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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 122-131
 Header Item Flood Relief Schemes Funding
 Header Item National Lottery Regulator Establishment
 Header Item National Lottery Licence Sale
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Recruitment
 Header Item National Lottery Licence Sale
 Header Item Office of Public Works Staff
 Header Item Corporate Governance
 Header Item Job Losses
 Header Item Local Enterprise Offices Establishment

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 830 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 122-131

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

 122. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the level of funding provided and works required to deal with flooding in Raheny village; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7413/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Dublin City Council was allocated funding of €135,000 in 2011 under the Office of Public Work's (OPW) Minor Flood Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for flood mitigation works in the area referred to by the Deputy. The identification of the works required to address the problem and the progression of those works is a matter for the Council. The OPW understands that Phase 1 of the flood alleviation works upstream of Harmonstown Road Bridge is complete and that the Council is currently progressing with the design of Phase 2 of the scheme. The Council has indicated that the completed Phase 1 defences on their own will significantly reduce the flood risk to buildings in the Raheny Village area.

National Lottery Regulator Establishment

 123. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide a complete breakdown of the Estimate of €552,000 for the establishment of the new lottery regulator; the way the Estimate figure was arrived at; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7234/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The €552,000 figure is a provisional estimate of the once-off potential costs associated with the establishment of the Regulator's office.   It relates to the costs for staffing, accommodation, development of an IT system, office furniture and other start-up costs. No monies have been spent to date. Details of spending will be furnished to the Oireachtas as is normal.

  The Regulator's Office will be fully funded by an annual levy payable by the operator of the next National Lottery licence from the time the new licence comes into effect.   It is envisaged that the licence, which is currently being finalised, will come into effect before the end of 2014.   Therefore, the Exchequer will not need to meet any costs associated with the Regulator's office in future years. 

  The decision to separate the regulatory function from the Department has been vindicated by the conclusion of the competitive process which will yield €405 million to the State, in addition to annual revenues for Good Causes, and which will support a series of job-rich projects and contribute to the building of the new National Children's Hospital.

  This issue was subject to a full debate as the legislation passed through the Houses.

National Lottery Licence Sale

 124. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide a breakdown of the total costs in respect of the sale of the national lottery licence, including consultancy fees paid to a company (details supplied), and a complete breakdown of this and all other costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7235/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Three payments totalling €693,750 (excluding VAT) have been made to Davy Corporate Finance to date under a contract to provide financial and commercial advice regarding the National Lottery licence competition, which was agreed in October 2012.  The total payment to Davy Corporate Finance is expected to be €1,156,250 (excluding VAT).  I expect the licence to be finalised shortly so the contract will have covered a 17 month period. 

A payment of €500 (excluding VAT) was made to Davy Corporate Finance in relation to a separate study on options for the next National Lottery licence which it carried out in early 2012. 

Departmental costs of approximately €4,700 have been incurred in relation to the overall process, primarily relating to travel and subsistence and access to online Lottery publications. 

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

 125. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin his policy for the internal advertising of Civil Service jobs; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that jobs are being advertised internally for those on a temporary contract; his views on whether this is fair particularly to those who may have recently finished on their temporary contract and are therefore precluded from applying; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7237/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Since 2004, recruitment to the Civil Service has taken place under the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004. This legislation established the Commission for Public Service Appointments (CPSA), the body which licences, regulates and audits recruitment processes. Recruitment processes are governed by the provisions of the Act as applied under Codes of Practice prescribed by the CPSA.  The bulk of appointments to the Civil Service are made under the general Code of Practice for Appointment to the Civil and Public Service which covers the majority of recruitment to the Civil Service. The CPSA has also published a Code of Practice for Atypical Appointments to the Civil Service and Certain Public Service Bodies. Under the Atypical Code, a confined process may be held where it is deemed appropriate that the selection process be confined to unestablished civil servants. Departments and Offices have the option of using such a confined process.

In respect of the competition referred by the Deputy, the Revenue Commissioners identified an urgent need to appoint a small number of Clerical Officers to mission critical posts in the Collector General's Office in Limerick. The appointments were deemed necessary to ensure the continued effective operation of the revenue collection system and will be deployed primarily for Local Property Tax (LPT) duties.  No suitable staff were available on the public service redeployment panel and sanction to recruit 21 Clerical Officers was granted by my Department in December 2013.  

 Arising from the urgency of the matter and the relatively small number of posts to be filled, in the interest of efficiency it was decided to run an atypical recruitment process under the CPSA Atypical Code. The process was confined to serving Temporary Clerical Officers in Revenue including a cohort of temporary clerical staff with the skills and experience required who were currently operating on critical LPT duties and who had been recruited through a Public Appointments Service process. The competition was also open to serving Service Officers, Service Attendants in Revenue who had become eligible to apply as result of the operation of the General Council Agreement on Cross-Stream Promotion in the Civil Service.

 I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the closing date for applications was 24 January 2014.  A total of 98 applications for the positions have been received. Interviews are due to commence on 17 February 2014 in Limerick.  Under the CPSA Atypical code only serving staff are eligible to compete.

National Lottery Licence Sale

 126. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the amount his Department spent on external advisers and consultants in relation to the competition for the national lottery licence; the number of consultants hired; the hourly rate; the number of hours they worked in total; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7252/14]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin In October 2012, I announced the appointment, following an open competitive tendering process, of Davy Corporate Finance as financial and commercial advisers to the Department in relation to the next National Lottery licence.   Under the contract, Davy Corporate Finance is being assisted by Q-Lot, an international firm with expertise in lotteries. 

  Davy Corporate Finance is being paid a fee on the basis of reaching of a number of milestones during the process rather than on the basis of an hourly or daily rate. 

  Three payments totalling €693,750 (excluding VAT) have been made to Davy Corporate Finance to date in relation to the competition for the next National Lottery licence.   The total payment to Davy Corporate Finance is expected to be €1,156,250 (excluding VAT).   I expect the licence to be finalised shortly so the contract will have covered a 17 month period.

  Question No. 127 answered with Question No. 120.

Office of Public Works Staff

 128. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the number of engineers and technical staff who have left the flood management section over the past five years and not been replaced; the amount of money paid during that time on reports carried out by external engineers; and the number of those reports that were commissioned to Irish-based engineers and companies.  [7347/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The engineering and technical staff numbers employed in the flood management section of the Office of Public Works (OPW) has reduced by 3 over the past five years.

In carrying out its work in the flood risk management area the OPW has always used the services of external engineering consultancy firms to assist in the development and delivery of flood relief schemes and in the ongoing work associated with flood risk assessment and management such as, for example, the CFRAM Programme. Such external consultants would prepare reports as an integral and routine part of the work they are engaged in. The fees paid to the consultants would incorporate the production of any such routine reports.

Outside of the normal, ongoing work, the OPW flood management section commissioned one report of a once off nature during the last five years from external engineers at a cost of €68,611 (excl. VAT). This report was prepared by a UK based company with a significant operational presence in Ireland.

Corporate Governance

 129. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will be enhancing the powers of the Director of Corporate Enforcement to ensure a more successful prosecution of white-collar crimes and provide more dissuasive sanctions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7249/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I have no further plans to enhance the powers of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. The Director previously brought to my attention that section 77 of the Finance Act 2011 inserted a new section into the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 which restricted the amount of information from the Revenue Commissioners that the Director could properly obtain and use in support of his investigative and civil enforcement work under the Companies Acts. Section 6 of the Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013, which was enacted on 24 December 2013, has resolved this difficulty.

Section 5 of the 2013 Act also provided that if a designated officer of the Director is named in a search warrant and subsequently ceases to be an officer of the Director, or is otherwise unable to act, that another designated officer may apply to a judge of the District Court for an order that his or her name be substituted for the original designated officer’s name on the search warrant. That amendment was also made on foot of a request from the Director.

Sanctions for breaches of company law are addressed in the Companies Bill 2012 which it is hoped will be enacted by year end. One of the innovations in the Bill is set out in section 872 and it involves the introduction of a new four-tier categorisation of offences. All offences are clearly identified and categorised throughout the Bill and the associated sanctions are clearly set out.

This reform follows on from a recommendation of the Company Law Review Group (the statutory body tasked with the responsibility of examining company law and making recommendations to me). It is proposed that, subject to a small number of exceptions in the case of the most serious offences which are covered by separate legislation, that all offences under the Companies Acts should be categorised according to this four-tier scheme.

Category 1 offences carry, following conviction on indictment, a term of imprisonment up to 10 years and/or a €500,000 fine. A summary prosecution for a category 1 offence will result in a Class A fine (as defined in the Fines Act 2010. The maximum is €6348.69 and/or a term of imprisonment up to 12 months. An example of a category 1 offence is set out in section 723. This concerns the offence of fraudulent trading with intent to defraud creditors.

A category 2 offence carries a similar penalty for a summary conviction and for a conviction on indictment, will result in imprisonment of up to 5 years and/or a €50,000 fine. For example, if a company enters into a transaction in contravention of section 240 (prohibition of loans etc. to directors and connected persons) any officer who is in default of this prohibition shall be guilty of a category 2 offence.

Category 3 is a summary offence only, attracting a term of up to 6 months’ imprisonment and/or a Class A fine. An example of category 3 offence is to be found in section 394. If a statutory auditor fails to notify the Director of Corporate Enforcement and Registrar of Companies of his or her opinion that a company has committed a category 1 or 2 offence then he or she shall be guilty of a category 3 offence.

Category 4 offences can also only be tried summarily and are punishable by imposition of a Class A fine.

A further new provision has been introduced at section 873 where it is proposed that, following a conviction for an offence under this Bill, the trial court may order that the convicted person should remedy any breach of the Bill in respect of which they were convicted.

Job Losses

 130. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will request IDA Ireland to ensure that steps are taken to match those being made redundant at a company (details supplied) in Newbridge with appropriate vacancies that may arise at a company in Naas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7306/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton It is unfortunate that due to over capacity factors affecting the parent company, some redundancies were announced in this plant in Newbridge late last year, involving slightly over one fifth of the total workforce at that facility. These redundancies are scheduled to take place throughout 2014. The company is currently working through the redundancy programme and, thankfully, a significant proportion of the jobs to be lost will be effected on a voluntary basis. The company is actively working with the employees concerned to identify new employment opportunities. IDA Ireland is working closely with the company as this process develops.

With regard to pursuing alternative employment opportunities for the staff concerned, the Government have been pursuing the adoption of a better approach as to how the State engages with and supports the unemployed to get back into the workforce. This cross organisational approach is reflected in the Protocol for Cooperation recently agreed between the Department of Social Protection, my Department, the Enterprise Development Agencies and the County Enterprise Boards. The main aim of this Protocol is to maximise the recruitment of appropriately skilled personnel from the Live Register by the client companies of the enterprise agencies. This initiative will lead to the development of more structured links and enhanced cooperation between the relevant State bodies.

Job creation prospects in a new company operation in Naas, which was supported by my Department through Enterprise Ireland, represent a very exciting opportunity for County Kildare and I look forward to that project developing as planned.

In relation to the wider work of the IDA, at present there are currently 25 IDA Ireland supported companies in Kildare employing approximately 10,172 people.

Regarding the Pharmaceutical sector overall in Ireland, while occasional job losses arise, due to globalisation, consolidation and patent expiry factors, it should be noted that employment in that sector overall has shown growth over the past 4 years, with an additional 2,000 net new jobs having been created in Ireland and 4 more companies now operating here.

In addition, further significant new investments in the Pharmaceutical sector have been recently announced; to create approximately 550 additional jobs in different centres around the country. IDA is confident that there will be other investment announcements during 2014.

Local Enterprise Offices Establishment

 131. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the way the new one-stop shop for small business will operate; if he will provide details of its staffing levels and budget for 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7402/14]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton When established, the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) will become the first-stop-shop through which information on national and local supports for business can be accessed, where new start-up and micro-enterprises can be grant-aided, where small businesses can receive training and mentoring, and where businesses with clear high growth potential can be fast-tracked to the next level of support from Enterprise Ireland. The 31 LEO offices, with a dedicated complement of 122 CEB and 50 Local Authority staff, supported by 40 Local Authority liaison personnel, will be the local hub for enterprise support, delivering a comprehensive service to local entrepreneurs and businesses.

The new service means that national enterprise policy and local business supports will be brought together to strengthen the local business culture and environment, combining the best of the County Enterprise Boards and the Local Authorities. The newly established Centre of Excellence within Enterprise Ireland will be responsible for developing an improved environment for small and micro business and bring this sector into the heart of national enterprise policy. A robust Service Level Agreement between Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities will provide a framework for the delivery of an enhanced service to micro and small enterprises and will be periodically reviewed to ensure that impact and value for money are being optimised via the LEO network.

Each LEO will develop a local plan for boosting enterprise. Key targets in the local plan will be new business start-ups, business expansions and jobs created or sustained as well as wider economic impacts such as exports, mentoring, training and enterprise promotion. The Local Authorities will also bring new initiatives and opportunities for supporting local enterprise.

The Exchequer allocation, as secured by my Department, will continue to be the primary source of funding for the LEOs. A total of €29.4m has been allocated for the CEBs/LEOs in 2014 and this includes an additional 3.5 million which will be targeted at a suite of new initiatives focussed on youth entrepreneurship and young people with a business idea who wish to start their own business. It is also anticipated that Local Authorities will provide funds for other related activities particularly in relation to enterprise promotion through their normal budgetary processes.


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