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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 129-142
 Header Item Protected Disclosures
 Header Item NAMA Portfolio
 Header Item Tax Code
 Header Item Insurance Costs
 Header Item Tracker Mortgages
 Header Item Insurance Coverage
 Header Item Motor Insurance
 Header Item Credit Institutions Resolution Fund
 Header Item Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland
 Header Item Third Level Funding
 Header Item Further Education and Training Programmes Provision
 Header Item School Guidance Counsellors
 Header Item Third Level Institutions

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 944 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 129-142

Protected Disclosures

 129. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the process within his Department for dealing with protected disclosures under the 2014 Act; if the examinations of such disclosures are carried out by an independent authority or persons other than those within the organisation to which the disclosure refers; the number of disclosures received by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15075/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I can advise the Deputy that my Department promotes a culture where members of staff are encouraged and supported in 'speaking up' on any issue that may impact adversely on the Department's ability to properly and fully carry out all its roles and responsibilities.

The Department's Protected Disclosures Policy and Procedures document of May 2015 was recently reviewed and updated following the issuing of guidance from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the revised Policy document was circulated to all Department staff last month.

Those officials who have been designated as a potential recipient of a Protected Disclosure under the Department's Policy Document recently received in-depth training from an external legal expert with experience in protected disclosures on the Protected Disclosures Act and the associated processes of dealing with a Protected Disclosure.  In the past month, three information sessions have also been held for staff on the legislation and the process of making a disclosure.

Under the Department's Policy, a disclosure can be made to the Department's Head of Compliance, Head of Legal Unit, to a Principal Officer, a member of the Executive Board or the Secretary General. The Policy provides that the appropriate contact for any disclosures outside the normal reporting channels is the Head of Internal Audit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. A disclosure however can also be made outside of these normal reporting channels; for example to: a legal advisor, a Minister of the Government, and a 'prescribed person' under SI 339 of 2014 and SI 448 of 2015.

The Deputy may wish to note that I understand that the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform is in the process of establishing a multi-supplier framework agreement for third parties to provide services to public bodies related to the Protected Disclosures Act.

Under the Department's Protected Disclosures Policy, when a recipient receives a Protected Disclosure they must undertake an initial assessment within 14 days of receipt of the disclosure. If the recipient determines that an investigation is required, the Secretary General will then nominate a senior official to investigate the matter.  The fact of such an investigation will be reported to the Head of Internal Audit.  Both the Secretary General and the Head of Internal Audit will also be advised of the outcome and any recommendations arising.  The individual making a disclosure will be advised of the progress and outcome of the investigation as appropriate having regard to the nature of the matters investigated, of the outcome of the investigation.  Some matters, however, may be of such seriousness that the investigation will more appropriately be carried out externally or by professional experts and in some cases may need to be reported to An Garda Síochána or another body with the statutory power and function of investigation of particular matters.

As provided for under Section 22 of the Act, a report will also be prepared and published on an annual basis setting out the number of disclosures made to the Department in the previous year, the actions taken in response to those disclosures and any other information as may be requested by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform under the Act.  In 2015, there were no Protected Disclosures made to the Department. Details concerning 2016 will be published on the Department's website shortly.

My Department is strongly committed that any appropriate issue raised by a member of staff relating to a matter connected to the conduct of the business of the Department will be dealt with professionally and appropriately.

NAMA Portfolio

 130. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the detail of all NAMA properties in County Sligo which are currently available for purchase; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15093/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Deputy will be aware that NAMA does not own property.  NAMA acquired loans and its role is, like a bank, that of a secured lender. NAMA holds security over properties that are owned by its debtors or, in the case of enforcement, which are managed on behalf of those debtors by duly appointed insolvency practitioners. As a result, where properties which secure NAMA loans are brought forward for sale, such sales processes are managed by the relevant debtor or insolvency practitioner.

  The NAMA website (https://www.nama.ie/property/) includes a list of properties to which receivers have been appointed and which are either for sale or are likely to be offered for sale through receivers in the near future.  The NAMA website does not include properties being sold by NAMA debtors or their agents, as to do so would identify NAMA debtors and NAMA is legally precluded from doing so. Properties for sale by NAMA debtors, their agents or receivers are sold on the open market and are advertised through the usual sales channels and property websites.

  I am advised by NAMA that its debtors and receivers control only a small number of properties in County Sligo and that these are either being prepared for sale or are the subject of court actions.  I am further advised by NAMA that there are currently no properties securing NAMA loans for sale in County Sligo.

Tax Code

 131. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan his plans and those of the agencies under the aegis of his Department to respond to the new investment environment faced by US multinationals with a presence here under the new US Administration; his particular plans to respond to these new challenges to Ireland's successful inward investment strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15152/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I assume that the Question is referring to the potential for tax reform under the new US administration.  While a number of proposals are being openly discussed in the context of the debate on US tax reform, the new US administration has yet to set-out its own proposals, though it is clear that tax reform is a priority.

The implications for Ireland and other jurisdictions will depend on the exact nature of any changes which are ultimately proposed.  Agreement between the House of Representatives, the Senate and the President is needed for any changes to be enacted.

Global business, from the US or elsewhere, will always need to have operations in the EU, as a major market, and Ireland will remain very competitive and attractive as an EU location to invest in and do business from.  While we will remain responsive to changing demands, it is also important that we offer certainty to international business.

My Department is tracking the debate closely and we continue to engage across the Government system and with business and others to ensure Ireland is well placed to continue to compete in this environment.

Insurance Costs

 132. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the cost of insurance under different insurance headings such as public liability, buildings cover, employer liability and so on for his Department and each body under its aegis; the name of the insurance provider for each year since 2010, in tabular form; the number of current outstanding insurance claims against his Department or the body under its aegis; the estimated cost of those claims if available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15180/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department operates under State Indemnity, a self-insurance model whereby the State bears the financial risk associated with the cost of claims. The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) is designated as the State Claims Agency (SCA) when performing the claims and risk management functions delegated to it under the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2000.

  Since the establishment of the SCA, the management of claims functions has been delegated to the Agency. It currently manages claims and risks on behalf of 139 delegated State Authorities.

  I also wish to advise the Deputy that of the 18 bodies under the aegis of my Department, 15 have provided the information sought and this is set out in the following table.  It was not possible for the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, Irish Financial Services Appeal Tribunal and the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation to provide the information sought in the time available and therefore I will make arrangements to provide the outstanding information in line with Standing Orders.

BodyInsurance coverInsurance providerOutstanding claims & Estimated cost
Strategic Banking

Corporation of Ireland
2010-2015

2016:

Professional Liability €78,750



Public Liability & Employer's Liability €12,968
Nil



AIG



Aviva & Chubb Insurance





Nil
Irish Fiscal Advisory Council



Established in 2011: €875 all-in insurance



2012: €1,1750 all-in insurance from the ESRI

2013: €1,1750 all-in insurance from the ESRI

IFAC was delegated to the SCA in April 2014 for the purposes of all-in insurance, save for Travel Insurance as set out below.

2014: €819.55 travel insurance



2015: €860.52 travel insurance



2016: €900.51 travel insurance
ESRI



ESRI





ESRI

RSA



RSA



RSA

















Nil
Office of the Revenue CommissionersRevenue is a State authority covered under State indemnity managed by the SCA, save for the provisions below.

2010:

Hull & Machinery €23,057

Protection & Indemnity €11,982

2011:

Hull & Machinery €23,450

Protection & Indemnity €12,180

2012:

Hull & Machinery €24,625

Protection & Indemnity €14,616

2013:

Hull & Machinery €24,625

Protection & Indemnity €15,492



2014:

Hull & Machinery €21,000

Protection & Indemnity €11,000

Hull & Machinery on Seized Vessels €6,000



2015:

Hull & Machinery €21,000

Protection & Indemnity €8,500

Hull & Machinery on Seized Vessels €11,000



2016:

Hull & Machinery €20,200

Protection & Indemnity €3,600

Hull & Machinery on Seized Vessels €12,000




British Marine





British Marine





British Marine





British Marine







Allianz

Lodestar Insurance

Arthur J. Gallagher Int.







Allianz

Lodestar Insurance

Arthur J. Gallagher Int.







Allianz

British Marine

Arthur J. Gallagher Int.






















Nil
Tax Appeals CommissionThe Tax Appeals Commission is a State authority covered under State indemnity managed by the SCA.N/A 
Central Bank2010/11

Combined Liability €82,140

Commercial Combined €53,906

Excess E/ers Liability €2,575

Computer €4,949

Engineering €10,593

Motor Fleet €5,388

Travel Insurance €5,665

Cargo €550

Money €5,150



2011/12

Combined Liability €108,799

Commercial Combined €55,327

Excess E/ers Liability €4,017

Computer €5,643

Engineering €10,593

Motor Fleet €4,977

Travel Insurance €5,304

Cargo   €2,200

Money €10,000 



2012/13

Combined Liability €53,585

Commercial Combined €58,000

Excess E/ers Liability €6,150

Computer €4,933

Engineering   €9,262

Motor Fleet €4,300

Travel Insurance €4,677

Cargo €1,750

Money €10,000 



2013/14

Combined Liability €58,000

Commercial Combined €65,600

Excess E/ers Liability €6,150

Computer €4,193

Engineering €10,887

Motor Fleet €4,300

Travel Insurance €5,395

Cargo €2,900

Money €10,000 



2014/15

Combined Liability €55,356

Commercial Combined €64,657

Excess E/ers Liability €6,150

Computer €2,870

Engineering €11,956

Motor Fleet €12,688

Travel Insurance €5,381

Cargo €2,900

Money  €9,250



2015/16

Combined Liability €59,683

Commercial Combined €55,681

Excess E/ers Liability €6,150

Computer €2,726

Engineering Inspection  €14,638

Motor Fleet €11,738

Travel Insurance €5,650

Cargo €2,750

Money €10,800



2016/17

Combined Liability €90,000

Commercial Combined €72,783

Excess E/ers Liability €6,150

Computer €2,590

Engineering €2,804

Engineering Inspection  €15,000

Motor Fleet €13,635

Travel Insurance €6,295

Cargo €2,300

Money €7,869.32

2010/11

Liberty Insurance

AIG Europe

ACE European Group

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

Zurich Insurance Plc

AIG Europe

Northern Marine Underwriters Ltd

Lloyd's UK Market



2011/12

Liberty Insurance

AIG Europe

ACE European Group

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

Zurich Insurance Plc

AIG Europe

Northern Marine Underwriters Ltd

Lloyd's UK Market



2012/13

Liberty Insurance

AIG Europe

ACE European Group

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

Zurich Insurance Plc

AIG Europe

Northern Marine Underwriters Ltd

Lloyd's UK Market



2013/14

Travelers

AIG Europe

ACE European Group

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

RSA Insurance Ltd

Zurich Insurance Plc

AIG Europe

Northern Marine Underwriters Ltd

Lloyd's UK Market





2014/15

Liberty Insurance

AIG Europe

ACE European Group

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

Zurich Insurance Plc

AIG Europe

Northern Marine Underwriters Ltd

Lloyd's UK Market



2015/16

Liberty Insurance

AIG Europe

ACE European Group

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

Zurich Insurance Plc

AIG Europe

Northern Marine Underwriters Ltd

Lloyd's UK Market



2016//17

Travelers Insurance

AIG Europe

ACE European Group

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

RSA Insurance Ire Ltd

Vertigo Inspection Ltd

Zurich Insurance Plc

AIG Europe

Northern Marine Underwriters Ltd

Lloyd's UK Market



Nil





















Nil























Nil

















2014: 2 claims

€48,057.85

(Paid €47,557.85/

Reserve €500)



Reserve €78,000













2015: 3 claims

€435,330 (Reserve €330/€400,000/€35,000)

















2016: 1 claim

Reserve €701

















Nil
Investor Compensation Company LtdICCL are covered under Central Bank of Ireland insurance policies for the risks specified.



ICCL has arranged specie insurance to cover the cost of statutory compensation claims in circumstances where the annual cost of claims to the ICCL would exceed €15m.
N/A 
Credit Union Advisory CommitteeCUAC is covered under the State Claims Agency therefore no direct insurance costs are incurred.

N/A 
Credit Union Restructuring Board REBO is covered under the State Claims Agency therefore no direct insurance costs are incurred.

N/A 
Credit ReviewerThe Credit Reviewer is covered under Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland provides full business services to the CRO, therefore no direct insurance costs are incurred.N/A 
Comptroller and Auditor GeneralC&AG is a State authority covered under State indemnity managed by the SCA.N/A 
National Asset Management AgencyNAMA is a State authority covered under State indemnity managed by the SCA, save for the provisions below covering property managed by the Agency.

2011:

Buildings  €3,600

Buildings  €4,579

Public Liability  €6,356



2012:

Buildings  €4,813

Public Liability  €6,563

Buildings  €4,160

Public Liability  €788



2013:

Buildings €9,639

Public Liability €6,563

Buildings €4,005

Public Liability €261



2014:

Buildings €26,570

Buildings €10,253

Public Liability €79

2015: Buildings €71,030



2016: Buildings €115,229



2017: Buildings €6,300






Contess

IPB Mutual

IPB Mutual





IPB Mutual

IPB Mutual

AIG Europe

AIG Europe





IPB Mutual

IPB Mutual

AIG Europe

AIG Europe





IPB Mutual

AIG Europe

AIG Europe

IPB Mutual



IPB Mutual



IPB Mutual





















Nil
National Treasury Management AgencyNTMA (including NAMA) is a State authority covered under State indemnity managed by the SCA, save for the provisions below.

Contents and computers cover:

2010  €6,585

2011 - €6,578

2012 - €6,489

2013 - €7,332

2014 - €8,945

2015 - €9,595

2016 - €10,095

2017 - €10,128












Aviva

Northern Marine Underwriters














Nil
Social Finance Foundation2010:

Public Liability  €2,641.95

Buildings   €473.44



2011:

Public Liability  €2,111.50

Buildings   €473.44



2012:

Public Liability  €2,152.50

Buildings   €482.63



2013:

Public Liability  €2,152.50

Buildings   €505.97



2014:

Public Liability  €2,152.50

Buildings   €531.97



2015:

Public Liability  €2,152.50

Buildings   €566



2016:

Public Liability  €2,158.80

Buildings   €649.13


JLT Ireland







JLT Ireland







JLT Ireland







JLT Ireland







JLT Ireland







JLT Ireland





JLT Ireland
















Nil


















Financial Services Ombudsman Bureau





Financial Services Ombudsman Council











2010/2011

Management Liability €17,200

Crime  €2,800

Employment Practices Liability €3,000

Data Guard  €2,400

PA/Travel  €1,000

Office combined €3,579.95

Motor Contingency  €960



2011/2012:

Management Liability €17,200

Crime  €2,800

Employment Practices Liability €3,000

Data Guard  €2,400

PA/Travel  €1,000

Office combined €3,331.77

Motor Contingency  €900



2012/2013

Management Liability €17,200

Crime  €2,800

Employment Practices Liability €3,000

Data Guard  €2,100

PA/Travel  €1,000

Office combined €3,276.72

Motor Contingency  €900

Computer €250



2013/2014

Management Liability €17,200

Crime  €2,800

Employment Practices Liability €3,000

Data Guard  €2,050

PA/Travel  €1,000

Office combined €3,276.72

Motor Contingency  €900

Computer €250



2014/2015

Management Liability €17,200

Crime  €2,800

Employment Practices Liability €3,000

Data Guard  €2,050

PA/Travel  €1,000

Office combined €3,441.22

Motor Contingency  €900

Computer €250



2015/2016

Management Liability €17,200

Crime  €2,800

Employment Practices Liability €3,000

Data Guard  €2,050

PA/Travel  €950

Office combined €3,673.22

Motor Contingency  €900

Computer €250



2016/2017:

Management Liability €17,200

Crime  €2,800

Employment Practices Liability €3,000

Data Guard  €2,050

PA/Travel  €902.50

Office combined €2,700

Motor Contingency  €963

Computer  €250

Excess Employers Liability  €940


Chartis Ireland

ACE Group

Chartis Ireland

ACE Group

Chartis Ireland

RSA Group

RSA Group



Chartis Ireland

ACE Group

Chartis Ireland

ACE Group

Chartis Ireland

RSA Group

RSA Group





Chartis Ireland

ACE Group

Chartis Ireland

ACE Group

Chartis Ireland

RSA Group

RSA Group

RSA Group





AIG Europe Ltd

ACE Group

AIG Europe Ltd

ACE Group

AIG Europe Ltd

RSA Group

RSA Group

RSA Group





AIG Europe Ltd

ACE Group

AIG Europe Ltd

ACE Group

AIG Europe Ltd

RSA Group

RSA Group

RSA Group



AIG Europe Ltd

ACE Group

AIG Europe Ltd

ACE Group

AIG Europe Ltd

RSA Group

RSA Group

RSA Group





AIG Europe Ltd.

ACE/Chubb

AIG Europe Ltd.

ACE/Chubb

AIG Europe Ltd.

Hiscox Insurance Co.

RSA Group

RSA Group

ACE/Chubb






















Nil


The referred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Tracker Mortgages

 133. Deputy James Lawless Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan when the Central Bank tracker mortgage review will inform affected customers of the reinstatement of their tracker mortgages; when the associated refunds will be issued; if he will be recommending a level of compensation for persons who have had their tracker mortgages reinstated before the Central Bank tracker review was initiated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15286/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Deputy may wish to note that the Central Bank of Ireland published a further update report on the Examination of Tracker Mortgage Related Issues on 23 March 2017 and that this is available on its website at: http://www.centralbank.ie/press-area/press-releases/Pages/updatereportoncontinuingExaminationofTrackerMortgageIssues.aspx.

  The report is the latest in a series of status updates since the Examination commenced and sets out the progress being made by lenders in completing the review. The Examination Framework, the Principles for Redress and the Appeals Process set out by the Central Bank have also been published, in conjunction with the report.  The report also sets out information on the Central Bank's enforcement powers and activity in response to the tracker mortgage issues identified to date.  In addition to this Central Bank mandated process, it should be noted that if impacted customers are still not happy with the outcome of the process (including in relation to the level of compensation and redress), they will have the option of bringing a complaint to the independent statutory Financial Services Ombudsman or initiating court proceedings.

Insurance Coverage

 134. Deputy Declan Breathnach Information on Declan Breathnach Zoom on Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan his plans to regulate for insurance for hobby drone users; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the two insurance companies here underwritten by UK companies that offer insurance cover for drones will not cover drones used by amateurs and hobbyists; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that there have been a number of accidents and damage to property caused by drones operated by amateurs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15299/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Deputy's  question seems to refer to the issue of whether the State should make it a requirement for drone users to have insurance cover before drones can be used, because of the risk of third party damage. In this regard, it should be noted that insurance for activities is not generally a compulsory requirement, with the obvious exception of motor insurance. Any decision to make it compulsory would have to be made by those more familiar with the risks associated with the use of drones. In this regard, I understand that the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA)  requires all drones weighing more than 1 kg or more to be registered. I also understand that the IAA  encourages all drone users (recreational and commercial) to familiarise themselves with all rules and regulations  relating to drone safety prior to use.  In addition the IAA provides information on the safe use of drones at www.iaa.ie/general-aviation/drones.

  As Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation including insurance. Neither I nor the Central Bank of Ireland can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance which expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products. Therefore the question of whether an insurance provider is willing to cover the risk of drones used by amateurs and hobbyists will be based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept.

Motor Insurance

 135. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the options open to persons that wish to purchase motor insurance in another EU state to avail of lower premiums for a vehicle registered and based here with regard to the free movement of goods and services across the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15385/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The issue of persons being able to purchase motor insurance in another EU Member to avail of lower premiums for a vehicle registered and based in Ireland was considered by the Cost of Insurance Working Group in its recent Report. Its conclusion was that it is not possible under the current legislative framework to provide for individuals to source motor insurance for Irish registered vehicles from insurers in other Member States.

In coming to this conclusion, it examined the existing legal and regulatory framework for the provision of insurance in the European Union (EU), as well as Irish law.  The EU framework allows for the freedom to provide services from one Member State into another throughout the Union. This is a key principle of the European Union and is availed of by a number of insurance firms established in Ireland in order to conduct business into other EU Member States, and also by companies authorised elsewhere conducting business into the Irish market. This can be done either through:

- establishing a branch operation in the host country and thus conducting business on a 'freedom of establishment' (FOE) basis; or

- writing business from the home country (i.e. where authorised) into the host country on a 'freedom of services' (FOS) basis.

In both situations for companies wishing to do business in Ireland,  there is a requirement to become a member of the national bureau ( Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland (MIBI)) under Section 78 of the Road Traffic Act. This is an important requirement as the MIBI is the body in Ireland tasked with meeting the EU requirement of compensating victims of accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles.  This position has been upheld in the case of DPP v Lepina and Suhanovs where one of the conclusions was that a vehicle registered in the State must be insured by a vehicle insurer that is a member of the national bureau (MIBI).

In summary, therefore a vehicle registered and based in Ireland can legally only take out insurance with a company who is a member of MIBI which means that by definition they cannot purchase motor insurance in another Member State where such companies will be members only of their own national bureau.

This is a complex issue which would require a solution at EU level.  The Working Group therefore recommended that my Department support efforts and raise awareness of the need to improve cross-border motor insurance provision at the European level.  This work is ongoing and my officials continue to monitor the issue and raise it in the relevant forums.

Credit Institutions Resolution Fund

 136. Deputy Peter Burke Information on Peter Burke Zoom on Peter Burke asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the amount of money that has been paid into the Credit Institutions Resolution Fund since its establishment in 2012; the names of the credit institutions that have contributed; the amount they have contributed for each of the years since 2012; the amounts that have been paid out and to whom; the amount in the fund presently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15461/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Government put €250 million into the Credit Institutions Resolution Fund which was established by section 10(1) of the Central Bank and Credit Institutions (Resolution) Act 2011 (as amended) (2011 Act). The Central Bank manages and administers the Resolution Fund. The purpose of the Resolution Fund under the 2011 Act is to provide a source of funding for the resolution of financial instability in, or an imminent serious threat to the financial stability of, an authorised credit institution. In particular the Resolution Fund may be used for:

  - the payment of financial incentives for transfers;

  - providing capital for a bridge bank (details of a bridge bank are set out in Part 4 of the 2011 Act);

  - meeting the expenses of the Central Bank incurred when discharging functions under the Act, and

  - making certain payments under the Act, for example, the payment of expenses to an assessor appointed under the Act.

  To date, the resources of the Resolution Fund have been utilised to fund the resolution of 5 credit unions. In the case of 3 of those credit unions, the resolution action taken was a directed transfer under the 2011 Act, and the Resolution Fund funded a financial incentive for the transferee. The 2 remaining cases were liquidation cases, where no incentive was paid from the Resolution Fund in respect of those resolutions. In each of the 5 cases, the Central Bank discharged its third party resolution-related costs against the Resolution Fund.

  The amount paid or payable to date in relation to resolution cases from the Resolution Fund is circa €31.3 million. This was for incentives paid in each of the 3 outlined credit union transfer resolution cases as follows:

  - Newbridge Credit Union Limited: c €27 million

  - Howth Sutton Credit Union Limited: €2.15 million

  - Killorglin Credit Union Limited: €2.15 million

  The Resolution Fund is administered by the Central Bank and I have been informed that the names of the individual institutions that have contributed to the fund cannot be provided due to confidentiality reasons. Under section 12(2) of the Resolution Act 2011, the Minister for Finance is entitled to be reimbursed from the Resolution Fund for all contributions to the fund and for any financial incentive provided.

  All credit institutions as defined in the 2011 Act excluding those exempted under section 3(2) paid into the Resolution Fund in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In 2015 the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) was adopted and Member States banks were required to pay into a separate domestic BRRD fund. In 2016 Irish banks came under the remit of the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) and all BRRD contributions were transferred to that fund. As credit unions do not come within the scope of the BRRD they have remained within the Resolution Fund. As per the financial statements for the Resolution Fund the following levies have been collected to date:

  - Period 28 October 2011 to 31 December 2012 - €2.445 million

  - Year ended 31 December 2013 - €9.621 million

  - Year ended 31 December 2014 - €9.299 million

  - Year ended 31 December 2015 - €7.310 million

  - Year ended 31 December 2016 - €7.659 million 

  I have been informed by the Central Bank that to date, as per the financial statements, net resolution costs of circa €30 million have been expensed through the Resolution Fund with the fund currently holding €255 million with another €2 million due in outstanding levies.

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

 137. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the actions he is taking to increase the rate of credit lending to businesses via the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland; the level of take up from the fund by businesses at 31 December 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15474/17]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) is Ireland's national promotional institution for SMEs. Its aim is make sustainable and appropriately priced finance available to viable Irish SMEs and support investment by them that encourages growth and facilitates employment across the whole country. The SBCI does not lend directly, rather it lends its funds to SMEs through lending partners, known as on-lenders. The SBCI currently has eight on-lending partners, three bank and five non-bank. The SBCI is seeking to broaden its distribution capability and market coverage by adding new on-lenders and working to develop innovative products, thereby serving to drive competition in the SME finance market.

I am pleased to note that, to the end of December 2016, the SBCI has lent circa €544 million to 12,589 SMEs supporting an estimated 67,150 jobs. These figures represent a significant increase in lending by the SBCI during 2016. The SMEs who received SBCI finance are from a variety of business and economic sectors and are spread across every region of the country. More than 80% of loans are for investment purposes and the average loan size is €43,000. There is a broad geographical spread of the SMEs supported with approximately 85% of them based outside Dublin. The SBCI is using its significant funding capacity, of over €1 billion, to support Irish SMEs investing in and growing their businesses.

  Question No. 138 answered with Question No. 99.

Third Level Funding

 139. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if he will provide a comprehensive overview of the Government's financial obligations to University College Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15009/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton My Department allocates recurrent funding to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for direct disbursement to the HEA designated higher education institutions, including the Universities. The funding allocated by the HEA is not for a specific purpose but is allocated as a block grant to cover teaching, research and supporting activities. The internal disbursement of that funding is then a matter for the individual institution.

Universities are autonomous bodies as set out in the Universities Act 1997 and are responsible for their own day to day affairs, including the allocation of all of its income (both public and private) and in relation to its own financial affairs.

In 2017 UCC has been allocated a core grant of €36.3m by the HEA which represents an increase of 4.3% over the 2016 allocation. UCC also receives earmarked funding for a number of initiatives such as increased student intake to medicine and skills courses as well as funding in respect of students eligible for free fees under the Free Fees Initiative. In addition, since 2012 UCC has received over €8m in additional funding in respect of its dentistry programme in recognition of the significant costs associated with such provision.

Further Education and Training Programmes Provision

 140. Deputy Thomas Byrne Information on Thomas Byrne Zoom on Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if his attention has been drawn to the shortage and the need for shuttering carpenters in the construction sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [15329/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan As levels of activity in the construction sector continues to increase, demand for skilled and semi-skilled occupations is forecast to increase over the coming years. The planning of education and training provision is taking account of this forecast growth in demand in both the apprenticeship system and across broader Further Education and Training programmes.     

While there is no dedicated apprenticeship for form shuttering in Ireland, aspects of the skills required to carry out formwork are covered in the statutory carpentry and joinery apprenticeship.  There has been strong growth in the numbers of registrations in the carpentry and joinery apprenticeship with 399 apprentices registering in 2016, a 37% increase on the 2015 figure.

Further Education and Training providers deliver a range of specific skills programmes for the construction sector outside of the apprenticeship system. SOLAS, in consultation with Industry and Education and Training Boards continue to expand provision to meet the needs of the construction sector in a number of semi-skilled areas.  I understand that formwork skills will be covered in a new Construction Operative Programme which will be rolled out in 2017 with approximately 100 places.

School Guidance Counsellors

 141. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the way in which his Department is currently allocating guidance counselling hours; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14785/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Measures announced by my Department as part of Budget 2016 and 2017 mean that 400 guidance posts, or two thirds of the guidance allocation that was withdrawn in Budget 2012, will be restored to schools from September 2017.   The restoration of the remaining 200 posts will be considered in future Budgets.

I have made it clear that all these 400 posts are allocated separately and transparently and outside of the quota on the normal schedule of posts.

This means that there is now an obligation on schools to ensure that these hours are used for guidance activities.  Schools can decide to allocate more hours to guidance than the amount allocated on the schedule.  They cannot allocate fewer.

The guidance plan will outline the school’s approach to guidance generally and how students can be supported and assisted in making choices and successful transitions in the personal and social, educational and career areas. However, my Department has made it clear that schools’ guidance plans should include specified time allocation for guidance counsellors to be available for one-to-one guidance counselling and time allocation for the role in supporting the organisation and work of the Student Support Team.

In line with best practice, and in line with practice in the Irish education system for almost 20 years, the allocation of these hours within the school take place in accordance with the Whole School Guidance Plan.

The guidance counsellor will form a central part of the plan, which sets out how the entire resources of the school will work towards achieving the best possible outcomes for the students in the guidance area.  It is likely that the vast majority of these activities will be delivered by guidance counsellors; however, in many schools it will be decided that some activities may be delivered by other staff members – eg year heads.  These decisions will depend on the specific needs of the student population.

Third Level Institutions

 142. Deputy Eamon Ryan Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if a full-time employee with a third level college who is due to reach the age of 65 years in March 2017 and therefore faces mandatory retirement in September 2017 will be able to agree an extension of their employment contract for an additional period; and the flexibility which exists for the extension of such public sector employment contracts in advance of the expected change of the rules regarding mandatory retirement ages.  [14786/17]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The position with regard to employees in a third level college is that in accordance with the terms of their superannuation scheme, it is not possible to remain in pensionable service beyond the age of 65. The person would at that point immediately qualify for pension and lump-sum based on the service they have accrued.

With reference to how the vacant post should be subsequently be filled, it is a matter for the third level institution as an autonomous body to deal with that process.

As the Deputy will be aware, since the introduction of the moratorium on public sector recruitment, an Employment Control Framework (ECF) has been in place for the higher education sector which provides institutions with considerable flexibility to fill vacancies, through recruitment or promotions on the basis of meeting an overall ceiling of posts.

Under this Framework the re-employment of retired staff should only occur in very limited exceptional circumstances and in these cases the salaries offered may not exceed 20% of the full-time salary of the post of the individual at the time of their retirement, adjusted to reflect the application of Government pay policy in the period since their date of retirement – including in particular the application of salary adjustments imposed under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009.

In Budget 2015, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announced that the existing ECFs and associated moratoriums would be lifted and replaced with a system of delegated sanction for recruiting and promoting up to Principal Officer level, subject to adherence by Departments to binding pay ceilings and ongoing compliance with Workforce Planning requirements. In light of this announcement a new Delegated Sanction Agreement for the higher education sector will be put in place shortly.


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