Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Ceisteanna (292)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

292. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of investigative cases commenced for suspected anti-competitive conduct which does fall within the definition of a cartel to the end of quarter 3 2019 on an annual basis since the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, CCPC, was established in tabular form; the number of inspections carried out; the number of prosecutions and cartel decisions made; the number of cases which concluded with fines issued, the value of fines issued; the number of collected and uncollected fines; and the average fine per cartel and average length of cartel investigation to date. [47155/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of domestic and EU competition law in the State. Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the Commission is independent in the performance of its functions. As investigations and enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Commission, I, as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in these matters.

The information sought by the Deputy in relation to civil investigative actions has been provided by the CCPC and is set out in the attached table for the period 31 October 2014 to 30 September 2019.

Criminal Investigative Actions 31 October 2014 - 30 September 2019

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Number of investigative cases commenced (cartel)

Investigations launched

1

2

1

1

0

Files screened*

NA

24

14

10

13

The number of searches carried out

5

20

1

1

0

The number of prosecutions and cartel decisions made **

0

0

1 resulting in 2 prosecutions

0

0

The number of cases which concluded with fines issued

0

0

1 resulting in 2 fines

0

0

The amount in Euro of fines issued

0

0

€55,000***

0

0

The number of collected and uncollected fines

0

0

As above

0

0

The average fine per cartel

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

The average length of cartel investigations to date in each year

NA

9 months

11.5 months

7 months

9 months

* When the CCPC receives a complaint in relation to potential anti-competitive behaviour it is examined through a screening process before a decision can be made as to whether there is sufficient evidence to open an investigation.

** The CCPC cannot make decisions or determinations concerning a breach of competition law. The CCPC’s role is to investigate alleged cartels and when sufficient evidence of a cartel is obtained, the CCPC submits a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions with the recommendation that the parties be prosecuted on indictment.

*** The leniency of the original sentence and fines (€17,500) imposed in 2017 were appealed by the DPP and in June 2018 the Criminal Court of Appeal increased the fines imposed on the individual convicted.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Ceisteanna (293)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

293. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the progress to date by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, CCPC, regarding insurance inquiries such as price-signalling concerns and personal contract plans used to finance motor purchases. [47156/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of domestic and EU competition law in the State.

Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the Commission is independent in the performance of its statutory functions. As investigation and enforcement matters are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Commission, I, as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in these matters.

I understand that the CCPC’s investigation concerning suspected breaches of competition law in the motor insurance sector is on-going. This investigation is examining whether insurers, brokers and industry associations engaged in anti-competitive price signalling and information sharing by openly signalling upcoming increases in motor insurance premiums in the State. The CCPC recently confirmed in the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation (01/10/19) that it is a large investigation and that it has examined considerable information and potential lines of enquiry. The CCPC has obtained approximately 1.4 million emails and documents from parties under investigation and held 55 witness summons hearings.

In relation to personal contract plans (PCP), the CCPC conducted a study of the market and published its report in March 2018. This report included a number of recommendations for policy makers to consider for greater consumer protection in the sector. The CCPC continues to raise awareness and provide information to consumers on this topic, most recently conducting a public awareness campaign in May 2019. My colleague, the Minister for Finance, has recently published the Consumer Protection Regulation of Retail Credit Firms Bill, which will extend the jurisdiction of the Central Bank to cover hire purchase agreements, including PCP, and a wider definition of consumer credit.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Reports

Ceisteanna (294)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

294. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the study she has requested the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to undertake on the public liability insurance market; and when this will be completed and published. [47157/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

In July 2019, I requested the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to carry out a study of the public liability insurance market in accordance with section 10 (4) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014. The study will focus on how the market for public liability insurance is functioning and will make recommendations as to how any identified issues may be addressed.

The CCPC has commenced its study and I understand that a procurement process was launched to seek the services of external economic consultants to expedite the delivery of this study. These consultants will supplement the CCPC’s in-house expertise. The CCPC has advised me that the study is a priority and it will be concluded as soon as practicable.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement

Ceisteanna (295)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

295. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the process for ratifying Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA; the number of member states that have ratified the arrangement; the outcome of the recent opinion of the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice on the compatibility of the investment court system with the European treaties; and when Dáil Éireann will vote on the agreement. [47376/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As the Deputy will be aware, CETA has provisionally applied since 21st September 2017 meaning that duties on 98% of products (tariff lines) that the EU trades with Canada have been removed. The reduced trade barriers, tariff elimination, simplified customs procedures and more compatible technical requirements all make it easier and cheaper for Irish companies of all sizes to export to Canada. Although the Agreement includes provisions for a mechanism for the settlement of disputes between investors and the EU or Canada, concerning the interpretation and application of the agreement, the Investment Court System (ICS) is excluded from provisional application. In order for all the Investment Provisions of CETA to come into force, including the Investment Court System (ICS), the Agreement must be ratified by all EU Member States in accordance with their national procedures.

On 7th September 2017, the Kingdom of Belgium requested the opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) regarding the compatibility of the ICS with EU law. The Opinion of the CJEU which was issued on 30th April 2019 held that the dispute settlement mechanism in CETA is compatible with EU law and complies with

1. the principle of autonomy of EU law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the CJEU for the interpretation of EU law,

2. the principle of autonomy of EU law and the exclusive jurisdiction of the CJEU for the interpretation of EU law, and

3. the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in particular of the right of access to a court and right to an independent and impartial tribunal under the Charter.

This decision of the Court means that no changes are required to be made to the text of the CETA, and EU Member States can proceed with ratification of CETA, according to the requirements of their national law.

To date, 13 Member States have ratified CETA, while Ireland, along with several other Member States, chose to await the outcome of the CJEU opinion prior to considering the commencement of the ratification process at national level.

In light of the opinion of the CJEU, my Department is progressing the necessary steps for Ireland’s ratification of CETA, including consultation with the Office of the Attorney General. In due course, I will submit a Memorandum to Government requesting the Government to authorise the moving of a motion in Dáil Éireann (in accordance with Article 29.5.2 of the Constitution), seeking approval on the terms of the Agreement. If Dáil Éireann votes in favour of the Agreement, Ireland will notify the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union that we have completed our respective internal requirements and procedures concerning the ratification of CETA. While I cannot provide a precise timeframe for this ratification process, my Department continues to progress the matter as a priority.

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement

Ceisteanna (296)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

296. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of times to date in 2019 she has formally met with the Director of Corporate Enforcement. [47398/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

To date in 2019 I personally have had no formal meetings with the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

As is the case with other Agencies under the remit of my Department, officials from my Department meet with officials from the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues, including in relation to Human Resources, ICT, communications, funding, facilities, legislation, strategy and other issues as and when they emerge. As with other Agencies there are also meetings between senior officials in the ODCE and the Department's Management Board the latest of which took place on 22nd of October this year.

These meetings are complemented by engagement which takes place on an ongoing basis between officials of my Department and officials from the ODCE, as part of the normal day-to-day interaction to discuss operational matters relating to the Agency. Communication takes place in several ways including by telephone and by way of both formal and informal face to face meetings.

Regional Enterprise Development Fund Data

Ceisteanna (297)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

297. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the budget allocations to the Regional Enterprise Development Fund in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 by county in tabular form; the amount drawn down each year to date; the number of applications for the fund by each stream, year and county to date; the number of successful and unsuccessful applications by county in each such year; and the number of payments that have issued to each approved project in each year by county. [47408/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Government’s €60 million Regional Enterprise Development Fund, administered by Enterprise Ireland, has the objective of supporting every region to build on its unique strengths and ultimately create sustainable jobs. Administered via two competitive calls, a total of 42 projects were approved funding totalling €59.5 million. The budget for this fund is part of Enterprise Ireland’s budget to support enterprise development. Successful projects under Call 1 and Call 2 of the fund were announced on the 11th of December 2017 and the 3rd of December 2018 respectively. A total of 21 projects were successful under each initiative and a total of €31.5 million was approved under Call 1 and €29 million under Call 2. Table 1 provides a breakdown of the grants approved to successful projects under Call 1 and 2 by region.

Table 2 presents the amount drawn down each year to date under Call 1 and 2 of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. It is important to note that there is a lag time between grant approved and grant paid. Grant expenditure must be incurred by the successful grant awardee and then inspected by Enterprise Ireland prior to payment.

The number of applications, successful and unsuccessful, received under each of the four funding streams, by region, is presented in the following tables. Due to the collaborative nature of projects, the regional breakdown of projects presents the best overview of applications, successful and unsuccessful. Table 3, 4 and 5 provides the detail by region.

Due to the collaborative nature of each project, the regional breakdown below presents the best overview of the number of payments issued to successful applicants to date. Funding approved to successful projects was in the form of grants and is presented in Table 6 .

The required information referred to above in Tables 1 to 6 is provided in the attached link.

Budget Allocations

Haulage Industry

Ceisteanna (298)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

298. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the assistance she has put in place for the haulage trade which is finding it impossible to employ haulage truck drivers here and have to source employees outside the EU via work permit applications; and her plans to expedite the process for this category of worker in view of the situation. [47463/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The employment permit system is managed through the operation of the critical skills and ineligible occupation lists for the purposes of granting an employment permit. The occupation lists are reviewed twice yearly to ensure that the employment permit system is supportive of the economy by maximising the benefits of economic migration and minimising any disruption to the domestic/EEA labour market

In April 2017, following a review of the occupation lists, HGV drivers are removed from the ineligible list and provision was made in the Employment Permit Regulations for employment permits to be granted, subject to a quota of 120, to HGV drivers who meet the criteria and are in possession of a valid CE or C1E driving licence. To date 88 permits have issued to qualified HGV drivers.

In addition, in April 2019 provision was made in the Employment Permit Regulations for the Transport and Distribution Clerks and Assistants to be removed from the ineligible occupation list, subject to a quota of 300, in the context of Brexit. The evidence suggests that in the event of Brexit, managed or otherwise, there will be a sharp increase in demand for these skills. For this reason, as part of the Government’s overall contingency planning, it was prudent to make these extra allowances.

My officials engage regularly with Industry Representatives bodies and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sports, as the lead policy Department, to ensure that the labour and skill challenges in the sector are reflected in the twice yearly review process.

Flexible Work Practices

Ceisteanna (299)

Imelda Munster

Ceist:

299. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the details regarding the future skills research team that is conducting research into remote working, including details on the person conducting the research; the groups and persons the team has met as part of the research; the submissions they received; the number of staff working on the research; and the publication date for the guidelines. [47593/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I understand the opportunities presented by the increased adoption of flexible working solutions in the workplace. This is addressed under Pillar 4 of the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland strategy. Pillar 4 is focussed on increasing participation in the labour force as this will lead to a more equitable, balanced and sustainable development of Ireland’s workforce.

Pillar 4 of Future Jobs Ireland outlines a number of key ambitions and deliverables to help to increase participation in the labour force. A number of these ambitions are centred on flexible working solutions which can offer benefits for employers, employees and wider society in general. Flexible working encompasses a wide range of practices including part-time, compressed hours, job sharing, home-working and remote working. Such solutions allow for tangible benefits for employees including improving their work-life balance. It also provides solutions for those who would otherwise take unpaid parental leave but cannot afford to do so.

A deliverable under this Pillar is the completion of research on remote working. My Department is currently leading on this research which focusses on understanding the prevalence and types of remote working arrangements within the Irish workforce and the attitudes towards such arrangements. The research will identify the influencing factors for both employers and employees partaking in remote working. The research will also include an international policy review which will consider related policies abroad in order to understand the impacts of this on remote working.

To assist this work, an Interdepartmental Steering Group has been formed with representatives from my Department, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of An Taoiseach. This Group is providing guidance and feedback to the two staff members of my Department who are leading on this report.

The research will include desk research, an online national employee survey and engagement with key stakeholders, including employer representative bodies and remote working interest groups. As part of the consultation process my Department held a Remote Working Consultation Forum on July 18th of this year. This was attended by Government Departments, State Agencies, enterprises, and the remote working community. The insights arising from this Forum will be included in the final report which will outline the relevant policy implications of remote working for Ireland. The report is expected to be completed in Q4 of this year and published in early 2020.

Patent Applications

Ceisteanna (300)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

300. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on a matter (details supplied) concerning obtaining a trademark for a new product; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47627/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Patents Office is the statutory body that deals with the registration of trade marks. The application process is straight forward and involves making an application to the Office, providing details of the applicant, an address for service, the trade mark for which registration is sought, the goods or services for which the trade mark will be used, and paying the statutory fees. Applications can be made online and the Patents Office e-filing system provides ample information to guide applicants through the application process. Once the application has been made, it will be examined by the Office and the applicant will be notified in due course as to the acceptance or otherwise of their application. There are different types of marks and the fees payable are dependent on the range of goods and services which the applicant seeks registration for. Extensive information is available on the Patents Office website at www.patentsoffice.ie or the Office’s Information Centre can be contacted at 056-7720111 for further guidance.

Jobs Protection

Ceisteanna (301)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

301. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the actions she has taken to protect jobs at a company (details supplied); the supports that will be put in place by her Department and agencies for employees that have been put on protective notice; if she has spoken with management of the company regarding protecting the jobs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47630/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department and I are closely monitoring the ongoing situation at SK Biotek in Swords. My understanding is that the company has placed a number of its employees on protective notice. This has resulted in the temporary laying-off of up to 142 staff. Not all of the firm’s workers, however, have been similarly affected.

I understand that the company’s decision followed a dispute between management and staff at the plant, which had resulted in industrial action being taken in recent weeks. The company has stated that its core manufacturing operations have had to be suspended on account of that industrial action.

Workplace disputes are never welcome news – for workers, for employers and for the Irish economy as a whole. It is clearly in the interests of both sides that this dispute does not continue. As it stands, the facility is not operating as normal and employees are temporarily out of work. I would therefore urge both parties to engage meaningfully with one another, and through the industrial relations machinery of the State, in an effort to find a solution.

I am keenly aware of how significant an employer this company is in the North Dublin area, with 370 people normally working at its facility in Swords. These are valuable jobs – in a key industry – which makes it all the more important that this situation be resolved.

IDA Ireland is aware of the situation and is in close contact with the company and the Workplace Relations Commission stands ready to support negotiations. I would urge both parties to enter into talks with a view to resolving the situation as soon as possible.

Food Prices

Ceisteanna (302)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

302. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her Department has examined the proposal to ban the below-cost selling of agricultural produce including beef; and the way in which this could be achieved with existing national and EU legislation. [47684/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I understand that a proposal to ban the below cost selling of agricultural produce including beef was submitted by the IFA to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Consequently, the Deputy’s question is a matter for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Work Permits Data

Ceisteanna (303, 304)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

303. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applications for work permits received in 2019 by month; the number of applications that were fully processed and not fully processed, respectively at the end of each month in tabular form. [47736/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

304. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the steps being taken to increase the speed at which work permits are being issued; the number of outstanding work permits at the end of each of each month in 2019 that remain to be processed by sector in tabular form. [47737/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 303 and 304 together.

The statistics requested by the Deputy are contained in the following table.

2019

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

TOTAL

Number of Applications Received

1,172

1,358

1,213

1,575

2,047

1,741

1,680

1,485

1,636

1,626

15,538

Number of Applications Processed

1,738

1,399

1,437

1,272

1,539

1,755

1,839

1,729

1,530

1,763

16,001

Total Number of Applications in the processing queue at the end of each Month that are not fully processed

2,183

(includes 398 applications at various stages of processing)

2,167

(includes 441 applications at various stages of processing)

1,928 (includes 419 applications at various stages of processing)

2,264

(includes 458 applications at various stages of processing) 

2,666 (includes 542 applications at various stages of processing)

2,754 (includes 669 applications at various stages of processing)

2,591

(includes 541 applications at various stages of processing)

2,343

(includes 540 applications at various stages of processing)

2,421

(includes 604 applications at various stages of processing)

2,266

(includes 653 applications at various stages of processing) 

2,266

(includes 653 applications at various stages of processing) 

As the economy improves and we approach full employment, my Department has experienced a high volume of employment permit applications which has led to some delays in processing applications. The current level of demand is due to our economic success, growing labour market and reduced labour surplus.

In order to reduce processing times, the Employment Permits section has introduced a number of operational changes, streamlined processes and implemented ICT solutions. Additional staffing resources have also been assigned to the section and a fast track training programme has been devised.

Employment Permits Section is working to further reduce the current waiting times of:

- 3 weeks for Trusted Partners which account for 73% of applications this year (down from a peak of 7 weeks). Trusted Partners are regular users of the service.

- 9 weeks for standard applications which account for 27% of applications this year (down from a peak of 16 weeks).

At end October 2019, 15,538 applications have been received, an 11% increase on the same time last year. At the same time there has been a 31% increase in the amount of applications processed (16,001) compared to the same period last year. In July 2019, Employment Permits Section processed more employment permit applications (1,828) than during any month in the past 11 years. Quarter 3 of 2019 was the busiest Quarter in the last 11 years with 5,072 permit applications being processed so the changes currently being implemented within Employment Permits are resulting in higher outputs and reduced processing times.

An independent Business Process Review (BPR) is currently being carried out to identify further efficiencies that can be implemented in the short term and as a first step in the development of a new IT processing system during 2020 which will take advantage of all the new technologies available, including full digitisation. The Review, which included engagement from key stakeholders, is close to completion with the report expected before the end of the year.

Applicants are advised to apply for an employment permit at least 12 weeks in advance of the expected start date so that any impact of the current extended processing timelines on recruitment timeframes is minimised.

Data is respect of applications in the processing queue by sector is not available. Sectoral data is only assigned to applications when the application is reached for processing.

Work Permits Data

Ceisteanna (305)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

305. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the valid employment permit application processing time by the total number of work days by each month in 2019, in tabular form. [47738/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The average amount of work days taken to process an employment permit application for each month in 2019, and the total number of work days per month, is set out in the following table.

Average Number of Business Days to Process Applications from January 2019 to Oct 2019

January

(22 working days in month)

February

(20 working days in month)

March

(21 working days in month)

April

(21 working days in month)

May

(22 working days in month)

June

(19 working days in month)

July

(23 working days in month)

August

(21 working days in month)

September

(21 working days in month)

October

(22 working days in month)

43

43

38

35

31

24

33

35

31

33

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (306)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

306. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of civil servants in her Department by grade who are specifically allocated to work in the economic migration policy unit (details supplied). [47739/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

There are three staff in the Economic Migration Policy Unit of my Department responsible for economic migration policy, which is the framework within which the State’s employment permit system operates.

Their key responsibilities include coordinating the implementation of the recommendations of the published review of economic migration policy, and the twice-yearly review of the occupation lists for employment permit purposes.

Employment Permit Section is responsible for the operational management of the employment permit system.

The overall staff complement of the Economic Migration Policy Unit and the Employment Permits Section is 42.40 (FTE), broken down by grade as follows:

Grade

Number (FTEs)

Principal Officer

1

Assistant Principal Officer

2

Higher Executive Officer

4.05

Executive Officer

7.3

Clerical Officer

25.05

Temporary Clerical Officer (TCO)*

3

* There are currently 3 TCOs assigned to Employment Permits Section, pending the appointment of 3 full-time Clerical Officers, which my Department is in the process of recruiting through the Public Appointments Service.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (307)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

307. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the meetings she has conducted with ESB management with respect to the closure of its midlands power plants; when she was first notified of the decision to close the power plants; if she is satisfied that the redundancy measures will be sufficiently robust and reflect European best practice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47852/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I have had no meetings with ESB management with respect to the closure of the midlands power plants and I was not directly notified of the decision. The issue of redundancy measures is an operational matter for ESB.

Workplace Relations Commission

Ceisteanna (308)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

308. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her attention or that of her officials has been drawn to the Workplace Relations Commission adjudication decision of 30 October 2019 (details supplied); if consideration has been given to same; if there are ramifications or links to the claim by community employment supervisors following the 2008 Labour Court recommendation on same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47862/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is an independent statutory office under the aegis of my Department. The WRC is mandated to secure compliance with Ireland’s employment, equality and industrial relations legislation. As part of its statutory functions, the WRC adjudicates on cases under employment rights, industrial relations and equal status legislation. If a party is dissatisfied with a decision of an adjudication officer of the WRC, then that decision may be appealed to either the Labour Court or the Circuit Court depending on the enactment.

The Labour Court hears appeals of adjudication officer’s decisions of the WRC in all disputes arising under industrial relations and employment rights enactments Such appeals must be notified to the Labour Court no later than 42 days from the date of the decision concerned.

Given the independent statutory nature of both the WRC and the Labour Court, I, as Minister, have no involvement when either body exercises its quasi- judicial functions and as such cannot comment on the individual cases referred to by the Deputy.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Ceisteanna (309)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

309. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health when the position for clinical psychologist and social worker will be filled for a special school (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47424/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (310)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

310. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health if an organisation will continue to provide services for children at a special school (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if not, the person or body that will be providing the service if this discontinues. [47425/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Screening Programmes

Ceisteanna (311)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

311. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the frequency with which school medical examinations take place nationwide in both urban and rural settings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47817/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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