Domestic Homicide

Ceisteanna (279)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

279. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to implement multi-agency domestic homicide reviews in order to better protect victims of domestic abuse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26583/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, last month I commissioned an independent, specialist in-depth research study on familicide and domestic homicide. The study will entail two distinct pillars:

1. the provision of supports to families who are victims of familicide;

2. international best practice in the conduct of Domestic Homicide Reviews.

Ms. Norah Gibbons has been appointed to lead this independent study and is now been joined by practising Senior Counsel Grainne McMorrow and internationally recognised Forensic Criminologist Dr Jane Moncton Smith. Their work will involve consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including State agencies, family members of victims and non-governmental organisations. A public advertisement was placed in the national newspapers recently calling for interested parties to make submissions to the study by 31 July. I encourage all interested parties who can assist the work of this study to make a submission which can be done by e-mail to info@fsdhr.ie.

The second pillar of the study will address the issue of domestic homicide reviews. Domestic Homicide Reviews have taken place for a number of years in other jurisdictions. The study will draw on peer related research and consult family members of victims, experts, NGOs and state agencies. It will also consult other agencies/organisations with experience of domestic homicide reviews in comparable foreign jurisdictions. International best practice will be identified and recommendations made in relation to their application to this jurisdiction.

Moreover I have been advised by the Garda Commissioner that, in the context of the categorisation and recording of homicides, An Garda Síochána is currently conducting a review of the investigation of certain homicides which includes a number of domestic homicides. I have also been informed that, separately to this, that An Garda Síochána is developing policies and procedures to inform the overall policing approach to domestic homicides. This includes a Domestic Homicide Review Team in the Garda National Protective Services Bureau examining a small number of domestic homicides of relevance for review. The purpose of such reviews is to serve as a lessons learned review to facilitate better practice in the approach to domestic abuse. This practice will assist An Garda Síochána in seeking to continuously improve their approach to domestic abuse.

Finally, I would also like to advise the Deputy that significant reforms have and continue to be advanced over the last number of years by the Government in making the criminal justice system a more victim responsive one. This includes the introduction of a wide range of victim oriented legislation including the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017 and the Domestic Violence Act 2018 and organisational reforms taken across the respective criminal justice agencies aimed at better supporting victims of crime.

Garda Training

Ceisteanna (280)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

280. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí who undertook the method of entry course in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the duration of the course; the frequency with which the courses are held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26600/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for managing An Garda Síochána, including the training of its members and civilian staff and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.

I am informed by the Commissioner that the number of gardaí who undertook the method of entry course is as set out in the following table.

Year

No. of Gardaí

2017

27

2018

143

2019 to-date

108

The Method of Entry Course is of four days' duration. Method of Entry Courses are scheduled throughout the year to meet operational demands and requirements.

Direct Provision System

Ceisteanna (281)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

281. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of residents living in the Balseskin reception centre; the contracted capacity of same; the number of the residents of the Hatch Hall reception centre being transferred to Balseskin; if additional arrangements have been made for them there; if Hatch Hall residents are being moved to different reception centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26608/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Regretfully, due to circumstances outside the control of the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), Hatch Hall accommodation centre will close on 15 July 2019.

RIA is proactively engaging with residents to discuss their options in order to minimise disruption. This includes seeking to re-accommodate those still in the protection process within RIA's accommodation portfolio and providing residents with status/permission to remain with support from DePaul Ireland to move on from RIA accommodation and into mainstream housing.

The capacity of Hatch Hall is 220 residents and the current occupancy, as of 9th June, is 213 persons. 140 of these residents have been offered temporary accommodation in Balseskin Reception Centre. In addition, 38 residents with status/permission to remain are receiving assistance from DePaul Ireland, who are contracted by the Department, to find accommodation in the community.

Balseskin reception centre currently has a contracted capacity of 350. Its occupancy, as of 9 June 2019, was 294 persons. A new residential block is under construction in this reception centre and when construction has been completed in mid-July, the capacity of the centre will increase to 487. The additional capacity is necessary to respond to the increased number of persons claiming international protection.

A new, purpose-built health facility will open in the reception centre in the coming weeks and will be to the standard of all new HSE primary care facilities. The facility provides much-needed additional space and will accommodate a primary care team that includes nurses, doctors and psychologists. The facility will allow the health care team to address health issues while also accommodating infection control measures in an efficient manner. In addition, the facility will allow the HSE and others to provide group interventions. Visiting outside clinicians can also be facilitated in the new health facility.

Travel Documents

Ceisteanna (282)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

282. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of travel documents for persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26644/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that a person who has been granted permission to remain in the State, and who does not possess or cannot obtain a national passport, may submit an application for a travel document, which will be examined on its merits. Unlike a refugee, a person with non-protection permission to remain does not have an entitlement to be issued with a travel document, and such a document would be issued solely on a discretionary basis. Applications are examined on a case by case basis.

It appears that information has been proffered to the Deputy which was not made available to INIS at the time this person’s application for a discretionary document was being considered. The deputy may wish to note that the refusal issued on this application extends to that application only. The applicant is free to apply for a travel document again, and any future application will be examined on its merits. In any future application, the person would be advised to submit information on the rescinding of his or her refugee status by the relevant authorities, and provide any relevant residence permission letters issued by this Department, as required by the travel document application form.

More generally, queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (283)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

283. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of unmarked cars and vans attached to the Garda National Immigration Bureau in 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [26709/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021. This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles among the various Garda divisions. As Minister, I have no role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure their optimum use.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that 19 unmarked cars and 5 unmarked vans were attached to the Garda National Immigration Bureau in 2018. I am further informed that as of 20 June 2019, there are 20 unmarked cars and 5 unmarked vans attached to the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

The Deputy may also wish to be aware that a total of €10 million has been made available for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I understand from the Garda authorities that this allocation will be used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year.

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (284)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

284. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of marked cars, Jeeps and motorcycles attached to the DMR roads policing escort unit in 2018 and to date in 2019. [26710/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021. This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles among the various Garda divisions. As Minister, I have no role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure their optimum use.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there is no escort unit in the terms referred to. However I am informed that the following table sets out the number of marked vehicles attached to roads policing duties across the DMR in 2018 and as of 20 June 2019.

Year

Marked Cars

Marked Motor Bikes

Marked 4x4

* Other marked vehicles

2019 (as of 20/06/2019)

21

48

7

8

2018

21

40

7

4

*The category 'others' refers to MPV, SUV, Minibus or Prisoner Conveyance Vehicles

The Deputy may wish to be aware that in addition to these marked vehicles, I am informed a further 8 unmarked vehicles are attached to roads policing duties in the DMR as of 20 June 2019.

Finally, the Deputy may be interested to be aware that a total of €10 million has been made available for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I understand from the Garda authorities that this allocation will be used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year.

Garda Resources

Ceisteanna (285)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

285. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the report from the Garda Commissioner regarding the issuing of body-worn cameras to front-line gardaí will be received. [26711/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021. The Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of these resources and decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of equipment and resources, including ICT resources, are for the Commissioner in light of identified operational demands.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland included a recommendation that An Garda Síochána develop a plan to deploy body worn cameras. The Implementation Plan for that report - A Policing Service for the Future - includes a related action in relation to legislative preparation for deployment of body worn cameras. Government today approved the drafting of a general scheme of a Bill on this and related matters. It is intended that the general scheme will be developed in 2019 and the Bill will be published in 2020.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that a business case is being prepared in An Garda Síochána in relation to the introduction of body worn cameras for operational members. Any such business case will be submitted to my Department after approval by the Commissioner.

Criminal Assets Bureau

Ceisteanna (286)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

286. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated amount it would cost to recruit five additional forensic digital specialists for the Criminal Assets Bureau. [26712/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised that the estimated yearly cost of recruiting 5 Financial Crime Analysts at the entry point of the payscale is €338,214 (including employer's PRSI).

Irish Prison Service

Ceisteanna (287)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

287. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the capital budget allocation for the Irish Prison Service in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [26747/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Total Capital Budget Allocation for the Irish Prison Service for each of the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 is set out in the following table.

Year

Allocation - € million

2017

22.33

2018

24.33

2019

32.3

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (288)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

288. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda public order vans attached to the Cork city division as of 1 June 2017, 1 June 2018 and 17 June 2019, in tabular form. [26748/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021. This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

The Deputy may also wish to be aware that a total of €10 million has been made available for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I understand from the Garda authorities that this allocation will be used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year.

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles among the various Garda divisions. As Minister, I have no role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure their optimum use.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that 1 Garda Public Order van was attached to the Cork City Division on 31 December 2017 and that 2 vans were attached to the Cork City Division on 31 December 2018. I am further informed that as of 20 June 2019, there are 2 Garda Public Order vans attached to the Cork City Division.

Proposed Legislation

Ceisteanna (289)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

289. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to update the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001. [26749/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

There are currently two Bills being prepared within my Department which will amend the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.

The first is the proposed Criminal Justice Bill 2019, the General Scheme for which was approved by the Government in October 2018, which is expected to be approved for publication in the coming weeks. This Bill transposes Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2017 on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law. Although the provisions of the Directive are already largely transposed into national law under existing legislation, the 2019 Bill will update Part 6 of the 2001 Act through updated definitions of offences, officials who are subject to the Act and the “intentional” aspect of the Directive’s requirements. It also addresses the liability of legal persons in the context of relevant offences.

The second Bill that will amend the 2001 Act is the proposed Criminal Justice (Counterfeiting) Bill 2019, the General Scheme for which will be brought to Government in the coming weeks, and will be made publically available thereafter on my Department’s website. This Bill will transpose Directive (EU) 2014/62 and give effect to three EU technical instruments for the improved monitoring and detection of counterfeit euros. The 2014 Directive establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the area of counterfeiting of the euro and other currencies. The Directive requires the creation of criminal offences of making, uttering, importing counterfeit currency and possessing instruments and security features for making counterfeits. It is considered that the provisions on counterfeiting in Part 5 of the 2001 Act meet most of the requirements of the 2014 Directive. However, it is necessary to make a number of amendments to Part 5 of the 2001 Act to fully transpose the 2014 Directive and the associated technical instruments.

In addition to the above amendments to the 2001 Act, the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2019 contains a minor amendment to section 52 of the 2001 Act which will allow An Garda Síochána to request records in an electronic (or any other) format where necessary. The General Scheme of this Bill is available from my Department's website, having been approved by the Government in January this year. It is expected to be brought before the Houses in the Autumn.

Finally, officials within my Department are currently considering the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission’s 2018 Report on Regulatory Powers and Corporate Offences insofar as the recommendations of that report pertain to the 2001 Act.

Domestic Homicide

Ceisteanna (290)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

290. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2019 will be supported to allow for domestic homicide reviews to be carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26922/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As agreed by Dáil Éireann in its consideration of the second stage of this Private Members' Bill, the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2019 will be deemed to be read a second time nine months from 21 May of this year. This 9 month period is to allow for the progress of the independent specialist in-depth research study on familicide and domestic homicide reviews, led by Ms Norah Gibbons. This study will examine provisions and supports in respect to familicide and the introduction of domestic homicide reviews. The study will also examine in a comprehensive and independent way the experience of such reviews operating elsewhere. Based on its findings it will then be able to make recommendations in relation to how we can effectively introduce such measures in Ireland.

Asylum Seeker Accommodation

Ceisteanna (291)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

291. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans for a hotel (details supplied) to remain serving as a refugee centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26923/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

My Department, through the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), has commenced a national procurement programme for accommodation centres for persons entering the state and seeking international protection. This will comprise a series of regional competitions through the Government's procurement website www.etenders.gov.ie.

The Department ran a tender competition for premises within 40km of Newbridge, Co. Kildare for accommodation and ancillary services. Successful bidders were required to undertake mobilisation works to provide for cooking facilities for residents, a foodhall (where residents can procure ingredients and food items as well as toiletries and household items through a points system) and provide designated living space for families outside of the bedrooms. There is a 12 week provision for the completion of the required mobilisation works. No contract will be in effect until the mobilisation works are completed and subsequently inspected and verified as complete by RIA.

The provider who is currently providing accommodation and ancillary services at the Hazel Hotel in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare was successful in being placed on the framework. The 12 week mobilisation period commenced on the 11th April 2019 which requires all works to be complete by the 4th July 2019.

The contract is for an initial 2 year period and can be extended twice on a mutually agreeable basis for a year each time. The agreed capacity is for 143 persons and the centre will be used to accommodate a mix of families and single persons.

Workplace Relations Commission

Ceisteanna (292)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

292. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the reason a decision has not been given on a case (details supplied) that was heard by the Workplace Relations Commission for adjudication in January 2019; if same can be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26833/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is an independent statutory office under the aegis of my Department. The WRC’s core services include the provision of early resolution, mediation, conciliation, facilitation and advisory services, adjudication on employment and equality complaints, the monitoring of employment conditions to ensure the compliance and enforcement of employment rights legislation, the provision of information, and the processing of employment agency and protection of young persons (employment) licences.

The WRC is independent in the exercise of its quasi-judicial functions and I have no direct involvement in its day to day operations. However, I understand from the WRC that this decision has recently issued to the parties.

Work Permits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (293, 297)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

293. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the healthcare assistant role will be removed from the ineligible categories of employment for permits on a controlled basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27117/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

297. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to add home care workers to the eligible list of categories for work permits for workers from outside the EU and EEA in view of the critical shortage of home care workers here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26548/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 293 and 297 together.

The State's general policy is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills needs from within the workforce of the State and other EEA states. Where specific skills prove difficult to source within the State and EEA, the employment permits system offers a conduit into the Irish labour market for non-EEA nationals with in-demand skills and is operated as a vacancy led system.

The system is managed through the operation of the Critical Skills Occupations List and the Ineligible Occupations List for the purposes of granting an employment permit. The Lists are subject to twice-yearly review which is predicated on a formalised and evidence-based process and involves consideration of the research undertaken by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (Solas), the Expert Group of Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), the National Skills Council, and input by relevant Government Departments in addition to the public consultation phase. Submissions to the review process are also considered by the Economic Migration Policy Interdepartmental Group chaired by DBEI and which includes the Department of Health.

Healthcare assistants and Homecare workers are currently on the Ineligible Occupations List and in order to have an occupation removed from the ineligible list, there would need 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 evidence to substantiate their claims.

Following completion of the most recent review, the roles of Healthcare Assistant and Homecare workers were not proposed for amendment at this time. The views of the lead policy Government Department for the sector, in this case, the Department of Health, are an important part of the decision-making process. Officials of that Department have advised the sector of the need for further evidence, demonstrating genuine efforts to recruit across the EEA. In particular the sector needs to engage with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social protection who have responsibility for EURES the (European Employment Services), and who are well positioned to help sectors to recruit from within the EEA.

The mid-year Review of the Occupational Lists has now commenced, and a public consultation is underway, with a closing date of 12th July. Interested parties are invited to make submissions relating to the skills and labour supply in their sector of interest, using the submission form posted for this purpose on my Department's website.

Horizon 2020 Strategy Funding

Ceisteanna (294)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

294. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the drawdown by Ireland of Horizon 2020 funding; the status of same in relation to nationally set targets; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26104/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s programme for research and innovation with a budget of just under €80 billion and covering the period 2014 to 2020.

Horizon 2020 is a core part of Europe 2020, the Innovation Union and the European Research Area. Awards under Horizon 2020 assist investment in future jobs and growth, address people’s concerns about their livelihoods, safety and environment and strengthen the EU’s global position in research, innovation and technology.

As of May 2019, Irish researchers and companies continue to perform strongly in competing for this funding, and have been successful in winning €709.6m in funding. This secured funding is broadly in line with achievement of our national target of €1.25 billion.

Ireland’s €709.6m of secured funding equates to €11.3m per month or €2.5m per week - compared to €1m per week in the early stages of FP7. It accounts for 1.73% of the total allocated Horizon 2020 budget; the national target in this framework programme was 1.56% (juste retour: 1.2%).

As of May 2019, Irish Higher Education Institutions have secured a total funding of €390.5m. Private companies have secured funding of €237.4m of which SMEs have secured €147.1m.

IDA Ireland Portfolio

Ceisteanna (295)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

295. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation further to Parliamentary Question No. 387 of 11 June 2019, the reason planning permission was allowed to lapse on the site; if IDA Ireland is engaged in a process to reapply for planning permission on the site; if so, the timeline for the process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26190/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As the Deputy will appreciate, IDA Ireland has to make decisions on developing lands based on a number of factors, including likely demand and available funding. It is my understanding that, despite planning permission having been secured, there was limited interest from Agency clients for the site in question. Coupled with budgetary demands elsewhere, this resulted in the physical development being paused, although the lands continued to be marketed by the IDA to potential investors.

Having said that, I am informed that the IDA has now commissioned an updated assessment of this land bank with respect to its investment potential. A revised planning application is currently being considered as part of this assessment.

It is positive that planning permission was previously secured on this site and it is helpful to the Agency in their ongoing efforts to showcase its potential to investors. The IDA continues to actively market this site, together with the wider area, to clients that may be interested in expanding or locating in County Mayo.

The pipeline for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Mayo remains positive. In 2018 there was a 7.5% increase in employment by IDA client companies with 344 net new jobs added. The IDA has also recently secured a tenant for an Advanced Technology Building (ATB) that was constructed in Castlebar as part of the Agency's Regional Property Programme. The decision by the firm in question to locate in that ATB, and thereby create 150 jobs in Castlebar, demonstrates the area's potential and its attractiveness to overseas investors.

Freedom of Information Data

Question No. 297 answered with Question No. 293.

Ceisteanna (296)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

296. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of freedom of information requests granted, part granted, refused, transferred to an appropriate body, withdrawn or handled outside freedom of information in 2018, in tabular form. [26385/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Details of the total number of Freedom of Information requests granted, part-granted, refused, transferred to an appropriate body, withdrawn or handled outside freedom of information by my Department and its offices in 2018 are outlined in the following table.

Total Number of FOI Requests Received in Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and its Offices in 2018

Total FOI Requests Granted in 2018

Total FOI Requests Part-Granted in 2018

Total FOI Requests Refused in 2018

Total FOI Requests Transferred in 2018

Total FOI Requests Withdrawn in 2018

Total FOI Requests Handled outside of FOI in 2018

53

91

31

4

69

44

Question No. 297 answered with Question No. 293.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (298)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

298. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the uptake and expenditure on all Brexit supports under the remit of her Department, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26702/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

While the nature of the UK's departure from the EU still remains to be determined, Brexit continues to represent a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland. That is why my Department and its agencies have put in place extensive supports, schemes and advisory resources to ensure that businesses are prepared for Brexit. While we cannot yet know the form that Brexit will take, these measures aim to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Brexit is my top priority at this time and was central to my decision-making on the allocation of the additional €14.2m Current and €65m Capital funding I secured as part of Budget 2019.

For example, I provided an additional €5m to the network of Local Enterprise Offices, €3m to Enterprise Ireland, €2m to IDA Ireland and €1m to InterTradeIreland to help businesses prepare for Brexit, together with funding for the longer-term Future Growth Loan Scheme and the IDA Regional Property Programme. I also provided extra staff for regulatory bodies of my Department to ensure they are properly resourced to address the additional demands that Brexit will create.

Local Enterprise Office (LEO) funding has been increased by 22% in 2019, and this increase is being used to assist micro-enterprises in becoming more competitive and better able to cope with the changing environment in which they are operating. The LEOs, which have a presence in every county, are working with the broad range of small and micro indigenous enterprises across sectors to ensure that they are informed about Brexit 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 01 March last and a second call of the scheme opened on 19 June. 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. ITI offers a Brexit Planning Voucher worth up to €2,250, which enables businesses to get professional advice on how best to plan and prepare for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services. In March, it launched a Brexit Implementation Voucher, which provides financial support up to €5,625 with InterTradeIreland paying 50% of total expenditure. This will allow businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship.

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 opened for applications through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland in April of this year. The scheme provides 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 uptake of the different Brexit-related supports available through the Department and its agencies as at 14 June 2019.

The second table 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.

Table 1

Scheme

Uptake (14 June 2019)

Brexit Loan Scheme

656 applications received, 596 approved by SBCI, 141 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €31.73 million.

(Uptake as of 21 June)

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

5,313 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1085 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

199 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

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

167 projects have been approved under this initiative1

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard

3,716 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,258 Customs Insights Course participants

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

52 Agile Innovation projects have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

16 Brexit Advisory Clinics have been run with over 1,200 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

258 “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

1,071 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

602 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant2

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

340 LEO clients have participated in the programme

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

641 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

4,639 Participants at the Brexit Information events

Customs Training Participants

468 Participants attended Customs Training

InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service

3,045 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service in 2019. This is in addition to the 4,175 engagements in 2018.

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

There have been 1,587 applications, with 1,391 approved and 12 still pending assessment.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enterprise Ireland

11 retailers were awarded funding in March 2019. A second call of the Scheme will open on 19 June and will close 31 July 2019.

1 The Market Discovery Fund figure listed is lower than that of the end of February document figure of 251. The updated figure refers to the number of businesses approved, while the earlier number of 251 referred to the number of projects approved. This is now how it is reported to the Board, where projects was used previously.

2 The figure of 651 provided on 08 May was incorrect and should have indicated uptake of 551. This was due to human error.

Table 2

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.

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

€304,553 to 16/05/2019

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

€443,786 to 16/05/2019

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

€736,105 to 16/05/2019

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

€265,341 to 16/05/2019

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

€480,000 to 16/05/2019

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

€1,373,218 to 16/05/2019

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

2018 Expenditure

€560,275

1 Jan to 31 st March 2019 Expenditure

€124,607

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

2018 Expenditure

€951,129

1 Jan to 31st March 2019 Expenditure

€127,121

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

2018 Expenditure

€128,601

1 Jan to 31st March 2019 Expenditure

€33,181

The Prepare Your Business for Customs workshop helps businesses understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed in a post Brexit world.

2018 Expenditure

n/a

1 Jan to 31st March 2019 Expenditure

€24,600

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

InterTradeIreland offer two Brexit Vouchers – a planning voucher which provides 100% financial support towards professional advice to help Businesses identify Brexit exposures and to plan.

The second “implementation” voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5,625, which allows businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship post-Brexit. InterTradeIreland pay 50% of the cost of this voucher.

Expenditure to date in 2019: £860,000.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enterprise 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. There will be a second competitive call in 2019 with a fund of €625,000.

Regional Development Initiatives

Ceisteanna (299)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

299. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the IDA Ireland strategy for Cork city and county; the way in which this relates to the Project Ireland 2040 plan for Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26812/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Cork has traditionally been a strong performer in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI). This trend is continuing, with a steady and positive increase in employment numbers in IDA Ireland client companies in the County over the past number of years. There are currently 169 IDA client companies in Cork, employing approximately 39,000 people.

Under its current 'Winning' Strategy, the IDA is seeking to increase FDI in Cork and the South West region by 30% to 40% over the period 2015-2019. This approach has been delivering results and between 2017 and 2018 alone, employment in IDA client companies in Cork increased by over 5% with 2,087 net new foreign direct investment-supported jobs added in the County. There have also been a number of recent significant recent job announcements by IDA clients including 400 jobs at VoxPro, 200 positions at Deutsche Borse Group and 100 new jobs at Forcepoint.

The IDA is currently in the process of formulating a new five-year strategy covering the period 2020-2024 which will take account of the National Planning Framework under Project Ireland 2040, as well as the Regional Spatial Economic Strategy and Cork Metropolitan Area Strategic Plans.

It is clear, not least from the County's recent performance over the last number of years, that Cork has a robust enterprise base and remains a highly attractive destination for overseas companies. Work will nevertheless continue, by both the enterprise agencies and the Government, to help ensure it continues to attract further investment.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (300)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

300. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of the implementation of adventure therapy as part of the CAMHS (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26479/19]

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.

Motorised Transport Grant Closure

Ceisteanna (301)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

301. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health when the motorised transport grant will be reintroduced or an equivalent scheme put in place. [26810/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Deputy will be familiar with the background to the closure of both the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant schemes in 2013.

The Motorised Transport Grant scheme operated as a means-tested grant to assist persons with severe disabilities with the purchase or adaptation of a car, where that car was essential to retain employment. The maximum grant payable once to an individual in any three year period, was €5,020. Previous recipients of the grant who wished to be considered for a further grant, had to re-apply for consideration. The grant did not roll-over on an automatic basis.

Prior to the closure of the Motorised Transport Grant scheme in February 2013, approximately 300 persons per annum qualified for a grant, at an estimated cost of €1.3 million per annum. No further grants have been paid under this scheme since its closure in 2013.

With regard to the proposals for a new Health (Transport Support) Bill, the Deputy may be aware that my colleague, the Minister for Health and I, brought a Memorandum to Government on proposals for a new Transport Support Payment Scheme. Following consideration of the matter, it was decided to withdraw the Memorandum from the Cabinet Agenda at that time. I intend to revert to Government in due course with revised proposals to reflect the discussions at that Cabinet meeting and further discussions between myself and Minister Harris on the best way to progress the Transport Scheme.

It is important to note that the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme, operated by the Revenue Commissioners, remains in place. This scheme provides VRT and VAT relief, an exemption from road tax and a fuel grant to drivers and passengers with a disability, who qualify under the relevant criteria set out in governing regulations made by the Minister for Finance. Specifically adapted vehicles driven by persons with a disability are also exempt from payment of tolls on national roads and toll bridges. Transport Infrastructure Ireland has responsibility for this particular scheme.

There are improvements in access to a range of transport support schemes available to persons with disabilities in the State and on-going work is being carried out by Government Departments, agencies and transport providers to further improve access to public transport services. Under the National Disability Inclusion Strategy, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for the continued development of accessibility and availability of public transport for people with a disability.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Ceisteanna (302)

James Browne

Ceist:

302. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of children in County Wexford awaiting medical equipment (details supplied); the number waiting more than six, 12 and 18 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26847/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Ceisteanna (303)

James Browne

Ceist:

303. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the number of adults in County Wexford awaiting medical equipment (details supplied); the number waiting more than six, 12 and 18 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26848/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for reply to the Deputy.