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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 758 - 774
 Header Item Regional Road Network
 Header Item Road Safety
 Header Item Road Safety Data
 Header Item Road Signage
 Header Item Tourism Funding
 Header Item Heavy Goods Vehicle Levy
 Header Item State Properties
 Header Item National Employment Rights Authority
 Header Item IDA Ireland Data
 Header Item European Fund for Strategic Investments
 Header Item Brexit Issues
 Header Item Company Law
 Header Item Work Permits Data
 Header Item Work Permits Eligibility
 Header Item Departmental Properties
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 946 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 758 - 774

Regional Road Network

 758. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will sanction funding to resurface the N24 regional road through Tipperary town, County Tipperary; when funding will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18207/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects (including the N24) is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

  Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for TII in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act.

  Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to TII for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within 10 working days.

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

Road Safety

 759. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross his plans to review speed limits on the N60 and, in particular, at its junction with the L55393, which has been the scene of numerous accidents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18237/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross While the Road Traffic Act 2004 sets default speed limits for various categories of roads, elected members of local authorities have statutory responsibility for deciding on and making appropriate Special Speed Limit bye-laws for roads within their administrative area, and in the case of national roads, subject to the consent of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

  To assist local authorities in the application of Special Speed Limits, my Department's updated Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits in Ireland, which is available to all local authorities, reiterates the statutory responsibilities of elected members in relation to the making of such Special Speed Limit bye-laws, subject to following Department Guidelines.

  It should be noted that as part of the review of all speed limits, TII has assessed the widths of all national roads and has provided this information to local authorities. This will assist local authorities in the task of identifying the appropriate speed limits for different sections of national roads within their respective administrative areas in accordance with the Department's Guidelines.

  In terms of the overall speed limit review, local authorities have been requested to complete this exercise within their respective administrative areas, including the implementing of Special Speed Limit bye-laws where necessary, by Quarter 2 of 2017.

Road Safety Data

 760. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross if he will provide a breakdown of road fatalities by category or cause for the past five years, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18263/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​It is not possible to give a breakdown of road fatalities by category or cause over the last five years.  The most recent period for which there is definitive information on contributory factors leading to fatal collisions are the Pre-Crash Studies conducted by the Road Safety Authority, using closed Garda investigation files, covering the period 2008 to 2012.  All these Studies available on the Road Safety Authority's website www.rsa.ie.

  Collisions are very complex, and a single "cause" is very often not possible to determine.  Indeed, there is frequently more than one contributory factor involved in any one collision.

  In the five years covered by the Pre-Crash Studies, the following factors were identified to having contributed to the collisions;

  - Excessive speed was a contributory factor in 32% of fatal collisions;

  - 29% of all 867 collisions involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a record of alcohol consumption prior to the collision;

  - 9% involved a pedestrian who had consumed alcohol prior to the collision;

  - The condition of the vehicle's tyres was a contributory factor in 8% of all collisions involving a motorised vehicle;

  - In relation to motorycycle fatalities, speed was cited in 49% of cases, and alcohol in 29% of cases, as a contributory factor.

  Further research indicates that a number of other factors also play a role in contributing to fatal collisions;

  - a 10% prevalence of drug driving (Prof. Denis Cusack, 1998 - 2009);

  - international academic research indicates that in 30% of collisions distracted driving, 

  - in 20% of cases driver fatigue was a contributory factor.  

  Furthermore, approximately 20% of those killed in fatal collisions were not wearing a seatbelt and, while not a contributory factor, this certainly affects the outcome of the collision.

Road Signage

 761. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the amount spent on roadside signage to promote the Wild Atlantic Way since the initiative was launched. [18324/17]

 762. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the amount spent on roadside signage to promote Ireland’s Ancient East since the initiative was launched. [18325/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross I propose to take Questions Nos. 761 and 762 together.

My Department's role in relation to tourism lies in the area of national tourism policy.  It is not directly involved in the management or development of individual tourism projects.  These are operational matters for the Board and Management of Fáilte Ireland.  While the Department provides funding to Fáilte Ireland to invest in tourism projects such as the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland's Ancient East, it does not have a role in the administration of those tourism capital programmes.

Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply to the Deputy.  Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days.

Tourism Funding

 763. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the Exchequer funding allocated to each of the three geoparks here in the past five years; and the purpose of this funding. [18326/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Patrick O'Donovan): Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan My Department's role in relation to tourism lies in the area of national tourism policy.  It is not directly involved in the management or development of individual tourism projects.  These are operational matters for the Board and Management of Fáilte Ireland.  While the Department provides funding to Fáilte Ireland to invest in tourism offerings, it does not have a role in the administration of those tourism capital programmes.

Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply to the Deputy.  Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days.

Heavy Goods Vehicle Levy

 764. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the number of UK registered heavy goods vehicles, and other UK registered non HGV commercial vehicles, entered and exited the Republic of Ireland through the State’s ports in 2015 and 2016. [18327/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The statistics collected in relation to road freight between Ireland and the UK are in practice presented in terms of freight tonnage and not in terms of vehicle count or vehicle movements.  However, it may be useful to note that figures from the Central Statistics Office show that that in 2015 (the latest year for which the figures are available) over 2 million tonnes were carried by road freight from the U.K. into Ireland.  In addition, over 80% of roll-on/roll-off commercial traffic at Irish ports is between the Republic of Ireland and the U.K., according to the Irish Maritime Development Office.

State Properties

 765. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross the amount spent across his Department over the past five years on maintaining vacant or unused State-owned properties, including security arrangements; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [18732/17]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross ​The Office of Public Works is responsible for procurement of office and other accommodation required for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and accordingly the arrangements for maintaining vacant State owned properties, including security arrangements, is matter for that Office.

The Department of Transport Tourism & Sport has one vacant/unused property which is an old Coast Guard Station (Rocket House) in Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Co Dublin. The Irish Coast Guard was advised by the Office of Public Works that the entrance to the building was unsafe.  The Irish Coast Guard then requested the OPW to carry out "make safe works" which involved the erecting of hoarding & safety notices and locking the entrance to the building. The Department paid €3,178 to the OPW in 2015 to carry out the necessary works. The Department is in the process of arranging the disposal of the property.

National Employment Rights Authority

 766. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the number of inspections carried out by the National Employment Rights Authority examining conditions for individual employees in their workplaces for each year from 2013 to 2016 and to date in 2017; if she has satisfied herself that employees are fully protected; if an adequate inspection regime is in place in respect of each matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18179/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is an independent, statutory body which was established on 1 October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015. The WRC assumes the roles and functions previously carried out by the National Employment Rights Authority, the Equality Tribunal, the Labour Relations Commission and the first-instance functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

  Inspectors of the WRC carry out inspections of employer records with a view to determining compliance with employment rights and employment permits legislation. These inspections arise:

  - In response to complaints received of alleged non-compliance with relevant employment rights legislation;

  - As part of compliance campaigns which focus on compliance in specific sectors or specific pieces of legislation, or

  - As routine inspections, which act as a control measure.

  The aim is to achieve voluntary compliance with employment law through the provision of education and awareness, inspection of employers’ employment records and enforcement where necessary.  While every effort is made to secure compliance, some employers either refuse or fail to rectify the breaches identified and/or pay money due to their employees.  These cases are referred for prosecution.

  Details in relation to the number of inspections carried out by WRC Inspectors for each year from 2013 to 2016 and to 31 March 2017 are provided in the following table.

YearNumber of Inspections
20135,546
20145,591
20155,185
20164,830
2017 (to 31 March)1,287

IDA Ireland Data

 767. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor when she expects a pharmaceutical company (details supplied) to open in Dundalk; if it will be on a new greenfield site or an existing building; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17610/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor I understand that the company in question has agreed a lease on an existing building in the IDA Business Park in Dundalk. It is anticipated, once works are completed to the building and the company completes other preparatory requirements, that the facility will be operationally ready by the middle of this year.

European Fund for Strategic Investments

 768. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor her plans for potential investment projects to be submitted to the EU’s special task force on investment in the EU for the European fund for strategic investment with a view for investments in infrastructure, education, research and innovation in addition to risk finance for small businesses as a Brexit contingency measure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17641/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The European Fund for Strategic Investment, EFSI, is an EU initiative launched jointly by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission. The initiative is designed to help overcome the  low levels of private investment in in key areas such as infrastructure, education, research and innovation, as well as risk finance for small businesses in the European Union by mobilising private financing for strategic investments. The EU contribution of €21 billion to the EFSI is expected to unlock a total investment, public and private, of €315 billion through a multiplier effect.

  In September 2014 the Special Task Force on Investment in the EU was established in response to a request by the EU Economic and Finance Ministers. Its mandate included identifying potential investment projects. It was jointly led by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) and included representatives of all EU Member States. The EU Task Force invited member states to submit proposals for potential projects. Four proposals were put forward by my Department to the Department of Finance, which collated the proposals across Government departments and submitted the national list to the EU Task Force. However, the proposals from my Department did not subsequently proceed.

  In relation to assisting SMEs response to Brexit, my officials are also exploring the potential to provide further supports to SMEs and this is currently part of a deliberative process.

  Budget 2017

  The 2017 Budget contains many measures that will assist Irish business to become more competitive and cope with the impact of Brexit. My Department secured an extra €52 million in Capital funding, a 10% increase, to support further job creation, innovation and support Irish companies to respond to the challenges and opportunities from Brexit. These additional capital monies for 2017 will help to ensure that the Agencies are well positioned to deal with the challenges that Brexit will undoubtedly present to their clients.

This year,   Enterprise Ireland will have an additional €7 million (+12%) in capital funding, bringing its general business supports to clients to €63 million. Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit strategy is to sustain and grow exports to the UK but also to support their clients to diversify into new markets outside the UK. A key focus is improving client capability around competitiveness, markets, marketing skills, innovation, risk management and strategic financial skills.

  Local Enterprise Offices capital grants are up by €4m (+22%) in 2017 to a total of €22.5 million. This is the largest ever capital allocation to the LEOs (or their predecessors CEBs). The LEOs are working with non-EI client companies, providing support & advice services as well as bespoke services to foster new business opportunities in local areas.

  My Department also secured an additional €3m in current funding for 2017 specifically to assist in our response to the evolving Brexit scenario. This funding will enable the Department and its Agencies to recruit an additional 40 to 50 staff to supplement existing staffing numbers for Brexit planning and contingency. This funding will enable Enterprise Ireland to recruit 39 extra staff for overseas offices and the Ireland-based team to support exporting companies in the context of Brexit. Staff will be assigned to:

  - Markets that are growing and have scale (including China, India, Latin America, Africa);

  - Markets where we are already well established but with potential for further growth (including UK, France, Benelux, Germany, US, Nordics).

  Specifically, these 39 posts include:

  - 17 new posts in overseas offices,

  - 22 Irish based posts which includes;

  - 17 to support internationalisation activities,

  - 10 to support competitiveness and sectoral growth,

  - 3 to strengthen the LEOs ability to respond locally to help micro-enterprises and

  - 2 to Horizon 2020 Support Network which works with researchers and companies to maximise participation in Horizon 2020.

  Hedging against Foreign Currency Fluctuations

  Sterling currency fluctuations have created challenges for Irish business. My department is working with Agencies and stakeholders to develop appropriate evidence based response/intervention for firms with an exposure to the UK market which will be fully aligned with state aid rules.

  Managing currency risk by means of hedging is an immediate issue for exporters to the UK.  For an exporter to hedge its currency risk, in the first instance, it must first have a foreign exchange line of credit from the bank.  This must be formally sought in advance prior to its use and, from the bank’s perspective, it is the equivalent of making a loan application, i.e. it requires credit approval.

  The advantage of this instrument is that an exporter can bring certainty to the amount of euro that it will receive in return for a specified amount of sterling at this stated future date.  The primary disadvantage is that there is no opportunity to share in an upside in currency movement.

  Most banks will have a maximum time period for which they will sell forward contracts to their customers.  In general, most banks will not provide forward contracts for periods beyond 12 months.  In some cases, the banks may require security to be provided in the form of charges over assets or guarantees.

  A final point to note in hedging foreign currency risk is that there are non-bank providers of such services who tend to be less prescriptive in their dealings.  However, many borrowing agreements now specify that the borrower may only conduct foreign currency transactions with the lender.

  Enterprise Ireland is providing important advice to client companies regarding managing currency risks.  Many have taken this advice and hedged to late 2017.  Others are naturally hedged by having operations in both Irish and UK markets.  I would point out, however, that pragmatic and forward looking firms should be looking into the feasibility of hedging in the current situation. While not for everyone it is something that growth oriented exporters to the UK should be examining in detail to see if it has the potential to mitigate the potential damage that might be done to their business by exchange rate fluctuations.

  Export Finance Initiative

  The proposed Export Finance Initiative, which is being led by the Department of Finance, will support the working capital needs of Irish exporters.  It is proposed that this Initiative will enable exporting SMEs to obtain necessary working capital that they would be unable to access without a guarantee. This will allow exporting SMEs to secure competitive financing, safeguard their exports, and win new export orders and markets.          

  My Department, along with other Government Departments and agencies are working closely to ensure that the initiative is made available to SMEs as quickly as possible.  It is expected that the initiative will be rolled out by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) in the first half of this year.  The planned mechanism includes delivery through commercial finance providers.

  APJ 2017

  Responding to Brexit has been prioritised in Action Plan for Jobs 2017, which sets out 20 specific actions aimed at growing and diversifying markets for Irish exports and maximise opportunities in foreign direct investment and research and innovation.

Brexit Issues

 769. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the member states that have representatives on the EU’s advisory committee on state aid; if she made any representations since the UK’s Brexit referendum to the committee to consider increasing current minimum state aid rules for enterprises in sectors that will be adversely impacted by a hard Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17643/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor In accordance with Council Regulation No 2015/1588 of 13 July 2015 on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to certain categories of horizontal State aid (codification) the Advisory Committee on State Aid is a consultative forum. The Commission is required to consult the Advisory Committee on State aid when publishing draft Regulations and/or before adopting any Regulations on De Minimis or Block Exemptions. The Advisory Committee is composed of representatives of all Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission. The consultation takes place at meetings called by the Commission. The Agenda for the meetings is set by the Commission.

Given that Brexit has created new challenges for Irish companies,   we are already working closely with the EU Commission and our EU partners to ensure that we have a shared understanding of the implications and effects of the UK's departure from the EU.

My Department, working closely with the Department of Finance, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), EI and stakeholders (such as SFA, ISME, IBEC and Chambers), has conducted a structured engagement with a diverse range of companies across sectors and regions. The purpose of this engagement is to construct an evidence base on which appropriate, tailored and targeted responses can be delivered to meet real identified business needs. The outcome of the structured engagement and analysis of the findings, along with market developments as a result of Brexit, will inform further discussions with the Commission and the development of any further initiatives to business.

In additional, my Department, Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) have measures in place to address the issues for companies such as diversification, cost reduction, innovation and price repositioning. My Officials are also exploring the potential to provide additional supports to business under State Aid rules.

Company Law

 770. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the reason she put forward the amendment under section 3(1)(j) of the Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016; if this will significantly increase the regulatory burden on the pharmaceutical industry; her views on whether this is a proportionate policy measure; if she consulted with pharma companies before introducing this amendment; if not, the reason therefor; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17644/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The purpose of the amendment to insert a new section 3(1)(j) into the Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016 is to delete section 1237 (5) of the Companies Act 2014.

Section 1237(5) of the Companies Act 2014 gives the Minister the power to grant an unlimited company an exemption from the obligation in section 1237(1) of the same Act, to end the name of the company with “unlimited company”, “cuideachta neamhtheoranta”, “u.c.” or “uc”.

Before the enactment of the Companies Act 2014, most companies, such as limited companies, had to include the company type in their company name.  The requirement in section 1237 (1) extended that requirement to unlimited companies for the first time.

This gave effect to a recommendation of the Company Law Review Group, which was agreed by the Government and included in the General Scheme of the Companies Act. That General Scheme was published in 2007.

Given the significant changes that the Companies Act 2014 as whole introduced, the Act provided for a general transitional period of 18 months from the date of its commencement. This was to allow for companies to adapt, for example to convert to the new company forms, if necessary, and to change the company name as a result. Once the transitional period ended, companies must comply fully with the provisions of the Companies Act 2014.

The Companies Act 2014 was commenced on 1 June 2015 and the general transitional period ended on 30 November 2016. Most companies were able to make any necessary adaptations within that 18 month period.

As the Companies Act 2014 was being enacted (it was the Companies Bill 2012), representations were made by some companies, including in the pharmaceutical industry, and by their legal representatives.  They stated that the 18 month transitional period would not be sufficient time for the necessary organisational changes due to the nature of their businesses. They asked for an extension of time beyond the 18 month period.

In response, the Oireachtas gave the Minister a power in section 1237(5) to consider applications from unlimited companies for longer adaptation periods where special circumstances exist. This was enacted as section 1237(5) and was intended as a temporary measure to facilitate those unlimited companies that found that they needed more than the general transition period of 18 months.

During the general transition period some unlimited companies did assess that they would need longer, and applied for an extension under section 1237(5). Extensions were granted to just over 100 companies, some within the same groups as each other, for a period of 5 years in addition to the 18 months of the general transitional period. A few of these companies are in the pharmaceutical sector. These extensions are due to end on 1 December 2021.

Now that the general transition period is over, unlimited companies are legally obliged to comply with the requirements of section 1237(1) unless they have been granted an extension of additional time. 

Section 3(1)(j) of the Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016 deletes section 1237(5) of the Companies Act 2014 because the need for section 1237(5) no longer exists.  Maintaining section 1237(5) on the Statute Book could give rise to confusion. Companies that are forming for the first time have made applications to me under section 1237(5). This is clearly contrary to the policy of section 1237(1).

One of the main principles underpinning the Companies Act 2014 is the principle of transparency. Also, the Act provides for 5 main company types and the rules for each type are different in some respects. For example, unlimited companies are not obliged to file financial statements with their Annual Return in the Companies Registration Office. It is important that third parties know what type of company they are dealing with. The obligation to include the company type in the company’s name has applied to the vast majority of companies registered in Ireland for several years.

As the original intention of section 1237(5) was to create a temporary measure, it was not necessary to consult on its removal. All extensions that have been granted are unaffected and remain in place until they expire in late 2021.

Work Permits Data

 771. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor when the review sought by an employer into a decision to refuse a work permit will be completed in view of the unusual and unique circumstances of the case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17670/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The General Employment Permit application in respect of the named individual was refused on the 27/03/2017 on the grounds that the employment did not appear to be eligible for this employment permit type and that all required documentation was not provided.   

The applicant has requested a review of this decision in line with Section 13 of the Employment Permits Act 2006, as amended.  The Department is considering this application together with the additional information submitted with the review request.  The applicant will be advised of the outcome in the coming days.

Work Permits Eligibility

 772. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the reason a person (details supplied) was refused a work permit; if her attention has been drawn to an issue here regarding skilled personnel to carry out such a role; if this refusal can be reconsidered in view of the lack of skilled personnel in this field available to take up employment here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17879/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor The General Employment Permit application in respect of the named individual was refused on the 22/03/2017 on a number of grounds.  The employer in this case has been convicted of an offence under the Employment Permits Acts. The Employment Permit Acts provide that the Minister may refuse to grant an employment permit for a period of five years after such conviction.  In addition the employer did not submit all the documentation required under the Employment Permit Regulations to support an application for an employment permit.  The applicant was notified of this decision in writing by letter dated 22/03/2017 and of their right to request a review of this decision in line with the provisions of the Employment Permits Act 2006, as amended within 28 days. 

To date, no such review request has been received in the Employment Permits Section.

Departmental Properties

 773. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the number of vacant buildings in her Department’s ownership or control; the locations of same; and the time they have been unoccupied in each case.  [17920/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Accommodation for my Department is provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in buildings which are either State owned or leased by OPW on our behalf.  Therefore, my Department does not directly own or control any properties.  No building assigned to my Department by the OPW is unoccupied.

Departmental Expenditure

 774. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor the grants, subsidies or supports of any other kind including favourable lease terms that have been made available to the online subsidiary of a company (details supplied) as part of its recent establishment of an operation in the Digital Hub in Dublin. [17938/17]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Neither my Department nor IDA Ireland have provided any assistance of any kind to the company referred to by the Deputy.


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