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Harris, Simon

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Public Procurement Contracts

I thank the Deputy for her question and I note her ongoing interest in issues of procurement.

  The main purpose of the EU public procurement regime is to open up the market and ...More Button

I know that the Deputy has highlighted the issue, including during Private Members' time on Fridays. I accept her bona fides in bringing the issue to the House. I have asked the Office for Govern...More Button

The directive obliges us to give consideration to how we wish to adhere to "applicable obligations" in labour law. While most of the directive is mandatory, each member state has a policy choice...More Button

I am approaching the matter with an open mind. The Minister, Deputy Howlin, undertook significant work during our Presidency of the European Council in getting this through the European Parliame...More Button

The Deputy correctly notes the limitations on what I can say about specific cases. However, I am very happy to say that we have quite a robust suite of labour law. In the procurement area, I want...More Button

Obviously the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has overall responsibility for employment rights. The National Employment Rights Authority, NERA, is responsible for enforcing minimum ...More Button

While we are discussing the issue of subcontractors, the Government has made a decision, led by the Minister, Deputy Howlin, that the Minister of State, Deputy Nash, will work on the implementati...More Button

Some of my prepared reply is the same as I have already outlined, so I will take that as noted regarding the objectives of the EU directives.More Button

The Office of Government Procurement is currently exploring policy choices as part of the transposition process. In this context, I have launched a public consultation on the new directives. It...More Button

Many of the changes in the directives on SME access to, and participation in, the public procurement market were foreshadowed in Circular 10/14 on initiatives to assist SMEs in public procurement...More Button

Public Procurement Contracts (Continued)

This policy initiative aims to open up opportunities for small businesses to bid for State business by simplifying and streamlining the public procurement process and reducin...More Button

I am pleased to hear that Deputy McDonald hopes to attend the Meet the Buyer event. I have made a point of inviting every Member of the Oireachtas to the event and if the Deputy is not in a positi...More Button

I agree with much of what the Deputy says and she is correct. Aside from capital projects the State spends about €23 million a day on purchasing goods and services. It is a very significant contr...More Button

Finance Bill 2014: Second Stage (Resumed) (Continued)

I would like to pick up on the point on which Deputy Michael Creed left off, in regard to the potential for a dialogue of the deaf. While it may seem like that, I have attended this debate over th...More Button

Neither I nor the Government advocates that this Finance Bill or budget 2015 is a panacea for all the challenges faced by this country. As every Member and citizen knows, we have had several ext...More Button

A wide range of issues have been raised in the past three days and it will not be possible to deal with all of them in the time available. While all of the issues raised do not relate directly t...More Button

On the issue of tax progressiveness and fairness, a number of Deputies have asserted that the income tax package was skewed towards higher earners. However, the maximum benefit from this tax pac...More Button

Since the Government came into office, some 410,000 people no longer pay the USC. Now, following this budget, a further 80,000 will be removed from the USC net. Some 33,000 people have been rem...More Button

In the lifetime of the Government, we have restored the minimum wage. The availability of social housing is an issue in all our communities, certainly in mine, and we have had significant discus...More Button

Concerns were also raised regarding access to front-line services. While this issue is not directly related to the Finance Bill, it should be noted that the Government announced through the budg...More Button

It is unfair for Deputies to suggest every new job created has been a low-paid job. I have responsibility for the international financial services sector and when I visit companies and meet peop...More Button

In response to some of the specific issues raised, Deputy Michael McGrath suggested the abolition of the weekly PRSI allowance two years ago affected all taxpayers equally.More Button

However, I must correct the record because that is simply not the case. Those who did not earn more than €18,304 were unaffected as they were not liable to PRSI. More Button

As regards individualisation of the tax system, the position is that this issue was considered by the Commission on Taxation which, as Deputies will know, recommended no change be made to the cur...More Button

With regard to progressivity, it is important to indicate that Ireland has one of the most progressive income tax systems of the EU members of the OECD and the second most progressive of all memb...More Button

A number of Deputies spoke about the SARP provisions in the Bill. While the take-up of the SARP to date has been very low, the Minister believes the enhancement of the SARP will help to improve ...More Button

There was a discussion about the so-called double Irish. I disagree with those who assert that the Minister's announcement on budget day on Ireland's rules on company residence and the so-called...More Button

Deputy Pearse Doherty asserted that the Minister had misled the Dáil on the issue of the so-called double Irish. That is, obviously, an assertion I reject. The Minister has always been very cle...More Button

There has been a discussion about the amount of tax paid by multinationals. It is an important discussion to have; discussions on all tax issues are extremely appropriate to the Finance Bill and...More Button

The issue of tax competition was raised and there were questions about who benefited from this practice. Questions were also raised about evidence that supported a low corporation tax rate in Ir...More Button

Reference was made to the provision of tax relief for crowd funding and loan capital. The Minister has no plans to introduce such tax relief, but investors can, of course, avail of tax relief fo...More Button

Reference was made to increasing the tax-free thresholds that applied under CAT legislation to gifts and inheritances, depending on the relationship between the giver and the beneficiary on foot ...More Button

On the need to encourage domestic entrepreneurs, a point raised by Deputies Dara Calleary and Michael McGrath and others, section 45 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2013 provided for capital gains tax...More Button

There was a significant discussion and, it is fair to say, concern on all sides of the House about the definition of "an active farmer". Concerns were expressed about the revisions to the defini...More Button

Quite a few Deputies referred to the abolition from next year of the windfall tax provisions. I would like to restate the rationale behind it. The Minister has done so because the tax is an imp...More Button

It was extremely regrettable that Deputy Róisín Shortall referred to one representative body which the Minister had consulted, as outlined in the course of a reply running to a page and a half to...More Button

There were some queries about the first-time home buyers' issue. First-time home buyers will be entitled to a refund of DIRT paid on savings used to purchase a home, on up to 20% of the purchase...More Button

Deputy Pearse Doherty referred to the proposal to amend the general anti-avoidance legislation. There are significant numbers of cases involving transactions which have already taken place and w...More Button

There was a discussion during the course of the debate of a proposed levy on alcohol sales in off-licence premises. As the Minister has previously pointed out, EU Directive 92/93 which governs t...More Button

Deputies Michelle Mulherin, Denis Naughten and John Paul Phelan raised the issue of petrol stretching. This is a very serious issue about which we have heard a significant amount in recent times...More Button

Deputy Pearse Doherty asked about the VAT treatment of Government funding for the 1916 centenary commemorations. As Government funding is outside the scope of VAT, there will be no VAT liability...More Button

A number of Deputies referred to the pension fund levy, which will be very significantly reduced next year and end after that. Other Deputies welcomed the retention of the 9% VAT rate on tourist...More Button

I have tried to answer as many questions as I can. No doubt, there will be an opportunity to tease out these issues further on Committee Stage. In his opening statement to the House the Ministe...More Button

I will end where I began. The Finance Bill is not a panacea for all of the challenges faced by families. It is simply not possible to do this in one budget after the significant economic crisis...More Button

Flood Prevention Measures

The Government Decision of 11 February 2014 allocated total funding of up to €69.5 million for clean-up, repair and restoration works in relation to public infrastructure that was damaged in the pe...More Button

In addition to the €19.6m funding for local authorities, an amount of €1.2m was also allocated under the Government Decision for repair of damage to OPW's own coastal protection and flood defence...More Button

Based on the programmes of works for repairs to coastal protection infrastructure that were submitted by local authorities, total funding of €19.0 million was approved by the OPW for 176 projects...More Button

The prioritisation and progression of the repair works is entirely a matter for the local authorities. The progress made by local authorities in carrying out the repairs has varied from county to...More Button

I am satisfied that the OPW has made excellent progress on the repair of damage to the flood defence infrastructure, mainly embankments, for which it is directly responsible and that most of the ...More Button

The question of improving flood defences through significant strengthening or upgrading of existing defences or new works is a separate issue to the programmes of repair works for which specific...More Button

Good progress is being made on the six regional CFRAM Studies under the National CFRAM Programme. There are three main stages in the Programme each involving public consultation:More Button

- Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) - finalised in 2011More Button

- Flood Hazard Mapping - 2013 – 2014; informal public consultation on maps now underway and formal, statutory public consultation to commence early 2015More Button

- Catchment Flood Risk Management Plans – draft Plans available by end 2015 with a view to having Plans finalised in 2016More Button

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is not aware of any project at the embankments in question at Ballynacally and Kildysart, County Clare. I am advised that these embankments were constructed by the...More Button

The Office of Public Works has not, to date, received an application from Clare County Council under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for works at Thomond Villas, Clar...More Button

Severe Weather Events Expenditure

The Government Decision of 11 February 2014 allocated total funding of up to €69.5 million for clean-up, repair and restoration works in relation to public infrastructure that was damaged in the pe...More Button

Office of Public Works Projects

The Government Decision of 11th February 2014 allocated total funding of up to €69.5 million for clean-up, repair and restoration works in relation to public infrastructure that was damaged in the ...More Button

Based on the programmes of works of repairs to coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure that were submitted by local authorities, total funding of €19.0 million was approved by the OPW...More Button

Where the OPW is funding local authorities in carrying out flood defence or coastal protection projects, it is the practice of the Office to seek to enable those bodies to meet liabilities as the...More Button

The OPW is satisfied that its current practice in relation to funding local authorities is appropriate and accords with the relevant guidance issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Re...More Button

Flood Risk Assessments

Many of the areas that experienced significant damage as a result of tidal or river flooding in the past year would be included under the CFRAM studies. However, it cannot be said that every area t...More Button

Good progress is being made on the six regional CFRAM Studies under the National CFRAM Programme. The CFRAM Programme will be used to determine national priorities for State investment in flood d...More Button

Outside of the CFRAM Programme, it is open to local authorities to apply to the Office of Public Works for funding of flood mitigation works under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Pro...More Button

Coastal Protection

The Government Decision of 11 February 2014 allocated total funding of up to €69.5 million for clean-up, repair and restoration works in relation to public infrastructure that was damaged as a resu...More Button

Flooding Data

The Office of Public Works (OPW) does not systematically gather or collate data on the number of houses which have experienced flooding. The OPW would receive information and data on significant f...More Button