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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 608-624
 Header Item Employment Rights
 Header Item Company Closures
 Header Item Work Permit Applications
 Header Item Job Initiatives
 Header Item Enterprise Support Services Provision
 Header Item Departmental Staff Training
 Header Item Consumer Protection
 Header Item Job Initiatives
 Header Item Fuel Prices
 Header Item Employment Rights
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Health and Safety Regulations
 Header Item Competition Authority Investigations
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item State Bodies Establishment

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 774 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 608-624

  Question No. 608 answered with Question No. 600.

Employment Rights

 609. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton following the enactment of the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Workers) Bill, the steps being taken by him to ensure that employers and or recruitment agencies have made or will make backdated payments to their staff; if the staff will be retrospectively paid to 5 December 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38067/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act was enacted on 16th May, 2012. I notified employers in a national information notice in December, 2011 in relation to the retrospective provision in the Act. Officials in my Department have met with various stakeholders whose members would be affected by the legislation to consult with and inform them about the legislation.

  In the event that agency workers have not received equal treatment in relation to Pay from 5 December, 2011, the Act provides a redress mechanism to the Rights Commissioner. I have instructed the National Employment Rights Authority call centre to answer all queries that agency workers, employment agencies and hirers may have in relation to all aspects of the legislation. My Department also recently published guidelines for the legislation which are available on the Department’s website.

Company Closures

 610. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding company closures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38261/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Company closures, no matter when or how they occur, are always matters of concern to Government and the statistics raised by the Deputy are a matter of real concern.

  Vision Net notes that, “8,184 companies were registered in Ireland in the first seven months of 2012. However, company closures are up 6% on this figure (8,664) essentially meaning a contraction in the number of companies operating in our economy”.   

  These figures represent the whole economy and are challenges which this Government is facing up to on a daily basis. It is an unfortunate reality that companies for a wide range of reasons find themselves in difficulty and early intervention is critically important. For this reason, the Enterprise Development agencies operate an early warning system, which has been in place for over ten years. When triggered, this mechanism brings the full capacity of the agency concerned to bear on whatever situation has arisen within the client company.

  For example, when Enterprise Ireland is made aware of jobs at risk, it engages closely with those client companies reporting difficulties or potential job loses to determine what appropriate proactive measures can be put in place by the agency to prevent or minimise the job losses.

  When IDA Ireland becomes aware of a company's intention to either downsize or cease operating in Ireland, it works with the client company to safeguard and minimise the number of job losses through offering to help the companies to improve competitiveness; enhance their use of technology; grow the skills of their employees; engage in research, development and innovation or develop their business processes.

  Similarly, as soon as Shannon Development becomes aware of jobs at risk, it proactively engages with companies to offer whatever supports are available to minimise the impact as regards job losses. There are many differing and complex factors that can influence a firm's decision to relocate in today’s modern globalised economic environment. Companies change location to address matters such as accessing new markets, moving production nearer to customers, meeting firm or market specific customer relationship issues, in addition to business takeovers and consolidations. Recent jobs losses which have occurred in the FDI sector in Ireland are largely the result of the continuing restructuring process that is on-going in Ireland and other developed economies, driven by competitive pressures and technological change. This can result in jobs at the lower end of the value added scale being either phased out completely or relocated to lower cost locations.

  The early warning system is kept under review so as to ensure that it is fit for purpose.

Work Permit Applications

 611. Deputy Anne Ferris Information on Anne Ferris Zoom on Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the steps he is taking to address the lacuna in the Employment Permits Act 2003 which has left undocumented workers vulnerable to exploitation as highlighted in a recent High Court judgment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38353/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The issue raised by the High Court judgement is one which has important policy and legal implications in the area of Employment Permits and also in terms of Employment Rights.

  As Justice Hogan noted in his judgement, “the Oireachtas must, of course, regulate the labour market by specifically deterring illegal immigrants from taking up employment, as failure to do so could have serious medium term implications for both employment and immigration policy”. The relevant provisions of the Employment Permits Acts of 2003 and 2006 hold that where an employee, who was required to hold an Employment Permit, has failed to do so then he or she is guilty of an offence. Furthermore, while an employer may also be guilty of an offence in this matter, Justice Hogan points out that the legislation provides for a defence with regard to an employer but fails to do so with regard to an employee.

  As I understand it, this lack of defence affects the Courts’ scope to interpret the statutory provisions and compels the Court to hold that the legislation has created an absolute offence so far as an employee is concerned. Importantly, Justice Hogan found that it must therefore be taken that the Oireachtas intended that such a non-national employee automatically commits an offence if he or she does not have a work permit irrespective of the reasons for that failure and that this has implications so far as the civil law is concerned, in that such a contract of employment must also be taken to be void.

  The question that arises for policy makers is to what extent such non-nationals should be dissuaded from working illegally in Ireland by virtue of there being a statutory offence to do so, versus, to what extent should certain employment rights protect vulnerable migrants which find themselves unwittingly in such employment positions.

  The Deputy will recognise that this question requires careful consideration as the applicability of rights in one context can have far reaching consequences beyond that originally intended.

I wish to assure the Deputy that my Department is treating the matter with the utmost importance and that I would expect deliberations on the matter to be concluded within a matter of   months.

Job Initiatives

 612. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will provide an update on any new employment incentives to draw new companies into areas of disadvantage on the northside of Dublin.  [38444/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Government is tackling unemployment generally through the twin strategies of the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work. The aim of the Action Pan for Jobs is to support the creation of 100,000 net new jobs by 2016, while the objective of Pathways to Work is to provide those who are unemployed with the appropriate training and skills to avail of the job opportunities which will arise as the economy recovers. Many young people will benefit from the opportunities provided through these programmes. The 2012 Action Plan for Jobs contains over 270 measures to be delivered across all 15 Government Departments and 36 State agencies. My Department and its agencies play a central role in the delivery of approximately 60% of those measures, and have a supporting role in many other actions.

Pathways to Work includes various training, education and work experience initiatives delivered by the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Social Protection. Under Pathways to Work, the Department of Social Protection is committed to supporting over 85,000 job placement, work experience and Back to Education beneficiaries this year, including through the JobBridge internship programme.

The Department of Education and Skills will provide over 450,000 education and training places this year across the range of provision in the higher education, further education and training sectors. These places will include provision for school leavers, although the long-term unemployed are a priority target. The twin strategies outlined are available to businesses and unemployed persons from the North side of Dublin. It is not possible to set detailed location-specific job targets for the Enterprise Agencies because many of their activities are enterprise-led rather than agency-led.

All of the agencies have regional structures to maximise local opportunities. This regional spread allows the agencies to drive take-up of their services and supports such as entrepreneurship programmes focused on identifying new business opportunities at a local level. In addition, Enterprise Ireland has a network of 110 Community Enterprise Centres in operation across the regions, including six on the North side of Dublin.

Enterprise Support Services Provision

 613. Deputy Peter Mathews Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if any funding is available to a person (details supplied) who has set up a company to promote heritage sites, national monuments and architectural wonders here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38449/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton State assistance for microenterprises in Ireland is currently delivered by the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) network.

The County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) provide a range of grants to eligible micro-enterprises, which can cover all business costs directly attributable to growing and developing a business, as well as training and one-to-one mentoring initiatives to assist individual businesses develop.

I understand that the promoter of the project in question has had initial discussions with his local CEB and their services remain available to him as appropriate to his business proposal. I would encourage the promoter to maintain this contact with a view to developing the project.

As part of the delivery of a major commitment in both the Programme for Government and the Action Plan for Jobs 2012, the Government is in the process of introducing the Micro Finance Loan Fund which will provide loans of up to €25,000 for Start-ups, sole traders and existing micro-enterprises.

The Micro Finance Loan Fund will initially facilitate €40m in additional lending to businesses employing not more than 10 people over the next five years, with provision for the scheme to be extended to provide an additional €50m of lending over a further five years at that point.

Departmental Staff Training

 614. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the amount of money spent on an annual basis on education and training of staff in 2011 and to date in 2012; the number of staff that availed of each course; if he will provide a list of the courses staff undertook and the cost of each course per person.  [38488/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton My Department supports the development of staff to better serve the business needs of the Department through direct provision of training courses, support for staff studying business relevant academic courses primarily in their own time, and supporting attendance at relevant seminars and conferences. Details of expenditure on education and training in 2011 and in 2012 (to end April) are shown in the following table.

2011 – Full Year

Training Courses

Course Title Total cost Number of participants Cost per participant
Access Officer Training €280.00 1 €280.00
Advanced Excel €1,540 17 €90.59
All Office 2010 Conversion Training €7,160.19 306 €23.40
Anti-Money Laundering €120.00 1 €120.00
Business Continuity €790.00 2 €395.00
Business Process Improvement €3,680.00 4 €920.00
CFR Instructor Update Training Course €2,175.00 2 €1,087.50
Combating Corruption in the EU €100.00 1 €100.00
Communication & Assertiveness €3,499.96 17 €205.88
Customer Service €920.00 10 €92.00
Data Protection €545.00 1 €545.00
Effective Meeting Skills €1,699.70 15 €113.31
Effective Writing Skills €900.00 8 €112.50
Employment Law €850.00 1 €850.00
Evac Chair Training €550.20 7 €78.60
Fire Warden Training €712.35 15 €47.49
Gaeleagras - Gaelchultur €480.00 2 €240.00
Group Accounting €670.00 1 €670.00
Intermediate Excel €1,094.98 15 €73.00
Intermediate Word €364.96 8 €45.62
Intermediate/Advanced Word €384.99 3 €128.33
Interview Preparation Skills €750.00 1 €750.00
Italian Level 1 & 2 €400.00 1 €400.00
Judicial Review €245.00 1 €245.00
Mediation Training €3,750.00 1 €3,750.00
Occupational First Aid refresher training €600.00 9 €66.67
Occupational First Aid training course €900.00 5 €180.00
Office 2010 Conversion Training €940.91 30 €31.36
Persuasion & the Achievement of Public Goals €1,200 7 €171.43
Powerpoint €364.96 8 €45.62
Preparing Tenders €790.00 2 €395.00
Presentation Skills €2,450.00 14 €175.00
Public Law Update €295.00 1 €295.00
Publisher Training €549.96 6 €91.66
Short course on Long Documents €581.39 65 €8.94
Tailored Excel €384.96 16 €24.06
Train the Trainer €1,500.00 2 €750.00
White Collar Crime €180.00 1 €180.00
Workforce Planning €450.00 3 €150.00
Writing for the Web €590.00 2 €295.00
TOTAL Training Courses €45,439.51 612 €74.24


Academic Courses

Course Title Total cost Number of participants Cost per participant
Certificate in Audit Skills €4,800.00 1 €4,800.00
Certificate in 1st Line Management €1,950.00 1 €1,950.00
Certificate in Public Management €1,390.00 1 €1,390.00
Certificate in Civil Service & State Agency Studies €6,050.10 7 €864.30
Certificate in District Court Advocacy €2,320.00 2 €1,160.00
Diploma in Arbitration €5,750.00 1 €5,750.00
Diploma in Civil Service & State Agency Studies €5,965.00 5 €1,193.00
Diploma in Computer Studies €4,190.00 1 €4,190.00
Diploma in Legal Studies €5,962.16 2 €2,981.08
Advanced Diploma in Legislative Drafting €9,000.00 2 €4,500.00
Diploma in Project Management €2,500.00 1 €2,500.00
Diploma in Public Management €8,460.00 3 €2,820.00
Higher Diploma in Public Management €2,500.00 1 €2,500.00
Diploma in Public Procurement €2,835.00 1 €2,835.00
BA in Business Management €2,465.00 1 €2,465.00
BA in Human Resources Management €8,856.25 3 €2,952.08
BBS in Human Resources Management €5,960.00 2 €2,980.00
BA in Law €3,705.00 2 €1,852.50
BA in Law (Hons) €2,000.00 1 €2,000.00
LLB (Hons) in Irish Law €4,900.00 1 €4,900.00
LLB in Irish Law €3,950.00 1 €3,950.00
LLB in Law €2,875.00 1 €2,875.00
BA in Management Law €2,500.00 1 €2,500.00
BA in Management Practice €3,800.00 1 €3,800.00
BA in Public Management €9,950.00 5 €1,990.00
BSc in Information Systems €9,365.00 2 €4,682.50
BSc in Business Information Systems €2,400.00 1 €2,400.00
Masters in Business €3,090.00 1 €3,090.00
MSc in Digital Investigations €3,300.00 1 €3,300.00
MSc in Management €7,950.00 2 €3,975.00
MSc in Management of Information Systems €4,077.00 1 €4,077.00
Masters in Public Management €10,209.00 2 €5,104.50
MBA in Project Management €4,750.00 1 €4,750.00
TOTAL Academic Courses €159,774.51 59 €2,708.04


Seminars/Conferences
Title Total cost Number of participants Cost per participant
A New Era for Public Procurement in Ireland €737.16 3 €245.72
Annual Public Sector Conference €750.00 3 €250.00
Attendance at Seminar €60.00 1 €60.00
Business Continuity Planning - Disaster Recovery €300.00 2 €150.00
Charges for Departments Strategy Conference €2,901.80 1 €2,901.80
Cloud Computing in Ireland €248.50 1 €248.50
Corporate Governance Conference €369.00 1 €369.00
Directors Responsibilities Conference €210.00 2 €105.00
Dublin Regional Seminar €105.00 3 €35.00
Effectiveness of Training €295.00 1 €295.00
Employment Law Conference €796.50 3 €265.50
Employment Rights Conference €1,750.00 7 €250.00
ERA Annual Conference €474.00 1 €474.00
Essentials of Employment Law €475.00 1 €475.00
Future of State Assets €235.95 1 €235.95
Good Governance Conference €300.00 3 €100.00
Irish Corporate Law Forum Seminar €2,369.35 19 €124.70
Innovation in Delivering Public Services €235.95 1 €235.95
Internal Audit Group €35.00 1 €35.00
IPA National Conference €1,053.00 6 €175.50
IRN Annual Conference €1,580.00 5 €316.00
IT Security Seminar €150.00 1 €150.00
Judicial Review, Administrative Decisions & Statutory Appeals €530.00 2 €265.50
Masterclass in Public Policy €750.00 1 €750.00
Morale & Motivation €211.75 1 €211.75
Public Sector Reform €235.95 1 €235.95
Social Media in Government & Public Sector €750.00 4 €187.50
State Aid Seminar €967.50 1 €967.50
TOTAL Seminars/Conferences €18,876.41 77 €245.15
TOTAL on Education and Training 2011 €224,090.43 748 €299.59


2012 – to end April*

Training Courses
Course Title Total cost Number of participants Cost per participant
Business Process Improvement €920.00 1 €920.00
CPD Training €2,000.00 2 €1,000.00
Draft Companies Bill €720.00 3 €240.00
Employment Litigation €1,700.00 4 €425.00
Dooley €1,700.00 4 €425.00
Facilitation Skills €849.96 9 €94.44
Freedom of Information €1,500.00 10 €150.00
HEO Management Course €2,324.76 9 €258.31
Introduction to Excel €374.99 7 €53.57
Negotiation Skills €3,000.04 35 €85.72
One to One Excel €192.50 1 €192.50
Safe Pass €90.00 1 €90.00
Short Course on Pivot Tables €192.47 19 €10.13
White Collar Crime €2,800.00 2 €1,400.00
Working Smarter with Lotus Notes €577.48 23 €25.11
Writing Skills €900.00 12 €75.00
TOTAL Training Courses €19,842.20 142 €139.73


Academic Courses
Course Title Total cost Number of participants Cost per participant
BA (Hons) Business Information Systems €2,750.00 1 €2,750.00
BA (Hons) in Business Management €2,500.00 1 €2,500.00
BA (Hons) in Social Science DBS €1,720.00 1 €1,720.00
BA in Law €5,500.00 3 €1,833.33
BA in Management Practice €3,800.00 1 €3,800.00
BA in Public Management Limerick IT €4935.00 2 €2,467.50
Bachelor of Arts €2,820.00 1 €2,820.00
Bachelor of Arts in Business Management €2,750.00 1 €2,750.00
Bachelor of Business €1,500.00 1 €1,500.00
Diploma Company Law €1,250.00 1 €1,250.00
Diploma in Legal Studies Griffith College €984.24 1 €984.24
LLB (Hons) in Irish Law €4,187.50 1 €4,187.50
MA in HR Management €5,000.00 1 €5,000.00
Postgrad Diploma Employment Law €4,600.00 1 €4,600.00
Postgrad Diploma in Public Management €5,000.00 1 €5,000.00
Professional Diploma in Employment Law €9,200.00 2 €4,600.00
Reimburse fees LL.B in Irish Law from Independent Colleges €300.00 1 €300.00
Reimburse tuition fees for Economic Policy Studies Trinity €122.00 1 €122.00
TOTAL Academic Courses €58,918.74 22 €2,678.12


Seminars/Conferences
Title Total cost Number of participants Cost per participant
A new era for data protection €790.28 4 €197.57
Annual Commercial Law update €150.00 1 €150.00
Annual Conference €385.00 2 €192.50
Annual Conference on European Labour Law €426.60 1 €426.60
Company Secretary Seminar €395.00 1 €395.00
Draft Companies Bill €2,400.00 10 €240.00
Effective Training Needs Analysis €395.00 1 €395.00
European Law Conference €225.00 1 €225.00
Fundamentals of Euro Claim Drafting €972.65 1 €972.65
IRN Annual Conference €2,759.94 9 €306.66
ISEL Seminar on Competition Amendment €40.00 2 €20.00
Key developments in Corporate Governance Policy & Practice €220.00 2 €110.00
Legal Costs Seminar €140.00 1 €140.00
Legal Discovery €236.00 1 €236.00
Seminar on European Competition Law €588.60 1 €588.60
Variations to Marketing Authorisations €504.44 1 €504.44
TOTAL Seminars/Conferences €10,628.51 39 €272.53
TOTAL on Education and Training 2012 – to end April* €89,389.45 203 €440.34


  *Approved training is funded via the Department’s Learning and Development Unit. Most training is also arranged by that Unit. However, some training is arranged directly by Offices of the Department and IT training is arranged by the Department’s ICT Unit. Data for training arranged by Offices/ICT Unit is currently available to end-April 2012.

Consumer Protection

 615. Deputy Peter Mathews Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will introduce legislation to prevent companies charging a large administration charge for customers who do not pay by direct debit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38535/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Article 19 of Directive 2011/83/EU on Consumer Rights seeks to prevent businesses from imposing excessive payment charges. It provides that:

Member States shall prohibit traders from charging consumers in respect of the use of a given means of payment fees that exceed the cost borne by the trader for the use of such means.

While Member States are required to transpose the Directive into national law by December 2013, I have decided that Article 19 should be given early effect in Ireland. My Department has recently published a consultation paper on Article 19 and a related provision on additional payments at Article 22 of the Directive with a view to enacting both provisions by end 2012 or early 2013. The consultation paper can be accessed on the Department’s website (www.djei.ie).

While Article 19 applies to cases where a business imposes a payment charge on consumers who pay by methods other than direct debit, it has been clarified by the European Commission that it does not cover cases where a business offers a discount to consumers who pay by direct debit. Prohibiting traders from offering discounts for payments made by direct debit or other means would appear to be precluded in any event by Article 52(3) of Directive 2007/64/EC on Payment Services in the Internal Market; the Directive was given effect in Ireland by the European Communities (Payment Services) Regulations 2009 (S.I. 383 of 2009). Article 52(3) empowers Member States to forbid or limit payment charges subject to specified conditions, but gives no such right in respect of price reductions for the use of a particular payment method.

Job Initiatives

 616. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he has carried out a study of so-called mini-jobs policy that is operational in Germany and under consideration in the UK; his views on such mini-jobs policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38590/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I am aware that the UK is considering a “mini-jobs” model, similar to that which has been in operation in Germany for the past number of years, which allows people to earn up to a certain limit each month without paying tax or social insurance. There are differing views on the merits of such a model, including the prospect of full-time jobs being split into several “mini-jobs” to reduce or avoid income tax.

The Irish Government’s objective is to create a business environment which supports the creation of new jobs and the retention of existing ones. Through the Jobs Initiative, the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work, the Government has introduced a range of measures to achieve this objective.

For example, under the Jobs Initiative, the Government reduced VAT from 13.5% to 9% on a range of services in labour-intensive sectors. It also halved employers’ PRSI on payroll costs of up to €356 per week. These measures helped to support an increase in employment in the hospitality sector in the first quarter of 2102, as reported in the Quarterly National Household Survey published by the Central Statistics Office on 7 June.

The Action Plan for Jobs contains 270 measures for delivery across all Government Departments and 36 Agencies to support job creation. These include simplification of the Employers’ PRSI Exemption scheme and the improved promotion of Revenue’s Job Assist scheme, both of which provide financial benefits to employers who take on people from the Live Register.

Pathways to Work also provides a range of measures to support individuals to move from the Live Register into employment, including Springboard skills conversion courses and the JobBridge internship programme.

The Government will continue to deliver and build on these initiatives in preparing the 2013 Action Plan for Jobs, and will be open to exploring further ideas which can support the creation of jobs in the economy.

In the meantime, details of a range of practical supports available to business to help them start up, grow and create jobs is available on my Department’s website, www.djei.ie.

Fuel Prices

 617. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he has asked the Competition Authority to examine the level of pricing in the liquid fuels market in view of the considerable and ever-growing financial burden being placed upon families and businesses here by skyrocketing fuel prices; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38591/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Irish oil industry is fully privatised, liberalised and deregulated and there is no price control on liquid fuel products in Ireland. The price of fuel is dictated by global factors and reflects global market price (traded in dollars), Euro/Dollar fluctuations, refining costs, transportation costs, other operating costs, prevailing Excise Duty and VAT.

  Recent increases in prices may be attributable to a number of factors, including increases in crude oil prices, the strengthening dollar and taxation increases necessitated by the current difficult budgetary situation.

  The Competition Authority is the independent statutory body responsible for enforcing competition law in the State. Under section 30(2), I, as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, can request the Authority to carry out a study or analysis of any practice or method of competition affecting the supply and distribution of goods or any other matter relating to competition and to submit a report to me. In the absence of price control measures on liquid fuel products, the Authority has no function in relation to pricing policies or strategies unless anti-competitive practices such as price fixing are in operation. Competition law prohibits undertakings from engaging in activities which prevent, restrict or distort trade or which constitute an abuse of a dominant position in such trade. The Authority investigates anti-competitive practices on its own initiative or on foot of complaints received. If the Deputy is alleging anti-competitive practices I urge him to make a complaint to the Authority which can be contacted via its website www.tca.ie.

  I would point out to the Deputy that the National Consumer Agency, which operates under the aegis of my Department, carried out a survey in 2008 in relation to the pricing of certain products in the liquid fuels market. The Agency’s report on this matter, which was published on 19th  December 2008, found that in the main price changes for refined petroleum products were being passed on to consumers in a relatively timely fashion, that profits of oil companies involved in the downstream supply of refined oil product suppliers in Ireland were relatively modest and that many fuel retailers were becoming more and more dependent on non-fuel retail offerings to sustain revenue and margin opportunities. The Agency’s report did highlight the importance of the availability of price information in terms of empowering consumers to achieve the best value for money when purchasing liquid fuel products.

  The Retail Price (Diesel and Petrol) Display Order 1997 (SI No 178 of 1997) requires all persons selling certain fuel products to specify by way of a public notice on their premises the price per litre being charged to the consumer for these commodities. Accordingly, I would strongly encourage consumers to inform themselves of the different price offerings in their localities so as to enable them to proactively seek out the best value when purchasing fuel products.

Employment Rights

 618. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the process available to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare to ensure that they obtain their rights regarding a Rights Commission claim; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38771/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Once a Rights Commissioner Decision has issued, the Labour Relations Commission has no further function in the matter.

  Under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, where an employer has not implemented the Decision of the Rights Commissioner, and no appeal has been lodged within the specified time (i.e. six weeks from the date of the Decision) the claimant, or the claimant’s trade union on their behalf, may bring the Decision to the Employment Appeals Tribunal for implementation.

  Under the Organisation of Working Time Act, when an employer has not implemented the Decision of the Rights Commissioner, and no appeal has been lodged within the specified time (i.e. six weeks from the date of the Decision) the claimant may appeal in writing to the Labour Court for implementation.

Where an award or a determination is made or affirmed in favour of an employee by the Labour Court or the Employment Appeals Tribunal and the employer fails to comply, an employee or his/her trade union may then make an application to the Courts Service   for an Order directing the employer to carry out the determination.

Appointments to State Boards

 619. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will outline, in tabular form, both the number and the percentage of women and men on State boards under the aegis of his Department in each of the past ten years; if he will provide the most up-to-date figures available regarding the number and percentage of women and men on State boards under the aegis of his Department in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38860/12]

 622. Deputy Anne Ferris Information on Anne Ferris Zoom on Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the steps he is taking to ensure that State boards have at least 40% of each gender, as provided for in the programme for Government; the percentage at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39156/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I propose to take Questions Nos. 619 and 622 together.

  The number and proportional representation of males and females on State Boards under the aegis of my Department for the last ten years is presented in the schedule that follows this reply. It should be noted that some agencies were not in existence for some of the ten year period. While details of the composition of the Board of FAS are also presented, it should be noted that this agency is no longer under the aegis of my Department.   

  In making appointments to State Boards, my primary objective has been to ensure that those appointed have the skills and attributes necessary to allow them make an effective contribution. In doing do, I am also conscious of the need to work towards a minimum representation of 40% for each gender and indeed some of my recent appointments have contributed to the achievement of this objective.

Agency - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 -m 2007
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
Health and

Safety Authority
8

(73%)
3

(27%)
8

(73%)
3 (27%) 7

(64%)
4

(36%)
7

(58%)
5 (42%) 7 (58% 5 (42%) 6 (55%) 5 (45%)
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
Shannon Develop-

ment
9

(75%)
3

(25%)
8 (80%) 2 (20%) 9

(82%)
2 (18%) 10 (83%) 2 (17%) 8  (67%) 4 (33%) - -
  M F M F M F M F M F M F
Forfás 9

(75%)
3

(25%)
11 (85%) 2 (15%) 11 (85%) 2 (15%) 11

(85%)
2 (15%) 10 (77%) 3 (23%) 10 (77%) 3 (23%)
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
Enterprise Ireland 8

(67%)
4

(33%)
7 (64%) 4 (36%) 7

(58%)
5 (42%) 7

(58%)
5 (42%) 5 (50%) 5 (50%) 8 (67%) 3 (33%)
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
IDA Ireland 10 (83%) 2

(17%)
9 (75%) 3 (25%) 9

(75%)
3 (25%) 10

(83%)
2 (17%) 8 (80%) 2 (20%) 8 (73%) 3 (27%)
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
Employ-

ment Appeals Tribunal
54 (66%) 28 (34%) 56 (68%) 26 (32%) 77 (74%) 27 (26%) 77

(74%)
27 (26%) 76 (74%) 27 (26%) 72 (68%) 34 (32%)
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
Science Found-

ation Ireland
17 (81%) 4

(19%)
8 (67%) 4 (33%) 8

(67%)
4 (33%) 8

(67%)
4 (33%) 8 (67%) 4 (33%) 8 (37%) 4 (33%)
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
National Standards Authority of Ireland 7

(58%)
5

(42%)
8 (62%) 5 (38%) 9

(69%)
4 (31%) 9

(69%)
4 (31%) 10 (77%) 3 (23%) 10 (77%) 3 (23%)
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
FÁS 12 (71%) 5

(29%)
12 (71%) 5 (29%) 12 (71%) 5 (29%) 12

(71%)
5 (29%) 11 (65%) 6 (35%) 11 (65%) 6 (35%)
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
Labour Relations Commiss-

ion
5

(71%)
2

(29%)
5 (71%) 2 (29%) 5

(71%)
2 (29%) - - 6 (86%) 1 (14%) 6 (86%) 1 (14%)
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
Labour Court 7

(78%)
2

(22%)
7 (78%) 2 (22%) 7

(78%)
2 (22%) - - 7 (78%) 2 (22%) - -
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
Personal Injuries Assess-

ment Board
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
National Consumer Agency - - - - - - - - - - 8 (67%) 5 (33%)
- M F M F M F M F M F M F
Irish Auditing and Account-

ing Super-

visory Authority
- - - - - - - - - - - -
-
M
F
M
F
M
F
M
F
M
F
M
F
InterTradeIreland
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Agency - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012
Health

and

Safety Authority
M F M F M F M F M F
- 7 (58%) 5

(42%)
7

(58%)
5

(42%)
5 (62%) 3

(38%)
9 (75%) 3 (25% 9 (75%) 3 (25%)
Shannon Develop-

ment
M F M F M F M F M F
- 8 (67%) 4

(33%)
9

(75%)
3

(25%)
3 (50%) 3 (50%) 8 (80%) 2 (20%) 8 (80%) 2 (20%)
Forfás M F M F M F M F M F
- 9 (75%) 3

(25%
7 (87.5%) 1 (12.5%) 12 (92%) 1

(8%)
8 (89%) 1 (11%) 10 (91%) 1

(9%)
Enterprise Ireland M F M F M F M F M F
- 9 (75%) 3

(25%)
9

(75%)
3

(25%)
8 (67%) 4 (33%) 6 (60%) 4 (40%) 6 (67%) 3 (33%)
IDA Ireland M F M F M F M F M F
- 7 (70%) 3

(30%)
7

(70%)
3

(30%)
6 (67%) 3 (33%) 8 (73%) 3 (27%)

77%


23%
Employment Appeals Tribunal M F M F M F M F M F
- 83 (71%) 34 (29%)     89 (71%) 36 (29%) 93 (73%) 35 (27%) 91 (72%) 36 (28%)
Science Foundation Ireland M F M F M F M F M F
- 9 (75%) 3

(25%)
9

(75%)
3

(25%)
8 (73%) 3 (27%) 9 (75%) 3 (25%) 9 (75%) 3 (25%)
National Standards Authority

of

Ireland
M F M F M F M F M F
- 8 (67%) 5

(33%)
7

(58%)
5

42%)
9 (69%) 4 (31%) 7 (78%) 2 (22%) 7 (70%) 3 (30%)
FÁS M F M F M F M F M F
- 11 (65%) 6

(35%)
8

(53%)
7

(47%)
- - - - - -
Labour Relations Commission M F M F M F M F M F
- 6 (86%) 1

(14%)
- - 6 (86%) 1 (14%) 6 (86%) 1 (14%) 6 (86%) 1 (14%)
Labour Court M F M F M F M F M F
- 8 (80%) 2

(20%)
- - 6 (60%) 4 (40%) - - 4 (44%) 5 (66%)
Personal Injuries Assessment Board M F M F M F M F M F
- 6 (55%) 5

(45%)
6

(55%)
5

(45%)
6

(60%)
4

(40%)
7

(64%)
4

(36%)
8 (67%) 4 (33%)
National Consumer Agency M F M F M F M F M F
  8 (67%) 5 (33%) 6 (55%) 5 (45%) 7 (58%) 5 (42%) 6 (55%) 5 (45%) 5 (56%) 4 (44%)
Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority M F M F M F M F M F
- 12 (80%) 3

(20%)
- - 10 (77%) 3 (23%) 13 (87%) 2 (13%) 9 (64%) 5 (36%)
InterTrade

Ireland
M F M F M F M F M F
- - -- - - 11 (92%) 1

(8%)
- - 4 (67%) 2 (33%)

Health and Safety Regulations

 620. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton his plans to seek to enforce and promote health and safety law relating to portable appliance testing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38875/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of equipment used at their place of work or by their employees while at work.

As part of that responsibility employers must ensure that portable equipment which is exposed to conditions likely to cause deterioration and consequent danger, and is supplied at a voltage in excess of 125 volts AC, undergoes a visual check by the user and is periodically inspected by a person competent to establish the on-going safety of the electrical equipment. The nature and frequency of these inspections will vary dependent on the use and location of the equipment.

Employers are further required to ensure that employees have been instructed in the carrying out of visual checks for any signs of damage.

Where equipment is located in environments that are safe from accidental damage or environmental degradation and are rarely moved there should not be a need to have the equipment tested unless a risk assessment shows otherwise. In circumstances where deterioration is anticipated, and where this deterioration might cause danger, the employer should establish a scheme of periodic inspection by a competent person.

In addition to these periodic inspections, the portable equipment and associated leads and plug tops must be tested and certified as being safe by a person competent to carry out such tests. If the certificate issued indicates that the equipment is not safe, then the equipment must not be used until it has been made safe and has been certified as such.

The Health and Safety Authority is the national statutory body with responsibility for enforcing and promoting occupational safety and health law. In line with the approach to risk based inspection the issues that are addressed at any place of work will be evidence led. The Authority has identified the presence of correctly functioning residual current devices as key to minimising risk and preventing shock or electrocution, which is also a collective protective measure. The inspection of places of work may assess the controls relating to electricity based on documented risk assessment, visual examination and the presence and maintenance of key controls such as residual current devices. Where the evidence of inspection warrants it then the issue of electrical safety will be addressed in more detail.

I am satisfied, taking account of indications from the Authority’s inspection experience and incident history that the approach to enforcement is appropriate.

Competition Authority Investigations

 621. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton his views on the potential lack of competition in the retail book distribution sector if a recently proposed takeover (details supplied) goes ahead; if he has been briefed by the Competition Authority on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38897/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Competition Authority is the independent statutory body responsible for merger and acquisition control in the State and apart from a role in relation to media mergers I, as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in relation to merger and acquisition matters under the Competition Act 2002.

I am aware however of the proposed acquisition and I understand that the Authority is engaged with the parties concerned. In light of this, I do not believe that it is appropriate to comment further.

  Question No. 622 answered with Question No. 619.

Departmental Funding

 623. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the level of funding that he provided for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011; the purpose for which this funding was provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39299/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton An annual grant is paid to assist the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in meeting the cost of providing its Education, Training and Advisory Services (ETAS). The grant assists Congress in the area of policy development, the provision of education and training supports to union officials and members, and advice to affiliated unions on particular issues. The ETAS supports a diverse range of courses including Health & Safety, Pensions, promoting Equality and Diversity, certificate courses in Collective Bargaining and degree courses in Business Studies. The ICTU part funds the education divisions of SIPTU and Unite through the ETAS. The ETAS also involves the provision of all-year-round advisory services to trade unions affiliated to the ICTU.

  The table following sets out the funds provided to ICTU towards its Education, Training and Advisory Service.

Year Amount Paid
2009 € 1,200,000
2010 € 804,750
2011 € 874,000


   Workplace Innovation Fund

  The Workplace Innovation Fund (WIF) was launched in 2007 in fulfilment of a Government commitment in the Social Partnership Agreement, Towards 2016.   

  The Fund consisted of three Strands. Strand 1 is managed by Enterprise Ireland and Strand 3 was managed during its operation by the National Centre for Partnership and Performance (NCPP).

  Strand 2 provided ‘Support for Capacity Building among Social Partners’ and was intended to support a range of social partner practices impacting on workplace innovation identified in the Report of the Workplace of the Future, “Working to our Advantage – A National Workplace Strategy”.

  The WIF programme is now concluded, with the exception of some outstanding commitments that may arise in relation to Strand 1, which is managed by Enterprise Ireland and supports human resource development in qualifying companies that are undergoing change and seeking to improve innovation capacity and productivity, through partnership initiatives.

  The table following sets out the amounts paid to ICTU in 2009 under strand 2 of the Workplace Innovation Fund.   

Year Amount Paid
2009 € 231,788

State Bodies Establishment

 624. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of State bodies that have been set up since 9 March 2011; the rationale behind these decisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [39999/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton No State bodies have been set up by my Department since 9 March 2011.


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