Health and Safety Regulations

Ceisteanna (718, 719, 720, 721, 722)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

718. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a recent survey by an association (details supplied) found that of a sample of toys purchased from third-party sellers on online marketplaces, 58% were non-compliant with UK toy safety regulations and 22% had significant safety issues; and the steps she is taking to address the potential sale of unsafe toys to consumers here by online sellers. [35077/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

719. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her role in ensuring that the goods sold to consumers here by online marketplaces meet Irish and EU quality standards. [35078/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

720. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her role in ensuring that the goods sold to retailers here by online marketplaces meet Irish and EU quality standards. [35079/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

721. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her Department or agencies under its aegis conduct inspections of toy retailers to ensure that the toys being sold in shops here meet the standards set out by SI No. 14 of 2011 - European Communities (Safety of Toys) Regulations 2011. [35080/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

722. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if there have been convictions against or fines on retailers for selling toys that do not meet the standards set out by SI No. 14 of 2011 - European Communities (Safety of Toys) Regulations 2011. [35081/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 718 to 722, inclusive, together.

Directive 2009/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the safety of toys, transposed into Irish law by S.I. No. 14 of 2011, places the onus on all economic operators (ie manufacturers, distributors, importers) to ensure that only safe toys are placed on the market. If economic operators become aware that toys on the market present a potential hazard, they must take appropriate measures, up to and including a recall of the items, to ensure that the risk is removed. Any action taken by an operator must be notified to the relevant market surveillance authority; in Ireland this is the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

Where the CCPC finds unsafe toys on the Irish market, it will act to ensure economic operators remove the toys from the market until they are in compliance with the legislation. The CCPC has confirmed that all measures taken to date involved voluntary actions by the relevant economic operator to bring unsafe toys into compliance or remove them from the market. The CCPC did not consider the initiation of criminal proceedings against these economic operators as proportionate. However, the CCPC retain the right to take criminal proceedings against economic operators that refuse to cooperate with the CCPC with regard to these issues. The CCPC is also part of an EU wide network (known as Safety Gate) that allows for the rapid exchange of information between national market surveillance authorities on any dangerous products found on the EU market.

Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the CCPC is independent in the performance of its functions, including carrying out investigations of unsafe toys. As investigations and enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the CCPC, I, as the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation have no direct function in the matter.

Nevertheless, I can confirm that the CCPC is aware of the recent survey by the British Toy and Hobby Association. The CCPC has also informed me that the issues raised by the survey are familiar to the CCPC and these issues have also been found during the CCPC’s routine market surveillance activities. For the period between January 2016 and July 2019 the CCPC investigated 259,218 toys to check if they were compliant with S.I. No. 14 of 2011 and approximately 28% were found to be non-compliant. Where the relevant economic operator was not able to bring these products into compliance they were then removed from the market.

The CCPC has also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Customs Service in the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, which will provide for greater cooperation between the two bodies and improve the market surveillance of products entering the Irish market. The CCPC is also currently increasing the number of trained staff in its Product Safety Unit and expects the level of both proactive and reactive market surveillance activity to increase in the future.

In addition, the European Commission has recently agreed and published a new Regulation (Regulation 2019/1020 on the Market Surveillance and Compliance of Products) that will give extra powers to market surveillance authorities, such as the CCPC, to regulate products (including toys) sold online. The Regulation will also ensure closer cooperation between market surveillance authorities and customs services in the EU to address the issue of unsafe products (including toys) being imported from third countries. The Regulation will apply from the 16 July 2021 throughout the EU and officials from my Department are currently engaged in preparing implementing legislation to give full effect to all safety and cooperation aspects of the Regulation.

With regard to ensuring that products sold by online marketplaces meet Irish and EU standards, I can inform the Deputy that all products placed on the EU market must be safe. Where a product sold online originates in a country outside the EU, the economic operator will have to comply with the relevant customs authorities (whether in the State or in another jurisdiction) in relation to legislation covering products at point of entry into the EU.

Should the Deputy have any information in relation to unsafe toys or other products on the Irish market, she should make contact with the CCPC directly to provide any relevant information on these matters.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (723)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

723. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount of grant funding or financial assistance her Department and associated agencies have provided to counties Longford and Westmeath in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35135/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department and its agencies are working towards ambitious targets to ensure that employment and investment are distributed as evenly as possible across the country. Counties Longford and Westmeath have experienced significant gains in both employment and investment in recent years with a comprehensive range of supports provided to companies by Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices.

IDA Ireland is authorised by my Department to provide a range of financial supports in the form of employment, capital, research and development, environmental and training grants. These grants are an important means of encouraging companies to invest in Ireland, particularly in regional locations.

Enterprise Ireland supports companies in urban and rural areas to start, innovate and remain competitive in international markets, now and into the future. Enterprise Ireland is actively working with companies with global ambition in Longford and Westmeath to drive competitiveness, innovation and market diversification.

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) provide a range of supports for the micro and small business sector. The LEOs act as the “first-stop-shop” for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports to those wishing to start or grow their own business.

The tables below outline the amount of grant funding allocated to client companies in Co. Longford and Co. Westmeath by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland from 2016 to 2018, and funding allocated by my Department to the Local Enterprise Offices in Co. Longford and Co. Westmeath in the years 2016 to date. 

Table A: Co. Longford 

  

IDA Ireland  

Enterprise Ireland  

Local Enterprise Office  

2016

€169,542

€1,004,560

€541,507

2017

€3,297,973

€1,076,148

€668,046

2018

€2,440,323

€4,000,876

€730,034

2019 (to date)

*

*

€657,389

Table B: Co. Westmeath

  

IDA Ireland  

Enterprise Ireland  

Local Enterprise Office  

2016

€1,768,687

€1,537,281

€980,884

2017

€2,078,588

€1,162,769

€1,107,985

2018

€3,146,661

€1,226,009

€1,109,555

2019 (to date)

*

*

€875,421

*Information on grant amounts for 2019 will not be available until they have been audited by Comptroller and Auditor General in the second quarter of 2020.

In addition to the above, Enterprise Ireland has approved funding for a number of projects in Co Longford and Co. Westmeath under Calls 1 and 2 of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF).

Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR), a not for profit CLG company that was formed in 2014 with the mission to facilitate significant growth and job creation in the Irish manufacturing sector, was successful under Call 1 of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. This received €2,165,280 in 2018.

The Longford Innovation & Digital Hub received €1,284,000 in 2018 under Call 1 of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. This project approved for funding is part of a joint proposal linked with projects in Cavan and Leitrim.

Furthermore, in 2018, funding of €26.75m was announced for the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network over the five-year period from 2018-2022. The network consists of 15 individual Gateways, each hosted by an Institute of Technology, including Applied Polymer Technologies and COMAND - Connected Media based in Athlone Institute of Technology.

Regional Development Funding

Ceisteanna (724)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

724. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount of grant funding allocated to counties Westmeath and Longford through the IDA and Enterprise Ireland since 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35137/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Regional development remains a key priority of mine. I understand the importance of achieving the best possible spread of employment and investment across the country and my Department and its Agencies have been working hard towards that goal. Indigenous firms continue to perform well with over 217,000 people now employed in companies supported by Enterprise Ireland, the highest in the history of the Agency. In terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), there are now over 230,000 people working in IDA client firms. Last year saw more IDA-supported jobs added in regional Ireland than at any time over the past 17 years, with 58% of total such employment now located outside of Dublin.  

With respect to grants, the IDA is authorised by my Department to provide a range of financial supports in the form of employment, capital, research and development, environmental and training grants. These grants are an important means of encouraging companies to invest in Ireland, particularly in regional locations. Enterprise Ireland also provides grants to companies across Ireland and these financial supports enable indigenous firms to develop, innovate and remain competitive in international markets.

The tables below outline the amount of grant funding allocated to companies in Counties Longford and Westmeath by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland from 2016 to 2018. Information on grant amounts for 2019 will not be available until they have been audited by Comptroller and Auditor General in the second quarter of 2020.

Table A: Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland grants to companies in County Longford 2016-2018

Year

Enterprise Ireland

IDA Ireland

2016

€1,004,560

 €169,542

2017

€1,076,148

€3,297,973

2018

€4,000,876

€2,440,323

Total

€6,081,584

€5,907,838

Table B: Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland grants to companies in County Westmeath 2016-2018

Year

Enterprise Ireland

IDA Ireland

2016

€1,537,281

€1,768,687

2017

€1,162,769

€2,078,588

2018

€1,226,009

€3,146,661

Total

€3,926,059

€6,993,936

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (725)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

725. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount expended on the renewal of licences (details supplied) by her Department since 2009 to date in 2019; the amount projected to be spent on the renewal of such licences by her Department over the next five years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35334/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The amount spent by my Department on Lotus Notes license subscription and support renewals since 2009 is as follows:- 

2009        €74,715.05

2010        €62,666.46

2011        €60,908.37

2012        €70,257.60

2013        €71,659.80

2014        €57,195.00

2015        €63,040.58

2016        €70,921.80

2017        €63,258.90

2018        €64,845.60

2019        NIL

My Department has been engaged in a program of moving legacy Lotus Notes systems to newer platforms.  As a result, it is not intended to renew support for these licences in 2019 or subsequent years.

Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (726)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

726. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a work permit application or short-term residency status will be extended in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35393/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

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

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

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

Any application for an employment permit should comply with all of the legislative requirements for the particular employment permit type, including that the non-EEA national has the required immigration permission at the time of application.

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

My colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, has responsibility for issuing immigration permissions.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (727, 728)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

727. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the percentage of SMEs that have commenced actively planning for Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35456/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

728. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the percentage of exporters that have commenced actively planning for Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35457/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 727 and 728 together.

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 promote the understanding and, where appropriate, to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Over the last two years my Department has worked to raise awareness of the key Brexit challenges which include supply chain, tariffs, customs, regulatory standards, working capital and movement of labour, goods and services; to build business preparedness levels; and to put a comprehensive set of supports in place for businesses. My Department and I have been active in the promotion of schemes and supports through participation in different campaigns, including the whole-of-Government 'Getting Ireland Brexit Ready' public information campaign. This campaign features workshop events throughout the country, aimed primarily at business and people most impacted by Brexit. In addition to these, Enterprise Ireland has also rolled out a series of Brexit Advisory Clinics to help businesses across the country to better understand their exposure to Brexit and the mitigating actions available to them.

My Department's ongoing engagement and research indicate that the proportion of businesses preparing for Brexit is increasing, particularly among those businesses identified as most exposed to Brexit-related impacts, and that awareness of the key Brexit challenges is also increasing. Almost 60% of Irish SMEs report a good understanding of the likely implications of Brexit impacts that are relevant to their business. The findings of a survey done by B&A on behalf of my Department in February suggest that planning for Brexit is increasing with almost 50% of SMEs reporting having taken some form of active engagement (up from 42% in 2018) in the form of planning or any other mitigating steps.

Among the most impacted businesses, progress is also being made, for example more than half of exporters indicate that they have a Brexit plan while 70% of exporting and importing companies have taken mitigating actions to address possible Brexit challenges. Among Enterprise Ireland clients, 85% have taken action in respect of Brexit.

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), which operates the Brexit Loan Scheme and the Future Growth Loan Scheme, continues to actively promote these schemes, both at its own events and through participation in other Brexit-related events. In 2019, SBCI has also met with over 400 tax advisers through the Institute of Taxation annual road show at which they have promoted the Brexit Loan Scheme.

Enterprise Ireland has established a Prepare for Brexit online portal and communications campaign. This portal also features an online “Brexit SME Scorecard” to help Irish businesses self-asses their exposure to Brexit and an online customs training tool aimed at businesses dealing with customs for the first time.

InterTradeIreland works with SMEs on an all-island basis and is particularly well placed, given its remit to develop cross-border trade, to help SMEs prepare for the particular North-South challenges associated with Brexit. The ITI Brexit Advisory Service serves as a focal point for SMEs working to navigate the changes in cross-border trading relationships arising as a result of Brexit. As part of this service, ITI has organised a series of awareness raising events focused on providing knowledge of customs procedures and identifying actions that can be taken in areas such as logistics and supply chain management. To date, more than 7,000 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service.

At the beginning of August, I launched, in association with key industry partners, a new support measure named Clear Customs to help customs agents, intermediaries and affected Irish businesses develop the capacity to deal with the additional customs requirements due to the UK’s departure from the EU, notably under No Deal.

The initiative run by Skillnet in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland is being made available immediately to customs agents, intermediaries and eligible businesses free of charge. It comprises of a custom training programme and a custom financial support payment to assist with the costs of recruiting and assigning new staff to customs roles from Enterprise Ireland. Subject to terms and conditions for eligibility, this payment is up to €6,000 per employee that completes the training programme, up to maximum of 10 employees per company.

While there is little clarity on the means by which the UK will leave the EU in October, my Department and its agencies are working to provide extensive supports to ensure that businesses across the country are prepared for the UK’s exit from the EU, whatever the circumstances of its departure. Evidence now shows a marked increase in the number of impacted businesses preparing for change, which is both encouraging and welcome but I am conscious that the delays to Brexit may have led some businesses to defer their immediate planning. However, the UK’s exit from the EU will mean changes for Irish businesses and I want businesses to know that my Department and its agencies are here to help.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (729)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

729. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the names of external consultancies that delivered and continue to deliver advice and training on all aspects of GDPR in the context of preparedness and ongoing upskilling of staff regarding the regulation; the cost expended on the external advice and training of same to date in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35569/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The information is contained in the following table.

Year 

Name of External Training Provider 

 Cost in euro (€) 

2018

AllOne Corporate Solutions Limited 

 €9,300

 

*The majority of the training was provided by the Department's internal Data Protection Officer

 

 2019 (To date:)

 *All training to date in 2019 has been provided by the Department's internal Data Protection Officer

 Not applicable. 

Since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May last year, almost 500 staff from across my Department and its Offices have attended specific targeted training on Data Protection and the GDPR. As part of this process, Heads of Business Units were asked to identify key staff requiring this training to ensure that it was targeted effectively. 

The training delivered comprised a mixture of general courses delivered by an external training provider (AllOne Corporate Solutions Limited) and tailored training and awareness sessions delivered by our Data Protection Officer (DPO) who has been assigned on a fulltime basis at Assistant Principal Officer level. In addition, several presentations have been made by the DPO at Divisional Days, and to Business Units across my Department and its Offices, with particular focus on those areas  that are particularly involved in the processing of Personal Data, including Employment Permits, Human Resources Unit, the Company Registration Office, the Register of Beneficial Ownership and the Patents Office. The DPO has also made presentations on the GDPR at management meetings and to Agency Liaison Units. In addition, a dedicated GDPR/Data Protection Module has also been incorporated into our Induction Training Programme for all new entrants to the Department and its Offices.

The DPO continues to work actively with managers and other staff in Business Units across my Department and its Offices to support them to ensure compliance with the GDPR, and to assist them with queries through providing assistance and practical advice.

The provision of GDPR training in my Department's agencies is a matter for those agencies.

Departmental Customer Charters

Ceisteanna (730)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

730. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of complaints her Department received under the customer service charter in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; if her attention has been drawn to issues and-or problems in having complaints registered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35637/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Customers who wish to complain about the quality of customer service provided by my Department can submit a complaint under the Department’s complaint procedures. These procedures, along with the Department’s Customer Charter and Customer Action Plan, were updated recently in accordance with the customer service actions outlined for implementation in “Our Public Service 2020”.  In keeping with best practice, the Department’s complaint procedures provide an accessible, transparent and user - friendly system of dealing with complaints about the quality of service received which are available on the Department's website. These complaint procedures do not, however, provide for complaints relating to business decisions taken by the Department e.g. the non granting of an employment permit. Appropriate appeal mechanisms are available for these situations.

Complaints made about the quality of customer service provided by the Offices of my Department fall to be dealt with under the complaint procedures developed by each Office having regard to their business needs.  These offices also have appropriate appeal mechanisms to deal with business decisions taken in relation to their activities.

Over the period 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, there were 9 complaints received by my Department and its Offices under the complaint procedures relating to the quality of customer service provided. No issues or problems were raised in relation to having those complaints registered.

Workplace Relations Services Data

Ceisteanna (731, 732, 733)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

731. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of workplace relations inspectors employed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35657/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

732. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of workplace relations inspections that took place in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35658/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

733. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of breaches of employment law identified by workplace relations inspectors in 2018, by offence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35659/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 731 to 733, inclusive, together.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is an independent, statutory body under the aegis of my Department, established on 1st October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015. The WRC’s core services include the inspection of employment rights compliance, the provision of information, adjudicating on complaints under employment protection, equality and industrial relations legislation and the provision of mediation, conciliation, facilitation and advisory services.

The Inspectorate Division of the WRC carries out inspections of employer records with a view to determining compliance with employment rights legislations. These inspections arise:

- In response to complaints received of alleged non-compliance with relevant employment rights legislation;

- As part of compliance campaigns which focus on compliance in specific sectors or specific pieces of legislation; or

- From routine inspections (announced and unannounced) which act as an overall control measure.

The WRC Inspectorate is staffed by civil servants of my department. As at 21 August 2019, there are a total of 57 WRC Labour Inspectors. Table 1 provides details of the grade, number and regional location of the inspectors.

The aim of the WRC Inspectorate is to achieve voluntary compliance with employment law through the provision of education and awareness, inspection of employers’ employment records and enforcement where necessary. While every effort is made to secure compliance, some employers either refuse or fail to rectify the breaches identified and/or pay money due to their employees. These cases are referred for prosecution. Table 2 lists the numbers of employers inspected by the WRC Inspectors and the number of employers where breaches were detected in 2018. Please note that an employer may be in breach in more than one category.

Table 3 lists the number of inspections carried out by the WRC Inspectorate, by sector, in 2018.

Table 1 Number of WRC Inspectors as at 21 August 2019:

Region

Number of

HEO Inspectors

Number of

EO Inspectors

Total Number of Inspectors

Dublin

2

16

18

Shannon

1

8

9

Cork

1

6

7

Carlow

2

14

16

Sligo

1

6

7

Overall Total

7

50

57

Table 2 lists the numbers of employers inspected by the WRC and the number of employers where breaches were detected in 2018. Please note that an employer may be in breach in more than one category.

Sector

Cases

No in Breach

Incidence of Breach %

National Minimum Wage Issues

Sunday Premium

Statutory Employment Records

Employment Permits

Protection of Young Persons

Annual Leave and Public Holidays

Agency

Licences

Terms and Conditions of Employment

AGRICULTURE

106

46

43%

6

5

34

5

1

14

0

2

CONSTRUCTION

81

37

46%

12

1

32

1

0

12

0

1

CONTRACT CLEANING

22

8

36%

2

1

4

0

0

4

0

1

DOMESTIC WORKER

5

1

20%

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

ELECTRICAL

11

7

64%

1

1

6

1

0

3

0

0

EQUINE

45

38

84%

7

10

34

2

0

16

0

5

FISHERIES

40

27

68%

2

4

26

3

0

4

0

0

FOOD & DRINK

656

439

67%

56

142

331

99

2

208

0

5

HAIR AND BEAUTY

121

75

62%

16

3

59

7

1

25

0

3

HEALTH NURSING AND CHILDCARE

69

35

51%

11

4

18

1

0

17

0

4

HOTEL

64

37

58%

12

12

24

6

0

19

0

2

MANUFACTURING

48

19

40%

8

1

15

0

0

9

0

4

OTHER

236

144

61%

28

24

117

11

1

40

1

7

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

218

83

38%

21

8

61

7

0

24

0

6

SECURITY

18

9

50%

5

3

4

0

0

3

0

1

TRANSPORT

71

43

61%

13

4

33

2

0

14

1

2

WHOLESALE AND RETAIL

363

216

60%

37

51

166

18

0

78

0

14

TOTALS

2,174

1,264

58%

238

274

964

163

5

490

2

57

UNANNOUNCED VISITS

3,579

1,284

36%

265

0

997

285

10

0

0

0

GRAND TOTAL

5,753

2,548

44%

503

274

1,961

448

15

490

2

57

Table 3 lists the number of WRC Inspections by sector in 2018.

Sector

Cases

AGRICULTURE

106

CONSTRUCTION

81

CONTRACT CLEANING

22

DOMESTIC WORKER

5

ELECTRICAL

11

EQUINE

45

FISHERIES

40

FOOD & DRINK

656

HAIR AND BEAUTY

121

HEALTH NURSING AND CHILDCARE

69

HOTEL

64

MANUFACTURING

48

OTHER

236

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

218

SECURITY

18

TRANSPORT

71

WHOLESALE AND RETAIL

363

TOTALS

2,174

UNANNOUNCED VISITS

3,579

GRAND TOTAL

5,753

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Staff

Ceisteanna (734)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

734. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number and role of persons employed by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35663/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The total number of staff assigned to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) on the 02 September 2019 was 37 staff in total (34.4 full time equivalent). The breakdown by grade is set out in the following table.

Title

Director

Enforcement Portfolio Manager

Digital

Forensic

Specialist

Enforcement Lawyer

Solicitor

Forensic   Accountant

Principal

 Officer

Assistant   Principal Officer

Higher Executive Officer

Executive   Officer

Clerical   Officer

Total

No of staff

1

2

1

2

1

5

1

4

8

5

7

37

Full   time equivalents.

1

2

1

2

1

5

1

4

7

4.6

5.8

34.4

The number of Gardaí assigned to the ODCE on 02 September 2019 was 7.

There were no appointments to the ODCE to date in 2019. There are currently five vacancies, one at Corporate Compliance Manager, two Forensic Accountants, one Executive Officer and one Clerical Officer.

In relation to the post of Corporate Compliance Manager, the current Director is considering this as part of a significant restructuring of the ODCE that he has undertaken to better reflect the organisation’s needs in the context of both its strategic shift towards deploying resources towards more serious indications of wrongdoing and the increasingly complex environment within which the ODCE operates.

That restructuring has included the recruitment of a number of additional professional staff, including eight accounting professionals (one of whom was promoted to Enforcement Portfolio Manager), two Enforcement Portfolio Managers, two Enforcement Lawyers and a Digital Forensics Specialist, together with significant investment in a digital forensics laboratory, training and development. The recruitment and assimilation of a large number of new professional staff into a multi-disciplinary organisation that undertakes complex work in a fast-moving environment is a project that requires careful management. As such, the Director is of the view that it is preferable to allow that process to fully bed down before filling the Corporate Compliance manager vacancy. The Director is further conscious of the fact that the transition of the ODCE to an independent Agency will give rise to additional expertise requirements and, as such, is of the view that it is prudent that those considerations should be factored into developing the role, and associated skill set, required of the appointee.

Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (735)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

735. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of a work permit for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35700/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department informs me that this application for a General Employment Permit was reached for processing on 21/08/2019 and that the employment permit issued on 22/08/2019.

Departmental Internships

Ceisteanna (736)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

736. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of unpaid internships issued and or granted to persons to work in her Department over the past five years to 28 August 2019; the number of persons who took up unpaid internship roles in that timeframe; if her Department continues to offer unpaid internships; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36141/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department has welcomed one unpaid Intern, for a period of six weeks, in each of the years 2014 to 2019. The Intern has come from Fordham University, USA, to gain experience and contribute to the work of the Intellectual Property Unit. This arrangement has been beneficial to both organisations.

My Department will continue to offer unpaid internships which we believe are beneficial to both parties.

My Department also facilitates short-term unpaid work experience opportunities for students to develop their skills, subject to business needs. 

Departmental Operations

Ceisteanna (737)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

737. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if there are dedicated, professionally trained and certified cybersecurity staff in relation to cybersecurity protocols under the remit of her Department; if such specialists are being recruited; if her Department maintains a risk register of security breaches; if so, if there are staff that analyse, log and maintain such a register; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36221/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department has a dedicated, professionally trained staff member with responsibility for information and cyber security.  This role is supplemented by other staff members who have also had professional training in this area.  While staff members do not hold current certifications, their role is supplemented by fully certified external contractors specialising in cyber security as needed.   My Department is not currently recruiting cyber security specialists.

My Department maintains a register of information security incidents which require investigation and follow up. It has deployed a Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) solution to collect logs from core Departmental systems and report on any potential anomalies.  Alerts from this system are actively monitored and reviewed and any such alerts are logged and investigated.

Departmental Operations

Ceisteanna (738)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

738. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her Department has a disaster recovery plan, business continuity plan and or disaster recovery sites; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36237/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department has a business continuity plan which identifies actions to be taken to mitigate the loss of significant resources such as buildings or systems.  My Department also maintains disaster recovery procedures and protocols for computer systems to mitigate the loss of significant systems.  There are two separate data centres for Departmental systems, located in separate Departmental buildings, and data and systems are replicated between the two locations.  In the event of issues with one site, services can be switched over to the second site.

Job Creation

Ceisteanna (739)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

739. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the reason for the delay in the creation of jobs by a company (details supplied) since they were first announced in September 2016; if the jobs announced will materialise; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36259/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The firm in question announced its intention to establish a European headquarters, manufacturing and operations centre in Newcastle West in 2016. The company – a biomaterial and polymer technology firm which serves the life sciences industry – has indicated that this project will create up to 110 skilled engineering and science jobs in the region over the next several years.

IDA Ireland continues to work closely with the company, both locally in Ireland and in the US, in support of this investment. I understand that the firm remains fully committed to the project, with progress expected this year.

IDA Ireland Data

Ceisteanna (740)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

740. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of IDA Ireland visits that have taken place in each county in 2018 and to date in 2019; and the number of jobs that resulted from each visit in each county in tabular form. [36282/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As Minister, my objective is to create the best possible environment for enterprise, entrepreneurship, innovation and investment. Ireland continues to perform very strongly in terms of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and encouraging further investment from multinational companies is a major priority of mine.  There are now over 229,000 people employed in IDA Ireland client companies here, the highest in the State's history. 

Whilst site visits remain an important tool in helping showcase regional locations to investors, it is important to remember - as I have made clear before - that the final decision as to where to invest rests solely with the company concerned. It is also the case that site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential or job creation, as a significant proportion of all new FDI comes from existing IDA clients already present in the country. My Department's Annual Employment Survey will provide a more complete picture of IDA jobs created by county for 2019 and these results will be available in January 2020. The Agency performed well in 2018 with 14,040 net new jobs created by IDA client companies and every region experiencing FDI-driven employment gains.

Creating more jobs in the regions remains a priority for both the IDA and my Department as we seek to build on the progress made over the last number of years. Since the IDA Ireland’s ‘Winning’ Strategy was launched in 2015, 455 Investments have been won for the regions with almost 27,000 net new jobs created in locations outside Dublin. We are focused on increasing those numbers further in the time ahead.

The following tables detail the number of IDA site visits per county from 2018 until the second quarter of 2019 and the number of IDA jobs by County in 2017 and 2018.   

Table A: IDA Site Visits by County, 2018-Q2 2019 

County  

  2018  

  Q1 2019  

  Q2 2019  

Carlow

7

3

3

Cavan

2

1

3

Clare

13

5

12

Cork

61

17

23

Donegal

8

1

1

Dublin

269

56

90

Galway

54

9

17

Kerry

10

0

2

Kildare

8

3

1

Kilkenny

5

5

2

Laois

10

2

1

Leitrim

6

0

1

Limerick

35

12

22

Longford

5

0

1

Louth

20

10

9

Mayo

10

2

0

Meath

6

1

1

Monaghan

3

1

1

Offaly

5

1

1

Roscommon

3

0

1

Sligo

15

8

9

Tipperary

5

3

2

Waterford

21

8

3

Westmeath

22

6

5

Wexford

3

1

1

Wicklow

1

4

1

Total

607

159

213

Table B: IDA jobs by County 2017-2018

County  

   2017  

   2018  

Cavan

1,155

1,096

Donegal

3,392

3,564

Leitrim

884

909

Louth

3,764

3,903

Monaghan

150

162

Sligo

2,238

2,251

Dublin

90,529

96,760

Kildare

8,452

8,838

Meath

1,565

1,632

Wicklow

2,230

2,618

Laois

134

122

Longford

745

900

Offaly

1,167

1,232

Westmeath

2,973

3,466

Clare

7,006

6,948

Limerick

10,607

11,796

Tipperary   North Riding

335

204

Carlow

875

1,150

Kilkenny

716

711

Tipperary   South Riding

3,330

3,516

Waterford

6,690

7,064

Wexford

2,987

3,139

Cork

36,780

38,867

Kerry

2,187

2,241

Galway

18,503

19,969

Mayo

4,484

4,828

Roscommon

1,139

1,171

Total

215,017

229,057

Consumer Protection

Ceisteanna (741)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

741. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on correspondence (details supplied); the statutory and consumer rights available to customers that seek to reclaim costs after cancelling flights within a 24 or 48 hour period; if there is a cooling-off period available to consumers that purchase airline tickets; and the proposals at EU level to cover this area. [36313/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The right to cancel certain specified online, other distance and off-premises contracts within a fourteen-day period afforded by Directive 2011/83/EU on Consumer Rights does not apply to contracts for air and other passenger transport services. This right did not apply similarly to passenger transport contracts under Directive 97/7/EC on distance contracts which first gave consumers a right to cancel certain online and other distance contracts. Two main reasons are commonly put forward for the exclusion of these contracts from the right of cancellation. First, the principal rationale for the right to cancel online contracts, namely that the consumer is unable to see the goods or ascertain the nature of the service prior to the conclusion of the contract, does not essentially apply to contracts for air travel given the standard and well understood nature of the service provided under such contracts. Secondly, the view has been taken that contracts which provide for the performance of a service on a specified date involve the setting aside of capacity that businesses might find difficult to resell if consumers had the right to cancel such contracts. I sympathise with the position of the consumer cited in the details supplied by the Deputy and with the argument that a right of cancellation within a 24-hour or 48-hour period would be fairer to consumers in such cases. As the Consumer Rights Directive is a maximum harmonisation measure, it is not open to me however to provide in national law for the extension of the right of cancellation to contracts excluded from that right under the Directive. The amendments to the Directive recently agreed by the European Council and the European Parliament moreover did not include an extension of the right of cancellation to online air and other passenger transport contracts.  

IDA Ireland Site Visits

Ceisteanna (742)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

742. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of IDA Ireland visits that have taken place in County Mayo from 1 January 2019 to date; the number scheduled to take place by the end of 2019 by location; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36332/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Regional development remains a key priority of mine as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Together with my Department and its enterprise Agencies, I am committed to strengthening investment and job creation all over the country. That collective focus on regional development is producing results. In 2018, for example, 56% of all net new jobs created by IDA Ireland were in locations outside Dublin. Similarly, every region in Ireland posted net gains in jobs last year.

County Mayo hosted two site visits in the first half of 2019. Data on site visits for the third quarter of this year will be released at the end of October. For commercial sensitivity reasons, IDA Ireland can only make available data on site visits that have already taken place.

Whilst site visits remain an important tool in helping showcase regional locations to investors, it is important to remember - as I have made clear before - that the final decision as to where to invest rests solely with the company concerned. It is also the case that site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential or job creation, as a significant proportion of all new foreign direct investment (FDI) comes from existing IDA clients already present in the country. 

Mayo has experienced annual increases in employment by IDA client companies since 2013 and the pipeline for FDI there remains positive. There were, for example, 344 net new jobs added by IDA client companies in 2018, an increase of 7.5% compared to the previous year. Earlier this year, Meissner Filtration Products announced that it will expand manufacturing operations by establishing a facility in Castlebar. Meissner will occupy the Advanced Technology Building that was constructed by the IDA as part of its Regional Property Programme and their expansion will create up to 150 jobs over the next five years.

Progress has been made in creating new economic opportunities in Mayo but we are determined to achieve more. That is why my Department's enterprise agencies will continue to focus on regional development and to explore how we can drive further job creation in the County and the surrounding areas.