their Brexit challenges. The SBCI assesses the applications and successful applicants receive an eligibility reference number.

Successful applicants can then apply for a loan under the scheme with one of the participating finance providers using their eligibility reference number. Participating finance providers are the Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Allied Irish Bank. Approval of loans is subject to the finance providers' own credit policies and procedures.

The number of firms that have applied for working capital under the Brexit Loan Scheme to date by firm size (as at close of business 07/03/19):

Firm size

No. of firms

Less than 10

240

11 to 49

192

50 to 249

63

More than 250

1

No. of employees not provided

2

Grand total

498

The number of firms that have been sanctioned financing to date by firm size and the total value of same (as at close of business 07/03/19):

Firm size

No. of firms

Total value

Less than 10

44

€4,309,000

11 to 49

30

€8,890,000

50 to 249

8

€4,155,000

More than 250

0

€0

Grand total

82

€17,354,000

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (252)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

252. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the latest figures regarding the Brexit SME loan scheme launched in March 2018 for items (details supplied) in tabular form. [12423/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Brexit Loan Scheme provides affordable working capital to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees that are or will be Brexit impacted and which meet the scheme criteria. The €23 million exchequer funding announced in the 2018 Budget (€14 million from my Department and €9 million from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) has been leveraged to provide a fund of up to €300 million over the lifetime of the scheme.

The scheme features a two-stage application process. First, businesses must apply to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to confirm their eligibility for the scheme. Businesses can use guidelines provided on the SBCI website to determine if they are eligible, and if so, to complete the eligibility form. As part of the process, businesses must submit a business plan, demonstrating the means by which they intend to innovate, change or adapt to meet their Brexit challenges. The SBCI assesses the applications and successful applicants receive an eligibility reference number.

Successful applicants can then apply for a loan under the scheme with one of the participating finance providers using their eligibility reference number. Participating finance providers are the Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Allied Irish Bank. Approval of loans is subject to the finance providers' own credit policies and procedures.

The figures in the table are those as to 1st March 2019. The Department receives a report each quarter from the SBCI on the uptake of the scheme. A number of requested figures have not been included in this table as they pertain to the relationship between banks and their client SMEs and so are beyond the remit of these reports. Some questions requested the same information and have, therefore, been answered once.

Requested Details (as at 8 March 2019)

Applications etc.

Amount

Number of businesses which have applied to the SBCI to confirm eligibility for the scheme

504

Number of businesses which have had their applications assessed by SBCI

462

Number of businesses which have not had their applications assessed by SBCI

42

Number of businesses which have had a successful application and received an eligibility reference number

450

Number of businesses which had a successful application and received no eligibility reference number

N/A

The number of businesses who did not have a successful application and received no eligibility reference number

12

List of current finance providers

Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and AIB

Number of SMEs which have progressed to sanction at finance provider level

83

Total value of loans progressed to sanction at finance provider level

€17.47m

Current interest rate for those in receipt of approved loans

Maximum interest rate under the scheme is 4%

Enterprise Support Schemes

Ceisteanna (253)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

253. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation when the future growth loan scheme announced in budget 2018 will open for applications; the terms and conditions of this scheme; and the length of time the scheme will stay open for applications. [12424/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Future Growth Loan Scheme makes up to €300 million of loans available with a term of 8-10 years. This scheme will be available to eligible Irish businesses and the primary agriculture and seafood sectors to support strategic long-term investment in a post Brexit environment. Finance provided under the scheme will be competitively priced and have favorable terms, for example no security required for loans up to €500,000.

The scheme has been developed by my Department and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in partnership with the Department of Finance, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and the European Investment Fund. It will be delivered through participating finance providers.

Loans are for terms of 8-10 years, with minimum loan amount of €100,000 for SMEs (€50,000 for primary agriculture) and maximum loan amount of €3,000,000. As mentioned before, loans of under €500,000 will be made on an unsecured basis.

Loans must be used for investment in tangible or intangible assets for the purpose of process and organisational innovation, or investment in assets on agricultural holdings linked to primary agricultural production.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme will feature a two-stage application process. Applications for eligibility under the scheme will be made through the SBCI website. The SBCI will assess the applications and those successful will be issued an eligibility reference number.

Eligible businesses will then be able to apply for a loan under the scheme with one of the participating finance providers using the eligibility reference number. Approval of loans are subject to the finance providers’ own credit policies and procedures.

The scheme will be open to all eligible businesses, whether a State Agency client or not.

The SBCI “Open Call” for designation as a lending partner under the Scheme closed on 11th February 2019 and my Department is currently working on the finalisation of the Scheme. The Future Growth Loan Scheme will be launched shortly and it will be open for applications for the next three years.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (254)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

254. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of food businesses that have applied for working capital under the Brexit loan scheme which opened in March 2018; the number of such businesses that have been sanctioned financing to date; and the value of same. [12426/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Brexit Loan Scheme provides affordable working capital to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees that are or will be Brexit impacted and which meet the scheme criteria. The €23 million exchequer funding announced in the 2018 Budget has been leveraged to provide a fund of up to €300 million over the lifetime of the scheme.

Given its significant exposure to the UK market, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine contributed 40% of the State funding. As a result, at least 40% of the fund will be available to food businesses.

The scheme features a two-stage application process. First, businesses must apply to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to confirm their eligibility for the scheme. Businesses can use guidelines provided on the SBCI website to determine if they are eligible, and if so, to complete the eligibility form. As part of the process, businesses must submit a business plan, demonstrating the means by which they intend to innovate, change or adapt to meet their Brexit challenges. The SBCI assesses the applications and successful applicants receive an eligibility reference number.

Successful applicants can then apply for a loan under the scheme with one of the participating finance providers using their eligibility reference number. Participating finance providers are the Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Allied Irish Bank. Approval of loans is subject to the finance providers' own credit policies and procedures.

As at close of business 7th March 2019, 99 food businesses have applied for eligibility under the Brexit Loan Scheme, 77 received were approved and received eligibility codes while 15 food businesses have been sanctioned financing to date with a total value of €4.8m.