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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 9-28
 Header Item Health and Safety Inspections
 Header Item Redundancy Payments
 Header Item Departmental Offices
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Ministerial Advisers
 Header Item EU Issues
 Header Item Departmental Staff
 Header Item Departmental Reviews
 Header Item Enterprise Ireland
 Header Item IDA Ireland
 Header Item Work Permits
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Intellectual Property
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1004 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 111 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 9-28

Health and Safety Inspections

 9. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of inspections of business and commercial premises that have been undertaken by the Health and Safety Authority since September 2020; the outcome of same; if penalties were imposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9400/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Between the 1st September 2020 to the 12th Feb 2021 the Health and Safety Authority carried out three thousand, eight hundred and nine (3,809) workplace inspections across a wide range of sectors.

  During this period, in additional to carrying out inspections assessing compliance with Health and Safety legislation, the Health and Safety Authority was involved in a number of roles around the management of COVID-19 in workplaces which included the training of, and supporting, other inspectorates to carry-out Protocol related inspections and, also as a member of Outbreak Control Teams , in support of public health, at various meat plants.

  The table below details the levels of enforcement issued arising from the inspections.

Workplace Inspections Written Advice Given Improvement Notice Issued Prohibition Notice Issued Fixed payment Notice* Issued
3089 2327 56 79 10


  Note*- Fixed payment notices are issued for non-compliances under ADR (European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road) Regulations.

Redundancy Payments

 10. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if a person cannot apply for redundancy after a year has passed since he or she lost his or her job; if so, the advice for a person whose company has not been operating since March 2020 and has been on a Covid-19 payment since then (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10551/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar In situations where a person has permanently lost their job there are 52 weeks from the date of dismissal or date of termination of employment for a redundancy payment to be agreed on and paid, or for the employee to give a written claim for redundancy to the employer or for a referral to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). The WRC has discretion to extend the 52 week time limit to 104 weeks in certain circumstances.

  In a layoff situation a person has not permanently lost their job, the layoff is not a dismissal or a termination of employment and therefore the 52 week time limit does not apply.

  There are separate provisions in relation to the right of an employee to claim redundancy following certain periods of layoff and short time work. These provisions are currently suspended by Section 12A of the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 in respect of layoff and short-time work situations which have arisen due to Covid-19. This was done in order to help maintain the employee/employer relationship during the Covid closures, to help ensure businesses survive and that permanent job losses and insolvency situations are avoided as much as possible.

  Those employees on layoff due to Covid are paid an enhanced unemployment benefit - the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.  Employees who have been placed on short-time work may qualify for short-time work support from the Department of Social Protection. Short-Time Work Support is a form of Jobseeker's Benefit and is an income support payment for people who have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week by their employer. The payment is made in respect of the days of work that have been lost.

  Finally, the Customer Service section of the Workplace Relations Commission operate a telephone helpline at 1890 808090 and one of their functions is to assist employees in relation to their concerns or complaints regarding their employment rights.

Departmental Offices

 11. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore Information on Jennifer  Whitmore Zoom on Jennifer  Whitmore asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the facilities available in his Department to facilitate breastfeeding breaks in accordance with WHO guidelines of two years for women in the workplace and as part of the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9369/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Accommodation for my Department and its Offices is provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in buildings which are either State owned or leased by the OPW on our behalf. The Department and its Offices are located in 11 locations across the country, six of which are in Dublin and five regionally. Typically, the Department and its Offices are in shared accommodation, either with other Government Departments, public bodies or the private sector. The Department works closely with OPW colleagues to ensure the provision of appropriate, fit-for-purpose accommodation for our staff.

In line with Section 9 of the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004 and Part 9 of Department of Finance Circular 2006/31, staff may avail of breastfeeding breaks or paid reduction in their working hours from 26 to 104 weeks for children up to the age of two years.

In adherence to Regulations of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 2007 my Department provides Rest Rooms in all 11 (100%), of its locations which, while not solely dedicated spaces for breastfeeding and expressing of breast milk, may be used by staff for these purposes during working hours.

Also in respect of the Offices of my Department, in locations where they may be tenants of a managed service company or in a building managed by a major tenant, they have identified private rooms that can be used by staff for the purpose of breastfeeding and expressing breast milk. All Offices are satisfied that they are in a position to make suitable facilities available to staff for this purpose whenever such a need arises.

These various arrangements across my Department and its Offices assist in supporting mothers in employment and in enhancing female labour market participation which is one of the core objectives of the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 12. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if he plans to introduce additional financial supports for the proprietors of wet pubs whose businesses have been closed for a protracted period of time in view of the extreme financial hardship that this is causing for these proprietors and their families. [9506/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I am keenly aware that publicans are continuing to make massive sacrifices to protect their communities. In order to assist businesses to address the challenges posed by COVID-19 the Government has put in place a comprehensive package to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities and the waiver of commercial rates. Full details are available here at: https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/

  Budget 2021 overall provides a significant package of tax and expenditure measures to build resilience and help vulnerable but viable businesses across all sectors. We are providing more and cheaper loan finance through MicroFinance Ireland, SBCI and the Credit Guarantee Scheme. Changes were made to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the EWSS, increasing the top rate to €350 for those who were earning in excess of €400 per week. The EWSS is now extended by Government to end of June 2021, as is the rates waiver which will be of benefit to wet pubs.

  My colleague, Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Social Protection announced the doubling of the PUP threshold to €960 over an eight-week period. This will help people to restart their businesses when it is safe to do so and allow self-employed people to take on intermittent jobs. The PUP is now extended by Government to end of June 2021.

  We have introduced a reduction in the 13.5% VAT rate to 9% until the end of 2021 which will benefit the hospitality sector, together with a range of additional public capital investment measures to support the domestic economy.

  The Revenue Commissioners' COVID Restrictions Support Scheme offers a temporary sector-specific support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels by up to €5,000 per week. Th Government has extended the CRSS to end June which will be of continued direct benefit to wet pubs.

  On 9th February last, I announced a new €60m Scheme, called the COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme (CBAS) that is being developed to provide grants to businesses ineligible for the Government’s other existing schemes and to help with fixed costs. Wholesalers, suppliers, caterers and events companies down 75% or more in turnover will benefit, including those that commenced at the end of 2019 may be eligible.

  We are committed to helping businesses respond to the economic challenges arising from the pandemic with a particular focus on firms that do not qualify for the weekly CRSS grant from the Revenue Commissioners or existing sectoral schemes in areas such as the arts, transport and tourism.

  This new CBAS will help some businesses that are not eligible for existing grants, largely due to the fact that the premises they operate from have not been closed to the public. We estimate that this will help approximately 7,500 businesses. While the grant is modest it will be of substantial assistance to smaller businesses with some of their fixed costs like rent, utilities and security.

  I will continue to work with my colleagues to identify practical actions and to regularly review supports available to assist businesses.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 13. Deputy Darren O'Rourke Information on Darren O'Rourke Zoom on Darren O'Rourke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if travel agents are eligible for the new Covid-19 business aid scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9520/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I am acutely aware of the difficulties all travel agents have faced this past year and are continuing to face. With business difficulties in mind, the Government has put in place a comprehensive package to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities and the waiver of commercial rates.

On 9th February, I announced a new €60m Scheme, called the COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme (CBAS), that is being developed to provide grants to businesses ineligible for the Government’s other existing schemes and is designed to help with fixed costs. Wholesalers, suppliers, caterers and events companies down 75% or more in turnover who are in receipts of a rates bill can benefit. It is anticipated that travel agents will be eligible to apply for this scheme.

We are committed to helping businesses respond to the economic challenges arising from the pandemic with a particular focus on firms that do not qualify for the weekly CRSS grant from the Revenue Commissioners or existing sectoral schemes in areas such as the arts, transport and tourism.

While the grant is modest it will be of substantial assistance to smaller businesses with some of their fixed costs like rent, utilities and security.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 14. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his attention has been drawn to the fact that an economic sector (details supplied) is currently excluded from the benefits of the Covid-19 business supports scheme under the aegis of his Department including the new CBAS initiative; if he will amend the terms of the new scheme to include this sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9536/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I am acutely aware of the difficulties that the necessary ongoing Covid-19 restrictions are putting on businesses right across the country. With this in mind the Government has put in place a comprehensive package to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities and the waiver of commercial rates.

As you are aware, on 9th February, I announced a new €60m Scheme, called the COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme (CBAS), that is being developed to provide grants to businesses ineligible for the Government’s other existing schemes and is designed to help with fixed costs.

Businesses will be required to be in receipt of a rates bill from their local authority for their business in order to qualify. The intention behind this provision is to assist businesses operating from fixed premises to meet some of the ongoing fixed costs of maintaining those premises. Therefore on-course bookmakers would not be eligible for this scheme.

The Government is very much open to proposals as to how we can help businesses further. However, our schemes are there to help meet fixed costs that cannot be avoided and to provide basic weekly income support up to maximum of €350 per week. We are not providing compensation for loss of personal income above this level or compensation for loss of profits for any sector.

Ministerial Advisers

 15. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the names and contact details for each special adviser requested for appointment by him in tabular form. [9594/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The names and contact details of special advisers in my Department are set out in the table below.

Name Contact Details
Sarah O'Neill sarah.oneill@tanaiste.gov.ie
Matt Lynch matt.lynch@tanaiste.gov.ie
Stephen Foley (adviser to Minister Damien English) stephen.foley@enterprise.gov.ie

EU Issues

 16. Deputy Ged Nash Information on Ged Nash Zoom on Ged Nash asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar further to Parliamentary Question No. 37 of 10 February 2021, if Ireland will support the PCBCR proposal if it is tabled and discussed at COMPET later in February 2021; his views on whether the current opposition to the proposal is consistent with Government policy to ensure developing countries benefit from greater transparency in the reporting of multinational corporations as detailed in the international tax strategy (details supplied) in the absence of the required majority at Council level to change the legal basis of the public country by country reporting file and given that the relevant tax officials can provide input at any council configuration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9650/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Ireland supports transparency and good governance including “Country by Country” (CbC) reporting by MNEs to national tax authorities. As advised in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 37 of 10 February 2021, the Finance Act 2015 introduced obligations for relevant companies to report to the Revenue Commissioners.

  The next COMPET Council meeting will be an Informal Video Conference on 25 February 2021 where the Proposal for Public Country by Country Reporting will be for Policy Debate.

  Ireland’s opposition to this file proceeding in COMPET Council is a principled position shared by a number of other Member States reflecting the advice of the Council Legal Service (CLS) that the legal basis for this Proposal should be Taxation (Article 115 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), and therefore, should be considered by ECOFIN Council. This measure should have the benefit of tax expertise to ensure that it is consistent with existing reporting requirements and, importantly, with the international cooperation and exchange of information arrangements, which are based on confidentiality. Tax experts are best placed to ensure that international efforts to collect income tax from multinational corporations will not be undermined by new measures.

  As I stated in my reply of 10 February last, Dáil Éireann adopted a Reasoned Opinion in June 2016 which also shares this view that the proposed Directive is a tax matter and does not meet the principle of subsidiarity. The Reasoned Opinion is available at 2016-06-30_report-on-com-2016-198_en.pdf (oireachtas.ie).

  My colleague the Minister for Finance leads on tax policy for Ireland. Ireland has long been a supporter of, and a beneficiary of, tax transparency. Ireland has consistently implemented the necessary measures to ensure we are up to date with international best practices on tax transparency and exchange of information   negotiated at the OECD. We have also supported the parallel EU efforts through agreement of the Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC) in the field of Taxation, and in December 2020 agreed new provisions for automatic exchange of information in respect of digital platforms. This covers administrative cooperation between EU Member States on tax matters, and automatic exchange of tax rulings, financial account data, and mandatory disclosure of cross-border tax arrangements.

  Of the 78 jurisdictions reviewed to date by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (OECD), Ireland is one of only a small number of jurisdictions to have been found to be fully compliant with new international best practice.

  The current regime for country by country (CbC) reporting gives tax administrations a global picture of the operations of MNE Groups. Tax authorities may use this information to perform high-level transfer pricing risk assessments and to evaluate other Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) related risks.

  The exchange of CbC Reports requires that jurisdictions must have the necessary laws in place to require Reporting Entities to file a CbC Report; infrastructure to ensure the appropriate confidentiality and data safeguards standards as specified in the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters are met; and a qualifying competent authority agreement must be in effect.

  A qualifying competent authority agreement is defined in the BEPS Action 13 Final Report as an agreement that is between authorised representatives of those jurisdictions that are party to an International Agreement (i.e., a Double Tax Agreement, Tax Information Exchange Agreement or the Multilateral Convention for Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters) and that requires the automatic exchange of CbC Reports between the party jurisdictions.

  In most cases, jurisdictions have signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (“MCAA”) for the exchange of CbC Reports. As at December 2020, 89 jurisdictions (including Ireland) had signed the MCAA and it is open to all jurisdictions to do so. A list of the jurisdictions that have signed up to the MCAA can be found on the OECD website: Activated exchange relationships for Country-by-Country reporting - OECD.

Departmental Staff

 17. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the number of staff employed in his Department by gender and by Civil Service salary scale in tabular form. [9659/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The information requested by the Deputy in relation to gender and civil service salary scale for staff employed in my Department is provided in tabular form below. This data is as at 12 February 2021.

Grade/Civil Service Pay Scale FTE Headcount
Grand Total 879.7164 922
SECRETARY GENERAL 1 1
Female 1 1
Deputy Secretary 2 2
- CHAIRMAN OF THE LABOUR COURT    
Male 1 1
- Director General of WRC    
Male 1 1
Assistant Secretary 11 11
- ASSISTANT SECRETARY    
Female 2 2
Male 5 5
- DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON- LABOUR COURT    
Female 2 2
Male 2 2
Principal Officer 67.1 68
- PRINCIPAL OFFICER    
Female 31.1 32
Male 28 28
- MEMBER OF LABOUR COURT    
Female 4 4
Male 4 4
Assistant Principal 144 146
- ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL    
Female 62.4 64
Male 71.8 72
-PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANT GRADE    
Female 2 2
Male 6 6
-SENIOR EXAMINER OF PATENTS    
Male 1 1
-SOLICITOR    
Female 0.8 1
Higher Executive Officer 127.3119 136
- HIGHER EXECUTIVE OFFICER    
Female 67.7119 76
Male 59.6 60
Administrative Officer 30 30
- ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER    
Female 14 14
Male 13 13
     
-EXAMINER OF PATENTS    
Female 2 2
Male 1 1
Executive Officer 206.6966 217
- EXECUTIVE OFFICER    
Female 129.7486 140
Male 75.948 76
-ICT APPRENTICE    
Male 1 1
Clerical Officer 250.4079 270
- CLERICAL OFFICER    
Female 151.005 169
Male 82.4064 84
- CLERICAL OFF TEMPORARY    
Female 9 9
Male 5 5
- CIVILIAN DRIVER    
Male 3 3
SVO 40.2 41
-HEAD SERVICES OFFICER 1 1
Male 1 1
-SERVICES OFFICER    
Female 3 3
Male 19 19
-SERVICES ATTENDANT    
Female 3 3
Male 2 2
- SUPERINTENDENT OF CLEANERS    
Female 1 1
- CLEANER    
Female 11.2 12
 

Departmental Reviews

 18. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the current number of live studies, reviews and research undertaken or commissioned by him; and the date by which each study, review and research is scheduled to be completed in tabular form. [9681/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar A list of the studies, reviews and research currently being undertaken in my Department is set out in the table below.

Study/Review/Research being Undertaken Anticipated Completion Date
Annual Business Survey of Economic Impact 2020 Q1 2021
Annual Employment Survey 2021 Q1 2021
Research project on frustration of contracts March 2021
Economic and Sustainability Impact Assessment for Ireland of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement End Q1 2021
Review of the Minimum Annual Remuneration for an Employment Permit End Q1 2021
Review of Capital Expenditure 2006-2020 1 July 2021
Framework for Evaluation of State-Supported Loan Schemes 1 July 2021
Review of climate appraisal practice within Enterprise Agencies 30 September 2021

Enterprise Ireland

 19. Deputy Sorca Clarke Information on Sorca Clarke Zoom on Sorca Clarke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the properties and land rented by Enterprise Ireland in 2020 including overseas properties in tabular form; and the yearly rent paid per property. [9766/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Enterprise Ireland has a mix of local and overseas office premises rented. The annual rental costs for 2020 are outlined in the tables below:

Ireland Offices: Annual Rent €
East Point, Dublin HQ 2,776,686
Letterkenny, Co Donegal 29,520
West Park Shannon, Co Clare Regional HQ 518,461
Kerry Technology Park, Tralee, Co Kerry 17,868
   
Overseas Offices Europe: Annual Rent €   Annual Rent €
Manchester, UK 14,867 Copenhagen, Denmark 30,318
London, UK 492,085 Prague, Czech Republic 38,495
Paris, France 352,106 Budapest, Hungary 8,542
Lyon, France 25,851 Warsaw, Poland 59,305
Dusseldorf, Germany 127,053 Moscow, Russia 34,033
Munich, Germany 36,200 Amsterdam, Holland 88,902
Stockholm, Sweden 37,488 Brussels, Belgium 54,996
Madrid, Spain 57,636 Milan, Italy 95,995
   
Americas: Annual Rent €   Annual Rent €
New York, USA 781,343 Chicago, USA 83,704
Boston, USA 100,345 Seattle, USA 48,100
San Francisco, USA 114,720 Toronto, Canada 119,981
Austin, USA 69,691 Sao Paulo, Brazil, South America 41,816
   
Asia/Pacific Annual Rent €   Annual Rent €
Singapore, Malaysia 74,317 Istanbul, Turkey 42,672
Tokyo, Japan 106,959 Sidney, Australia 98,817
Hong Kong, China 86,932 Melbourne, Australia 36,749
Beijing, China 161,492 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 53,330
Shanghai, China 49,855 Mumbai, India 205,743
Seoul, Sth Korea 76,024    
   
Middle East/Africa Annual Rent €
500 RIYADH 12,000
504 DUBAI 101,717
509 SOUTH AFRICA 41,695
   
Grand Total €7,404,407

IDA Ireland

 20. Deputy Sorca Clarke Information on Sorca Clarke Zoom on Sorca Clarke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the properties and land rented by IDA Ireland in 2020, including overseas properties in tabular form; and the yearly rent paid per property. [9767/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The table below sets out the properties rented by IDA Ireland in 2020, and the rents paid by IDA on each property during 2020. IDA Ireland do not currently rent any lands.

  Those Offices marked with an asterisk denote offices where the rent is paid by Enterprise Ireland.

Office Rents paid in 2020

(euro)
Ireland  
Global HQ 3,924,097
Athlone 186,644
Cork * 0
Galway * 0
Donegal * 0
Sligo 69,836
Dundalk * 0
Limerick 33,000
Waterford * 0
Cavan 15,452
USA  
New York 523,194
Chicago 119,990
Mountview 222,056
Boston 88,236
Irvine County 84,290
Austin 36,675
Atlanta 38,819
Toronto 43,852
Asia  
Tokyo 130,092
Shanghai 110,525
Schenzen 45,881
Singapore 32,652
Mumbai & Bangalore 207,214
Beijing 58,910
Seoul 29,249
Sydney 52,151
Europe  
Frankfurt 120,091
Paris 146,124
London 244,500

Work Permits

 21. Deputy Alan Dillon Information on Alan  Dillon Zoom on Alan  Dillon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if consideration is being given to extending the validity of documentation (details supplied); if automatic extensions will be granted as a result of Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9797/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar In March 2020, the Employment Permits Section of my Department implemented a COVID-19 contingency plan to ensure that the employment permit regime could continue to operate throughout the crisis. Since 30th March, the employment permit system has been operating fully remotely and online with new applications and renewals continuing to be processed seamlessly.

  Operational practices have been adjusted to replace the paper-based elements of the service to allow for a fully online process involving electronic/scanned documents and all decisions/outcomes now issue via e-mail rather than by post. Agreement was reached with the Immigration Service Delivery in the Department of Justice and Equality on arrangements to introduce, on a temporary basis, a type of “e-employment permit” and a similar soft copy process to transition to permanent residence permission.

  All employment permits remain valid for the full length of time of the duration stated on the permit thus allowing permit holders to take up employment at any stage during the validity of the permit.

Full details in relation to the contingency arrangements introduced by the Employment Permits Section in response to the pandemic can be accessed on my Department's website through the following link: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/COVID-19-Employment-Permits-System-Contingency-Arrangements.html   

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 22. Deputy Cathal Crowe Information on Cathal Crowe Zoom on Cathal Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the supports sought and received by a company (details supplied) during Covid-19. [9799/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar My Department has provided a wide range of COVID-19 schemes and the details of these schemes are available on my Department’s website at https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/. I'm not aware of a submission or the details of a specific company but I am very aware of the impact of restrictions on the print and publishing sector. My colleague the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin is best placed to advise further.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 23. Deputy Sean Sherlock Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if a person (details supplied) qualifies for funding despite not having a rateable premises. [9803/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I am acutely aware of the difficulties facing businesses right across the country due to the continuing but necessary COVID-19 restrictions. With that in mind the Government has put in place a comprehensive package to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the COVID-19 Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities and the waiver of commercial rates.

  The business person you refer to may be eligible for the schemes referred to above and should contact their local Intreo Office.

  The new CBAS scheme which I announced on 9th February will require businesses to be in a rateable premises. These schemes are designed to help with fixed costs associated with running a business.   

  I would also remind suggest that the individual contact their Local Enterprise Office to assess the full range of other advisory and funding assistance that may be available. The Local Enterprise Office can guide entrepreneurs through some of the available supports. Of particular interest may be the COVID-19 Business Loans which offer flexible repayment conditions, which are enhanced if the application is processed through the Local Enterprise Office.

  Full details of all supports available from this Department can be found at the following link:

  Government supports for COVID-19 impacted businesses - DETE (enterprise.gov.ie)

  As it is an ever changing situation, I want to assure you that I and my colleagues across Government will continue to keep the range of supports under review.   

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 24. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar when further details on the Covid-19 business aid scheme will be available when the scheme opens for applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9824/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar On 9th February last, I announced a new €60m Scheme, called the COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme (CBAS) that is being developed to provide grants to businesses ineligible for the Government’s other existing schemes such as CRSS and is designed to help with fixed costs. Wholesalers, suppliers, caterers and events companies down 75% or more in turnover and in receipt of a rates bill may benefit, including those that commenced after the 1st November 2019 where their turnover is below projections. 

  I am committed to helping businesses respond to the economic challenges arising from the pandemic with a particular focus on firms that do not qualify for the weekly CRSS grant from the Revenue Commissioners or existing sectoral schemes in areas such as the arts, transport and tourism.

  This new CBAS will help some businesses that are not eligible for existing grants, largely due to the fact that the premises they operate from have not been closed to the public. We estimate that this will help approximately 7,500 businesses. While the grant is modest it will be of substantial assistance to smaller businesses with some of their fixed costs like rent, utilities and security.

  The details of the Scheme are currently being worked on and I plan to launch the scheme in early March.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 25. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if a matter raised in correspondence by a group (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9879/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I am keenly aware that businesses are continuing to make massive sacrifices to protect their communities and I am committed to ensuring that the Government will offer as much assistance as possible. I understand the physical and mental health benefits that gyms can provide but unfortunately, as outlined in the Government plan published yesterday, we must continue at level 5 until the situation improves.

  My Department has worked to ensure that appropriate financial supports are in place for businesses that require finance as they develop their response to their exposure to impacts arising from COVID-19. Details of the wide range of COVID-19 schemes are available on my Department’s website at https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/.

  My colleagues Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD and the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD., may be able to further assist you in the matter of the safe reopening of the fitness industry and the revised Living with COVID Plan.

Proposed Legislation

 26. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar the status of the statutory sick pay Bill; the timeline for the publication of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9901/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I am committed to bringing in a statutory sick pay scheme for Ireland and it is my intention that this scheme will be designed in consultation with unions and employer groups. Work is well underway.

I launched a full public consultation on the scheme last November which lasted for 6 weeks and concluded in December 2020. I encouraged employers, employees and unions to engage with this consultation and make their views known. The consultation process saw significant engagement and we received a total of 118 submissions. There is a wide range of views and suggestions from a good mix of stakeholders and all views are being taken into account in developing the scheme. I also continue to engage with the social partners on this matter via the LEEF subgroup on Employment and Enterprise.

We know there are implications, so policy decisions and options have to be worked through properly. We don’t want to jeopardise jobs by placing a burden on business without working through all of the implications and potential solutions.

Some of the issues cut across other government departments, such as taxation issues and illness benefit, so an Interdepartmental Group has been set up to deal with these matters.

The Government is committed to moving through the process and settling issues as quickly as possible and to publish the General Scheme of a Bill at the end of March 2021, with a view to having the Bill enacted as soon as possible after that.

Intellectual Property

 27. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if Ireland will put pressure on the EU to support the intellectual property waiver proposal from India and South Africa at the WTO meeting on 23 February 2021 (details supplied). [9913/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Since October 2020, India and South Africa have presented a proposal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to allow all countries to choose to neither grant nor enforce any patents and other intellectual property rights related to COVID-19 drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for the duration of the pandemic. The proposers argue that this would allow countries to scale up the manufacture of such products.

International Trade is a competence of the EU under the Treaties and in exercising that competence, the European Commission engages fully with the Member States through a variety of Committees and Working Parties/Groups, including on Intellectual Property.

The EU’s current position on the proposed waiver is that the WTO international agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Agreement) allows countries the flexibility to respond to the concerns raised by India and South Africa. Specifically, the TRIPS agreement allows compulsory licensing which is when a government permits someone else to produce the patented product or process without the consent of the patent owner.

The EU considers that the COVAX Facility, the international initiative to ensure global access to COVID vaccines, is the mechanism that is best placed to ensure that high-income countries finance the vaccines and support the developing countries to secure their share of global supply.

Ireland has consistently championed collaborative responses to the pandemic, with a focus on ensuring that the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable are served by our collective effort. As a member of the global health community, Ireland continues to play an active role in ensuring fair and equitable access to vaccines for all. This includes supporting the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Vaccine Alliance and the Global Fund, to develop, produce and equitably distribute effective technologies in the COVID-19 global response.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 28. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar if his attention has been drawn to the supports announced in Scotland (details supplied) for the wedding industry; and his views on including businesses in the wedding industry without a fixed premises in the Covid-19 business aid scheme. [9999/21]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar I understand the enormous difficulties the wedding industry is facing as the pandemic rolls on. I fully appreciate that it is one of the industries worst affected and for the longest and know that as we enter a second year of restrictions many in the sector must be fearing for their future. I do hope that once the pandemic is over the wedding sector will have a number of good years with so many weddings postponed. In the meantime, the Government wants to make sure as many businesses as possible survive to see that day.

The financial support the Government is providing businesses and workers affected by the pandemic is unprecedented. Almost a million people of working age are now in receipt of weekly payments including the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), Employment Wage Subsidy (EWSS) and Jobseekers Benefit or Allowance. Support for business includes the weekly CRSS payment for businesses forced to close their doors to the public, reduced VAT rates, a commercial rates holiday, the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, the Tourism Business Continuity Scheme as well as low cost loans.

Budget 2021 provided a significant package of tax and expenditure measures to build the resilience of the economy and to help vulnerable but viable businesses across all sectors. Details of the wide range of supports available are on my Department’s website.

These measures are in addition to the €7 billion July Stimulus of enterprise measures, which includes the Wage Subsidy Scheme extended through 2021, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, grants, low-cost loans, write-off of commercial rates and deferred tax liabilities, all of which will help to improve cashflow amongst self-employed. We are providing for an extension of the tax warehousing scheme to include repayments of Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme funds owed by employers and preliminary tax obligations for adversely affected businesses.

As announced in the July Stimulus, the Enterprise Support Grant was extended to assist eligible self-employed, including sole traders, who exit the PUP or jobseekers schemes, to re-start their business. Further information is available at www.gov.ie.

On the 9th of December, following engagement with the Arts sector and other self-employed sectors my colleague Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Social Protection, announced the doubling of the PUP threshold from the current €480 over four weeks to €960 over an eight-week period effective immediately. This measure is to assist those who are trying to restart their businesses and will allow self-employed people to take on intermittent jobs without losing their entitlement to the PUP.

The Government also announced the provision of support of €50m for the live entertainment sector in Budget 2021. This will include measures for the commercial entertainment sector and will support live entertainment across the country. The 2021 supports for the live entertainment sector will be the subject of further consultation with stakeholders. It will also be informed by the pilot live performance scheme in 2020 which is being rolled out now.

The three main schemes, the CRSS, EWSS and PUP compare favourably with any other packages on offer in other countries. The new scheme, announced this week, the COVID Business Aid Scheme (CBAS) will provide funding of up to €8,000 for those businesses that are in receipt of a rates bill from their local authority. While the grant is modest, it will help smaller businesses in particular to cover these costs – rent, insurance, utilities, security.

I am aware of the scheme in Scotland and the Government is very much open to proposals from the wedding sector as to how we can help further. However, Government schemes to support businesses are generally designed to help meet fixed costs that cannot be avoided and it is not possible to provide compensation for loss of personal income or profits.

My colleagues, Minister Catherine Martin T.D., Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht and Minister Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine may be able to provide more specific details on the events and hospitality industry and details on supports for the food sector respectively.


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