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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 100-114
 Header Item Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Data
 Header Item Economic Competitiveness
 Header Item IDA Ireland Data
 Header Item Youth Enterprise Initiatives
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Data
 Header Item Community Pharmacy Services
 Header Item Medicinal Products Regulation
 Header Item Home Help Service Provision
 Header Item Disability Services Data
 Header Item Disability Services Data
 Header Item Disability Services Data
 Header Item Disability Services Data

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 988 No. 7

First Page Previous Page Page of 67 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 100-114

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Data

 100. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of staff employed by the ODCE at the beginning of 2018; and the number of gardaí assigned to the ODCE. [45594/19]

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The total no. of staff assigned to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) at the beginning of January 2018 was 35 staff in total (32 full time equivalent). The breakdown by grade is set out in Tabular form below:

Title Director Legal Advisor (PO) Solicitor Accountant Grade 1

(Forensic Accountants)
Enforcement Portfolio Manager Digital Forensic Specialist Principal

Officer
Assistant Principal Officer Higher Executive Officer Executive Officer Clerical Officer Total
No of staff 1 1 1 5 2 1 1 3 7 6 7 35
Full time equivalents. 1 1 1 5 2 1 1 3 5.8 5.5 5.7 32


  The number of Gardaí assigned to the ODCE at the beginning of 2018 was 7.

Economic Competitiveness

 101. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys her views on the fact that the ranking of Ireland has deteriorated on the World Bank ease of doing business annual survey of 190 economies. [45622/19]

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Improving our competitiveness and ensuring that Ireland is an attractive location to do business remains a key economic priority for this Government. We continue to monitor Ireland's competitiveness and analyse the factors that are crucial to attracting further investments in the country.

  The World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2019 report compares the ‘ease of doing’ business in 190 economies using quantitative indicators. The report assesses the impact of 10 areas of business regulation: starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; getting credit; protecting minority investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts; and, resolving insolvency.

  In the latest report, Ireland is ranked 24th globally (and 6th in the euro area). While these rankings represent a fall of one place from the previous year, the World Bank report also suggests that Ireland has become a better place to do business in the past 12 months, as Ireland’s ‘doing business’ score improved. The primary reason Ireland fell one place in these rankings was because other countries improved relatively more than Ireland over the past year.

  However, as competitiveness is a broad term, it is important to look at a range of indicators to ensure we have a holistic view of Ireland’s competitiveness. My Department considers a range of competitiveness indicators, including: (i) two other international competitiveness rankings - the IMD Competitiveness Yearbook (where Ireland is ranked 7th globally), and the WEF Global Competitiveness Report (24th­). My Department also consider hard indicators such as the Harmonised Competitiveness Indicator (HCI) and Nominal Unit Labour Costs, which both suggest that Ireland is becoming more competitive.

  Given Ireland’s performance in these, and a wider selection of indicators, my view (one shared by the National Competitiveness Council) is that Ireland remains a competitive economy.

  However, the fall in the World Bank rankings underline the fact that there is no room for complacency. The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) will issue recommendations on the actions needed to improve competitiveness in its forthcoming Ireland’s Competitiveness Challenge 2019 report before the end of the year. These recommendations will be brought to the attention of Government and responded to in due course.

IDA Ireland Data

 102. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of IDA client companies located here. [45664/19]

 103. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of IDA client companies located here that originate from the United States of America. [45665/19]

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 and 103 together.

Ireland remains a global leader in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) with 1,444 multinational companies from over 40 countries choosing to invest here. Companies headquartered in the United States of America account for 766 of these firms. While North America remains the principal source of FDI into the country, the IDA continues to diversify its portfolio of investors here. In 2018 alone, for example, 24 investments were secured from growth markets, representing an increase of 14% on 2017.

I am particularly encouraged by the progress made by IDA Ireland in attracting first-time investors from Asian markets. Last year, for example, saw notable investments from Chinese, Indian and South Korean firms. This shows that the concerted effort that the IDA has made to target Asian investors is now producing results in terms of new jobs here on the ground in Ireland. Last month, I led a Trade and Investment Mission to Japan with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland where I attended a series of engagements with industry leaders and met with Japan's Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry. This trade mission highlighted the important work of the IDA and our enterprise agencies in deepening and broadening out trade and investment links to the Asia-Pacific region and other new markets.

While much has been accomplished in this context, the Government remains conscious of our need to continue attracting FDI from as many different countries as possible. To diversify investment here further, we need to build awareness of Ireland as a preferred investment destination in target countries, as well as improve competitiveness and consolidate Ireland’s traditional strengths in terms of talent, productivity and ease of doing business. I am confident that this approach will help boost further the number of investors here from non-traditional markets and that we will continue to see greater geographic diversity across the IDA's client portfolio. The Agency's efforts in this context are already being reinforced and supported by the Global Ireland strategy, which will build and deepen Ireland's footprint all over the world in the period up to 2025.

While we will continue to focus on strengthening FDI from growth markets, we must also not neglect the importance of our traditional source markets. Ireland's strong track record with companies from those markets - which employ tens of thousands of people across the country - has been hard-won and is the product of decades of hard work. That is why the IDA will continue to do everything possible to sustain and grow investment levels from North America and Europe while also seeking to increase investment from growth markets.

Youth Enterprise Initiatives

 104. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the budget allocation and the number of participants for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in 2018 and 2019. [45666/19]

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition was not held during 2018. The 2019 budget allocation and participant data in respect of the IBYE is set out in the tables below:

   2019 Participants

LEO  
Carlow 37
Cavan 42
Clare 43
Cork City, Cork N/W, Cork South 130
Donegal 54
Dublin City 116
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown 55
Dublin Fingal 71
Dublin South 73
Galway 110
Kerry 55
Kildare 65
Kilkenny 29
Laois 64
Leitrim 18
Limerick 53
Longford 33
Louth 48
Mayo 70
Meath 62
Monaghan 34
Offaly 40
Roscommon 48
Sligo 39
Tipperary 39
Waterford 59
Westmeath 48
Wexford 39
Wicklow 55
Miscellaneous 15
Total (incl. Miscellaneous) 1,644
Total (excl. Miscellaneous) 1,629



   

  Individual LEO IBYE allocations:
   
LEO Name 2019
Carlow 73,000.00
Cavan 73,000.00
Clare 73,000.00
Cork City 73,000.00
Cork North/ West 73,000.00
Cork South 73,000.00
Donegal 73,000.00
Dublin City 73,000.00
Dublin South 73,000.00
Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown 73,000.00
Fingal 73,000.00
Galway 73,000.00
Kerry 73,000.00
Kildare 73,000.00
Kilkenny 73,000.00
Laois 73,000.00
Leitrim 73,000.00
Limerick 73,000.00
Longford 73,000.00
Louth 73,000.00
Mayo 73,000.00
Meath 73,000.00
Monaghan 73,000.00
Offaly 73,000.00
Roscommon 73,000.00
Sligo 73,000.00
Tipperary 73,000.00
Waterford 73,000.00
Westmeath 73,000.00
Wexford 73,000.00
Wicklow 73,000.00
National Investment Fund 100,000.00
Administrative/Overhead Allocation 226,098
TOTAL €2,585,098

Departmental Expenditure

 105. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the costs associated with commissioning an organisation to complete reports (details supplied); the funds expended, including costs associated with advertising, design work, photography, print and online media advertising and public relations in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45687/19]

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I am acutely aware of the importance of SMEs to the Irish economy and I want to ensure that small firms are at the heart of my Department’s business supports and strategies. That is why my Department has been engaging with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) since late 2017 towards the completion of a comprehensive Review of SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Ireland.

  I was delighted to launch the Review of SME and Entrepreneurship issues and policies in Ireland with the Secretary General of the OECD Ángel Gurría on 8 March 2018.

  This has been a concentrated and collaborate 18-month project with my Department having played a central role supporting and facilitating the OECD during this process. The focus of the review provides tailored analysis and recommendations to DBEI and the Irish government on how to improve the design and implementation of national SME and entrepreneurship policies and programmes, based on an assessment of the country’s current SME and entrepreneurship performance, framework conditions and policies based on international comparisons.

  Areas covered include taxation, the regulatory environment, productivity challenges, skills and regional development. It also includes an assessment of the main SME-targeted programme areas, including SME workforce skills, standards adoption, internationalisation, financing and innovation.

  My officials have organised and officiated at stakeholder events throughout the process to facilitate detailed engagement between my Department, other Government Departments, agencies, academia, business representatives and small businesses themselves. This engagement has enabled the OECD to gain insightful understandings from stakeholders in Ireland and to develop an independent assessment of the Irish SME and entrepreneurship ecosystem at the various critical stages of the review. The OECD review draws together a wealth of expertise and analysis from across the key policy Directorates of the OECD, together with the OECD's independent assessments of Ireland's key programmes and schemes and supports for SMEs and entrepreneurs. The extent of the international good practice identified by the OECD will also provide valuable inputs to my consideration of further changes and improvements to our policy mix and supports in Ireland.     

Testament to the culmination of the 18 month’s intensive engagement between my Department officials and the OECD secretariat, I welcomed the OECD Deputy Secretary General Knudsen to Dublin last week, where, together we launched the Review and the accompanying SME Strategy Roadmap on Thursday 31st   October.   

  The task at hand now through my Department, is to ensure the development of a SME Strategy which will inform Government’s Future Jobs Initiative on how best to support and foster our indigenous ecosystem into the future.

  The total cost associated with commissioning the OECD to carry out the review was €300,000, made in three separate instalments over the 18-month period:

  Date Amount
1st Instalment 1st June 2018 €85,000
2nd Instalment 21st December 2018 €115,000
3rd Instalment 5th June 2019 €100,000
  Total €300,000

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Data

 106. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of cases that were investigated or are under investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019. [45699/19]

 107. Deputy Imelda Munster Information on Imelda Munster Zoom on Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of convictions that have been made by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019. [45700/19]

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 and 107 together.

  Section 949(3) of the Companies Act 2014 provides that the Director of Corporate Enforcement shall be independent in the performance of his statutory functions. I, as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation have no direct function in such matters.

  I am informed that figures for cases investigated, by year received, and convictions in the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 are as set out in tabular form below:

  2017 2018 2019 (as of 4 November)
Cases investigated received in year 467 504 355
Convictions (by DPP) 2 2 1, plus 1 dismissed (under the Probation Act)


  The number of investigations per se does not represent the totality of the work of the ODCE; firstly because of the volume of liquidation cases and secondly because not all investigations result in a prosecution. As will be seen from the ODCE’s Annual Reports, complaints are not always relevant to the remit of the Office; where they are within the remit the matter is investigated. It should be noted that not all investigations are of a criminal nature and the ODCE policy is to seek rectification of breaches in the first instance (where the matter is appropriate for such action).

  The ODCE also exercised its right to make certain compliance applications to the High Court under Section 371 of the Companies Act 1963, now Section 797 of the Companies Act 2014, to secure compliance with Orders sought.

  However, it should be borne in mind that, working within the context of a rectification policy, many issues can be addressed by exercise of powers without the necessity of bringing issues to the Courts for determination, for example: production of registers; directing the holding of Annual General Meetings; production of minutes of meetings; and regularising breaches of the director loan provisions which, in 2018, secured the rectification on a non-statutory basis, of suspected infringements of the Companies Act 2014, in relation to Directors’ loans in 18 cases, to an aggregate value of €6.1m approximately.

  The ODCE took a decision in recent years to concentrate its resources on more serious and complex investigations, the result of which is usually the submission of a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for consideration, as opposed to a summary prosecution. It is important to appreciate that the purpose of a criminal investigation is not to secure a conviction. Rather, the purpose is to establish the facts. Thereafter, it is a matter for the DPP to determine, having regard to the facts and to potentially relevant offences, whether the direction of charges is appropriate and in the public interest.

  In terms of prosecutions, the Director of Corporate Enforcement is only statutorily empowered to initiate summary prosecutions (i.e. prosecutions of relatively minor offences in the District Court).

  More serious alleged breaches of company law are prosecuted on indictment in the Circuit Court and only the Director of Public Prosecutions (“DPP”) can direct that charges be preferred on indictment.

Community Pharmacy Services

 108. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris his plans to deliver on the 2016 review of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts, which recommended changes to remuneration structures for community pharmacy contractors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45591/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Under section 9(13) of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009, the Minister for Health was obliged to carry out an annual review of the operation, effectiveness and impact of the amounts and rates set by regulation under the Act.

  I wish to advise the Deputy that the 2016 review recommended that rates set in the regulations should be left unchanged at that point.

  The review also noted that any changes to remuneration structures should be linked to Government priorities for the health service and service or contractual developments.

Medicinal Products Regulation

 109. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the amount of detained medicines that are bought over the Internet; and his views on the growing danger posed by illegally purchased medicines that typically can be of dubious quality, contaminated with unsafe fillers, have the wrong ingredients, not enough active ingredient or fake packaging. [45592/19]

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Between 2016 and 2018, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), with the co-operation of Revenue’s Customs Service and An Garda Síochána, has detained over 1.8 million dosage units (tablets, capsules, vials, etc.) of medicines bought over the internet. These can be broken down as follows:

Year No. of Units Detained
2016 555,406
2017 507,889
2018 413,289
2019 (January – August) 363,820


  Online supply of prescription medicines into or within Ireland is illegal. The HPRA is aware of many illegal websites that purport to be pharmacies and offer to supply a range of prescription medicines direct to the public. Medicines bought from these sites may be falsified. They may contain no active ingredient, too much or too little of an active ingredient, or the wrong ingredients altogether. There is no way to be certain how or where the medicine was made, the quality of the active ingredient(s) or fillers (inert ingredients) used and the medicine may not have been packaged, labelled or stored correctly and could be out of date.

  The HPRA continually and strongly recommends patients do not seek to purchase prescription medicines that have not been prescribed by a registered medical practitioner and dispensed by a registered pharmacy as there can be no guarantee as to their safety, quality or efficacy, in addition to the health risks for persons seeking to self-medicate. As Minister for Health, I strongly urge patients to follow this recommendation.

  The HPRA continues to work with Revenue’s Customs Service and An Garda Síochána to monitor and investigate instances of illegal supply of medicines, through retail sales in Ireland and via online sources, and actively enforces against suspected breaches of the law.

  For further information, consumers are urged to access the HPRA leaflet ‘Dangers of Buying Prescription Medicines Online’, which is available on its website at www.hpra.ie and to report concerns to reportacase@hpra.ie

Home Help Service Provision

 110. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris if it is HSE policy to neglect to provide for persons approved for and in receipt of home help hours on bank holidays; and if so, if it is a cost-cutting exercise. [45596/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Disability Services Data

 111. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Information on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Zoom on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons with disabilities in receipt of home support hours in each LHO area at the end of October 2019 or the latest date available; and the number of persons on the waiting list for same in each LHO area by time periods (details supplied) in tabular form. [45601/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Disability Services Data

 112. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Information on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Zoom on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of persons with disabilities in receipt of personal assistance hours in each LHO area at the end of October 2019 or the latest date available; and the number of persons on the waiting list for same in each LHO area by time periods (details supplied) in tabular form. [45602/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Disability Services Data

 113. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Information on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Zoom on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of residential places for persons with disabilities being provided at the end of October 2019 or the latest date available by CHO area. [45603/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Disability Services Data

 114. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Information on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony Zoom on Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris the number of new emergency places provided to persons with a disability at the end of October 2019 by LHO in tabular form. [45604/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.


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