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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 83-102
 Header Item Foireann Roinne
 Header Item Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge
 Header Item Insurance Coverage
 Header Item Banking Sector
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Revenue Commissioners
 Header Item Vehicle Registration Tax
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Revenue Commissioners
 Header Item Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge
 Header Item Foireann Roinne
 Header Item Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge
 Header Item Mortgage Lending
 Header Item Departmental Budgets

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1002 No. 6

First Page Previous Page Page of 110 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 83-102

Foireann Roinne

 83. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Iompair Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan sonrú a dhéanamh ar gach post atá sainaitheanta mar phost a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge leis ina Roinn faoi láthair, líon na bhfostaithe ina Roinn a bhfuil cumas sa Ghaeilge acu, agus líon iomlán na bhfostaithe ina Roinn. [44165/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan Faoi láthair, aithníodh post amháin i mo Roinn ina mbeadh inniúlacht sa Ghaeilge riachtannach. Tá dáréag fostaí aitheanta freisin a bhfuil cumas Gaeilge acu. Is é 537 líon na bhfosaithe atá sa Roinn seo agam.

Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge

 84. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Iompair Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan cad iad na fadhbanna is práinní i leith seirbhísí faoi riar a Roinne a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge sna ceantair Ghaeltachta, agus cad atá beartaithe aige chun iad a réiteach. [44166/20]

Minister for Transport (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan Zoom on Eamon Ryan De réir phrionsabail na seirbhíse ardchaighdeáin do chustaiméirí, tá mo Roinn tiomanta go hiomlán do sheirbhís den chaighdeán is airde a sholáthar dá custaiméirí go léir i ngach réimse den tír agus caitheamh go cothrom lena custaiméirí go léir. Tá nasc le Cairt Chustaiméirí 2020 - 2022 mo Roinne ar fáil anseo: https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation-information/e2e32b-customer-service-charter/

  Mar is eol duit, tá tiomantais ag mo Roinn faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 a bhfuil rún daingean aici a chomhlíonadh. Leagtar amach san Acht dualgais chomhlachtaí na hearnála poiblí maidir leis na seirbhísí a sholáthraíonn siad i nGaeilge agus cearta bhaill an phobail leas a bhaint as na seirbhísí seo. Déanann Aonad na Gaeilge i mo Roinn monatóireacht ar sholáthar agus éileamh ar sheirbhísí Gaeilge ar fud gach réimse den Roinn ar bhonn tréimhsiúil. Tuairiscíonn an tAonad ar dhul chun cinn don Bhord Bainistíochta gach 6 mhí maidir le comhlíonadh na Rannán le tiomantais Scéim Teanga mo Roinne agus maidir leis an éileamh ar sheirbhísí Gaeilge.

   Tá an Roinn tiomanta gach iarracht a dhéanamh freastal ar chustaiméirí ar mian leo a gcuid gnó a dhéanamh i nGaeilge de réir fhorálacha Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Tá nasc le Beartas Gaeilge na Roinne ar fáil anseo: https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation-information/f2f855-irish-language-policy/

   Ar bhonn níos leithne, tuigim go bhfuil reachtaíocht á thabhairt ag mo chomhghleacaí, an tAire TCAGSM tríd an Oireachtas, arb é a bpríomhchuspóir soláthar seirbhísí poiblí a fheabhsú trí Ghaeilge agus líon na gcainteoirí Gaeilge a earcaítear sa tSeirbhís Phoiblí a mhéadú. Tacaíonn an Rialtas le hachtú an reachtaíochta seo a luaithe is féidir.

Insurance Coverage

 85. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the remedy he proposes for a person who has been refused flood risk insurance even though they had such insurance cover for many years for the same property; the steps being taken to alleviate the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43661/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am conscious of the difficulties that the absence or withdrawal of flood insurance cover can cause to homeowners and businesses. However, you should be aware that the provision of insurance is a commercial matter for insurance companies, which is based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept. Consequently, neither I nor the Central Bank can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance (Solvency II Directive).

With respect to the issue highlighted in the question, I would first of all recommend that the individual in question ought to contact Insurance Ireland which operates a free Insurance Information Service for those who have queries, complaints or difficulties in relation to obtaining insurance cover including flood insurance, at feedback@insuranceireland.eu. In addition, the person has the right to make a complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman in relation to any dealings with a Financial Services or Insurance provider during which they feel they have been unfairly treated.

Current government policy in relation to increasing flood insurance coverage is focused on the development of a sustainable, planned and risk-based approach to managing flooding problems. To achieve this aim there is a focus on:

- Investing almost €1 billion to flood relief measures over the lifetime of the National Development Plan 2018-2027.

- Implementation of flood relief management plans by the Office of Public Works (OPW), and;

- Maintaining channels of communication between the OPW and the insurance industry, in order to reach a better understanding about the provision of flood cover in affected areas.

The above approach is underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding between the OPW and industry representatives Insurance Ireland, who meet on a quarterly basis to help implement this initiative. This provides for the exchange of data in relation to completed flood defence schemes which should in turn provide a basis for the increased provision of flood insurance in these areas.

I acknowledge that while there has been an overall increase in the provision of flood insurance between 2015 and 2020, some householders are still experiencing difficulties. This is particularly the case for households in areas with demountable flood defences.

My Department is reviewing the challenges of property insurance and flooding as part of the action points for my Department under the Climate Action Plan. Over the last year it launched a public consultation on Climate Change and Insurance and subsequently met with interested parties. The key themes that arose from the consultation related to (i) the lack of data on flood insurance coverage and (ii) the challenges of obtaining flood cover in areas with demountable defences. My Department is now meeting with key stakeholders such as the Central Bank of Ireland, the OPW, Irish Public Bodies, and the State Claims Agency to further review the issues raised and assess a feasible way forward. This review is in progress and my Department will continue to provide updates on this work stream to the Climate Action Delivery Board.

Finally, the Deputy should be assured that Minister of State Fleming and I will continue to proactively engage on all aspects of insurance reform including flood insurance issues.

Banking Sector

 86. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he has had discussions with the banks about the State purchasing houses that may be unoccupied and owned by the various banks at this time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44095/20]

 87. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the number of unoccupied houses owned by the banks in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44096/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 86 and 87 together.

  I presume that the Deputy is referring to properties which are in the possession of financial institutions arising from a default on a mortgage loan.

  The Central Bank has supplied me with the table below which provides a summary of properties held by both bank and non-bank entities as at end September-2020. The collected data does not provide details on whether the property is currently occupied or not. The Central Bank of Ireland’s Residential Mortgage Arrears, Restructures and Repossession Statistics provides further data in relation to the number of repossessed properties held by both banks and non-bank entities and this is available at:

  https://www.centralbank.ie/statistics/data-and-analysis/credit-and-banking-statistics/mortgage-arrears.

  Repossessions: Residential properties in possession, as at end-September 2020

  PDH BTL Total
Banks 629 302 931
Non-Banks 172 89 261
Total 801 391 1,192


  It should be noted that the financial institution does not 'own' the properties in its possession following a mortgage default; instead its purpose is to realise the security for the purposes of repaying the mortgage loan and with any surplus remaining from the sale going to the mortgagor/owner. In fulfilling this sale function the lender is obliged, as far as is reasonably practicable, to obtain the best price reasonably obtainable for the property.

  The decision to repossess a property as the result of a mortgage default is ultimately a commercial decision for the lender to make considering all the relevant factors, including that all legal requirements are met. For example, in the case of a mortgage secured on a Primary Dwelling House, the provisions of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears will apply and the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) will have to be followed.

  The Deputy may also wish to note that the Mortgage to Rent (MTR) scheme, which was introduced in 2012, is targeted at those households in mortgage arrears who are eligible for social housing support whose mortgage has been deemed unsustainable by their lender under the MARP and who have very limited options, if any, to meet their long-term housing needs themselves. The scheme provides for an Approved Housing Body or Private Company to acquire ownership of a property with an unsustainable private mortgage from a lender and which will also enable the household to remain in their home as a social housing tenant. The scheme is part of the overall suite of social housing options and is an important part of the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process.

  My colleague, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, advises me that up to the end of November 2020, 884 households with unsustainable private mortgages have completed the MTR scheme since its introduction nationally in 2013. The 884 households in the scheme represent 1,493 adults and 1,399 children who have remained living in their homes and communities. There are currently 1,296 active cases being progressed under the scheme.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 88. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the reason an organisation (details supplied) has not been facilitated for the employment wage subsidy scheme for September 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43673/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Section 28B of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 provides for the introduction of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). The scheme commenced on 1 September 2020 and replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), which ceased on 31 August 2020.

The EWSS is different to the TWSS in that it provides a flat-rate payment to employers and requires a separate registration process because the eligibility criteria is different. Where an eligible employer wishes to avail of the EWSS it is very important that the registration process is completed before any application for payment is made. Where the registration process is not completed, an application for payment cannot be processed. It is also not possible to complete the registration process on a retrospective basis and payments are only processed on a prospective basis (once registration is completed). The only exception relates to July and August where ‘sweepback’ payments were provided for.

The organisation in question first registered for the EWSS on 5 October 2020 and has received payments from that date onwards. It was not possible for the organisation to access the system for September 2020 because it was not registered for the scheme at that time. Revenue has advised me that it will make contact with the organisation in the coming days to clarify how the EWSS operates.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 89. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43676/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The CRSS is a targeted support for businesses significantly impacted by restrictions introduced by the Government under public health regulations to combat the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The support is available to companies, self-employed individuals and partnerships who carry on a trade or trading activities, the profits from which are chargeable to tax under Case I of Schedule D, from a business premises located in a region subject to restrictions introduced in line with the Living with Covid-19 Plan.

  To qualify under the scheme a business must, under specific terms of the Covid restrictions, be required to either prohibit or significantly restrict, customers from accessing their business premises to purchase goods or services, with the result that the business either has to temporarily close or to operate at a significantly reduced level. Details of CRSS were published in the Finance Bill 2020 and detailed operational guidelines on the scheme have been published on the Revenue website at: https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/budget-information/2021/crss-guidelines.pdf.   

  Businesses whose trading profits are not chargeable to tax under Case I of Schedule D do not meet the eligibility criteria for CRSS.

  A sports club that has been granted a sports body exemption is exempt from paying Corporation Tax or Income tax on any income received where the income is used for the purposes of promoting the game or sport. A sports club with such an exemption is not chargeable to tax under Case I of Schedule D in respect of its income and therefore does not qualify for CRSS. I am advised by Revenue that a list of sports bodies that have been granted an exemption is published on its website and Ballybunion Golf Club is on the list. On that basis, it does not qualify for CRSS.

  An approved sports body is not exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT) or payroll taxes and may be entitled to financial support under other measures put in place by the Government, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). These clubs may also be eligible under the Debt Warehousing Scheme to ‘park’ certain VAT and PAYE (Employer) liabilities and any excess payments received under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

Revenue Commissioners

 90. Deputy James Lawless Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if he will review the current operational difficulties for users of Revenue's automated import system, AIS, and to extend the period beyond the 15 December 2020 deadline that the Revenue Commissioners have agreed to permit a dual running for processing imports with the existing automated entry processing system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43678/20]

 91. Deputy James Lawless Information on James Lawless Zoom on James Lawless asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if the current operational difficulties will be reviewed for users of the automated import system; if he will extend the deadline of 15 December 2020 as agreed by the Revenue Commissioners to permit a dual running for processing imports with the existing automated entry processing system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43697/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 90 and 91 together.

I am advised by Revenue that its new customs import declaration system, the Automated Import System (AIS), was launched on 23 November 2020. AIS is the first of a suite of new Customs related IT systems that are being implemented by Revenue over the next number of years to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the EU Union Customs Code (UCC).

Revenue has confirmed to me that the AIS system is fully operational. The majority of businesses and agents who currently submit Customs import declarations to Revenue, in particular the larger businesses, have successfully submitted declarations in AIS and a steadily increasing volume of import declarations are being processed in the new system.

While the system is fully functional, I am advised by Revenue that it is aware that a small number of businesses have experienced operational difficulties with their software and have not yet made the transition to AIS. To assist those businesses complete their transition to the new system and recognising the additional challenge that they face from Brexit, I am advised by Revenue that it announced on Friday 11 December that both AIS and the existing customs system (Automated Entry Processing - AEP) through which import declarations are made will run in parallel until 31 March 2021. Revenue encourages businesses to complete their transition to AIS well ahead of the deadline to ensure that they are fully operational in AIS when the parallel running ceases on the 31 March 2021.

Vehicle Registration Tax

 92. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there are no available appointments at NCT centres in County Donegal in December 2020, which will result in increased charges in January 2021 for vehicle owners who are attempting to pay VRT charges; if concessions are being considered for those who cannot be facilitated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43701/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am advised by Revenue that because of the interruptions to the operation of National Car Testing (NCT) centres and the continuing need to limit the number of customers attending the centres due to COVID 19 restrictions, there are delays in getting pre-registration inspection appointments. Revenue is aware that some people that sought appointments earlier in December have been unable to get them before the end of December and are concerned about the implications for the VRT that will apply and about whether they may be liable for customs duty and VAT.

Used cars imported from the UK before the end of December will not be liable to customs duty or VAT on import.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 93. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if businesses in the activity sector are included in the Covid restrictions support scheme; if not, the reason; his plans to extend the scheme to include businesses in the activity sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43737/20]

 94. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if concerns raised in correspondence by a company (details supplied) in respect of access to the Covid-19 restrictions support scheme for outdoor activity companies will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43746/20]

 96. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe if outdoor activity businesses (details supplied) will be included in the Covid restrictions support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43756/20]

 97. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his plans to include outdoor activity businesses in the Covid restrictions support scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43779/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I propose to take Questions Nos. 93, 94, 96 and 97 together.

  The CRSS is a targeted support for businesses significantly impacted by restrictions introduced by the Government under public health Regulations to combat the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It applies to businesses who, under the specific terms of the regulations, are required to prohibit or significantly restrict members of the public from accessing their business premises, with the result that the business is required to temporarily close or to operate at significantly reduced levels.

  Details of CRSS were published in the Finance Bill 2020 and detailed operational guidelines on the scheme have been published on the Revenue website at: https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/budget-information/2021/crss-guidelines.pdf.   

  The design and operation of CRSS is centred around the concept of the “business premises” to which access is restricted under the Covid-related public health Regulations. The Regulations apply on a geographical basis and the premises must be located in the relevant geographical area.

  For the purposes of CRSS a business premises is defined in the legislation as being “a building or other similar fixed physical structure from which a business activity is ordinarily carried on”.

  The legislation further requires that “applicable business restrictions provisions prohibit, or significantly restrict, members of the public from having access to the business premises in which the relevant business activity of the person is carried on”.

  Travel restrictions or social distancing measures are not the level of restrictions to which the CRSS refers. It is also not sufficient that a business is experiencing a reduction in demand for its goods or services because of Covid-19. To be eligible to make a claim under CRSS, a business must, under the specific terms of the regulations, be required to either prohibit, or significantly restrict, customers from accessing its business premises.

  The Deputies will appreciate that outdoor activity businesses, by their very nature, generally do not provide services in premises to which access is restricted. Therefore, they are not eligible for the CRSS and I have no plans to change this.

  The CRSS is an additional measure for businesses in a region subject to significant Covid-19 restrictions. Businesses who do not qualify under this scheme may be entitled to support under various measures put in place by Government, including existing supports available under the COVID Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the range of measures announced as part of Budget 2021 to support particular sectors including Tourism and live entertainment. They may also be eligible to warehouse VAT and PAYE (Employer) debts and also excess payments received by employers under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, and the balance of Income Tax for 2019 and Preliminary Tax for 2020 for self-assessed taxpayers if applicable.

  The purpose of the CRSS is to provide additional support to the businesses who have had to close temporarily or significantly restrict access to their premises as a direct result of public health Regulations. The Government will continue to assess the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy and I will continue to work with Ministerial colleagues to ensure that appropriate supports are in place to mitigate these effects.

Revenue Commissioners

 95. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe when an exemption certificate will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43749/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe I am advised by Revenue that they do not formally issue mandatory e-filing exemption certificates when e-filing exemptions are granted.

I have been advised that Revenue contacted the individual concerned directly on the 10 November 2020 to advise the person of their mandatory e-filing exemption approval. I am further advised that their tax records have been adjusted accordingly and a letter confirming mandatory e-filing exemption has been issued to the taxpayer.

  Questions Nos. 96 and 97 answered with Question No. 93.

Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge

 98. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Airgeadais Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe cad iad na pleananna atá ag a Roinn chun seirbhísí faoina riar a chur ar fáil trí Ghaeilge, chun cur le líon na seirbhísí atá ar fáil trí Ghaeilge faoina riar, agus chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn, le linn 2021. [43867/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Tá na seirbhísí a chuirtear ar fáil trí Ghaeilge liostaithe i Scéim Teanga reatha 2018-2021 mo Roinne agus is féidir teacht uirthi ar an láithreán gréasáin ag https://www.gov.ie/ga/eolas-eagraiochtai/1d7157-none/. Is í seo an tríú Scéim Roinne oifigiúil atá ullmhaithe ag mo Roinn mar atá éilithe faoi alt 15 d'Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Maireann gach scéim acu ar feadh théarma trí bliana.

  Áirítear ar roinnt de na gealltanais shonracha faoin scéim reatha go gcuirfí an Ghaeilge chun cinn laistigh den Roinn, trínar cuireadh imeachtaí cultúir agus sóisialta Gaeilge ar leith ar siúl agus a chinntiú go bhfuil teacht ag an bhfoireann ar chúrsaí oiliúna creidiúnaithe Gaeilge. Cuireadh le roinnt de na gealltanais atá sa scéim reatha i gcomparáid leis an leagan deiridh den Scéim - an méid preasráiteas a eiseofar i nGaeilge mar shampla.

  Tá tús curtha ag mo Roinn ar a ceathrú Scéim Teanga atá le tabhairt isteach an chéad bhliain eile agus déanfaidh muid athbhreithniú ar an dul chun cinn atá bainte amach leis an Scéim reatha. Lorgaíomar aighneachtaí ón bpobal le gairid maidir leis an Scéim nua agus breithneoimid aighneachtaí a gheobhaimid in am trátha.

Foireann Roinne

 99. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Airgeadais Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe sonrú a dhéanamh ar gach post atá sainaitheanta mar phost a bhfuil riachtanas Gaeilge leis ina Roinn faoi láthair, líon na bhfostaithe ina Roinn a bhfuil cumas sa Ghaeilge acu, agus líon iomlán na bhfostaithe ina Roinn. [43868/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Ba mhaith liom a chur in iúl don Teachta nach bhfuil aon phoist sa Roinn faoi láthair a n-aithnítear gur poist iad a bhfuil inniúlacht sa Ghaeilge de dhíth ina leith. Gach uair a dtagann folúntas chun cinn, iarrtar ar Bhainisteoirí a thabhairt le fios ar an bhFoirm Iarratais Folúntais an bhfuil inniúlacht sa Ghaeilge ina riachtanas riachtanach don phost sin.

   Faoi láthair tá 3 ball foirne aitheanta sa Roinn chun déileáil le ceisteanna agus comhfhreagras trí Ghaeilge. De bharr go mbíonn an fhoireann ag athrú, cuirfear ríomhphost chuig an bhfoireann go léir arís in Eanáir 2021 chun aon duine eile a d'fhéadfaí a chur leis an liosta sin a aithint.

  321 ball foirne ar an iomlán atá ag obair sa Roinn faoi láthair.

Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge

 100. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Airgeadais Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe cad iad na fadhbanna is práinní i leith seirbhísí faoi riar a Roinne a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge sna ceantair Ghaeltachta, agus cad atá beartaithe aige chun iad a réiteach. [43869/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe Ní sholáthraíonn mo Roinn aon seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge sna ceantair Ghaeltachta.

Mortgage Lending

 101. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe his views on whether it is discriminatory for a bank (details supplied) to require a higher deposit level of 25% when purchasing a property in a rural location as opposed to a 10% deposit in non-rural locations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43987/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe The Deputy will be aware that, as Minister for Finance, I cannot mandate or overrule the internal risk assessment processes in any bank, even one in which the State has a shareholding. Decisions in this regard, including credit policies and decisions, are the sole responsibility of the board and management of the banks which must be run on an independent and commercial basis. The independence of banks in which the State has a shareholding is protected by Relationship Frameworks which are legally binding documents that cannot be changed unilaterally. These frameworks, which are publicly available, were insisted upon by the European Commission to protect competition in the Irish market. The Relationship Framework for PTSB, the bank referred to by the Deputy, can be found at the following link:

  https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/5c6ad6-ptsb-relationship-framework-april-2015/

  Notwithstanding this, officials in the Department of Finance contacted the bank for a general comment on how they are managing the matter you have raised and were advised of the following:

  “Permanent TSB’s credit policy does not differentiate between rural and urban locations when assessing a customer’s affordability. In relation to Loan To Value requirements for rural apartments/duplex houses, Permanent TSB’s credit policy does not permit lending for apartments/duplex houses in rural areas with a Loan To Value above 75%. This is due to a higher risk of the asset depreciating in value. However, there is no differentiation between Loan To Value requirements for rural and urban houses with the maximum Loan To Value being 90%.”

Departmental Budgets

 102. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe the current budgets in his Department for social media advertising for 2021; and the campaigns behind each budget line in tabular form. [44021/20]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe My Department budgets in line with the subheadings outlined in the Revised Estimates Volume for Public Expenditure (REV). The budget for marketing, media and social media is included in Admin Non-Pay costs, specifically Subhead III: Training, Development, and Miscellaneous Costs. 

  Depending on the nature of the expenditure, it could also potentially be accounted for as part of our overall consultancy budget. However, the vast amount of our consultancy budget is to provide for the Department's requirement for legal or professional services.

  As we budget at this level, we do not have details of projected spend for social media advertising for 2021. There are currently no social media advertising campaigns planned for 2021.


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