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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 298-319
 Header Item Job Creation Issues
 Header Item Work Permit Applications
 Header Item State Agencies
 Header Item State Agencies
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Payments
 Header Item Exceptional Needs Payments
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Applications
 Header Item Back to Education Allowance Payments
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Applications
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Payments
 Header Item Jobseeker's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Community Employment Schemes Places
 Header Item Job Creation Issues
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Payments

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 96 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 298-319

Job Creation Issues

 298. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the action open to him to deal with the serious unemployment figures among males in Tallaght, Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56930/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton There are two major elements to the Government’s response to unemployment – Pathways to Work and the Action Plan for Jobs. The aim of the Action Plan for Jobs is to create a supportive environment for enterprise to generate and sustain jobs, while the aim of Pathways to Work is ensure that as many of those jobs as possible go to people who are currently on the Live Register, particularly those who are Long Term Unemployed.

The Enterprise Development agencies under the aegis of my Department are at the forefront of implementing the Action Plan for Jobs across all regions, including Tallaght. The Action Plan contains a number of measures which are aimed specifically at the facilitation and incentivisation of enterprise development in Ireland across all regions, from start-up businesses to high-growth companies.

I recently outlined a range of Government supports for enterprise development in the Tallaght area to the Deputy (Question No. 315 of 20th November 2012, Ref. 51087/12 refers), including the securing of funding for three Community Enterprise Centres in the Tallaght area in 2012, and the announcement of a number of foreign-direct investments and expansions which will create jobs in the area.

My Department has also 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 in the Tallaght area.

In addition to the services provided by my Department’s agencies, Intreo – the new integrated employment and support service operated by the Department of Social Protection – is designed to provide a personalised service to unemployed people, based on their individual needs. It will include advice on education, training and personal development opportunities, job search assistance as well as information on, and access to, a range of income supports. I understand that Tallaght is one of the four centres where Intreo is to be initially located. Further information on Intreo can be found on the Department of Social Protection’s website, www.welfare.ie.

Work Permit Applications

 299. 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 will outline any visa programmes available to senior executives coming to work in foreign owned companies based here, including uptake numbers of these programmes in 2011 and 2012. [56939/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Since 2004, Irish labour market policy has been to ensure that general labour and skills needs are met from within the workforce of the European Economic Area (EEA). Current Government policy is to issue employment permits for the employment of non-EEA nationals for specific vacancies and in response to employer demand for strategic skills and labour shortages in designated occupations in key economic sectors such as healthcare, information technology and financial services.

  A range of employment permits initiatives have been put in place to address this skills issue and to assist foreign companies based in Ireland. The Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit Scheme in particular, facilitates the transfer of senior management, key personnel or trainees who are foreign nationals from an overseas branch of a multinational corporation to its Irish branch. Only 5% of the workforce may have Intra-company Transfer Permits, however, for start-ups this may be waived on a case by case basis for an initial period. No labour market needs test is required prior to making an application for an Intra-Company Transfer permit.

  The Green Card Employment Permit Scheme is used by Ireland to meet labour market requirements where skills shortages have been identified by reference to analyses undertaken by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs. It is designed to attract highly skilled and highly paid individuals into the labour market with the aim of encouraging them to take up permanent residence in the State. The employee may apply for immediate family re-unification and an application for long-term residence may be made after two years. No labour market needs test (e.g. newspaper and FÁS/EURES advertising) is required prior to making an application. Their Spouses are also eligible to apply for permits under our Spousal/Dependant Employment Permit Scheme.

  The Work Permits Employment Permit Scheme provides for a further channel for employers and prospective employees to source and transfer skills.

  When considering applications under any of these Schemes, cognisance is given to the strategic imperative of the missions of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, with priority being afforded to their clients. The numbers of permits issued under all of these Schemes is detailed in Appendix 1.

  In addition to the above, my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality this year announced new Immigrant Investor and Start-up Entrepreneur Programmes.

  The purpose of these Programmes is to allow non-EEA nationals, who commit to an approved investment in Ireland or with an innovative business idea for a High Potential Start-up, to enter the State with a view to establishing a permanent relationship with Ireland.

  Further information on all of these Schemes and Programmes can be found on my Department’s website and that of the Department of Justice and Equality.

  I hope to be in a position shortly to announce a range of improvements which will greatly enhance the employment permits regime to ensure company growth is not hampered by skills shortages. These improvements will include a streamlining of the documentary requirements, significant reductions in processing times and improved customer service and public information.

  My Department is also currently preparing new legislation, the purpose of which will be to consolidate and streamline the Employment Permits Act 2003 and the Employment Permits Act 2006. The legislation will update provisions for the employment permits schemes in line with policy and economic developments since 2007; provide the flexibility to deal with changing labour market conditions and work patterns and our evolving economic development needs which often require a rapid response; provide for a robust employment permits regime with greater clarity for applicants; and cater for the accession of new Member States to the EU.

Appendix 1

Employment Permits issued by Permit Type

Year Type of Permit New Renewal Total
2012*   2864 1070 3934
  Green Card 995 0 995
  Intra-company transfer 385 104 489
  Spouse/Dependant 306 529 835
  Work Permit 1178 437 1615
2011   3169 2011 5180
  Green Card 910 0 910
  Intra-company transfer 320 80 400
  Spouse/Dependant 586 1384 1970
  Work Permit 1353 547 1900
*Permits issued up to the 17th December 2012.

State Agencies

 300. 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 rental income accrued for each of the past five years form the properties in the ownership of Shannon Development which are to be transferred to the new company to be formed with Shannon Airport  [56962/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The total rental income accrued from properties in the ownership of Shannon Development and its subsidiaries for the past five years is as follows:

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
€15.142m €14.632m €12.270m €11.161m €9.996m
  The recent Government announcement on the future of Shannon Airport and Shannon Development confirmed the Government’s earlier decision in principle to merge both organisations to form a new, State owned, commercial entity which will exploit the assets of both organisations for the development of strategic sectoral opportunities, particularly within the aviation sector, including the creation of an international aviation centre of excellence at Shannon Airport. In accordance with this decision, Shannon Development’s land bank will transfer to this new entity.

State Agencies

 301. 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 number of staff members, if any, from Shannon Development that will be moved to the new company being set up to run Shannon Airport. [56963/12]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The recent Government announcement on the future of Shannon Airport and Shannon Development confirmed the Government’s earlier decision in principle to merge both organisations to form a new, State owned, commercial entity which will exploit the assets of both organisations for the development of strategic sectoral opportunities, particularly within the aviation sector. In arriving at its decision, the Government agreed that Shannon Development’s land bank would transfer to the new entity and that the enterprise and tourism functions of Shannon Development would transfer to IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Fáilte Ireland.

It is the Government’s intention that, as we move to establish the new entity in 2013, staff in Shannon Development will transfer to the new entity, IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, and to other public service bodies, as appropriate. However, I cannot, as of yet, give the exact numbers of staff transferring. The interim CEO of the new entity, who will be appointed shortly, will have a better indication of what the new entity’s staffing needs are once s/he is appointed.

Pension Provisions

 302. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton in view of the fact that a company (details supplied) has purchased smaller companies, if the employees of those smaller companies have been allowed to enter the Mercier pension. [56311/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Pension scheme in Ireland are generally set up on a voluntary basis and arrangements for access to a scheme would generally be a matter for negotiations between the employers, employees and trade unions. Where an employer does not provide employees with access to an occupational pension scheme within six months of the commencement of employment, then the employer must provide the employee with access to a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA). The employer’s obligations in this regard are to make a PRSAs available to the member, to deduct any contributions the employer wishes to make from pay and remit the employee’s contributions to the PRSA provider.

Carer's Allowance Payments

 303. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of persons who are in receipt of respite care grant but who are not in receipt of carer's allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [56583/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The respite care grant (RCG) is an annual payment made automatically to people in receipt of carer’s allowance, carer’s benefit, or domiciliary care allowance from my Department. Other people who are not in receipt of one of these payments, but who are providing full time care and attention can also apply for the grant via separate application.   The total number of persons in receipt of respite care grant at end November 2012 is approximately 70,000.

  The percentage of persons in receipt of RCG, who are not in receipt of a primary scheme, is 7%. The numbers of RCG, by scheme, who received the grant in 2012 are shown in Table 1.

Table 1 - Respite Care Grant Number of Carers (at end November 2012)   

Carer’s Allowance Carer’s Benefit Domiciliary Care Allowance Standalone RCG Total
38,000 * 1,000 26,000 5,000 70,000
    *Note - Approximately 52,000 people are in receipt of carer’s allowance, of whom approximately 14,000 are also in receipt of domiciliary care allowance. Persons who are in receipt of both receive one respite payment. These people are shown under domiciliary care allowance in the above table.

      The Government had to make very difficult decisions in the course of Budget 2013. In order to protect core weekly payments which people receive such as pensions, disability and carer’s allowance we had to look very carefully at other additional payment such as the respite care grant.

      As part of Budget 2013, the respite care grant is being reduced by €325 to €1,375 per annum. I am aware that this reduction in the grant is significant and has implications for carers and their families; however, given the enormous pressures on the expenditure of my Department, I am not in a position to reverse this decision.

  Questions Nos. 304 and 305 withdrawn.

Exceptional Needs Payments

 306. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the maximum rate at which rent support is payable in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56231/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The entitlement of the person concerned has recently been reassessed. An Exceptional Needs payment was issued in order to ensure all arrears have been paid in full. The person concerned is in receipt of their full entitlement to rent supplement based on their household circumstances.

Rent Supplement Scheme Applications

 307. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the reason rent support has not been paid since March 2012 in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56234/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned made an application for rent supplement on 4th   April 2012. Her application was incomplete and further documentation was requested. One of these was the provision of acceptable proof of having been previously living in rented accommodation for at least 183 days prior to her current claim. Acceptable proof would be a lease agreement in her name or a rent book showing payments over the previous year. Despite further requests to provide this information it was not forthcoming, and her claim was disallowed on this basis.

Back to Education Allowance Payments

 308. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when the full rate of back to education allowance will be paid in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56237/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The weekly rate of back to education allowance payable to the person concerned is €247.60 which is the entitlement assessed based on the information submitted to this Department. A fuel allowance of €20.00 per week is also in payment.

  Question No. 309 withdrawn.

Rent Supplement Scheme Applications

 310. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the maximum rent allowable at which rent support will be paid in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [56245/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton A review of the rent supplement claim of the person concerned in being undertaken at present and she will be informed of the outcome once the review is completed.

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

 311. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the reason rent allowance was not paid in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56249/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned did not receive a rent supplement payment at the end of November due to a temporary suspension on his primary payment. As this suspension has now been lifted, an Exceptional Needs Payment has been issued for arrears owed for November. The person concerned is now in receipt of their entitlement in full.

Jobseeker's Allowance Applications

 312. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if and when jobseeker's allowance will be paid in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56250/12]

 366. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if a basic social welfare payment is payable in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56739/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 312 and 366 together.

According to the Department’s records the person concerned has not made a claim for jobseeker’s allowance or basic supplementary welfare allowance. He should contact the local social welfare office, Eyre Street, Newbridge to establish his entitlement to jobseeker’s allowance and his local community welfare service office regarding his entitlement to supplementary welfare allowance.

  Question No. 313 withdrawn.

Community Employment Schemes Places

 314. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the supervisory arrangements for the proposed 2,500 extra places on the TÚS scheme and the 2000 on community employment; the way these places will be allocated; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [56266/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton As part of the budget package for my Department, I intend to extend the number of opportunities available on Tús by another 2,500 and community employment by 2,000. The allocation of these places and related supervisory provision will be in line with existing methodologies for these programmes and to ensure consistency with Pathways to Work and the recently published financial review of community employment.

Job Creation Issues

 315. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the details of the proposed local authority social scheme; if it is in fact a repackaged rural social scheme; the supervisory arrangements for same; the qualifying conditions for potential sponsors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56267/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Government, as part of the Budget package for 2013 announce a number of initiatives focused on providing work opportunities for those currently unemployed. The key elements of this package are to add an additional 2,000 places on community employment, 2,500 to Tús – the community work placement initiative - and the development of a new initiative with local authorities to provide 3,000 opportunities in 2013. This is in line with the commitments set out in the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work.

Development work on this new initiative will begin in the coming weeks with the local authorities. The design and work to be undertaken under this new initiative will require consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, including those bodies responsible for the delivery of other schemes funded by the Department of Social Protection, including the rural social scheme. The Deputy should note that both the rural social scheme and Tús are dependent on the community, voluntary and not-for-profit sector to provide the work placement opportunities. Local authorities or other public bodies are not eligible for support from these schemes.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Payments

 316. 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 the rate of domiciliary care allowance that will apply in 2013. [56282/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The current rate for domiciliary care allowance is €309.50 per month. This is also the monthly rate of payment that will apply in 2013.

  Questions Nos. 317 to 319, inclusive, withdrawn.


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