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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 127-139
 Header Item EU Solidarity Fund
 Header Item National Monuments
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Earcaíocht Seirbhíse Poiblí
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Public Relations Contracts Data
 Header Item Education and Training Provision
 Header Item Action Plan for Jobs
 Header Item Consumer Protection
 Header Item Departmental Agencies
 Header Item Departmental Bodies

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 826 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 127-139

EU Solidarity Fund

 127. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if in view of the scale of damage caused by recent storms he intends to apply to the EU for assistance; when an application will be lodged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2066/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The EU Solidarity Fund was established by the European Union to respond to major natural disasters within the Union and to express Union solidarity with disaster-stricken regions within Europe.  For the purposes of the Fund, a major disaster is defined as damage in a Member State estimated either at over €3bn or more than 0.6% of GNI.  In Ireland s case, this would amount to approximately €770 million.

An application may be made in exceptional circumstances when the damage is below this threshold.  For these circumstances to apply a region must have suffered an extraordinary natural disaster affecting the major part of its population and there must have been serious and lasting repercussions on the living conditions and the economic viability of the region. Assistance from the Fund in these cases is at the rate of 2.5%. While two thirds of applications to the Fund are made on the basis of exceptional circumstances, most do not succeed.  An additional factor is that the annual budget for the period 2014-2020 has been halved from €1 billion to €500 million per annum, and the Commission has indicated that future grants are likely to be 50% lower than previously.

A Member State has ten weeks after the first damage caused by the disaster to submit an application for assistance from the Fund.

Any Government decision on this matter will be made following a further report from the Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government on the recent severe weather.

National Monuments

 128. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if any provision has been made in the 2014 Office of Public Works budget to take a castle (details supplied) in County Donegal under State care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2088/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Northburg Castle at Greencastle, Co. Donegal is not in the care of the Office of Public Works (OPW) National Monuments Service and there are therefore no plans to include it in the OPW National Monuments Service 2014 Works Programme.

The question of including Northburg on the list of National Monuments in State care is a matter for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in the first instance which is responsible for policy matters in relation to Heritage and any such decision must have regard to the availability of resources within the OPW to manage such an additional workload.

Departmental Expenditure

 129. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide details of each allocation from his Department’s expenditure budget to registered charities in each of the past three years. [2106/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In response to the Deputy s question I can confirm that my Department does not provide any funding to Irish Charities.

Earcaíocht Seirbhíse Poiblí

 130. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan den Aire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin an gcuirfidh sé in iúl cén cineál post a bheidh ainmnithe mar phoist a mbeidh gá iontu le daoine ag a bhfuil cumas feidhmiúil Gaeilge faoin gcóras nua a bhfuil sé beartaithe ag a Roinn é a chur in áit na marcanna bónais do státseirbhísigh a bhfuil Gaeilge acu; an bhféadfadh an tAire samplaí a thabhairt dúinn de na poist a bhfuil sé i gceist ag a Roinn fhéin iad a ainmniú mar phoist do dhaoine ag a bhfuil cumas feidhmiúil Gaeilge; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh.  [2172/14]

 131. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan den Aire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe an gcuirfidh sé in iúl cad a tharlóidh sa chás go n-ainmneofar poist sna ranna Rialtais éagsúla do dhaoine ag a bhfuil cumas feidhmiúil Gaeilge ach go bhfuil daoine fostaithe sna poist sin cheana féin nach bhfuil Gaeilge fheidhmiúil acu; an mbeidh an tAire ag cur daoine ag a bhfuil cumas feidhmiúil Gaeilge in áit na ndaoine nach bhfuil an cumas sin acu; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh.  [2173/14]

 132. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan den Aire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Caiteachais Phoiblí an gcuirfidh sé in iúl cathain a aistarraingeofar na ciorcláin a bhaineann le marcanna bónais do státseirbhísigh a bhfuil Gaeilge acu agus cathain a eiseofar ciorclán nua ina mbeidh na socruithe don phainéal de dhaoine ag a bhfuil cumas feidhmiúil Gaeilge; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh.  [2174/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Molaim ceisteanna Uimh. 130 go 132, cuimsitheach, a fhreagairt le chéile.

Ag cruinniú a tharla ar an 30 Deireadh Fómhair 2013, ghlac an Rialtas le cur chuige nua chun tacú le hinniúlacht Gaeilge sa stát seirbhís. Tugadh na socraithe nua seo isteach chun teacht in áit an chórais a bhí ann go dtí seo faoina dtugtaí marcanna breise as a bheith inniúil sa Ghaeilge i gcomórtais earcaithe agus ardú céime. An fáth a bhí leis an gcinneadh seo ná nach raibh ag éirí leis an sean-chóras ó thaobh spriocanna an Rialtais maidir le hinniúlacht Ghaeilge sa stát-seibhís a bhaint amach.

De réir an pholasaí nua, tá beartais á gcur i bhfeidhm chun an méid daoine atá in ann a gcuid oibre a dhéanamh go dátheangach a mhéadú. Tá sé seo a dhéanamh chun go mbeadh cur chuige ann a bheidh dírithe ar inniúlacht i gcomhthéacs comórtais earcaithe agus, mar is cuí, ardú céime.

Mar sin, ní bheidh marcanna breise le haghaidh inniúlacht Ghaeilge i gceist le comórtais earcaithe nó ardú céime a gcuirfear tús leo tar éis an 30 Deireadh Fómhair 2013. I gcás comórtais a bhí ar bun cheana féin a raibh marcanna breise don Ghaeilge i gceist leo, déanfar iad seo a riarú de réir an sean-chórais.

Chun an cinneadh Rialtais a chur i bhfeidhm, déanfaidh mo Roinn leasú ar an bhFráma Pleanála Foirne do Ranna Rialtais. As seo amach, beidh ar Ranna na poist/cinéal oibre a theastóidh daoine le Gaeilge a aithint agus iad seo a leagadh síos ina gcuid pleananna foirne. Maidir le cur i bhfeidhm an Acht Gaeltachta 2012, iarrfar ar Ranna díriú ach go háirithe ar phoist atá lonnaithe i gceantair Ghaeltachta nó a bheidh ag déanamh freastail ar na ceantair sin. Beidh an próiseas seo lárnach maidir le cinntiú go dtógfar san áireamh líonadh post le riachtanais Ghaeilge i gcomhthéacs comórtais earcaithe agus ardú céime a reachtálann an tSeirbhís um Cheapacháin Phoiblí.

Maidir le comórtais earcaithe agus ardú céime a chuireann Ranna aonair ar bun, déanfar measúnú maidir le gá le daoine atá inniúil le Gaeilge agus, nuair is gá agus mar is cuí, cruthófar fo-phainéal do dhaoine atá inniúil go dátheangach.

Tagann na socruithe nua in áit na scéime maidir le marcanna breise don Ghaeilge a tugadh isteach beagnach 40 bliain ó shin tar éis gur cuireadh deireadh le Gaeilge éigeantach le haghaidh dul isteach sa stát-seirbhís. Mar chéad chéim, cuirfear na socruithe nua i bhfeidhm don chomórtas earcaithe do Oifigigh Feidhmiúcháin (OF), go bhfuil sé i gceist a reachtáil go luath. Tá sé beartaithe fo-phainéal do dhaoine atá inniúil go dátheangach a chruthú a mbeidh 6% de líon an phainéil OF iomláin air.

De réir na socruithe nua, i gcás go n-aithnítear post i Roinn Rialtais mar phost le riachtanas Gaeilge, tá sé i gceist go líonfaí é le duine atá inniúil go dátheangach. Is faoi na Ranna féin a bheidh sé conas úsáid a bhaint as a bhfoireann atá sna poist sin faoi láthair.

Chuir mo Roinn na socruithe nua in iúl do Ranna Rialtais ar an 6 Samhain 2013. Ar an 17 Nollaig 2013, scríobh mo Roinn chuig na Ranna chun iarraidh orthu athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar na Framaí Pleanála Foirne a bhí réitithe acu cheana féin agus poist/cinéal oibre a theastaíonn daoine atá inniúil go dátheangach a aithint. Tá iarrtha orthu an t-eolas seo a chur san áireamh i bplean foirne leasaithe agus é seo a chur faoi bhráid na Roinne seo roimh an 17 Eanáir 2014.

Departmental Expenditure

 133. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will detail, in tabular form, the total photography costs for his Department since coming to office, inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the list of occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1854/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I can advise the Deputy that the total photography costs incurred by my Department and its Offices since 9 March, 2011 are €10,203. The list of occasions for which photographers were booked, the photographers used and the breakdown of costs are detailed in the table. No expenditure for photography was incurred from Ministerial allowances.

2011
  
Occasion for which Photographer bookedName of PhotographerBreakdown of costs

associated with each

event
Small Business Advisory Group LaunchMac Innes Photography€409
Irish Ambassadors for Female EntrepreneurshipMac Innes Photography€223
One Millionth Document Filed Online at the Companies Registration OfficeJason Clarke Photography€484
Ministerial image shot for Repeat useMac Innes Photography€245
Launch of the Final Report of the Sales Law Review GroupMac Innes Photography€252
Launch of the Report of “The Voice of Small Business” Mac Innes Photography€284
Junior Inventor Awards Hot Shotz Photographers€120
Total €2,017


2012
  
Occasion for which Photographer bookedName of PhotographerBreakdown of costs

associated with each

event
Launch of Action Plan for Jobs 2012Mac Innes Photography€438
Action Plan for Jobs Forum, LimerickPress 22€312
Action Plan for Jobs Roadshow, CorkB.L. Mac Gill Photography€200
Launch of Research Prioritisation ReportJason Clarke Photography€492
Action Plan for Jobs Roadshow, WaterfordGerry O’Carroll Photography€298
Capital Investment AnnouncementMac Innes Photography€284
Launch of IP ProtocolFennell Photography€301
Launch of Business Regulation PortalFennell Photography€319
Establishment of Clustering Development TeamFennell Photography€331
Launch of “Managing out of the Crisis” GuideFennell Photography€257
Publication of Micro Enterprise Loan Fund BillFennell Photography€283
Launch of €90 Million Microfinance Scheme Fennell Photography€321
Launch of Green Economy Policy StatementFennell Photography€264
Total €4,100
2013
  
Occasion for which Photographer bookedName of PhotographerBreakdown of costs

associated with each

event
Launch of Action Plan for Jobs Q4 ResultsFennell Photography€264
Launch of Action Plan for Jobs 2013Fennell Photography€318
Meeting with Chinese AmbassadorFennell Photography€308
Launch of New Work Permit LegislationFennell Photography€264
Launch of Manufacturing ReportFennell Photography€342
Unveiling of new Local Enterprise Office, Swords and announcement of details of improved new service for micro and small enterprisesFennell Photography€326
Announcement of membership of the Entrepreneurship ForumFennell Photography€369
Launch of Action Plan for Jobs Q2 ResultsFennell Photography€273
Launch of Copyright Review ReportFennell Photography€251
Appointment of Chairman of US-Ireland PartnershipFennell Photography€232
IDA Announcement Fennell Photography€270
Conference for EU High Level Group for Innovation Fennell Photography€290
Informal meeting of EU High Level Employment Committee in Dublin Castle Maxwell Photography€579
Total €4,086


  The Department uses external photographers sparingly and, with a view to keeping costs to a minimum, regularly uses its own facilities and staff to take photographs in-house. My Department also avails of the panel of photography firms, selected following a procurement process undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which is available for use by all Departments.

Public Relations Contracts Data

 134. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will detail, in tabular form, the use of external public relations firms employed by his Department since coming to office; the list of uses of the external public relations firm; his internal Department policy regarding employing external groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1869/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The names and business addresses of the providers of public relations services used by my Department and the Offices of my Department, the details of the services supplied by each and the expenditure on each since 9 March, 2011 to date are as follows:-

Year
Name and Address of PR Services Provider
Details of Services Supplied
Cost
2011Barberry Limited trading as

Keating & Associates, 19 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2.

To provide NERA with

Communications Services

(including PR; Media

Monitoring; advising on the

design, content and

production of reports &

brochures and assisting with

website content).
€18,770
2012Barberry Limited trading as

Keating & Associates, 19 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2.

To provide NERA with

Communications Services

(including PR; Media

Monitoring; advising on the

design, content and

production of reports &

brochures and assisting with

website content).
€5,268
2013Barberry Limited trading as

Keating & Associates, 19 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2.





To provide NERA with

Communications Services

(including PR; Media

Monitoring; advising on the

design, content and

production of reports &

brochures and assisting with

website content).
€3,183




2013MRPA Kinman Communications trading as

MKC Communications

Limited, The Archway,4A Lower Pembroke Street,Dublin 2.
To provide the Department

with Press and Media

Relations Services for the

Irish Presidency of the EU.

(This was a once off exercise/expenditure due to Presidency events.)
€76,480
YTD 2014 NilNil
Nil


  My Department uses external public relations providers having regard to its business needs. In engaging such providers, the Department is mindful of the need to secure value for money and, accordingly strives to keep costs to the minimum.

Education and Training Provision

 135. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will provide details on the Young Entrepreneur Programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1889/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Young Entrepreneur Programme is an initiative in the Kerry region primarily focused on transition year students. The programme was established in 2006 and is run by a not for profit organisation, Nurture Entrepreneurs Ltd. The programme was supported in previous years by a range of sponsors that included Shannon Development and the programme continues to be supported by the private sector. I understand that the format of the Young Entrepreneur Programme has changed since last September, giving educators and their students the opportunity to take part in the programme through an online platform.

Action Plan for Jobs

 136. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton further to Parliamentary Question No. 323 of 28 May 2013, if the Forfás report on consumer prices was completed by the end of 2013; and if so, when he plans to publish same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1890/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Action 126 of the Action Plan for Jobs 2013 entailed the production of a report on consumer costs in Ireland.

  Forfás finalised the report in Q4 2013 as required under the Action Plan and submitted it to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation. I intend to bring the report to Government in the near future and it will then be published.

Consumer Protection

 137. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton further to Parliamentary Question No. 260 of 4 December 2012, the progress made in 2013 with regard to implementation of the recommendations of the sales law review group report; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [1891/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton My Department’s work on the implementation of the recommendations of the Sales Law Review Group has focused on the provisions to be included in the modernised and consolidated Consumer Contract Rights Bill recommended by the Group. In addition to updating and unifying rights and remedies for all of the main forms of consumer contract in line with the Review Group’s recommendations, the Bill will include provisions on matters not previously regulated in Irish consumer legislation such as digital content. A consultation paper on the main issues to be covered by the proposed legislation is currently being prepared with a view to its publication in the first quarter of this year. While it had been hoped to issue this paper in 2013, priority had to be given in the first half of the year to work arising from our Presidency of the European Union, in particular the proposal for a Common European Sales Law, and, in the second half of the year, to the drafting of Regulations to give effect to Directive 2011/83/EU on Consumer Rights which Member States were required to transpose by 13 December 2013. As the Common European Sales Law deals with matters directly relevant to the proposed Bill and as the Regulations giving effect to the Consumer Rights Directive will be incorporated in the Bill, the work undertaken in both areas in 2013 will materially assist in the preparation of the scheme of the Bill.

Departmental Agencies

 138. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of staff employed at the end of 2013; the annual budget in 2013 of both the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1892/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The National Consumer Agency was allocated an amount of €7.36m for 2013. This included €2.125m in respect of its financial information and education functions which are funded by a levy imposed on regulated financial service providers and reimbursed to the Exchequer when the levy is collected. At the end of December 2013, the Agency had a staff complement of 48.5 whole-time equivalents (WTE).

The Competition Authority was allocated an amount of €5.127m for 2013 and had a staff complement of 44.9 WTE at the end of December 2013.

Departmental Bodies

 139. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of quangos, State agencies or organisations under the remit of his Department that have been merged, reformed or abolished since 2011; the details of each of these measures in tabular form; the cost saving or service delivery improvement which has resulted; how many more he expects to be merged, reformed or abolished and the timeline for same; if he will provide a full list of all agencies and organisations under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1980/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The following are the State Bodies/Boards under the remit of my Department.          

No.State Boards
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

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton There is a substantial programme of reform underway within my Department in relation to Agencies and Offices. The Agencies under the remit of my Department that are scheduled to be merged, reformed or abolished are set out under the Government’s Agency Rationalisation Programme. These reforms include:

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

   - Dissolve the 35 County Enterprise Boards and transfer their functions to Enterprise Ireland to be delivered by Local Authorities in Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). This will facilitate the delivery of an enhanced service and range of supports to the micro and small business sectors.

  - Dissolve Forfás and provide for the transfer of the agency’s assets, liabilities and staff to my Department and other bodies, as appropriate.

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

  - Reform of the State's Workplace Relations Services to deliver a simplified two-tiered structure comprising a single body of first instance, the Workplace Relations Commission, and a single body of appeal, in effect an enhanced Labour Court.

  Details of the above measures are set out in the table below as follows:

MeasureProgress to end December 2013Saving/service delivery improvement
Merge the National Consumer Agency (NCA) and the Competition Authority into one single entityLegislation 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.The scope for savings is not significant. As the existing staff of both agencies will transfer to the merged body, the merger will not yield substantial savings by way of staff costs. The dissolution of the NCA will result in savings of approximately €160,000/€170,000 per year in Board and Board-related fees. However, the merger will give rise to unavoidable, start-up costs in areas such as IT, accommodation, branding etc. Also the introduction of provisions to regulate certain practices in the grocery goods sector will require additional resources to enforce this Programme for Government commitment.

Dissolve the 35 County Enterprise Boards (CEBs) and transfer their functions to Enterprise Ireland (EI).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, the transfer of their functions, assets and liabilities to Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the development of a new Small 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 business within Local Authorities.

The CEB Dissolution Bill 2013 has passed all stages in the Seanad and the Bill is scheduled to progress through the Dáil during early 2014. Formal dissolution of the CEBs and establishment of the LEOs will then take place on a commencement date to be decided by Ministerial Order.
It is 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.
Dissolve Forfás and provide for the transfer of the agency’s assets, liabilities and staff to my Department and other bodies, as appropriate.Primary legislation is necessary to give effect to the decision to integrate Forfás into my Department by the transfer of the functions and staff of Forfás to my Department and a number of state agencies. The Industrial Development (Forfás Dissolution) Bill 2013 was published on 23 December 2013. It is expected that passage through the Dáil and Seanad will be completed in the first half of 2014.

An Implementation Group, comprising senior management from my 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.

A number of decisions that do not necessitate legislation have already been implemented:

- the reduction of the Board of Forfás from 13 members to 6 to oversee the orderly hand-over of Forfás’ functions;

- the transfer of the facilities, property management and reception/ switchboard services from Forfás to IDA Ireland in July 2013;

- the Forfás ICT budget was brought into my Department’s ICT budget in January 2013 and the agency’s remaining non-pay budget has been incorporated into my Department’s budget from January 2014.
The integration of Forfás into my Department will strengthen my Department’s capacity to develop and implement enterprise policy and will also facilitate improvements in the use and effectiveness of existing resources. Savings have been made in the reduction of the Forfás Board from 13 members to 6 members. It is also envisaged that further savings will arrive when the integration process is complete, especially in the Corporate Services area.
Transfer relevant enterprise functions from Shannon Development to IDA, EI and Bord Fáilte and merge Shannon Development with Shannon AirportShannon Development’s functions and the associated staff in relation to indigenous enterprises and foreign direct investment have been transferred to Enterprise Ireland and IDA respectively. Shannon Development’s functions in relation to tourism including the Regional Tourism Offices have been transferred to Fáilte Ireland. These changes have been accompanied by the redeployment of staff to other public bodies and the implementation of a voluntary redundancy scheme. The restructuring of Shannon Development is nearing completion. The Heads of a Bill to provide for the establishment of Shannon Group on a statutory basis were approved by Government in July 2013 and drafting is currently underway by the Office of the Parliamentary Council.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 2014. There will, however, be an elimination of duplication of roles between Shannon Development, Enterprise Agencies and Fáilte Ireland in the region.
Reform of the State’s Workplace Relations Services to deliver a simplified two-tier structure comprising a single body of first instance, the Workplace Relations Commission, and a single body of appeal, in effect an enhanced Labour CourtThe process of establishing a new two-tier workplace relations structure is continuing. A considerable amount of work has been completed on the preparation of the Workplace Relations Bill, which will give statutory effect to the reform proposals.

Significant progress has been achieved to date in relation to the technological, structural, administrative and staffing changes required to underpin the Workplace Relations Reform Programme. Pending the enactment of legislation, my Department has put in place a Single Contact Portal, e-complaint facility, Staffing and Structures Plan, Workplace Relations website and early resolution service, together with enhanced technologies and processes in advance of the enabling legislation.

Legislation to give effect to the Workplace Relations Bill is currently on the A list of the Government’s legislative programme.

I propose to publish the Bill in early 2014, with a view to having the proposed new Workplace Relations structures in place during 2014.
The annual cost of the Workplace Relations Services amounted to just over €20 million 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 this Reform Programme.

Savings of €2 million to end December 2013 have been generated. Savings for the remainder of the Reform Programme are yet to be quantified. As part of the ongoing service delivery improvements within the Reform Programme the Equality Tribunal is now an intrinsic part of the Workplace Relations grouping within my Department having transferred from the Department of Justice and Equality with effect from 1st January 2013.
Discover Science and Engineering (DSE) ProgrammeIn March 2012, responsibility for the DSE Programme transferred from Forfás to Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). The programme is now named SFI Discover. The transfer of DSE to SFI resulted from synergies between the DSE programme and SFI’s outreach programmes, and this transfer of responsibility was not by itself expected to generate cost savings. The integration of these programmes has achieved economies of scale, minimised duplication of effort, and contributed to operational efficiencies.
Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the GovernmentThe 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 in October 2012 to abolish the separate Office of the CSA, the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) took responsibility for the role of Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government in addition to his existing role and co-terminous with his tenure as Director General of SFI. Annual savings €120,000. 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).


  In addition, I would draw the Deputy’s attention to the fact that, following enactment of the Microenterprise Loan Fund Act 2012, Microfinance Ireland was established as a private limited company in August 2012, as a subsidiary of the Social Finance Foundation and has charitable status.

  Microfinance Ireland has been funded by the Government to provide loans to newly established and growing microenterprises across all industry sectors that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by banks.


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