Consumer Protection

Ceisteanna (308)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

308. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the consumer protections in place that require a customer to be given a receipt after making a purchase. [53283/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

There is no provision of general application in current consumer protection legislation requiring a customer to be given a receipt after making a purchase. In the case of contracts concluded away from the business premises of a trader, the European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No 484/2013) require the trader to provide a range of information to the consumer, including information on the trader's identity and address and on the main characteristics of the goods or services. This information must be provided on paper or, if the consumer agrees, on another durable medium such as an e-mail. A trader who concludes an off-premises contract with a consumer must also provide the consumer with a copy of the signed contract or with confirmation of the contract either on paper or, if the consumer agrees, on another durable medium. In the case of online and other distance contracts, the 2013 Regulations require a trader who concludes such a contract with a consumer to provide the consumer with confirmation of the concluded contract on a durable medium such as paper or e-mail. As the provision of a copy or confirmation of the contract on a durable medium can constitute proof of purchase for consumers; they serve the same purpose as a receipt. 

Small and Medium Enterprises Supports

Ceisteanna (309)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

309. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the funding allocated to the Supporting SMEs online tool in each year since established, in tabular form; the number of SMEs by size (details supplied) that used the tool in each year since established and to date in 2019; and the percentage breakdown per firm size. [53286/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The SME Online Tool (as it was then called) was originally established in 2015, and was initially hosted on the Local Enterprise Office website with technical support provided by Enterprise Ireland.

The SME Communications Group is responsible for its operation and was initially led by the Department of the Taoiseach, then was subsequently led by the Department of Finance. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation took over the leadership of the online tool and the SME Communications Group in mid-2018.

The SME Communications Group has met on three occasions to date throughout 2019 and continues to promote the online tool, for example through engagement with SMEs and stakeholders at promotional events such as the Taking Care of Business and the National Ploughing Championships, and through promotional activities such as on LinkedIn, the business-focused social network site.

The Supportingsmes.gov.ie website is currently hosted by the same website provider as the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation website. Therefore, there are no additional specific hosting costs for the provision of the online tool.

Other funding allocated to the online tool by my Department, since taking over responsibility for the site, are shown below. 

DBEI Funding 2019

Cost

Online Tool Upgrade

€9,420.50

Upgrade associated Training

€738.00

Total

€10,158.50

Year

User Number – Google Analytics

2015

5,491

2016

32,572

2017

22,640

2018

20,192

2019

17,510

Research and Development Funding

Ceisteanna (310)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

310. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the funding allocated to the programme for research in third-level institutions in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the amount subsequently expended in each year; the funding allocated in 2020; the funding ring-fenced for frontier research in 2020, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53289/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI) was launched in 1998, with five cycles of expenditure to-date.  The Programme is designed to facilitate Ireland’s Higher Education Institutions to produce world class research in key strategic areas including bioscience/biomedical; medical technologies; energy, environment and marine; food and drink; social sciences and humanities; ICT and advanced communications and platform technologies and materials.   

The PRTLI has supported the provision of top-class research infrastructure (buildings, laboratories and cutting-edge equipment) as well as human capital development, through Structured PhD/Emergent Technology programmes across Ireland’s Higher Education Institutes (HEIs).   My Department took over responsibility for the PRTLI in May 2010, from the Department of Education and Skills. The Higher Education Authority (HEA) continues to administer Cycle 5 of the Programme on behalf of my Department.  

The allocations and amounts expended on the PRTLI in the years 2010 – 2019 are set out in Table A, with some increases in funding due to Supplementary Estimates (as detailed below).  The full amount allocated in the Department’s Vote under the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions is expended within the year.  The PRTLI allocation for 2020 is €24.72m.  

Table A - PRTLI funding 2010-2019

Year

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Allocation €m

49.9

57.9

54.7

45.2

39

55.5*

30.4**

26.4***

18.3****

26.299*****

*2015 allocation included a Supplementary Estimate of €23.5m in December 2015

**2016 allocation included a Supplementary Estimate of €20m in December 2016

***2017 allocation included a Supplementary Estimate of €12m in December 2017

****2018 allocation included a Supplementary Estimate of €4m in December 2018

*****2019 allocation included a Supplementary Estimate of €1.999m in December 2019  

While there is no specific allocation within the PRTLI for frontier research, Innovation 2020 committed to establishing a new programme of funding for frontier research across all disciplines. The Irish Research Council (under the Department of Education and Skills) launched the Frontier Research Programme or Laureate Awards in April 2017 with an initial fund of €2.5 million, to support researchers to undertake project-based frontier research and to develop as Principal Investigators. A total of €29.6 million was subsequently announced for investment by the Irish Research Council in “frontier research” projects in March 2018, with a further €11.8 million announced in April of this year.

As in previous years, the 2020 PRTLI allocation of €24.72 million is being used to part pay outstanding bills for PRTLI Cycle 5 projects.  It also funds vital shared infrastructure essential to the third level research sector, including part payment of an annual subscription for e-Journals.  E-Journals funding provides Irish based scientists online access to a wide range of leading international scientific journals and is a necessary tool to enable them to conduct their own research. E-Journals formed part of the transfer of functions between my Department and the Department of Education & Skills as decided by Government order in May 2010.

In addition, some of this money will be used to allow for dedicated funding for PhD/Research Masters enrolment through the Centres for Research Training.  This programme is administered by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and will fund postgraduate enrolments in disciplines under their remit. This initiative accords with the action in Innovation 2020 to increase postgraduate researcher enrolments, in disciplines aligned to enterprise and national needs.  The first intake of 126 CRT students commenced in September 2019.

In 2018, my Department and its agencies were responsible for the largest proportion of Government investment in R&D at €364.8m or 47.6% of total Government Investment.  Other Departments also provided funding for research and development across sectors. The Department of Education and Skills had an R&D outturn in 2018 of €202.3m or 26.4% of total Government Investment in R&D while the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine invested €106.2m or 13.9% in 2018.  Overall Government funding of R&D in 2018 was €765.7m and represents an increase of 3.6% over the outturn figure for 2017. Government investment in R&D includes funding for programmes that encompass all disciplines and all types of research.

Gender Balance

Ceisteanna (311)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

311. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the finding of a report (details supplied) that a serious gender imbalance persists at the top level of businesses here and that targets are not being met; the actions she will take; and the actions set out in the future jobs strategy to address the issue. [53296/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

It is very encouraging to see that the work of the Balance for Better Business Review Group, which includes the Secretary General of my Department and the CEOs of IDA and Enterprise Ireland among its members, has already begun to deliver tangible results. The recently published report shows that the proportion of women on Irish Boards has risen from 20.9% in March 2019 to 25.3% by September 2019 - above the target of 25% set for end 2020. There is a strong business case for better gender balance at senior management and board levels of Irish companies, and setting targets is an important step in achieving positive change in this area.

 My Department is committed to supporting improved gender balance in the leadership teams at all stages of Irish businesses.  

One of the objectives of my Department’s National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship in Ireland is to promote female entrepreneurship through the identification and promotion of female role models, targeted events and awards, and support for female entrepreneur networks.

Both Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices have taken various steps to encourage female participation in entrepreneurship, such as Enterprise Ireland’s woman-only Competitive Start Fund and woman-specific training and mentoring run by the LEOs.

An important aspect of the LEO networking programme is the promotion of successful business women as role models, and the use of mentoring and networking opportunities which aims to build confidence in newly emerging women entrepreneurs.

The LEOs run a number of Women in Business Networks along with National Women’s Enterprise Day. In 2018, 63% of participants attending core training programmes in Local Enterprise Offices were women.  

In 2018, of the 132 successful High-Potential Start-Up and Competitive Start funding draws, 29 of those successful outcomes went to female-led companies.

Another encouraging sign is an increase in angel capital going to female-led companies. Statistics from the Halo Business Angel Network show that 27% of deals financed by angel investors in the network went to businesses with at least one female founder in 2018, compared to 21% in 2017.

Of course, we want these figures to be higher and will work to achieve that.

As part of the Future Jobs Strategy, Enterprise Ireland will shortly be announcing their new Female Entrepreneurship Strategy, which will have an action plan to increase the rate of female entrepreneurship and the number of women in leadership roles in Irish businesses.

Finally, in November my Department announced a new postgraduate scholarship, in partnership with the Irish Research Council, to undertake research to develop an evidence base to support the development of policy to remove barriers and to create the supports needed to enable women to rise to the top of business and public service in Ireland.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (312)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

312. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the date, location and purpose of each meeting since May 2016 she and her two predecessors as Minister or a Minister of State attended with a consumer advocacy organisation (details supplied), in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53299/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

To date I have had no meeting with the organisation referred to. While I did receive a request for a meeting, due to a heavy schedule of engagements it was not possible to facilitate the request which was subsequently referred to my colleague Pat Breen, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection for consideration. Minister Breen met with the association in question on 24 January, 2019 at the association's request. The purpose of the meeting was to listen to the association's concerns about its role in current consumer issues.

My colleague John Halligan, T.D. Minister of State with responsibility for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development has had no meetings to date with the organisation referred to.

There are no records available which indicate that either of my predecessors met with the organisation referred to.

From time to time officials from my Department meet with the organisation concerned to discuss developments in consumer policy issues. Communication takes place in several ways including by telephone and by way of both formal and informal meetings.

Research and Development Funding

Ceisteanna (313)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

313. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the introduction of a new five-year cycle with respect to the programme for research in third-level institutions; the duration of the cycle in operation; and when it ceases. [53300/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The current Cycle 5 of the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI) was announced in 2010 and has involved Exchequer expenditure of approx. €277m with a further €59m of private investment  Cycle 5 projects have now been completed and my Department is addressing the remaining payments associated with these awards. In addition to supporting the provision of top-class research infrastructure (buildings, laboratories and cutting-edge equipment), PRTLI saw significant investment in human capital development, through Structured PhD/Emergent Technology programmes across Ireland’s Higher Education Institutes (HEIs).

Innovation 2020, the Government's strategy for research and innovation, includes an action to scope out and develop a successor to PRTLI to support new investment in research infrastructure, including buildings and equipment.  It also contains an action to increase the enrolment of PhD and research masters students. The scoping of a future cycle of PRTLI has been undertaken by my Department, working with the Department of Education and Skills (DES).

While future cycles of PRTLI are referenced in the National Development Plan, Project Ireland 2040, it is important to note that actions are already being taken by DBEI and DES to fund all of the key elements that had been encompassed by PRTLI including research buildings, equipment and structured PhD programmes.  These actions include:

- My Department, through Science Foundation Ireland, has allocated circa €75m for research equipment across the higher education system since the start of 2016, providing significant additional investment for research equipment. 

- My Department, again through Science Foundation Ireland, has commenced roll-out of a new €100 million programmes of investment in PhDs and Research Masters through new Centres for Research Training (CRT). The annual budget for this programme increased to €15 million this year. The CRT programme will provide training for cohorts of Research Masters and PhD students with new cohorts of students enrolling each year for four years from 2019. It will provide training for 700 postgraduate students in areas of nationally and internationally identified future skills needs of digital, data and ICT. The first intake of 126 students commenced in September 2019.

- As regards buildings, under Project Ireland 2040, €2.2 billion has been earmarked for higher education infrastructure over the period 2018-2027.  This spending by the Department of Education and Skills will be focused on expanding capacity and upgrading existing infrastructure, as in other sectors, the funding increase will be gradual during the first half of the period.  Funding programmes include the Higher Education Strategic Infrastructure Fund which has five major projects and the Higher Education PPP programme, which incorporates eleven projects across the Institute of Technology/Technological University sector.  It also includes the funding of certain research activities, most notably by the Irish Research Council. 

The actions being taken by my Department and the Department of Education and Skills are addressing to a significant degree the requirements for increased investment in both physical infrastructure and human capital in higher education research as identified in Innovation 2020.

Research and Development Funding

Ceisteanna (314)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

314. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the level of public research and development intensity as measured as a percentage of GDP on an annual basis in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [53301/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The table below shows Ireland's Government Budget Allocations on R&D as percentage of GDP, 2010-2018, with an estimate for 2019.

Table 1: Ireland's Government Budget Allocations on R&D as percentage of GDP, 2010-2019

Year

GBARD % GDP

2010

0.49%

2011

0.46%

2012

0.43%

2013

0.40%

2014

0.37%

2015

0.28%

2016

0.26%

2017

0.25%

2018

0.24%

2019 (est.)*

0.24%

For more information, please see the R&D Budget 2018-2019 at the following link:

https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/The-R-D-Budget-2018-2019.html

Research and Development Funding

Ceisteanna (315)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

315. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount expended as a percentage of GNP on research spending in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [53302/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The table below shows Ireland's Government Budget Allocations on R&D (GBARD) as percentage of GNP for the years 2010 to 2018, with an estimate for 2019.

Table 1: Government Budget Allocations on R&D (GBARD) as percentage of GNP, 2010-2018

Year

Government Budget Allocations on R&D (GBARD) as percentage of GNP 

2010

0.59%

2011

0.57%

2012

0.54%

2013

0.48%

2014

0.44%

2015

0.37%

2016

0.33%

2017

0.31%

2018

0.30%

2019 (est.)

0.30%

For more information please see the R&D Budget 2018-2019 at the following link:

https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/The-R-D-Budget-2018-2019.html 

Research and Development Funding

Ceisteanna (316)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

316. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the latest EUROSTAT data as a percentage of the GDP, GNP and GNI of each member state; and the amount expended on research spending based on latest annual data. [53303/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The table below shows Government Budget Allocations on R&D (GBARD), GDP and GBARD as a percentage of GDP for EU member states and GBARD as a percentage of GNP/GNI* for Ireland for the year 2018, which is the latest data available. GBARD as a percentage of GNP and GNI* is not available for other EU member states.

Table 1: Government Budget Allocations on R&D (GBARD), GDP and GBARD as a percentage of GDP and GNP/ GNI* for Ireland, 2018

Country

GBARD €m

GDP €m

GBARD as % GDP

Germany

31,178.1   

3,344,370   

0.93%

Denmark

2,682.1   

301,341   

0.89%

Finland

1,951.0   

234,453   

0.83%

Sweden

3,654.0   

471,208   

0.78%

Austria

2,913.3   

385,712   

0.76%

Netherlands

5,566.3   

774,039   

0.72%

Euro area (19 countries)

78,969.6   

11,561,188   

0.68%

Croatia

344.2   

51,625   

0.67%

Estonia

172.5   

26,036   

0.66%

Czechia

1,356.8   

207,772   

0.65%

Belgium

2,921.9   

459,820   

0.64%

Luxembourg

375.0   

60,053   

0.62%

European Union - 28 countries

99,090.6   

15,901,388   

0.62%

Greece

1,141.6   

184,714   

0.62%

France

13,958.0   

2,353,090   

0.59%

Italy

10,272.2   

1,765,421   

0.58%

Spain

6,240.0   

1,202,193   

0.52%

Slovenia

199.4   

45,755   

0.44%

United Kingdom

9,759.0   

2,419,186   

0.40%

Ireland GNI* 

765.7   

197,460   

0.39%

Slovakia

329.3   

89,721   

0.37%

Portugal

709.5   

203,896   

0.35%

Hungary

438.4   

133,782   

0.33%

Ireland GNP 

765.7   

234,879   

0.33%

Cyprus

66.1   

21,138   

0.31%

Lithuania

133.6   

45,264   

0.30%

Poland

1,420.4   

496,361   

0.29%

Ireland GDP

765.7   

324,038   

0.24%

Latvia

64.2   

29,151   

0.22%

Malta

25.7   

12,379   

0.21%

Bulgaria

114.1   

56,087   

0.20%

Romania

352.0   

202,884   

0.17%

Source: EUROSTAT

  For more information please see the R&D Budget 2018-2019 at the following link:

https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/The-R-D-Budget-2018-2019.html  

Research and Development Funding

Ceisteanna (317)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

317. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the percentage of GNI here; and the amount expended on research spending in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [53304/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The table below shows Government Budget Allocations on R&D (GBARD), GNI* and GBARD as a percentage of GNI* for the years 2010-2018, with an estimate for 2019. 

Table 1: Government Budget Allocations on R&D (GBARD) and as a percentage of GNI*

Year

Government Budget Allocations on   R&D (GBARD) € millions

GNI* Current Prices (€ 000's)

GBARD as a % of GNI*

2010

824.8

€128,960

0.64%

2011

786.6

€126,358

0.62%

2012

752.4

€126,498

0.59%

2013

721.7

€136,959

0.53%

2014

726.8

€148,738

0.49%

2015

736.3

€162,656

0.45%

2016

718.9

€175,631

0.41%

2017

739.3

€183,955

0.40%

2018

765.7

€197,460

0.39%

2019 (est.)^

808.1

€203,275

0.40%

^Source: Department of Finance, Stability Programme Update, April 2019

Research and Development Funding

Ceisteanna (318)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

318. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount of capital expenditure in public research and development in each of the years 2005 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the 2020 budgeted figure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53305/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Ireland has increased its investment in research and innovation (R&I) over the past decade while also introducing a range of measures to improve commercialisation of research and build strong linkages between the higher education sector and enterprise. Overall public expenditure on research and innovation, that is capital and current expenditure, has increased by 12% from €719m in 2005 to an estimated €808.1m in 2019. This is the highest amount invested by the State since 2010.

While the Irish economy has recovered and strengthened in the past number of years, levels of public investment have not yet returned to the peak of 2008. Notwithstanding this, the investment in public capital in proportion to overall public expenditure on R&I has remained broadly similar since the economic recovery.

The table below shows the Irish Government's capital expenditure on R&D for the years 2005-2018, with an estimate for 2019. Figures for 2020 are not yet available.

Table 1: Government Capital Expenditure for R&D

Year

R&D Capital Expenditure (€ 000's)

2005

€87,263

2006

€94,107

2007

€160,469

2008

€182,747

2009

€137,160

2010

€111,463

2011

€83,280

2012

€72,413

2013

€58,768

2014

€66,681

2015

€75,812

2016

€71,350

2017

€67,518

2018

€78,061

2019 (est.)

€66,558

 Source: DBEI R&D Budget 2018-2019

For more information please see the R&D Budget 2018-2019 at the following link:

https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/The-R-D-Budget-2018-2019.html  

Horizon 2020 Strategy Funding

Ceisteanna (319, 320)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

319. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of SMEs that received Horizon 2020 funding in each year since the programme became operational by county, in tabular form. [53306/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

320. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount of Horizon 2020 funding allocated to SMEs on an annual basis by county since it was established, in tabular form. [53307/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 319 and 320 together.

The table below provides the total Horizon 2020 Framework Programme funding awarded to SMEs, by county, for each of the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 to date. A MS Excel table is also attached to this response.

The table is based on the European Commission's most recent data release on Horizon 2020 and covers the period up to the 14th October 2019.

It includes the number and value of grant agreements which were signed by Irish SMEs in each year.

It should be noted that the information requested is not collated by my Department - it is maintained and updated by the European Commission and that some data from previous periods have been updated or changed.

Irish SMEs continue to perform strongly in the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme which is a prestigious source of competitive funding for excellent research and innovation.

Horizon 2020 Framework Programme funding awarded to SMEs

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (321)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

321. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if information (details supplied) regarding mentoring supports since the UK referendum to leave the EU in June 2016 will be provided. [53308/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Located in the Local Authorities nationwide, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) Network is the ‘first-stop-shop’ for advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports for anyone intending to start or grow a business.

The LEOs continue to help companies to plan for both the opportunities and challenges that Brexit poses. The LEOs are actively supporting Irish companies to prepare and take action for Brexit through a range of supports and mentoring programmes.

Under the LEO Brexit Mentor Programme, clients work with an experienced mentor on a one-to-one basis to identify key areas of exposure within their business. With advice and guidance from their mentor, clients develop strategies that are more robust, which address issues and maximise potential opportunities around Brexit. The LEO Grant Management Information System was amended in August 2018 to record Brexit related mentoring information separately. Therefore, it is not possible to provide Brexit specific detail on mentoring participation prior to 22nd August 2018. The Brexit Mentor participation is as follows: 

Period

Brexit Mentoring Participants

22nd August to 31st   December 2018

471

1st January to 13th   December 2019

806

Total

1,277

The broader LEO Mentor Programme is designed to match up the knowledge, skills, insights and entrepreneurial capability of experienced business practitioners with small business owner/ managers who need practical and strategic one to one advice and guidance. The mentor contributes independent, informed observation and advice to aid decision making. While mentoring participants in the period 2016 to August 2018 may not have been formally recorded as Brexit mentoring participants, it is assumed that a proportion of the LEO mentoring participants dealt with issues related to Brexit.  The following are the total LEO mentoring participants for the years 2016 – 2019:  

LEO Mentoring Participants:

2016

2017

2018

1st Jan to 16th Dec 2019

7,494

8,393

9,625

9,860

The number of participants attending Brexit Related Events from the 24th June 2016 to the 31st December 2018 was 4,054 with 2,709 participants to date in 2019. These Brexit Events included:

- Is Your Business Ready for Brexit

- Brexit Programme - MEET THE USA BUYERS - PROGRAMME

- Brexit Strategy Development Workshop 1

- Beyond Local - Why making your marketplace international makes total sense

- Exporting to Germany - Opportunities for food producers

- Get your Business Brexit Ready

- Brexit Preparatory Seminar

- Brexit Proof Your Business

The LEOs will continue to provide an extensive range of programmes and supports for core clients and individuals who engage with the LEO network. They will build on its Brexit supports enabling business to deal with the challenges Brexit will bring. The LEOS will continue to monitor their client companies and those individuals who engage the LEO network to ensure those programmes and supports meet and exceed the demands into the future.

Microfinance Loan Fund Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (322)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

322. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the value of drawdowns issued under the microfinance scheme on 1 December 2018 and 1 December 2019; the value of approvals on the same dates; the drawdown and approval by county, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53309/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Microenterprise Loan Fund Scheme, administered by Microfinance Ireland was introduced in 2012.  The purpose of the Fund is to provide unsecured loans of €2,000 up to €25,000 for terms of up to five years to microenterprises that cannot obtain funding through traditional sources. Microenterprises are defined as businesses with less than 10 employees and /or turnover of less than €2m.  

The total value of loans approved on 1 December 2018 was €26.7 million and the total value of drawdowns on that date was €23.2 million.  The total value of loans approved on 1 December 2019 was €32.9 million and the total value of drawdowns on that date was €28.3 million.  

Table 1 – The Value of Loans Approved and Drawdowns on a County Basis on 1 December 2018

County

Value of loans approved

Value of drawdowns

Carlow

€377,495

€319,995

Cavan

€502,735

€442,736

Clare

€836,397

€717,397

Cork

€2,386,825

€2,088,831

Donegal

€734,493

€711,493

Dublin

€5,753,394

€4,767,099

Galway

€1,146,159

€1,216,789

Kerry

€768,994

€664,995

Kildare

€1,033,658

€909,660

Kilkenny

€425,146

€374,647

Laois

€437,481

€359,981

Leitrim

€389,711

€364,211

Limerick

€1,398,387

€1,189,389

Longford

€575,246

€436,749

Louth

€647,194

€602,194

Mayo

€908,109

€712,610

Meath

€1,264,398

€1,099,900

Monaghan

€277,347

€214,847

Offaly

€475,658

€359,663

Roscommon

€561,795

€522,795

Sligo

€793,194

€622,395

Tipperary

€1,196,283

€1,105,283

Waterford

€880,492

€692,493

Westmeath

€751,095

€706,095

Wexford

€1,368,978

€1,240,979

Wicklow

€805,345

€748,345

Total

€26,696,009

€23,191,571

Table 2 – The Value of Loans Approved and Drawdowns on a County Basis on 1 December 2019

County

Value of loans approved  

Value of drawdowns

Carlow

€494,495

€454,495

Cavan

€600,935

€534,736

Clare

€983,097

€807,097

Cork

€2,811,625

€2,460,131

Donegal

€882,993

€851,993

Dublin

€7,430,394

€6,303,599

Galway

€1,746,940

€1,535,441

Kerry

€958,994

€854,995

Kildare

€1,307,258

€1,097,160

Kilkenny

€458,966

€413,647

Laois

€526,687

€434,187

Leitrim

€487,711

€458,711

Limerick

€1,604,387

€1,365,389

Longford

€624,246

€470,749

Louth

€790,194

€735,194

Mayo

€1,079,109

€871,110

Meath

€1,484,838

€1,254,840

Monaghan

€332,347

€254,847

Offaly

€563,158

€447,163

Roscommon

€707,995

€647,995

Sligo

€897,194

€691,395

Tipperary

€1,280,283

€1,205,283

Waterford

€1,182,592

€866,593

Westmeath

€839,595

€782,595

Wexford

€1,757,828

€1,562,829

Wicklow

€1,026,845

€983,345

Total

€32,860,706

€28,345,519

Microenterprises play a vital role in the Irish economy. I am committed to ensuring that they have access to appropriate and affordable finance to help them to achieve their business goals.  Supporting these enterprises to access the finance they need has been a cornerstone policy for the Government and for my Department over the past number of years.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (323)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

323. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the uptake on the various schemes offered to assist businesses in preparing for Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53413/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department and its agencies are continually working on promoting the available supports, schemes, information and advice that can help businesses prepare for Brexit. These measures are focused on: helping businesses across the country to identify key risk areas; providing information and advice on the practical preparatory actions that business can take; and making supports available to help businesses in addressing Brexit related concerns.

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), are the first-stop-shop for anyone seeking guidance and support on starting or growing their business. In addition to offering support and guidance, the LEOs act to signpost businesses to appropriate supports. They also participate in and run events related to Brexit and offer Brexit-specific mentoring to businesses. Up to the 6th of December 2019, 1,271 LEO clients have received one-to-one mentoring solely focused on Brexit.

The Brexit Loan Scheme provides relatively short-term working capital, for terms of up to three years, to eligible businesses to help them innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. As of 12th of December there have been 919 eligibility applications received, of which 828 have been approved and 219 loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €47.5 million. However, it should be noted that 160 of the total applications under the scheme are re-applications. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the reason for re-applications was that eligibility codes had expired.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme provides long term loans with a term of eight to ten years, to support strategic long-term investment. As at 12 December, there have been 2,506 applications for eligibility under the scheme, of which 2,350 had been deemed eligible. To date, 650 applications have progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €124 million.

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) operates the Brexit Loan Scheme (BLS) and also the Future Growth Loan Scheme (FGLS). It has been actively promoting these schemes through attendance at numerous business-related events to inform and promote schemes and through promotional radio and digital campaigns which include Twitter and LinkedIn. 

My Department has a dedicated Brexit page on its website which includes information on the schemes available and officials have put together Brexit Loan Scheme and Future Growth Loan Scheme information packs which are available through my Department’s website.

My Department has also published a report detailing the supports available to indigenous enterprises, including Brexit supports such as the Brexit Loan Scheme and Future Growth Loan Scheme. This sits alongside publications like the Quick Brexit Guide for Business and Currency Risk Management for Irish SMEs.

The uptake as of the 6th of December 2019 across all the Brexit preparedness supports available to businesses is provided in the attached table.

Scheme

Uptake at 6 December 2019 unless otherwise specified

Brexit Loan Scheme

919 applications for eligibility received, 828 approved by SBCI, 219 loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €47.5 million.

Of the approved applications to date, 160 were reapplications as eligibility expires after six months.

Data as of the 12th December 2019

Future Growth Loan Scheme

2,506 applications for eligibility received, 2,350 approved by SBCI, 650 loans progressed to sanction at bank level. Total value of loans sanctioned was €124 million.

Data as of the 12th December 2019

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

6,975 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1,768 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

236 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

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

215 companies have been approved under this initiative

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard

5,833 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,937 Customs Insights Course participants

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

75 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

334 “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

1,095 Strategic Consultancy Grants have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Clear Customs Grant

219 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

828 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

499 LEO clients have participated in the programme

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

1,271 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

6,763 participants at the Brexit Information events

Customs Training Participants

1,573 participants attended Customs Training

InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service

5,402 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

There have been 2,083 applications, with 1,799 approved and 8 still pending assessment.

InterTradeIreland Brexit Implementation Vouchers

There have been 58 applications, with 44 approved.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme 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.

IDA Ireland Site Visits

Ceisteanna (324)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

324. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of IDA visits by county, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53414/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Regional development is a key priority for my Department. We understand the importance of achieving the best possible spread of employment and investment across the country and we have been working hard towards that goal. Significant progress has already been made, with 58% of all IDA client-supported employment now located outside of Dublin. This figure represents the highest such figure in the history of the Agency. Our aim remains to increase this percentage further by the end of this year.

When it comes to foreign direct investment (FDI), site visits do represent a valuable tool through which investors can be encouraged to invest in regional areas. However, as I have said before, site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential, as a significant percentage of all new FDI comes from existing IDA client companies.

The table below details the number of IDA site visits per county from 2018 until the third quarter of 2019. Details on site visits for the entirety of 2019 will become available early next year.

County

2018

Q1-Q3 2019

Carlow

7

7

Cavan

2

6

Clare

13

20

Cork

61

55

Donegal

8

6

Dublin

269

216

Galway

54

35

Kerry

10

4

Kildare

8

8

Kilkenny

5

12

Laois

10

5

Leitrim

6

2

Limerick

35

43

Longford

5

2

Louth

20

32

Mayo

10

3

Meath

6

3

Monaghan

3

4

Offaly

5

4

Roscommon

3

2

Sligo

15

24

Tipperary

5

6

Waterford

21

16

Westmeath

22

16

Wexford

3

4

Wicklow

1

6

Total

607

541

National Positive Ageing Strategy Implementation

Ceisteanna (325, 326)

Joe O'Brien

Ceist:

325. Deputy Joe O'Brien asked the Minister for Health the steps taken to implement the national positive ageing strategy in his Department [53175/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Curran

Ceist:

326. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health the steps taken to implement the national positive ageing strategy in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53280/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 325 and 326 together.

The National Positive Ageing Strategy (NPAS) published in 2013 provides a framework for cooperation to address age-related policy and service delivery across Government and society in the years ahead. The strategy is intended to promote older people’s health and wellbeing so that older people can continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural, and family life in their own communities for as long as possible. The strategy highlights that ageing is not just a health issue, but rather requires a whole of Government approach to address a range of social, economic, and environmental factors that affect the health and wellbeing of our ageing citizens.

Many of the objectives included in this Strategy are broad and can be viewed as a set of principles to which Government has committed, and which will inform policies that affect older people into the future.

New arrangements to implement and monitor implementation of NPAS were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy and Public Service Reform in 2016. The revised approach recommits to the core principles of the strategy, establishes a mechanism to give stakeholder groups effective and ongoing access to engagement with bodies and agencies relevant to older people through an annual forum for stakeholders, and monitors the effect of the implementation process through the publication on a regular basis of a Positive Ageing National Indicators Report.

The inaugural stakeholder forum took place in 2017. Stakeholders were asked to identify key priorities to propose to Government to consider for its focus in the coming year. Through this forum, clear channels of communication between the stakeholder representative group and relevant Government Departments to discuss these priorities have been facilitated by the Department of Health. Based on the success of and interest in the forum, a second stakeholder forum was held in 2018 and the third stakeholder forum was held in November 2019. Areas of action have been identified at each of these fora and the Department is providing support and communication to stakeholder groups who are engaged in furthering work in these areas, with positive outcomes to date, including collaborative work in relation to the redesign of housing adaptation grant application forms.

The strategy comprises four national goals, developed to address key aspects of older people’s lives. The four goals, and examples of progress to date thereunder, follow.

National Goal 1:

Remove barriers to participation and provide more opportunities for the continued involvement of people as they age in all aspects of cultural, economic, and social life in their communities according to their needs, preferences, and capacities.

A key objective under this goal is to promote the concept of active citizenship and to encourage people of all ages to become more involved in their communities. Age Friendly, an organisation whose remit it is to help to create an inclusive, equitable society in which older people can live full, active, valued, and healthy lives under the guidance of the National Positive Ageing Strategy, have been very successful to date in this area. Age Friendly is a World Health Organisation inspired movement which embraces the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population. In Ireland each of the 31 local authorities have signed up to the Age Friendly Programme. Older People’s Councils have been set up and are running throughout Ireland as part of this programme, as well, ensuring a voice for older people in local government and community concerns. Implementation on this front does not rest with Age Friendly alone; there are many NGOs engaged in making Ireland a better country in which to grow old and they do so with the objectives of the National Positive Ageing Strategy informing their work.

National Goal 2:

Support people as they age to maintain, improve, or manage their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The National Positive Ageing Strategy is strongly embedded within the vision and actions set out for Healthy Ireland, the Government-led initiative which aims to create an Irish society where people of all ages can enjoy good physical and mental health, and where wellbeing is supported at every level of society. The Healthy Ireland Framework was launched in 2013 and seeks to provide people and communities with accurate information on how to improve their health and wellbeing and to make the healthy choices easier choices. Healthy Ireland takes a whole-of-Government and whole-of-society approach to improving health and wellbeing and the quality of people’s lives and a number of new structures have been put in place to ensure that all sectors of society are given opportunities to participate.

Commitments within Government that further the strategy in relation to health and wellbeing include the development of a statutory scheme for homecare, which will aim to improve access to the homecare services that people need in an affordable and sustainable way, thus enabling people to continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible.

National Goal 3:

Enable people to age with confidence, security, and dignity in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

Across communities many initiatives, strategies, and schemes are in place that firmly support this goal. One such is initiative is the An Garda Síochána Older People Strategy, which aims to ensure the policing needs of older people in Ireland are met to the highest standards. This supports the objective of empowering people to live free from fear in their homes and communities, as they age. With regards to facilitating older people to live in homes which are suitable to their physical and social needs, the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government and the Department of Health are implementing, through a Joint Committee on Housing and Health, a framework for supported housing, to facilitate people to age well and healthily in place.

National Goal 4:

Support and use research about people as they age to better inform policy responses to population ageing in Ireland.

As part of the strategy implementation process, a Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative (HaPAI) has been established in collaboration with the HSE’s Health and Wellbeing Programme and the Atlantic Philanthropies to measure the impact of the strategy and establish an on-going system for measuring and reporting on Positive Ageing. The Initiative monitors changes in older people’s health and wellbeing linked to the goals and objectives of the National Positive Ageing Strategy. This is done primarily through the development of Positive Ageing indicators which are published every two years. The initiative is intended to provide evidence of the factors contributing to positive ageing, including at local level and ultimately inform policy responses to population ageing in Ireland. The first Positive Ageing National Indicators Report was published in November 2016 and highlights many of the positive and negative aspects of growing old in Ireland. The second Positive Ageing National Indicators report is due to be published later this year.

The HSE provides funding to many organisations that work with older people and further the objectives of the strategy. This funding is ongoing by its nature, as the strategy and the goals therein are intended as direction for future engagement for the continued promotion of older people’s health and wellbeing.

Hospital Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (327)

John Brassil

Ceist:

327. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Health the number of advanced nurse practitioner posts filled at University Hospital Kerry; the number of posts filled in each of the years 2016 to 2018; his plans for 2020 in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52552/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible