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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 187 to 205
 Header Item Ministerial Staff
 Header Item EU Presidency Expenditure
 Header Item EU Presidency Issues
 Header Item Passport Applications
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Overseas Development Aid Provision
 Header Item Overseas Development Aid Provision
 Header Item Undocumented Irish in the USA
 Header Item Ministerial Staff
 Header Item Human Rights Issues
 Header Item Corporate Tax Regime Issues
 Header Item Property Taxation Exemptions
 Header Item Motor Insurance Regulation
 Header Item Financial Services Regulation
 Header Item Property Taxation Application
 Header Item Property Taxation Deferrals
 Header Item EU Directives
 Header Item Income Data

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 789 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 187 to 205

Ministerial Staff

 187. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the number of immediate or extended family members employed by his Department; the names and remuneration in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2906/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny As required under the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995, statements have been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas indicating whether the staff who were selected for appointments to my Department by me personally, other than by means of a competition, are relatives of mine. As such the information requested is already available for the Deputy's inspection. However, to be helpful to the Deputy on this occasion I wish to confirm that none of the staff employed by my Department are members of my family.

EU Presidency Expenditure

 188. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the € 244,741.71 paid to a company (details supplied) for the provision of professional services in relation to Presidency 2013 website; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [2454/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The contract awarded to TERMINALFOUR Solutions Ltd. for the provision of its web content management software and professional services for the EU Presidency website eu2013.ie was for a total of €198,977.00 (€244,741.71 inclusive of VAT). The contract included a range of services including website design and development, content management system licensing, annual support and infrastructure set-up, mobile strategy, execution of the mobile site and training. The contractor has confirmed that it regards details of the pricing information as commercially sensitive.

EU Presidency Issues

 189. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will provide access to the online analytics for the website http://www.eu2013.ie or to release weekly analytics reports for the site, for the full duration of Ireland's Presidency of the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2455/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The EU Presidency website, www.eu2013.ie, has received over 104,000 visits since its launch on 17 December 2012, with around 386000 page views. The associated Twitter account has nearly 4500 followers. The statistics on website usage are tracked and analysed. Analytics will be made publicly available on the website on a quarterly basis.

Passport Applications

 190. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the reason for the delay in issuing a passport to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 20. [2973/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The Passports Act, 2008 provides, among other things, that only Irish citizens are entitled to be issued with Irish passports. Each application received by the Passport Service must, therefore, demonstrate that person’s entitlement to Irish citizenship before a passport can issue. The Passport Service must operate within the law on this as in all matters. The Department received an application from the parents of the child in question last August. As she was born in Dublin on 4 May 2012, her entitlement to Irish citizenship is subject to the terms of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended.  The Act provides that a person, born in the State on or after 1 January 2005, where neither parent is an Irish or British citizen or otherwise entitled to reside in the State or Northern Ireland without restriction at the time of that person’s birth, may claim citizenship by birth in the State (and thereby establish eligibility for an Irish passport) only where a parent has been lawfully resident in the State for three years of the four years preceding that person’s birth.

  Moreover, the Act makes particular provision for nationals of EU member states, who may make a declaration concerning their residence in the island of Ireland within the four years preceding their children’s birth. In such cases, the EU national is regarded as having resided in the island of Ireland for the declared periods for the purposes of the Act, unless the contrary is proved. These declarations must be supported by documentary evidence (e.g. tax documents, bank statements, social welfare benefit payments, work permits, rent leases etc) to verify actual residence in the State.

  In this case, the applicant’s parents are Romanian citizens. Romania entered the EU on 1 January, 2007. While parents from that country (and Bulgaria) are equal to other EU nationals in terms of free movement and residence, there were restrictions in terms of access to the labour market.

  At the time of application last August, the Department had undertaken a review of the kind of evidence, such as work permits, that may be required to establish lawful and reckonable residence for Romanian and Bulgarian parents. The Department of Justice and Equality, which is the Department responsible for immigration and citizenship, provided detailed advice on this last November. This enabled the Passport Service to finalise last month guidelines in this area.

  Work has been ongoing since then to clear the small number of applications which were delayed as a result of this review. This person’s application was among them. The Passport Service is in ongoing discussion with the applicant’s parents regarding the evidence required to determine that child’s citizenship.

Departmental Funding

 191. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if there is emergency funding available from the Exchequer for the Irish people living in America, whose homes were damaged recently as a result of storms.  [2511/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Hurricane Sandy directly affected large numbers of Irish Americans and neighbourhoods which have a special place in New York Irish American life. Following discussions between the Taoiseach and President Obama and between myself and US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, I announced on 6 December 2012 that the Irish Government would provide emergency funding of €250,000 to assist the Irish and wider communities worst affected by Hurricane Sandy.

A total of €200,000 of this funding was made available by Irish Aid through its Emergency Fund and €50,000 was provided under the Emigrant Support Programme. I was also pleased to see The American Ireland Fund has pledged $250,000 to the relief effort.

Our funding, which is being co-ordinated by our Consulate General in New York, will be directed towards the relief activities of the Irish centres in New York and reconstruction efforts in the areas where Hurricane Sandy caused massive devastation to communities, including many with deep Irish roots.

The Consulate also co-ordinated two Irish Days of Action which involved more than 1,500 volunteers being assigned to work in a range of locations including Breezy Point, Belle Harbour, the Far Rockaways and Hamilton Beach.

Overseas Development Aid Provision

 192. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he has considered providing goods and services in lieu of cash in respect of overseas development aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2604/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello Ireland’s aid programme has been recognised internationally for its focus on poverty and hunger, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and for its leadership in making aid more effective.

The practice of tying aid to the purchase of goods and services of the donor country has long been recognised as reducing the effectiveness and efficiency of development co-operation programmes, as well as increasing the costs. Studies by international organisations such as the OECD have demonstrated that tying aid can reduce the overall benefit to developing countries by up to 30%.

Ireland is one of a number of key of donor countries whose aid is 100% untied. This is one of the principal reasons that Ireland’s aid programme is internationally recognised as being of the highest quality.

Irish companies already bid and tender for the provision of goods and services to our partner Governments in line with international transparent and open procurement standards. The Department's Africa Strategy seeks to build these opportunities and linkages.

The Programme for Government included a commitment to review the 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid. This review is now complete and a new policy to guide Ireland’s role in global development will be submitted to Cabinet for approval in the near future. This will place greater emphasis on complementing financial assistance with other forms of co-operation from Ireland and will emphasise the importance of collaborative partnerships with Irish research institutions and the private sector.

Overseas Development Aid Provision

 193. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the position regarding the protection of the EU overseas aid budget (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2792/13]

 195. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore his plans to use the EU presidency to protect the EU's overseas aid budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2883/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I propose to take Questions Nos. 193 and 195 together.

Negotiations on the European Union’s Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020, the MFF, have made substantial progress. At its meeting on 22 and 23 November 2012, the European Council gave a mandate to President Van Rompuy and President Barroso to pursue work on the MFF, with a view to reaching agreement at the beginning of 2013. President Van Rompuy now hopes to close negotiations at the meeting of the European Council on 7 and 8 February. The Irish Presidency will support President Van Rompuy in his efforts to secure a deal on the MFF.

The EU and its member states are collectively the largest provider of development assistance in the world, providing over 55% of global ODA. This will remain the case under the next MFF. The strength of the development budget enables the EU to implement large scale projects and to respond effectively to humanitarian crises when they emerge. It also confers great legitimacy on the Union when it calls on all international donors, including new and emerging partners, to raise their level of ambition and to increase their ODA efforts to a level similar to the EU, thus contributing their fair share to the global development efforts.

In the course of the MFF negotiations, we have sought to ensure that a fair proportion of the EU budget is allocated to development assistance. We have pointed out that this will allow the EU to continue playing a leadership role, to engage effectively when humanitarian crises emerge and to target extreme poverty and hunger. Given the financial constraints across the EU there has been pressure from member states to seek reductions across every heading of the MFF. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that development funding in the next MFF will be at a higher level than for the current 2007 to 2013 MFF.

Undocumented Irish in the USA

 194. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will outline his work regarding efforts to pass legislation in the U.S. Congress to legalise the undocumented Irish.  [2841/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The Government continues to attach particular importance to the welfare of the Irish abroad in general and especially to the position of undocumented Irish immigrants in the United States. A resolution of the situation for undocumented Irish migrants will continue to be pursued by the Government in our ongoing contacts with the US Administration and Congress. The advice of Ireland’s friends and contacts within the US Administration and Congress has long been that comprehensive reform of the US immigration system and procedures is likely to be the only manner by which such a resolution can be achieved. The prospects for such reform would appear to have advanced in the wake of President Obama’s re-election. Through our Embassy in Washington and in close liaison with Irish-American community representatives, our contacts with the US Administration and Congress will intensify with a view to ensuring that the interests and concerns of undocumented Irish immigrants are captured in any future legislative deal in this area that emerges. In this regard, I raised the issue with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during our bilateral meeting on 6 December last and recalled our strong support for comprehensive immigration legislation and the passage of E3 visas for Irish citizens.

Much further debate and discussion is likely to be required within the US political system as to what any future legislative deal might comprise. It is therefore not possible at this stage to specify its contents or identify an exact timescale in which these may become clear but the area will continue to receive the Government’s close attention over the period ahead.

  Question No. 195 answered with Question No. 193.

Ministerial Staff

 196. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the number of immediate or extended family members employed by his Department; the names and remuneration in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2900/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore No member of my family is employed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Human Rights Issues

 197. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he had, or intends to have, discussions with the Burmese Ambassador in relation to human rights abuses of the Rohingya people in Burma and if he will pursue this matter in his role on the Human Rights Council.  [3007/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The Government follows closely reports of human rights abuses of the Rohingya people in Burma/Myanmar and is concerned about the situation. While Ireland’s diplomatic relations with Burma/Myanmar are maintained on a secondary accreditation basis via our Embassy in Vietnam and through the Embassy of Burma/Myanmar in London, we continue to work through the mechanisms of the EU and UN to ensure that human rights are respected in Burma/Myanmar and elsewhere.

Our Ambassador in Hanoi is due to present credentials in Burma/Myanmar as soon as dates are confirmed. Following accreditation, the issues raised by the Deputy will be discussed with the Burma/Myanmar authorities.

Ireland remains engaged at both European Union and international levels in monitoring the situation in Burma/Myanmar, including that of the Rohingya. Human rights have been a priority of successive Irish governments and are a key dimension of our foreign policy. Ireland, as an elected member of the Human Rights Council, will work closely with partners at the Council to ensure the continuation of international scrutiny of the human rights situation in Burma/Myanmar.

At the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Ireland along with our international partners, urged the Government of Burma/Myanmar to accelerate its efforts to address human rights concerns and called upon the Government to grant safe, timely, full and unhindered access across Rakhine State.

Ireland stands ready to share its experiences and to assist the process of democratisation in Burma/Myanmar. Together with our EU colleagues, we want recent positive developments to bring lasting change for the people of Burma/Myanmar.

Ireland’s recent experience in Asia is relevant to Burma/Myanmar, given our involvement in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as well as in Timor Leste. We also actively engage in EU discussions to shape the priorities for European co-operation in development assistance with Burma/Myanmar. To date, Irish Aid has provided over €7m to Burma/Myanmar through NGOs and Irish missionaries for long-term development and emergency and recovery responses.

Ireland shares the EU approach to areas of co-operation which include poverty reduction, in particular among ethnic minority groups, support for democratic transformation, rule of law, human rights, including the release of all remaining political prisoners, accountability and good governance as well as support for electoral processes.

Corporate Tax Regime Issues

 198. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the analysis, if any, that has taken place within his Department or by relevant bodies on the implication of the extensive reforms and changes to the UK corporation tax regime and its impact on Ireland and our efforts to attract foreign direct investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2371/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan My Department is aware of the need to maintain a competitive corporate tax regime and to that end, closely monitors developments in other countries. However, it is not appropriate to single out any particular country or corporate tax system and comment on them in this way. The changes that I announced in Budget 2013 highlight the on-going work by my Department to make sure that the Irish corporate tax offering stays competitive as we work to attract investment and jobs to Ireland. This year, this included further enhancements to the Research and Development regime and the package of measures to assist the SME sector (among others). For further information on our corporate tax regime, I would refer the Deputy to the literature on the Budget Website which is available at http://www.budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2013/2013.aspx .

Property Taxation Exemptions

 199. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if thatched cottages will be exempt from the property tax in view of the amount of work that goes into maintaining the thatch annually; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2406/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan There is no specific exemption from the Local Property Tax for thatched cottages. The inter-Departmental Group chaired by Dr Don Thornhill on the design of a property tax (the “Thornhill Group”) considered that the local property tax should be centred on the principles of equity, transparency and simplicity. In terms of these principles, it was also considered that a universal liability should apply to all owners of residential property with a limited number of exemptions so a relatively low rate of tax could be maintained. The Government agreed with this recommendation of the Thornhill Group.

I am informed by my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, that his Department operates a grant scheme for the renewal or repair of thatched roofs. A grant of up to €3,810 or two thirds of the approved cost, whichever is the lesser, may be payable in respect of necessary works to renew or repair the thatched roofs of houses. It is a condition of the grant scheme, which was introduced in 2001, that the house is occupied as the applicant’s normal place of residence on completion of the approved works.

Motor Insurance Regulation

 200. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan his plans to reduce the high insurance costs on young male apprentice mechanics who as part of their jobs need to be able to drive vehicles on the premises of their employers (details supplied). [2409/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan At the outset, the Deputy should note that in my role as the Minister for Finance I have responsibility for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation. The day-to-day responsibility for the supervision of financial institutions is a matter for the Central Bank which is statutorily independent in the exercise of its regulatory functions. The Central Bank has informed me that the decision to provide any specific form of insurance cover and the price at which it is offered is a commercial matter based on the assessment an insurer will make of the risks involved. The Bank has also indicated that it has no role regarding the issues of pricing or the scope of cover provided by insurance companies.

Finally, it should be noted that any person who has an unresolved complaint can refer the matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman for investigation and adjudication.

Financial Services Regulation

 201. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the number of occasions on which he has met the Financial Regulator since he took office; and the dates of those meetings. [2449/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I meet with the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Elderfield, routinely on a near monthly basis as we are both members of the Cabinet sub-committee on Mortgage Arrears and Mr. Elderfield has also joined me, on occasion, in attending the special ECOFIN meetings such as the one held on 21 and 22 October 2011. Since 2010, with the amalgamation of the Financial Regulator and the Central Bank into a single unitary body, the Governor has overall responsibility for Central Bank policies and in this context I meet with him on a regular basis.

In addition, my officials regularly meet with senior officials, including Mr. Elderfield, of the Central Bank on a frequent basis as part of the normal day-to-day interaction between my Department and the Central Bank.

Property Taxation Application

 202. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the reason persons are now being told that private homes will now have to take into account the amount of grounds around them when valuing them for the profile of property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2738/13]

 218. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will confirm that only the first acre of amenity land appurtenant to residential property, for example, private lakes, gardens, unproductive woodland and private tennis courts with an overall total area of in excess of one acre, will be subject to the new property tax to take effect from 1 July 2013 and that any excess over one acre will be disregarded for the purposes of calculating the value of the residential property for the purposes of levying the new property tax. [2780/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I propose to take Questions Nos. 202 and 218 together.

A residential property is defined in the Local Property Tax legislation to include not just the dwelling house itself but also any other buildings or structures and any land that, in a broad sense, belongs with the dwelling house and that are enjoyed as an amenity rather than used for a commercial purpose. These are regarded as an intrinsic part of the dwelling house. Such buildings or structures would include, for example, garages, sheds, outhouses, greenhouses and tennis courts. Land would include driveways, yards, gardens, woodland and lakes. Thus, in the case of a farmhouse, any land used for farming purposes will not be included in the chargeable value of the farmhouse.

There is no limit placed on the extent of the area that is occupied by buildings and structures, regardless of their distance from the dwelling house. However, the extent of any land that is to be included in the chargeable value of the residential property is limited to one acre.

Property Taxation Deferrals

 203. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will outline the income margins that will be set to allow home owners to defer payment of the property tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2921/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that Part 12 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 sets out the conditions for deferral of the charge. Where the residential property is the sole or main residence of a liable person and their estimated gross income from all sources does not exceed €15,000 for a single person or €25,000 for a couple during the year covered by the return, they will be eligible to apply for full deferral of the Local Property Tax (LPT) charge. In addition, for income stressed owner-occupiers who have an outstanding mortgage, an adjusted gross income limit will apply. In these cases, the income thresholds of €15,000 or €25,000 may be increased by 80% of the annual mortgage interest payments. This type of deferral is available until the end of 2017.

Moreover, owner-occupiers may be eligible to apply for partial deferral where the gross income from all sources is less than €25,000 in the case of a single person and €35,000 in the case of a couple. For income stressed owner-occupiers who have an outstanding mortgage, these thresholds may also be increased by 80% of the annual mortgage interest payments. In these cases the owner-occupier will qualify for deferrals of 50% of the LPT liability and the balance of 50% of the tax must be paid.

EU Directives

 204. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan his position on any potential EU proposals on minimum energy tax levels especially in relation to diesel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2949/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I assume the Deputy is referring to the Commission proposal to revise the Energy Tax Directive (Directive 2003/96/EC). Discussions of the Commission proposal have been ongoing since it first appeared in April 2011 at the Council Working Party on Tax Questions. The Directive covers, inter alia, minimum rates on all energy products which includes auto fuels. It should be noted that, in terms of auto-fuels in particular, excise in Ireland is already above the current EU minima. Under the Irish Presidency of the EU discussions will continue on this proposal.

Income Data

 205. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide figures on the number of persons who earn more than €100,000 per year in the private and public sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2270/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the latest relevant sector-based information available on income earners in the tax system is derived from income tax returns filed for the income tax year 2010 and represents about 95 per cent of all returns expected at the time the data was compiled for analytical purposes. The data relating to the public sector includes individuals in receipt of various forms of income from public sources that would not normally be regarded as constituting employment within the public service, e.g. those receiving fees, those on State Boards etc. On the basis of the available tax-based data it is not possible to identify and exclude income from public sources to groups that would not normally be regarded as employed within the public service or to distinguish the earnings of employees associated with typical work patterns.

On this basis, the total numbers of public sector income earners and private sector income earners, including self-employed earners, who had earnings in excess of €100,000 in the tax year 2010 is 12,500 and 86,900 respectively.

A married couple which has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.


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