Direct Provision System

Ceisteanna (156)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

156. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to address the number of persons living in direct provision centres nationally; his further plans to cease using hotels as emergency centres; the procedures for residents of these centres to make complaints against operators; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40908/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

My Department is responsible for offering accommodation and related services to international protection applicants while their claim for protection is being examined. These services are demand led and generally it is difficult to predict demand far in advance.

I am advised that as of 29th September 2019, 7,462 persons were being provided with accommodation by the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS, formerly the Reception and Integration Agency) of my Department.

Currently, there are 6,063 persons residing in the 38 accommodation centres located nationwide across 18 counties. As these centres are at full capacity, there are also a further 1,399 applicants residing in 34 emergency accommodation locations in hotels and guest houses.

Every effort is being made to re-accommodate applicants in emergency locations to a dedicated accommodation centre as quickly as possible. My Department is actively working on securing additional capacity, both in its existing centres and through sourcing new accommodation centres.

IPAS has sought expressions of interest from parties who would be interested in providing accommodation and related services to people in the international protection process and has also launched a nationwide, regional tendering process to source new accommodation centres.

In relation to the query about complaints, IPAS has a complaints procedure which is set out in the House Rules & Procedures Booklet for International Protection Applicants. Complaints are made initially to the Centre Manager with a view to informal resolution. If the person concerned is not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint, he or she may make a complaint to the International Protection Accommodation Service who will investigate the matter and take action as appropriate.

In the event that a resident is not satisfied with how his or her complaint is dealt with, he or she has full access to the services of the Ombudsman and Ombudsman for Children. The office of the Ombudsman received 148 complaints about Direct Provision in 2018, 15 of which were upheld.

Separately, certain decisions by IPAS made in line with the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018, relating to material reception conditions and listed in full in Regulation 20, allow for review by a Review Officer, a designated role in IPAS. This review may be further appealed to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT).

Semi-State Bodies Remuneration

Ceisteanna (157)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

157. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the remuneration package for each chief executive officer of State or semi-State organisations under the aegis of his Department; the changes made to such remuneration in the past three years; the remuneration package for each acting CEO if such exists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40912/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the information sought cannot be provided in the time allowed. As soon as the information has been collated I will write to the Deputy on the matter.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (158)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

158. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost in 2020 if the budget for the Garda Criminal Assets Bureau increased by 20%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40923/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is a multi-agency statutory body established under the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996. The Bureau’s remit is to target a person's assets, wherever situated, which derive, or are suspected to derive, directly or indirectly, from criminal conduct. Since its inception, the Bureau has been at the forefront of fighting organised crime in this jurisdiction and disrupting the activities of criminal gangs by depriving them of ill-gotten assets.

The Bureau is widely regarded as a best practice model in the context of combating organised crime. Its structure and powers have been modelled by other jurisdictions. It works closely with law enforcement bodies at national and international levels and continues to relentlessly pursue the illicit proceeds of organised crime activity. The actions of the Bureau send a strong message to criminals and to local communities that profiting from crime will not be tolerated.

Reflecting the Government's commitment to ensure that the Bureau is adequately resourced, the CAB’s staffing and budgetary allocation has increased significantly in recent years. Since 2016, the Bureau's staffing resources have increased from 71 to its current level of 85, with staff numbers due to rise to 91 during this year. Similarly, the Bureau's budgetary allocation has gone up from €7.042 million in 2016 to €8.603m in 2019.

Accordingly I am advised that if the budget for the Garda Criminal Assets Bureau were increased by 20% in 2020, the estimated additional cost would be approximately €1.72 million and the total cost would be approximately €10.3 million.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (159)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

159. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost in 2020 if the budget for the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau increased by 20%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40924/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion, in addition to a capital allocation of € 92 million this year.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau. It is important in that context to note that the allocation of Garda resources and distribution of personnel are a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that in the first nine months of 2019, the cost of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau has amounted to approximately €9,840,000 and is expected to amount to approximately €13,120,500 in the full year for 2019. An increase of 20% in the full year figure would therefore cost approximately an additional €2,624,100.

Community Alert Programme

Ceisteanna (160)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

160. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to improve and expand the existing community text alert scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40985/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government includes a commitment to support and prioritise community crime prevention, including Text Alert.

Community partnership has been particularly evident in the success of the Garda Text Alert scheme. Since it was launched in September 2013 it has grown quickly with a total of 164,000 subscribers and in the order of 3 million text messages sent annually. Every Garda Division, rural and urban, now offers the text alert service and An Garda Síochána has published guidelines to assist in the establishment and operation of local groups.

For many years, my Department has supported community crime prevention by providing funding for the Community Alert programme, which is operated by Muintir na Tíre in partnership with the Garda authorities. My Department provides funding in relation to the employment and associated costs of the national service, including three of the five regional Development Officers. The long-standing view has been that this is the best use of the resources available to my Department to support effective community crime prevention actions.

At the Ploughing Championships in September 2018, I announced that the Text Alert Rebate Scheme would be available to over 1,000 local groups registered under the Garda Text Alert Scheme. Under that Scheme, my Department made in the region of €150,000 available to local communities who wanted to apply for a rebate towards the costs associated with running their local Text Alert Scheme. Ultimately, payments made as part of the 2018 Scheme amounted to €112,500 which was allocated to 394 groups.

I can advise the Deputy that it is my intention to make a further announcement about the Text Alert Rebate Scheme for 2019 in the near future.

Closed-Circuit Television Systems

Ceisteanna (161)

John Curran

Ceist:

161. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications made for community based CCTV systems; the number that have been funded, installed and are now operational; the locations of all such CCTV systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41016/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, Community CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI No 289 of 2006). This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:

- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,

- have the prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also act as data controller, and

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded and these key legal requirements have not changed since 2006. The possibility of establishing a Community CCTV scheme is available to groups that meet these legal requirements, anywhere in the country.

Since 2017, my Department has administered a grant aid scheme supporting groups wishing to establish a community-based CCTV system in their area. There have been 34 applications to the scheme and to date, 21 applications have been approved, involving approved grants totalling more than €540,000. The location of the CCTV schemes which have been approved for funding are as follows:

- Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim

- Cranmore, Co Sligo

- Arklow, Co Wicklow

- Courttown/Riverchapel, Gorey and Wexford Town, Co Wexford

- Abbeyfeale, Adare, Askeaton, Caherconlish, Cappamore, Castleconnell, Croom, Foynes, Kilmallock, Newcastlewest, Pallasgreen, Patrickswell, Murroe and Rathkeale, County Limerick.

- Monaghan Town, Co. Monaghan.

I can confirm that the grant aid scheme remains open for applications from interested groups in 2019 and that all fully completed applications received before the end of 2019 will be considered.

Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities nationwide, can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000. I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I have recently expanded the grant aid scheme to cover not only new CCTV systems but also to allow funding applications for extension or upgrade of existing Community CCTV systems which are incomplete or obsolete. Applicants can now also seek a grant of up to €5,000 for minor maintenance costs.

I must emphasise that grant funding can be considered only for CCTV systems which meet the legal requirements for CCTV, in other words CCTV systems which have been approved by the relevant Joint Policing Committee, the relevant Local Authority (also acting as Data Controller) and which have received the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the scheme, further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address communitycctv@justice.ie.

Human Rights

Ceisteanna (162)

John Curran

Ceist:

162. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the way in which he plans to address the recent report by the human rights agency of the European Union that Ireland has a disturbing problem with racism and discrimination against migrants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41017/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

A new Anti-Racism Committee will be established later this year. This Committee will review and make recommendations on strengthening the Government’s approach to combating racism and building on the actions currently included in the Migrant Integration Strategy.

The committee’s work will have two strands:

i. a public sector strand to allow for more in-depth discussions of what needs to be done by public sector organisations and how it can be done, and

ii. an expert strand that will consider how to develop a clear understanding of racism, where it occurs, and what can be done to combat it, drawing on international experience.

The new Committee will include representatives of the public, private and voluntary sector and expert views. It will hold a stakeholder dialogues to assess the latest evidence and to identify the views of wider civil society, the business sector, media and other relevant parties. The Committee will also help to generate ideas for reducing racist abuse in the public sphere.

The progress report on the Migrant Integration Strategy 2017-2020 has been submitted to Government. The Strategy is the Government’s framework for tackling barriers to integration and promoting intercultural awareness. It includes actions to combat racism, including strengthening our laws against hate crime; actions by An Garda Síochána to address the under-reporting of racist crime; a commitment from Local Authorities on the early removal of racist graffiti; and Government funding for anti-racism interventions.

The key finding of the Progress Report is the importance of the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to successful integration, and the benefits it brings to all aspects of Irish life. While the progress report highlights a number of successes – including up to €15m granted in Integration Funding Programmes, the research programmes conducted by the ESRI for the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, and the Education (Admissions to Schools) Act 2018 amongst others – the report also helps identify areas where efforts need to intensify in the months ahead. As a result, actions will now be developed to particularly address areas where outcomes for migrants need to be improved. These areas are combatting racism; employment; English language acquisition; and the promotion of integration at the local level.

Firearms Seizures

Ceisteanna (163)

John Curran

Ceist:

163. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of guns seized by An Garda Síochána in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41023/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have requested the information sought by the Deputy from the Garda authorities and I will contact the Deputy directly once this information is to hand.

Judicial Council Legislation

Ceisteanna (164)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

164. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will address areas of concern with respect to the Judicial Council Act 2019 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41132/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy's question is comprised of seven individual questions and I will deal with each of those seven questions in turn.

Regarding the first question about the establishment of the Judicial Council, I expect to see the Judicial Council being established by the end of this year and steps are being taken to facilitate establishment within that time frame.

As to the naming of the new Secretary of the Judicial Council and their appointment date, by Statutory Instrument (No. 457/19), I recently commenced relevant provisions of the Act. These provisions relate to the appointment of the interim Secretary to the Council, and the process of identifying and recommending to the Government people who are suitable for appointment to be lay members of the Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee, the Judicial Conduct Committee and panels of inquiry. An interim Secretary was appointed on 11 September 2019, with the appointment of a permanent Secretary being a matter for the Council when established.

I will now address the Deputy's queries in respect of the complaints procedure around Judicial Conduct, and the date these procedures will come into effect.

Firstly, in terms of the sequence for implementation, the Judicial Council Act provides for the establishment of a Judicial Conduct Committee not later than 6 months following the first meeting of the Judicial Council.

With regard to the complaint procedures, the Judicial Conduct Committee will consider complaints and refer them for resolution by informal means or undertake investigations into the conduct of individual judges in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Act. A complaint may be made by any person who is directly affected by, or who has witnessed, the alleged misconduct and, in general, there is a 3-month window within which a complaint alleging judicial misconduct may be made.

Regarding when the positions for lay members of the committees will be advertised, a date has yet to be set but recruitment competitions for lay members will be advertised, in due course. The establishment of the committees on which the lay members will sit is dependent on the establishment date for the Judicial Council and when its first meeting is held (timelines for establishment of each committee are set out in the Judicial Council Act 2019).

Costs for the Judicial Council will include accommodation, staffing and establishment day. Budgetary provision is currently being considered.

The Deputy has asked if I will make a statement in relation to the appointment process of the President of the High Court. The Deputy has indicated, however, that these matters have been referred to the European Court of Human Rights to be adjudicated upon (i.e. the matters are sub-judice). As such, it would not be appropriate for me to comment.

Regarding the matters raised in question seven, the Judicial Conduct Committee will consist of 13 members - the Chief Justice (who will be the chairperson of the Committee) and Presidents of the Courts, 3 elected judges (8 judges in total) and 5 lay members. The Government will appoint 5 lay members to the Committee based on recommendations from the Public Appointments Service. The Act specifies the categories of persons who are not eligible to be lay members of the Committee. These include a member of either House of the Oireachtas, the European Parliament or a local authority, a judge or a former judge, a practicing barrister or solicitor and a civil servant. If a person appointed as a lay member subsequently falls into one of these categories, he or she ceases to be a member of the Committee. Not fewer than 40% of the lay members appointed to the Judicial Conduct Committee shall be women.

The function of the Judicial Conduct Committee shall be to promote and maintain high standards of conduct among judges, having regard to the principles of judicial conduct requiring judges to uphold and exemplify judicial independence, impartiality, integrity, propriety (including the appearance of propriety), competence and diligence and to ensure equality of treatment to all persons before the courts.

The Act provides for the possibility of an investigation (subject to conditions set out in the Act) of alleged judicial misconduct in the absence of a complaint or after the withdrawal of a complaint. The Judicial Conduct Committee shall, subject to this Act, be independent in the performance of its functions.

Ministerial Functions

Ceisteanna (165)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

165. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she has requested the office of the chief scientific adviser on occasions to advise the Government; and if so, when and the matters on which the advice was sought. [40892/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I have not requested such advice on a specific topic or on any specific occasion.

The Chief Science Adviser (CSA) meets with relevant Cabinet Ministers on a regular basis and meets with new Ministers when they take responsibility for their portfolio.

Last year, the CSA presented evidence to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The CSA is due to present again to the latter on 9 October 2019.

The CSA also regularly meets with relevant European Commissioners and members of their Cabinets. The CSA organised an important meeting of INGSA (the International Network of Government Science Advisors) and EUGCSA (the EU Group of Chief Scientific Advisers) in Dublin in July 2019. The meeting was attended by the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation and by a number of Irish Ministers and TDs.

Exports Data

Ceisteanna (166)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

166. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the goods exported to the United States of America that will be subject to higher tariffs in October 2019 and in the near future; the scale of the increase; the quantity and value of exports to the United States in 2018 and to date in 2019; the potential impact on the economy here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41102/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

On 6 October 2004 the United States requested consultations, in line with WTO procedures, with the governments of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain, and with the European Commission concerning measures affecting trade in large civil aircraft. The US concern was that Airbus were receiving unfair subsidies from these Member States regarding the production of its civilian aircraft and that these subsidies were damaging to a direct competitor, US aircraft manufacturing firm Boeing.

In parallel, on 27 June 2005, the EU made its own request to the WTO for consultations citing Boeing’s receipt of unfair subsidies from both federal and state level authorities in the US.

On 15 May 2018 the WTO Appellate Body found in favour of the US/Boeing - that Airbus were receiving unfair subsidies from EU Member States. Subsequently, a WTO arbitrator evaluated the claim and reported on the 2 October 2019 that the value of countermeasures that the US can impose commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies is $7.496 billion. In the parallel Boeing case, the WTO arbitrator’s report is due for finalisation and publication in 6-9 months’ time – Q2 2020.

On the same day as the WTO Arbitrators' Findings were released, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published its final list of products that will be targeted with new tariffs. The list has 15 sub-sections with Ireland, along with other EU Member States, included in 9 of these sub-sections. The new tariffs can be introduced once the US obtains "authorisation" from the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DBS) at the next scheduled DSB meeting and my Department understand that a special sitting of the DSB has been arranged for 14 October 2019 to fulfil this procedural requirement.

In relation to impacts, latest CSO data shows that Ireland recorded goods exports to the US of approximately €39.27 billion in 2018. The US is Ireland’s largest goods export market, accounting for 28% of total goods exports in 2018. For the period January to June 2019, Ireland’s total goods trade with the US was recorded as in the region of €22.2 billion. This was an increase of 14% of the same period in 2018.

For those products effected by the USTR list, Ireland exported approximately €362m worth of goods to the US in 2018, with the principal exports being:

- liqueurs and cordials valued at €168.5m,

- butter valued at €156.8m and

- cheddar cheese valued at €37.3m.

Exports of these products will attract an additional 25% tariff on entry into the US.

My Department continues to engage with industry to fully understand the potential impacts these measures will have. We are also fully engaged with colleagues in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and our Enterprise Agencies in relation to the implications for Irish business.

As International Trade Policy is a competence of the EU Commission under the EU Treaties, the EU Commission takes the lead on this issue taking into account the views of individual Member States and the collective good of the Union. Therefore, Ireland continues to be engaged with the Commission, both at a Ministerial and Official level on these issues. Indeed, as recently as Tuesday last (1st October), I attended an EU Council of Trade Ministers’ meeting in Brussels where, among other items, we discussed our concerns on these Aircraft cases and I articulated Ireland’s particular concerns. I also held a bilateral meeting with Trade Commissioner-elect Phil Hogan while in Brussels at which we discussed the WTO Airbus and Boeing cases and the potential impact the imposition of tariffs on Ireland would have.

The European Commission confirmed for Member States that is has consistently communicated to the US that the EU is ready to work with them to agree on a fair and balanced solution for our respective aircraft industries. As recently as this July, the EU shared concrete proposals with the US for a new regime on aircraft subsidies, and a way forward on existing compliance obligations on both sides, to avoid a round of tit-for-tar tariffs as the EU will have a similar option against the US in some 6/9 months when an Arbitrator determines the quantum of damage to EU industry US subsidies to Boeing has caused. So far, regretfully, the US has not engaged. Nonetheless, Ireland’s preference, as I and my Government colleagues as well as my officials have articulated, along with the EU, is for a negotiated settlement to be reached on these issues.

Government has also highlighted our concerns in bilateral engagements with US interlocuters in Dublin and Washington, intensively over recent months. The issue of the tariffs was also raised during the US Presidential and Vice-Presidential visits this year. I and my officials, as well as colleagues in the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade and Agriculture, Food & the Marine, continue in contact with our US counterparts in Dublin and Washington on these issues.

Our position remains that the mutual imposition of sanctions will only inflict damage on businesses and citizens on both sides of the Atlantic and harm global trade and the broader aviation industry at a sensitive time. Ireland does not want to see this escalation at this time.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (167)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

167. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the latest data on the funding available through her Department for Brexit related supports and initiatives; the funding that has been drawn down to date in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40518/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Since the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, my Department and its agencies have worked to put a wide range of Brexit supports in place for businesses. My Department's focus is on helping firms to improve their competitiveness and innovation, and to diversify markets.

My Department and its agencies are working to provide extensive supports, schemes and advice to ensure that businesses are prepared for Brexit. The suite of enterprise and finance supports now in place covers the spectrum of potential Brexit impacts and aims to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and the practical preparatory actions to be taken over the coming months.

Since 2016, my Department and its agencies have been working to prepare Irish businesses for the potential challenges posed by Brexit by helping them to assess their preparedness and helping them to implement practical action plans in areas such as customs, supply chain and sourcing, and financial management. While we cannot yet know the form that Brexit will take, these measures aim to assist businesses in identifying and managing key risk areas and develop practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The Government’s suite of Brexit supports includes preparedness vouchers, consultancy and mentoring supports, tariff advisory services, research on new markets and innovation supports through Enterprise Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices and InterTradeIreland. Supports and advice are also available from the National Standards Authority of Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority, IDA Ireland, Revenue, Skillnet Ireland, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, Bord Bia and Fáilte Ireland.

The most immediate consequences of a hard Brexit are likely to be currency movements, supply chain constraints, delays, duties and tariffs. In the first instance, there will be a strain on the working capital position of businesses.

Of my Department's suite of supports, the €300m Brexit Loan Scheme is designed to address working capital challenges brought about by Brexit. Under the Scheme, loans of up to €1.5 million are available at a rate of 4% or less, with loans of up to €500,000 available on an unsecured basis. By contrast, the €300m Future Growth Loan Scheme is designed to support strategic long-term investment in SMEs in a post-Brexit environment.

InterTradeIreland also plays a major role as part of Ireland’s Brexit response and offers Brexit-related advisory services to eligible businesses. So far this year, more than 4,500 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service.

ITI offers Brexit Planning Voucher and Brexit Implementation Voucher schemes, which enable businesses to get professional advice on how best to plan, prepare and implement for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. These supports help businesses obtain advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services.

ITI Brexit Planning Vouchers are worth up to €2,250 (inclusive of VAT) each. ITI’s Brexit Implementation Voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5,625 (inclusive of VAT), with InterTradeIreland paying 50%. This allows businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship.In August, ITI launched a new advertising campaign and a new online resource to encourage and assist firms in preparing for Brexit. The online “Bitesize Brexit” resource is a one-stop-shop for cross-border traders, presenting information in easily digestible segments and includes specific actions businesses should take in preparing for Brexit.

Enterprise Ireland also recently launched 12 ‘Brexit Essential’ questions aimed at helping exporting businesses further prepare and take action ahead of the UK’s impending withdrawal from the EU. The Brexit Essentials campaign highlights the key questions and documentation that businesses need to address in order to trade successfully with the UK post 31 October.

My Department, in association with the Department of Education and Skills and key industry partners, also launched a new support measure 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. The new initiative called Clear Customs comprises of a training programme and a customs financial support to assist with the costs of recruiting and assigning new staff to customs roles.

In addition, the Government has held over 100 Brexit information seminars and events since last September. I also have been convening regular roundtable discussions with the main retail grocery and distribution players since December to better understand contingency planning within the sector on food supply. Revenue, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Dublin Port and relevant Government Departments also attend these meetings.

With the deadline for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU fast approaching, the continued uncertainty around Brexit continues to represent a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland. I want businesses, particularly those most impacted by Brexit, to know my Department and its agencies are here to help.

Scheme

Uptake (27 September 2019)

Brexit Loan Scheme

816 applications received, 738 approved by SBCI, 194 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €43.52 million.Of the approved applications to date, 153 were reapplications as eligibility expires after four months.(Uptake as of 27 September)

Future Growth Loan Scheme

1,353 applications received, 1,283 approved by SBCI, 270 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €43.805 million.(Uptake as of 27 September)

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

6,585 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1,596 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

216 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

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

194 companies have been approved under this initiative[1]

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard

4,746 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,706 Customs Insights Course participants

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

60 Agile Innovation projects have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

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

Enterprise Ireland Brexit “Act On Programme” – A support funding the engagement of a consultant to devise report with recommendations to help clients address weaknesses and improve resilience

288 “Act on” Plans have been completed

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

1,088 Strategic Consultancy Grants have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Clear Customs Grant

168 applications have been made to access financial support through the scheme

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

729 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro - The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI Lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients

423 LEO clients have participated in the programme

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

1,017 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

5,637 Participants at the Brexit Information events

Customs Training Participants

917 Participants attended Customs Training

InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service

4,551 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service in 2019. This is in addition to the 4,175 engagements in 2018.

InterTradeIreland Brexit Planning Vouchers 2

There have been 1,893 applications, with 1,630 approved and 47 still pending assessment.

Pilot Online Retail cheme administered by Enterprise Ireland

11 retailers were awarded funding in March 2019 under Call1. A second call of the Scheme closed on the 31 July 2019. 29 retailers were awarded funding under Call 2. The Pilot Online Retail Scheme has now concluded.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (168)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

168. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the latest data on the percentage of exporters with a Brexit plan in place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40519/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department's ongoing engagement with businesses and representative bodies and research indicates that the proportion of businesses preparing for Brexit is increasing, particularly among those businesses identified as most exposed to Brexit-related impacts. It also indicates that awareness of the key Brexit challenges is increasing. Almost 60% of Irish SME's 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 2019, suggest that planning for Brexit is increasing with almost 50% of SME's reporting having taken some form of active engagement (up from 42% in 2018) in the form of planning or 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.

Enterprise Ireland (EI) clients are actively planning for Brexit. According to an International Markets Week client survey 86% of client companies are now taking actions to prepare for the impact of Brexit. This is up from 38% in 2017. Top preparation measures include diversifying export markets, improving operational competitiveness, strengthening business in the UK, developing strategic partnerships, improving financial management, and investing in R&D.

It is vitally important that we continue to monitor and evaluate the levels of preparedness among Irish companies. My Department is currently engaged in ongoing research as part of its survey series, “Brexit: The view of Irish SME's.” These surveys aim to gauge the extent of Brexit planning and preparation among Irish businesses. At present, this research is in the fieldwork phase and findings are expected in the coming weeks.

Company Law

Ceisteanna (169)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

169. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she is satisfied that there are adequate obligations on the receiver appointed in respect of residential properties to maximise the value of assets being sold on the open market; her plans to strengthen the law in this area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40542/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Receivership is a remedy that derives from courts of equity. The relevant law in relation to receivership is largely made up of rules which the courts have developed by applying general contract law and equitable principles. Receivers are appointed under a relevant security e.g. a mortgage or a charge which contains the contractual terms in relation to their appointment and their powers under the instrument.

Receivers can also be appointed over property under the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 in the case of mortgages created after 1 December 2009, and the Conveyancing Act 1881 for mortgages created prior to that date. This legislation falls within the remit of the Department of Justice and Equality.

The Companies Act 2014 contains provisions in relation to the receiver of the property of a company. The Act does not have application in relation to the appointment of receivers to properties owned by natural persons or other types of entity.

Section 437 of the Companies Act 2014 confers statutory powers on receivers and is intended to alleviate many of the problems which may arise from poorly drafted debentures. However, section 437 (4) makes clear that these powers are limited by any provision in the instrument under which the receiver was appointed, again underlying the essentially contractual nature of receivership.

A receiver will have the right to secure and sell the property the subject of the debenture so that the debt to the lender can be repaid. However, section 437(5) of the Act provides that the conferral of powers in relation to the property of a company does not affect any rights in relation to that property of any other person.

When selling the property of a company, a receiver has specific statutory duties under section 439 of the Companies Act 2014 which provides that:

(i) receivers must achieve the best price reasonably obtainable at the time of sale; and

(ii) the receiver must not sell by private contract a non-cash asset of requisite value to a person who is or who, within three years prior to the date of appointment of the receiver, has been, an officer of the company unless the Receiver has given 14 days’ notice of his or her intention to do so to all creditors of the company who are known to him or her or who have been intimated to him or her.

These statutory duties make it imperative that the receiver obtains expert legal and valuation advice in relation to the sale of property, consistent with the duty “to obtain the best price reasonably obtainable”. Breach of a receiver’s statutory duties may result in the receiver being held personally liable for any loss incurred. Civil proceedings may be brought to enforce this duty.

I consider that these statutory obligations on receivers when selling charged assets are sufficient.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (170)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

170. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of meetings she and her two immediate predecessors had with the national SME envoy of Ireland in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 by date in tabular form. [40715/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The SME Envoy Network was established in 2011, as part of the review at that time of the EU’s Small Business Act. The role of the Network includes promoting SME-friendly regulation and policy making in EU countries, cooperation between Member States in the context of SME policy, and acting as the main interface between the Commission and national policy-makers in Member States.

The national SME Envoys are appointed by the respective Member State governments.

A senior official from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation represents Ireland on the SME Envoy Network, which is also the position for other Member States. Most of the national Envoys are currently public officials, predominantly from the national Ministries, with a very small number from national business development agencies. Separately, representatives of European-level business organisations also attend the meetings as observers.

The SME Envoy Network normally meets on four occasions each year, usually with one meeting in Brussels, and the other three in Member States.

SME Envoy Meetings were held on the following dates, and in the following locations, from 2016-2019:

Date

Location

2016

1st Apr

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

16th/17th June

Ljubljana, Slovenia

6th/7th Oct

Brussels, Belgium

23rd Nov

Bratislava, Slovakia

2017

29th/30th Mar

Zagreb, Croatia

5th/6th July

Lisbon, Portugal

4th/5th Oct

Brussels, Belgium

23rd Nov

Tallinn, Estonia

2018

22nd/23rd Mar

Copenhagen, Denmark

5th/6th July

Nicosia, Cyprus

25th Sept

Brussels, Belgium

19th Nov

Graz, Austria

2019

18th/19th Mar

Bucharest, Romania

27th/28th June

Sigtuna, Sweden

12th/13th Sept

Brussels, Belgium

25th Nov

Helsinki, Finland

Ireland will be represented by Minister Pat Breen TD at the upcoming SME Assembly in Helsinki, which forms part of the schedule of meetings of the SME Envoy Network.

Departmental Bodies

Ceisteanna (171)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

171. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of meetings of the advisory group for small business in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she or the Minister of State in her Department chaired and attended each such meeting. [40716/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Meetings of the Advisory Group for Small Business were held on the following dates in the years 2016 - 2018

Year

Date

Chaired By

2016

27 January

Minister Ged Nash

20 July

Minister Pat Breen

13 September

Minister Pat Breen

1 November

Minister Pat Breen

6 December

Minister Pat Breen

2017

14 February

Minister Pat Breen

12 April

Minister Pat Breen

6 September

Minister Pat Breen

19 October

Minister Pat Breen

2018

27 March

Minister Pat Breen

1 May

Minister Pat Breen

The new SME & Entrepreneurship (SMEE) Consultation Group superseded the Advisory Group on Small Business in 2019. It involves over 40 SME and entrepreneurship-related stakeholders including business owners, representative bodies, policy makers and Government agencies.

The inaugural meeting of the new Group was held on 27 March 2019, and was chaired by Minister Breen. The Group next met in the format of the SME and Entrepreneurship Strategy Conference at the Aviva Stadium on 12 July 2019, which was attended by both myself and Minister Breen. The Group will next convene on the occasion of the launch of the OECD Review of SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Ireland on 23 October next.

Work Permits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (172)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

172. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the work permit regime will be reviewed to make it easier for non-EU nationals to work as home carers employed directly or indirectly by the HSE in view of the difficulties in recruiting home carers; if these workers can be re-classified for this purpose; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40834/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

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

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

Homecare workers are currently on the Ineligible Occupations List and in order to have an occupation removed from the ineligible list, there would need to be a clear demonstration that recruitment difficulties are solely due to shortages across the EEA and not to other factors such as salary and/or employment conditions. Organisations in the sector would need to provide the necessary evidence to substantiate their claims.

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

The mid-year Review of the Occupational Lists is now underway, and submissions received in July are currently under consideration. I expect to receive recommendations, based on available evidence, in relation to possible changes to the lists before the end of the year.

Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (173)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

173. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of a work permit application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40844/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department informs me that, on 30th April 2019, the named Employer applied for two separate General Employment Permits for Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers for the two named non-EEA nationals (details supplied).

From 3 April 2017, and following consultation with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) and the Road Safety Authority (RSA), provision was made in the Employment Permit Regulations for employment permits to be granted, subject to a quota, to HGV drivers who meet the criteria and who are in possession of a valid CE or C1E driving licence (subject to other qualifying criteria).

As part of the application process the RSA have agreed to validate qualifying non-EEA driving licences which are forwarded to them by the Employment Permits Section in advance of a permit issuing. Accordingly, my Department advises (through the Employment Permits section of the Department's website - www.dbei.gov.ie) that copies of both the front and back of the appropriate licence are required with any application.

For the first named person (details supplied), my officials twice contacted the relevant parties in writing (on 6th August and 15th August 2019) requesting a clearer copy of the non-EEA national's driving licence. A further copy was provided on 15th August 2019. However, on 19th September 2019, my officials informed the applicant's agent that the RSA would not accept the copy of the driving licence that was provided as it was still their opinion that the back of the licence was not clear enough.

A clear copy of the driving licence has not been received as yet and my officials are following up again.

For the second named person (details supplied), my officials forwarded this individual's driving licence to the RSA for verification on 4th October 2019, this process may take a few weeks. Once a response is received from the RSA, my officials will be in a position to make a decision on the application and the relevant parties will be notified.

Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (174)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

174. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of a work permit application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40845/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department informs me that on 18 July 2019, the named employer applied for a Critical Skills Employment Permit in respect of the non-EEA national (details supplied). On 3rd October 2019, this application was refused.

The occupation in question, a CNC Lathe Programmer, is ineligible for a Critical Skills permit at the offered remuneration level of €30,000, as the occupation in question is not on the Critical Skills list. However, this occupation would be eligible for a General Employment Permit.

My officials will contact the employer to explain the position as it would appear that the employer applied for the wrong permit type.

Science Foundation Ireland Data

Ceisteanna (175)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

175. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount of funding her Department provided to Science Foundation Ireland in 2017, 2018 and 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40925/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Details of the funding provided by my Department to Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in 2017, 2018 and 2019 is attached in tabular form as follows.

Year

Current

Capital

Revised Estimates Volume allocation€000

Plus sanctioned Deferred Surrender (Capital Carryover) *€000

Supplementary Estimate **€000

Total annual allocation€000

2017

10,131

162,500

172,631

X

10,600

183,231

2018

10,815

172,250***

183,065

X

8,740

191,805

2019

11,565

188,250****

199,815

6,800

X

206,615

*Capital carryover may be permitted from one financial year to the next and requires the formal approval of the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform each year. As is evidenced from the table Science Foundation Ireland’s allocation was enhanced in 2019 with the provision of capital carryover amounts from unspent capital monies arising elsewhere in the Department’s Vote.

**In 2017 and 2018 additional capital monies were also provided to Science Foundation Ireland by the Houses of the Oireachtas through the approved Supplementary Estimates process.

***The 2018 Capital allocation includes €5.5m in dedicated funding for a PhD/Research Masters scheme. This programme is administered by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and will fund postgraduate enrolments in disciplines under their remit.

**** The 2019 Capital allocation includes €15.5m in dedicated funding for PhD/Research Masters enrolment through the new Centres for Research Training. This programme is administered by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and will fund postgraduate enrolments in disciplines under their remit.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (176)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

176. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a copy of all correspondence between her office and the IDA from 2016 to 1 October 2019 will be provided. [40969/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

There is extensive correspondence between my office and Department with IDA Ireland.

From a practical perspective, it would not be possible to undertake a full search, retrieval and orderly compilation of this correspondence across a three-year period within the timeframe sought. Sufficient time would also be required to ensure full compliance with data protection requirements.

Details can, however, be more promptly provided on correspondence between my office and Department with the IDA regarding specific matters. If there is such a particular issue in respect of which the Deputy is seeking more information, I would of course be happy to make that available as soon as practicable.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (177)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

177. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a copy of all correspondence between the office of the Secretary General of her Department and the IDA from 2016 to 1 October 2019 will be provided. [40970/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

There is extensive correspondence between the Office of the Secretary General of my Department with IDA Ireland.

From a practical perspective, it would not be possible to undertake a full search, retrieval and orderly compilation of this correspondence across a three-year period within the timeframe sought. Sufficient time would also be required to ensure full compliance with data protection requirements.

Details can, however, be more promptly provided on correspondence between the Secretary General's Office and the IDA regarding specific matters. If there is such a particular issue in respect of which the Deputy is seeking more information, I would of course be happy to make that available as soon as practicable.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (178)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

178. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a copy of all correspondence between her office and Enterprise Ireland from 2016 to 1 October 2019 will be provided [40971/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

There is extensive correspondence between my Office and Enterprise Ireland.

From a practical perspective, it would not be possible to undertake a full search, retrieval and orderly compilation of this correspondence across a three-year period within the timeframe sought. Sufficient time would also be required to ensure full compliance with data protection requirements.

Details can, however, be more promptly provided on correspondence between my Office and Enterprise Ireland regarding specific matters. If there is such a particular issue in respect of which the Deputy is seeking more information, I would of course be happy to make that available as soon as practicable.

Departmental Correspondence

Ceisteanna (179)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

179. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a copy of all correspondence between the office of the Secretary General of her Department and Enterprise Ireland from 2016 to 1 October 2019 will be provided. [40972/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

There is extensive correspondence between the Office of the Secretary General within my Department and with Enterprise Ireland.

From a practical perspective, it would not be possible to undertake a full search, retrieval and orderly compilation of this correspondence across a three-year period within the timeframe sought. Sufficient time would also be required to ensure full compliance with data protection requirements.

Details can, however, be more promptly provided on correspondence between the Secretary General’s office and Enterprise Ireland regarding specific matters. If there is such a particular issue in respect of which the Deputy is seeking more information, I would of course be happy to make that available as soon as practicable.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (180)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

180. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of businesses by county that have applied for working capital under the Brexit loan scheme; the number of such businesses that have been sanctioned financing to date; and the total value. [40986/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

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

The Brexit Loan Scheme was launched in March of 2018. The Scheme, using a combination of Irish Exchequer and EU guarantees from the European Investment Bank, leveraged up to €300 million of lending at a maximum interest rate 4% at a cost to the Exchequer of €23 million - €14 million provided by my Department and €9 million provided by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Brexit Loan Scheme provides relatively short-term working capital, 1 to 3 years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them to innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. Businesses can confirm their eligibility with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and, if deemed eligible, can apply to one of the participating finance providers for a loan under the scheme.

The scheme features a two-stage application process. First, businesses must apply to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to confirm their eligibility for the scheme. Businesses can use guidelines provided on the SBCI website to determine if they are eligible, and if so, to complete the eligibility form. As part of the process, businesses must submit a business plan, demonstrating the means by which they intend to innovate, change or adapt to meet their Brexit challenges. The SBCI assesses the applications and successful applicants receive an eligibility reference number.

Successful applicants can then apply for a loan under the scheme with one of the participating finance providers using their eligibility reference number. Participating finance providers are the Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Allied Irish Bank. Approval of loans is subject to the finance providers' own credit policies and procedures.

As at 04 October, there have been 828 applications for eligibility under the scheme, of which 751 have been approved to date by SBCI. 198 of those applications have progressed to sanction at bank value, to a total value of €44 million. It should be noted that 153 of total applications received relate to repeat/duplicate applications.

The following table details the number of businesses by county that have applied for working capital under the Brexit loan scheme to 27 September 2019.

Counties

Breakdown of Businesses by county that have applied Brexit loan scheme to 27 September 2019

Carlow

17

Cavan

19

Clare

13

Cork

76

Donegal

44

Dublin

286

Galway

37

Kerry

21

Kildare

31

Kilkenny

6

Laois

10

Leitrim

3

Limerick

20

Longford

0

Louth

36

Mayo

12

Meath

37

Monaghan

28

Offaly

8

Roscommon

14

Sligo

12

Tipperary

20

Waterford

10

WestMeath

14

Wexford

17

Wicklow

37

Total

828

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (181)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

181. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of food businesses by county that have applied for working capital under the Brexit loan scheme which opened in March 2018 up until the end of the third quarter of 2019; the number of such businesses that have been sanctioned financing to date; and the value of same. [41038/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

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

The Brexit Loan Scheme was launched in March of 2018. The Scheme, using a combination of Irish Exchequer and EU guarantees, leveraged up to €300 million of lending at a maximum interest rate of 4% at a cost to the Exchequer of €23 million - €14 million provided by my Department and €9 million provided by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Brexit Loan Scheme provides relatively short-term working capital, 1 to 3 years, to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees to help them to innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. Businesses can confirm their eligibility with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and, if deemed eligible, can apply to one of the participating finance providers for a loan under the scheme.

The scheme features a two-stage application process. First, businesses must apply to the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to confirm their eligibility for the scheme. Businesses can use guidelines provided on the SBCI website to determine if they are eligible, and if so, to complete the eligibility form. As part of the process, businesses must submit a business plan, demonstrating the means by which they intend to innovate, change or adapt to meet their Brexit challenges. The SBCI assesses the applications and successful applicants receive an eligibility reference number.

Successful applicants can then apply for a loan under the scheme with one of the participating finance providers using their eligibility reference number. Participating finance providers are the Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Allied Irish Bank. Approval of loans is subject to the finance providers' own credit policies and procedures.

As at 04 October, there have been 154 applications by food businesses under the scheme, of which 130 have been approved by SBCI. 36 food business applications have progressed to sanction at bank value, to a total value of €9.3 million.

The following table details the number of food businesses by county that have applied for working capital under the Brexit loan scheme to 27 September 2019.

Brexit Loan Scheme: Breakdown of Food businesses by county that have applied Brexit loan scheme to 27 September 2019

Carlow

3

Cavan

5

Clare

4

Cork

23

Donegal

7

Dublin

28

Galway

6

Kerry

1

Kildare

3

Kilkenny

4

Laois

1

Leitrim

0

Limerick

1

Longford

0

Louth

5

Mayo

2

Meath

13

Monaghan

14

Offaly

6

Roscommon

2

Sligo

3

Tipperary

7

Waterford

1

WestMeath

3

Wexford

5

Wicklow

7

Total

154