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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 15-39
 Header Item Ministerial Functions
 Header Item IDA Ireland Jobs Data
 Header Item Action Plan for Jobs
 Header Item Foreign Direct Investment
 Header Item Lobbying Data
 Header Item Competition and Consumer Protection Commission
 Header Item Insurance Coverage
 Header Item Tribunals of Inquiry Expenditure
 Header Item Property Tax Assessments
 Header Item NAMA Reports
 Header Item State Claims Agency
 Header Item Help-To-Buy Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Nursing Homes Support Scheme
 Header Item NAMA Operations
 Header Item Public Services Card
 Header Item Help-To-Buy Scheme
 Header Item Primary Medical Certificates Provision
 Header Item Mortgage Schemes
 Header Item Approved Housing Bodies
 Header Item Employment Investment Incentive Scheme
 Header Item VAT Rate Application
 Header Item Budget 2018
 Header Item State Aid Investigations

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 95 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 15-39

Ministerial Functions

 15. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the powers she has delegated to the Ministers of State in her Department; the date on which such delegation was made; if there were changes in powers delegated relative to the situation in place prior to 14 June 2017; if so, the details of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42773/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald On 20 June, the Taoiseach re-appointed Mr. John Halligan T.D. and Mr. Pat Breen T.D. as Ministers of State with responsibility for policy areas under the remit of my Department.

On 26 July, the Government made orders for the delegation of Ministerial functions to Ministers Halligan and Breen at my request.

Minister Halligan has been delegated responsibility for Innovation, Research and Development, IRD, and will oversee implementation of the Government's national strategy in this area, Innovation 2020. He has been given responsibility for the delivery of IRD programmes across the agencies of my Department and the development of a successor to the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions. He has also been delegated responsibility for Ireland's membership of International Research Organisations and the European Space Agency in addition to sectoral research initiatives that my Department is involved in, Ireland's engagement with the EU Framework Programme in Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, and maintaining an Intellectual Property framework aimed at promoting and rewarding creativity, supporting innovative activity and improving the business environment.

These areas of responsibility are similar to what had been delegated to Minister Halligan prior to June 2017. Statutory Instrument No. 363 of 2017, entitled, "Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) (No 3) Order 2017", sets out in detail the specific areas of responsibility that Minister Halligan has.

Minister Breen has again been assigned responsibility for Industrial Relations legislation, the industrial relations machinery of the State as well as the Workplace Relations Act 2015. He also has responsibility for ensuring a renewed focus on Occupational Health and Safety matters and on Chemical Policy matters. He has been delegated responsibility for Ireland's engagement with the International Labour Organisation and for a range of issues of relevance to business and Small and Medium Enterprises, including leading efforts to reduce the administrative burden on business.  Following his reappointment, Minister Breen has additionally been given responsibility for the Digital Single Market.

Minister Breen had previously been delegated responsibility for Employment Rights and associated legislation, and for the Low Pay Commission and their programme of work in relation to the National Minimum Wage. As responsibility for these areas has now transferred to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, they are no longer part of Minister Breen's responsibilities.

Statutory Instrument No. 362 of 2017, entitled, "Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) (No 2) Order 2017", sets out in detail the specific areas of responsibility that Minister Breen has..

IDA Ireland Jobs Data

 16. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of newly created IDA backed jobs in County Donegal between 2012 and 2016; the number of IDA site visits that have occurred in County Donegal between 2016 and 2017 involving new and prospective IDA clients; her future development plans for job creation within the county over the next four years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42859/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am determined to support the growth of high-quality and sustainable employment across Ireland, including in County Donegal.  Last year, the number of IDA supported jobs in County Donegal grew by 4%, reaching a total of 3,039.  The Agency continues to work hard to create further employment opportunities in the County and to increase the number of multinational companies located there, which currently includes SITA, Optibelt and Pramerica.

  The table outlines the total number of IDA Ireland supported companies in Donegal and the total number of jobs created by the Agency's clients there from 2012 to 2016.

Donegal  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1. No of Companies 13 13 13 12 12
2. Total Jobs 2,223 2,382 2,607 2,918 3,039
3.Gross Gains 164 183 247 330 145
4. Losses -42 -24 -22 -19 -24
5. Net Change 122 159 225 311 121


  IDA Ireland always does its utmost to encourage clients to locate in regional areas.  This includes using site visits to showcase investment locations to clients. In Donegal, there have been eight such site visits since 2016. 

  We have to remember, however, that the ultimate decision as to where to invest is always taken by the company itself. It is also important to emphasise that site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential, as at least 70% of all new foreign direct investment comes from existing IDA Ireland client companies. 

  More broadly, IDA Ireland markets Donegal, together with Sligo and Leitrim, as part of its North West region.  The Agency's business development strategy for the region includes efforts aimed at increasing investment from the global business services and high tech manufacturing sectors.

Action Plan for Jobs

 17. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of new jobs that have been created under the Action Plan for Jobs 2017 (details supplied); the regions, sectors and targets for 31 December 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [42936/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Action Plan for Jobs is one of the Government’s key instruments to support job creation. The Action Plan for Jobs process is working. Since the first Plan was launched in early 2012, there are over 225,000 more people at work, bringing total employment in the State to almost 2,063,000 by end of Quarter 2, 2017.

  The goal of this Government is to support the creation of an additional 200,000 jobs by 2020 with 135,000 outside Dublin. This is a whole-of-Government effort and is delivered through our integrated Action Plan for Jobs.

  There were 14,700 new jobs created in the first three months to 31 March 2017, with a further 3,300 new jobs created between April and the end of 30 June. There is no data available yet for the third quarter of 2017.

  Up to Q2 2017, employment grew faster in the regions (2.8%) than in Dublin (1.5%), with four out of five jobs created in the regions. The largest increases were recorded in the information and communications and the construction sectors.

  The target number of new jobs to be created in 2017 is 45,000, as of Q2, 40% of this target has been achieved.

  I will be working with Ministerial colleagues to ensure that the 2018 Plan is ambitious and impactful and keeps us on track to deliver on both our 2017 and 2020 targets.

Foreign Direct Investment

 18. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of small scale sector appropriate foreign direct investment enterprises that have been brought to small rural towns by the IDA over each of the past five years. [42965/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The IDA is focused on attracting job-rich foreign direct investment, FDI, by multinationals to Ireland. One of the Agency's key priorities is ensuring that such investment is spread as evenly as possible around the country and that every region of Ireland benefits from overseas FDI.

While the general global trend is for FDI to be located in or around major urban areas, the IDA has placed a special emphasis on attracting overseas companies to regional Ireland. This is evidenced by the Agency's current five-year strategy, which sets ambitious targets of increasing investment by between 30-40% in every region of the country by 2019.

Progress continues to be made towards reaching that goal. For example, the Agency's mid-year results for 2017 show that 54% of all job approvals so far this year are for investments located outside of Dublin.  This is up from 37% at the same time last year.  Moreover, over half of all IDA Ireland supported jobs created last year were based outside of Dublin.

The investments that have been secured for rural and regional areas span many different sectors and industries. They also differ significantly in their individual size and scale. Their key unifying feature is that the companies behind the investments have all decided to locate or expand outside of Ireland's main urban centres. I am confident that the confidence that these businesses have rightfully placed in the regions will help lead in turn to further FDI across the country. .

Lobbying Data

 19. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of occasions on which she has been lobbied in respect of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill since March 2016; the persons she has met with; the dates of these meetings; the details of the basis of the lobbying; her views on the issues raised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42284/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Since my appointment as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation in June, I have not attended any meetings regarding the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

 20. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Seán Sherlock Zoom on Seán Sherlock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the regulations in place for pricing algorithms in the tourism and hospitality sector. [42370/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Dynamic pricing algorithms have been implemented, for instance, by airlines, hotel booking services and transportation network companies to efficiently adjust supply to periods of lower or higher demand, resulting in procompetitive effects. However, competition concerns might arise if companies start sharing the same dynamic pricing algorithm, which may be programmed not to compete against other firms, but to set anti-competitive prices in breach of competition law. Should the Deputy have evidence of any alleged anti-competitive conduct, he should refer the matter to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the statutory body tasked with the enforcement of competition law in the State..

Insurance Coverage

 21. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the steps he will take to ensure proper and effective regulation of insurance companies on the issue of refusing flood cover; if it will be ensured that cover cannot be refused after adequate flood defence measures have been put in place (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42612/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am conscious of the difficulties that the absence or withdrawal of flood insurance cover can cause to homeowners and businesses, and that is one of the reasons the Government has been prioritising investment in flood defences over the last number of years. 

However, the provision of insurance cover and the price at which it is offered is a commercial matter for insurance companies and is based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept and adequate provisioning to meet those risks. As Minister for Finance I have responsibility for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation, and neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products or have the power to direct insurance companies to provide flood cover to specific individuals or businesses. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance which expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products.

Government policy in relation to flooding is focused on the development of a sustainable, planned and risk-based approach to dealing with flooding problems.  This in turn should lead to the increased availability of flood insurance.  To achieve this aim, there is a focus on:

- prioritising spending on flood relief measures by the Office of Public Works, OPW, and relevant local authorities;

- development of plans by the OPW to implement flood relief schemes; and 

- improving channels of communication between the OPW and the insurance industry in order to reach a better understanding about the provision of flood cover in marginal areas.  

Insurance Ireland has informed me that its members, since 1 June 2014, have factored data on all completed flood defence schemes, provided by the OPW, into their assessment of flood risk within these areas.  This information has been provided as part of an information sharing arrangement entered into between OPW and Insurance Ireland (Memorandum of Understanding). The nature of this arrangement is such that it should lead to a greater availability of flood cover in previously higher risk areas, and at better prices.

While it is not possible for me to comment on individual cases without the full facts, I am advised by the OPW that Bath Avenue Gardens, Dublin 4 is within the benefiting area of the River Dodder Tidal Scheme, the details of which have been shared with Insurance Ireland under the Memorandum of Understanding.

I note however, that the River Dodder Tidal Scheme contains three demountable defences. The most recent Insurance Ireland survey (December 2016) of approximately 85% of the property insurance market in Ireland indicates that of 16 completed defence schemes, there has been an increase from 66% to 77% of policies in areas benefiting from demountable defences including flood cover. Increasing the provision of flood insurance to households in areas protected by schemes containing demountable defences is a topic which is subject to ongoing discussions between Insurance Ireland, the Department of Finance, and the OPW.

Finally, the Deputy should be aware that a consumer can make a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman in relation to any dealings with a Financial Services or Insurance provider during which they feel they have been unfairly treated.  In addition, individuals who are experiencing difficulty in obtaining flood insurance or believe that they are being treated unfairly may contact Insurance Ireland which operates a free Insurance Information Service for those who have queries, complaints or difficulties in relation to insurance. .

Tribunals of Inquiry Expenditure

 22. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe further to Parliamentary Question No. 122 of 20 September 2017, the parties that received reimbursement under the section reimbursements to the State Claims Agency in respect of third-party claims, which amounts to over €5.4 million up to the end of August 2017.  [42814/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The State Claims Agency have advised me that it is not possible, at the present time, to divulge the full details of the seven third-party costs settlements comprising the sum of €5,493,524.00, on grounds of the commercial sensitivity attaching to those settlements, in circumstances where there are other outstanding third-party Bills of Costs.

However, when all Moriarty Tribunal third-party costs have been agreed, it may be possible, at that time, to furnish the details the Deputy has requested..

Property Tax Assessments

 23. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if consideration will be given to basing property tax on income for pensioners similar to the French system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42815/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The 2012 report of the Interdepartmental Group on the Design of a Local Property Tax (the "Thornhill Group") comprehensively examined the basis of assessment for the Local Property Tax , LPT. The report favoured the use of market value of residential properties as the basis of assessment and this recommendation was accepted by the Government. The Group considered that under a market value approach applied to housing, the market value of a residential property would be related to the characteristics of the building itself, the site on which it was located and the characteristics and amenities of the neighbourhood. There would be a relationship between the market value of a house and benefits to the owners in terms of enjoyment of the amenity value of the properties.

At the request of the Minister for Finance, the operation of the LPT was reviewed in 2015 by Dr. Thornhill. A number of submissions to the review favoured changing the basis of determination of LPT liabilities to site value, floor area or variations thereof. Dr. Thornhill considered these but remained of the view that market value is the most appropriate and equitable basis on which to determine LPT liabilities.

The Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012, as amended, provides for a system of deferral and partial deferral arrangements in certain circumstances to assist individuals who may have difficulty paying the tax. Deferral/partial deferral is not an exemption and attaches as a charge on the property until the liability is paid. The deferral/partial deferral option also attracts an annual interest charge of 4%.

Where a liable person does not qualify for, or does not wish to avail of, a deferral, phased payment of LPT can be used to assist with budgeting. The Government is aware of the difficulties facing many individuals and families, and for this reason a wide variety of methods for payment of the LPT are available from which liable persons can choose the method most suited to their individual circumstances.  The LPT can be paid by way of phased payments rather than in a single payment; it can also be paid by direct debit; or through payment service providers such as An Post TaxPay, Payzone and Omnivend.

Property owners who wish to avail of the deferral option or require clarification in regard to their particular circumstances should contact the LPT Helpline at 1890 200 255 to make the necessary arrangements.  .

NAMA Reports

 24. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will publish the seven yearly reports regarding NAMA's use of post acquisition powers submitted to the European Commission and Irish competition authorities in each of the years 2010 to 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42471/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I wish to advise the Deputy that as outlined in my response to Dáil Question No. 80 of 26 September, 2017, a stipulation of the European Commission's decision, of 26 February 2010, on the, "Establishment of a National Asset Management Agency NAMA: Asset relief scheme for banks in Ireland", (Ref: State aid N725/2009 - Ireland), was a requirement that the Irish authorities, "report on a yearly basis on the use of such post acquisition powers to both the Commission and the Irish competition authorities (paragraph (74)vii.7)". 

As was outlined in my response to this question, a total of seven reports have been prepared and submitted to the European Commission and the Irish Competition Authorities for the years 2010-2016 inclusive, outlining that NAMA is in full compliance with the requirements of the decision. I wish to advise the Deputy that these reports were prepared specifically for these bodies and supplied under an obligation of confidentiality, as they contain sensitive information about NAMA’s operations. As such, it is not possible to publish these reports..

State Claims Agency

 25. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the avenue of appeal open to persons that have applied to the State Claims Agency and have had their claim turned down; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42480/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The NTMA is designated as the State Claims Agency, SCA, when managing claims against the State and State Authorities and carrying out related risk management functions in order to reduce the costs of future litigation against the State.

The SCA’s remit covers personal injuries and third-party property damage claims made against approximately 146 State Authorities including the State itself. It also manages third-party costs arising from certain Tribunals of Inquiry and claims for legal costs by parties who have successfully sued the State in respect of personal injury and non-personal injury related litigation.

The SCA’s claims management objective is, while acting in the best interests of tax payers in matters of personal injury and property damage litigation, to act fairly and ethically in its dealings with people who have suffered injuries and/or damage and who take legal actions against the State or State bodies, and the families of these people. In cases where the SCA investigation concludes that the relevant State Authority bears some or all liability, it seeks to settle claims expeditiously and on fair and reasonable terms.  If it considers that the State is not liable the SCA’s policy is to apply all necessary resources to defend the claims.

Where the State Claims Agency successfully defends a claim following a Court Trial, it is open to the unsuccessful plaintiff to Appeal that Court’s decision to a higher Court and, in appropriate cases, the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court..

Help-To-Buy Scheme Eligibility

 26. Deputy David Cullinane Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if a person that purchases a new build with a local authority mortgage is eligible for the help-to-buy scheme if that new build matches all the criteria for the help-to-buy scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42501/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe In order to be successful, claims under the help-to-buy incentive must satisfy a range of criteria, including that the qualifying loan is secured by the mortgage of a freehold or leasehold estate or interest in, or a charge on, a qualifying residence or a self-build qualifying residence and that the loan is provided by a qualifying lender.  In accordance with sections 477C and 244A(3)(e) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, local authorities are qualifying lenders for the purposes of the help-to-buy incentive..

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

 27. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the funding received from the nursing home support scheme in each of the years 2011 to 2016 and to date in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42507/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Revenue’s role in the Nursing Home Support scheme is confined to that of collection agent for the Health Service Executive, HSE, in respect of loan funding provided under the Ancillary State Support scheme.

  The table sets out the loan amounts and associated interest recovered by Revenue for the years 2011 to 2017 (year to date) inclusive.

  Revenue has no role to play in the wider Nursing Home Support scheme.

Year Loan Repayments Interest Total Paid
2011 €1,415,638 €460 €1,416,098
2012 €4,611,464 €14,118 €4,625,582
2013 €6,614,617 €50,504 €6,665,121
2014 €8,817,731 €76,056 €8,893,787
2015 €11,942,081 €132,701 €12,074,782
2016 €14,069,197 €178,210 €14,247,408
2017 (at end Sept) €13,463,457 €114,598 €13,578,055
Total €60,934,186 €566,648 €61,500,833

NAMA Operations

 28. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the persons or organisations that are the 51% owners of the NAMA group; the shareholding of each of these persons and organisations; the amount of dividend paid to each in each year to date since NAMA was established; the expected dividend that will be paid to them between October 2017 and the conclusion of NAMA's activities; the amount of funding each of these invested in the NAMA group; if they will receive an additional 10% of their contributed capital sum at the dissolution; the amount provided by the private sector in relation to the capital contribution to the establishment of the NAMA group which assisted in the NAMA liabilities not being on the State balance sheet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42508/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I wish to advise the Deputy that in its decision issued in July 2009, Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union) ruled that special purpose vehicles, SPVs, which were majority owned by private companies would be regarded as being outside of the government sector if they met a number of conditions. Among the conditions were that the SPVs were of temporary duration and were established for the sole purpose of addressing the financial crisis.

  In order to avail of this accounting treatment, NAMA established an investment holding company – National Asset Management Agency Investment D.A.C. – which is majority-owned by private investors. Some 51% of its shares are collectively owned by private companies and the remaining 49% are owned by NAMA. Under the shareholders’ agreement between NAMA and the Private Investors, NAMA exercises a veto over decisions taken by the company. Eurostat gave its approval to this structure in October 2009.

  The total issued share capital of National Asset Management Agency Investment D.A.C is €100 million, of which €51 million (51 million B Ordinary shares of €0.10 each and Share Premium of €45.9 million) was invested by the Private Investors, each receiving an equal share of the 51 million B ordinary shares.

  The breakdown of share capital invested by the original Private Investors in 2010 was as follows:

Shareholder Share Capital Invested

Irish Life Assurance PLC 17,000,000
New Ireland Assurance Company PLC 17,000,000
Percy Nominees Limited 17,000,000


  The current shareholders are as follows:
Shareholder Share Count % Share Count
BNY Custodial Nominees (Ireland) Limited 17,000,000 17%
New Ireland Assurance Company PLC 17,000,000 17%
Arthur Michael Joseph Keeley 8,687,500 8.69%
The Church of Ireland Clergy Pensions Fund 3,250,000 3.25%
The Representative Church Body 2,500,000 2.50%
Geoffrey Ian Broomhead 1,312,500 1.30%
Simon  Stuart Haworth 1,250,000 1.25%


  Under the shareholders’ agreement, the maximum return which will be paid to the private investors by way of dividend is restricted to the ten-year Irish Government Bond Yield applying at the date of the declaration of the dividend. The following table sets out the dividend per share paid to Private Investors in each year to date since NAMA was established.  The cumulative dividend paid to Private Investors to date is €13.5 million.
Year Dividend

Declared  and Paid
Dividend

per Share
Dividend Paid

€’000
2011 0.09987 5,093
2012 0.06778 3,457
2013 0.0424 2,162
2014 0.0302 1,540
2015 0.00757 386
2016 0.00719 367
2017 0.01072 547
Total Dividends paid to private investors to Sept. 2017   13,552


  I wish to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to predict future expected dividend, as it is based on the company’s performance in any given year. However, as outlined above, any dividend is restricted to the ten-year Irish Government Bond Yield applying at the date of the declaration of the dividend. Under European Commission approval, if the company meets its performance objectives and the 51% B shareholders are repaid, there is a provision for the private investors to be also repaid a further amount of up to 10% of their capital. Under the Articles of Association of National Asset Management Agency Investment D.A.C., any post-dissolution return to the private investors is capped at 10% of the equity interest.

Public Services Card

 29. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the agencies within his remit that plan to make services or payments dependent on the public services card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42512/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am advised that of the 18 bodies under the aegis of my Department, 17 have no plans to make services or payments dependent on the public services card.

In line with Government policy to develop a single authentication mechanism for customers to access public services and to get their due entitlements, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners is in discussion with the Department of Social Protection and the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer about how such a mechanism can be utilised by customers of its myAccount service.  Revenue’s myAccount is a secure online service which can be accessed by customers using their PPS number and a Revenue issued password or, alternatively if they have a verified MyGovID account (which is administered by the Department of Social Protection and is linked to the Public Services Card), customers can use their MyGovID details. A transition to authentication via MyGovID will be introduced on a phased basis, starting with individuals taking up employment for the first time. .

Help-To-Buy Scheme

 30. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if studies have been carried out to investigate the impact of the help-to-buy scheme on house prices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42601/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe An independent assessment of the help-to-buy initiative with the following terms of reference was commissioned by my predecessor earlier this year:

  - Undertake a general evaluation of the Help to Buy Incentive since its inception, including the level of uptake by potential first-time buyers and the rates of registration by contractors to participate in the scheme.

  - Examine the design of the incentive, particularly with regard to the Department's Tax Expenditure Guidelines.

  - Assess any potential impact on house prices, endeavouring to examine this both in relation to new build properties to which the incentive applies, as well as to house price trends generally.

  - The research report should contain quantitative as well as qualitative analysis and will draw on the results of recent research carried out on the residential property market in Ireland.

  Following a competitive tender process, Indecon Economic Consultants were awarded the contract to undertake the assessment in April 2017.  Indecon submitted their report to me recently and I expect to publish it later today.

Primary Medical Certificates Provision

 31. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if a primary medical certificate will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42602/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The provision of a primary medical certificate is based on a professional clinical determination by the Senior Medical Officer for the relevant local Health Service Executive. To qualify for a primary medical certificate, an applicant must be permanently and severely disabled within the terms of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994.

  An unsuccessful applicant can appeal the decision of the Senior Medical Officer to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal. The Medical Board of Appeal is independent in the exercise of its functions to ensure the integrity of its clinical determinations.  

   

Mortgage Schemes

 32. Deputy Noel Rock Information on Noel Rock Zoom on Noel Rock asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his plans to reintroduce the key worker mortgage scheme as part of Budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42689/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe It appears that the Deputy’s question may refer to a UK initiative, the, "Key Worker Living Programme”, for public sector workers, as a, "key worker mortgage scheme", has never existed in Ireland.

  The provision of housing-related supports is primarily a matter for my colleagues the Minister for Housing, Mr. Eoghan Murphy, T.D., and the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Ms. Regina Doherty, T.D.

Approved Housing Bodies

 33. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if long-term leasing or other similar agreements to pay rent by local authorities to approved housing bodies is included as a liability or as a debt on the Government balance sheet; the rules surrounding the level of liability which is taken onto the Government balance sheet in circumstances in which such payments are for a period of 30 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42703/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme provides a means whereby properties can be built or bought by Approved Housing Bodies, AHBs, with the combined use of State and private funding, and leased by AHBs and Local Authorities from private providers, for the provision of social housing. This scheme is underpinned by a lease and other legal agreements. These provide that rental payments are made by the State over an agreed long-term time period, typically 20 years. In return, the housing unit is made available for social housing purposes.

Rental payments from Local Authorities to AHBs are classified as government expenditure in accordance with the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010). .

Employment Investment Incentive Scheme

 34. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the timeframe for small business to be approved by the Revenue Commissioners for the EII scheme; if he will address the delay for a company (details supplied) in County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42715/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Employment and Investment Incentive, EII, scheme, found in Part 16 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, is a tax incentive whereby individuals who invest in certain qualifying companies obtain tax relief on the amount invested. 

The entitlement to relief under the scheme is determined after the SME has issued shares to a qualifying investor. However, I am advised by Revenue that as an administrative measure, they provide what is known as “outline approval” to companies in advance of the shares issuing. This is where Revenue are prepared to express the opinion that, based on the information provided, relief under EII is likely to be available for an investment in a company. There is no requirement for a company to obtain outline approval prior to issuing shares.  Therefore, the absence of outline approval does not prevent a company raising capital.

The company referred to by the Deputy applied for outline approval on 18 August. That application is awaiting attention and will be dealt with in due course.  Revenue has informed me that all correspondence in relation to EII is dealt with in date order. 

I am advised by Revenue that they are experiencing some backlog in processing requests for approval under this scheme and that there has been an increase in the volume of correspondence on the scheme. This backlog is due to an increase in the number of companies applying for certification and to the increased complexity brought to the scheme by certain necessary changes to ensure consistency with European law made in Finance Act, 2015. 

Revenue has put in place procedures to reduce the backlog, and it is anticipated that the application by the company referred to will be processed within the next six weeks. In addition, a review of the frequently raised issues has led to a re-design of the application forms to reduce correspondence relating to each application. Furthermore, a tax manual is being drafted to more clearly explain the aspects of the scheme that are the subject of multiple queries. The updated application form will be issued shortly, and the draft explanatory manual is currently being reviewed both internally and externally to ensure that it addresses the issues identified..

VAT Rate Application

 35. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe further to Parliamentary Question No. 94 of 22 February 2017, the status of his consultations with other Member States in advance of the publication of the proposal regarding the reform of VAT rates in Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42716/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The European Commission is due to publish a proposal on the reform of VAT rates in November 2017, after which technical and political discussions on the proposal will commence at EU Council among all Member States.

Earlier in the year preliminary details of the proposed changes were discussed as part of the EU Commission's Group on the Future of VAT - a forum for consulting VAT experts from Member States on pre-legislative initiatives. Officials from my Department and the Revenue Commissioners contributed to these discussions. .

Budget 2018

 36. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the regulatory impact assessment he has carried out prior to tax changes he plans announcing in Budget 2018.  [42724/17]

: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Deputy will be aware that Budget tax changes are generally implemented by means of the Finance Bill. The Regulatory Impact Assessment, RIA, Guidelines advise that it is not compulsory to apply RIA to the Finance Bill. Indeed, the Guidelines go on to note that the publication of an RIA may not be appropriate in the case of tax law regulations or the imposition of charges because of their sensitivity and the need to guard against possible evasion or avoidance..

State Aid Investigations

 37. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the reason the State has not collected the billions of euro due to it under a ruling (details supplied); his plans to do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42743/17]

 38. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if the EU is, or is threatening to, take Ireland to court to force it to collect billions of euro owed to the State under a ruling (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42744/17]

 39. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the cost to date of advice received by his Department regarding the establishment of an escrow account in which to hold the billions of euro owed to the State as a result of a ruling (details supplied); the beneficiaries of such fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42745/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 37 to 39, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, on 4 ctober 2017, the European Commission announced its intention to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice in respect of the recovery of the alleged State Aid. I am of the opinion that it is extremely disappointing that the Commission has taken action at this time against Ireland. My officials have been in constant contact with the European Commission on all aspects of this process for over a year.

While the Government has never accepted the Commission’s analysis in the Apple State Aid decision, we have always been clear that we are fully committed to ensuring that recovery of the alleged Apple State Aid takes place without delay and has committed significant resources to ensuring that this is achieved as quickly as possible whilst ensuring that the interests of the Irish taxpayer are adequately protected.

Officials and experts from across the State have been engaged in intensive work to ensure that Ireland complies with all its recovery obligations as soon as possible. Significant progress has been made on this complex issue and the establishment of an escrow fund, in compliance with all relevant Irish constitutional and European Union law requirements, is close to completion.

With regard to the cost of advice in relation to the recovery process, over €1 million (including VAT) has been spent by the State (including the Department of Finance, the Revenue Commissioners, the Central Bank of Ireland, the Attorney General’s Office and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office). This case has involved a significant degree of legal and technical complexity, and additional expertise has been engaged where required. As it is an important issue for the State, the recovery process will continue to be appropriately resourced..


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