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 Header Item Written Answers
 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1-14
 Header Item Imports Data
 Header Item Ministerial Functions
 Header Item Community Development Projects
 Header Item Departmental Websites
 Header Item Dublin-Monaghan Bombings
 Header Item Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements
 Header Item Civil Service Code of Conduct
 Header Item Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Investigations
 Header Item Health and Safety Inspections
 Header Item Local Enterprise Offices Data

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 1

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Written Answers

 The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].

Written Answers Nos. 1-14

Imports Data

 1. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the amount of timber being imported. [42982/17]

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh The data requested by the Deputy is set out in the table.

  It should be noted that the 2017 data covers the period January to July.

  Table A : Imports of Timber by division 2015 - 2017

Division 2015

€m
2015

Tonnes
2016

€m
2016

Tonnes
Jan-Jul 2017

€m
Jan-Jul 2017

Tonnes
Crude materials-Wood 157 428,918 156 508,408 86 278,675
Manufactured goods- Timber (excl furniture) 226 224,326 236 244,019 150 156,428

Ministerial Functions

 2. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if there were changes in the powers delegated to the Ministers of State in his Department relative to the situation in place prior to 14 June 2017; and if so, the details of same. [42787/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar At my request, on 5 July, the Government made an Order delegating my statutory functions in relation to the Central Statistics Office under the Statistics Act 1993, the Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956 to 2005 and the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 to the Government Chief Whip, Deputy McHugh. On 14 June 2016, at the request of my predecessor, the Government made an Order delegating the same statutory functions to the then Government Chief Whip, Deputy Doherty.

Community Development Projects

 3. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar further to Parliamentary Question No. 93 of 3 October 2017, the funding allocated in 2016 and 2017 for projects in the North East Inner City; and if this funding will be recurring or if it is a once-off expenditure, in tabular format.  [42789/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The 2016 funding allocated to the North East Inner City to help the Community implement a number of interim measures is detailed in the published Mulvey Report which is available on: merrionstreet.ie.

  As previously outlined, further measures for 2017 were agreed by the Programme Implementation Board at a cost of €2.5 million which are set out in more detail as follows - these contain a mixture of once off and recurring measures. Funding for 2018 has been sought as part of the Estimates process.

Priority Area Report Action Budget
Tackling Crime and Drugs CCTV installation at key locations €300,000
  Measures to target street dealing and drug related intimidation €75,000
  Youth Leadership and Integration of targeted approaches for youth-at-risk €53,000
Employment and Training Enhanced Career Guidance Service €20,130
  English language training for new communities €40,000
  Construction Skills Course €20,000
Family, Children and Youth Services Pilot local schools initiative €50,000
  Programme of local community events summer projects, and folklore project €235,000
  Community grants scheme €100,000
  Restorative practice and standardised area training for staff €61,300
  Other supports targeting well-being, family support and counselling €162,400
  Youth outreach and services hub €96,000
Improving the Physical Landscape Public environment maintenance project €80,000
  Urgent Physical Improvement Works €692,170
  Target Derelict Sites, shopfront improvement and Street Art €240,000
  Greening Strategy €200,000
  Programme Office Costs €75,000
  Total €2,500,000

Departmental Websites

 4. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the reason his speeches are no longer put up on his Department's website (details supplied); if a decision was taken to place all speeches on merrionstreet.ie instead; and if he or his officials have other plans for his Department's website.  [42987/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar There has been no change to the practice of publishing speeches to the Department's websites, which are up to date. There are currently no plans for changes to the Department's website.

Dublin-Monaghan Bombings

 5. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if there has been a recent response from Prime Minister May regarding the Dublin-Monaghan bombings. [42988/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As I reported on 3 October, I have raised the Dublin-Monaghan Bombings and other legacy cases with Prime Minister May and have stressed the importance of making progress on legacy issues and the overall arrangements for dealing with the past.

The Government will continue to engage with the British Government in relation to the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, and pursue all possible avenues that could achieve progress on this issue, consistent with the request made by the Dáil, and in the hope that this could bring some measure of closure to the families..

Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements

 6. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar further to Parliamentary Question Nos 1 to 7 of 4 October 2017, if he will report on his bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Rutte and their discussion on Brexit; and if other issues were discussed. [42989/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Ongoing political engagement with our EU and international partners is crucial, especially as negotiations on Brexit proceed. I continue to use every opportunity to ensure that other Member States and the EU institutions fully understand our particular concerns arising from Brexit, to enable the best possible outcome for this country. Of course, other Ministers - particularly Minister Coveney, who has special responsibility for Brexit - are also meeting with their EU counterparts on a regular basis.

As part of my own engagements, I met bilaterally with the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, while we were both in Tallinn for the Digital Summit on 29 September. We discussed progress in relation to the Brexit negotiations, and I thanked the Prime Minister for his understanding of Ireland's particular concerns. We also exchanged views about the Bratislava Process and the future direction of Europe.

I invited PM Rutte to visit Dublin later this year when I hope we will have a further opportunity to discuss these issues in detail. Dates for his visit are currently being explored..

Civil Service Code of Conduct

 7. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if guidelines were issued in his Department regarding political party activity. [42991/17]

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar As part of my Department's induction process, all employees receive - and sign up to - the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour. Part 2, Section 5 of that Code deals with the issue of civil servants and politics.

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Investigations

 8. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if special measures are put in place with regard to monitoring the activities of companies reported to the ODCE for serious transgressions while those investigations are ongoing, such as in the case of a company (details supplied) which continues to operate. [43001/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement, ODCE, was established under the Company Law Enforcement Act 2001 and continued under the Companies Act 2014. Under the provisions of the 2014 Act, the Director is responsible for enforcing and encouraging compliance with company law, investigating suspected offences under the Companies Act, prosecuting detected breaches of the Companies Act, referring cases to the Director of Public Prosecutions on indictment and exercising a supervisory role over the activities of liquidators and receivers.

Section 949(3) of the Companies Act 2014 provides that the Director of Corporate Enforcement shall be independent in the performance of his statutory functions. I, as Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in such matters.  Consequently, it is not possible for me to intervene in any action or decision taken by the Director in relation to his statutory functions..

Health and Safety Inspections

 9. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her views on the request made by the CEO of the Health and Safety Authority that 50 inspectors are needed to ensure farm safety; the number of farm safety inspectors employed by the HSA; and the number of new inspectors that have been hired to date in 2017 in relation farm safety. [42495/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Pat Breen): Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen The Health and Safety Authority, HSA, is responsible for the enforcement of health and safety in the workplace. The farming sector is a sector of particular focus of attention by the HSA due to the large number of accidents and fatalities on Irish farms. In order to address this situation the HSA, in addition to traditional inspections, is adopting a parallel approach of targeted engagement and awareness-raising directly with the farming community.

The Agriculture Sector is unique in several respects. It is predominately made up of individual self-employed, self-supervised sole traders whose work is generally intrinsically linked to the family home and family life.  Pressures and difficulties in agricultural work are generally exacerbated by seasonality, periods of peak activity, time pressures and the constant influence of various weather conditions.  The aim of the HSA is to prevent loss of life, serious injury and ill-health arising out of agricultural work activity to farmers, farm families and all who interact with farmers.

 In 2017 the HSA aims to improve health and safety in agriculture by:

- Carrying out 2,000 inspections.

- Continuing the emphasis on engagement with farmers; e.g. through knowledge sharing groups, combined with a series of agriculture inspection campaigns both nationally and regionally.

- Conducting two agriculture inspection campaigns, each of three weeks’ duration. The first began on 1 March and was concerned with livestock safety, and the second commenced on 2 May and focussed on tractors and machinery.  The campaigns had both a national and regional focus and were also supported by media campaigns.

- Continuing to deliver coordinated awareness raising/safety promotion/training initiatives with major stake holders (e.g. the National Farm Safety Conference which will take place on 17 November in Ennis).

- Assisting in the implementation of the second year of the Farm Safety Action Plan 2016-2018, developed in conjunction with the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee.  This plan lays out a series of specific actions and priorities for tackling the high rates of illness, injury and death on Irish farms including active participation by the HSA in Farm Safety Week which took place in July and the Ploughing Championship in September.

My Department has sanctioned the recruitment of 11 inspector posts for the HSA. On foot of these sanctions the Authority is currently completing its recruitment process for these inspector posts. Of these posts, six relate to inspectors who will have an involvement in future farm inspection programs.

Comments made by the CEO of the HSA in a recent radio interview to the HSA having identified a need for an additional 48 new posts are in reference to a draft two-year Workforce Plan produced by the HSA and submitted very recently to my Department. I have not seen that draft Workforce Plan which is being considered by my officials in conjunction with the HSA. I should point out that the 48 new posts being requested cover a range of sectors and grades including clerical and administrative posts. None of the additional posts referred to in the draft Plan includes dedicated farm inspection resources.

Local Enterprise Offices Data

 10. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of LEO business expansion grants given to businesses in County Meath in 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42683/17]

 11. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the amount of funding under the LEO business expansion grant allocated to businesses in County Meath in 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42684/17]

 12. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the average grant amount given to businesses in County Meath under the LEO business expansion grant in 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42685/17]

 13. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number and value of LEO grants allocated to businesses in County Meath in 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42686/17]

 14. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the grant amounts and number of grants allocated by the Meath LEO in 2016 to businesses by sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42687/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 to 14, inclusive, together.

   In 2016, the Local Enterprise Office, LEO, Meath approved 25 grants – feasibility, priming and business expansion – in total for the year, to a value of €293,998. The allocation included three business expansion grants totalling €47,500 for its clients. This equates to an average grant amount of €15,833.

  Details of business sectors covered by these grants are set out in Table 1.

 Table 1: LEO Meath Grant Allocations by Business Sector 2016

Business Sector
Amount Allocated
No. Allocated
Business Services €92,590 6
Clothing & Fashion €6,366 1
Communications, Media & Entertainment Services €3,230 1
Craft €5,000 1
Customer Services €7,500 1
Engineering €3,000 1
Environment/Green Technologies €36,000 1
Food Manufacturing & Processing €61,989 5
Furniture/Light Consumer Goods Manufacture €15,698 3
Manufacturing Other €22,500 1
Software/IT €40,125 4
Grand Total €293,998 25
 

As the first-stop-shop for the provision of supports to the micro-enterprise and small business sector in the county, in 2016 the LEO Meath ran training courses for 427 participants, provided mentoring services for 229 participants and supported 22 applications for loan finance to MicroFinance Ireland.

  The LEO Meath also approved four grants totalling €8,815 to its clients under the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, TOVS, which is administered by the LEOs on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

   Finally, under the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, IBYE, competition, the €50,000 investment fund available to LEO Meath was awarded to the winners and runners-up in the three categories: best new business idea, best new start-up and best established business. In 2016, a total of 69 young entrepreneurs applied for the IBYE competition in LEO Meath, bringing the total number of applicants in the county since the competition commenced in 2014 to 134.


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