Questions Nos. 140 to 142, inclusive, answered with Question No. 136.

Human Rights

Ceisteanna (143)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

143. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which he and his EU colleagues are responding to attempts by the Hong Kong authorities to apparently suppress the civil and political rights of the population to assembly and freedom of expression, in defiance of measures provided under Hong Kong's Basic Law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31146/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Ireland and the EU have been consistent in its support for the full implementation of the Basic Law and the 'One Country, Two Systems’ principle. This system provides Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, rule of law, an independent judiciary, democratic separation of powers, and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom of assembly and expression.

As I have noted in this House in recent weeks in response to questions on developments in Hong Kong, public demonstration and protest are an important element of any democracy and the right to do so should not be curtailed.  At the same time, these rights come with responsibilities and it is important that the demonstrators do so peacefully. It is equally important that security forces respond to demonstrations with full respect for citizens’ rights and with the utmost restraint.

Since the initiation of the demonstrations in early June, Ireland has consistently encouraged all parties to refrain from any actions that may escalate tensions, and urged them to express views in a peaceful manner. We further encourage all parties to work for a constructive solution and to engage in dialogue on the matter.  

The Spokesperson for High Representative Mogherini has issued statements in response to developments in Hong Kong, notably following the disturbances which took place on 12 June and 1 July. These statements reiterate the fundamental right of citizens to assembly and expression, as contained in Hong Kong's Basic Law, while calling for restraint on both sides.

Ireland's Consulate General in Hong Kong, along with the EU Office, and representatives of other EU Member States have been engaging regularly with the Hong Kong authorities with regard to developments. Furthermore, Ireland's Ambassador to Beijing met with Chief Executive Carrie Lam, during his visit to Hong Kong on 20 June.

Our Consulate General in Hong Kong, and officials in my Department, will continue to monitor the evolving situation in the Special Administrative Region, and will continue to engage with the local authorities on this issue.

Human Rights

Ceisteanna (144)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

144. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the further steps being taken by him and his EU colleagues to urgently bring to an end the repression of the Uighur community in Xinjiang by the Chinese authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31147/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Government continues to be concerned at the credible reports with regard to the treatment of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. 

Ireland, along with our EU partners, continues to raise this issue directly in our bilateral context with China, and at multilateral levels. These interventions have placed a particular focus on our concern with the system of political re-education camps in Xinjiang, as well as the widespread surveillance and restrictions which is predominantly targeted at Uighurs. We have called on China to allow meaningful, unsupervised and unrestricted access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant UN Special Procedures mandate holders.

At a bilateral level, I discussed the subject with China's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Wang Chao, during political consultations held in Dublin last year. Ireland's concerns about the situation in Xinjiang are also raised in our contacts with the Chinese Embassy in Dublin and through our Embassy in Beijing. 

As I have noted in this House previously, the EU had a detailed discussion with China during the most recent EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in April 2019. During the discussion, the EU stressed that, while actions to counter terrorism are essential, such measures must respect the principle of proportionality, fundamental freedoms and international laws. The issue was also raised during the EU-China Summit in the same month. 

In the multilateral context, the EU has consistently raised concerns about the situation in Xinjiang in recent sessions of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), including the 41st Session of the Council which is currently underway in Geneva. 

Ireland and a significant number of EU Member States participated in China’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November 2018. Ireland urged China to respect freedom of religion and belief and recommended that China grant access to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to all regions of the country, including Xinjiang.  

 We will continue to raise these issues in the future, in both bilateral and multilateral forums.

Dublin-Monaghan Bombings

Ceisteanna (145)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

145. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has had recent discussions with the British Foreign Secretary and with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the need for the British Government to respond positively to the unanimous requests of Dáil Éireann concerning the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31154/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Last 17 May marked the 45th anniversary of the appalling attacks of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in which 33 people were murdered. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan TD, represented the Government at the remembrance ceremony in Dublin.

The Government stands in solidarity with all those who lost loved ones or were injured on that day, and who suffer still as a result of these bombings.

The implementation of the All-Party Dáil motions relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings is a priority for the Government, as highlighted in the Programme for a Partnership Government.  The All-Party motion on the 1974 Dublin Monaghan bombings adopted by the Dáil on 25 May 2016 has, like those adopted in 2008 and 2011, been conveyed to the British Government.

These motions call on the British Government to allow access by an independent, international judicial figure to all original documents relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, as well as the Dublin bombings of 1972 and 1973, the bombing of Kay’s Tavern in Dundalk and the murder of Seamus Ludlow.

The Government is committed to actively pursuing the implementation of these all-Party Dáil motions, and has consistently raised the issue with the British Government, including at the British-Irish Inter-Governmental Conference, most recently on 8 May last.

I and Minister Flanagan made clear to our counterparts that the absence of a response from the British Government is of deep concern to the Government, and that there remains an urgent need for a response. 

The Government will continue to engage with the British Government on this request, and pursue all possible avenues to achieve progress on this issue, consistent with the request made by this House and until a resolution is found.

The Government maintains a close and cooperative relationship with Justice for the Forgotten, as we continue work to seek the full facts of the appalling events of 25 May 1974 and of other attacks in this jurisdiction during the Troubles.

British-Irish Co-operation

Ceisteanna (146)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

146. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he will take to protect, promote and enhance Anglo-Irish relations, particularly in the context of Brexit; if he has considered putting new formal structures for dialogue in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31192/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I and my Government colleagues have always been clear that we will seek to maintain the closest possible bilateral relationship with the UK post-Brexit. On a political level, we already cooperate closely through a number of institutions, most notably the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and the British-Irish Council, both of which are institutions of the Good Friday Agreement. 

The British Irish Intergovernmental Conference was established to deal with “the totality of relationships” between these islands and to promote bilateral cooperation at all levels on all matters of mutual interest within the competence of the two sovereign Governments. It provides an important opportunity to consider the East West relationship and a forum to discuss important issues, as the agenda of the last meeting reflected, including political developments in Northern Ireland, East-West economic cooperation, security cooperation, issues relating to the legacy of the conflict in Northern Ireland, and issues of rights and citizenship. There have been three meetings of the Conference over the past year, in London last July, in Dublin in November and again in London on 8 May last.       

For its part, the British-Irish Council brings together the Irish and UK Governments, the Devolved Administrations in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, as well as representatives of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The Council continues to work on areas of shared importance, with the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton attending the most recent Summit meeting in Manchester two weeks ago.

There are also strong inter-parliamentary relations maintained and developed through the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA), which brings together elected representatives from the Oireachtas, the UK Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish and Welsh devolved Assemblies, as well as the representative assemblies for the Channel Islands and  the Isle of Man. Three of the four BIPA Committees have carried out inquiries into the consequences of the UK exit from the EU for various sectors across this island, meeting with practitioners and stakeholders to hear evidence and further the discourse around this issue of primary importance.

However, notwithstanding the important work of these Institutions, there is a real danger that, post-Brexit, our two countries could lose the habit of cooperation that we have developed working side by side in EU institutions since 1973. Therefore, we will need to work hard to protect and develop our relationship as close neighbours and good friends.

That is why, at last November's British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, we discussed a joint paper outlining a possible model to maintain and strengthen the high level of bilateral co-operation between Ireland and the UK post-Brexit.

As announced following the Conference, this model would include top level summits involving the Taoiseach and Prime Minister and senior Irish and UK Ministers. These summits would be supported by close bilateral work at both political and official levels.

This commitment was reaffirmed at the most recent BIIGC, held in May this year, and officials on both sides have commenced the process of turning these ideas into a detailed practical plan of work with a view to presenting a fully worked through proposal for future East-West cooperation.

The Embassy of Ireland in London remains our largest bilateral Embassy globally, and has had additional staff assigned to it since the Brexit vote to reflect the fact that our relationship with the UK is such a high priority. Our Consulate in Edinburgh continues to be very active, and our Consulate in Cardiff has reopened in recent months. Our Global Ireland policy contains a pledge to open an additional consulate in another British location post-2019. ‘Team Ireland’ also enjoys a significant footprint in Britain with our trade, tourism, and investment agencies continuing to make a positive impact.

I am therefore confident that these existing structures and proposed new arrangements will provide ample opportunity for positive engagement between our two Governments into the future.

Foreign Policy

Ceisteanna (147)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

147. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the areas being prioritised in terms of EU policy over the next five years aside from Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31193/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

In June, the European Council adopted a new Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 to guide the work of the Union over the next five years. The Strategic Agenda focuses on four overarching priorities: protecting citizens and freedoms; developing a strong and vibrant economic base; building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe; and promoting European interests on the global stage.

The new Strategic Agenda strongly reflects many of the key priorities identified in Ireland’s National Statement on the European Union which was approved by the Cabinet in April. The National Statement was Ireland’s contribution to the development of the new Strategic Agenda. It was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas and was the subject of statements in Dáil Eireann just before the Easter recess.

The priorities set out in the National Statement include the completion of the Single Market, tackling climate change and the promotion of sustainable agriculture.  

The European Council will discuss the follow-up to the Strategic Agenda in October 2019.

Diplomatic Representation

Ceisteanna (148)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

148. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to open new embassies and consulates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31194/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The launch of ‘Global Ireland – Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025’ in June 2018 set out the Government’s ambitions for expanding and deepening our international presence, including through the opening of new Embassies and Consulates.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade plans to open 26 new diplomatic Missions during the lifespan of Global Ireland  and will further deepen and strengthen the existing Mission Network.

To date new Embassies have opened in Wellington, Bogotá, Amman, Monrovia and Santiago de Chile, and new Consulates General in Vancouver, Cardiff and Mumbai. 2019 sees the opening of new Consulates General in Los Angeles and Frankfurt. Embassies in Kyiv, Manila and Rabat will follow shortly thereafter.

The locations for any possible new Missions are identified on the basis of where they would have the greatest impact and the greatest potential to deliver in terms of the State’s Foreign Policy interests, as outlined in my Department’s Statement of Strategy. The new offices address key gaps and are designed to support Ireland's People, Prosperity, Values, Place in Europe and Influence internationally.

In considering any further expansion of the Diplomatic Network a range of factors will be taken into account including our national, political, economic and trade priorities, as well as the availability of resources.

Foreign Policy

Ceisteanna (149)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

149. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which Ireland plans to double its impact in the Asia Pacific region; the resources, financial and otherwise which will be committed to ensure that this target will be reached; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31195/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Asia Pacific region has grown significantly in importance and influence, and the Global Ireland strategy has set out clear goals and targets for how we meet the challenge posed by changes in the region, and the opportunity presented by greater trade, investment and tourism links. Central to our approach is the commitment to double our impact in the region by 2025.  

In support of that ambitious target, significant work has already been undertaken, including the opening of Ireland’s first resident mission to New Zealand in Wellington, which opened in November 2018, and Ireland's first Consulate General in Mumbai, India, which opened in March 2019. Further new Missions are envisaged to open under the strategy, including Ireland's first resident Mission to the Philippines in 2020, and a third consulate in China before 2025. These new Missions will take to 17 the number of Irish Embassies and Consulates in this fast-growing and important region, which is home to over 4 billion people.  

In line with the expansion of our physical Mission network, there has been a drive to increase our human presence on-the-ground. Including both posted diplomats and local support staff, there has been an 8% increase in the headcount in our Embassies and Consulates in Asia Pacific between 2017 and 2018. This is expected to grow further as new Missions are opened, and further deepening of our existing network takes place. In addition to the work underway in my own Department, the State Agencies have also invested heavily in their Asia Pacific presence, both expanding their network with new offices in Shenzhen, Ho Chi Minh, Tokyo and Melbourne, and reinforcement of existing offices in the region. 

In support of our aim to double our impact by 2025, we have also increased the money available to missions in the region through a doubling of the Asia Pacific Regional Fund (APRF) to €480,000 in 2019. The APRF focused on activities which build awareness of Ireland and promote our values, and for public diplomacy and visibility raising initiatives. Projects this year include a media and film industry trip to Ireland from Beijing, Bloomsday celebrations in Shanghai, a Women in STEAM event in Jakarta and research into perceptions and awareness of Ireland in Japan.

To guide and shape our future engagement with countries in the region, the Government will publish the whole-of-Government Asia Pacific Strategy in the Autumn. This strategy will detail how we will develop long-term strategic relationships, build stronger two-way economic partnerships, share our culture and engage our diaspora and increase our visibility in the region.

Consular Services Provision

Ceisteanna (150)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

150. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when his Department first learned of the case of a person (details supplied); the actions his Department has taken on this matter and to facilitate this person's return here; the progress made to date in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31196/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I am aware of the case to which the Deputy refers. Appropriate consular assistance is provided to all Irish citizens abroad where this is possible. While our capacity to do so in a zone of conflict is necessarily limited, we will do what can and should be done to assist Irish citizens in distress or danger overseas, including helping them to return home. In the case in question, the presence and vulnerability of a young child in such circumstances is of particular concern.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Irish Missions in the region are pursuing options with State and non-State Actors. The Department is also coordinating with colleagues from across Government services as well as international partners.

Given the complex and delicate nature of the case, the Deputy will understand that I cannot go into specific details regarding what options may or may not be underway or comment on speculation about such options. To do so would not be in the interests of Irish citizens or of partner organisations with whom we are in contact.

Northern Ireland

Ceisteanna (151)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

151. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the outcome of recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the need to deal with legacy issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31241/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I have engaged extensively with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and with the leaders of the political parties in Northern Ireland to seek the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement legacy framework.

At the meetings of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and in our bilateral meetings, I have strongly emphasised to the Secretary of State the urgency of definitively moving ahead to a legislative phase to get the Stormont House bodies established. 

The Government welcomed the publication of the summary of responses to the UK Government consultation on addressing the legacy of the Troubles through the framework provided for under the Stormont House Agreement

The main message from the vast majority of the 17,000 people and organisations who responded is that the current system needs to be reformed and that legacy issues need to be dealt with in a way that contributes to reconciliation and a better future.

Importantly also, there was broad support for doing this by implementing the Stormont House Agreement legacy framework.

The Stormont House Agreement provides for a comprehensive set of institutions to deal with legacy issues, in a way that can meet the legitimate needs of victims and survivors and support closure and reconciliation for those communities most affected by the Troubles.

The Government remains firmly committed to the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement, as does the UK Government.

It is essential that there is now a concrete step forward by the UK Government to get this legacy framework that was agreed in 2014 established in legislation, and up and running for victims and survivors, without any further delay.

The necessary implementing legislation is also being advanced in this jurisdiction.

On 28 June, the Minister for Justice and Equality announced the publication of the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Bill 2019, following approval by the Government. 

This legislation will enhance the co-operation that is being provided to ongoing Coroners’ Inquests in Northern Ireland into troubles-related deaths. It will also further underpin the Government’s commitment to full co-operation with the framework of institutions set out in the Stormont House Agreement.

The Government will continue to work to support the full and prompt implementation of the Stormont House legacy framework, to provide families with a way to access whatever truth and justice that is possible in their cases, and as a very necessary step in achieving a fully reconciled society.

Departmental Communications

Ceisteanna (152)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

152. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the oversight of his Department of directives, circulars, advice or requirements issued since 2016; if surveys have been carried out of compliance with these communications to date; the surveys carried out; the results of the surveys; the compliance rate; the actions taken by his Department following these results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31326/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

My Department continually monitors compliance with its relevant legislative, regulatory and internal procedural obligations. Adherence to compliance deadlines is monitored and evaluated throughout the year with regular reporting to senior management on performance.   There are a number of compliance functions operating across key business units.

The civil service renewal plan sets out an ambitious programme of reform for all Government Departments and Offices.  An important aspect is the need for strong governance.  The Corporate Governance Framework (CGF) of my Department encapsulates the commitment to act with integrity and in the public interest meeting the range of legal, regulatory and Government policy obligations. The CGF captures the political and operational context, Departmental obligations and responsibilities, standards of conduct and accountability mechanisms. It defines the role of the Secretary General and senior management in ensuring effective corporate governance and it outlines the governance arrangements in place at Headquarters and across our network of Missions as well as the audit, assurance and compliance arrangements which underpin the Department’s governance approach. The CGF was first published in 2016 and was most recently updated in 2018. It is kept under active review and amended as necessary to ensure that it remains fit for purpose.

A Strategic Management Framework for senior managers, including Heads of Mission overseas, is under development. The Framework summarises management responsibilities and sets out key statutory and compliance obligations. It includes links to support and guidance available to assist Heads of Mission and their management teams in particular in meeting compliance responsibilities. The Framework includes a summary of cross-cutting issues arising from mission reviews, a description of compliance obligations by theme and a compliance calendar. Once finalised, it will foster greater clarity, consistency and enhanced communication between HQ and missions on management and compliance requirements.

Climate Change Policy

Question No. 154 answered with Question No. 131.

Ceisteanna (153)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

153. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the recurring weekly meetings attended by either him or the Secretary General of his Department in 2019 at which climate change and-or preparations within his Department to enact a climate plan has been an agenda item; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31342/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, along with the Secretary General from his Department, have been actively engaged in the preparation and development of Ireland’s national climate action plan. They have participated in and contributed to the relevant meetings and consultations organised by the Department for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment. The Tánaiste has also participated in Cabinet discussions relevant to the approval of the national climate action plan.

In line with the January Government Decision on Single Use Plastics, prevention of waste and green public procurement directed at Departments and Agencies, my Department is taking meaningful action to reduce its carbon footprint. The Secretary General has tabled this for discussion at a number of Departmental Management Board meetings, and just this week, the Tánaiste and Secretary General joined staff from across the Department in a roundtable event to propose actions and initiatives to reduce waste and introduce more sustainable practices. Further engagement is planned in the coming months with a view to rolling out ambitious targets and actions across the Department before the end of the year.  

In addition and in recognition of the increasing threat posed by climate change the Government in its new policy for international development, A Better World, places climate action as one of its four main policy priorities. The policy commits Ireland to increasing its international engagement on climate change particularly with those most affected by its impact.

Question No. 154 answered with Question No. 131.

State Claims Agency Data

Ceisteanna (155)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

155. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the amount paid by each delegated State authority into the State Claims Agency in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the methodology used to calculate the amount to be paid by the delegated State authority; the amount received from scheme funds in the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30788/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The content of this response has been advised to me by the State Claims Agency (SCA) on the basis of information extracted from the National Incident Management System. The SCA is part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which is a body under the aegis of the Minister for Finance. The SCA have confirmed that this information is correct as of 30th June 2019 as it covers reimbursements from delegated State authorities for the years 2010 to end-June 2019.

In order to avoid breaches of data protection legislation, some delegated authorities have been merged, where appropriate, to avoid possible identification of individual payments. In relation to this, the following table only shows delegated authorities with payments above €200,000.

All other state authorities with payments made in the given years have been merged into the “Other” category. Delegated state authorities in this category are: Caranua - Residential Institutions Statutory Fund; Companies Registration Office; Criminal Assets Bureau; Department of Children and Youth Affairs; Department of Communications Climate Action & Environment; Department of Finance; Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Department of the Taoiseach; Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission; Grangegorman Development Agency; Health Information and Quality Authority; Houses of the Oireachtas Commission; Houses of the Oireachtas Service; Labour Relations Commission; Legal Aid Board; Model Schools; National Assets Management Agency; National Gallery of Ireland; National Education Welfare Board; Office of the Attorney General; Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions; Property Registration Authority; Public Appointments Service; Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority; State Examinations Commission; State Laboratory.

There may be slight variations in the data year on year due to financial adjustments and data improvements. For confidentiality reasons, total amounts paid below €50,000 per year are shown as ‘<€50,000’.

Location

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019   YTD

Healthcare

€79,390,999

€82,111,336

€77,263,959

€119,382,197

€127,925,161

€208,149,453

€203,104,920

€254,864,978

€306,718,219

€166,665,273

Schemes

€2,763,818

€5,062,764

€1,846,968

€5,673,411

€1,671,820

€1,473,329

€13,015,777

€13,039,253

€6,873,065

€7,621,693

An   Garda Síochána

€3,683,657

€3,616,652

€3,163,112

€4,526,723

€3,080,739

€3,650,026

€4,505,370

€4,552,566

€3,767,146

€1,105,268

Defence   Forces

€2,598,300

€3,061,707

€2,673,734

€3,100,820

€2,841,130

€3,321,350

€3,126,530

€3,085,230

€6,043,989

€2,220,882

Irish   Prison Service

€1,240,927

€1,337,837

€1,300,274

€2,302,192

€2,001,983

€2,307,170

€4,615,439

€3,648,639

€4,562,225

€1,478,705

Tusla

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€81,338

€2,353,783

€871,386

€3,475,210

€3,930,680

€4,485,114

€2,408,557

Office   of Public Works

€555,475

€541,665

€873,418

€392,854

€1,017,978

€870,489

€727,909

€867,792

€826,763

€1,796,299

Community   & Comprehensive Schools

€377,759

€155,504

€624,650

€436,451

€276,333

€294,701

€901,176

€974,023

€941,245

€361,696

Department   of Agriculture, Food and the Marine - Offices

€1,945,936

€214,811

€196,385

€273,925

€153,119

€164,686

€193,943

€301,211

€601,777

€262,851

Department   of Employment Affairs & Social Protection

€185,346

€72,758

&lt;€50,000

€280,798

€230,593

€768,524

€394,715

€223,569

€284,715

€150,220

Residential   Institutions

€643,988

€794,773

€484,896

&lt;€50,000

€104,508

€81,451

&lt;€50,000

€94,445

€100,797

&lt;€50,000

Day   Schools

€153,797

€71,284

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€92,701

€660,115

€376,437

€572,161

€173,288

&lt;€50,000

Revenue   Commissioners

€73,174

&lt;€50,000

€64,461

€304,990

€276,386

€346,262

€178,103

€185,597

€560,898

€106,981

Courts   Service

€136,301

&lt;€50,000

€85,124

€101,347

€287,782

€139,378

€83,404

€409,446

€403,779

€257,652

Department   of Health

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€55,836

€408,437

€129,522

€454,569

€169,352

€259,461

€173,442

&lt;€50,000

Department   of Justice and Equality

€88,849

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€237,066

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€270,173

€50,015

€811,826

Solas

€0

€0

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€289,037

€98,583

€493,525

€248,991

€260,416

€52,219

Childrens   Detention Schools

&lt;€50,000

€109,484

&lt;€50,000

€195,548

€108,737

€211,449

€175,486

€120,808

€340,039

€73,391

National   Museum of Ireland

€260,617

€135,310

€0

€0

€405,002

€0

&lt;€50,000

€385,833

€64,687

&lt;€50,000

Department   of Foreign Affairs and Trade

€89,944

&lt;€50,000

€127,811

&lt;€50,000

€87,931

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€0

€56,169

€248,763

Department   of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€64,304

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€116,601

€153,743

€171,048

€71,658

€51,354

Department   of Transport, Tourism and Sport

&lt;€50,000

€113,342

€89,644

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€64,789

€101,041

&lt;€50,000

€167,073

&lt;€50,000

Department   of Housing Planning & Local Government

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€213,400

&lt;€50,000

€104,085

€126,423

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

Department   of Education and Skills

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€84,348

&lt;€50,000

€126,603

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€57,942

Probation   Service

&lt;€50,000

€103,654

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€0

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€83,838

&lt;€50,000

Waterways   Ireland

€0

€0

€0

€0

€0

&lt;€50,000

€61,919

&lt;€50,000

€149,399

&lt;€50,000

Department   of Business, Enterprise & Innovation

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€53,439

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€144,256

€52,667

Department   of Defence

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€68,704

€78,917

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

Central   Statistics Office

€0

&lt;€50,000

€77,232

&lt;€50,000

&lt;€50,000

€53,547

€50,568

&lt;€50,000

€0

€0

*Other

€88,591.82

€54,961.06

&lt;€50,000

€134,849.52

€102,479.32

€164,679.66

€138,211.70

€117,460.02

€109,811.52

€171,085.27

It should be noted that the SCA amended its reporting methodology of reimbursement payments this year, to now recognise such transactions on payment date as opposed to transaction date. Therefore, year on year figures previously presented in PQ 4480/18 have adjusted slightly in accordance with this new reporting methodology.

The NTMA bills each delegated State authority on a monthly basis. This billing process is based on the amount paid out by the SCA in the previous month on all claims which are being actively managed and finalised and relates to damages, legal costs (agency and plaintiff) and other expert costs.

Under the NTMA, the SCA is responsible for making decisions in relation to the management of all aspects of the claims under their remit. Where the State is liable, the SCA endeavours to settle claims expeditiously and economically. In cases which involve contributory and/or third party negligence, the SCA endeavours to settle such claims on appropriate and reasonable terms. In cases where liability is fully disputed, claims are contested using appropriate resources e.g. State and expert witnesses, all relevant documents/records (i.e. training, checklists, photos, etc.).

The SCA, in accordance with Section 16 of the NTMA (Amendment) Act 2000, uses the Post Office Savings Bank to fund claims costs and expenses. As payments are made on claims for damages, legal costs and other expert costs, the SCA seeks reimbursements of these from each delegated State authority so it can in turn refund the Post Office Bank account.

In relation to the General Indemnity and Clinical Indemnity Schemes, the SCA does not retain individual claims portfolio funds.

Pensions Reform

Ceisteanna (156, 157)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

156. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his plans to extend the legal framework for approved retirement funds to allow pension schemes to provide ARFs under the regulation of the Pensions Authority. [31238/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

157. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his plans to allow pension schemes approved by the Pensions Authority to offer retiring members of defined contribution schemes, scheme controlled ARFs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31239/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 156 and 157 together.

As you are aware, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s (DEASP) A Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018 – 2023 was published last year. While implementation of the Roadmap is primarily a matter for my colleague, Ms Regina Doherty T.D., the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and her Department, the Interdepartmental Pensions Reform and Taxation Group (IDPRTG) was allocated a number of specific measures.  The IDPRTG is chaired by the Department of Finance and includes representatives from this Department as well as from the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection, Revenue, and the Pensions Authority.

Strand 3 of the Roadmap is concerned with improving the governance and regulation of supplementary pensions to, among other things, achieve scale, improve standards, and simplify the provisions of pensions.  The actions allocated to the IDPRTG under the Roadmap derive in the main from Strand 3, and the terms of reference of the Group reflects this focus.

Action 3.14 commits to ‘Undertake a broad review of the utilisation of the ARF option and consider whether regulatory oversight of this product is fit for purpose'. Officials from my Department have examined submissions from interested parties, as part of the IDPRTG’s work in reviewing the utilisation of the ARF product.

The IDPRTG’s work on the review of ARFs is still underway and the Group hope to finalise their work and report to me on these matters shortly.

Cyber Security Protocols

Ceisteanna (158)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

158. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the cybersecurity protocols under the remit of his Department; if it has had a cybersecurity breach in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30587/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

In relation to my Department, I wish to advise that ICT services are provided by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) under the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. 

My Department implements a multi-layered approach to cyber security and to protecting ICT systems, infrastructures, and services.   On behalf of my Department, OGCIO implements a defence-in-depth security strategy which is achieved through the effective combination of People, Processes, and Technology to support the implementation of appropriate security measures and provisions.  With the threat landscape constantly evolving, significant effort is expended to continually enhance and strengthen ICT security to mitigate against emerging threats, risks, vulnerabilities and cybersecurity issues.  In terms of cyber security strategies, my Department, through OGCIO, works closely with the National Cyber Security Centre which is a division of the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment and encompasses the State's national/governmental Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT-IE). 

My Department has no evidence to indicate any cybersecurity breaches in the past 12 months.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (159, 160, 196, 199, 215, 216)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

159. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of additional customs officials hired to date; the number expected to be in place by the Brexit deadline of 31 October 2019; the estimated number required in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30734/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

160. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of companies that applied for an authorised economic operator status in each of the years 2012 to 2018 and to date in 2019; his views on the necessity of obtaining an AEO in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30735/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

196. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of businesses that applied for the key customs registration, the economic operators registration and identification number to date; the number of businesses with such a registration; the turnaround time for the Revenue Commissioners to process a registration application; the number of businesses the Revenue Commissioners estimate will require such a registration in the course of their normal business after 31 October 2019 in the event of a disorderly Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30983/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

199. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the preparations undertaken to date by the Revenue Commissioners under each different Brexit scenario; the steps that will be taken by the Revenue Commissioners between 11 July 2019 and the end of October 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31030/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

215. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance if all necessary ICT infrastructure will be in place by 31 October 2019 in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31360/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

216. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of companies that have applied for an EORI number; the percentage of firms that do not have an EORI number but will require one in order to continue trading with the UK post-Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31361/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 159, 160, 196, 199, 215 and 216 together.

In relation to question 30734 and in the context of extensive and detailed Brexit preparedness and contingency work across all Government Departments and Agencies, Revenue determined that in a ‘Central Case’ scenario (i.e. an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU, to include a transition period until the end of 2020), an additional 600 Revenue staff would be required.

In September 2018, the Government granted approval in principle for the phased recruitment of an additional 600 Revenue staff to meet the challenges posed by Brexit.

Budget 2019 provided Revenue with an additional €10 million pay provision, for 270 of the additional 600 staff to be recruited during 2019, to manage an orderly UK withdrawal. Following a Government Decision in December 2018, it was agreed to accelerate Revenue’s recruitment programme in preparation for Brexit.

In the period from 2017 to date, I am advised that Revenue has assigned over 450 additional staff to customs related roles, deployed across a range of functions, with the majority assigned to import and export trade facilitation activities and policy and operational roles. Resources are deployed based on evolving business needs and to tackle any risks as they emerge. Revenue will continue to adjust its recruitment and training plans in response to business needs, including Brexit-related developments.

With regard to question 30735 , I am advised by Revenue that the EU Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme, aims to enhance international supply chain security and to facilitate legitimate trade and is open to all Irish businesses who are involved in making Customs declarations.

There is no legal obligation for businesses to become an AEO in order to trade with the UK post-Brexit. While there are benefits to AEO there are also obligations, so a decision to apply for AEO is a matter for careful consideration by each business based on a full assessment of its supply chain and operating model. Full details of the AEO programme are available on the Revenue website at www.revenue.ie.

I am advised by Revenue that in 2018, 30 of the 42 applications for AEO status were received by Revenue in the second half of that year and the increased interest in AEO has continued in 2019 with 82 applications to date.

 The breakdown for each of the years 2012 to 2018 and to date in 2019 is as follows:

Year

AEO Applications

AEO Authorisations Granted

2012

22

22

2013

14

16

2014

16

14

2015

7

9

2016

13

10

2017

16

17

2018

42

21

2019 to date (09/07/19)

82

46

 With regard to questions 30983 and 31361 , Revenue identifies businesses that trade with the UK by analysing the VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) data.

I am advised by Revenue that it is currently analysing VIES data from 2018 which has identified approximately 92,000 businesses having traded with the UK in 2018. On further examination of the data, Revenue identified that approximately 70% (65,000) of these businesses do not currently hold an EORI number.

Details of the value of trade with the UK in 2018 for the approximate 65,000 businesses who do not have an EORI number is set out in the following table:

Value of Trade

Number of Businesses (approximately in each category).

&gt;€1M

250

€100K-€1M

2,600

€50k - €100K

2,800

€5K – €50K 

19,000

&lt; €5K

*

* Revenue is continuing its analysis of data in order to establish the number of businesses that had only one transaction or a minimal level of transactions in the year.

Revenue pointed out that for businesses that may have had only a once off transaction or infrequent trade with the UK, it may be that such transactions and trade are not expected to arise post Brexit. It is a matter for each business to assess its supply chain in the context of Brexit and determine what steps it needs to take to be prepared.

Revenue advised that acquiring an EORI number is the minimum requirement for businesses that wish to trade with, or through, the UK when they leave the EU.  It is a simple and free online process which is available on a 24-hour basis. Once a business is registered with the Revenue Online Service (ROS), the turnaround time for Revenue to process an EORI number application is approximately 3 minutes.

Details of the number of EORI registrations applied for and issued since 2017 is as follows:

Year

Number of EORI   Registrations

2017

2,595

2018

2,976

2019 to date**

7,128

**reflect figures up to 8 July 2019

Revenue continue to encourage businesses that have not yet applied for an EORI number and who will need one post Brexit to do so as a matter of urgency. In that regard I am advised that Revenue will be in direct contact with such businesses over the coming weeks. Once businesses have acquired an EORI number they need to continue their preparations to ensure they avoid significant delays in moving goods to, from or across the UK. At a minimum, every business should have the facility to make customs declarations or have plans in place for a customs agent to do so; know the origin and Commodity Code of their goods or products, and talk to the person who transports their goods or products to make sure they have the information they need to be able to move those goods or products.

In relation to question 31360 , I am advised by Revenue that it estimates that there will be an increase in customs declarations from current levels of approximately 1.6m per annum to over 20 million per annum post-Brexit. Consequently, a key priority for Revenue has been to upgrade the relevant IT systems to ensure that it can cater for this potential volume increase in the post-Brexit environment and to work with the relevant software providers in supporting their preparedness for Brexit.

In Budget 2017, I included provision for a €2 million investment in scaling up the Revenue customs IT framework. As a result of this, Revenue carried out significant work to increase systems capacity to cater for trade with the UK as a third country.  I am advised by Revenue that robust stress and performance testing has taken place to ensure their systems will have capacity to cater for the volumes and the impact on the systems, particularly at peak times. This upgrading was completed prior to 31 March 2019 and I am advised by Revenue that it is confident that the IT systems will handle the increased declaration levels in a no-deal scenario.

I am further advised that Revenue has engaged directly with software providers and customs agents to ensure these key players are aware of the requirements in the post-Brexit environment.

Living Wage

Ceisteanna (161)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

161. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost of implementing a living wage €12.30 for all employees directly employed and or in agencies under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30771/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I wish to inform the Deputy that the cost of implementing a living wage of €12.30 per hour for all employees directly employed by my Department would be approximately €82,000 annually.

Of the 17 bodies under the aegis of my Department, I am informed that 8 would incur no additional costs by implementing a living wage of €12.30 per hour. These are the Credit Review Office, the Credit Union Advisory Committee, the Credit Union Restructuring Board, the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

The cost of implementing a living wage of €12.30 per hour for all employees for the remaining 9 bodies is in the following table.

Body under the remit of the Department of Finance 

Estimated cost of implementing a living wage of €12.30 for all employees in agencies

Office of the Comptroller and Audit General

€31,000

Central Bank (incl. Investor Compensation Company DAC)

€98,000*

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman

€33,000

National Treasury Management Agency (incl. Home Building Finance Ireland and the National Asset Management Agency)

€4,500**

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

€4,450,000***

Tax Appeals Commission

€18,000

* This cost includes Interns with a maximum employment duration of 9 months per year. The Central Bank provides administrative and support services, including payroll services, to the Investor Compensations Company DAC.

** The total cost of implementing a living wage of €12.30 effective from 1st July 2019. All employees who are paid €12.30 as at 30th June 2019 are on fixed-term contracts and the cost is therefore calculated on the basis of 1st July 2019 to the end date of contract for each individual. The total cost is inclusive of employer costs (employer PRSI and pension). The National Treasury Management Agency provides administrative and support services, including payroll services, to Home Building Finance Ireland and the National Asset Management Agency.

*** This includes a cost of €700,000 for employees on temporary contracts.

Apple Escrow Account

Ceisteanna (162)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

162. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if the loss incurred on the escrow account holding the money received from a company (details supplied) will be recouped from it; if the loss will be incurred by the State if the appeal is lost or by it if the appeal is won; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30789/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Notwithstanding the appeal in the Apple State aid case and the difference in view between Ireland and the Commission on the issue, the Government has always stated that it is fully committed to complying with the binding legal obligations the Commission’s Final Decision places on Ireland.  The State recovered the alleged State aid from Apple. The total amount lodged to the Escrow Fund was circa €14.285 billion (representing the principal amount and relevant EU interest). This represents the full amount of the alleged State Aid and no further such payments will be made into the Escrow Fund. 

The Department of Finance recently published the financial statements for the Escrow Fund for 2018 which are available at the following link –

https://www.gov.ie/en/news/9237ee-cover-note-on-financial-statements-of-ireland-apple-escrow-fund/

The financial statements illustrate that the net assets of the Escrow Fund as at 31 December 2018 totalled €14.269 billion, representing a decline in value of €16 million. This decline in value for the Escrow Fund reflects the current negative interest rate environment as illustrated by the consistent negative official ECB Overnight Deposit rate (-0.4%) and negative yields on highly rated euro-sovereign and quasi-sovereign bonds.

The arrangements in the Escrow Framework Deed include the agreement that all claims of ownership and access to this money is suspended until the European Courts have concluded the proceedings that the Government and Apple have brought. In general terms, all income/expenses, including any gains or losses will accrue to the Escrow Fund. The final proceeds of the Escrow Fund at the conclusion of the entire legal process, will be returned to Apple or paid to the State depending on the final determination over the validity of the Commission's Decision in the European Courts. As this process is expected to take a number of years, it is not possible to determine what the value of the Escrow Fund might be at that point in time.

Central Bank of Ireland Staff

Ceisteanna (163)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

163. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of open roles in the Central Bank by functional area and position; the time the role has remained unfilled in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30790/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Central Bank advises me that it currently has 47 open vacancies across the Bank at varying stages of the recruitment process.

A full breakdown of the number of vacancies in each functional area is detailed below. The current average time to hire for open roles is 9.6 weeks.

Pillar/Directorate

Director

Head of Division

Head of Function

Bank Professional 1

Bank Professional 2

Bank Professional 3

Bank Executive

Bank Officer

Security Guard

Grand Total

Central Banking

 

 

1

1

2

2

1

 

 

7

Corporate Affairs

 

 

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

2

Economics and Statistics

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

Financial Operations

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

1

Financial Stability

 

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

 

3

Financial Conduct

 

 

2

 

2

2

 

 

 

6

Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering

 

 

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

2

Policy and Risk

 

 

2

 

1

1

 

 

 

4

Operations

1

2

 

 

6

4

1

7

1

22

Chief Information Officer

 

 

 

 

6

3

1

 

 

10

Chief Operations Officer Direct Reports

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

2

 

5

Currency & Facilities Management

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

Graduate   Programme 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

5

Prudential   Regulation

1

1

 

2

4

2

2

 

 

12

Asset Management & Investment Banking Supervisor

 

 

 

1

2

 

1

 

 

4

Credit Institutions Supervision

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

Graduate   Programme 2019

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Insurance   Supervision

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Prudential Analysis and Inspections

2

2

1

5

GRAND TOTAL

 2

 3

 3

 3

14

10

4

 7

 1

47

Central Bank of Ireland Data

Ceisteanna (164)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

164. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of licence applications made to the Central Bank between 2014 and 2018 and to date in 2019, by the type of financial services provider, that is, retail credit firm and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30791/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

It was not possible to provide all of the information sought in the time available and, therefore, I will make arrangements to provide the information in line with Standing Orders.

Reports on the Central Bank’s Regulatory Service Standards Performance are published twice a year and are available on the Central Bank website at the link below. The available information includes details from January 2015 to December 2018.

https://centralbank.ie/regulation/how-we-regulate/authorisation/service-standards 

 Information for 2014 will be compiled and provided to the Deputy in line with Standing Orders.