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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 199-210
 Header Item  An Fhoireann Rannach
 Header Item Office of Government Procurement
 Header Item External Service Delivery
 Header Item Employment Rights
 Header Item Community Enterprise Centres
 Header Item Insolvency Payments Scheme Payments
 Header Item Insolvency Payments Scheme Payments
 Header Item Joint Labour Committees Agreements
 Header Item Trade Data
 Header Item  An Fhoireann Rannach
 Header Item  Íocaíochtaí Deontas
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 199-210

An Fhoireann Rannach

 199. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin cén líon daoine atá ag obair ina Roinn faoi láthair atá inniúil ar a chuid nó a cuid oibre a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge; cén céatadán den fhoireann atá i gceist; comparáid a dhéanamh idir na figiúirí sin agus na figiúirí céanna in 2004, 1994, 1984 agus 1974 [47291/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Mar fhreagra ar cheist an Theachta, is féidir liom a dhearbhú go bhfuil de chumas ag ochtar ball foirne obair na Roinne a  dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge, is ionann sin agus thart ar 1% den líon foirne. B'fheidir go bhfuil cuma íseal ar an bhfigiúr seo, ach is cinnte gur leor é chun freastal a dhéanamh ar riachtanais na heagraíochta. Mar gheall ar an ról ata aici, ni bhíonn mórán plé ag mo Roinn leis an ngnáth-phobal, cur i gcás i gcomhthéacs scéimeanna nó seirbhísí dírithe ar dhaoine aonair a sholáthar. Mar sin féin, déanann mo Roinn monatóireacht ar an éileamh atá ar a chuid seirbhísí trí mhéan na Gaeilge chun a chinntiú go gcomhlíontar é. Níl aitheantas tugtha do aon phoist nó réimsí oibre faoi mo chúram go mbeadh gá acu le oifigigh atá inniúil sa dá theanga.

Mar nár cuireadh mo Roinn ar bun ach i 2011, nílim in ann níos mó ainilís a chur ar fáil.

Office of Government Procurement

 200. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the progress of building a team of service procurement specialists and the proposed upskilling of public service managers in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47318/14]

: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In the following tables, Table 1 sets out the overall progress in establishing the Office of Government Procurement. As at early December, 139 (60%) of the planned OGP headcount of 231 is on board; a further 58 (25%) has been selected and most should take up their positions early Q1 2015. Some 34 positions remain to be filled. 21 of these positions will be filled through the newly established Clerical Officer Panel which the Public Appointments Service is establishing.   

  Table 2 provides further detail with regard to the recruitment of the 158 sourcing roles. The sourcing senior management team is now complete with the Head of Spot Buying joining the five portfolio managers in October.

Table 1OGP Recruitment Status as at 08th Dec 2014
 PositionsOn-BoardSelectedVacancies
Sourcing158935510
Operations221624
Customer Service191207
Policy131012
Programme Mgmt2101
Corporate Affairs3300
Office of CPO144010
Total2311395834
   
Table 2Sourcing Recruitment as at 08th Dec 2014
 PositionsOn-BoardSelectedVacancies
Director of Sourcing1100
Portfolio Managers5500
Head of Spot Buying1100
Category Managers302073
Category Specialist (1)7034360
Category Specialist (2)4028120
Sourcing Support11407
 158935510
   

  To ensure a consistent approach to operations and an over-arching cohesive culture in an organisation consisting of people from diverse entities and backgrounds, the OGP has developed a learning and development strategy based upon a set of technical and behavioural competencies as well as a matrix of appropriate training interventions to address any gaps in these competencies.

  Initial training has commenced and is aimed at equipping staff with the necessary skills and knowledge to work to a common standard in the following three core areas by early 2015.

 - Core Procurement & Category Management Training 

 - Public Sector Procurement 

 - Customer Service

External Service Delivery

 201. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if each Department has provided Government with benefit driven external service delivery plans; if he will provide a list of the major offices other than Government Departments which have also submitted such plans; and if he would indicate the desired outcomes arising from the implementation of the plans. [47319/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I can confirm that external service delivery plans have been received from all Government Departments. Furthermore, benefits-driven external service delivery plans have also been received from:

  1. The Office of Public Works,

  2. The Office of the Revenue Commissioners, and;

  3. The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission.

  The desired outcomes arising from the implementation of these external service delivery plans include greater cost and efficiency savings, the potential to innovate in the provision of business practices, access to specialised expertise from external providers; and a greater focus by public officials on their organisations' core activities.

Employment Rights

 202. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if the procedural process of a claim made to the Labour Relations Commission in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5 will be expedited in view of the fact the person making the claim is elderly. [47222/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton As the Deputy is aware the Labour Relations Commission is a statutory body independent of my Department in the performance of its functions. I am informed that the Labour Relations Commission has no record of receiving a complaint in respect of the named person. Complaints under employment rights and equality legislation which are referred to the existing workplace relations adjudication bodies such as the Rights Commissioner Service and the Equality Tribunal are heard in private and as such details of the complaints are private to the parties involved in the complaints. Therefore, it is not possible to provide any information to a third party in relation to such complaints prior to the hearing and disposal of the matter by the employment rights adjudication body.

If a party to a complaint before one of the workplace relations adjudication bodies wishes to request that the hearing of the complaint be expedited this matter should be referred directly to the appropriate body for consideration.

Community Enterprise Centres

 203. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the reason for the delay in funding a new round of the Business Development Management Programme funded by Enterprise Ireland for Community Enterprise Centres in view of the fact that previous funding contracts ceased in June 2014; and if he will ensure that the new programme commences without any further delay and before the end of 2014. [46786/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I understand from Enterprise Ireland that since the launch of the first Community Enterprise Centre scheme in 1989, Enterprise Ireland has approved €64 million for the development of Community Enterprise Centres in towns and villages across the country. There are currently 117 such centres across the country. There is no new Community Enterprise Centre Scheme to fund Business Development Management in 2014. The last scheme rolled out was in 2012 and 2013 when Enterprise Ireland provided funding of €2 million to support the recruitment of a total of 46 Business Development Managers. That programme included funding to support the employment of 9 Business Development Managers for a two year period in 2013-2015.

On the wider issue of the Centres, the success levels, occupancy levels and sustainability of jobs at the Centres varies and therefore I have asked Enterprise Ireland to review the operations of the Community Enterprise Centres in the context of regional enterprise development and how the Community Enterprise Centres and the Local Enterprise Offices might work more closely in support of business start-ups before giving further consideration to the matter.

There are a number of dimensions to this issue such as the role of other players such as the Local Authorities, private sector involvement and the level of supply and demand for business space in the locality.

The Action Plan for Jobs 2014 includes a commitment to develop a framework for Regional Enterprise Strategies that will enable us to better integrate the efforts of the enterprise development agencies and other regional stakeholders, including Community Enterprise Centres, in supporting enterprise growth and jobs in the regions. While there is already a significant amount of practical cooperation taking place at local and regional levels between many public bodies, developing a framework in which cooperation can be improved, is timely.

I have been actively working on a template for the development of Regional Enterprise Strategies and it is my intention that this framework will be applied initially on a pilot basis to produce action-oriented plans to support enterprise growth and jobs in the Midlands region and the South East region. These pilots will inform any adaptations that might need to be made prior to the framework being applied to other regions. I fully expect that the existing network of Community Enterprise Centres will have a role to play in the creation and implementation of enterprise strategies in their regions.

Insolvency Payments Scheme Payments

 204. Deputy Joe Higgins Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the recourse available for persons (details supplied) to have their successful claim for unpaid wages against their former employer enforced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46853/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Under the provisions of Section 8 of the Payment of Wages Act 1991 a Rights Commissioner’s decision may be enforced as if it were an order of the Circuit Court. A formal request for such an order may be filed in the County Registrar’s office by the person seeking the order. NERA has no powers of enforcement under the Act. The purpose of the insolvency payments scheme, which operates under the Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Act, 1984, is to protect certain outstanding pay-related entitlements due to employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer. These entitlements include wages, holiday pay, sick pay, payment in lieu of minimum notice due under the Minimum Notice & Terms of Employment Acts, 1973-2001, and certain pension contributions. Various other statutory awards made by the Employment Appeals Tribunal, Rights Commissioners, etc., are also covered by the scheme. My colleague, An Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, has responsibility for the administration of the payments from the insolvency payments scheme.

Where a person’s former employer was a limited company, the company must be in liquidation or receivership in order for the person to be eligible to claim under the insolvency payments scheme. In such circumstances, the liquidator or receiver becomes the relevant officer for submitting claims as he or she has access to the company records and can certify that the amounts claimed are in order.

There are companies which cease trading without engaging in a formal winding-up process and in some such cases those employers may owe monies to their employees. Such employees are not eligible for payments under the insolvency payments scheme. I am advised by the Department of Social Protection that the company in this instance is not in liquidation or receivership and therefore the awards cannot be submitted for payment to the insolvency payments scheme.

I am informed that the Department of Social Protection is currently reviewing the position to establish what, if anything can be done to progress payments to individuals in these situations. The Department of Social Protection is not in a position to indicate when this review will be completed.

Insolvency Payments Scheme Payments

 205. 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 his views on introducing a mechanism whereby persons due money under the Payment of Wages Act 1991 and the payment is not forthcoming from the former employer, payments due under this act can be paid in line in a similar fashion as to when the State pays the statutory redundancy to a company that pleads inability to pay; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [46925/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Payment of Wages Act, provides that an employee can pursue a claim in respect of any particular unlawful deduction or payment before the courts, or before a Rights Commissioner, but not before both. If the employee chooses to pursue their claim before a Rights Commissioner, the employee may appeal the Rights Commissioner decision to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), with the possibility of appealing the determination of the EAT to the High Court on a point of law. Under the provisions of section 8 of the Payment of Wages Act 1991 a Rights Commissioner’s decision on a determination of the EAT may be enforced as if it were an order of the Circuit Court. A formal request for such an order may be filed in the County Registrar’s office by the person seeking the order. NERA has no powers of enforcement under the Act.

Work which I am currently undertaking on the reform of the State’s employment rights and industrial relations structures is at an advanced stage. Provision has been made in the Workplace Relations Bill 2014 for a range of enhanced compliance measures, including the use of Compliance Notices and Fixed Payment Notices. The Bill also makes provision for the introduction of a more effective and streamlined system for the enforcement of awards from WRC Adjudicators and/or the Labour Court under employment rights legislation via the District Court. I am satisfied that these new compliance and enforcement measures will provide for more proportionate, efficient and effective enforcement of employment law.

As the Deputy is aware, my colleague, An Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, has responsibility for the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967-2014 and the Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Acts. The latter deals with situations where the employer is insolvent. I am informed that the Tánaiste has no plan at present to consider extending the insolvency payment scheme to cover payments due by employers who continue to trade.

Joint Labour Committees Agreements

 206. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the steps he has taken to ensure the hospitality sector are engaging in agreeing a new joint labour committee for the industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47228/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Section 41A of Industrial Relations Act 1946 (inserted by Section 11 of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2012) provides that reviews of each Joint Labour Committee (JLC) be carried out by the Labour Court as soon as practicable after the commencement of the Act, and at least once every 5 years thereafter. In this context the Court undertook a review of the ten existing JLCs in 2013 and made recommendations to me on the issue. On January 28th 2014, I signed Orders to give effect to recommendations of the Labour Court Review.

In this context, the Labour Court recommended that the Hotels JLC for the Dublin area should be abolished and that the Hotels JLC for outside of Dublin should be retained and its Establishment Order amended to clarify the classes of workers covered.

With regard to the two Catering JLCs, I accepted the Labour Court recommendation that the existing scope and structures remain in place and that one person be appointed to chair both JLCs in order to ensure consistency in respect of the related terms and conditions of employment across all of the sector covered by two Joint Labour Committees. Accordingly, it was not necessary to make Orders in these instances.

Industrial Relations Officers of the Labour Relations Commission have been appointed to the positions of JLC Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.

Under the Industrial Relations Act 1946, it is a matter for the Labour Court to ensure that equal numbers of representatives of workers and employers in the relevant sectors are on each of the JLCs. In this context, I understand that nominations have been sought from employer and worker representatives in respect of each JLC. To-date, employer representatives have agreed to participate on three JLCs – Security, Contract Cleaning and Hairdressing.

In terms of the hospitality sector, Judicial Review proceedings seeking to have the decision to reconstitute the Hotels JLC quashed have been launched by William Neville & Sons Properties Ltd, trading as the Riverside Park Hotel, and the Irish Hotels Federation. These proceedings are ongoing.

It should be borne in mind that JLC Establishment Orders provide in themselves only a framework within which employers and employee representatives can come together voluntarily and negotiate terms and conditions of workers in their respective sector. For vulnerable workers, the advantage of JLCs is that they see fair terms and conditions such as wage rates, sick pay etc. agreed and given effect by ERO, while for some employers, the advantage of the JLC system, based as it is on the principle of self-governance, means that they can agree and set minimum pay and conditions, agree on work practices which are custom-made to their industry – a flexibility which cannot be achieved by primary legislation. Where both parties to a JLC see commonality of purpose and outcome then an agreement may emerge.

This process sits very much within the context of Ireland's voluntarist system of industrial relations.

Trade Data

 207. 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 current status of Irish trade with Iran; the extent of Irish Government and its agencies' efforts to explore and promote Irish goods and services in contacts with the Iranian authorities; his plans to establish a trade mission to Iran; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47250/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton In 2013, the value of exports to Iran from Ireland was €57 million. The main products exported were soft drink concentrate and medical and pharmaceutical products. Imports in 2013 from Iran amounted to under €1 million, most of which was accounted for by vegetables & fruit. Due to the EU sanctions that have been in place, Enterprise Ireland has not considered Iran a focus market for some time and has concentrated all efforts on developing opportunities in other more accessible Middle Eastern markets. Commercial conditions currently remain quite adverse and most international banks will not offer standard financial tools to facilitate trade with Iran. However, with the possible lifting of some sanctions and in recognition of the potential represented by the Iranian market, Enterprise Ireland are planning to carry out an exploratory visit to the market during the early part of 2015, the first visit by the agency to this market in over 7 years, to investigate opportunities in different sectors. Following this visit, a strategy will be put in place as to how best to support those client companies who may want to explore the market further. It is not currently planned to organise a Trade Mission to Iran in 2015.

An Fhoireann Rannach

 208. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Post, Fiontar agus Nuálaíochta Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton cén líon daoine atá ag obair ina Roinn faoi láthair atá inniúil ar a chuid nó a cuid oibre a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge; cén céatadán den fhoireann atá i gceist; comparáid a dhéanamh idir na figiúirí sin agus na figiúirí céanna in 2004, 1994, 1984 agus 1974 [47289/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Níl an fhaisnéis atá iarrtha ag an Teachta ar fáil toisc nach bhfuil post ar bith laistigh de mo Roinnse a bhfuil inniúlacht sa Ghaeilge mar réamhriachtanas dá chuid.

I gcomhréir lenár gcuid oibleagáidí faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, 2003 tá mo Roinnse tiomanta don chumarsáid le cliaint ar mian leo a gcuid gnó leis an Roinn a dhéanamh trí mheán na Gaeilge. Tá socruithe i bhfeidhm áit ina bhfuil naonúr ball foirne tagtha chun cinn ar bhonn deonach le páirt a ghlacadh i gcúrsaí oiliúna iomchuí lena gcuid scileanna Gaeilge a fheabhsú. Tá an oiliúint seo á soláthar ionas go mbeidh cohórt ball foirne againn ar féidir leo cuidiú le haonaid ghnó freagra a thabhairt do chliaint ar mian leo cumarsáid trí mheán na Gaeilge.

Lena chois sin, dhearbhaigh suirbhé ar bhaill foirne a cuireadh i gcrích in 2012 le heolas a fháil faoi leibhéal an éilimh á bhraistint ag an Roinn ar sheirbhísí trí mheán na Gaeilge, gur fíoríseal ar fad líon na gcumarsáidí faighte i nGaeilge le blianta beaga anuas.

Íocaíochtaí Deontas

 209. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney cén uair a bheidh íocaíocht faoi REPS 4 á híoc le feirmeoir i gContae na Gaillimhe (sonraí tugtha); cén fáth a bhfuil moill leis an íocaíocht seo; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [46734/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Thosaigh an duine ainmnithe REPS 4 i mí an Mheithimh 2008 agus fuair íocaíochtaí do na cúig bliana go léir den chonradh. Tá deireadh leis an gconradh sin anois agus níl aon íocaíochtaí eile dlite.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 210. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when single farm payments 2014 will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46745/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named submitted a 2014 Single Farm Payment/Disadvantaged Areas’ scheme application on 7 May 2014. EU Regulations governing the administration of these schemes require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including in some cases Remote Sensing (i.e. satellite) inspections, be completed before any payments issue. The application of the person named was selected for a Remote Sensing eligibility inspection. My Department is now finalising this inspection with the intention of issuing any payments due as soon as possible. In the event that any queries arise officials in my Department will be in contact with the person named.


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