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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 384-407
 Header Item Industrial Development
 Header Item Departmental Agencies Issues
 Header Item EU Directives
 Header Item Job Initiatives
 Header Item Employment Rights Issues
 Header Item Job Losses
 Header Item EU Funding
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Emigration Data
 Header Item Job Initiatives
 Header Item Regional Aid
 Header Item Industrial Development
 Header Item Small and Medium Enterprises Supports
 Header Item Job Protection
 Header Item Job Creation Issues
 Header Item Seed Capital Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Job Initiatives
 Header Item Corporate Governance
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item Social Welfare Appeals Status
 Header Item Tax Code

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 788 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 124 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 384-407

Industrial Development

 384. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Information on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy Zoom on Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of industrial units and warehouses that are vacant in a town (details supplied) in County Offaly that are the responsibility of the Industrial Development Agency, Enterprise Ireland or Shannon Development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57771/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I am informed by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland that they do not own any industrial units or warehouses in Birr Co. Offaly.

Shannon Development own 6 Industrial Units in Birr, Co. Offaly, all of which are vacant.

As Ireland competes for high quality investments, the concept of scale is crucial. Leading global corporations require a significant population, a pool of qualified talent, world standard physical and digital infrastructure coupled with the availability of sophisticated professional and business support services. Against this backdrop, IDA Ireland has informed me that it prioritises the marketing of Gateway locations within each Region as the areas of critical mass. In this region, IDA concentrates on the linked gateway of Athlone/Tullamore/ Mullingar. At present there are 44 IDA client companies employing over 5,000 people in the Midlands Region. IDA Ireland has formed strong relationships with these companies, working closely with them in order to ensure their long term sustainability and to encourage their growth, development, broadening of their mandate and continuing re-investment in their sites. With the improved infrastructure that is now in place, a project win in one Midlands location has a positive impact on the other surrounding areas due to the close proximity of all main locations.

In 2012 Enterprise Ireland paid €1.3m to its client companies in Longford for job creation and retention and business development purposes. On 31 October last my colleague, Mr John Perry, T.D, Minister for Small Business, launched the new Enterprise Ireland €200,000 Competitive Feasibility Fund aimed at stimulating start-ups and creating jobs and growth in the Midlands Region (Counties Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath).

Departmental Agencies Issues

 385. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will provide in tabular form the number of agencies, bodies, boards, quangos or other entities, which are financed from, answerable to or established by his Department that have been abolished, merged or re-organised since this Government took office; the savings that have been realised since the changes were made; the level of staff reduction that has been achieved; if he will provide details of further agency reductions that he intends to pursue in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57881/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton My Department currently has the following State Agencies supporting us in our work:

1.
Enterprise Ireland
2.
IDA Ireland
3.
Science Foundation Ireland
4.
Shannon Development
5.
County and City Enterprise Boards (35)
6.
National Standards Authority of Ireland
7.
Forfás
8.
National Consumer Agency
9.
The Competition Authority
10.
Irish Auditing and Accounting Standards Authority
11.
Personal Injuries Assessment Board
12.
The Health and Safety Authority


  In addition, the 7 offices under the aegis of my Department are:-
1. Companies Registration Office
2. Employment Appeals Tribunal
3. Labour Court
4. Labour Relations Commission
5. National Employment Rights Authority
6. Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement
7. The Equality Tribunal (responsibility for the Equality Tribunal transferred to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation with effect from 1 January, 2013)


  There is a substantial programme of reform underway within my Department. The bodies under the remit of my Department that are scheduled to be rationalised, merged or abolished are set out under the Government’s Agency Rationalisation Programme. The first three reforms listed below are on the A list of the legislation programme for this term as follows:

- Merge the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority into one single entity

- Dissolve the 35 CEB’s and restructure small business supports through collaboration with EI and the local authorities

- Consolidate the five workplace relations bodies into   two.

  Plans are at an advanced stage to:

- Transfer relevant enterprise functions from Shannon Development to IDA, EI and Bord Fáilte and merge Shannon Development with Shannon Airport Authority

- Integrate Forfás into the Department

- Absorb the Secretariat to the National Competitiveness Council into the Department.
Name of Body
Current Status and Future Plans
Staff reductions and Savings realised since changes made/March 2011
County and City Enterprise Boards (35) The Government has approved the restructuring of the enterprise support model for the micro and small business sectors. This restructuring will include the dissolution of the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs), the transfer of their functions, assets and liabilities to Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the development of a new Small and Micro Business Division within Enterprise Ireland (EI) as a centre of excellence in the provision of supports to the small and micro enterprise sectors, and the establishment of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) to provide a “first-stop-shop” for small businesses within Local Authorities. The Government approved the drafting of the legislation necessary to dissolve the CEBs and transfer their functions to Enterprise Ireland and it is expected that enabling legislation will be passed before the summer recess. It is to be expected that over time there will be savings resulting from the removal of costs associated with the individual company status of each CEB, use of shared services, reduced rental costs associated with the relocation of some offices etc. However initial direct savings will be modest as it could take some years to realise these savings due to existing leasing arrangements etc.
Competition Authority

and
National Consumer Agency
The legislation to give effect to the merger of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency is currently on the A list of the Government's legislative programme. It is hoped that the legislation will be published in Q1 2013. Initial set-up costs will be incurred.

No savings in whole-time equivalent (WTE) numbers
Labour Court

National Employment Rights Authority

Labour Relations Commission

Employment Appeals Tribunal

Equality Tribunal
The process of establishing a new two-tier workplace relations structure has commenced. A significant amount of work has been completed on the preparation of the Workplace Relations Bill which will give statutory effect to the reform proposals. The General Scheme of the Workplace Relations Bill has been approved by Government for priority drafting. Engagement is on-going with the Attorney General’s Office and publication is expected at an early stage this year. This would enable the proposed new structures to be put in place by early 2013 with the result that two statutorily independent bodies will replace the current five. There will be a new single body of first instance to be called the Workplace Relations Commission and a separate appeals body, which will effectively be an expanded Labour Court.

Significant progress has been made to date. In the last year two public consultation processes were completed, two policy documents were published, a new single contact portal has replaced the five separate entry points; there are now no backlogs for Rights Commissioner hearings; a Single Complaint Form has replaced the 30 forms previously in use; a new workplace relations interim website is in place, a pilot Early Resolution Service is now seeking to resolve disputes at an early stage without the need for adjudication; responsibility for the Equality Tribunal (but not including the policy functions of the Minister for Justice and Equality concerning equality) was transferred from the Minister for Justice and Equality to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation with effect from 1 January, 2013 as part of the on-going reform of the State's employment rights and industrial relations structures. Pending the enactment of the legislation, the reforms will be progressed with further enhancements for users of the services on an administrative basis in the coming months.
The annual cost of the Workplace Relations Services amounted to some €20m in 2010. It is expected that significant savings, in terms of both reductions in staff numbers and increased efficiency and productivity, will be generated by the end of 2013 by which time the majority of the Workplace Relations Reform Programme will have been implemented. Work has commenced on identifying and capturing on-going pay and non-pay savings.
Forfás An Implementation Group, comprising senior management from the Department, Forfás, and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, is overseeing the integration project and meets on a regular basis. An Executive style Board has also been put in place in Forfás to oversee the transfer of the agency’s functions and responsibilities.

Good progress is being made in identifying and resolving issues that need to be addressed. Completion of the project will require the enactment of legislation to transfer Forfás’s functions.
The integration of Forfás into the Department will improve efficiencies/

synergies between the Department and Forfás.

It is envisaged that savings will arise when the integration process is complete, especially in the Corporate Services Area.
Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN).

EGFSN Members are appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills in consultation with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
A Service Level Agreement will be drawn up between DES and DJEI to agree a schedule of work to meet DES requirements.  
National Competitiveness Council (NCC) The NCC is to be maintained, with a refreshed mandate and some changes in membership.

Secretariat services will continue to be provided by Forfás/Departmental staff following the integration of Forfás into DJEI.
There is no direct funding allocated to NCC. The Secretariat to the NCC is currently provided by Forfás, and will be absorbed into the Department as part of the integration of Forfás.
Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the Government The Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser was included in the bodies due for critical review under the Public Sector Reform initiative. Following a Government decision on 11 October 2012 to abolish the separate Office of the CSA, the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland has taken on the role of Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government in addition to his existing role. The 2012 budget allocation for the Office of the CSA was €95k (this reflects 8/12 of the annual allocation as the CSA contract ceased in August 2012).
Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ACSTI) ACSTI is to be maintained, with a refreshed mandate and some changes in membership. Secretariat services will continue to be provided by Forfás/Departmental staff following the integration of Forfás into DJEI. The Secretariat to the ACSTI is currently provided by Forfás, and will be absorbed into the Department as part of the integration of Forfás.
Shannon Development On 27 November 2012, the Government confirmed its decision in principle of 8 May 2012 to separate Shannon Airport (SA) from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and bring it together with Shannon Development to form a new entity with a commercial mandate in public ownership. In accordance with the Government decision, Shannon Development’s enterprise functions are to transfer to Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland in 2013 while its tourism functions will transfer to Fáilte Ireland. The Steering Group, which had been established in 2012 to oversee full implementation of the Government’s decision in relation to the establishment of the new entity, has been reconstituted. This is a restructuring and merger of Shannon Development and Shannon Airport. As Shannon Development is self-financing there will be no cost saving in 2013. There will be, however, an elimination of duplication of roles between Shannon Development, Enterprise Agencies and Fáilte Ireland in the region.
Companies Registration Office

and

Office of the Registrar of Friendly Societies
These offices are ‘de facto’ merged, operating under a common budget and with the same individual designated as Registrar of Companies and Registrar of Friendly Societies. There are no plans to pursue a legislative amendment at this point in time. No new savings since March 2011. Savings prior to this date were realised due to the common administrative base.

EU Directives

 386. 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 a derogation from the working time directive 48 hours is in place, on what specific grounds is that derogation in place and when will such derogation from the working time directive expire.  [57902/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, which transposed the EU Working Time Directive, provides that an employee shall not work more than an average of 48 hours a week, averaged generally over 4 months. For employees whose work is subject to seasonality or a foreseeable surge in activity, or where employees are directly involved in ensuring continuity of service or production, the averaging period is 6 months. The averaging period can be extended to up to 12 months for employees who have entered into a collective agreement providing for such a reference period, and provided the collective agreement is approved by the Labour Court.

  The intention of a derogation is to retain the principles set out in a directive, while allowing flexibility in their application. The Working Time Directive provides for three derogations from the 48-hour average working week.

  The 48-hour working week came into effect, generally, on 1 March 1998. However, in order to provide time for adjustment for those who had been working longer hours prior to that, the Fifth Schedule to the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 provided for a transitional arrangement (which expired in February 2000) in relation to average weekly working hours for the two years following the commencement of the Act. This arrangement provided that, in the first year following commencement of the Act, an employee could work up to an average of 60 hours a week, and in the second year an employee could work up to an average of 55 hours a week. Certain conditions were attached to this transitional arrangement which provided that the written consent of the employee was required to agree to work these transitional hours.   Also, any such agreement had to be approved by the Labour Court. This transitional arrangement derived from a limited application of Article 18(1)(b)(i) of the original Working Time Directive (now Article 22(1) of the consolidated Directive, i.e. Directive 2003/88/EC) which provided that an employee could voluntarily work longer than 48 hours per week. Unlike national law, the Directive did not set an expiry date for this derogation.   

  The Directive also provides for other limited circumstances where the maximum average weekly working time of 48 hours may be derogated from. These circumstances include where an individual controls their own working hours or where an individual is a family employee working on a farm or in a private house. These provisions were transposed by Section 3(2)(b) and Section 3(2)(c) of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. There is no expiry provision for these particular derogations.

  Also, with regard to Doctors-in-training, amendments to the original Working Time Directive provided for a derogation which would phase-in the maximum 48-hour average working week over a transitional period of five years from 1 August 2004. This provision was transposed into Irish legislation by Regulations promulgated by the Minister for Health by way of Statutory Instrument No. 494 of 2004 - the European Communities (Organisation of Working Time) (Activities of Doctors in Training) Regulations 2004   (as amended). These Regulations implemented a phased reduction from an average of 58 weekly working hours during the period 1 August 2004 to 31 July 2007, to 56 hours during the period 1 August 2007 to 31 July 2009, and to an average of 48 hours from 1 August 2009 onwards.

Job Initiatives

 387. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if any initiatives or actions are planned to help revitalise the economy of County Kerry in 2013 and if he will detail such measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57953/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Government is addressing economic activity through the twin strategies of the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work. The aim of the Action Plan for Jobs is to support the creation of 100,000 net new jobs by 2016, while the objective of Pathways to Work is to ensure that as many of those jobs as possible go to those who are currently unemployed. The Plan is a whole of Government plan with a national focus across all regions.

The Enterprise Development agencies are at the forefront of implementing the Action Plan for Jobs across all regions and continue to ensure that enterprises can maximise their contribution to economic recovery and jobs growth. In this regard, significant interactions by these Agencies, with companies in Co. Kerry, are being maintained on an ongoing basis.

Despite a very difficult domestic and external economic environment, we are beginning to see the positive impact of the Government’s policies. 2012 saw significant net job creation by EI and IDA-supported companies, building on the positive results of 2011 and following successive years of significant net job losses.

Under the Programme for Government and the Action Plan for Jobs, my Department has successfully delivered on national actions, such as the establishment of the Microfinance Loan Fund and the Credit Guarantee Scheme, both of which will increase access to finance for enterprises and entrepreneurs throughout the country, including those in Co. Kerry.

Ensuring that more micro and small businesses can start up, expand and export is a key pillar of the Government’s plans for jobs and growth. On 21 November 2012, I announced that primary legislation will be drafted to dissolve the existing County and City Enterprise Boards and create an enhanced national micro-enterprise support model, delivered through Local Enterprise Offices to be established in each Local Authority area. Pending the introduction of these arrangements, Kerry County Enterprise Board (CEB) continues to engage and work with existing and potential businesses on an ongoing basis. Already in 2013, local businesses are availing of the CEB Programmes on offer.

I am currently preparing the 2013 Action Plan for Jobs on behalf of the Government, and in that context, am exploring further measures which can be taken to transform our economy and support job creation.

Employment Rights Issues

 388. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if Home and Community Care Ireland have been in touch with him concerning the issue of the status of live-in carer's under the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 and the Working Time Act 1997 and the policing of that legislation by the National Employment Rights Authority; and the action he proposes to take to resolve this issue.  [58124/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I can confirm that I have received representations from Home and Community Care Ireland and that officials from my Department have agreed to meet with their representatives to discuss the issue further.

Job Losses

 389. 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 number of jobs lost in the Industrial Development Agency supported companies for each year from and including 2007 to 2011.  [58147/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Forfás Annual Employment Survey reports on the jobs created and lost in the companies supported by the enterprise development agencies. Details of the number of jobs lost in client companies of IDA Ireland in the 5 year period 2007 to 2011 are set out in the following tabular statement.

  I am glad to say that figures for 2012 show that job losses in IDA client companies continue to decline with 6,152 jobs being lost during 2012. This figure represents a decrease of over 60% on the figures for 2009.

  Table showing the number of jobs lost in IDA Ireland Client Companies

  in each of the years 2007 to 2011

Year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
IDA client companies job losses 9,631 10,154 17,911 9,635 6,950

EU Funding

 390. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Jobs; Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he is investigating the use of the Common Strategic Framework Funds that is the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund in developing co-investment funds specifically targeting angel investors, as is being promoted by the European Commission and European Investment Bank.  [58161/12]

 391. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Jobs; Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he is considering developing co-investment funds, as in the UK and other countries, to address the seed/early stage financing gap and help develop the angel investment market. [58162/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I propose to take Questions Nos. 390 and 391 together.

  I am aware of the co-investment funds that are being launched by the European Investment Bank (EIB) through the European Investment Fund (EIF) and are also being promoted by the European Commission. These funds are specifically targeted at further leveraging the investments of business angels into SMEs. The EIF launched a pilot of this Scheme in Germany and has recently launched an initiative in Spain. Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Finance have met with the relevant EIF executives in November to specifically discuss this initiative and my officials and Enterprise Ireland are in the process of assessing the feasibility of working with the EIF to leverage the European Angels Fund in the Irish market.

  Enterprise Ireland and IntertradeIreland fund the HALO business angel partnership programme that is mandated to match business angels to appropriate projects which they would be interested in. HALO also works to develop business angel syndicates. Considerable effort has been put into addressing the seed and early stage funding gap indirectly through commitments to venture capital funds and directly through Enterprise Ireland's investment in 150 early stage Competitive Start Fund and High Potential Start-Up companies in 2012. A similar level of activity is forecast for 2013.

My officials have monitored the development of the UK Government's Angel co-investment funds. While the policy has not been replicated in totality the establishment of the four seed funds under the Seed and Venture Capital Scheme 2007-2012 has resulted in the Seed Funds acting as co-investment partners in deals involving business angels achieving similar objectives. As previously noted my officials are actively looking at the feasibility of working with the EIF and their Angel Fund programme.

Pension Provisions

 392. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the amount of Shannon Development's and of Shannon Airport's respective pension liabilities and whether or not same will be transferring to the new company; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1008/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Government decided in November to proceed with the separation of Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and to merge it with a restructured Shannon Development to form a new commercial entity in public ownership. Following from this decision, an Order was made last month by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport which separated Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority and put Shannon Airport in the ownership of the Shannon Airport Authority, pending the creation of the new company.

In accordance with the Government decision, my Department will be working closely with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to oversee transitional arrangements in both Shannon Development and the Shannon Airport Authority and to ensure the full implementation of the Government decision in relation to the establishment of the new company and the transfer of the assets and staff of Shannon Development to the new company in accordance with that decision.

As the Deputy will be aware pension liabilities are difficult to estimate precisely as it is not always clear when staff members will retire. However, it may be helpful to the Deputy to note that Shannon Development pension payments in 2012 were as follows:

Pension at Retirement: €2,540,950 (excluding admin costs of €54,000).

Retirement Gratuities: €839,000

Post Retirement Pension Increases: €894,993

Supplementary Pension: €198,036

Following the enactment of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, 2009, the costs of retirement pensions and retirement gratuities are borne by the Exchequer. However, as Post Retirement Pension increases and Supplementary Pensions costs are currently funded by Shannon Development, the issue of funding for the future payment of these costs is currently being addressed in discussions between my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

In relation to the Shannon Airport Authority, I am informed by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport that pension arrangements in the commercial State sector are a matter for the members and participating companies in any pension scheme and for the relevant Trustees. The State airports, including Shannon Airport, operate to a commercial mandate under the aegis of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Emigration Data

 393. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding emigration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1263/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Both inward and outward migration have been a feature of Ireland’s labour force for many years and they will continue to be a feature of a modern globalised economy where mobile workers follow job opportunities. The latest official figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that an estimated 87,100 people of all nationalities left the country in the year to April 2012. Irish nationals accounted for 53 per cent of the total, or 46,500 people. However, the CSO statistics also indicate that 52,700 came to Ireland in the same period, including 20,600 Irish people returning to the country.

The Government inherited a situation where over 300,000 jobs had been lost in the three years prior to March 2011, our banking system had all but collapsed, and we were in the middle of a world-wide economic downturn. Previous Governments had become too dependent on a small number of sectors to support economic performance – an approach that was neither wise nor sustainable.

This Government has set about transforming the economy, firstly by making fiscal consolidation more job friendly, including through tax changes, asset sales and the creation of a stimulus package. Also by setting clear targets for SME lending by the Banks as well as the introduction of a Microfinance Fund and a state backed Loan Guarantee Scheme. We have introduced the annual Action Plan for Jobs process to support employment creation by the enterprise sector, based on innovation, entrepreneurship and exporting. We have also developed the Pathways to Work initiative to transform our engagement with those who are unemployed, including young unemployed people.

Despite a very difficult domestic and external economic environment, we are beginning to see the positive impact of the Government’s policies. 2012 saw significant net job creation by EI and IDA-supported companies, building on the positive results of 2011 and following successive years of significant net job losses.

Even with continued job losses in more traditional sectors such as Construction, and Financial, Insurance and Administrative activities, we have seen an increase in employment in sectors targeted by the Action Plan for Jobs, for example Tourism Agri-food, ICT and Digital Gaming. These developments demonstrate the transformation which is taking place in the economy which had become too dependent on the Construction sector and domestic demand to support economic growth.

By continuing the process of transforming our economy step by step through the Action Plan for Jobs, we aim to provide opportunities for those who wish to continue to live and work in Ireland.

Job Initiatives

 394. 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 2012 targets set for his Department for implementation of the Jobs Action Plan; if he will report on the attainment or otherwise of these targets; the reason targets were not met; the steps he is taking within his Department to create new jobs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1285/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Action Plan for Jobs contains over 270 individual actions to be delivered in 2012, spanning all Government Departments and 36 State agencies. The 270 actions are further broken down into Quarterly milestones. My Department and the Enterprise Development Agencies under my remit are responsible for the delivery of approximately 2/3 of the individual milestones. Progress Reports on the delivery of all of the milestones are published at the end of each Quarter. Details of all actions delivered to the end of the third Quarter of the year are available in these Progress Reports on my Department’s website www.enterprise.gov.ie.

  The third Progress Report on the Action Plan for Jobs was published on 17th October 2012. It indicated that 218 (96%) of the 227 milestones to be achieved in the first three Quarters of 2012 have been delivered to date, with nine actions outstanding. Three of these directly involve my Department. They relate to legislative measures covering:

-the extension of SFI’s remit to allow the agency to fund applied research,

-the proposed new structure for the employment rights institutions, and

-the publication of the Consolidated Companies Bill.     

  These pieces of legislation have been delayed for a number of reasons, including the detailed and complex nature of the legislation in question, the demand on resources in the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, and the availability of time for legislative business in the Houses of the Oireachtas. I have, however, published the Consolidated Companies Bill on 21st December last, and every effort is being made to ensure that the remaining legislation is progressed as quickly as possible.

  The fourth Progress Report on the Action Plan for Jobs 2012 is due to be published shortly.

  Some significant objectives have been realised, including the establishment of a Microfinance Fund for small business, the introduction of a Partial Credit Guarantee scheme, new supports for first time exporters, the launch of a new Women-In-Business programme, the simplification and extension of the Employer’s PRSI Exemption scheme, the launch of a National Broadband Plan, the piloting of a Health Innovation Hub, and work being undertaken to develop sectors such as Cloud Computing, Digital Games, Manufacturing, and the Green Economy.

  In spite of a very difficult domestic and external economic environment, we are beginning to see the positive impact of the Government’s policies. 2012 saw significant net job creation by EI and IDA-supported companies, building on the positive results of 2011 and following successive years of significant net job losses.

  The full impact of the measures being taken under the Action Plan for Jobs will become apparent over time, but we are already seeing encouraging progress. I am currently coordinating the preparation of the 2013 Action Plan for Jobs on behalf of the Government. The 2013 Plan will build on the progress made last year and will set out a number of new initiatives to support job creation. The 2013 Action Plan will be published in the coming weeks.

Regional Aid

 395. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of applications per county in tabular form that have been received for micro-finance funding in 2012 and the number of successful and unsuccessful applicants per county. [1335/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Microfinance Ireland (MFI) opened for business on Monday 1st October 2012. The table below provides details of applications received by MFI per county for the first three months of operation and the status of each application. Loans of up to €25,000 are available to microenterprises with viable business plans and repayment capacity that have been refused access to credit from the banks. MFI is conscious of the need to promote the availability of its funds to small and medium sized enterprises and will be embarking on a media campaign to raise awareness of the Scheme across the country. My officials will be meeting MFI to discuss the publication of regular formal reporting shortly. It is envisaged that these reports will be available on the MFI website www.microfinanceireland.ie  .

Applications as of 31st   December 2012

County Received Approved Declined Work in Progress Withdrawn
Dublin
15
4
2
7
2
Limerick
10
1
3
6
0
Cork
6
2
1
3
0
Tipperary
5
1
2
2
0
Wexford
4
0
2
1
1
Mayo
4
2
1
1
0
Meath
3
0
2
1
0
Kerry
2
1
0
1
0
Wicklow
2
0
0
2
0
Louth
2
0
0
2
0
Waterford
1
0
0
1
0
Clare
1
0
1
0
0
Cavan
1
1
0
0
0
Kildare
1
0
0
0
1
Laois
1
0
0
1
0
Roscommon
1
0
0
1
0
Total
59
12
14
29
4

Industrial Development

 396. 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 if he will outline in tabular form the number of prospective client visits by the Industrial Development Agency to each county in the country and in the case of Dublin to each local authority area in 2011 and in 2012; the number of IDA supported jobs in each county and in the case of Dublin in each local authority area in 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1351/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Forfás Annual Employment Survey reports on job gains and losses in companies that are supported by the industrial development agencies. Data is compiled on a county by county basis. Similarly IDA sponsored site visits to locations countrywide are tracked on a county by county basis

  Details of the number of IDA supported jobs and site visits by potential investors to locations in Ireland on a county by county basis in each of the years 2011 and 2012 is set out in the following tabular statement.

  The IDA end of year results which were published earlier this month show that 2012 was one of the best years for foreign direct investment in recent times with a net job creation figure of 6,570 the highest in a decade.   

  Table showing the number of jobs in IDA Ireland client companies on a county by county basis for 2011 and 2012

County
2011
2012
Carlow
514
645
Cavan
1104
1065
Clare
1,313
1,351
Cork
25,086
26,257
Donegal
2,106
2,228
Dublin
27,083
60,793
Galway
12,200
12,896
Kerry
1,497
1,603
Kildare
10,393
10,176
Kilkenny
447
580
Laois
108
84
Leitrim
903
714
Limerick
6,503
6,996
Longford
658
689
Louth
1,453
1,798
Mayo
3,514
3,534
Meath
1,270
1,204
Monaghan
352
348
Offaly
847
901
Roscommon
938
1,002
Sligo
2,309
2,257
Tipp North
301
294
Tipp South
3,395
3,393
Waterford
5,196
5,030
Westmeath
2,156
2,444
Wexford
2,328
2,236
Wicklow
2,241
2,267


  Table of IDA sponsored Site Visits on a County by County Basis for 2011 and 2012
County 2011 2012
Carlow 2 4
Cavan 0 3
Clare 15 14
Cork 27 38
Donegal 2 1
Dublin 150 196
Galway 35 18
Kerry 2 1
Kildare 3 1
Kilkenny 0 3
Laois 2 0
Leitrim 0 0
Limerick 40 30
Longford 0 0
Louth 26 12
Mayo 0 1
Meath 2 0
Monaghan 1 0
Offaly 1 3
Roscommon 0 0
Sligo 3 6
Tipperary 1 5
Waterford 11 26
Westmeath 15 7
Wexford 0 3
Wicklow 3 6
  

The following revised reply was received on 24 January 2013.

The correct figure for the number of jobs in IDA client companies in Dublin in 2011 is 57,083.

Small and Medium Enterprises Supports

 397. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will support increased credit available to small and medium enterprise and financing facilities to support expansion and improve cash flow as well as no added costs relating to taking on staff as a major job creation strategy.  [1495/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I am well aware of the importance of credit availability for small and medium enterprises and financing facilities to support expansion and improve cash flow as well as the importance of not adding costs in relation to taking on staff.

  Improving access to credit is of course a priority which the Government is addressing in a comprehensive and co-ordinated manner. The initiatives taken by the Government to restructure and re-capitalise the banking system are the principal response to making credit available, as banks will continue to be the primary and dominant supplier of finance for SMEs.

  I have taken action to address some specific market failures which will add value to the actions that Minister Noonan has taken. I recently introduced two targeted schemes to support an additional flow of credit into the economy, namely the Microenterprise Loan Fund and the Credit Guarantee Scheme. These new Schemes form key components in the suite of initiatives aimed at ensuring the flow of credit to SMEs to sustain employment and create new jobs.

  In addition to these initiatives, the Innovation Fund Ireland (IFI) and Development Capital Schemes are helping Irish companies access credit in the current difficult environment.

  As part of the Action Plan for Jobs, a range of financial and non-financial supports currently available from Government Departments, Offices and Agencies were identified and formed the basis for the compilation of a new webpage and circulation leaflet. This information was widely distributed to key stakeholders, including employers and their representative organisations. This includes such schemes as: Revenue Job Assist, the Employers' Job PRSI Incentive Scheme, the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance and the Job Expansion Fund. These supports provide incentives and tax relief to employers for job creation across a variety of sectors. Updates on these, and all other commitments in the Action Plan for Jobs, are detailed in the Quarterly Progress Reports on the Plan which are available on my Department’s website, www.enterprise.gov.ie. Maintaining cost competitiveness, particularly in relation to staff costs will be a key element in maintaining economic competitiveness for the foreseeable future. The Action Plan for Jobs 2013, which will be published shortly, will continue to address this key issue.

Job Protection

 398. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs; Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will detail the steps taken by him to secure the jobs under threat with the issuing of protective redundancy notices by the operator of Tara mines.  [1525/13]

 399. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs; Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will meet with the workers, trade unions and owners of Tara Mines to safeguard employment at the site.  [1526/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I propose to take Questions Nos. 398 and 399 together.

I understand that approximately 700 workers at Tara Mine were recently put on protective notice. Boliden, the Swedish company that operates the mines, is seeking to reduce its overall production costs, including personnel costs, through reduced overtime levels and premiums, and a further reduction split between bonuses and basic rates.

Both parties met under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on 9 January last. Arising from that meeting, the parties agreed to meaningfully engage in discussions under the auspices of the LRC during the remainder of January. The company has agreed to refrain from taking any further action whilst these discussions take place.

I welcome the agreement of the parties to engage in these talks. I would encourage the parties to partake constructively and in good faith in this process. The principle of good faith implies that both sides make every effort to reach an agreement and endeavour, through genuine and constructive negotiations, to resolve their differences.

Job Creation Issues

 400. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton further to the launch of the Succeed in Ireland programme as part of the Jobs Action Plan 2012, the total number of jobs created by the reward scheme; the number of referrals submitted by applicants for the reward; the number of jobs subject to the referrals; the total amount paid to date to referrers and the number of referrers to which that total relates. [1553/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I am informed by IDA Ireland that, since the launch of the Succeed in Ireland initiative on 8 March 2012, two projects, with the potential to create 40 jobs, have been approved and 10 jobs have been created. There have been 54 referrals registered, with potential to receive a reward. The potential number of jobs which may be delivered from these 54 referrals is in the region of 1,500.

No payments have yet been made under the initiative. Fees become payable only on the creation of a sustainable job, i.e. a job that has been in place for 2 years.

An evaluation of the costs, benefits and impacts of the initiative will be undertaken by IDA Ireland later this year in consultation with my Department so that an informed decision can be taken on the merits of broadening out the initiative beyond a pilot scheme.

Seed Capital Scheme Eligibility

 401. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will provide an update on the possible seed capital for a new business setting up in the northside; and if he will advise on where finances may be applied for.  [1595/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The first port of call for any start up business should be to contact their local County Enterprise Board (CEB), where advice will be provided and, in certain circumstances grant funding maybe an option. The telephone number for Dublin City Enterprise Board is (01) 635 1144 and further information about Dublin City Enterprise Board can be found on www.dceb.ie. Information and contact details on all the CEBS can be found on www.enterpriseboards.ie  . CEBs provide both financial and/or non-financial assistance to business.

  In October 2012, I established the Microfinance Loan Fund to improve access to credit for entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises and to facilitate the growth and expansion of viable businesses from all industry sectors which have been refused access to credit by banks. The Fund has a significant entrepreneurship focus. It will add value to other Government schemes of support for entrepreneurs and unemployed persons, such as the Back to Work Allowance or the Seed Capital Scheme.

  The Fund will provide support in the form of loans of up to €25,000, available to start-up, newly established, or growing microenterprises employing less than 10 people, with viable business propositions, that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by banks. The potential viability of the business proposal will be the dominant factor in all credit decisions. Applications should be channelled through the City and County Enterprise Boards, which in this case would be the Dublin City Enterprise Board.

  Further supports could include the Seed Capital Scheme (SCS), in conjunction with its associated scheme, the Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme (EIIS), which are tax relief incentive schemes. The EIIS provides tax relief for investment in certain corporate trades, while the SCS provides for a refund of tax already   paid by an individual, when that individual sets up, and takes employment in, a new qualifying business.   An employee, an unemployed person or person made redundant recently, interested in starting their own business, may be entitled to avail of the tax refund available under the Seed Capital Scheme. Further information can be obtained from the Revenue Commissioners website www.revenue.ie

  Finally in respect of supports for new businesses Enterprise Ireland operates a Seed and Venture Capital Scheme to assist business grow and develop. The Seed and Venture Capital Scheme 2013-2017 was announced as part of the recent Budget. This will enable Enterprise Ireland to make commitments totalling €175 million to business during the operation of the scheme. This is expected to leverage a further €525 million in private sector funding. The scheme is currently being finalised and a further announcement of the details is expected shortly. In addition, Enterprise Ireland and IntertradeIreland fund the HALO business angel partnership programme that is mandated to match business angels to appropriate projects which they would be interested in. HALO also works to develop business angel syndicates.

Job Initiatives

 402. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the activity taking place between his Department, the Iindustrial Development Agency and Enterprise Ireland to bring employment opportunities to County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1638/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton  At present companies supported by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland employ over 2,100 people in permanent employment in County Longford.

As Ireland competes for high quality investments, the concept of scale is crucial. Leading global corporations require a significant population, a pool of qualified talent, world standard physical and digital infrastructure coupled with the availability of sophisticated professional and business support services. Against this backdrop, IDA Ireland has informed me that it prioritises the marketing of Gateway locations within each Region as the areas of critical mass. Longford is marketed as part of the Midland Region together with Laois, Offaly Westmeath and Roscommon. In this region, IDA concentrates on the linked gateway of Athlone/Tullamore/ Mullingar. The Agency also promotes the towns of Longford, Portlaoise and Roscommon as part of its wider marketing efforts and in response to specific client requirements.

At present there are 44 IDA client companies employing over 5,000 people in the Midlands Region. IDA Ireland has formed strong relationships with these companies, working closely with them in order to ensure their long term sustainability and to encourage their growth, development, broadening of their mandate and continuing re-investment in their sites. With the improved infrastructure that is now in place, a project win in one Midlands location has a positive impact on the other surrounding areas due to the close proximity of all main locations.

In 2012 Enterprise Ireland paid €1.3m to its client companies in Longford for job creation and retention and business development purposes. On 31 October last my colleague, Mr John Perry, T.D, Minister for Small Business, launched the new Enterprise Ireland €200,000 Competitive Feasibility Fund aimed at stimulating start ups and creating jobs and growth in the Midlands Region (Counties Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath). This fund, which provides up to €25,000 per project, was open until 20th November 2012. 31 companies/individuals applied for the Competitive Feasibility Fund, 28 were eligible and 9 were approved for funding, of which 2 were from County Longford.

Both IDA and Enterprise Ireland are represented on the Longford County Development Board.

Corporate Governance

 403. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will indicate with which Government Department rests the responsibility to respond to the points raised by the outgoing Director of Corporate Enforcement wherein he indicated weaknesses in the existing system in respect of compliance of company law by lending institutions or suggesting possible reckless trading and a reluctance on the past of some particular bodies to cooperate with his office; if it is intended to respond by way of legislation or in some other manner; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1699/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The oversight and regulation of lending institutions is primarily a matter for the Central Bank and my colleague the Minister for Finance.

In relation to the matter of reckless trading, under the current company law framework, the High Court may declare under Section 297A of the Companies Act 1963 (as amended) that a person shall be personally liable for all or part of the liabilities of a company, where they have knowingly been a party to reckless trading while they were an officer of the company. Receivers, examiners, liquidators and company creditors may make these applications to the Court where a company is in examinership or is being wound up.

Reluctance on the part of persons to cooperate with investigations in relation to certain offences was addressed as part of the Criminal Justice Act 2011. Pursuant to section 15 of that Act and for the purposes of the investigation of a relevant offence, a member of the Garda Síochána may apply to a judge of the District Court for an order requiring, the making available by a person of any particular documents or the provision by a person of particular information by answering questions or making a statement containing the information or both. Failure to comply with such an order is an offence.

More generally the Companies Bill 2012, which has recently been published, contains a number of measures to strengthen company law compliance, including:

- The classification of the majority of offences according to a four-tier scheme. The maximum penalty under this scheme in relation to a prosecution on indictment is a fine of not more than €500,000 or up to 10 years in prison or both.

- A directors’ compliance statement which will apply to all PLCs (except investment companies) and to all other large limited companies with a balance sheet total exceeding €12,500,000 and a turnover exceeding €25,000,000. Directors of such companies will be obliged to make an annual statement in their Directors’ Report, acknowledging that they are responsible for securing the company’s compliance with its “relevant obligations” and confirming that certain things have been done or, if they have not been done, explaining why they have not been done. “Relevant obligations” means an obligation under tax law, or where failure to comply would constitute certain offences under the Bill, or certain Market Abuse or Prospectus offences. The failure to include a compliance statement in the Directors’ Report of an affected company is an offence under the Bill.

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 404. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Jobs; Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will provide a list of the bodies, other than statutory bodies, that were fully funded by his Department in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1908/13]

 405. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Jobs; Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will provide a list of the bodies, other than statutory bodies, that were partially funded by his Department in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2039/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I propose to take Questions Nos. 404 and 405 together.

  I have interpreted the Deputy’s question to mean Irish non-statutory bodies, either fully or partially funded by my Department.

Name of fully funded non-Statutory Body
National Employment Rights Authority Advisory Board
The National Competitiveness Council

The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) is a non-statutory body which reports to the Government on key competitiveness issues facing the Irish economy. Costs associated with the NCC are met by Forfás, which provides the Secretariat to the NCC on a part-time basis. The main costs associated with the NCC are the salary and overhead costs of the Forfás staff in the NCC Secretariat, who are paid by Forfás, a statutory agency.


Name of partially funded non-Statutory Body
Irish Universities Association
Education, Training and Advisory Service, Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Construction Safety Partnership
Consumer Association of Ireland

Social Welfare Appeals Status

 406. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [58088/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer having fully considered all the available evidence partially allowed the appeal of the person concerned by way of summary decision. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer decision.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Tax Code

 407. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton further to newspaper reports (details supplied) the exemptions he intends to apply to the decision to impose PRSI on unearned income; and the estimated cost of these exemptions. [1872/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I understand that the Deputy is referring to the media reports that those aged 66 years and over will be exempt from the proposal to apply PRSI to unearned income such as interest on savings, shares and rents.

In general social insurance applies to persons over the age of 16 years and under pensionable age, which is currently age 66 years. Those aged 66 years and over are not liable to pay PRSI on any of their income including their unearned income. Accordingly those over 66 years will not be impacted by the proposal to apply PRSI to unearned income such as interest on savings, shares and rents. There are no costs relating to exempting those over 66 years as they are not affected by the measure.


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