Immigrant Investor Programme Administration

Ceisteanna (182)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

182. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason persons who have been approved by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service under the immigrant investor programme for investments in small and medium enterprises and who have been advised not to invest in approved schemes are being prevented from transferring their investment to other approved schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22876/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) provides non-EEA nationals with a number of options to invest in Ireland, and successful applicants are granted a permission to reside in Ireland for a fixed period.

Applications are assessed by an Evaluation Committee, composed of senior civil and public servants from relevant Irish Government Departments and State Agencies involved in enterprise development in Ireland. Applications are assessed on the basis of the profile of the applicant, the commercial viability of the project, employment outcomes associated with the proposed investment and the overall benefit to the Irish State.

Investors should note that the Department has no responsibility for the performance of an investment. Investments are a private matter between the parties concerned and it is the responsibility of the investor, as in any business decision, to assess the potential success of their venture. Approval of an application under the Immigrant Investor Programme is not an endorsement of a particular project. What it does mean is that the investor has been approved and the investment is of a nature that meets the objectives of the Immigrant Investor Programme. The programme does not provide for the transfer of investors between projects. However, it is, of course, open to applicants to submit a new application for a different project they wish to invest in.

Industrial Relations

Ceisteanna (183)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

183. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the fact that a company (details supplied) is ignoring recommendations of the Labour Court; and the way in which she plans to respond to same. [22757/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I am aware of the ongoing industrial relations issues at the company referred to by the Deputy. I am also aware that the Labour Court issued a recommendation on the 5th April 2019 in relation to a claim before it, with the Court noting that this issue has already been before it, resulting in previous recommendations.

Ireland’s system of industrial relations is based in voluntarism and it has been the consistent policy of successive Irish Governments to support the development of an institutional framework supportive of this voluntary system through which good industrial relations can prosper. In line with the voluntary nature of industrial relations in Ireland, recommendations of the Labour Court made under industrial relations legislation are not binding on the parties although it is expected that the parties involved give serious consideration to the Court’s Recommendation.

The Labour Court is an independent statutory body and discharge their functions independently of the Minister, therefore it would not be appropriate for me to comment on this matter.

I would urge both sides to engage constructively with each other and to remain engaged with the State's industrial relations machinery in order to resolve the issues in dispute.

Startup Funding

Ceisteanna (184)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

184. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the financial support avenues available to a start-up business which will be located in rural County Westmeath and will immediately create 5 to 10 permanent positions. [22422/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Westmeath is the ‘first-stop-shop’ for advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports if you intend to start or grow your own business.

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

The LEO Westmeath can offer direct grant aid to microenterprises (10 employees or fewer) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities. Subject to certain eligibility criteria, the LEOs can provide financial assistance within three main categories: Feasibility Grants (investigating the potential of a business idea); Priming Grants (to part-fund a start-up); and Business Development Grants for existing businesses that want to expand. (It should be noted that the LEOs do not provide direct grant-aid to areas such as retail, personal services, local professional services, construction/local building services, as it may give rise to the displacement of existing businesses). In addition, there is a Technical Assistance Grant available for eligible micro-exporter applicants who are seeking to explore alternative markets for their product or service.

Along with the core LEO priming and business development grants, the LEOs are now offering a Technical Assistance for Micro-exporters (TAME) grant, which is designed to help LEO clients to find new markets and exports by part-funding expenditure incurred investigating and researching export markets, e.g. exhibiting at Trade Fairs, preparing marketing material and developing websites specifically targeting export markets.

Micro-enterprises may also avail of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme (TOVS) from the LEO Westmeath. The Scheme offers the opportunity for businesses to develop their website or digital marketing strategy by availing of vouchers of up to €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure.

Anyone with a viable business proposal can also use the LEO Westmeath to make an application to MicroFinance Ireland, which offers support in the form of loans of up to €25,000 to start-ups with viable business propositions that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by the banks. Successful applicants can avail of a more favorable interest rate from MFI if they make their application through the LEO.

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (185)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

185. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a person (details supplied) can join their parent by way of a work permit or an alternative; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22439/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department informs me that not enough information has been provided to determine whether the person (details supplied) qualifies for an employment permit.

In order to work in the State all non-EEA nationals require a valid employment permit unless exempt under permission from the Department of Justice and Equality. In order to apply for an employment permit a non-EEA national must have secured a job offer for an eligible occupation from an Irish registered employer.

The State's general policy is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills needs from within Ireland and other EEA countries. Where specific skills prove difficult to source within the State or 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.

Any application for an employment permit should comply with all of the legislative requirements for the particular employment permit type, including that the non-EEA national has the required immigration permission at the time of application. Family circumstances are not relevant in the context of employment permit applications. Immigration permissions, including any entitlements that may accrue to this individual by virtue of their father being an Irish citizen, are a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, and any such queries should be directed to that Department.

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/

Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (186)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

186. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the processing of work permits in the case of a person (details supplied) will be facilitated in respect of a firm; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22447/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I understand that the Deputy has been in email contact with officials in the Employment Permit Section of my Department and that the issue for this company centres on the granting of Intra-Company transfer permits. Based on the information provided by the Deputy in relation to this company, there should be no barrier to the granting of these permits.

I also understand that the company has Trusted Partner status with the Department for the purpose of applying for Employment Permits, which eases the administrative burden on companies and which ensures a faster turnaround time for the processing and issuing of permits. Current processing times for Trusted Partner applications is 3 weeks.

My Department’s website sets out in some detail the process for applying for an Employment Permit or Trusted Partner status, including a very comprehensive and easily accessed Frequently Asked Questions document. In addition, the Employment Permits Section has a dedicated email address, with a 24 hour turnaround, for any questions an employer may have about the system.

Nonetheless, I have asked that an official from the Employment Permits Section of my Department contact the company concerned to provide clarification in relation to the various specific queries they have raised.

Intellectual Property Management

Ceisteanna (187, 188)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

187. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the specific measures being put in place to attract foreign direct investment from companies engaged in the commercialisation of all forms of intellectual property; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22523/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mary Butler

Ceist:

188. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on whether uncertainty over the treatment of intellectual property assets in the tax system is hampering efforts to attract foreign direct investment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22524/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 187 and 188 together.

IDA Ireland is authorised by my Department to provide a range of measures and financial supports to companies, including those involved in the commercialisation of intellectual property. These supports include employment, capital, research and development, environmental and training grants. These grants remain an important means of encouraging firms to invest in Ireland, particularly in regional locations.

I can assure the Deputy that there is no uncertainty regarding the treatment of intellectual property assets in the tax system. Irish tax law provides for a scheme of relief in the form of capital allowances available to companies that incur capital expenditure on intangible assets for the purposes of a trade. The scheme applies to intangible assets which are recognised as such under generally accepted accounting practice and which are listed as a “specified intangible asset” in section 291A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. An important feature of the relief is that the allowances may only be offset against trading income generated from the intangible assets and, for capital expenditure incurred on or after 11 October 2017, only against up to 80% of that income.

In addition to this, the Government introduced The Knowledge Development Box (KDB) in 2015. The KDB provides for relief from tax on the profits earned from the exploitation of patents, copyrighted software and intellectual property for small companies, provided that the intellectual property was developed through research and development (R&D) carried out by companies resident in Ireland. The IDA continue to promote the KDB to new and existing clients.

More broadly, IDA Ireland’s record results for 2018 underline how strongly Ireland continues to perform when it comes to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) of all types. FDI continues to drive the economy with strong employment growth in this sector at 7%, compared to the national average of 3% in 2018. FDI Exports experienced growth of 10% and an increase of 8% in the amount spent in the Irish economy on payroll, materials and services – which now stands at over €19.2bn. Ireland’s investment and value proposition continues to resonate with companies across the globe as investors search for stability and certainty.

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Data

Ceisteanna (189)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

189. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of staff employed at the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement; the number of vacant positions in each of the years 2001 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22609/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The number of staff currently assigned to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) is 38 (35.2 full time equivalent). In addition, 5 Gardaí are assigned to the ODCE.

Following his appointment in the latter half of 2012, the Director carried out a review of the ODCE’s then skills mix and operational capacity. That review, inter alia, identified certain skill deficiencies, as a consequence of which sanction was sought, and subsequently obtained, to recruit a number of additional professional staff to address the identified need.

Further to that process, the Department, through the Public Appointments Service, recruited eight suitably qualified and experienced forensic accountants (there are seven positions of forensic accountant, but one staff member was successful in another competition and was replaced) together with a suitably qualified and experienced digital forensics specialist, for assignment to the ODCE.

Over recent years, a number of senior-level vacancies have arisen within the ODCE through a combination of retirement, promotion and transfer to other parts of the public service. In that context, the skill sets, competencies, roles and responsibilities associated with each of those posts have been reviewed and reconfigured by the Director to better reflect the organisation’s current needs. This ongoing exercise has resulted in four senior-level professional posts, two Enforcement Portfolio Managers and two Enforcement Lawyers, being created. All of these posts having been filled through recruitment campaigns led by the Public Appointments Service.

The number of vacant positions for the years 2001 to 2018 (at year-end) are set out in tabular form:

*2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

0

0

1

0

2

0

1

1

1

2

6

6

2

2

0

1

1

*The ODCE was established on 28th November, 2001 with 15 of its approved staffing complement of 30 staff (plus 7 members of An Garda Síochána).

There are currently 4 vacancies in the ODCE, that the Department is responsible for filling. There are two vacancies of Forensic Accountant which have arisen in recent weeks. A recent retirement has led to one vacancy at Executive Officer level. My Department is currently liaising with the Public Appointments Service on filling the Forensic Accountant and Executive Officer vacancies. There is also a vacancy for a Corporate Compliance Manager which the Director is considering as part of the organisation’s current priorities and overall workforce.

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Data

Ceisteanna (190)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

190. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the annual budget for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in each of the years 2001 to 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22614/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The annual budget for the Office from 2001 to 2019 is set out in the following table.

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement

REV Allocations (€000)

Pay

Non-Pay

Total

2001

961

1,378

2,339

2002

1,308

2,364

3,672

2003

1,426

2,402

3,828

2004

1,686

2,564

4,250

2005

1,793

2,745

4,538

2006

1,899

2,814

4,713

2007

2,119

2,704

4,823

2008

2,681

2,276

4,957

2009

2,655

2,880

5,535

2010

2,579

3,507

6,086

2011

2,660

3,307

5,967

2012

2,620

3,077

5,697

2013

2,475

2,855

5,330

2014

2,465

2,207

4,672

2015

2,884

2,207

5,091

2016

2,808

2,207

5,015

2017

2,838

2,057

4,895

2018

3,000

2,057

5,057

2019

3,740

2,317

6,057

The distribution of the funding allocations across my Department’s Vote, including that of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, is determined through the annual Revised Estimates Volume (REV) process.

Since the appointment of the current Director, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) has been engaged in a process of organisational reform to ensure that the organisation is suitably equipped to discharge its mandate in an effective manner. Steps taken in that regard over recent years have included the recruitment of a number of specialist staff to enhance key skills and organisational capability, including 8 Forensic Accountants; a Digital Forensic Specialist; 2 Enforcement Lawyers and 2 Enforcement Portfolio Managers. Specific provision has been made in the Office’s pay allocation from 2015 to allow for the recruitment of these additional staff.

The provision of additional resources to the ODCE has also facilitated the establishment of an in-house digital forensics laboratory, including an on-site digital forensics capability whereby data retrieved from digital devices can be relayed to investigators in real time.

An additional €1m was provided for the ODCE in 2019 to reflect the likely costs associated with the transition of the ODCE into a stand-alone Agency. A funding allocation of €6.057m has been provided for the ODCE for 2019.

The issue of resourcing of the ODCE is kept under review on a regular basis between my officials and the ODCE as part of the ongoing work in operationalising the transition of the ODCE to a stand-alone agency and also as part of the normal day-to-day interaction to discuss operational matters relating to the Office.

Suicide Incidence

Ceisteanna (191)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

191. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the high number of suicides by homeowners in arrears and the effect of severe stress and worry on persons experiencing same. [22462/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Occupational Therapy

Ceisteanna (192)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

192. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health when a child (details supplied) in County Mayo can expect an appointment with the early intervention services, namely, occupational therapy, psychology and speech and language therapy; the reason the appointments for them with these services has been delayed; if an appointment will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22549/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

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

Alcohol Advertising

Ceisteanna (193)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

193. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Health when he will commence the provisions of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22861/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill was enacted in October 2018. In November I commenced 23 of the 31 Sections of the Act including to provide that:

From 12 November 2019:

- Alcohol advertising in or on public service vehicles, at public transport stops or stations and within 200 metres of a school, a crèche or a local authority playground will be prohibited;

- Alcohol advertising in a cinema will be prohibited except around films with an 18 classification or in a licensed premises in a cinema;

- Children’s clothing that promotes alcohol will be prohibited.

From 12 November 2020:

In mixed retail outlets alcohol products and advertising are confined to one of the following:

- an area separated by a 1.2 metre high barrier; or

- units in which alcohol products are not visible up to 1.5 metres height; or

- up to three units that can be a maximum of 1 metre wide by 2.2 metres high.

In addition alcohol products can be contained but not be visible in a unit behind the counter.

From 12 November 2021:

- Alcohol advertising on a sports area during a sporting event, at events aimed at children or at events in which the majority of participants or competitors are children is prohibited;

- Alcohol sponsorship of events aimed at children, events which the majority of participants or competitors are children and events involving driving or racing motor vehicles is prohibited.

The current position with Minimum Unit Pricing is that a revised Government Decision is necessary before it can be commenced as the Government Decision in 2013 which approved the implementation of a minimum unit pricing regime did so on the basis of a similar regime being introduced simultaneously in Northern Ireland.

The provisions on the labelling and advertising of alcohol products will be commenced following the finalisation of the regulations related to those measures.

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (194)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

194. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will be called for a hospital appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22287/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

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

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

Cancer Services Provision

Ceisteanna (195)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

195. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health the length of time associated with the waiting list for ovarian and other cancer chemotherapy treatments in University Hospital Galway; the reason there is a delay in providing this treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22288/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

University Hospital Galway (UHG) advise that the waiting times for chemotherapy for ovarian cancer is currently 3-4 weeks. Generally, waiting times for an appointment in the Haematology/Oncology Day Ward is around three weeks, with the Hospital expecting to secure treatment within 15 working days for 90% of patients this month.

I am aware that there have been some capacity issues at UHG. However, in recent months internal improvements to streamline processes has added to capacity and allowed UHG to increase the number of chemotherapy slots per day from 16 to 22. UHG are also prioritising the filling of vacant nursing posts in this area.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (196)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

196. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health when a decision will be made on an application for the nursing home support scheme by a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22289/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (197)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

197. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the implementation of a text messaging system by the HSE (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22293/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this question relates to a service matter, I have arranged for it to be referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Home Help Service Provision

Ceisteanna (198)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

198. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health if he will address a matter regarding a person (details supplied) in County Sligo waiting for approved homecare support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22295/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (199)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

199. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health when a child (details supplied) will receive an assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22298/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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