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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 238-259
 Header Item Public Sector Reform Review
 Header Item Legislative Programme
 Header Item Capital Programme Expenditure
 Header Item Budget 2012
 Header Item Public Procurement Tenders
 Header Item Public Sector Pensions Levy
 Header Item Public Procurement Contracts Tenders
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item Trade Union Movement
 Header Item Cross-Border Co-operation
 Header Item County and City Enterprise Boards Funding
 Header Item Capital Programme Expenditure
 Header Item Employment Rights Issues
 Header Item Bullying in the Workplace
 Header Item Consumer Protection

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 238-259

Public Sector Reform Review

 238. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin further to Parliamentary Question No. 19 of 21 November 2012, if it is the case that he does not intend to review the grading structure of the public service [53811/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The commitment in the Programme for Government is that we will review the grading structure of the civil service and public service and reduce number of management grades. As stated in my reply of 21st November, 2012, under the Public Service Reform Plan my Department is reviewing the grading structure of the Civil Service. The review of the grading structure in other sectors of the Public Service is a matter for the relevant parent Department in each case.

Legislative Programme

 239. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the position regarding the Construction Contracts Bill; when his Committee Stage amendments will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53824/12]

 251. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will expedite the enactment of the Construction Contracts Bill as many contractors are under existing legislation are not receiving their due payments in a timely fashion forcing many contractors to shed workers and in some cases close down and go out of business; if he will immediately reactivate the Bill to ensure that the 98,000 persons still employed in construction jobs are able to stay in employment. [54543/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I propose to take Questions Nos. 239 and 251 together.

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce new legislation to protect small building subcontractors that have been denied payments from bigger companies. In this regard, my colleague Minister of State Brian Hayes is working with Senator Feargal Quinn to develop the Senator’s private member’s Construction Contracts Bill into a robust piece of legislation. The Bill has passed Second Stage in the Dáil. During the Second Stage reading of the Bill, Minister Hayes signalled to the House his intention to bring proposals to Government on Committee Stage amendments dealing with issues that would include:

- Thresholds: In order to ensure that the legislation applies to the majority of Construction Contracts the scope of the legislation will be broadened by reducing or removing the current monetary thresholds contained in the Bill.

- Adjudication: This issue of making adjudication awards binding for both the public and private sectors is a complex issue. It is important to strike the right balance between giving this legislation the necessary enforcement provisions, whilst ensuring that the application of the legislation is equitable and the taxpayer is safeguarded.

When these and a number of other issues have been examined, Minister Hayes will bring proposals to Government in advance of Committee Stage early in the New Year. This is an important piece of legislation aimed at creating a more level playing field between contractor and subcontractor in the construction sector. Therefore it is essential that these complex issues are properly assessed so as to avoid imposing unnecessary regulatory or cost burdens on parties in dispute, the State or others.

Capital Programme Expenditure

 240. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin in respect of the October Exchequer returns, the reason the capital spending for his Department was €16m below profile for this period; his plans to ensure that the full capital spending is implemented before the end of the year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53835/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The Office of Public Works (OPW) has a capital allocation for 2012 of €103.75m. It also has a deferred capital carryover allocation from 2011 of €8m. Capital spending was behind profile at the end of October, as expenditure on Flood Relief Schemes and New Works, Alterations and Additions was less than expected. Capital expenditure to the end of November is €89.687m, €7m behind a published profile of €96.819m. At this stage, it is expected that the full capital allocation will be required by the OPW Vote in 2012.

Budget 2012

 241. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will outline all impact analysis on budget 2012 conducted before and after the budget came into effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53873/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Budget 2012, presented in December last year, was prepared in light of a major body of analytical work that was conducted across all Departments in the context of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) 2011. The main findings of that Review, and the detailed expenditure allocations across each area, were set out in last December’s Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014; and indeed that body of analysis, together with supplementary analyses carried out under the terms of the new Public Spending Code, has informed the allocations to be set out in tomorrow’s Expenditure Report 2013. All of the analyses conducted under the 2011 CRE are available on the website of my Department, www.per.gov.ie. Further information on the analysis conducted in each area, including impacts on particular groups and sectors, may be sought from the Ministers and Departments concerned.

Public Procurement Tenders

 242. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the specification and to which cost was the revamped etenders.gov.ie website built. [53999/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Between 2003 and 9th November 2012 the government’s e-Tenders website was a public sector portal that allowed public sector bodies publish tender notices on government and public sector procurement across Ireland. It did not have the functionality to allow many other aspects of the procurement process to be completed electronically. In September 2011, the National Procurement Service issued a tender specification for a fully managed electronic tendering system to meet Ireland’s requirements in relation to electronic public procurement and be compliant with the European Union requirements.

The specification was to provide additional functionality including: eAssessment, eAwarding, eAuctions and Contract Management amongst others. The specification was drawn up following an in depth market analysis by a cross-agency steering group, including representatives from the HSE and Departments of Finance and Justice and Equality. Research included presentations of systems by some of the leading service providers in the market place. The actual specification did not seek a software development solution, but a rather an off the shelf solution to the upgraded website. The specification itself is extremely detailed and following a competitive open procedure, the contract was awarded to EU Supply, a Swedish based company. The National Procurement Service has a five year contract with EU Supply for this upgraded system at a cost of €33,874.50 per quarter. The previous service provider was recently charging €57,690 per quarter, which included some data migration to the new service provider.

Public Sector Pensions Levy

 243. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide in a tabular form the annual benefit to the Exchequer of the public sector pension related deduction since its introduction; if he will confirm when he intends to withdraw this emergency measure. [54030/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The annual benefit to the Exchequer of the civil service pension levy, as notified by Departments and offices, since its inception in 2009 is set out in the following table.   The figures shown in the following table do not include pension related deductions arising from the Local Authorities.

€m’s 2009 2010 2011
Civil Service Pension Levy 840.5 954.3 968.3
  In 2009, it was agreed that local authorities should retain employee pension related deductions (PRDs) and that the general purpose grant payments should be made net of these retained deductions. As part of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009, local authority employee PRDs were to be remitted back to the Exchequer. In the local government sector this was achieved after the baseline for the Exchequer contribution to the Local Government Fund was removed, which allowed the Exchequer to determine its annual contribution to the Local Government Fund with reference to the PRDs retained annually by the local authorities. Budgeted PRD in the local government sector amounted to €78.9m in respect of 2010; €78.1m in respect of 2011; and €78.3m in respect of 2012.   The question of discontinuing the PRD does not arise at this time.

Public Procurement Contracts Tenders

 244. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he re-examine the prequalification criteria in respect of turnover of contractors who wish to tender for public contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54104/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The assessment of a tenderer’s financial and economic standing is a key part of any procurement process. Establishing the appropriate suitability criteria that are relevant and appropriate to a particular contract is, of course, a matter for the contracting authority concerned. This is because the contracting authority is in the best position to gauge the appropriate levels of financial capacity that are appropriate to the needs of that specific contract. Therefore there are no centrally imposed requirements for a minimum turnover. Such requirements would logically be developed on a case by case basis with reference to the specific needs of the contract.

The Government recognises that the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is very important to the economy and that public procurement can be a source of business for SMEs. In this regard, my Department has issued public procurement guidelines to public bodies which are aimed at facilitating greater participation of SMEs in public procurement opportunities. In relation to suitability criteria, the guidelines stress that public bodies must ensure that any criteria/turnover levels set by them must be both justifiable and proportionate to the needs of the contract.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 245. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will outline projects which his Department cooperates with the Department of Finance and Personnel in the North.  [54162/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin My Department works with the Department of Finance and Personnel Northern Ireland in the overall management of the PEACE III and INTERREG IVA Programmes and as co-sponsor   Departments of the Special EU Programmes Body, which is responsible for the management and implementation of the Programmes.

  The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Finance and Personnel are the Accountable Departments for Theme 2.1C Collaboration between Public Sector Bodies and provide funding for projects under this theme. The projects for which Letters of Offer have been accepted under Theme 2.1C are:

Lead Partner
Project Title
Donegal County Council Women into Public Life
Centre for Cross Border Studies The Ireland/ Northern Ireland Cross-Border Cooperation Observatory
DHSSPS Driving Change
RNIB Northern Ireland Sensory Engagement Project
The Cedar Foundation ConneXions
Caldonian Maritime Assets Ltd Small Ferries Strategic Plan
The Educational Guidance Service for Adults (EGSA) Deaf Communications Infrastructure Development
EBR - East Border Region Ltd Administration Costs
ICBAN - Irish Central Border Area Network Administration Costs
NWRCBG - North West Region Cross Border Group Administration Costs
COMET Interreg Partnership Administration Costs
NEP - North East Partnership Administration Costs
NEP Business Improvement Districts NEP Business Improvement Districts
EBR - East Border Region Ltd Action for Biodiversity
ICBAN - Irish Central Border Area Network Central Border Region Spatial Planning Initiative
EBR - East Border Region Ltd Energy Efficiency & Micro Generation Project
EBR - East Border Region Ltd East Border Region “Promoting Balanced and Sustainable Cross Border Development”
NWRCBG - North West Region Cross Border Group Urban and Village Renewal Programme
NWRCBG - North West Region Cross Border Group SPACEial North West
  My Department and the Department of Finance and Personnel also jointly fund Priority 3.1 Technical Assistance for both the PEACE III and INTERREG IVA Programmes.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 246. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide details of the type and frequency of north south engagement his Department undertakes; his current priorities in this area; the number of whole time equivalent staff assigned to these matters; the grades involved and the amount of time each grade spends on north south activities as a proportion of their WTE employment; the coodination arrangements that have been put in place; if there are any current vacancies in north south cooperation units; the duration of these vacancies and the steps being taken to fill these vacancies.  [54376/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin My officials and I are directly involved in ongoing and frequent North South engagement. Officials within my Department work closely with the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) in Northern Ireland as joint sponsor Departments of the Special EU Programmes Body, one of the North South implementation bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement. Officials also work closely with the Special EU Programmes Body and DFP with regard to the management and implementation of the EU co-funded cross border programmes, PEACE III and Interreg IVA. This work is undertaken within the framework of the North South Ministerial Council and I regularly meet with my Northern Ireland counterpart at the North South Ministerial Council in Special EU Programmes format to advance this work. My Department also works with DFP in other cross-cutting areas relating to the administration and governance of the North/South implementation bodies established under the British-Irish Agreement. I also attend the North South Ministerial Council when it meets in plenary format.

The current priorities in this area are the management and implementation of the PEACE III and Interreg IVA programmes and beginning the planning for the new round of funding for the 2014-2020 period. Responsibility for North South issues is located within my Department’s EU/North South Unit with 1 Principal Officer, 1 Assistant Principal Officer and 1 Higher Executive Officer specifically responsible for North South matters in a wider European funding context, with assistance and involvement of other officers as required on specific issues. There are no vacancies at present in the team.

  Questions Nos. 247 to 249, inclusive, answered with Question No. 233.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 250. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he has failed to meet any commitments to finances committed under the Peace Programme operated by the SEUPB  [54400/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The PEACE III Programme is a cross-border Programme funded by the European Union and the Northern Irish and Irish Governments. The Programme has a total value of €333m. The Special EU Programmes Body is the Managing Authority for the Programme. The Irish Government has met all of its commitments under the PEACE III Programme. Peace projects range from small local projects to large capital build projects such as the €16.5m Peace Bridge over the River Foyle in Derry, completed in 2011, and the €20m Peace-building and Conflict Reconciliation centre for the Maze Long Kesh site approved in December 2011.

  Question No. 251 answered with Question No. 239.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 252. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if the Special European Union Programmes Body measure 1.1 Regional has been oversubscribed; if so, the amount by which it has it been oversubscribed; if other measures have been similarly oversubscribed; and the steps the SEUPB is taking to ensure projects receive their full allocation as per SEUPB steering group decisions of 28 and 29 November 2011.  [54548/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The PEACE III Programme is co-funded by the EU, Northern Ireland and Ireland and has a total allocation of €333m The Programme has been oversubscribed, reflecting the fact that the Programme is widely recognised as making a significant contribution to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland. As regards the level of programme over-commitment, the latest information is that Measure 1.1 is over-committed by €18.9m. Measure 2.1 has also been over-committed by €16.9m.

The Deputy may wish to note that the exchange rate can affect over-commitment. Projects for these themes were approved based on the available budget at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of the PEACE III Steering Committee. Subsequent changes in exchange rate have resulted in the value of approved projects exceeding the allocation. In addition, a degree of over-commitment is not unusual in an EU co-funded Programme of this type and size. To ensure that an EU co-funded Programme achieves full expenditure, a certain level of over-commitment is considered prudent to balance that fact that some projects will not spend their full allocation. The Special EU Programmes Body is the Managing Authority for the PEACE III Programme. SEUPB is working with Government Departments North & South to deal with this issue.

Trade Union Movement

 253. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he has given consideration to establishing a regulatory body for the trade union movement here, such as a Trade Union Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54130/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Trade unions are by their nature essentially self- governing bodies and it is a matter for the membership to determine whether, and in what manner, the rules and policies of a trade union should provide for how it deals with complaints about the service provided by the Union to its members.

The Registrar of Friendly Societies has a number of specific powers in the area of investigation/dispute resolution regarding the internal governance of trade unions:

- to investigate complaints of discriminatory treatment against a non-contributor to a political fund. The Registrar may make an order to remedy the breach, which is binding and conclusive, and not subject to appeal (section 3(2) of the Trade Union Act 1913).

- to investigate complaints under section 16(5) of the Industrial Relations Act 1990 concerning the operation of secret ballots, following which the Registrar may instruct a trade union to comply with the secret ballot provisions of the Act (section 14(2)). Where such instruction is disregarded the Registrar must inform the Minister, who may revoke the union’s negotiating licence.

- to hear disputes referred to the Registrar under section 10 of the Trade Union Act, 1975 concerning the passing of resolutions approving amalgamations of trade unions. Under this section, the Registrar may, at the request of the complainant or of the trade union, state a case for the opinion of the High Court on a question of law arising in the proceedings.

The powers of the Registrar in relation to such matters have rarely been exercised. The Registrar has no independent powers of investigation, and can only act where requested to do so on the specific areas mentioned above, or to refer a matter to the court in relation to wilful or fraudulent withholding of money. This latter option is also available to “any person” acting on behalf of a trade union. I have no plans to provide for the introduction of a Trade Union Ombudsman.

Cross-Border Co-operation

 254. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will outline projects on which his Department cooperates with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in the North.  [54156/12]

 268. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will outline projects which his Department cooperates with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in the North.  [54158/12]

 269. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will outline projects which his Department cooperates with the Department of Employment and Learning in the North.  [54159/12]

 270. 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 nature, process and outcomes of the North/South activities of the Enterprise Development Agencies.  [54381/12]

 271. 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 nature, process and outcomes of North-South co-operation with respect to ITI programme activity and corporate governance and financial matters. [54382/12]

 272. 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 nature, process and outcomes of steering committee meetings and other planning meetings which his Department holds with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in the North. [54383/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I propose to take Questions Nos. 254 and 268 to 272, inclusive, together.

  North South economic cooperation is and will remain a priority of mine and of the Government. To this effect, there is on-going dialogue between relevant Departments and Agencies, North and South, to promote economic development, job creation and innovation, in the border region. A key area of engagement at official level between my Department and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland (DETI) is our joint support for enterprise projects for both sides of the border region under the INTERREG initiative, which is co-funded by the EU, by my Department and by DETI. Both Departments are represented on a Steering Committee to consider project proposals. We have provided significant financial support towards a number of North/South projects, including enterprise networking and capacity building initiatives for the border counties and Northern Ireland and several other enterprise development projects. The assessment process for remaining projects under the current programme is on-going and officials from both administrations are also engaged in a process which will hopefully see a new INTERREG scheme initiated, when the current phase expires in 2014.

  Another key area is our on-going dialogue with our counterparts in DETI in relation to the operation of InterTradeIreland (ITI), the North/South Trade and Business Development Implementation Body. ITI is co-funded by my Department and DETI and so all matters relating to the management of the Body and the planning and oversight of its schemes and programmes, involve close interaction by the officials of both Departments. Specifically, this engagement involves agreement on the key themes of ITI’s programmes which must be aligned with national strategies. The engagement also includes key aspects of corporate governance and financial control, including ensuring that value for money and efficiency savings are applied to ITI programme activity. This requires officials to engage very frequently throughout the year, to address issues that arise in relation to these requirements. A range of formal oversight arrangements are in place. In addition, the Secretary General/Permanent Secretary of both Departments met the ITI Board recently for a general economic discussion and to overview the on-going operations of the body.

  Enterprise Ireland (EI), which stimulates the development of indigenous enterprise, has extensive contact with its Northern counterparts and works with them on a range of programmes to drive job creation in border areas. EI North-South programmes and activities include Bridging the Border Seminars/partnering events. These events are designed to promote joint opportunities between firms North and South in areas such as licensing and commercial agreements, sub-contracting, technical co-operation and business partnerships. In addition, clients of Invest Northern Ireland (INI) can participate on EI programmes such as Leadership4Growth and the International Selling Programme. Since 2006, clients of both agencies can access market services, trade missions, overseas offices, trade fairs, seminars, market development programmes etc., provided by each agency. The all island Innovation Voucher   initiative, jointly launched by Enterprise Ireland and INI, provides Irish SMEs with access to a further 10 knowledge providers based in the North, and allows Northern Ireland based SMEs to use INI Innovation Vouchers to access expertise in research institutions based in the Republic of Ireland.

  An example of close agency cooperation is the Acumen   programme, a key all-island business development programme managed by InterTradeIreland and supported by Enterprise Ireland, INI, FÁS, Údarás and the County Enterprise Boards. The Programme is designed to stimulate cross-border sales and coordinate development amongst SMEs, North and South, to establish and build market presence in the other jurisdiction. This is an excellent example of all relevant bodies coming together to drive enterprise development in the region.

  IDA Ireland collaborates with Invest Northern Ireland, for example, in the Northwest Now   initiative, developed to capitalise on the combined strengths of Letterkenny and Derry City as an economic corridor. The focus has been on developing compatible infrastructure and property solutions, which are now in place, and make the region more attractive for investment. More recently, there have been very positive developments where a wide range of agencies and institutions now co-operate on science and technology issues, including participation in the EU Research Framework Programme.

  To ensure cohesive integration of the relevant activities of the two Departments, and the key Agencies in both jurisdictions, we organise an annual meeting involving my Secretary General, the Permanent Secretary of DETI, with the CEOs and Chairmen of Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland, to discuss a variety of North-South strategic issues. My Department officials, and the enterprise development agencies, will continue to work diligently with their counterparts in Northern Ireland to increase mutual economic benefits, especially on job creation. In addition, officials in the Employment Rights area of my Department meet on a regular basis with their counterparts in the Department of Employment and Learning to exchange views on matters of mutual interest.

County and City Enterprise Boards Funding

 255. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will provide details of the overheads and total budgets, including the spend on mentoring and soft supports, direct grant aid, staff and administration costs including overheads, for all city and county enterprise boards since 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53814/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton County Enterprise Board (CEB) Capital Expenditure is solely for the purpose of providing financial assistance in the form of grant aid and non-financial assistance (soft supports) in the form of mentoring, training and advice to clients. CEB Current Expenditure is allocated to Pay (CEB staff) and Non-Pay (administrative costs of operation- such as utilities, insurances, IT and telecommunications, etc.). Information on CEB current and capital expenditure for the years 2007-2011 are set out in tabular format as follows. Expenditure figures for 2012 will not be available until quarter 1 of 2013.

  2007

County Enterprise Board
Current Expenditure

Capital Expenditure €
Total Expenditure

Carlow
461,178.00
572,316.44
1,033,494.44
Cavan
343,392.00
688,692.56
1,032,084.56
Clare
377,514.00
620,093.00
997,607.00
Cork City
378,905.00
548,052.56
926,957.56
Cork North
196,524.00
78,775.68
275,299.68
Cork South
475,548.00
917,028.74
1,392,576.74
Cork West
281,072.00
499,513.57
780,585.57
Donegal
349,471.00
1,068,715.25
1,418,186.25
Dublin City
638,777.00
1,839,333.10
2,478,110.10
Fingal
412,302.00
1,235,134.86
1,647,436.86
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown
479,672.00
1,218,497.00
1,698,169.00
Galway
345,995.00
742,889.18
1,088,884.18
Kerry
344,729.00
619,817.20
964,546.20
Kildare
395,159.00
790,481.82
1,185,640.82
Kilkenny
335,842.00
649,604.22
985,446.22
Laois
376,692.00
614,517.44
991,209.44
Leitrim
386,107.00
447,143.15
833,250.15
Limerick City
421,359.00
458,473.89
879,832.89
Limerick
351,899.00
620,616.45
972,515.45
Longford
353,238.00
487,096.00
840,334.00
Louth
473,441.00
658,402.75
1,131,843.75
Mayo
285,972.00
661,202.00
947,174.00
Meath
451,456.00
589,575.21
1,041,031.21
Monaghan
408,991.00
552,237.50
961,228.50
Offaly
386,279.00
648,340.00
1,034,619.00
Roscommon
294,377.00
555,996.45
850,373.45
Sligo
381,426.00
670,073.27
1,051,499.27
South Dublin
394,135.00
927,927.00
1,322,062.00
Tipperary North
391,181.00
532,193.31
923,374.31
Tipperary South
373,108.00
666,274.21
1,039,382.21
Waterford City
295,211.00
556,098.08
851,309.08
Waterford
303,825.00
575,402.99
879,227.99
Westmeath
418,343.00
1,007,748.35
1,426,091.35
Wexford
432,106.00
1,060,757.56
1,492,863.56
Wicklow
456,506.00
753,622.98
1,210,128.98
Total
13,451,732.00
25,132,643.77
38,584,375.77


  2008
County Enterprise Board
Current Expenditure

Capital Expenditure €
Total Expenditure

Carlow
424,022.00
555,187.44
979,209.44
Cavan
352,587.00
644,652.99
997,239.99
Clare
320,392.00
572,013.25
892,405.25
Cork City
445,747.00
706,083.71
1,151,830.71
Cork North
310,877.00
136,244.00
447,121.00
Cork South
479,327.00
898,300.94
1,377,627.94
Cork West
324,576.00
651,654.53
976,230.53
Donegal
331,286.00
1,126,293.55
1,457,579.55
Dublin City
558,627.00
1,702,669.63
2,261,296.63
Fingal
462,996.00
1,273,374.00
1,736,370.00
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown
599,316.00
1,121,852.00
1,721,168.00
Galway
297,320.00
724,388.75
1,021,708.75
Kerry
493,151.00
878,552.36
1,371,703.36
Kildare
422,367.00
709,773.00
1,132,140.00
Kilkenny
314,154.00
771,176.26
1,085,330.26
Laois
375,328.00
629,707.20
1,005,035.20
Leitrim
447,127.00
453,635.05
900,762.05
Limerick City
381,878.00
497,989.45
879,867.45
Limerick
424,235.00
629,826.00
1,054,061.00
Longford
418,855.00
500,369.25
919,224.25
Louth
532,001.00
776,470.00
1,308,471.00
Mayo
208,844.00
824,138.75
1,032,982.75
Meath
470,073.00
635,483.70
1,105,556.70
Monaghan
454,937.00
403,461.63
858,398.63
Offaly
398,983.00
624,222.00
1,023,205.00
Roscommon
416,192.00
461,328.45
877,520.45
Sligo
474,058.00
639,531.01
1,113,589.01
South Dublin
406,551.00
739,802.40
1,146,353.40
Tipperary North
349,004.00
651,888.00
1,000,892.00
Tipperary South
366,739.00
543,045.15
909,784.15
Waterford City
326,979.00
583,035.66
910,014.66
Waterford
295,726.00
593,503.69
889,229.69
Westmeath
459,662.00
679,622.55
1,139,284.55
Wexford
359,280.00
820,686.33
1,179,966.33
Wicklow
354,063.00
748,506.91
1,102,569.91
Total
14,057,260.00
24,908,469.59
38,965,729.59

2009



County Enterprise Board
Current Expenditure

Capital Expenditure €
Total Expenditure

Carlow
417,768.00
787,699.42
1,205,467.42
Cavan
364,264.00
566,198.00
930,462.00
Clare
421,914.00
660,656.47
1,082,570.47
Cork City
405,657.00
516,788.68
922,445.68
Cork North
250,486.00
349,721.00
600,207.00
Cork South
418,329.00
994,284.68
1,412,613.68
Cork West
307,644.00
595,365.15
903,009.15
Donegal
363,552.00
838,737.52
1,202,289.52
Dublin City
465,618.00
1,542,527.16
2,008,145.16
Fingal
366,651.00
1,296,208.00
1,662,859.00
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown
474,229.00
1,104,125.69
1,578,354.69
Galway
319,817.00
707,780.00
1,027,597.00
Kerry
405,963.00
982,177.34
1,388,140.34
Kildare
383,674.00
521,776.00
905,450.00
Kilkenny
434,813.00
726,849.00
1,161,662.00
Laois
327,540.00
423,042.00
750,582.00
Leitrim
410,245.00
456,039.33
866,284.33
Limerick City
377,481.00
546,314.00
923,795.00
Limerick
357,860.00
668,178.00
1,026,038.00
Longford
411,993.00
411,801.00
823,794.00
Louth
501,063.00
655,340.40
1,156,403.40
Mayo
176,051.00
512,442.00
688,493.00
Meath
423,603.00
632,536.00
1,056,139.00
Monaghan
521,003.00
572,831.86
1,093,834.86
Offaly
412,436.00
527,519.00
939,955.00
Roscommon
350,371.00
585,847.08
936,218.08
Sligo
378,112.00
593,446.00
971,558.00
South Dublin
400,258.00
889,640.31
1,289,898.31
Tipperary North
373,346.00
544,346.00
917,692.00
Tipperary South
391,967.00
486,749.32
878,716.32
Waterford City
347,259.00
462,002.21
809,261.21
Waterford
318,339.00
473,282.51
791,621.51
Westmeath
441,126.00
700,446.35
1,141,572.35
Wexford
507,499.00
812,933.05
1,320,432.05
Wicklow
505,107.00
644,096.77
1,149,203.77
Total
13,733,038.00
23,789,727.30
37,522,765.30


  2010
County Enterprise Board
Current Expenditure

Capital Expenditure €
Total Expenditure

Carlow
340,058.86
567,138.70
907,197.56
Cavan
316,665.14
498,632.24
815,297.38
Clare
281,678.57
446,090.56
727,769.13
Cork City
301,475.77
575,803.95
877,279.72
Cork North
177,681.65
244,849.89
422,531.54
Cork South
428,358.04
851,823.61
1,280,181.65
Cork West
246,814.81
526,538.05
773,352.86
Donegal
344,475.78
756,557.15
1,101,032.93
Dublin City
454,176.70
1,210,796.58
1,664,973.28
Fingal
369,064.18
772,129.84
1,141,194.02
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown
531,600.72
944,111.63
1,475,712.35
Galway
264,490.69
601,146.26
865,636.95
Kerry
397,981.01
650,848.51
1,048,829.52
Kildare
321,711.13
514,538.50
836,249.63
Kilkenny
375,807.36
464,041.21
839,848.57
Laois
279,533.50
337,582.03
617,115.53
Leitrim
292,961.50
353,503.65
646,465.15
Limerick City
391,269.57
444,035.29
835,304.86
Limerick
298,979.74
554,252.03
853,231.77
Longford
260,318.52
385,158.16
645,476.68
Louth
464,824.73
637,024.74
1,101,849.47
Mayo
200,259.66
427,551.41
627,811.07
Meath
316,857.00
487,144.52
804,001.52
Monaghan
343,551.26
377,655.61
721,206.87
Offaly
351,064.94
421,599.23
772,664.17
Roscommon
212,331.51
341,918.57
554,250.08
Sligo
254,846.33
473,710.90
728,557.23
South Dublin
291,425.10
710,879.31
1,002,304.41
Tipperary North
299,504.23
451,009.52
750,513.75
Tipperary South
336,439.18
450,682.95
787,122.13
Waterford City
204,569.06
511,273.43
715,842.49
Waterford
274,873.87
471,971.64
746,845.51
Westmeath
345,288.12
556,137.55
901,425.67
Wexford
293,659.44
597,345.08
891,004.52
Wicklow
397,990.82
693,390.65
1,091,381.47
Total
11,262,588.49
19,308,872.95
30,571,461.44


  2011
County Enterprise Board
Current Expenditure

Capital Expenditure €
Total Expenditure

Carlow
232,213.64
512,262.62
744,476.26
Cavan
335,534.98
410,870.29
746,405.27
Clare
327,767.36
582,088.57
909,855.93
Cork City
471,885.92
540,148.84
1,012,034.76
Cork North
148,631.82
457,887.34
606,519.16
Cork South
529,503.90
952,984.94
1,482,488.84
Cork West
305,975.78
402,226.60
708,202.38
Donegal
432,261.83
664,005.61
1,096,267.44
Dublin City
487,420.52
1,353,267.67
1,840,688.19
Fingal
440,638.25
918,037.05
1,358,675.30
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown
490,621.75
1,065,234.09
1,555,855.84
Galway
357,178.66
860,900.25
1,218,078.91
Kerry
363,627.32
665,524.43
1,029,151.75
Kildare
501,302.64
614,466.61
1,115,769.25
Kilkenny
303,945.54
512,897.98
816,843.52
Laois
279,450.89
378,950.76
658,401.65
Leitrim
324,486.24
374,712.39
699,198.63
Limerick City
439,625.47
451,895.99
891,521.46
Limerick
334,821.50
509,540.04
844,361.54
Longford
293,592.05
392,199.53
685,791.58
Louth
507,992.86
650,950.43
1,158,943.29
Mayo
202,946.20
560,898.30
763,844.50
Meath
404,404.83
725,625.21
1,130,030.04
Monaghan
357,834.93
384,027.14
741,862.07
Offaly
356,538.10
411,485.59
768,023.69
Roscommon
217,168.15
393,471.79
610,639.94
Sligo
371,704.61
385,387.78
757,092.39
South Dublin
363,981.34
612,904.61
976,885.95
Tipperary North
407,135.06
442,842.63
849,977.69
Tipperary South
495,196.11
405,032.19
900,228.30
Waterford City
224,294.92
452,064.55
676,359.47
Waterford
187,504.43
424,923.72
612,428.15
Westmeath
431,443.76
559,675.63
991,119.39
Wexford
320,074.49
655,007.02
975,081.51
Wicklow
439,758.33
726,650.46
1,166,408.79
Total
12,688,464.18
20,411,048.65
33,099,512.83

Capital Programme Expenditure

 256. 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 in respect of the October Exchequer returns, the reason the capital spending for his Department was €61 million below profile for this period; his plans to ensure that the full capital spending is implemented before the end of the year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53833/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Department and its Agencies are extremely diligent and careful in their management and allocation of taxpayer monies in the support of different enterprise objective. The drawdown of exchequer monies through the Enterprise Development Agencies of my Department is based on commitments made in a given year and projected draw-downs against those commitments in the year in question. It must be remembered that drawdown of exchequer financial support by companies or other bodies (e.g. Competency Centres) is demand-led and can only take place if the company or body in question has progressed a given project in line with the agreement entered into with the State at the time of the financial commitment. In addition, there are other timing issues around finalising legal agreements with the private sector when setting up funds, for example under the Innovation Fund initiative, which means that while drawdown will take place, it may be pushed back by some months, thereby showing up as an “underspend” in a particular accounting period.

Due to this demand-led nature of grant payments and issues relating to the timing of expenditure, the bulk of an allocation is often drawn down in the last quarter of the year. The snapshot figure referred to in the Question will not be reflected in the end of year figure and the equivalent figure at the end of November showed the Department was €29m behind its original profile. To ensure that any savings at year end are utilised for job creation purposes, my Department has engaged with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to use the provisions of the Multi-Annual Capital Envelope Framework whereby a portion of unspent Capital allocations in any year may be carried over to the following year. The outcome of our negotiations will form part of this week’s Budget.

Employment Rights Issues

 257. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton in the context of the Programme for Government commitment to reform the current law on employees right to engage in collective bargaining the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2001, so as to ensure compliance by the State with recent judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, if this will happen next year to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the 1913 Lockout; the actions that have been taken to date to advance this; when he will bring forward such legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53895/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton It has been the consistent policy of successive Irish Governments to promote collective bargaining through the laws of this country and through the development of an institutional framework supportive of a voluntary system of industrial relations that is premised upon freedom of contract and freedom of association. There is also an extensive range of statutory provisions designed to back up the voluntary bargaining process, together with long-established dispute settling institutions that play an important role in disputes relating to collective bargaining. The Government is committed in its Programme for Government to reform the current law on employees’ right to engage in collective bargaining (the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2001), so as to ensure compliance by the State with recent judgements of the European Court of Human Rights.

In a related issue, earlier this year the Committee on Freedom of Association of the International Labour Organisation issued a number of recommendations arising from a complaint referred to it by ICTU and IMPACT. The ILO, noting the commitment in the Programme for Government on collective bargaining, invited the Government, in full consultation with the social partners, to review the existing framework and consider any appropriate measures, including legislative, so as to ensure respect for the freedom of association and collective bargaining principles set out in its conclusions - including through the review of the mechanisms available - with a view to promoting machinery for voluntary negotiation between employers’ and workers’ organisations for the determination of terms and conditions of employment.

I welcome the fact that the ILO report did not find Ireland to be in breach of its obligations under ILO Conventions in respect of collective bargaining rights. Neither did the ILO find that a resolution of the difficulties arising over the Ryanair judgement would require the introduction of a legal regime of mandatory trade union recognition. The established procedures can be improved and secured without creating a new statutory obligation on employers to recognise trade unions for collective bargaining purposes. It is envisaged that adequate protective measures such as appropriate prohibition of the victimisation of trade union members and of incentivisation of persons not to be members of a trade union would be important elements of this system. Giving effect to this commitment will require consultation with stakeholders, including employer and worker representatives, and a review of the experience of the operation of the existing legislative framework as put in place under the Industrial Relations Acts of 2001 and 2004. This consultation process will be initiated in the near future. I am certain that satisfactory arrangements can be put in place that will reconcile our constitutional, social and economic traditions, and our international obligations, as well as ensure continued success in attracting investment into our economy.

Bullying in the Workplace

 258. 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 the options or advice for workers who are being bullied in their employment and where management do not act. [53920/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Every employer has a duty under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare of their employees and to manage and conduct work activities in such a way so as to prevent, as far as is reasonably practicable, any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare at work of their employees at risk. Equally, the 2005 Act also places obligations on employees in relation to their duties not to engage in improper conduct or behaviour likely to endanger their own safety, health and welfare at work or that of any other person.

  In relation to the specific issue of bullying in the workplace, the Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work 2007, published by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), which operates under the auspices of my Department, is aimed at preventing and dealing with bullying where it happens in Irish workplaces. It is a “Code” for both employers and employees and is available to download from the HSA’s website at www.hsa.ie. A significant element of the Code places an emphasis on the resolution of incidents of alleged bullying using an informal process and professional mediation services. The Code also reflects the legal requirement that employers carry out a risk assessment, and where bullying is identified as a hazard, they ensure that it is included in the safety statement.

  The role of the HSA under the Code is to monitor if employers and employees are meeting their obligations and duty of care under the 2005 Act. In this regard, if an employer refuses to carry out an investigation into an allegation of bullying for no reasonable reason, the HSA may ask the employer to carry out such an investigation, or, depending on the case, may request that some other form of safety, health and welfare control mechanism is put in place. Where an employee is dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal procedures there are options available to have the dispute referred to an outside forum, such as the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) who can provide a mediation service on request where both parties are willing to engage. Such mediation is a voluntary, confidential process that allows two or more disputing parties to resolve their conflict in a mutually agreeable way with the help of a neutral third party. The service is provided free to the parties.

  The employee also has the option to take a complaint to the Rights Commissioner Service under the Industrial Relations Acts. Prior to the complaint being heard by a Rights Commissioner, however, it is possible that the case may be considered suitable for intervention by the recently established Early Resolution Service (ERS). The ERS is a conciliation/mediation type service of the Workplace Relations Customer Service which is provided by Case Resolution Officers (CROs). The ERS provides a prompt intervention which will initially involve contacting the parties, or their representatives, to secure their agreement to participate on a voluntary basis in early resolution. Using telephone and email communication the CROs will explore possible avenues of settlement in a non-prejudicial fashion.

  Where the complaint proceeds to a full hearing by a Rights Commissioner under the Industrial Relations Acts, the Commissioner’s recommendation will not be legally binding and can ultimately be appealed by either party to the Labour Court. The Workplace Relations Customer Service provides information to parties on how to bring a case before its services. It is, therefore, open to a person (or persons) who claims that he/she is being bullied in the workplace to seek advice from the Health and Safety Authority in terms of their entitlements to work in a safe workplace, and/or to pursue a formal bullying complaint through the industrial relations services of the Department.

Consumer Protection

 259. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 302 and 303 of 21 February 2012, when he will introduce the Statutory Instrument to give effect to Article 19 of the Consumer Rights Directive limiting credit and debit card surcharges; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53972/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton My Department issued a consultation paper on the implementation of Articles 19 and 22 of the Consumer Rights Directive on 6 September 2012. Though the original deadline for responses was 12 October, it was agreed to extend it to 9 November following a number of requests from interested parties. The consultation attracted a sizeable number of responses, a number of which raised issues that required further consideration. One such issue has required my Department to seek legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General and the European Commission. Subject to the satisfactory resolution of this legal issue, it is my intention to introduce Regulations to give effect to Articles 19 and 22 in the first quarter of 2013.


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