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 Header Item Strategic Investment Fund Management (Continued)
 Header Item Economic Growth Initiatives

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 809 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath] The Minister says that the ISIF will decide on which projects can proceed on a commercial basis but, in practice, who will that be? Will there be a separate board of the ISIF sitting within the NTMA? At what point does the Minister expect that the first commercial investments of the fund can proceed? He hopes to have the legislation enacted by the end of this year so I presume it would the first half of next year before investments could begin.

Deputy Eoghan Murphy: Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy Will the new fund have ethical guidelines along the lines of the ethical investment Bill I introduced in the House that would prevent the fund from investing in companies that participate in certain activities, for example, nuclear weapon development, cluster munitions development and other types of weapons?

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty We have been on record as arguing for the NPRF to be used as a stimulus so I welcome the fact that the Minister is finally moving in this direction. Next month, it will be two years since the Minister announced this legislation. He says he is hopeful it can be enacted by the end of the year. Deputy Michael McGrath raised other issues in respect of governance. We know there is a commitment in terms of the water metering project, with which I disagree. There is €6.4 billion in this discretionary portfolio fund. When will we see a sizeable amount of that money invested in the economy? Tens of thousands of people who left these shores in the two years or so since the Minister announced this fund have given up. How much longer can we tell them to hang on, that this money will be made available, that it will be injected and that they will see at least half of it invested? Will it be next year or the year after? When will we see real investment and can directional orders still be given? The Minister gave directional orders to the NPRF to invest in AIB and Bank of Ireland. Is that still an option or will it be completely commercial?

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The NPRF is already investing so there is no question of it being delayed along the lines suggested by the Deputy. However, it is investing on the basis of a kind of letter of comfort that I issued to it to allow it to get ahead of the legislation. That must be a temporary arrangement and it needs to be put on a statutory basis. The legislation has gone through the Government at heads stage but it is being drafted in the normal way so it is not possible to give the exact details of what may end up in it. The existing legislation has such a section so I do not see why it should be dropped in the new legislation.

It is proposed that an ISIF investment committee will be established to decide on the investment of the strategic investment fund and within the parameters of the strategy, which will be set by the new board of the NTMA. The NTMA does not have a board at present. It has an advisory board so the whole family of companies within the NTMA will be, from a governance point of view, subject to a new overarching board that will be a statutory board under the new Act. It is proposed that the NTMA will be responsible for the management of the ISIF and will establish an investment committee that will have discretion to make investment and disposal decisions. As with the NPRF commission, the members of the investment committee will have discretion to make investment decisions in line with the ISIF's investment strategy. There is no question of the thing being some kind of political slush fund. The fund's investment strategy will be consistent with the Government's policy objective. The NTMA will be responsible for the management and the investment and disposal decisions will be made on a commercial basis.

Economic Growth Initiatives

 68. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the actions he believes ECOFIN Ministers can take to provide a Europe economic stimulus; the reason this has not happened to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [31920/13]

Deputy Michael Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan A number of initiatives are being implemented at EU level to boost growth. The cumulative impact of all these measures will be positive in terms of supporting economic activity in the EU at this difficult juncture. For instance, Heads of State or Government in the EU agreed on a compact for growth and jobs in June last year. This involves action by both member states themselves and at EU level to boost growth, investment and employment.


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