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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 260 - 281
 Header Item Consumer Protection
 Header Item Jobs Initiative
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Expenditure
 Header Item Job Creation Issues
 Header Item Job Creation Issues
 Header Item Coroners Service
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Child Benefit Eligibility
 Header Item Capital Programme Expenditure
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Child Benefit Rates
 Header Item Budget 2012
 Header Item Employment Support Services

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. 260 - 281

Consumer Protection

 260. 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 the progress made towards implementing the recommendations of the sales law review group report published in October 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [53973/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton My Department has established an informal advisory group, which includes a number of members of the Sales Law Review Group, to consider the most appropriate and effective ways of giving effect to the 124 recommendations contained in the Review Group’s report. The Department plans to issue a number of consultation papers in 2013 on the main areas for reform indicated by the Review Group. Work will then commence on preparing the general scheme of a comprehensive, consolidated Consumer Rights Bill along the lines recommended by the Group. Regard will be had in this context to the responses to the consultations.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton   Question No. 261 withdrawn.   

Jobs Initiative

 262. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the actions being taken to overcome the issue of unemployment within the construction sector; if there are any supports in place for young apprentices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54113/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 identifies a number of key economic sectors which the Government will focus on to promote employment opportunities, including Construction.Among the key actions identified for the Construction sector is the development of a National Strategy to 2015, which will outline the opportunities, challenges and actions needed to realise the potential of the sector. Work has already commenced on this Strategy, and initial consultations have taken place with key stakeholders. I expect the Strategy to be completed by the end of this year.

  Enterprise Ireland (EI) is assisting Construction companies to expand their presence in key geographic territories, to target project opportunities in emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa as well as helping them to access other international market opportunities. To achieve these objectives, EI has in place a range of direct supports to assist established client companies including those in the Construction sector. EI maintains a network of offices to ensure it reaches out to support entrepreneurs and established companies throughout the country. A dedicated unit within Enterprise Ireland - the Potential Exporters Division – is responsible for responding to the development needs of such companies; promoting and advocating the export agenda; proactively promoting a range of tailored services, initiatives, and grants; helping companies access EI services and financial supports; proactively identifying and stimulating companies that demonstrate the potential to grow and establish a developmental agenda with those particular companies.

  In addition, the Government’s €2.25bn infrastructure stimulus package should provide significant opportunities for job creation in the Construction sector. As part of the Action Plan for Jobs, the Department of Education and Skills is currently carrying out a review of the apprenticeship model. To assist redundant apprentices complete their apprenticeships, that Department, through FÁS, has put several interim measures in place, including the development of Phase 7 (equivalent) assessments for redundant apprentices at the final phase of their apprenticeship in the trades of Carpentry & Joinery, Electrical, Plumbing, Brick & Stone-laying, Cabinet Making and Plastering. Redundant apprentices who wish to complete the Phase 7 equivalents should contact their Senior Training Advisor.

  FÁS has also introduced a Competency Determination Mechanism (CDM). This Mechanism provides redundant apprentices who have a time deficit in their apprenticeship, with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge against the occupational standard for the specified trade over a number of days in a FÁS Training Centre.

  Under the temporary Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme (RAPS), FÁS provides supports for apprentices to be placed with an eligible employer in order to attain the minimum duration necessary to complete their “on-the-job” training at Phases 3, 5 or 7 of the apprenticeship. The maximum period of placement is 26 weeks for apprentices on Phases 3 and 5; and 12 weeks for those on Phase 7. Redundant apprentices may also avail of Skills Training Courses which enhance their employment skills, as well as the range of Night Courses which are available in FÁS Training Centres. Further information on these Programmes is available on the FÁS Website, www.fas.ie.

Departmental Agencies Expenditure

 263. 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 the total revenue raised by the sale, and by rent, of Industrial Development Agency premises for each year since 2006. [54142/12]

 264. 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 the total cost of maintenance, security and other costs of Industrial Development Agency owned premises for each year since 2006. [54143/12]

 265. 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 the total asset value of Industrial Development Agency property for each of year since 2006. [54144/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I propose to take Questions Nos. 263 to 265, inclusive, together.

  Details of revenues raised by IDA Ireland from the sale and rent of IDA owned land and buildings; the total cost incurred by the Agency for the maintenance, security and other costs relating to the land and building managed by the Agency, and the total asset value of IDA’s property buildings in each of the years 2006 to 2011 are set out in the tabular statement. Figures for 2012 are not yet available.

  Table showing the income received by IDA Ireland from the sale and rent of its premises; the total cost of maintenance, security etc.; and the total asset values of premises in each of the years 2006 to 2011

Year Revenue raised by sale and rent
€ m
Total cost of maintenance, security and other costs
€m
Total asset value of IDA premises
€m
2011
5.144
4.412
7.439m
2010
12.771
2.885
8.084
2009
18.518
6.401
11.444
2008
71.770
9.213
16.257
2007
42.443
6.261
13.265
2006
79.846
9.381
10.630

Job Creation Issues

 266. 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 the cost per jobs created, by Enterprise Ireland for each county, in each year since 2007. [54145/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton As part of the Forfás Annual Employment Survey, the overall cost per job is calculated each year by reference to the cost of jobs created in companies supported by the Enterprise Development agencies, during and sustained to the end of a seven-year period. The accepted accounting measure for cost per job is ‘Cost per job sustained’. This is calculated by taking into account all direct agency expenditure on all agency client companies in a seven-year period. Only jobs created during, and sustained at the end of each seven-year period, are represented in the calculations. The cost per job calculation takes the total grants paid to companies to undertake development projects, at both start-up and expansion stages, and the new jobs that arise from these projects. Forfás does not calculate the ‘Cost per job Sustained’ on a county basis.

  The accompanying table provides information on Enterprise Ireland’s Cost per Job Sustained from 2007-2011. The figure for 2012 will not be available until 2013.

Enterprise Ireland Cost Per Job Sustained

  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Cost Per Job Sustained €6,556 €7,988 €12,124 €12,560 €12,024 N/A
  

  Note: Cost Per Job Sustained is as per EI 2011 Annual Report – calculated taking into account all agency expenditure on all firms in the period. Only jobs created during and sustained at the end of each seven-year period are credited in the calculations.

Job Creation Issues

 267. 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 the cost per jobs created, by the Industrial Development Agency, for each county, in each year since 2007. [54146/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton IDA Ireland has informed me that it does not compile statistics on the cost per job created on a county by county basis. The metric used to assess the cost effectiveness of its grant programmes is the cost per job sustained. This measures the level of first time jobs created during a seven year period which are existing at the end of that period against IDA Ireland grants paid during the same seven year period, converted to constant prices using deflators. Grant payments net of grant refunds under all grant programmes to all companies are used in the calculation.

  The tabular statement, which has been extracted from IDA Ireland’s 2011 Annual Report and Accounts, provides details of the cost per job sustained in the period 2001 to 2011 at constant 2011 prices.

  IDA Ireland Cost per Job Sustained (Constant 2011 prices)

Year 2001 to 2007 2002 to 2008 2003 to 2009 2004 to 2010 2005 to 2011
IDA Ireland € 13,222 12,807 14,124 14,252 14,202

  Questions Nos. 268 to 272, inclusive, answered with Question No. 254.

Coroners Service

 273. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the reason a person (details supplied) in County Donegal has yet to be furnished with a death certificate. [53709/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I am informed by the Registrar General that this case was referred from the Coroner for Donegal North East to the Coroner for Donegal North West on 4th September 2012 and a date has not yet been fixed for an inquest. Where a death has been referred to a Coroner, the death can only be registered on foot of a Coroner’s certificate. The death will be registered by the local registrar on receipt of a Coroner’s certificate as provided for under section 41 of the Civil Registration Act, 2004.

  Question No. 274 withdrawn.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 275. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will expedite a claim for carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied). [53780/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on the 26th March 2012. This application was referred to one of the Department’s medical assessors who found that the caree in question was not medically eligible for carer’s allowance. The person in question subsequently submitted further medical evidence for review on the 27th September 2012. This medical evidence is awaiting medical assessment by a medical assessor. On completion of all the necessary investigations as part of this review, a decision will be made and the person in question will be contacted directly with the outcome.

Child Benefit Eligibility

 276. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if her Department has reviewed arrangements for payment of child benefit in the other European Union member states; if so, the rule that apply to Irish citizens with children living in those EU member states; the way they compare to our approach in a reverse situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53810/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The social security rights of people in a cross-border situation in the EU are governed by EU regulations which co-ordinate social security systems and are designed to ensure that people are not disadvantaged by moving within the EU to take up work. These rules are the same for all Member States of the European Union. For the purposes of the EU regulations, Irish child benefit is classified as a family benefit and there are specific rules governing the payment of these benefits. Generally speaking, the country of employment is primarily responsible for payment of family benefits. Accordingly, EU nationals, including Irish citizens, who work in Ireland, but whose families reside in another EU Member State may have an entitlement to family benefits in Ireland under the EU regulations.

Before payment is made in respect of children resident in other EU countries it is necessary to contact the authorities in the country of residence of the children to confirm details and establish what, if any, family benefits are payable in the home country under their domestic legislation, as this will impact on any entitlement under the Irish system. Similarly, where the family is resident here and the person is working in another EU State that country will contact Ireland to determine any entitlements under the Irish system. Appropriate adjustments are made to both entitlements in accordance with the EU Regulations.

The EU Commission attaches great importance to the system of coordinating social security for the role it plays in encouraging and facilitating free movement of people across the Union. In line with a commitment in the Programme for Government, the question of reviewing the arrangements for child benefit has been raised with the EU Commissioner responsible for this area. He has indicated that he would not support such a move, as it could be seen as discriminating against migrant workers and would not be in line with judgements of the Court of Justice of the European Union in this area.

Capital Programme Expenditure

 277. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton in respect of the October Exchequer returns, the reason the capital spending for her Department was €4m below profile for this period; her plans to ensure the full capital spending is implemented before the end of the year; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [53836/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Department of Social Protection has a capital budget of €10½ m. for the year 2012 to fund investment in its office accommodation and computer systems. The underspend of €3.872m on capital expenditure at the end of October was in relation to office accommodation and arose because the Department was not invoiced as early as it had originally anticipated for capital expenditure incurred on its behalf by the Office of Public Works. This was because delays were encountered in securing leases or agreements with landowners in relation to new buildings and also because the roll-out of Intreo Offices in 2012 requires work on existing Social Welfare Local Offices, a significant number were still in design stage or tender stage at the end of October.

Progress has since been made in both of these areas, with several projects completed and others advanced to the point where expenditure will be incurred early in the New Year. It is now expected that the Department will spend almost €9½ m on its capital projects by the end of this year and it has applied to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for sanction to carry over unspent capital of €1.05m into 2013 in respect of projects that are underway and approaching completion.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 278. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53838/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on the 9th December 2011. The person concerned was contacted on the 3rd November 2012 requesting additional information. Once all the information requested has been received the claim will be processed and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome. Carer’s allowance can be paid if all the qualifying conditions are met. One of the qualifying conditions is that the carer must be caring for the person on a full-time basis. A carer may attend an educational or training course or participate in voluntary or community-based activity for up to 15 hours a week, provided they make adequate provision for the care of the person in their absence.

Child Benefit Rates

 279. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding multiple birth payment (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53848/12]

 284. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding child benefit (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53923/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 279 and 284 together.

Child benefit is a monthly payment made to families with children in respect of all qualified children up to the age of 16 years. The payment continues to be paid in respect of children up to their 18th birthday who are in full-time education, or who have a physical or mental disability. The estimated expenditure on child benefit for 2012 is around €2 billion and it is paid to around 600,000 families in respect of some 1.15 million children.

Parents of multiple birth children receive an additional monthly premia paid at one and a half times the monthly child benefit payment rate for each twin and double the monthly payment rate for each child in other multiple births. While Budget 2012 maintained this additional monthly payment, the multiple births grant of €635 paid at birth, at 4 years of age and at 12 years of age was discontinued.

As a universal payment child benefit assists parents with the cost of raising children and it contributes towards alleviating child poverty. The Government is also conscious that child benefit is an important source of income for all families, especially during a time of recession and high unemployment. Bearing this in mind, any plans to change the amount paid in respect of such payments will be a matter to be decided in a budgetary context and announced on Budget day. I do not therefore propose to speculate on any possible approaches to child benefit payment rates changes.

I am conscious that achieving a better design of the overall system of child income supports, including child benefit, raises complex issues about the effectiveness of the full range of income supports currently provided to families and their children. In this context and in line with a commitment in the Programme for Government, I established an Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare last year, which has been tasked with recommending cost-effective solutions as to how employment incentives can be improved and better poverty outcomes achieved, particularly child poverty outcomes.

The Advisory Group prioritised the area of family and child income supports and has completed its work on this area. I am currently considering the findings of the Advisory Group’s report on this issue and I intended to publish this report in due course. While the report is not yet in the public domain, it will assist the Government in setting out a pathway towards a more appropriate system of child income supports. It should also be noted that the Government is not obliged to act on the findings of the Advisory Group. To date the direct cost of the Advisory Group is €35,100.

Budget 2012

 280. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if he will outline all impact analysis undertaken regarding Budget 2012 by her Department, before and after the budget came into effect; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [53874/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton As part of the 2012 Budgetary deliberative process, the Department analysed the distributive and poverty impact of possible welfare changes prior to the Budget and also carried out an analysis of the tax and welfare package post Budget. The outcome of the latter analysis was consistent with the findings of the ESRI.

Employment Support Services

 281. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the measures she is using to ensure that persons in receipt of jobseekers' payments are actively looking for work or training opportunities, or are pursuing training or education.  [53884/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Pathways to Work policy and the establishment of the new integrated National Employment and Entitlement Service (Intreo) service will transform the nature and level of engagement between our employment and income support services and the unemployed. The Pathways to Work approach involves the following:

 - More regular and on-going engagement with people who are unemployed through active case management and profiling. There were over 87,000 referrals of unemployed welfare recipients to the employment service in the first eight months of 2012.

 - Greater targeting of activation places and opportunities by providing for over 85,000 places on initiatives such as Job Bridge – the National Internship Scheme, Tús, the Rural Social Scheme and the Jobs Initiative.

 - Various initiatives to allow those who are out of work to up-skill through the education and training system. The most prominent schemes in this regard are the Back to Education Allowance and the Springboard Initiative. At October 26th 2012, there were 23,747 participants on the Back to Education Allowance scheme, with 91% previously on a jobseekers’ payment. Springboard offers a choice of free courses in higher education from certificate, to degree, to post-graduate level. Sixty-per cent of Springboard participants have been unemployed for more than twelve months and one third of those for more than 24 months. Some 6,000 places are available for this academic year.

 - The State is also providing a wide range of vocational training options outside of the mainstream education system that are closely aligned to the needs of the labour market. The Government is prioritising places on training courses for those who have been on the Live Register for 12 months or more.

 - Ensuring that each person in receipt of a jobseeker payment fulfils their personal responsibility to engage fully with the employment and training supports provided by the State as a pre-condition for recipe of their welfare payments. The Department will continue to implement its powers to sanction individuals who fail to engage with the ‘Pathways to Work’ approach. The Department will also review the current rules under which sanctions can be applied and will as necessary strengthen these rules through legislation to ensure that individuals must engage with ‘Pathways to Work’.


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