State Claims Agency

Ceisteanna (99, 100, 106, 107, 108)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

99. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if it is standard practice for the State Claims Agency to delay paying costs associated with the cases relating to discovery orders until personal injuries claims are settled (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40116/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

100. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the costs incurred to date arising from a case (details supplied) involving the State Claims Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40118/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

106. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his attention has been drawn to delays in paying costs associated with a case (details supplied) in which the State Claims Agency and a person are party to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40114/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

107. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he is still in the process of contesting aspects of a case against the State by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40117/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

108. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the progress made to date regarding the disclosure of a range of documents to a person (details supplied) in the Air Corps regarding exposure on dates during the 1990s to dangerous chemicals; the reason for the delay in providing the documentation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40135/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 99, 100 and 106 to 108, inclusive, together.

The Deputy will be aware that the State Claims Agency manages personal injury claims on behalf of the Minister for Defence.

Given my responsibilities and the fact that the Minister for Defence is a Defendant in these claims, you will appreciate it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment in relation to these cases, either generally or individually, whilst such litigation is ongoing.

Defence Forces Personnel

Ceisteanna (101, 102)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

101. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the amendments made to a document (details supplied); the dates the amendments were made; the changes made; if these amendments were initiated by the military or officials in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40021/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

102. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if changes were requested by the military to a document (details supplied); if so, the dates the changes were made; the actions taken by his officials; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40022/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 102 together.

Defence Force Regulation R5 (New Series) is the governing Regulation for the Reserve Defence Force and Paragraph 31 thereof governs promotions within the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve.

The Regulation is in the process of being reviewed by the civil and military sides of the Department. This review is an iterative process with ongoing deliberation between civil and military authorities as to how and why text of the Regulation might be changed or amended. The intent is to rationalise and update the Regulation in it is totality when this process is completed.

Defence Forces Reserve

Ceisteanna (103)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

103. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Reserve Defence Forces officers commissioned after 1 October 2005 that have been promoted; the ranks to which each has been promoted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40023/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

Military Authorities have confirmed that 48 Reserve Defence Forces, commissioned after 1 October 2005, have since been promoted.

The rank breakdown, as at 31 August 2019, is as follows:

 Rank

 Sub Lt

 Lt

 Capt

 Comdt

 Total

 2

 43

 1

 2

Defence Forces Reserve

Ceisteanna (104)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

104. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number, appointments, functions and ranks held by Reserve Defence Forces personnel gazetted to specialist reserve staff; if the decision per 8.5.3 in the White Paper has been implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40024/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

The Government appreciates the service of the members of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF) and the White Paper is clear that there is a continued requirement to retain and develop the RDF.

Under the current phase of implementation of White Paper actions outlined in Section 8.5.3, a project was established to:

- conduct a skills survey to identify individuals in the First Line Reserve, Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve with relevant professional qualifications and their potential availability and

- establish a panel of professionally qualified members of the RDF, to be known as the Specialist Reserve.

The skills survey has been completed and this project is currently paused pending completion of a linked project relating to a gap analysis of skill-sets in the Permanent Defence Force (PDF). Preliminary work has been undertaken within the PDF to identify the frequency of gaps and appropriate measures to address them.  

The work undertaken on these projects will also now inform and complement relevant projects of Phase One of the High Level Implementation Plan for the recommendations of the Public Service Pay Commission's report on recruitment and retention issues in the PDF.

Currently there is no establishment for a Specialist Reserve, therefore no RDF personnel are gazetted to any corresponding appointment.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions Nos. 106 to 108, inclusive, answered with Question No. 99.

Ceisteanna (105)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

105. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he has formally met with the United States of America Secretary of the Navy. [40063/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I can confirm that I have not met with the United States of America's Secretary of the Navy.

Questions Nos. 106 to 108, inclusive, answered with Question No. 99.

Tax Code

Ceisteanna (109)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

109. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Finance if he will restore the tourism VAT rate to 9% in view of economic uncertainty in the context of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40036/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware, it is a longstanding practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment, in advance of the Budget, on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.

Tax Code

Ceisteanna (110, 111, 112)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

110. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider not increasing the carbon tax or provide for the offset of carbon tax on licensed hauliers in view of the fact that this sector is already under pressure with the uncertainty of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40037/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

111. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Finance if he will introduce measures to reduce fuel costs for licenced hauliers by doubling the rebate level allowed under the diesel rebate scheme from 7.5c to 15c and reducing the floor from which the rebate starts from €1 to 85c. [40038/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

112. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider not increasing motor tax VRT or other taxes on the licensed haulage sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40039/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 110 to 112, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, it is a longstanding practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment, in advance of the Budget, on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.

Tax Data

Ceisteanna (113, 114)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

113. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance the estimated first year and full-year cost of a proposal by an organisation (details supplied). [40101/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

114. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance the estimated first year and full-year cost of a proposal by an organisation (details supplied). [40104/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 113 and 114 together.

I am advised by Revenue that information is not available on tax returns that separately identifies business assets and share disposals from other qualifying assets for retirement relief. Also, to estimate the cost of the proposals would require information on the gains made on disposal of the assets. For these reasons, it is not possible to accurately estimate the cost associated with removing the caps as outlined by the Deputy.

Tax Data

Ceisteanna (115)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

115. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance the estimated first and full-year cost of a proposal by an organisation (details supplied); and the estimated number of persons that are liable to the levy in question. [40105/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that approximately 25,000 taxpayer units (spouses or civil partners opting for joint assessment are counted as one unit) are liable to the 3% USC (Universal Social Charge) surcharge, which applies to non-PAYE income in excess of €100,000. The cost of abolishing this surcharge is estimated at €69 million in the first year and €128 million in a full year.

These estimated figures are based on projected 2020 incomes, calculated on actual data for the year 2017, and may be revised when more recent data become available. The estimates do not account for any behavioural effects that might result from the proposal.

Tax Reliefs Application

Ceisteanna (116)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

116. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance his views on a proposal by an organisation (details supplied); and if costs would arise. [40106/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Start-Up Capital Incentive (“SCI”) was introduced in Finance Act 2018 as a tax relief for early stage micro companies to attract equity based risk finance from family members, including parents, and other "connected persons" up to the €500,000 lifetime limit.

I am advised by Revenue that they are aware of the concern raised in the Deputy’s question. While acknowledging that the issue is raised in a third party publication, if the Deputy can provide any further information that would help to clarify the precise nature of the concern, Revenue will further examine the matter and I am advised by them, that they will issue updated guidance to provide clarity through the Tax Administration Liaison Committee.

Tax Reliefs Application

Ceisteanna (117)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

117. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance his views on a proposal by an organisation (details supplied); and if costs would arise. [40107/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

In general, consideration of any tax changes in advance of Budget 2020 are undertaken within the annual Budgetary and Finance Bill process. The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot comment on any possible changes at this time.

As regards the relief, I am advised by Revenue that capital acquisitions tax relief is available in relation to certain business assets passing by way of gifts or inheritances. This ‘business relief’ takes the form of a 90% reduction in the taxable value of gifted or inherited business property. For relief to apply, the business assets must constitute what is defined as “relevant business property”. Included in this definition are unincorporated businesses, unquoted shares in certain family companies and assets used wholly or mainly for the purposes of a business carried on by a family company or a partnership. A business consisting wholly or mainly of dealing in land, shares, securities or currencies or making or holding investments does not qualify for business relief.

The relevant business assets must have been owned by the disponer for a minimum period prior to the gift or inheritance. The minimum period of such ownership for gifts is 5 years and for inheritances is 2 years.

There is a ‘past use’ test in that the relevant business assets must have been used wholly or mainly for the purpose of the business concerned throughout the 2-year period immediately prior to the gift or inheritance. The value attributable to assets not satisfying this ‘past use’ test (known as ‘excepted assets’) is excluded from the relief. The operation of business relief does not include a ‘future use’ test in respect of assets that may be excluded from the relief as ‘excepted assets’.

Small and Medium Enterprises Supports

Ceisteanna (118)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

118. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance his views on proposals by an organisation (details supplied) for the key employee engagement programme, KEEP, to support job creation and talent retention; and if costs would arise. [40108/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

As the Deputy may be aware, in May and June of this year, my Department undertook a consultation process on various taxation measures and how they might better support the small and medium enterprise sector.

In relation to the Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP), the purpose was to seek to identify potential changes that could help it to operate in a more effective manner in assisting SMEs.  

The consultation included a very useful public event on 6 June at which various proposals were discussed in detail with stakeholders.  

In the intervening months, my Department has further considered the proposals with a view to bringing forward a package of measures for my consideration in the context of the forthcoming Budget and Finance Bill.

As I am sure he will appreciate, and with less than a week to go to the Budget, it would not be appropriate for me at this time to discuss any such measure that may or may not be contained within the Budget and Finance Bill.