Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Varadkar, Leo

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

I thank the Deputy. I am aware of the media reports in regard to the future of Ulster Bank in the Republic of Ireland. This is, as everyone in the House will appreciate, a commercial matter for i...More Button

The Minister for Finance has been in close contact with Ulster Bank and its parent, NatWest, in recent days and, indeed, in recent months, and he has kept me informed of developments. He is asse...More Button

In regard to the suggestion that we try to develop a third force in our banking sector that would be able to compete with Bank of Ireland and AIB, this is something that I and the Government supp...More Button

I thank the Deputy. I will be speaking to the Minister for Finance about this again today. I am sure he will be willing to engage with Opposition spokespeople and members of the committee on this...More Button

As the Deputy knows, the Minister has already engaged with representatives from both Ulster Bank and NatWest in recent months. He also met with the Financial Services Union last December, as did...More Button

On the question of whether other banks in which the State has a shareholding have an interest in elements of Ulster Bank, while I appreciate that this is a pertinent question, I cannot comment on...More Button

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions (Continued)

I thank the Deputy. Parents and students asked for clarity, choice and some compassion, and that is what we have provided in making the decision yesterday. A decision from the Government gives st...More Button

On school reopening, NPHET has been consulted. It has given us informal advice on what school reopening could look like. It has advised that we should adopt a very gradual approach and that we ...More Button

The Deputy asked me the very fair question as to whether we can give a guarantee and certainty. If we have learned anything from the pandemic in the past year, it is that nobody can give a guara...More Button

I thank the Deputy. We will certainly take on board the suggestion and request from the Labour Party on a hybrid option but I understand there are some difficulties with it. One reason we want to...More Button

On dates, I have never used the date 1 March. I appreciate that others may have. What I have said is what I have said here.More Button

I have referred here in the Dáil to the plan. The plan for quite some time has been for the phased reopening of schools, starting with the opening of special schools, which has been done, and movi...More Button

I thank the Deputy. We will certainly try to do the right thing by the survivors, taking into account all the issues at play. I think the commission did a good job. It did what it was asked to d...More Button

I do not want anything I say to be seen in any way as a criticism of the people who did the report because they did a good job within the confines of the Commissions of Investigation Act, but I t...More Button

A second flaw is that many survivors did not get the opportunity to tell their story in public the way they wanted to. Many survivors want to remain private and that is their choice, but there a...More Button

On the call for the timeframe to be extended, the Minister, Deputy O'Gorman, is aware of the concerns about the audio recordings made by the confidential committee as an aid to its work. The mod...More Button

I cannot make that commitment here but I will take up the matter again with the Minister, Deputy O'Gorman. I do not know if it is possible to retrieve the audio recordings. Knowing the answer to t...More Button

I thank the Deputy for his questions. I support the greater use of antigen testing in Ireland. I am on the record as having said that on a number of occasions. However, that has to be subject to...More Button

It is now being used in outbreaks and has been tested in some clinical scenarios, such as outbreaks in hospitals. It has, therefore, been used in recent weeks under direction of NPHET and the HS...More Button

For what it is worth, the first I heard about meat plants was from the media. It may well be that the meat plant owners have taken it upon themselves to do this. People around the country are c...More Button

To clarify once again, NPHET has endorsed the recommendations on the use of antigen testing. As I mentioned previously, the HSE is now putting in place deployment options for the use in acute ho...More Button

The Minister for Health has set up a group that is chaired by the chief scientific adviser, Professor Mark Ferguson, to examine the use of rapid tests in the community. Therefore, things are mov...More Button

The Deputy also mentioned Bank of Ireland. It is the case that the Government holds a 15% shareholding in Bank of Ireland. However, 85% of it is owned by other investors. The decision to close...More Button

Nobody likes to see a bank branch close in a town. We need to be honest and realistic, however. The world has moved on. The number of people who go into a bank branch now is a fraction of what i...More Button

I represent a constituency with 120,000 or 130,000 people. There are two, perhaps three, banks in the entire constituency. It is not that people travel to other parts of Dublin or other parts o...More Button

Certainly not, no.More Button

We need to be honest with people about that. One thing I saw last year and was really impressed with-----More Button

The Deputy should have a look at one of the old banks in Edgeworthstown and how that has been turned into an enterprise hub.More Button

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation

I thank the Deputy. I checked before I came into the House and, to the best of my knowledge, NIAC has not yet come back to us on that matter. It is under consideration, however. As we move down ...More Button

Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)

I do not have any detail on the different pay rates being offered to people who will be working in the vaccination centres, but like I said, we will have a subcommittee on Covid this afternoon and ...More Button

I am not saying we will not extend it. I am saying that the Minister is giving that consideration. If we do extend it, we want to know that it will serve a purpose and help us solve the problem t...More Button

A lot of extra staff have been hired and a lot of resources have been provided to schools to adapt to Covid by purchasing screens, sanitisers and all of those things. A lot has been done in that r...More Button

I am told there is no date yet for that Bill but I will take up the matter with the Minister for Finance today when I speak to him. We need to be frank and honest with people. Banks have a respon...More Button

Most people do their banking online and they do it on their phones, and one does not need broadband for that. If the Deputy asks around in his constituency and community, people will tell him they...More Button

As I said earlier on, the development of a third banking force that is able to compete with Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks, AIB, would be welcome. It is something the Government would supp...More Button

I am very sorry to hear what people in Bandon are experiencing. I visited after floods a couple of years ago and spoke to many of the business people and residents. The flood works that have happ...More Button

I, once again, warmly welcome the absolute 180° U-turn by Sinn Féin and other parties when it comes to the national broadband plan. This was opposed tooth and nail when we signed that contract in ...More Button

The Deputies asked many good questions and very technical questions about how we can speed up the NBP. As I said, the money is there. The political will is there. I understand there are techni...More Button

I thank Deputy Munster. The Deputy raised this issue last week or the week before. On foot of that, I have written to the Minister, Deputy Foley, and have asked her to take up the matter directly...More Button

As I mentioned earlier, we have asked the national immunisation advisory council to consider that and to give us advice as to whether we could prioritise family carers, for the reasons that the Dep...More Button

It would be remiss of me not to raise my concerns here about the commemoration being organised by Sinn Féin in Wexford, in the Deputy's constituency, in relation to the Edward O'Brien bus bomb. ...More Button

The family do not support it and our Defence Forces-----More Button

Our Defence Forces would be particularly offended that the term "Óglaigh na h-Éireann" is being used in relation to this.More Button

I call on Sinn Féin to disassociate itself from the commemoration, to call for it to be cancelled-----More Button

-----and to condemn the violent crime which this bus bomb was.More Button

I appreciate that the backlog in primary medical certificate assessments is causing a great deal of distress for hundreds of people across the country. It has been raised with my constituency offi...More Button

Let me just say-----More Button

I am a great supporter of a technological university for the south east. One of my regrets as Taoiseach in the previous Government is that this is one of the measures we did not get over the line....More Button

I thank the Deputy for raising these issues. My colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Coveney, has done a great deal of work on the case of Mr. Richard O'Halloran and in trying to as...More Button

To be clear, there is no date set or agreed as yet. What is being planned for is a phased return of schools across March and into the Easter period, starting with sixth years and the youngest year...More Button

I will take them up with the Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan. Taxi drivers have suffered more than most in this pandemic. They have experienced a significant loss of income and their vehicles have no...More Button

I thank the Deputy. I am afraid I do not have an update on this. My understanding is that the NASRA, which is associated with the PNA, is not recognised by the HSE because it has existing agreeme...More Button

I thank the Deputy. I have read about the case but I am not an expert on it. I want to be careful about what I say on such a sensitive issue. I know that after the apology I made as Taoiseach we...More Button

I am not aware of a directive on this matter but I will check it out and come back to the Deputy.More Button

I understand where the Deputy is going with this but I am constrained by stock market rules in what I can say in this regard. What I will say is, as I said earlier, that the Government supports th...More Button

I thank the Deputies. The list of mass vaccination centres is not exhaustive. There may be additional centres or centres that are open for a few weeks in one area and then moved to another area s...More Button

Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Bill 2021: First Stage

No.More Button

Consumer Protection (Loyalty Penalty and Customer Complaints) Bill 2021: First Stage

No.More Button

Covid-19 (Enterprise, Trade and Employment): Statements

I am glad to have this opportunity to update the House on the topic of business and Covid-19 under this new format of statements and questions and answers. I look forward to answering Deputies' qu...More Button

Although today's topic is business and Covid-19, I will also speak about how my Department is supporting employees. Covid-19 financial assistance, low cost loans and workplace health and safety ...More Button

Last week, I announced €160 million in additional funding for businesses during the pandemic. This includes a new €60 million scheme, the Covid-19 business aid scheme, CBAS, which is being devel...More Button

The three main schemes, the CRSS, employment wage subsidy scheme, EWSS and PUP, compare favourably with any other packages on offer in other countries. It is important to explain that the EWSS i...More Button

To complement the unprecedented levels of financial assistance to businesses, we are also going to fast-track the introduction of a new, low cost, so-called summary rescue process, separate from ...More Button

Turning to workers' rights, the Government moved swiftly last year to introduce the Covid-19 enhanced illness benefit. This payment provides €350 per week to anyone who is self-isolating with Co...More Button

Separately, in line with the programme for Government, I have formally asked the Low Pay Commission to examine and make recommendations on the best approach and design for a living wage for Irela...More Button

Part of my Department's remit is protecting the health and safety of workers and members of the public in workplaces. The Government published the Work Safely Protocol on 20 November 2020, to re...More Button

Turning to the wider economic picture, I believe the pandemic has accelerated some of the deep structural shifts that were already in motion across the economy. The sudden shift online poses ser...More Button

The pandemic also widened the digital divide. While many workers in well-paid jobs moved seamlessly to the online world, many customer-facing workers in more vulnerable sectors simply could not ...More Button

Despite all the challenges we face, I am optimistic for the year ahead, especially the second half. When I last spoke here in October on the topic of business and Brexit, we discussed the very s...More Button

Covid-19 (Enterprise, Trade and Employment): Statements (Continued)

October's budget was premised on the basis of a no-deal Brexit and the absence of the broadly available vaccine. Neither scenario has materialised in 2021, which provides us with grounds for hope....More Button

Unlike previous occasions in our history Ireland entered this economic crisis in a very strong position, with low unemployment, a budget surplus, falling public and private sector debt, and expor...More Button

We will bounce back, possibly sooner and quicker than some people think, but I am not naive to think that things will go back to normal, nor should they. Some things will change forever and the ...More Button

I thank the Deputy. The Minister for Finance is leading on this issue on behalf of the Government. He has been in touch, as recently as yesterday, with Ulster Bank and its parent, NatWest. He ha...More Button

I understand that any restructuring that may occur will probably be for the Republic of Ireland, not for Northern Ireland, but that may change. In response to Deputy Doherty's request earlier, I...More Button

I thank the Deputy. I have no doubt whatsoever that bogus self-employment is very real and is a problem in our economy and our society but it is worth pointing out that the percentage of people wh...More Button

I am taking up the issue of delivery riders with the company. I am trying to make contact with it at the moment. The right thing to do in that particular scenario, and it is a particular scenar...More Button

I have to give the Deputy that one.More Button

The CRSS is working very well and I get very good feedback from businesses about it. It is helping them with their fixed costs. It is not the only scheme out there and there is a tourism continui...More Button

We are open to new schemes to help sectors that have been left out. I stated when launching the CBAS that it would not be the final scheme. I want to see more real-life examples of companies th...More Button

The aviation task force report is probably pretty out of date at this stage. It involves reopening our skies and allowing people to fly again but the country has moved on from that process, which ...More Button

I say very clearly that Aer Lingus will not be allowed to fail. It is already receiving substantial financial support from the Government both through the employment wage subsidy scheme and fund...More Button

As the Deputy states, the future growth loan scheme is working very well. It is long-term money but it is for a particular purpose where companies want to and can expand, so they would already be ...More Button

I should leave it to the Minister for Finance to update the Opposition on Ulster Bank and I will ensure the briefing occurs as soon as possible. As I indicated to the Deputy last week, the Centr...More Button

They are all very reasonable questions. Unfortunately, I cannot write as quickly as the Deputy can speak, so I may have missed a few of them. I will do my best to answer those I can remember.More Button

It is the case that the average interest rates on mortgages and loans in Ireland are too high, and higher than the EU average. However, they have been falling, and falling substantially in recen...More Button

On the issue of Ulster Bank, the Minister for Finance is leading on that for the Government. He has been in discussions with NatWest about potential solutions. I know the transfer of undertakin...More Button

On the minimum wage directive, it was a letter that was co-signed with the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Austria. We do have a concern. Ireland has the second or third highest minimum w...More Button

I thank the Deputies. I recognise Deputy Farrell's ongoing interest in Aer Lingus, Dublin Airport and aviation workers in particular. As I said earlier, we are in discussions with Aer Lingus to s...More Button

In regard to the hospitality sector, it benefits from both the wage subsidy scheme and the CRSS, which applies when a premises is closed. I know many businesses have moved over to take-out and d...More Button

When it comes to remote working, including working from home, it is intended that the budget in October will include a tax package to provide a better set of expenses and tax deductibles for peop...More Button

As Deputy Bruton said, we are entering a period of major change. It is change that was happening anyway but it has been accelerated by the pandemic. It involves remote working and, therefore, i...More Button

I will come back to the Deputies' other points later, if I can, or in writing.More Button

Yes.More Button

Kerry Group has been in contact with the Department. We are aware that 150 job losses are planned. They will not all take place in Naas but we will obviously be working to ensure redeployment is ...More Button

I had not heard the idea of Ireland becoming an EU hub for live events. It sounds like a good idea. It sounds exciting. I would be interested in reading any proposals on it to determine whethe...More Button

On Ulster Bank, I do not believe we should jump the gun here. There has been no announcement yet. There has been no announcement of any redundancies at this stage. My Department has not been i...More Button

On the rates waiver issue, the Government is considering whether to extend the rates holiday into quarter 2. We will give businesses notice of that long before the Bill might arrive.More Button

We have only had initial contact with Kerry Group but my understanding is that what is proposed is a consolidation of services across two of its sites. The group has more staff than work that need...More Button

We intend to have the CBAS open for applications by the end of this month. There will not be any requirement for a business to be customer facing in the way there is such a requirement for the C...More Button

I apologise as I have forgotten the Deputy's last question.More Button

It is fair enough to state that the stay and spend scheme has not cost very much. It has not cost as much as we had believed because people have been confined to their counties or to within a radi...More Button

Could the Deputy give me the name of the scheme again?More Button

I will have to check up on that and revert to the Deputy. I am not familiar with that one. I dare say it does not fall under the remit of my Department but I might find that it does so I will che...More Button

That is a scheme under the remit of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.More Button

The Minister for Finance is heading up that. He has made the application for funding under the SURE scheme. As I understand it, it involves borrowed money. It is an EU fund from which we can bor...More Button

When I say we will not let Aer Lingus fail, I do not want to create the impression that it is in any way about to fail or anything like that, just in case I am misunderstood. What I am saying is t...More Button

We will provide more to enable us to retain essential connectivity with Heathrow, the United States and those key hubs in Europe, as well as for cargo. The sad truth is that the way things are goi...More Button

With regard to the redundancies at Rehab Enterprises Limited, the total number of people employed in Rehab Logistics Limerick is 37, 36 of whom are currently supported under the wage subsidy scheme...More Button

As a Government, we recognise this is a vulnerable cohort of workers. The Department of Social Protection has worked closely with Rehab in similar circumstances and will do so again. That Depar...More Button

Yes.More Button

I will make sure those notes to which Deputy Ó Murchú referred are brought to my attention. I am genuine in what I say about wanting to help out firms that are, perhaps, falling between the cracks...More Button

With regard to aviation, and I do not necessarily mean anyone present in the House at the moment when I say this, I believe there are people in this House who are trying to have it both ways, who...More Button

The aviation sector is receiving much financial support from Government. The airlines are among the main beneficiaries of the employment wage subsidy scheme, EWSS, receiving millions to help pay...More Button

These are areas under the remit of the Minister for Transport, Deputy Eamon Ryan, and the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Deputy Catherine Martin, but I am taking a...More Button

On musicians, I know the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Deputy Catherine Martin, is working on this already and is trying to develop a scheme for musicians. Mor...More Button

On travel counsellors, if they have an office they will qualify for the CBAS. If they work from home, they probably do not.More Button

The Minister of State, Deputy Troy, might come in on the .ie domain names as he has responsibility for digital and company regulation but I think that is owned by University College Dublin. It is ...More Button

I am always afraid to speculate about the future when it comes to what might or might not be possible this summer but I hope and believe that a domestic tourism season will be possible this summe...More Button

I thank Deputy Leddin for those supportive words. I am due to meet Insurance Ireland in the next couple of weeks and if the Deputy can pass me on a bit more detail about those e-bike companies on ...More Button

I thank Deputy Cahill for his passionate remarks in support of people who work in the music and entertainment industry. The Minister, Deputy Catherine Martin, is examining possible options for h...More Button

If I ever heard a red herring argument against CETA, that is one. First of all, companies can sue states. Companies sue states and governments all the time. One can go down to the commercial cou...More Button

Matters relating to tourism and the media are mainly under the remit of the Minister, Deputy Catherine Martin. She would probably be able to give the Deputy a better reply than me, but I will do t...More Button

Regarding local newspapers and radio, newspapers have benefited from the reduction in the VAT rate to 9%. It was never increased for them. They can benefit from the wage subsidy scheme if their...More Button

Regarding immunisation documents and passports, when the time comes - I do not know when that will be - the key to restoring a great deal of travel, including international travel, will be how pe...More Button

Some of these issues were raised and answered earlier and I do not want to use up my time giving the same answers again. When it comes to the pandemic unemployment payment people are allowed to do...More Button

Home-based businesses are eligible for the employment wage subsidy scheme, and those who run them or work in them are also eligible for the pandemic unemployment payment. They are not eligible f...More Button

We need to be very clear the schemes the Government puts in place are to help with fixed costs, not to compensate for lost profits or income.More Button

On the Deputy's suggestion on Amazon, it is investing significantly in Ireland. It employs thousands of people and is building new logistics centres here. We should seize the opportunity to enc...More Button

I will have to check with the Minister for Finance, but my understanding is that if a bank gives somebody a payment break that does not affect his or her credit rating. I will double check that. ...More Button

As the Deputy correctly pointed out, travel agents qualify in levels 4 and 5, but would not if we went to level 3. I believe they should because in level 3 one must stay in one's county. Logicall...More Button

That is a complicated area which we will return to at another time. I am not convinced that any of the legislative solutions Members have put forward would have made a difference or would make a d...More Button

The Minister of State, Deputy English, might assist me regarding the trading online voucher. I think there is additional funding for it.More Button

Credit Guarantee Scheme

Was asked: his views on whether the credit guarantee scheme should be amended to ensure a greater approval rate from banks on loan applications and to give access to a wider range of SMEs; if the scheme will ...More Button

A new COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) was developed and launched in September 2020. Loans of up to €1 million are available for up to five and a half years at reduced interest rates for wo...More Button

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Was asked: if matters raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) on casual traders and the Covid-19 business aid scheme will receive a response; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I understand this is an incredibly difficult time for businesses and families across the country.

  The Government has put in place a comprehensive range of measures to help busi...More Button

Was asked: if he has considered implementing a Covid-19 support scheme that does not require being a commercial rate payer; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government has put in place a comprehensive range of measures to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment ...More Button

Was asked: if he has considered allowing companies that are not paying commercial rates but that are registered and tax compliant to avail of Covid-19 support schemes such as the employment wage subsidy schem...More Button

The Government has put in place a comprehensive range of measures to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which Covid-related supports can remain in place in order to facilitate a much-needed economic boost if and when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

I recognise the impact that this pandemic is having on businesses right across the country. In order to assist businesses to address the challenges posed by COVID-19 the Government has put in place...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which new enterprises continue to be funded in various forms in order to address the negative impact of Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The 31 Local Enterprise Offices continue to offer direct grant aid to microenterprises (up to 10 employees) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector. Subject to certain eligi...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which supports in the wake of Covid-19 can continue to remain available in order to facilitate the greatest possible extent of recovery post-Covid-19; and if he will make a statement ...More Button

I recognise the impact that this pandemic is having on businesses right across the country. In order to assist businesses to address the challenges posed by COVID-19 the Government has put in place...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he continues to liaise with the manufacturing and services sectors throughout Ireland with a view to continuing to identify those areas currently in need of assistance arising f...More Button

I am keenly aware that businesses are making a massive sacrifice to protect their communities and I am committed to ensuring that the Government offers as much assistance and support as possible. A...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he continues to liaise with the manufacturing and services sectors in County Kildare with a view to continuing to identify those areas currently in need of assistance arising fr...More Button

I am keenly aware that businesses are making a massive sacrifice to protect their communities and I am committed to ensuring that the Government offers as much assistance and support as possible. A...More Button

Departmental Funding

Was asked: the contact details for the sections that deal with all ongoing and established grant funding in his Department and in each agency under the remit of his Department in tabular form.More Button

My Department has recently established an Enterprise Information Centre to provide information to the public on the wide range of supports that are available to help businesses. Contact details are...More Button

Food Prices

Was asked: if his Department has carried out studies and analysis of the effects of the removal of the groceries order in 2006; if consideration has been given to reinstating the order or a version of same; h...More Button

The term “Groceries Order” refers to the Restrictive Practices (Groceries) Order 1987 (S.I. No.142 of 1987). This Order prohibited below invoice price selling rather than banning below cost selling...More Button

The single most important reason for revoking the Order was that it had kept prices of groceries in Ireland at an artificially high level by allowing suppliers to specify minimum prices below whi...More Button

The Competition (Amendment) Act 2006 repealed the Restrictive Practices Act 1972 as well as revoking the Restrictive Practices (Groceries) Order 1987 (S.I. No.142 of 1987). Since the revocation o...More Button

I understand that the matter of supporting the primary producers of vegetables and meat at farm level will be dealt with by my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, in for...More Button

Ministerial Correspondence

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 139 of 1 December 2020, if the correspondence received by him on 20 November 2020 has received the necessary attention; and if so, if his Department will be re...More Button

The correspondence referred to was received in the Office of the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment on 20th November 2020 and the matter is receiving attention.More Button

Brexit Issues

Was asked: the extent to which various issues arising from Brexit have been identified as negatively impacting on the economy; the extent of the introduction of measures to address these issues; and if he wil...More Button

Was asked: the degree to which Ireland’s consular sector overseas continues to counter Brexit-related impacts on the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 12 together.

  In the seven weeks since the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement came into force that sets us on a different course for t...More Button

Trade Data

Was asked: the extent to which Irish exports to the UK and the European Union have fluctuated since Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which levels of trade between Ireland and the UK, the UK and the EU, excluding Ireland, and each EU country have fluctuated since the imposition of Brexit; and if he will make a state...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which trade with non-EU countries including the UK had progressed and continued since 1 January 2021 in the context of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he continues to monitor the import and export sectors with a view to measuring the impact of Brexit and-or Covid-19 on the economy generally if particular issues arise which mig...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 13, 14, 23 and 26 together.More Button

The Central Statistics Office compiles statistical data on Goods Exports and Imports. The latest figures available relate to exports and imports for the month of December 2020 and for the year 20...More Button

The latest Goods Exports and Imports release from the Central Statistics Office, dated 15 February 2021, shows that the value of goods exports from Ireland rose to €160.8bn in 2020 which is the h...More Button

The EU accounted for €63,859 million (40%) of total exports in 2020, an increase of €7,211 million (+13%) on 2019. The EU accounted for €30,329 million of imports in 2020, representing 36% of tot...More Button

Exports to non-EU countries (excluding the UK) were valued at €82,457 million in 2020, which is an increase of €2,360 million (+3%) on the 2019 level of exports. The US continues to be Ireland’s ...More Button

Exports to Great Britain in 2020 were valued at €12,399 million, which is a decrease of €1,183 million (-9%) compared with 2019. Exports to Great Britain accounted for 8% of total exports in 2020.More Button

Imports from Great Britain in 2020 were €17,812 million, a decrease of €861 million (-5%) when compared with 2019, meaning there was a trade deficit of €5,413 million with Great Britain in 2020. ...More Button

My Department continues to monitor the performance of the import and export sectors as the outlook for exports to the UK, Eurozone and rest of the world is being impacted by both Brexit and the o...More Button

Enterprise Ireland’s ambition for 2021 is to sustain Irish jobs and exports and increase the resilience of the enterprise base with a view to ensuring global exports retain their pre-pandemic, pr...More Button

In recent years the majority of Ministerial-led Trade Missions have taken place to the Eurozone, North America and Asia Pacific, which represented the strongest growth opportunities for Irish com...More Button

My Department is currently finalising a Ministerial led Trade Mission Programme for 2021. At this stage, it is envisaged that such a programme will contain a mix of virtual and actual trade missi...More Button

As well as the global efforts supported by our agencies, key to our success in growing exports has been our commitment to trade liberalisation in order to open new markets for our indigenous sect...More Button

Enterprise Support Services

Was asked: the extent to which incentives continue to be made available to encourage the manufacturing and services sectors given the impact of both Brexit and Covid-19; if new measures are in mind; and if he...More Button

I am keenly aware that businesses are making a massive sacrifice to protect their communities and I am committed to ensuring that the Government offers as much assistance and support as possible. A...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which incentives continue to be made available to the manufacturing and services sectors in County Kildare in order to counter the impacts of both Brexit and Covid-19; if new measures...More Button

I am keenly aware that businesses are making a massive sacrifice to protect their communities and I am committed to ensuring that the Government offers as much assistance and support as possible. A...More Button

Local Enterprise Offices

Was asked: if further particular incentives are being considered to encourage the entrepreneurial skills of younger persons with particular reference to those impacted by Covid-19 or Brexit; and if he will ma...More Button

My Department and its Agencies will continue our work to enable younger persons to develop the entrepreneurial skills needed to pursue their business ideas. This is particularly important given the...More Button

In 2021, Enterprise Ireland will continue to offer a number of start-up supports available to younger persons. More Button

These include New Frontiers, which is the National Programme designed to develop entrepreneurs, delivered on behalf of Enterprise Ireland (EI) by Institutes of Technology and Universities nationw...More Button

EI’s Competitive Start Fund offers €50,000 equity investment designed to accelerate the development of high potential start-up companies, by supporting them to achieve commercial and technical mi...More Button

The Student Entrepreneur Awards, an annual event led and managed by EI, is open to full time registered third level students attending college on the island of Ireland. Students get the opportun...More Button

In 2020, despite the pandemic, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) continued to provide advice and support to entrepreneurs to pursue their business ideas and look for opportunities to start u...More Button

The LEOs offer a broad range of training programmes to support entrepreneurship and develop start-up businesses and in response to the restrictions in place during lockdown. These have been pivot...More Button

These include the Start Your Own Business (SYOB) programme, which guides clients through the various aspects of business and business planning has continued across the country throughout the pand...More Button

The Mentor Programme is a free of charge service allowing clients to work with an experienced mentor to identify solutions to areas of exposure within their business. With advice and guidance fro...More Button

The Lean for Micro initiative helps build resilience within small companies. Under this Programme, clients can avail of consultancy support with a LEAN Expert (a qualified practitioner), who will...More Button

The LEOs continue to reinforce entrepreneurship in the education system as a critical element in the future development of small business in Ireland. A number of initiatives are run by the LEOs ...More Button

Finally, the ‘Report of the SME Taskforce: SME and Entrepreneurship Growth Plan’, which was published last month by my Department, sets out a wide range of recommendations with long-term strategi...More Button

The Report, which was developed by an SME Taskforce of entrepreneurs, business leaders and other stakeholders, results from the commitment in the 'Programme for Government – Our Shared Future' to...More Button

The recommendations in the Report include measures to support the education of future and existing entrepreneurs throughout the different stages of education, including at Leaving Certificate and...More Button

These proposals, while not yet Government policy, will be considered by a Ministerial-led SME & Entrepreneurship Implementation Group, in conjunction with appropriate Government Departments, Agen...More Button

Was asked: if further particular incentives are being considered to encourage the entrepreneurial skills of younger persons in County Kildare with particular reference to those impacted by Covid-19 or Brexit;...More Button

The 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide act as a ‘first-stop-shop’ providing advice and guidance, financial assistance, and other supports to those wishing to start or grow their own business an...More Button

Was asked: the incentives in hand to encourage young persons to participate in the industrial sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department and its Agencies will continue our work to enable younger persons to develop the entrepreneurial skills needed to pursue their business ideas. More Button

The Local Enterprise Offices in every county are the first stop shop for anyone interested in starting or scaling a business and they provide an extensive range of entrepreneurship promotional, a...More Button

Similarly, Enterprise Ireland continues to work with early stage businesses and entrepreneurs on high potential business ideas and with the ambition to internationalise. More Button

More generally, Intreo Offices throughout the country actively engaged with employers and those looking for employment opportunities and have a very good knowledge of openings and opportunities i...More Button

My colleagues, Minister Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and Minister Roderic O’Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability,...More Button

Foreign Direct Investment

Was asked: the extent to which a demand still exists for the location of international call centres in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The international call centre industry, or the Customer Experience industry as is it also known, is an important sector and a significant employer in Ireland. In recent years it has evolved from tr...More Button

The availability of a highly-skilled, mobile workforce, a low-risk environment and access to multilingual talent, both locally and from across the globe, has made Ireland an attractive location f...More Button

Every job created in Ireland is hard won against increasing competition from a growing number of potential locations. Investors in this sector seek skilled employees, international connectivity, ...More Button

IDA Ireland will work with its existing client base to assist and support their growth and expansion in Ireland and will continue to highlight Ireland’s strong value proposition to prospective ov...More Button

  Question No. 23 answered with Question No. 13.More Button

Enterprise Data

Was asked: the extent to which the workforce here continues to have the increased skills necessary to meet modern market requirements; the extent to which this issue continues to be examined and addressed; an...More Button

My Department is aware that it is essential that Irish enterprise has access to high-quality, adaptable and flexible talent. In order to meet this demand, the Government is committed to building an...More Button

Work Permits

Was asked: the extent to which provision can be made to expedite the application process for work permits, given the increased demand in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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. ...More Button

  Question No. 26 answered with Question No. 13.More Button