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Noonan, Michael

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 Nbr. 3

Written Answers - EU Directives

Was asked: the consideration he is giving to implementing EU directive 2003/96/EC; if he has had any contact with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport regarding implementing the directive; and if he...More Button

Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community Framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity (usually called the “Energy Tax Directive”) came into force on 1 Ja...More Button

Written Answers - Illicit Trade in Tobacco

Was asked: his proposals, if any, to increase the judicial penalties on conviction for illicit trade in tobacco as recommended by the advisory group for small business; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

The penalties for the smuggling of tobacco products are laid down in section 119 of the Finance Act 2001, and those for the illegal sale of unstamped tobacco products are contained in section 78 of...More Button

In the case of a conviction under section 78 of the 2005 Act following a summary prosecution, a Court may impose a fine of €5,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both. Th...More Button

The specific penalty to be imposed in any particular case is a matter for the Courts. Section 130(2) of the 2001 Act permits a trial judge, in his or her discretion, to mitigate a fine incurred for...More Button

The fines for excise offences have been increased in recent years: those that apply in the event of a conviction on indictment were increased substantially by the Finance Act 2010, with the amount ...More Button

Was asked: the progress that has been made to address the issue of the illicit tobacco trade; if he will be sanctioning the introduction of scanners at Irish ports to detect this illegal trade as suggested by...More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners, who are responsible for the collection of tobacco products tax, and for tackling the illicit trade in tobacco products, that they attach a high priority ...More Button

In 2011, Revenue’s campaign against the illicit tobacco trade resulted in the seizure of 109 million cigarettes, valued at €46 million, and over 11,000 kilograms of tobacco, valued at &e...More Button

Revenue consistently monitors ongoing developments in available x-ray and other technologies, and the selection and deployment of detection equipment is constantly reviewed. The actual technology s...More Button

Revenue currently has two mobile X-ray container scanning systems. One scanner is based in Dublin Port and the other at Rosslare Ferry Port. Revenue deploys the scanners on a risk assessment basis ...More Button

Revenue are at an advanced stage in a tendering process for the supply of a mobile X-ray van, which will enhance its scanning capability at airports, ports and warehouses, and they expect to enter ...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Collection

Was asked: the position regarding tax in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9. More Button

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that, following the receipt of information from the Department of Social Protection, the person concerned was issued with a letter regarding his DSP...More Button

Was asked: his views on the proliferation of the practice of so-called phoenix businesses, whereby a company enters liquidation and quickly resumes business under the auspices of a new company in order to avo...More Button

It is important at the outset to recognise that businesses do fail, and that it is a normal part of business and entrepreneurship. That said, tax compliance is vital in delivering to the Exchequer ...More Button

In Section 126 of the Finance Act 2012, I provided further protection for the Exchequer in high-risk situations, such as in phoenix cases, where the payment of fiduciary taxes is at risk. The secti...More Button

I am satisfied that the priority given by Revenue to limiting the capacity of phoenix entities to accumulate tax debts is effective and that the additional powers provided in Finance Act 2012 are ...More Button

In relation to companies that go into liquidation, the Deputy will be aware that there is a legal requirement on a liquidator under section 56 of the Company Law Enforcement Act 2001 to report on t...More Button

Was asked: if he will supply a table for the tax year 2011 showing, by range of gross income, the sources of incomes of single pensioners, pensioner couples and all pensioners’ incomes distinguishing be...More Button

The position is that the figures in the table referred to by the Deputy were derived from EU-SILC data based on a survey carried out by Central Statistics Office (CSO). To obtain an update of the ...More Button

Income Earners Aged 65 or over — Distribution of 2011 gross incomesMore Button

The tax amounts mentioned in the table relate to income tax but do not include the Universal Social Charge.More Button

The figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2009 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends in the interim. These are, therefore, pro...More Button

It should be noted that the income ranges shown in the above tables relate to Gross Income as defined in Revenue Statistical Report 2010.More Button

It should also be noted that a married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.More Button

Written Answers - Motor Taxation

Was asked: the position regarding car registration (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Deputy may be aware that this proposal was contained in SIMI’s submission to the Public Consultation on adjusting the current CO2 bands and rates in line with technological advances in mo...More Button

Written Answers - Value Added Tax Rates

Was asked: his views in relation to the VAT reduction given to the service industry in 2011; if he is satisfied that the reduction has been of benefit to the industry; if he intends to extend this programme a...More Button

The Finance (No. 2) Act 2011 provided for a second reduced VAT rate, of 9%, on a temporary basis in respect of certain tourism-related services and goods for the period 1 July 2011 to 31 December 2...More Button

Written Answers - National Asset Management Agency

Was asked: the position regarding the National Asset Management Agency scheme to effectively guarantee home buyers against future price falls; if the scheme will be extended to other properties outside Dublin...More Button

NAMA launched its 80:20 Deferred Payment Initiative on 8 May 2012. This initiative is being made available initially on a pilot basis in respect of 115 houses located in residential developments i...More Button

Was asked: his plans to take persons, who paid an inflated price for property three, four and five years ago and who now see the same properties being sold for a fraction of that cost, out of the situation in...More Button

NAMA launched its 80:20 Deferred Payment Initiative on 8 May 2012. This initiative is being made available initially on a pilot basis in respect of 115 houses located in residential developments i...More Button

Regarding the issue of mortgage difficulty, last summer the Government’s Economic Management Council established an inter-departmental group to consider further actions that could be deployed...More Button

On the wider issue of mortgage affordability, and in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government, I announced in Budget 2012 that I was increasing mortgage interest relief to 30 per ce...More Button

I have sought to be as flexible as possible within the constraints pertaining. Under the current tax legislation Mortgage Interest Relief is granted from the date the first mortgage interest payme...More Button

Was asked: the percentage and nominal value of loans in the National Asset Management Agency that are income generating at present; the percentage of the income being generated that comes from rental income p...More Button

I have been informed by NAMA that it estimates it received income in respect of 33% of its loan portfolio, representing a nominal value of €23.55 billion of the total nominal value of the port...More Button

NAMA advise me that it has been working to capture as much of the underlying rental income generated by assets as possible.More Button

In relation to the percentage of income that originates as rental income from commercial property leased by Government Departments, State agencies and other public bodies, NAMA advises that it cann...More Button

Written Answers - Income Taxation

Was asked: the rate at which a flat tax on income would have to be if all existing tax credits, allowances and reliefs were abolished, with the first €15,000 of earnings exempt of tax for every income ea...More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that if the combined Budget estimate of €16.84 billion expected in 2012 from income tax, USC and employee’s PRSI was to be raised by applying a ...More Button

The flat rate figure is an estimate from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2009 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends for the year 2012. It is, ther...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Regulation

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 225 of 24 April 2012, if he will provide a list of all entities holding authorisations and all credit institutions. More Button

I would like to inform the deputy that the information he is seeking is available on the Central Bank of Ireland website in the form of a publicly-available register. The relevant links are attache...More Button

Was asked: if the Central Bank of Ireland will confirm whether the outsourcing of servicing of residential mortgages for Permanent TSB or any other covered financial institution is considered a controlled fun...More Button

Was asked: if the Central Bank of Ireland will confirm whether the outsource services which IBRC is seeking after their published pre-qualification questionnaire are services which the Central Bank of Ireland...More Button

Was asked: if the Central Bank of Ireland will confirm whether the current agreement between a company (details supplied) and Allied Irish Banks is defined as a controlled function or pre-approval controlled ...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm whether the Central Bank of Ireland, in their consideration of compliance with section 3.3.2(c) of the fitness and probity standards code, a person’s performance of ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 186 to 189, inclusive, together.More Button

I have been informed by the Central Bank of Ireland that they are precluded under section 33AK of the Central Bank Act 1942, from disclosing information on individual financial service providers.More Button

The Fitness and Probity Regime applies to regulated financial service providers. Under section 21(1) of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 a regulated financial service provider shall not permit a pe...More Button

A person to whom the Standards apply shall comply with them at all times. Specifically a person is required to be:More Button

The standards do not apply to persons performing functions with respect to a regulated financial service provider where that function is carried on by another person (e.g. outsourced) and all of th...More Button

Otherwise, the standards apply.More Button

The meaning of Controlled Functions and Pre-approval Controlled Functions are set out in the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 (sections 20 and 22) Regulations 2011, S.I. No. 437 of 2011 as amended by C...More Button

In determining whether an individual is performing a Controlled Function or a Pre-approval Controlled Function, regulated financial service providers should assess the role and functions of each in...More Button

The Central Bank have informed me that if a person performed a function in a regulated financial service provider, which if performed at present would be subject to fitness and probity standards, a...More Button

The Central Bank takes into account all relevant matters in its assessment of a person’s competence and capability and this would include their performance, where appropriate, in a financial ...More Button

Written Answers - Mortgage Arrears

Was asked: the number of persons who currently have a distressed mortgage; the level of distress; and the way that this is determined. More Button

The Central Bank publishes statistics on principal private residential mortgage arrears, restructures and repossessions. The latest available data is for the period ended December 2011 and it indi...More Button

Written Answers - Irish Bank Deposits

Was asked: the amount of money currently on deposit in Irish banks household deposits and others, excluding foreign-owned deposits. More Button

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) publish a comprehsensive data set on a monthly basis in relation to deposits at Irish banks, both Covered and non Covered institutions. These data from part of the...More Button

Private sector deposits across the entire Irish banking system amounted to €163.1bn at the end of March 2012. The CBI provides a further breakdown of these deposits into various catergories. W...More Button

To aid analysis and interpretation of deposit trends at the Irish Covered Banks, the Department of Finance recently began publishing a consolidated dataset on deposits. This dataset is so...More Button

Written Answers - Flood Relief

Was asked: the position regarding insurance (details supplied) More Button

I am advised by the Irish Insurance Federation that flood insurance cover is currently available to approximately 98% of householders in Ireland. Neither the Central Bank nor I, as Minister for Fi...More Button

These discussions have allowed a sharing of information and understanding about the scope and scale of the work undertaken by the OPW on flood risk management and, in particular, on the mapping of ...More Button

The discussions between the OPW and the IIF have also focused on how the insurance industry can best address the issue of the provision of flood insurance where incidences of difficulties in obtain...More Button

In tandem with these developments, the Irish National Flood Forum, which is a voluntary body representing communities affected by flooding, plans to undertake a survey to gather as much information...More Button

Written Answers - Social and Affordable Housing

Was asked: if he will ensure that a HPL1 Form is completed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that form HPL1 was processed on 2 May 2012. The completed form has been returned to the person concerned.More Button

Written Answers - Tax Reliefs

Was asked: when will the commencement order for tax relief for energy efficient works in the main home, Section 477A of the Tax Consolidation Act 1997, be signed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Section 477A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 was introduced in Finance Act 2011 and provided for income tax relief at the standard rate for expenditure incurred by individuals on a range of wor...More Button

As part of the announcement in the Jobs Initiative in May 2011, the Government undertook to provide further funding for the grants available under the Better Energy Homes scheme operated by the Sus...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether persons (details supplied) should receive a refund of capital gains tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am informed by my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, that the responsibility for zoning lands for specific purposes is a matter for planning authorities ...More Button

Under section 10(8) Planning and Development Act 2000 there is no presumption in law that any land zoned in a particular development plan (including a development plan that has been varied) will re...More Button

Where property is transferred from one generation to another by way of a gift, the person making the transfer could have a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liability — s/he is deemed to have disposed ...More Button

The CGT paid by the person disposing of the property can be used as a credit against any Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) liability on that same event of the person receiving the property as a gift. ...More Button

The determination of tax charges by reference to the value at the time a taxable event takes place is central to the taxation system. Values may increase or decrease over time subsequent to taxabl...More Button

Written Answers - Fuel Rebate Scheme

Was asked: the position regarding calls by representatives and members of the Irish haulage industry for fuel rebates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Deputy may be aware that a working group was set up between officials of my Department, the IRHA and some members of the Oireachtas. This working group is discussing a number of issues of conc...More Button

I should point out that a fuel rebate system, as sought by the IRHA, could not under EU law be restricted to Irish licensed hauliers but would have to be extended to all vehicles intended exclusive...More Button

Written Answers - European Stability Mechanism

Was asked: his views on the following matter (details supplied) regarding the European Stability Mechanism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The capital structure of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is set out in the ESM Treaty which was signed by Euro Area Member States on 2 February 2012. To obtain the highest possible credit ra...More Button

Ireland’s share of the €80 bn in paid-in capital, based on our contribution key, will be just above €1.27 bn paid in five equal instalments of €254 m. Unlike the EFSF, there is...More Button

Following decision of the Eurogroup on 30 March 2012, the paid-in capital will be made available more quickly than initially foreseen in the original ESM Treaty. Two tranches of capital will be pai...More Button

The following additional information was provided under Standing Order 40A More Button

As noted in the reply already provided, the paid in capital contribution to the ESM is treated as a financial transaction for general government accounting purposes. This means that while the paid ...More Button

Our current EU/IMF programme of financial support runs until the end of 2013. It provides funding to support all Exchequer requirements arising in that time, including the ESM paid in capital contr...More Button

These contributions were not explicitly envisaged at the time the programme was agreed in 2010 as discussions on the ESM had not progressed at that stage. More Button

In relation to the callable capital, Ireland's share is based on the Irish ECB capital contribution key of 1.592% and amounts to €9.87 billion. This amount is not included in any budget provis...More Button

Written Answers - Investment Banks

Was asked: the position regarding the development of an Irish investment bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I assume that the Deputy is referring to the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), the establishment of which was announced by the Government in September 2011. The SIF will channel commercial investmen...More Button

I am informed by the National Treasury Management Agency, as Manager of the National Pensions Reserve Fund, that the NPRF announced in November 2011 a commitment of €250 million to a new Irish...More Button

The NPRF has also committed €450 million to finance the national roll out of domestic water meters. In addition, the NPRF is actively supporting the development of the market for venture cap...More Button

Further involvement of the NPRF in the SIF is expected to require the amendment of the investment policy of the NPRF, which is set out in the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000. Officials of m...More Button

Written Answers - Public Liability Insurance

Was asked: if he will deal with the following matter (details supplied) regarding public liability insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy is aware public liability insurance is not a compulsory requirement in Ireland at present. However, it is deemed an essential insurance cover by many bodies that authorise others to c...More Button

There are currently no proposals to make public liability insurance compulsory. It should be noted that any decision of this nature would have implications for the small business sector and therefo...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Restructuring

Was asked: if he intends to proceed with plans to move tracker mortgages from State-owned banks such as Permanent TSB and Allied Irish Bank to Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. More Button

Was asked: his plans for further restructuring of the State-owned banking sector. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 179 and 181 together.More Button

As the Deputy can appreciate, officials from the Irish Authorities are in constant on-going dialogue, with all of the covered institutions with a view to considering and implementing structures and...More Button

As part of this process the Government has specifically committed to a number of issues including:More Button

The purpose of the review of the Promissory Notes is to determine if there was a way to reduce the overall cost to the State. Part of the capitalisation of IBRC was provided using promissory notes ...More Button

While the development in relation to the end March Promissory Note payment is positive, we must continue to work towards the greater benefits which would derive from the re-engineering of the promi...More Button

It is for these reasons that we must look at the recent developments as an initial step in a process. This is a medium term project. The Government is focused on developing an alternative solution ...More Button

Was asked: if his Department, Allied Irish Bank or Permanent TSB has had any contacts with a company (details supplied) in relation to his plans for further restructuring of the State owned banking sector. More Button

I can confirm that neither I nor any officials from the Banking Division of my Department have had any contacts with that company in relation to Government plans for further restructuring of the St...More Button

I am also informed by AIB and PTSB that they also have not had any contact with that company in relation to further restructuring of the State owned banking sector. While the banks have provided co...More Button

Question No. 181 answered with Question No. 179.More Button

Written Answers - National Car Testing Service

Was asked: if he will provide, in soft copy [360]and hard copy format, full details of the arrangements between the Revenue Commissioners and the National Car Testing Service for t...More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that section 131 of the Finance Act 1992 (as amended by section 104 of the Finance Act 2010) provided for the appointment of a “competent person” t...More Button

The Deputy may wish to note that following a procurement process carried out during 2008 by the Road Safety Authority and which the Revenue Commissioners were party to, in accordance with the publi...More Button

Written Answers - Mortgage Interest Rates

Was asked: his plans regarding an increase to interest rates on standard variable mortgages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The lending institutions in Ireland, including those in which the State has a significant shareholding, are independent commercial entities. More Button

Ultimately the pricing of financial products, including standard variable mortgage interest rates, is a commercial decision for the management team and board of each lending institution, having due...More Button

Neither the Central Bank nor I have any responsibility for any variation in the variable mortgage interest rates charged by Financial Institutions. However, as I have indicated in replies to previo...More Button

Was asked: his plans to advise Irish Life and Permanent to decrease its interest rate on standard variable mortgages in view of the fact that AIB was directed not to increase its interest rate on standard var...More Button

As has been stated previously, I have no role in the day-to-day commercial and operational decisions, which include these matters. Ultimately, the pricing of financial products, including standard ...More Button

Notwithstanding the fact that the State is a significant shareholder in IL&P, I must ensure that the bank is run on a commercial, cost effective and independent basis to ensure the value of the ban...More Button

It should be noted however that PTSB recently announced a 0.5pc reduction in its standard variable rate effective from yesterday and it now stands at 4.69% bringing the rate more in line with those...More Button

Written Answers - European Finanical Stability Fund

Was asked: if Ireland can avail of European Financial Stability Facility funding up to July 2013; and if €248 billion is still left in that fund. More Button

Access to funds under the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) can be granted following an application to the EFSF for financial assistance. This assistance will be granted on the basis of a Fi...More Button

The EFSF has been created as a temporary institution. The EFSF Framework agreement as amended provides that “Euro-area Member States which are potential borrowers may only request and enter into Lo...More Button

It also provides that EFSF guarantors shall only be required to issue a guarantee to facilitate the financing under Loan Facility Agreements entered into on or prior to 30 June 2013.More Button

In accordance with its Articles of Association, the EFSF will be liquidated on the earliest date after 30 June 2013 on which there are no longer loans outstanding to a euro-area Member State and al...More Button

This means that after June 2013, EFSF would not enter into any new programmes but will continue the management and repayment of any outstanding debt and will close down once all outstanding debt ha...More Button

The Eurogroup’s statement of 30 March 2012, provides that the ESM will be the main instrument to finance new programmes as from July 2012. Its lending capacity will be €500 billion. The ...More Button

These arrangements form part of a number of initiatives. All these initiatives were made to improve the governance of the euro area through enhancements of the Stability and Growth Pact, the new ma...More Button

Ireland’s EU-IMF programme of financial support runs until end 2013. Funding will continue to be granted to Ireland under this programme provided that Ireland continues to comply with the re...More Button

The ESM will fund any programme through borrowing on the financial markets and lending the funding to programme countries. The capital base, both paid in and callable, provides the back up for the ...More Button

Written Answers - State Banking Sector

Was asked: his views on whether it was appropriate for the current chief executive of State owned IBRC to send a supportive text message to a person (details supplied) on 27 January 2012 revealing IBRC board ...More Button

As the Deputy is aware the Board of the bank is responsible for the day to day operation of the bank including communications with the bank’s customers. Nonetheless when the matter of the te...More Button

I have been informed by the bank that IBRC uses multiple forms of communication when communicating with clients and text messaging is a normal means of communicating with people quickly and efficie...More Button

The CEO communicated with this performing client of the Bank in this manner following a Board decision that impacted on his relationship with the Bank. This was, in the opinion of the bank, an app...More Button

Furthermore, IBRC is a separately regulated State entity with a specific mandate to ensure the maximum return to the Irish taxpayer in the management of its business. The bank’s decisions are...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Transport

Was asked: the annual cost of the new scheme introduced for the provision of drivers for Ministers in 2011 and to date in 2012; if he will provide a comparison of the annual cost of the provision of civilian ...More Button

In response to the Deputy’s question the annual costs for the new scheme introduced for the provision of drivers for Ministers are a matter for each Department. In relation to the use of my ...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Correspondence

Was asked: his views on correspondence regarding volunteering and community groups (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Deputy’s question raises a number of issues which are quite complex and which appear to fall under the responsibility of a number of Departments. From an initial analysis, it appears the...More Button

Written Answers - Liquor Licensing Laws

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 135 of 13 March 2012, in considering whether or not to facilitate the issuing of a publican’s licence to a new person or entity, the Revenue Commissioner...More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that all persons or entities who wish to obtain a publican’s licence must hold a valid tax clearance certificate. Tax compliance issues, including t...More Button

If there is not a connection between the parties, as provided for in Section 1094(3) Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, then the tax liabilities of the original licensee have no implications for the gra...More Button

Written Answers - Appointments to State Boards

Was asked: the appointments made by him [367]to State boards under the remit of his Department since March 2011 that were advertised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

In the period in question the following appointments were made by me as Minister for Finance to bodies under the remit of my Department:More Button

NTMA Advisory CommitteeMore Button

Mr. John Moran, Secretary General, Department of Finance, was appointed to the National Treasury Management Advisory Committee on the 6th March 2012. The post was not advertised because it has bee...More Button

National Pensions Reserve Fund CommissionMore Button

Mr. Maurice Keane was reappointed to the NPRF Commission with effect from 5th February 2012. The post was not advertised as it was a reappointment.More Button

Irish Fiscal Advisory CouncilMore Button

The Fiscal Council was established in June 2011. The five members of the Council (Messrs. Sebastian Barnes, Alan Barrett, Donal Donovan, John McHale and Ms. Roisin O’Sullivan) were appointed...More Button

National Asset Management AgencyMore Button

Mr. John Mulcahy was appointed to the Board of the National Asset Management Agency. He was not appointed under the new procedures for board appointments as he was an internal appointment from wit...More Button