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Noonan, Michael

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Insurance Industry Regulation

Was asked: to set out his views on whether sufficient protection is in place domestically for Irish customers of insurance companies which are regulated here for conduct of business purposes while being prude...More Button

The current legal and regulatory framework for the provision of insurance in the European Economic Area and the supervision of that activity is prescribed by European Union law in the life and non-...More Button

The insurance directives specify particular roles for both the home member state supervisory authority - that is, the supervisory authority that grants an authorisation - and the host member stat...More Button

Was asked: the communication he or the Financial Regulator has had with the Maltese Financial Services Authority or other regulatory bodies regarding Setanta Insurance; and the reason policy holders were not ...More Button

At the outset it should be noted that in my role as Minister for Finance I have responsibility for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation. The day-to-day responsibil...More Button

Setanta Insurance Company Limited (Setanta) is a Maltese incorporated company subject to prudential supervision in Malta by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). Its financial position ...More Button

The Central Bank wrote on the 21st January 2014 to advise my Department of their concerns with Setanta's solvency margin and I was subsequently informed of this.  A widely reported press release ...More Button

Contact continued between the Central Bank and the MFSA and, on 11 April 2014, the MFSA advised the Central Bank that the directors of Setanta were considering the potential liquidation of the co...More Button

The Central Bank continues to have  ongoing contact with the MFSA and with the liquidator of Setanta Insurance Company Limited as well as the various industry representative bodies.  It is also e...More Button

On 9 May, the Liquidator of Setanta Insurance placed notices in national media informing policyholders of his intention to cancel all policies issued by Setanta Insurance by way of a 7 or 10 day ...More Button

Insurance Industry Regulation (Continued)

Where a non-life undertaking authorised in another member state goes into liquidation and policyholders in respect of risks in this state are affected, under the insurance compensation fund, ICF, t...More Button

The role of the Department of Finance is to provide the legislative framework in accordance with EU insurance directives. Direct responsibility for regulation lies with the Central Bank which seem...More Button

I do not disagree with the Deputy. The position on compensation vis-à-vis Ireland and Malta is as outlined by the Deputy. However, there is an internal market in Europe and there is a...More Button

Credit Unions

Was asked: his views on whether the cumulative effect of lending restrictions on credit unions and the lack of clarity in the use of discretion by credit unions in lending is having a negative impact on the c...More Button

Credit unions have an important role to play in providing credit in local communities around the country and I am supportive of safe and responsible lending by them. Acting as the independent regu...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the problems being caused to credit unions, as shown by the Irish League of Credit Unions, by the restrictive lending regulations and interpretations of these reg...More Button

Was asked: when he will review the lending regulations placed upon credit unions by legislation to examine whether they are fit for purpose; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if the Central Bank of Ireland is proposing further lending limits for credit unions; and if so, if these new limits will replace the current system of ad hoc limits placed on some credit unions.More Button

Was asked: his views on revising the Section 35 lending restrictions on credit unions in view of the argument from the credit union movement that these restrictions are preventing members from taking advantag...More Button

Was asked: if he will ask the Central Bank of Ireland to revisit its prudent lending circular to credit unions of February 2013 in order to clarify whether or not the Central Bank of Ireland will allow any di...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90 to 92, inclusive, 94 and 95 together.More Button

Credit unions have an important role to play in providing credit in local communities around the country and I am supportive of safe and responsible lending by credit unions.  I am very much awar...More Button

To address lending issues the Registrar of Credit Unions at the Central Bank has imposed lending restrictions on some credit unions. These restrictions are in most cases, intended to be short-ter...More Button

Where lending restrictions are imposed they tend to take the form of a restriction on individual loan size or on commercial lending activity and in some cases, a limit on the total lending permit...More Button

Section 35(2) of the Credit Union Act 1997 permits a credit union to have up to 30% of its loan book outstanding for more than 5 years and up to 10% of its loan book outstanding for more than 10 ...More Button

The Section 35 requirements require that a credit union must not approve further agreements for additional credit where an existing loan has been rescheduled unless a member's ability to repay al...More Button

The Central Bank issued a prudent lending circular for credit unions and expects credit unions to apply prudent lending standards to the granting of all new loans or top-ups of existing loans and...More Button

On foot of recommendations from the Commission on Credit Unions, section 11 of the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012 substantially amends section 35 of the 1997 Act....More Button

- the classes of lending that a credit union may engage in, for example business lending;More Button

- the duration of loans;More Button

- large exposures; andMore Button

- concentration limits.More Button

Section 11 will be commenced in tandem with new Central Bank regulations on lending, which are to be introduced as part of the tiered regulatory approach recommended by the Commission. This tiere...More Button

I am satisfied that the safety of members savings and the security of the credit union sector as a whole are central to any actions taken by the Registrar of Credit Unions.More Button

Credit Unions (Continued)

We have all heard these objections. However, the facts do not bear them out. On the Deputy's point that section 35 is not working, under section 35, 30% of a loan book can be outstanding for more...More Button

With regard to the impact of lending restrictions on the ability of credit unions to lend, I have also been informed by the Registrar of the Credit Unions that the data available indicates that t...More Button

The Central Bank is the regulator, not the Department of Finance. The bank regulates principally to protect the interests of customers and to protect the savings of credit union members. It does ...More Button

Tax Code

Was asked: how he reconciles the view that the income tax burden is too high on low and middle-income workers with the Government's policy of imposing new tax burdens on the same cohort, with the property tax...More Button

In restoring the public finances to a sustainable path this Government has striven to ensure adjustments to taxation are made in as growth-friendly a fashion as possible. At the heart of this ende...More Button

One gets less of what is taxed most. If everything is piled on income tax, there will be fewer people working. What I want is to change the tax base in accordance with the best advice available t...More Button

Was asked: his plans to review capital acquisition tax thresholds in view of the impact of rising property prices on the amount of inheritance tax many persons now face; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) is the overall title for both Gift and Inheritance Tax. The tax is charged on the amount gifted to, or inherited by, the beneficiary of the gift or inheritance. I a...More Button

Was asked: the reason increases in taxes and VAT were introduced for 4 x 4 vehicles in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that there have been no changes to the taxation of '4 x 4' vehicles other than the general VRT increases from 1 January 2013 and the increase in the stand...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an Irish registered company trading and employing staff based in the Republic of Ireland but which also has a company registered in Northern Ireland in order to have Northern...More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners   that 'haulage' vehicles owned by or registered in the name of a company registered in Northern Ireland may be driven or used by persons established in ...More Button

If the Deputy has specific information about the use of vehicles registered in Northern Ireland by a  business whose principal place of business is not outside the State he should provide it to R...More Button

Tax Code (Continued)

For example, 850,000 low paid workers pay no income tax at all; therefore, the Deputy's analysis is not correct.More Button

Our tax approach seems to be effective in the labour market because approximately 1,200 net jobs a week are being created and have been created for the past 17 months and the projections are that t...More Button

NAMA Operations

Was asked: the position on the ongoing review of the National Asset Management Agency's operations; when the review will come to a conclusion; if he is considering an early wind-up of NAMA; and if he will mak...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, section 227 of the NAMA Act 2009 requires me to complete a review of NAMA every five years. The purpose of the review is to assess the extent to which NAMA has made p...More Button

This first publication of the section 227 report roughly coincides with the first publication of the section 226 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General which I laid before the Houses of th...More Button

Was asked: if he or his Department has had any contact with the National Asset Management Agency and its employees, including the NAMA chairman, Mr Frank Daly, in respect of a person (details supplied); and i...More Button

Was asked: if he or his Department has at any time sought changes to specific personnel at the National Asset Management Agency, and-or to have named NAMA individuals reassigned so that they were not dealing ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 and 76 together.

  As has been published in the Secretary General's diary on the Department of Finance's website More Button

Was asked: if it is the policy of the National Asset Management Agency to market openly assets which are being sold, except in circumstances where full outstanding par debt is recoverable; and if he will make...More Button

I am advised that NAMA's policy guidelines provide that wherever feasible the sale of property by NAMA debtors or receivers or the sale of loans by the Agency shall be openly marketed.  The marketi...More Button

NAMA Operations (Continued)

As a result, the section 27 report will also benefit from the findings and recommendations of the section 226 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General on NAMA's progress, as well as the soon t...More Button

The strategy and timing of NAMA's wind-down is one of the areas being examined as part of the review of NAMA being carried out by my Department.  In the context of this review, I have asked NAMA ...More Button

I am committed to publishing the review before the summer recess and will make a decision shortly afterwards. The decision on the strategy for the disposal of the residual NAMA assets will be anno...More Button

NAMA is obliged to act in the interest of the taxpayer and that is the Government's obligation and interest as well. Considerations of a play on the property market should not be the primary conce...More Button

Oireachtas Banking Inquiry

Was asked: if he will release the letter, dated 19 November 2010, of Jean Claude Trichet or give a firm commitment that it will be available to the banking inquiry; and if he will detail the communication he ...More Button

In early 2014, when the ECB initially sought my views in the context of its discussion on the possible release of the letter, I indicated that the decision to release the letter was a matter for th...More Button

Requests to release the letter have been considered under our own freedom of information legislation on a number of occasions. The decision has been to refuse these requests in line with relevan...More Button

Separately, the European ombudsman investigated the refusal by the ECB to release the letter under the ECB's freedom of information processes. I understand the ombudsman's office found that the ...More Button

As regards the release of the letter to the banking inquiry, any request which may be received from the inquiry will be considered, taking into account the terms of reference of the inquiry. It ...More Button

Oireachtas Banking Inquiry (Continued)

The Deputy is well aware that freedom of information requests operate in accordance with the law. They are not ministerial functions. The law is interpreted by a designated official within Depart...More Button

The issue is that international communications are excepted from freedom of information. Correspondence with another country or with an international agency is treated as exceptional. Personall...More Button

I am not an actor in this. I explained that to the Deputy.More Button

It is a typical Sinn Féin approach to ascribe views to people that they do not hold. I have no legal power or authority to overturn the decision of an information officer who is acting under the p...More Button

Tax Reliefs Application

Was asked: the consultations he and his Department have undertaken with the Department of Health with regard to the cap for tax relief on private health insurance introduced in the last budget; and if he will...More Button

Was asked: his plans to review capital gains tax reliefs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have no plans at this time to carry out a general review of existing capital gains tax reliefs. In recognition of the economic climate in recent years I and previous Ministers for Finance have s...More Button

Was asked: his plans to amend or review the cap he put on tax relief for private health insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, it is not customary for the Minister of Finance to set out his or her plans in advance of the Budget. However, I can assure the Deputy that, in general, all tax relief...More Button

Tax Reliefs Application (Continued)

Decisions regarding tax matters are primarily a matter for my Department and the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.  However, the budget was agreed by the Government before being announcement on ...More Button

Notwithstanding the recent reform, the tax system is still supporting those who can afford private medical insurance to the tune of approximately €400 million per annum. In effect, some taxpayer...More Button

The Deputy should look at the text of my budget speech in which I used the phrase "gold-plated". It was not as the Deputy is describing it. The tax relief that was provided was a relief at the st...More Button

I am acting in line with the report of the Commission on Taxation. Given that 44% of the community has private health insurance, the Deputy's proposition is to the effect that they should be sub...More Button

That is what the relief scheme is about. From where does the Deputy thinks the money comes? It comes from other taxpayers. If he is talking about equity, he must look at this aspect. It was una...More Button

There is no impact on adults with health insurance policies costing under €1,000 gross. There is an impact above that figure. It does not have much of an impact on people with modest health insur...More Button

Mortgage Schemes

Was asked: his plans for a mortgage insurance scheme for first-time buyers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government recently launched Construction 2020: A strategy for a renewed construction sector. The purpose of the strategy is to underpin the future competitiveness of the country, ensuring we ...More Button

In Ireland's recent abnormal housing market we have seen lending volumes decline dramatically. The banks are highlighting the lack of supply of houses in particular urban areas as a contributing...More Button

Was asked: if he will introduce a help-to-buy scheme, similar to that operating in the UK; his views on whether such a scheme could drive up house prices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Government recently launched 'Construction 2020: A strategy for a renewed construction sector'. The purpose of the strategy is to underpin the future competitiveness of the country, ensuring t...More Button

In Ireland's recent abnormal housing market, we have seen lending volumes decline dramatically. The banks are highlighting the lack of supply of houses in particular urban areas as a contributin...More Button

My Department is committed, under this strategy, to examine the concept of a mortgage insurance scheme and how it might benefit new housing completions in the Irish market. The objective of any ...More Button

As the Construction Strategy mentions, my Department is undertaking an economic impact analysis which will assess the impact such a scheme would have on the Irish housing market, taking into cons...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether the introduction of a State-backed insurance scheme for first-time buyers in the absence of a significant increase in supply in the short to medium term will lead to an unsusta...More Button

The Government recently launched 'Construction 2020: A strategy for a renewed construction sector'. The purpose of the strategy is to underpin the future competitiveness of the country, ensuring t...More Button

In Ireland's recent abnormal housing market, we have seen lending volumes decline dramatically. The banks are highlighting the lack of supply of houses in particular urban areas as a contributin...More Button

My Department is committed, under this strategy, to examine the concept of a mortgage insurance scheme and how it might benefit new housing completions in the Irish market. The objective of any ...More Button

As the Construction Strategy mentions, my Department is undertaking an economic impact analysis which will assess the impact such a scheme would have on the Irish housing market, taking into cons...More Button

Was asked: if he is considering adopting a similar approach to the UK in its implementation of a recent mortgage market review that aims to place more responsibility on mortgage lenders and prevent the develo...More Button

Mortgage lending decisions must be undertaken on a sustainable and prudential basis by financial institutions and must conform fully with the regulatory requirements, both in relation to the financ...More Button

Was asked: the assistance, incentives or grants available to first-time buyers of residential properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The recently announced 'Construction Strategy' sets out a comprehensive strategic approach to housing that is being undertaken by Government. As part of this strategy, I am committed to examining i...More Button

My colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Phil Hogan, may be in a position to advise on residential property schemes under the remit of his Department.More Button

Was asked: the assistance that is being provided to those in negative equity who have large mortgages; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government understands the concern of people who are experiencing negative equity on their homes. However the primary focus at the moment is to deal with the problem of people who are experien...More Button

Was asked: if he has considered proposals for restructuring lending practices in the mortgage market whereby mortgage lending would be calculated in terms of the average value of a house over a fixed period, ...More Button

The decision on the approval of a mortgage for a borrower is a commercial decision for the lending institution concerned.  It is important that each lending institution is allowed to properly and i...More Button

The Central Bank of Ireland  (CBI) has advised me that Chapter 5 of its Consumer Protection Code contains provisions relating to assessing suitability and affordability of credit, including for e...More Button

The Central Bank of Ireland does not comment on the commercial decisions or policies of regulated entities. However, the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 was passed last year a...More Button

My Department is committed, under the 'Construction 2020' strategy, to examine international best practice and develop proposals for additional models of mortgage financing in Ireland, to ensure ...More Button

Mortgage Schemes (Continued)

My Department is committed under this strategy to examining the concept of a mortgage insurance scheme and how it might benefit new housing completions in the Irish market. The objective of any sc...More Button

As the construction strategy mentions, my Department is undertaking an economic impact analysis which will assess the impact such a scheme would have on the Irish housing market, taking into cons...More Button

There are more than 70 recommendations in the construction initiative published by the Government, and through the Cabinet sub-committee the Taoiseach will, on a month-by-month basis, ensure these ...More Button

This initiative is not a demand-side initiative, because we are not applying it to second-hand houses. If we introduce this, it will be for new houses only. The initiative in the United Kingdom...More Button

These are considerations that the Government always takes into account. However, we are dealing with a situation in which the whole building industry collapsed for reasons we are aware of. Many g...More Button

National Debt

Was asked: if savings can be made on servicing the national debt next year; the expected interest payments required for the national debt for 2015; his views on the growing burden of interest payments on the ...More Button

The stability programme update, SPU, published last month, provided an estimate for general Government interest expenditure of €8.45 billion in 2015. This is a reduction of €300 million on the cor...More Button

The interest expenditure projection for 2015 will be further reviewed in the context of budget 2015 in the autumn and will reflect developments in the interim as well as the outlook at that time,...More Button

As regards 2016 onwards, the SPU shows that interest expenditure is projected to increase in nominal terms over the forecast horizon. This is primarily a reflection of further, albeit decreasing...More Button

While the continuing Exchequer deficits add to the national debt and the associated interest costs, the size of the deficit is continually decreasing each year. My Department's most recent forec...More Button

Importantly, general Government interest expenditure when expressed as a percentage of total general Government revenue is projected to remain at more or less the same level over the medium term ...More Button

Was asked: the total amount of interest payments on the national debt for 2012, 2013 and projected for 2014; if he will break down the major entities in receipt of the interest by amount per entity.More Button

National debt cash interest and General Government interest expenditure for the years 2012 to 2014 are set out in the following table.

More Button

Was asked: the amount of interest on the national debt that is accounted for by the bailout of the banks in 2012, 2013 and projected for 2014.More Button

The proceeds of all borrowing as well as revenues including tax and non-tax, and capital receipts are lodged to the Exchequer account to fund general expenditure. In general terms, no specific tran...More Button

Capital injections into Irish banks from 2009 to 2011 can be separated into three categories.More Button

(1) Capital injections that were made under Ministerial direction by the NPRF Commission amount to €18.8 billion (net of the sale of Bank of Ireland preference shares in 2013). There is no inter...More Button

(2) The promissory notes to IBRC and EBS added €30.85 billion to the general government debt, but not the national debt, in 2010. There was an interest holiday on the IBRC promissory note repaym...More Button

(3) By the end of 2013, €10 billion (net of the sale of Bank of Ireland equity in 2011, the sale of Irish Life and the sale of contingent capital notes in 2013) is estimated to have been paid thr...More Button

The average rate of interest on general government debt for 2013 is given as 4% in my Department's Stability Programme Update, 2014 published last month. Using this interest rate to estimate the...More Button

*This figure excludes fees paid to the Minister under the Credit Institutions Financial Support and Eligible Liabilities Guarantee schemes amounting to €4.4 billion from 2008 to 2014.More Button

Was asked: the total of the national debt; and the amount of the total debt accounted for by loans from the troika agencies. More Button

General Government debt is the standard measure of Government debt used for comparative purposes throughout the European Union.  At the end of 2013, general Government debt stood at an estimated €2...More Button

National Debt (Continued)

Most countries have national debts; I do not know of any country which does not have such a debt. If one is running a national debt, one pays interest on outstanding loans. That is the way countr...More Button

The Deputy has stated the final point I made in my initial reply is not real. Of course it is real. There is no longer a margin on the official debt relating to Europe, which is down to the rat...More Button

The Deputy has also referred to the deal on the promissory notes and stated it has had no benefit. Some €30 billion was involved in that regard. The Deputy will recall that up to two years ago ...More Button

It was paid in the first year in which we were in government, when the Deputy was still a member of the Labour Party.More Button

It was not paid after that and we then negotiated our way out of it. The effective rate of interest on all of that money now stands at approximately 1%. The money to which I refer is not of the p...More Button

The Deputy should not be concerned with that old guff.More Button

More than two thirds of the Irish national debt is due to previous Governments running deficits. That is a fact. Less than one third is due to what Deputy Broughan deplores, that is, bust banks t...More Button

Deputy Broughan should not pretend that foreign bankers imposed this on us. Much of the burden of the debt was done domestically, over two thirds of it in fact. As we continue to run deficits -...More Button

Finally, history will be a good deal kinder to the Tánaiste, Deputy Eamon Gilmore, than to Deputy Tommy Broughan when an assessment of this is made in future.More Button

National Payments Plan Implementation

Was asked: to outline the steps being taken to prepare for e-day in September, after which Departments and public sector agencies will no longer issue or accept cheques; if this includes local authorities; an...More Button

From 19 September 2014, e-day, public sector bodies such as Departments, State agencies and local authorities will no longer issue cheques to or accept cheques from businesses. This is being imple...More Button

I welcome the fact that Deputy Kyne has raised the issue because September is not far away. Public attention needs to be drawn to the fact that e-day is coming. Although it does not apply to the ...More Button

  Written Answers follow Adjournment.More Button

Introduction of New Member (Continued)

I would like to be associated with the Ceann Comhairle's remarks of congratulation to Deputy Ruth Coppinger. I hope she has a long and distinguished career in the House.More Button

Leaders' Questions

I thank Deputy Martin for his question. It is reasonable to accept that people want a system of medical cards that is sensitive to families' needs and can operate on a case-by-case basis. The Gov...More Button

The Government has made clear its commitment to delivering on the implementation of a GP service for the entire population as part of the move to universal health care.More Button

Leaders' Questions (Continued)

Everybody understands, however, that a medical card system that costs over €2 billion a year and where 42% of the population holds a medical card needs to be reviewed periodically. In 2013 alone, ...More Button

The Minister also did a review and an analysis of the medical cards removed from people and it might be interesting, now that the battle on the streets is over, to hear the actual facts.More Button

The position is that over 77,925 discretionary medical cards were in circulation on 1 March. Their status on 1 March 2014 was as follows: 33% still held the medical card on the discretionary basis...More Button

Obviously, this is a serious issue. The Government is committed to examining the situation again. I repeat that the Government does not agree with a policy of taking medical cards from sick chi...More Button

Eligibility for medical cards has been somewhat fraught over the years and it becomes a political issue periodically but despite the review carried out by the HSE with the Department of Health, of ...More Button

One of the reasons the economy is growing and people are going back to work again is that the Government has controlled public expenditure. When there is a big block of expenditure, such as €2 b...More Button

Fianna Fáil had a commitment to review medical card eligibility in its 2007 manifesto-----More Button

-----an election it won, and it did not do it then either.More Button

The Deputy does not have to be sanctimonious.More Button

When that is added to the financial mess his party left behind when it abandoned office, the Deputy should take part of the responsibility.More Button

The Government has heard the concerns raised in recent months, and they were raised in a more magnified way in the past few weeks. The economic recovery we are working very hard to achieve is succ...More Button

Deputy Adams is addressing the situation as if it was Sinn Féin policy that everybody in the country, regardless of means or illness, should get a medical card. Some 42% have medical cards alrea...More Button

We are trying to move to that position. In 2013, 100,000 additional medical cards were granted. There are approximately 2 million medical cards in circulation, which means that there are now more...More Button

I am not impressed by the Deputy's proclamation of the new republic because it appears that he is committed to unrestrained public expenditure on all fronts-----More Button

-----and the piling of taxation onto the shoulders of ordinary taxpayers, which will lead to people losing their jobs and, thus, increased unemployment. That is what will happen if we follow Sinn ...More Button

Currently, 42% of people in Ireland have a medical card.More Button

Is Deputy Gerry Adams saying the percentage should be 100%? If not, what eligibility criteria would he set? I am saying the most vulnerable children should retain their medical cards which should...More Button

We have not yet heard Sinn Féin's eligibility criteria. To whom would it not award a medical card?More Button

Would Sinn Féin give them to everyone?More Button

Deputies on all sides will be pleased to hear that we are not planning an election.More Button

Members opposite should not pretend; most of them would run a mile.More Button

Arising from Deputy Clare Daly's remarks, I pay tribute to the Tánaiste, Deputy Eamon Gilmore. I believe history will be very kind to him. He stood by the people and the country in the worst cris...More Button

I am proud to have served with him.More Button

The matter raised by Deputy Clare Daly is an important one. It is a great pity that there is an impending strike at Aer Lingus to be held over the June bank holiday weekend. An awful lot of ordin...More Button

With regard to industrial relations problems, while everybody respects the rights of workers, those rights have to be exercised in a proportionate way. I am simply pointing out that many other wor...More Button

-----and whether the issue can be resolved in due course.More Button

Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 5, Employment Permits (Amendment) Bill 2014 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Private Members’...More Button

We have no legislation on the insurance fund. I will have to get back to the Deputy on that.

  The fair deal review is not really a matter for the Order of Business, so I sugges...More Button

-----so as to obtain the details on it.

  On the Deputy's first question, we are only four months into the budgetary year. We are coming towards the end of the fifth month. The...More Button

Tá súil againn go mbeidh sé foilsithe i rith an tseisiúin seo.More Button

We do not have a publication date for that legislation.More Button

Consultation is still ongoing between the relevant Department and the Criminal Assets Bureau. There is not yet a date for the publication of the Bill but the consultation is proceeding satisfactor...More Button

That will be published later this year.More Button

The EirGrid Bill will be published next year. The services Bill to which the Deputy referred will be published later this year.More Button

Order of Business (Continued)

It was agreed at Government level and has gone for drafting.More Button

The draft heads are at an advanced stage in the Department but, as yet, no date is set for publication.More Button

I announced a review of taxation of agriculture and the agrifood industry in last year's budget in the same way as I previously announced reviews of taxation of research and development and taxatio...More Button

No date is set for publication.More Button

Vehicle Registration (Continued)

Since 2011 Revenue has provided a service where motor dealers can avail of a pre-registration examination at NCTS centres. The examination provides for a vehicle to be pre-inspected, entered onto ...More Button

Revenue has to value many of these vehicles on a case by case basis and provide a vehicle specific valuation code to be used when registering the vehicle because of a lack of volume in motorhome ...More Button

Where a motor dealer does not use the pre-examination facility they will have to book an examination slot at an NCTS centre. The surge in vehicle registrations this year means that there are als...More Button

The Deputies' concerns are related to specific cases in their respective constituencies. I am informed that the extension to the period of validity to 150 days should deal with the matter in one...More Button

Revenue has taken action to address potential delays in vehicle registration requirements. Since 2011 Revenue has provided a service where motor dealers can avail of a pre-registration examination...More Button

EU State Aid Negotiations

Was asked: the actions being taken to obtain EU approval for economic incentives which have been announced by Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Living City Initiative, outlined in the Finance Act 2013, is a pilot project which provides certain tax incentives to make it more attractive for people to live in historic and culturally signi...More Button

The Film relief scheme has been in place since 1987. The Finance Act 2013 introduced new provisions to ensure that Film tax reliefs will accrue to the producers rather than investors and result ...More Button

A capital gains tax relief for entrepreneurs who reinvest the proceeds from the disposal of assets made on or after 1 January 2010 in certain chargeable business assets was announced in Budget 20...More Button

A tax scheme for the construction or refurbishment of certain aviation services facilities, as provided for in Finance Act 2013, is subject to EU approval. This measure was announced as part of ...More Button

An exemption from Stamp Duty on the transfer of shares of companies listed on the Enterprise Securities Market of the Irish Stock Exchange was announced as part of Budget 2014. This measure is s...More Button

  Questions Nos. 8 and 9 answered orally.More Button

Was asked: his views on the length of time it takes the European Commission to approve budget day announcements which are subject to state aid rules; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The EU's State Aid rules are in place to protect the Single Market and to ensure that the resources of a Member State cannot be used in a way which would create distortions in the market, either do...More Button

Occasionally, Member States will wish to use their resources, either by way of direct grants or tax reliefs, to encourage a particular activity. The EU's State Aid rules preclude such measures e...More Button

It is reasonable to assume that the European Commission receives a large number of this type of proposals from Member States, all of which have to be thoroughly examined. While the process might...More Button

Financial Services Regulation

Was asked: the reporting mechanisms and training received by Central Bank of Ireland officials for reporting matters to An Garda Síochána under section 33AK of the 1942 Act, as required in the past five years...More Button

Was asked: the total number of cases where suspicions of a criminal offence arose and the Central Bank of Ireland reported the matter to An Garda Síochána, as required under section 33AK of the 1942 Act, in t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 41 together.More Button

I have been informed by the Central Bank that supervisors employed at the Central Bank are informed of their obligations under Section 33AK of the Central Bank Act 1942 as part of their training....More Button

Section 33AK of the Central Bank Act 1942 requires inter alia that Central Bank staff report to the appropriate specified bodies (including amongst others An Garda Síochána) any information that ...More Button

As per the figures included in the Annual Reports 2009 to 2013 inclusive, the Central Bank has submitted 689 such reports in that period. The vast majority of these reports were made to An Garda...More Button

  Question No. 11 answered orally.More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm the qualifications of the current CEO of the financial regulatory authority and those of each of the previous three holders of this office.More Button

Following the passing of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2003, the Central Bank of Ireland was re-structured and re-named as the Central Bank and Financial Services...More Button

Was asked: the procedure applicable to banking and insurance corporations or similar entities exiting the Irish market with particular reference to the extent to which they might be expected to comply with th...More Button

As Minister for Finance, I have responsibility for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation, including banking and insurance. The day to day responsibility for the supe...More Button

I have been advised by the Central Bank that according to Chapter 3.11 of the consumer protection code 2012:  'where a regulated entity intends to cease operating, merge with another, or to trans...More Button

- notify the Central Bank immediately;More Button

- provide at least two months' notice to affected consumers to enable them to make alternative arrangements;More Button

- ensure all outstanding business is properly completed prior to the transfer, merger or cessation of operations or, alternatively in the case of a transfer or merger, inform the consumer of how ...More Button

- in the case of a merger or transfer of regulated activities, inform the consumer that their details are being transferred to the other regulated entity, if that is the case'. More Button

If a firm does not provide a consumer with two months' notice of their intention to cease operating, this is a potential breach of Section 3.11 of the Consumer Protection Code. The consumer can m...More Button

It should be noted that Consumer Protection Code 2012 is intended for situations where regulated entities are in a position to provide such notice, i.e. in the cases of mergers and transfers, and...More Button

Under the Central Bank's Consumer Protection Code, banks are required to give a minimum of 2 months' notice before they close a consumer's account. It is important that consumers are given adequa...More Button

Two banks have in recent times announced their intention to withdraw from the Irish market. This is consistent with developments across Europe where banks have retrenched within national borders. More Button

With regards to insurance we have seen the recent withdrawal of Setanta Insurance Company Limited from the market and its subsequent liquidation.  Setanta Insurance Company Limited (Setanta) is a...More Button

On 16 April, 2014, Setanta determined that the company was insolvent. This means that Setanta does not have sufficient funds to be able to honour its full obligations towards claimants, policyhol...More Button

The Central Bank has been engaging with the liquidator and with brokers who sold the policies to ensure all policyholders that hold a current Setanta motor insurance policy urgently make alternat...More Button

Mortgage Resolution Processes

Was asked: his views on the rate at which the banks are dealing with mortgage arrears, in view of his Department's recent figures which show that three quarters of residential mortgages in arrears over 90 day...More Button

Was asked: when and the way in which he expressed the view to each of Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, AIB and Permanent TSB that letters threatening repossession or legal action will not be considered a sustain...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 12 and 16 together.More Button

As statutory regulator of credit institutions, the Central Bank has the power to require banks to meaningfully address mortgage arrears cases on their books.  The Central Bank has set specific ta...More Button

The Central Bank has advised that the purpose of setting the targets is to:More Button

- Return as many loans as possible to performing status;More Button

- Where necessary to make such modifications to loans as are necessary to ensure a sustainable outcome, orMore Button

- If a sustainable alternative repayment arrangement is not appropriate or possible, to put another arrangement or process in place to resolve the matter. More Button

As well as imposing the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets (MART), the Central Bank has had ongoing frequent engagement with the banks. It is the Central Bank's view, based on the feedback gene...More Button

The monthly mortgage restructures and arrears data published by my Department also provides an impetus for the six MART banks to increase the pace of provision of mortgage restructures.  The late...More Button

The Central Bank has advised that its MART publication of March 2013 clearly indicates that where a lender relies on legal action to address an arrears situation it must be able to demonstrate th...More Button

It will now be necessary to build on the measures implemented by Government such as the reform of the insolvency service process, the mortgage advisory service and the mortgage to rent scheme.  T...More Button

Was asked: in view of the varying approaches of different banks to dealing with mortgage distress, and particularly the stated intention of some banks to pursue mortgage holders for the full amount of their m...More Button

The Central Bank Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, or CCMA, applies to the mortgage loan of a borrower which is secured by his/her primary residence.  The CCMA sets out a common framework - the ...More Button

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

As statutory regulator of credit institutions, the Central Bank has the power, from both a prudential and consumer protection perspective, to require banks to meaningfully and sustainably address m...More Button

The consumer protection provisions of the Central Bank are contained within the Consumer Protection Code and the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA). In particular, the CCMA sets out requ...More Button

The Central Bank published the revised CCMA in June 2013. As part of the financial institutions' delivery of full implementation of the revised CCMA, the boards of directors of all mortgage lend...More Button

The CCMA provides a strong consumer protection framework to ensure that borrowers struggling to keep up mortgage repayments are treated in a fair and transparent manner by their lender, and that ...More Button

The monthly mortgage restructures and arrears data published by my Department also provides an impetus for those MART banks to increase the pace of provision of mortgage restructures. The latest...More Button

Universal Social Charge Application

Was asked: the rationale behind the suggestion of increasing the universal social charge by 7% when assurances were given that the USC was only a temporary measure; his view on whether the taxpayer can afford...More Button

The Universal Social Charge (USC) was introduced in Budget 2011 to replace the Income Levy and the Health Levy. It was a necessary measure to widen the tax base, remove poverty traps and raise rev...More Button

As you may be aware, delivering on a commitment in the Programme for Government, the USC was reviewed by my Department in the lead up to Budget 2012 and the report of that review is available on ...More Button

Regarding any increase in the rate of USC, I assume that the Deputy is referring to the fact that the previous Government, when they introduced the USC, legislated for an exemption from the top r...More Button

I can assure the Deputy that the USC provisions that are due to expire at the end of this year will be subject to a full examination, as part of preparations for the Budget and Finance Bill and w...More Button

Death of Russian Politician

Was asked: if he will act in support of a range of countries around the world that are experiencing debt distress by raising their cases through Ireland's membership of the World Bank and IMF and through rele...More Button

Ireland is recognised internationally for its contribution to the fight against global poverty and hunger and its leading role in making international aid more effective.  We have played a strong r...More Button

Through its participation in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, Ireland is supportive of efforts to help countries suffering debt distress. For example, in 2006, Ireland demon...More Button

As more and more countries graduate from the multilateral debt relief initiatives, the question of how they can maintain their debt at sustainable levels has become more relevant.  It is for this...More Button

As the Caribbean countries are not priority countries for Irish Aid - which supports the world's poorest countries, focusing in particular on sub-Saharan Africa - there is not a specific focus on...More Button

  Question No. 16 answered with Question No. 12.More Button

Financial Institutions Levy

Was asked: the amount of revenue that has accrued to date from the levy on financial institutions that was introduced in budget 2014, broken down in tabular form by each liable institution; his future plans f...More Button

The Financial Institutions Levy, announced in  Budget 2014, is based on an institution's DIRT liability in 2011, and will be in place for three years with an anticipated annual yield of €150 millio...More Button

As regards a financial transaction tax, the Government's position is that such a tax would be best applied on a wide international basis to include the major financial centres to prevent the dang...More Button

The proposal for a Directive from the European Commission in the area of financial transaction tax was published in February 2013. Ireland had many concerns about the proposal as drafted, not lea...More Button

Our concerns are widely shared amongst the Member States, including some of the participating countries.  These concerns have led to the issuing of a communique by the participating Member States...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, Ireland already has a tax on certain financial transactions, a Stamp Duty on transfers of shares in Irish incorporated companies, which currently stands at 1%. It no...More Button

Tax Reliefs Availability

Was asked: if he will revise tax reliefs for pensions in order to encourage the investment of funds here. More Button

I assume that the intention behind the question is that Irish pension funds should be encouraged through the tax system to invest in assets in the State. The position from a tax perspective is th...More Button

It is not clear from the question what changes to the current tax relief arrangements the Deputy has in mind. She might note, however, that trustees of pension schemes have a duty under trust la...More Button

Was asked: in relation to the 15 year rule regarding capital gains tax, the relief available to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that retirement relief from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) may be available to an individual on the disposal of all or part of the chargeable business assets of h...More Button

With regard to the particular instance set out by the Deputy, relief may apply where the farm is being transferred to the owner's child referred to as a disposal in the Act where the person makin...More Button

It appears from initial Revenue enquiries that relief may be available in this case, notwithstanding certain time limits referred to by the Deputy. The applicable rules and conditions are howeve...More Button

Carbon Tax Implementation

Was asked: his views on whether revenue to the State from the sale of solid fuel products is being put at risk from the significant cross-Border price differential that exists since the recent increase in the...More Button

Although Carbon Tax was introduced in Budget 2010 for fossil fuels, its application to solid fuels was delayed to allow for the development of a robust mechanism to counter the large scale sourcing...More Button

In particular, the Regulations require that all bituminous coal sold and used outside smoky coal ban areas for residential use outside those areas must have a sulphur content of no more than 0.7%...More Button

The application of the carbon tax to solid fuels was further postponed in 2012 given the overall tax increases in Budget 2012 including in the standard rate of VAT. Budget 2013 commenced the app...More Button

The introduction of Carbon Tax was about sending a price signal that there is a cost associated with the consumption of fossil fuels to the detriment of the environment. It should also be noted ...More Button

It should be noted that the provisional yield returned for SFCT from 1st May 2013 to 31 December 2013 was €7.3 million, ahead of the forecast yield for that period of €6 million. Accordingly I d...More Button

Was asked: if he will enumerate the amount of carbon tax per unit of fuel as bought by the consumer, as distinct from the unit of carbon dioxide emitted, for each of the fuels to which the tax applies. More Button

The Finance Act 2010 provided for the application of carbon taxation to mineral oils, natural gas and solid fuel.  Carbon tax was applied to petrol and auto-diesel with effect from 10th&...More Button

Small and Medium Enterprises Supports

Was asked: if he will support small business in their need for access to finance (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy is aware, as part of the 2011 recapitalisation exercise, the Government imposed SME lending targets on AIB and Bank of Ireland for the three calendar years, 2011 to 2013. Each bank w...More Button

Having completed a process of deleveraging, both AIB and Bank of Ireland are now concentrating on growing their balance sheets.  In this context, both banks recognise the need to increase busines...More Button

Last week the Taoiseach announced the establishment of the Strategic Investment Banking Corporation (SBCI). The Government will be prioritising the passage of the enabling legislation through th...More Button

Was asked: when a State-backed enterprise bank will be established; the lending capacity of the bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government on Thursday 22 May 2014 announced that over €500million in additional credit will be made available to Irish SMEs through the establishment of the Strate...More Button

Credit is the lifeblood of all businesses and SMEs will now be able to access loans of greater duration, with enhanced terms and potentially at a lower cost facilitated by the SBCI and its on-len...More Button

House Prices

Was asked: the specific measures he is considering or tools he has at his disposal for preventing the emergence of another property bubble, in view of the dramatic rise in rents and property prices in Dublin ...More Button

By way of background, I note that private rents - as measured by the Consumer Price Index - rose nationally by just over 9 per cent in the 12 months to April of this year. However, this follows a ...More Button

In the year to March, residential property prices, at a national level, increased by 7.8 per cent according to the latest available residential property price index from the Central Statistics Of...More Button

The Deputy will also be aware that the property bubble up to 2007 was concurrent with a dramatic and unsustainable increase in mortgage lending. As indicated in the recently published Constructi...More Button

In summary, I wish to assure the Deputy that my Department will continue to closely monitor developments in the property and rental markets. I am also satisfied that actions set out in the Gover...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he and his Department have noted house price inflation; if such a trend is likely to cause economic disruption; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department continues to monitor developments in the property and construction sectors to ensure that the property market makes an appropriate contribution to wider economic performance. More Button

When assessing the recent pick-up in house prices it is important to remember that residential property prices fell by just over 50 per cent from peak-to-trough and residential property prices na...More Button

In addition, it should also be noted that there are indications that a large percentage of residential property transactions are currently taking the form of cash purchases and mortgage lending i...More Button

While the demand for housing is a function of a number of economic and demographic factors, it is clear that current levels of housing output are running below estimates of medium- to long-run re...More Button

Therefore, and as outlined in the Medium-Term Economic Strategy and Construction 2020 - a strategy for a renewed construction sector, the Government is working to address the challenges in the pr...More Button

Mortgage Interest Rates

Was asked: his views on the increasing divergence between tracker mortgage rates and standard variable rates; his views on whether banks are using increased standard variable rates to subsidise loss-making tr...More Button

I, as Minister for Finance, have no statutory role in relation to the mortgage interest rates charged by regulated financial institutions with regard to tracker mortgages or standard variable rates...More Button

The Central Bank has responsibility for the regulation and supervision of financial institutions in terms of consumer protection and prudential requirements and for ensuring ongoing compliance wi...More Button

The mortgage interest rates that financial institutions operating in Ireland charge to customers are determined as a result of a commercial decision by the institutions concerned.  This interest ...More Button

Deposit Interest Rates

Was asked: his views on whether the current penal tax regime that applies to deposit and pension savings is discouraging persons from making provision for future financial needs; and if he will make a stateme...More Button

The Government decided to increase the rate of Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT), which was previously 33%, to 41% in Budget 2014.  The higher rate of DIRT (previously 36%) for interest paid le...More Button

Exemptions from DIRT may apply for the following persons in certain circumstances:More Button

- Individuals aged over 65 (subject to income limits)More Button

- Permanently Incapacitated IndividualsMore Button

- Companies, Pension Funds and Charities (Irish resident companies pay tax on investment income at 25%More Button

- Non-Resident Account Holders.More Button

There are alternative savings products available which are tax free (Savings Bonds, Saving Certificates, Instalment Savings and the National Solidarity Bonds).More Button

A considerable number of individuals in the State are not making sufficient provision for their retirement through pension savings. This is not a recent problem and various reasons have been adv...More Button

Departmental Staff Recruitment

Was asked: his strategy to fill the upcoming vacant post of Secretary General at his Department.More Button

Consideration is currently being given to the process of filling the post of Secretary General. Mr. John Moran will remain in the post of Secretary General until his successor is appointed which w...More Button

Government Bonds

Was asked: if, in the context of the emerging economic improvements, it might be possible to establish a Government development bond to meet urgent requirements in terms of economic and social infrastructure,...More Button

Was asked: if, in view of the ongoing need to retain expenditure within the guidelines set down by the troika, in view of the existence of serious infrastructural deficits in terms of housing and other critic...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 29 and 181 together.

  The primary role of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) is to ensure that sufficient funding is available at al...More Button

Mortgage Interest Relief Eligibility

Was asked: if he will consider easing the tax burden on families who are forced to move out of their principal private residence and rent another property due to changed family circumstances; and if he will m...More Button

I assume the Deputy is referring to the loss of mortgage interest relief in this particular circumstance. That relief is available in respect of interest paid on qualifying loans taken out on or a...More Button

I should point out that although I am sympathetic to those that move out of their principal private residence and rent another property due to changed family circumstances, given the current budg...More Button

This Government is very conscious of the significant concerns and difficulties faced by home owners, not least in relation to their mortgages.  In addition, the Government is committed to helping...More Button

While it is accepted that the provisions do not serve to address the concerns or particular issues of all who may have bought then, it would be impossible to design a system that meets the needs ...More Button

Was asked: if persons (details supplied) in County Tipperary are entitled to tax relief at source on mortgage interest in respect of the amount of their mortgage drawn down in 2012; and if he will make a stat...More Button

In order to qualify for mortgage interest relief (MIR), a loan must have been drawn down and used in the purchase, repair or development of an individual's principal private residence on or before ...More Button

IBRC Mortgage Loan Book

Was asked: if any assurances have been given by the funds buying the loan books at Irish Bank Resolution Corporation that they will respect the terms of the contracts in place, including the interest rates; a...More Button

I have been advised by the Special Liquidators that the sale of a residential mortgage does not change the terms and conditions of the loan agreement in any way. Irrespective of who acquires the l...More Button

Was asked: if he will organise an urgent meeting with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation home owners group.More Button

The Government is keenly aware of the concerns raised by the Central Bank and others regarding the potential loss of protection under the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA).  The Governmen...More Button

In  the interim the Government has always been clear that we fully expected that any purchaser of the IBRC mortgage portfolio would service the loan books in accordance with the CCMA. The two pur...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware the Special Liquidators are legally obliged to oversee the liquidation of IBRC for the benefit of all creditors of the bank including the State. As such I am not in a ...More Button

Was asked: if the performing mortgages which were with Irish Nationwide and now with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation will be put into the National Asset Management Agency; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

I have been advised by the Special Liquidators that 64% of the residential mortgage portfolio of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited (in Special Liquidation) have been sold to two buyers, nam...More Button

The Special Liquidators confirm that NAMA will not now be obliged to purchase the unsold residential mortgages at their independent valuation as previously envisaged. The Special Liquidators wil...More Button

NAMA Loans Sale

Was asked: if he is concerned that the acceleration of National Asset Management Agency disposals to investors may contribute to increasing rents as purchasers seek to maximise their returns. More Button

I am advised that there is no evidence that NAMA is aware of to indicate that selling assets or loans to investors is a contributory factor to increased rents.  Market factors such as restricted su...More Button

Banks Recapitalisation

Was asked: when and the process by which he will apply for the retrospective recapitalisation through the ESM of Ireland's pillar banking debt; and the rules that will be applied to any such application.More Button

The Euro-area Heads of State or Government agreed in June 2012 that "it is imperative to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns", and that when a Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), ...More Button

The Eurogroup meeting on 5 May 2014 considered a proposed resolution to the outstanding issues on the operational framework of the ESM's DRI put forward by the Eurogroup President, Mr. Dijsselblo...More Button

Finally, both I and my Government colleagues will ensure that Ireland's case for retrospective direct recapitalisation is made at all levels as appropriate.  I remain confident that the commitmen...More Button

Was asked: when Ireland will apply for retrospective recapitalisation, through the European Stability Mechanism, of the moneys used to save Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks; and if he will make a statem...More Button

The Euro-area Heads of State or Government agreed in June 2012 that "it is imperative to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns", and that when a Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), ...More Button

The Eurogroup meeting on 20 June 2013 agreed on the main features of the European Stability Mechanism's Direct Recapitalisation Instrument (DRI). There is a specific provision included in those m...More Button

The Eurogroup meeting on 5 May 2014 considered a proposed resolution to the outstanding issues on the operational framework of the ESM's DRI put forward by the Eurogroup President, Mr Dijsselbloe...More Button

  Question No. 103 answered with Question No. 83.More Button

Bank Stress Tests

Was asked: if he has seen the letter sent from Mr. Mario Draghi in relation to EU-wide stress tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I can confirm that I have seen the letter of 20 March 2014 from Mr Draghi to the Deputy and have noted the contents therein which are not at variance with views shared by the ECB as part of the Tr...More Button

- A supervisory risk assessment;More Button

- An asset quality review (AQR); and, More Button

- A stress test.More Button

Notwithstanding Mr Draghi's comments in relation to the difference between the two exercises, the AQR component of the SSM comprehensive assessment is similar to the Balance Sheet Assessment comp...More Button

I also note that Mr Draghi makes reference to the "still very large stock of non-performing loans" which is a matter we have clearly been focused on for several years.  I take comfort in this reg...More Button

Finally, Mr Draghi refers to "the completion of the banks' restructuring and reforms". The EU Commission had approved the Restructuring Plan of Bank of Ireland back in 2011 and, since Mr Draghi'...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm that no future injections of capital will be made by this Government to Irish banks regardless of the outcome of the ECB bank stress tests.More Button

I have said on many occasions in the recent past that I do not expect the ECB exercise to result in a requirement for additional capital given the very large amount of new capital that has gone int...More Button

Financial Transactions Tax

Was asked: if he will justify his decision not to bring in a financial transactions tax, which would have yielded an amount similar to that raised from hard-pressed home owners in property tax. More Button

The Government's position is that a financial transaction tax would be best applied on a wide international basis to include the major financial centres to prevent the danger of activities gravitat...More Button

The proposal for a Directive from the European Commission in the area of financial transaction tax was published in February 2013. Ireland had many concerns about the proposal as drafted, not lea...More Button

Our concerns are widely shared amongst the Member States, including some of the participating countries.  These concerns have led to the recent issuing of a communique by the participating Member...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, Ireland already has a tax on certain financial transactions, a Stamp Duty on transfers of shares in Irish incorporated companies, which currently stands at 1%.  The y...More Button

Economic Data

Was asked: the extent to which the various economic indicators are positively positioned in the run-up to budget 2015; the extent to which he expects to be in a position to continue to meet the conditions lai...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department published updated macro-economic and fiscal forecasts as part of the 2014 Stability Programme Update last month. As detailed in these forecasts, my Depar...More Button

Having decided to maintain the tourism VAT rate at 9 per cent as part of Budget 2014, I am particularly encouraged to see that positive momentum in the sector in 2013 appears to have carried into...More Button

Developments in the construction sector have been equally encouraging in the year to date, with PMI data suggesting that activity in the sector expanded at is fastest pace since January 2006 in M...More Button

Economic activity in our key export markets is expected to strengthen this year, which will support Irish exports.  More Button

Looking to the public finances, an underlying general government deficit of 4.8 per cent is forecast for 2014, well within the deficit ceiling of 5.1 per cent set by the ECOFIN Council in late 20...More Button

  Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 10.More Button

Was asked: the degree to which he and his Department continue to monitor the performance of all Government Departments and State or semi-State agencies with a view to maximisation of their contribution toward...More Button

The Government's Medium-term Economic Strategy (MTES) provides an overarching high-level integrated whole-of-Government framework to drive and facilitate the development of appropriate sectoral and...More Button

Implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs, which sets out the Government's strategy in relation to getting Ireland back to work is overseen by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Jobs...More Button

Following Ireland's exit from the IMF/ECB/European Commission Programme in December 2013, Ireland is now subject to post programme surveillance which is co-ordinated by my Department.  This will ...More Button

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has a very significant responsibility for all Departmental expenditure matters and the general performance of Departments. More Button

Was asked: his views regarding the performance of all aspects of the economy in the post bailout period; if he has in mind any corrective measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Provisional figures show that GDP fell slightly last year as inter alia headwinds associated with patent-expiry in the pharma-chem sector depressed output and exports.  By contrast, domestic demand...More Button

There is now growing evidence that recovery is gaining momentum.  Activity is improving in most of Ireland's key export markets, which should support the exporting sectors.  While patent expiry w...More Button

My Department expects that the pace of GDP growth will accelerate in 2015 and beyond, as the output gap closes and the pace of growth reverts to its estimated trend rate of 3.5 per cent.  Employm...More Button

The Government's Medium-Term Economic Strategy sets out the approach for jobs-rich economic growth over the period to the end of this decade.  This involves a three pillar approach.  Firstly, the...More Button

Any measures required in order to achieve the correction of the excessive deficit by next year will be announced in the Budget in October and will be based on the most up-to-date economic and fis...More Button

Credit Availability

Was asked: in the context of ensuring credit availability for small to medium-sized enterprises, his views on facilitating credit unions in lending amounts under a certain value to businesses at a local level...More Button

The credit union sector nationally plays an important role in providing financial services, but in doing so retains responsibility to ensure  members' funds are not put at undue risk. I have been ...More Button

Lending to small and medium enterprises - SMEs - is a specialist form of lending that clearly requires specific skills and expertise. In general  this type of lending is viewed as high risk by t...More Button

The Commission on Credit Unions in its final Report recommended a tiered regulatory approach for credit unions. The tiered regulatory approach will see some credit unions taking on a more sophis...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he continues to receive indications from the banking sector regarding the availability of credit throughout the domestic market; if any particular issues have arisen which might...More Button

Was asked: the degree to which Government policy towards assisting small and medium-sized enterprises by way of enhanced lending for working capital or other purposes has been successful to date; and if he wi...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 178 and 185 together.More Button

As the Deputy is aware, as part of the 2011 recapitalisation exercise, the Government imposed SME lending targets on AIB and Bank of Ireland for the three calendar years, 2011 to 2013. Each bank...More Button

Having completed a process of deleveraging, both AIB and Bank of Ireland are now concentrating on growing their balance sheets.  In this context, both banks recognise the need to increase busines...More Button

Last week the Taoiseach announced the establishment of the Strategic Investment Banking Corporation (SBCI). The Government will be prioritising the passage of the enabling legislation through the...More Button

Mortgage Applications Approvals

Was asked: if he has concerns that persons are being prevented from purchasing a family home and getting on the property ladder because of their inability to pay the substantial deposits that are a requiremen...More Button

As Minister for Finance, it is not appropriate for me to become involved in individual cases. More Button

The decision on the approval of a mortgage for a borrower is a commercial decision for the lending institution concerned.  It is important that each lending institution is allowed to properly and...More Button

My Department is committed, under the 'Construction 2020' strategy, to examine the concept of a mortgage insurance scheme. The objective of any scheme would be to ensure adequate availability of ...More Button

Was asked: if he will assist families with their efforts in acquiring a mortgage (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister for Finance, it is not appropriate for me to become involved in individual cases. The decision on the approval of a mortgage for a borrower is a commercial decision for the lending ins...More Button

Tax Credits

Was asked: the amount the changes to the one-parent family tax credit system will save in 2014; his views that the measure is forcing some parents into poverty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As you are aware the One-Parent Family Tax Credit (OPFTC) has been replaced with a new Single Person Child Carer Credit from 1 January 2014. The restructured credit is of the same value i.e. €1,65...More Button

When first proposed in Budget 2014 it was initially estimated that the changes would yield around €18 million in 2014 and €25 million in a full year. However, as a result of an amendment which I ...More Button

It is essential to regularly review all tax reliefs, credits and incentives in order to ensure that they are properly targeted and if necessary re-focused in order that they can achieve the socio...More Button

The new credit is designed to be an activation measure, which was the original intention behind the OPFTC. It is designed to be an in-work benefit to support the primary carer to take up, or rem...More Button

The Commission on Taxation acknowledged that the OPFTC played a role in supporting and incentivising the labour market participation of single and widowed parents. However, in its recommendation...More Button

It is important to note that there is no tax credit available to assist married couples with the costs associated with raising their children. The changes that were introduced for single person c...More Button

While I understand the difficulties being experienced by those that have lost the OPFTC and who have not qualified for the new SPCCC, I am satisfied that the new credit targets limited Exchequer ...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) will receive the tax refund they are due.More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that correspondence was received from the taxpayer by Revenue in March 2013, requesting issue of a Tax Credit Certificate to the taxpayer's then employer. ...More Button

To determine if any refund is due, a review of the taxpayer's 2013 PAYE taxes is required. Revenue have now written directly to the taxpayer, requesting the information necessary to update Reven...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a new PPSN being available on the system in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners the individual's file has been amended to reflect the new PPSN. A revised Tax Credit Certificate issued to the person concerned and to her em...More Button

Was asked: if a parent who is not the primary carer can avail of the single parent tax credit if the primary carer is unemployed but does not agree to allowing the other parents avail of the credit.More Button

The Single Parent Child Carer Credit is designed to be an in-work benefit to support the primary carer to take up, or remain in, employment. More Button

As a result of an amendment which I brought forward on Committee Stage of the Finance Bill, a primary carer who is entitled to the credit and who does not wish to avail of it can choose to relinq...More Button

Furthermore, there may be many reasons why a primary carer may choose not to relinquish the credit, including a wish to avail of it in a future employment.More Button

Any arrangement regarding the possible surrender of the credit is an issue which the parties must agree among themselves. It would not be appropriate or desirable for the State to become involved...More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare has not been in receipt of an incapacitated child tax credit since 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the person concerned has been granted the incapacitated child tax credit. PAYE Balancing Statements (P21) issued to the person concerned as fo...More Button

2009 - P21 issued on 21/06/2012, 2010 - P21 issued on 23/07/2012, 2012 - P21 issued on 22/04/2013 and 2013 - P21 issued on 15/05/2014. More Button

Incapacitated child credit was included in the P21 for each of the above years. Refunds of tax overpaid have been made for each of the years with the exception of 2012 as no tax was paid in that ...More Button

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is entitled to the one-parent tax credit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the person concerned has submitted a claim for one parent family credit for the tax year 2010.  This claim has been allowed and a PAYE Balancin...More Button

The Revenue Commissioners further advise that they have no record of a claim for one parent family credit for any subsequent year.  They have written to the person concerned on the matter enclosi...More Button

Carbon Tax Collection

Was asked: if he will confirm where the money collected through the carbon tax is spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that, in general, I am opposed to the hypothecation of revenue funds as it reduces the flexibility of the Government to prioritise and allocate funds as deemed necessary at...More Button

Pension Provisions

Was asked: if he will allow persons in private pensions to cash in their pensions without a tax liability if they invest in a start-up business; if he sees a merit in such a move; and if he will make a statem...More Button

The tax treatment of pension savings in the State is one that is common across most other EU Member States and involves the broad exemption from tax on pension contributions paid into a pension sch...More Button

The tax regime (and indeed the regulatory regime) governing the activities of supplementary or private pension provision are aimed at encouraging and also protecting the pension savings of indivi...More Button

A major difficulty with the Deputy's proposal is that it carries the very significant risk that, if things go badly wrong, individuals will not only lose their investment in a new business but wi...More Button

Banking Sector

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 46 of 1 May 2014, if he will separately disclose the proportion of AIB's non recourse lending which relates to mortgage and personal borrowing; and if he will ...More Button

As previously advised, I have been informed by AIB that the bank's underwriting criteria are based on the repayment capacity of the borrower. As a general rule, personal loans to individuals are no...More Button

Further information in relation to AIB s loan portfolios are contained on pages 71 to 153 of AIB's 2013 Annual Financial Report.More Button

Was asked: the monetary amount at current share values by which the equity in Bank of Ireland held by the State was reduced due to the share placing by Bank of Ireland used to raise the money required to purc...More Button

As I stated in a recent Parliamentary Question, the State did not participate in the private placing in December 2013 which was part of the package to repay in full the State's investment in the Ba...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to a situation (details supplied) regarding banking licences; his views on the veracity of the same; the actions his Department has carried out in relation to same; ...More Button

I have been informed by the Central Bank that Allied Irish Banks plc has always operated with a banking licence and currently holds a banking licence under Section 9 of the Central Bank Act, 1971. ...More Button

In the case of IBRC, once the bank was put into liquidation on the 7th February 2013, the Central Bank withdraw its banking licence which was no longer required as the bank was in wind down.  More Button

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

The Deputy will be aware that I must ensure that Permanent TSB is run on a commercial, cost effective and independent basis to ensure the value of the bank as an asset to the State. Under the Rela...More Button

Insurance Industry

Was asked: if he or the Financial Regulator ever investigated any potential conflict of interest at Setanta Insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Setanta Insurance Company Limited (Setanta) is a Maltese incorporated company which was both authorised and prudentially supervised by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). While its finan...More Button

The Central Bank is in contact with the MFSA in relation to Setanta since November 2013 when it identified issues during a consumer protection themed inspection.  As the issues at Setanta were pr...More Button

A widely reported press release was issued by Setanta Insurance on January 27th 2014 which stated that the insurer had resolved to cease carrying on the business of insurance, including further r...More Button

On 16 April, 2014, Setanta determined that the company was insolvent. This means that Setanta does not have sufficient funds to be able to honour its full obligations towards claimants, policyhol...More Button

In my role as the Minister for Finance, I have responsibility for the development of national policy and the legal framework governing insurance regulation. I have no role with regard to the inv...More Button

The Central Bank has advised me that it has not investigated conflicts of interest in Setanta and is working to ensure that Setanta policyholders are being communicated with by the liquidator and...More Button

Was asked: his plans to restore trust in the financial services market following the liquidation of Setanta Insurance; if at national or EU level, there are any proposals to introduce measures to allow for th...More Button

Was asked: his plans to waive the Government levy for those Setanta policy holders who will have to take out another insurance policy in view of the fact that they have already paid a Government levy on the i...More Button

Was asked: the protection or regulation currently in place for Irish persons who take out policies with foreign financial companies who set up here but are licenced by foreign financial services authorities; ...More Button

Was asked: if he will request the liquidator of Setanta Insurance to make a statement on the position of third party claimants regarding high court cases next month; if he will request the Central Bank of Ire...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to reports that MIBI has not been instructed to deal with third party claims under Setanta Insurance; his views on the position of having third party claims dealt wi...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding motor insurance companies and their policy holders who were involved in pending court cases in which Setanta Insurance was a defendant when the company recently collapsed; an...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 83, 103, 135, 152, 153 and 170 together.

  My officials have been in discussions with the Central Bank of Ireland, with the Setanta Liquidator an...More Button

Civil Service Code of Conduct

Was asked: if he will ensure that the current Secretary General of his Department will not take up a position with a private sector entity until the standard Civil Service time interval has elapsed; if bodies...More Button

The current Secretary General of my Department is subject to Section 20 of the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour which relates to the acceptance of outside appointments and of consultan...More Button

With regards to provisions for the NTMA and NAMA, in early 2013 the Chief Executive of the NTMA committed to a review of policy in respect of notice periods and post-termination restrictions on e...More Button

The NTMA has accepted and is implementing the Matheson recommendations.More Button

Tax Reliefs Cost

Was asked: the cost to the Exchequer of increasing the standard tax rate band from €32,800 for a single person, €41,800 for a married couple one earner, €65,600 married couple two earners, €36,800 one parent ...More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year cost to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2014 incomes, of increasing the standard income tax band in the order of €260, €520, €...More Button

Disabled Drivers and Passengers Scheme

Was asked: the reason disabled drivers and disabled passengers tax concession scheme those who would otherwise qualify are disqualified because they do not buy their car from an authorised person.More Button

Was asked: if an applicant under the disabled drivers and disabled passengers tax concession scheme can qualify for the scheme on presentation of documentation even if they have not bought from an authorised ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 85 and 86 together.More Button

An "authorised person" for the purposes of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme is defined in section 136 of the Finance Act, 1992 as a person authorised by the Revenue Commissione...More Button

The tax concession provisions for disabled drivers, passengers and organisations are contained in The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994 (Statutory Instru...More Button

In the case of repayment, the tax has already been paid either on a vehicle first registered in the State or on a vehicle previously registered in another State and imported into and registered i...More Button

In the case of remission, the tax due can be remitted at the time of registration (either for new vehicles being registered in the State or imported vehicles being registered) where the vehicle a...More Button

I have asked my officials to examine the Regulations with a view to streamlining and modernising the scheme and addressing any anomalies. I expect this examination to be concluded very shortly.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a refund of VRT in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

 I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the relevant legislation governing the Drivers & Passengers with Disabilities Scheme is contained in Section 134(3) of the Finance Act 1992 ...More Button

Was asked: if he will in the context of the European Court of Justice ruling of April 2013 which will see an end to the excise relief on the fuel element of the disabled drivers and disabled passengers scheme...More Button

As the Deputy is aware in April 2013 the European Court of Justice ruled that the excise relief on fuel element of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme is incompatible with the EU En...More Button

Officials from my Department have been engaging with other Departments and the Revenue Commissioners in order to examine all the legislative, financing and payment implications of a new fuel gran...More Button

When all the details of the new scheme have been worked out and finalised, the members of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme will be informed.More Button

Was asked: if consideration will be given to increasing the maximum rebate allowance, currently at €9,500, to assist persons with mobility issues, such as wheelchair users, with the purchase of vehicles, part...More Button

The Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme provides relief from VAT and Vehicle Registration Tax (up to a maximum of €9,525 for a driver with a disability, and a maximum...More Button

The VAT, VRT and fuel excise relief of the Scheme costs approximately 44 million euros per year.  As the Deputy will appreciate, in these difficult times and with the overarching requirement to r...More Button

Central Bank of Ireland

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of financial advisers have left the debt advice business over the application process to the regulator; and his views on the concerns of th...More Button

Was asked: his plans to address the concerns of the Professional Insurance Brokers Association (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 89 and 141 together.More Button

The Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 amended the Central Bank Act 1997 to introduce a regulatory regime for debt management firms. The Central Bank is responsible for the autho...More Button

I am informed that the Central Bank issued a consultation paper on 1 August 2013 in respect of the proposed regulatory regime to apply to debt management firms.  The proposals set out a robust se...More Button

Following consideration of the submissions received from interested parties, including the PIBA, the Central Bank issued a feedback statement in October 2013 confirming that a number of revisions...More Button

I am informed that an applicant seeking authorisation as a debt management firm must satisfy the Central Bank that it is able to  fulfil correctly and properly the obligations imposed on holders ...More Button

The Central Bank is currently processing the applications for authorisation it has received and has authorised 20 debt management firms to date.  It is a matter for each firm to determine whether...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the Money Advice & Budgeting Service  offers a free, confidential and independent service for people in debt, or in danger of getting into debt.More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 106 of 30 April 2014 and a previous statement by the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland that it is only in the matter of setting interest rates that his n...More Button

The Central Bank of Ireland is independent in the exercise of its functions and the management of its investment holdings are a matter for the Bank itself.  Therefore, I am not in a position to con...More Button

Credit Unions Regulation

Was asked: if he favours the three tiered regulatory approach to credit unions as proposed by the Commission on Credit Unions or the two tiered approach currently being proposed by the Central Bank of Ireland...More Button

The Commission on Credit Unions in its final Report recommended a tiered regulatory approach for credit unions. This will allow certain credit unions take on a more sophisticated business model.More Button

  Questions Nos. 94 and 95 answered with Question No. 90.More Button

Credit Unions Restructuring

Was asked: his plans to extend the period of operation of the Credit Union Restructuring Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Credit Union Restructuring Board (ReBo) was established on a timebound basis in line with recommendations in the Report of the Commission on Credit Unions.  ReBo is working towards the timetabl...More Button

I have no plans at this time to extend the term of ReBo.More Button

Was asked: the amount that has been drawn down to date by the Credit Union Restructuring Board; and the amount that has been used to aid in the restructuring of credit unions to date. More Button

The Credit Union Restructuring Board - ReBo, has incurred expenditure of circa €1.3m from its establishment until 30 April 2014, in fulfilment of its legislative mandate. This amount is made up of ...More Button

- Approximately €220,000 of this relates to approved direct funding for credit union restructuring costs.More Button

- Approximately €700,000 relates to ReBo staff costs.More Button

- The remaining €380,000 consists of costs in relation to the establishment and office administration, information technology and communications, legal costs, accountancy costs and other professi...More Button

ReBo staff are actively working with credit unions and other stakeholders in the development and completion of their restructuring proposals as set out by ReBo in its Statement of Strategy. ReBo ...More Button

Tax Exemptions

Was asked: if the property of a person (details supplied) in County Cork is exempt from the local property tax.More Button

Revenue has advised me that following contact with the Deputy's office, it was confirmed that the Question relates to both exemption from Local Property Tax (LPT) and waiver from Household Charge (...More Button

Was asked: if he will clarify the exact situation for disabled families in respect of the local property tax and exemptions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that while there is no specific exemption from Local Property Tax (LPT) for a person with a disability, a residential property occupied by an individual wh...More Button

Departmental Communications

Was asked: if officials in his Department are allowed to use non-departmental e-mail addresses, telephone numbers or other methods of communication for departmental business; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

The Department has an Information and Communications Technology Usage policy (Office Notice 1/2006) which applies to:

 - Those who use the Department's ICT facilities, whether they be...More Button

Sovereign Debt

Was asked: if he will estimate the interest to be paid by the State between February 2013 and end December 2014 on the €25 billion sovereign bonds used to swap with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation promi...More Button

Was asked: if he will estimate the interest to be paid by the State between February 2013 and end December 2014 on the portion of the €25 billion sovereign bonds used to swap with the Irish Bank Resolution Co...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 and 107 together.More Button

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) issued eight new Floating Rate Treasury Bonds to the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) on 8 February 2013 to replace the Promissory Notes previously hel...More Button

Was asked: if he will estimate the net cost, taking account of the fact that any surplus at the Central Bank of Ireland is remitted to the Exchequer, to the State of the decision of the Central Bank of Irelan...More Button

The Central Bank of Ireland is independent in the exercise of its functions and the management of its investment holdings is a matter for the bank itself.  Neither I nor the Department of Finance h...More Button

The Central Bank provides the Department of Finance with an estimate of expected surplus income to be paid to the Central Fund on a regular basis. This estimate will continue to form part of the ...More Button

Tax Rebates

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is due any refund on their tax paid to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by Revenue that Section 960H of the Taxes Consolidation ACT (TCA) 1997(as amended) provides that where a customer is due a refund of tax, Revenue  may offset the amount in full, or in ...More Button

In regard to the specific case to which the Deputy refers, I am advised that a PAYE refund was due on foot of a review of the 2013 tax year. However, the person in question had an outstanding tax...More Button

Revenue has confirmed to me that a member of the LPT team made direct contact with the person in regard to this issue and confirmed the various offsets to him. The LPT team member also confirmed ...More Button

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is due a refund on their tax liability; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they have no record of a refund claim from the person concerned. I have further been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they have writt...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding money owed to persons (details supplied) in Dublin 13 by the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that due to an error on Revenue's part, the taxpayers concerned paid an excessive amount of tax for the years in question. Revenue's records reflected tha...More Button

IBRC Liquidation

Was asked: his views on the announcement by a Delaware court on 13 May that the liquidators of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation have to set aside millions of euro to cover a racketeering claim. More Button

I have been advised by the Special Liquidators that action in the US Bankruptcy Court by John Flynn to prevent the sale of IBRC loan assets has been unsuccessful, allowing the sales by the Special ...More Button

The Court has requested that the Special Liquidators set aside an amount of $36 million for a period of 60 days to allow the Flynn parties an opportunity to seek a stay on the order for recogniti...More Button

Was asked: further to his statement of 20 February 2014 in respect of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation mortgage borrowers that if the special liquidators were to sell mortgages individually, rather than ...More Button

I am advised by the Special Liquidators that following due consideration to advice provided by PwC, they decided to sell the residential mortgage book of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (in Spec...More Button

The Government is committed to bringing forward legislation that will protect mortgage holders and believes the sale of loan books to unregulated third parties Bill is the most effective way to a...More Button

Was asked: if the special liquidators of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation managed to achieve sale prices for any of the circa €22 billion of par value loans that were recently offered for sale, which wer...More Button

I have been advised that the Special Liquidators will not be providing the information requested as it is considered commercially sensitive financial information. As a general comment however I u...More Button

Mortgage Debt

Was asked: if he will confirm that mortgages sold to Lone Star will be covered by the code of conduct for mortgage arrears and any future enactment of it if Lone Star sells on the loans; and if he will make a...More Button

The Government is keenly aware of the concerns raised by the Central Bank and others regarding the potential loss of protection under the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA). The Government ...More Button

In  the interim the Government has always been clear that we fully expected that any purchaser of the IBRC mortgage portfolio would service the loan books in accordance with the CCMA. The two pur...More Button

VAT Exemptions

Was asked: if a VAT waiver exists for renovation works on State-owned properties, such as those that have been leased out to groups for community use and are in the ownership of the Office of Public Works. More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that renovation works carried out on properties are liable to VAT regardless of the owner of the property.  In this case, where a public body engages a con...More Button

In the case where community groups engage contractors to undertake renovation works, as stated earlier, such work would be liable to VAT at 13.5%.  In general, community groups would not have an ...More Button

Was asked: if it is possible, under national legislation, to exempt from VAT the purchase of mountain rescue equipment for voluntary groups in a similar way to the exemption for water rescue equipment; if suc...More Button

VAT law is governed by the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply.  The EU VAT Directive makes specific provision under Articles 148 and 169, for a zero rate of VAT to apply to the ...More Button

Question No. 170 answered with Question No. 83.More Button

Pension Levy

Was asked: the length of time the pension levy will be used to fund State jobs initiatives in view of the fact that the private pension sector has already contributed €2.2 billion via the levy to fund job cre...More Button

I announced in my Budget 2014 speech that the 0.6% Pension Fund Levy introduced to fund the Jobs Initiative in 2011 will be abolished from the 31st of December 2014. I have, however, introduced an ...More Button

The receipts from the stamp duty levy on pension fund assets have amounted to €463 million in 2011, €483 million in 2012 and €535 million in 2013 giving a total of €1.481 billion to date. On the ...More Button

Freedom of Information Requests

Was asked: if the ECB has expressed to him any fear that it would be open to legal action if the letter of November 2010 from Jean Claude Trichet is published. More Button

Was asked: if the ECB has indicated to him that it would be happy to release the letter of November 2010 from Jean Claude Trichet after the period where the Statute of Limitations has expired for any citizen ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 120 and 121 together.More Button

I should say that, in early 2014, when the ECB initially sought my views in the context of its discussion on the possible release of the letter, I indicated that the decision to release the lette...More Button

Separately the European Ombudsman investigated the refusal by the ECB to release the letter under the ECB's freedom of information processes. I understand the Ombudsman's Office found that the E...More Button

I am not aware of any concerns expressed by the ECB regarding the possibility of legal action arising from the disclosure of the letter at this time or in the future.More Button

Mortgage Repayments

Was asked: the supports available for mortgage holders whose life assurance or mortgage protection policy might have lapsed due to illness or unemployment; the responsibility banks have in this regard; if the...More Button

I have been advised by the Central Bank that Section 126 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 requires that, subject to certain exemptions set out in the Act, a mortgage lender shall arrange a life assu...More Button

In the case of mortgages in arrears, under Provision 42 of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, where an alternative repayment arrangement is offered by a lender, the lender must provide the ...More Button

Was asked: the measures that exist for those persons who were sold endowment mortgages in the 1990s and who now, on coming near the end of the mortgage term, have been advised that there will be a major short...More Button

Was asked: if there are regulations governing endowment mortgage policies; if there is recourse for those who believe they were mis-sold such a policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 and 163 together.

  Firstly, I must confirm to the Deputy that it is not appropriate for me, as Minister for Finance to comment on or become ...More Button

Departmental Meetings

Was asked: if the practice of publishing the Secretary General's diary on a monthly basis has ceased and, if so, the reason for same. More Button

I am informed by the Secretary General that his diary is published at regular intervals, following a review of the diary by the Secretary General to ensure accuracy and non-disclosure of commercial...More Button

NAMA Staff Remuneration

Was asked: if he will provide a breakdown in tabular form of the number of employees in the National Asset Management Agency earning between €150,000 and €200,000, €200,000 and €250,000, €250,000 and €300,000...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, all NAMA staff are employees of the NTMA and under section 42 of the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009, the NTMA assigns staff to NAMA.  Information on NTMA sala...More Button

Seized Property

Was asked: for each of the years, 2011, 2012 and 2013, the number of motor vehicles annually seized by officers of the Revenue Commissioners under section 141(1) of the Finance Act 2001 on the grounds that th...More Button

Was asked: the number of motor vehicles, analysed by year in which they were seized, currently in the possession of officers of the Revenue Commissioners as a result of seizures under section 141(1) of the Fi...More Button

Was asked: for each of the years, 2011, 2012 and 2013, the number of motor vehicles disposed of by the Revenue Commissioners and the disposal proceeds, arising from seizures under section 141(1) of the Financ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 128 to 130, inclusive, together.

  Section 139 (6) of the Finance Act 1992 provides that  motor vehicles  in respect of which certain offences re...More Button

NAMA Loan Offers

Was asked: if it remains the position on the part of the National Asset Management Agency that the maximum amount it can recover on a loan is the par value of the loan; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

 I am advised by NAMA that the majority of loan documentation permits a maximum recovery of outstanding par debt plus interest and fees.More Button

Research and Development Supports

Was asked: if he will consider sponsoring a review of Ireland's competitiveness for attracting inward investment and research and development, noting in particular the increased competition and suite of tax i...More Button

The Deputy will be pleased to know that the competitiveness of Ireland's regime for Research and Development ('R&D') was a key focus of the review of the R&D Tax Credit that I commissioned ...More Button

Financial Services Ombudsman

Was asked: if he will address an issue raised in correspondence in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 14; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

 Firstly, I must point out that the Financial Services Ombudsman is independent in the performance of his statutory functions. The Financial Services Ombudsman s Bureau was established under the C...More Button

The legislation provides the Ombudsman with various powers in order to determine jurisdiction on a complaint including the following: Section 57BY. (1) The Financial Services shall investigate a ...More Button

I note from the correspondence received that the named person was informed in June 2013 that the Financial Services Ombudsman had decided to discontinue the investigation of his complaint pursuan...More Button

  Question No. 141 answered with Question No. 89.More Button

Was asked: when the merger of the Financial Services Ombudsman and the Pensions Ombudsman will take place; the purpose of this merger; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In April 2013, the Government  decided to amalgamate the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman and the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman. This decision was taken following a review of the poli...More Button

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

Was asked: the position regarding the new State vehicle to channel funds from the German State bank, KfW; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government on Thursday 22 May 2014 announced that over €500 million in additional credit will be made available to Irish SMEs through the establishment of the Strat...More Button

Credit is the lifeblood of all businesses and SMEs will now be able to access loans of greater duration, with enhanced terms and potentially at a lower cost facilitated by the SBCI and its on-len...More Button

Was asked: if it is envisaged that the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland will be available to local authorities and other regional organisations to assist in leveraging finance for small to medium-scal...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government on Thursday 22 May 2014 announced that over €500 million in additional credit will be made available to Irish SMEs through the establishment of the Strat...More Button

The SBCI is a new company and it is intended that it will be initially financed by the German Promotional Bank KfW, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the directed portfolio of the Ireland St...More Button

Credit is the lifeblood of all businesses and SMEs will now be able to access loans of greater duration, with enhanced terms and potentially at a lower cost facilitated by the SBCI and its on-len...More Button

The SBCI will be concentrating on the provision of credit to SMEs in its initial phase of operation. It is envisaged that its role will grow over time. More Button

Small and Medium Enterprises Debt

Was asked: his views that the employment prospects for the small and medium enterprise sector would be enhanced by more comprehensive action to tackle SME debt; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In June 2013, the Central Bank set quarterly institution-specific performance targets for covered banks to move distressed SME borrowers onto longer-term forbearance solutions. The targets set ref...More Button

Resolutions offered to SME customers in difficulty are assessed on the basis of the borrowers maximum affordability. The restructures are often complex due to multiple debt connections. Irish b...More Button

I am informed by AIB that disclosures in relation to its SME portfolio are contained in the Credit Risk disclosures on page 71 to 153 of the 2013 Annual Financial Report. In particular, the AIB'...More Button

The Central Bank's process of assessing financial institutions in their efforts to move distressed SME borrowers onto longer term sustainable solutions is an important element in assisting SMEs t...More Button

Was asked: his views on the fact that the Central Bank of Ireland in its recent report entitled, Profiling the Indebtedness of Irish SMEs, demonstrated through its sample analysis that 16.3% of SMEs have a de...More Button

As the Deputy has mentioned, the Central Bank recently published a paper as part of its "Economic Letters Series" entitled "Profiling the Indebtedness of Irish SMEs". The findi...More Button

Insurance Levy

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the Government's potential levy charge on insurance companies and its potential contribution to a distress fund for home owners without flood cover; the amount of fu...More Button

The Government has not made a decision to introduce a flood levy on insurance premiums nor has there been any decision about how the proceeds of such a levy would be distributed. Government policy...More Button

This commitment is underpinned by a very significant capital works investment programme which will see up to €225 million being spent on flood relief measures over a five year period from 2012 to...More Button

In addition, the OPW and Insurance Ireland have agreed on a sustainable system of information sharing in relation to completed flood alleviation schemes so that the insurance industry will have a...More Button

My Department is also undertaking a review of measures to address the availability of flood insurance cover, including the experience and proposals in other countries. In assessing these, care h...More Button

Stock Exchange

Was asked: if Allied Irish Banks since its January 2011 listing on the Enterprise Securities Market of the Irish Stock Exchange has been subject to Market Abuse (Directive 2003/6/EC) Regulations 2005; and if ...More Button

As the Deputy is aware AIB is quoted on the Enterprise Securities Market (ESM) of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) since January 2011 and complies with its listing rules and requirements. The ESM is...More Button

Furthermore, in light of its status as a significant corporate entity AIB has continued to voluntarily comply with the provisions of the Market Abuse (Directive 2003/6/EC) Regulations 2005 since ...More Button

Tax Collection

Was asked: his views regarding the impact of online sales imports on the retail sector here; if he has quantified the amount of money spent here each year on imported goods through online purchases; if he can...More Button

With regard to the impact of online sales imports on the retail sector here, statistics of online retail sales are not available.More Button

In relation to the tax treatment of online sales, the VAT treatment of a particular supply depends on the category of good or service, whether the supply is made to a business or consumer, and, p...More Button

With regard to goods sold online from another EU Member State, EU VAT law provides specific rules for the supply of goods between EU Member States, to determine where the goods should be taxed. ...More Button

However, where a business in one Member State supplies a large amount of goods to customers in another Member State, the rule of distance sales applies. Distance selling for VAT purposes occurs ...More Button

With regard to online sales made by businesses located outside the EU to customers in Ireland, such goods are subject to VAT and customs duties on importation. However, the low value consignment...More Button

In relation to quantifying the amount of taxation forgone in the State as a result on online purchase of goods from outside the State by Irish residents, tax data is not collected in such a manne...More Button

Revenue's extensive range of measures and activities, designed to address shadow economy activity, includes exploiting the potential of new and emerging technology towards the identification of t...More Button

NAMA Portfolio

Was asked: if he will direct the National Asset Management Agency to publish its property portfolios in its entirety in order to make vacant properties visible and possibly available; and if he will make a st...More Button

NAMA has acquired loans from the five participating institutions and is not the owner/operator of properties. The Agency's role is that of a secured lender. Other than properties that have been e...More Button

Property Tax Data

Was asked: the extent to which an examination has been undertaken into the levels of property tax applicable throughout the eastern region with particular reference to identifying possible negative impact in ...More Button

The Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) sets out how a residential property is to be valued for Local Property Tax (LPT) purposes. As LPT is a self-assessed tax, the amount of LPT d...More Button

Bank Codes of Conduct

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 68 of 15 May 2014, the reason only part of the question was answered (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Parliamentary Question 68 answered on the 15th May 2014 was in relation to an individual case. It is not appropriate for me, as Minister, to become involved in such cases. However...More Button

Black Economy

Was asked: if he will consider extending the principles in the home renovation incentive in Finance Act (No. 2) 2013, an aim of the incentive which is to support tax compliant building contractors by introduc...More Button

As I stated in my previous reply to the Deputy, I introduced the Home Renovation Incentive in Finance Act (No 2) 2013. The aim of the Incentive is to support tax compliant building contractors by ...More Button

In order to qualify for mortgage interest relief (MIR), a loan must have been drawn down and used in the purchase, repair or development of an individual's principal private residence on or befor...More Button

Banking Sector Investigations

Was asked: if he will confirm whether Allied Irish Banks have adopted a joint approach for compensating all borrowers affected by a former investment manager (details supplied) who is currently on the run and...More Button

In line with normal practice AIB is precluded from discussing or divulging details of individual customer circumstances. The bank is also precluded from commenting in any way on matters that are t...More Button

Tax Settlements

Was asked: if meaningful discussions can be entered into between the Revenue Commissioners and a person (details supplied) in County Kildare in respect of various taxation issues, most of which were not of th...More Button

I am advised by Revenue that the 'taxation issues' to which the Deputy refers in his Question arose from a Revenue audit. I am further advised that responsibility for the correct calculation and t...More Button

In relation to the specific circumstances of the case in question, Revenue has confirmed to me that the outstanding liabilities were only referred for debt collection/enforcement after numerous a...More Button

Finally, Revenue has informed me that it is still willing to engage with the person providing there are meaningful proposals to deal with the difficulties. If the person now wishes to discuss th...More Button

Home Repossession Rate

Was asked: if he has a projection from the principal banks in the State on the number of homes they will attempt to repossess in 2014 to 2015 due to mortgage distress by owner-occupied mortgage holders.More Button

There are no estimates or projections for the level of repossessions that may arise due to mortgage default. While the repossession of a principal dwelling house consequent upon mortgage default s...More Button

The Central Bank's Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) places an onus on the banks, in respect of a co-operating borrower, to explore all the options for an alternative repayment arrangeme...More Button

The Central Bank's Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets (MART) process, as announced in March 2013, sets time bound and measurable targets for the main banks requiring them to systematically addre...More Button

The Central Bank has advised that its MART publication of last March 2013 clearly indicates that where a lender relies on legal action to address an arrears situation it must be able to demonstra...More Button

Of course, the CCMA and MART can only work in circumstances where the borrower cooperates with the lender and engages with the process. Where this does not happen, the lender may have no other o...More Button

It is important to point out that even if a repossession case has commenced in the legal system, the Land and Conveyancing (Law Reform) Act 2013 provides the power to the Court to adjourn a repos...More Button

The strong view of the Government is that, in respect of co-operating borrowers under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process, repossession of a person's primary home should only be considered as...More Button

Homeless Accommodation Provision

Was asked: if the National Asset Management Agency has been required to take any urgent, special steps to make suitable accommodation available to deal with the crisis of homelessness.More Button

The Deputy may be aware that NAMA has identified over 4,600 residential properties, controlled by its debtors and receivers, as being available and potentially suitable for social housing provision...More Button

NAMA is also making a very significant contribution to the supply of residential properties and has committed to funding the delivery of 4,500 homes in Dublin over the period to end 2016. To put...More Button

Economic Competitiveness

Was asked: the extent to which this economy continues to remain competitive when compared with other competing jurisdictions within the EU and without; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Substantial progress has been made in improving Ireland's competitiveness in recent years.  The real Harmonised Competitiveness Indicator (HCI) measures the trade weighted exchange rate for Ireland...More Button

In addition, relatively low consumer price inflation over the last five years has meant that Irish price levels have converged considerably toward the euro area. For instance, annual HICP inflati...More Button

With the US and the UK being Ireland's biggest trading partners outside the euro area, fluctuations in the value of the euro against the US dollar and Sterling have a particular impact on Ireland...More Button

My Department expects inflationary pressure to remain relatively muted this year with the recovery in domestic demand unlikely to result in the emergency of any significant domestic price pressur...More Button

In terms of the GDP deflator, which accounts for price changes in all components of demand and so is the broadest measure of price developments in the economy, my Department is projecting an incr...More Button

Bank Charges

Was asked: the extent to which bank charges in this country are comparable with those that exist in other EU jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Programme Documents (the Memorandum of Understanding on Specific Economic Policy Conditionality and the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies) agreed following the 10th Review of the EU...More Button

The authorities will assess banks' fee income relative to peers in selected other jurisdictions. Based on this assessment they will complete an external review of the regulation of bank fees.More Button

The Department of Finance undertook this assessment and review. Part of the review process involved comparing bank charges in Ireland with those in other EU jurisdictions. In this regard the revi...More Button

- net fee and commission income divided by average assets in Irish banks was well below the average of their peers,More Button

- net fee and commission are lower in the Irish banks than in their European peers relative to net interest income, More Button

The review concluded that it would not be appropriate to repeal Section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 at this point in time. The lack of competition in the banking sector means that the rem...More Button

 However, as part of the conditions under which the Irish banks received state aid, Ireland made various 'sectoral commitments' to the European Commission in order to promote competition in the Iri...More Button

In addition, the review conducted by the Department of Finance made a number of recommendations with regard to the process of assessing notifications under Section 149. The Central Bank of Irelan...More Button

Question No. 181 answered with Question No. 29.More Button

Mortgage Arrears Report Implementation

Was asked: the extent to which he and his Department continue to monitor the situation regarding mortgage arrears with particular reference to the need to ensure that home owners who have fallen into arrears ...More Button

The fair resolution of the mortgage arrears problem is a key priority for Government and a comprehensive strategy, in line with the main recommendations of the 2011 Keane Report, has been developed...More Button

The Government has significantly advanced a number of key measures in this regard, including;More Button

- An intensification by the Central Bank of its engagement with mortgage lenders to require them, under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets (MART) process, to propose and conclude sustainable...More Button

- Significant reforms to personal insolvency and the establishment of the Insolvency Service of Ireland, to make it more accessible for people with unsustainable personal and mortgage debt to add...More Button

- Updating the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears to provide safeguards to cooperating borrowers while also promoting and encouraging efforts by both lenders and borrowers to meaningfully addres...More Button

- Mortgage to rent which is now available as a social housing response to allow people to remain in their house, where possible; andMore Button

- The provision of an independent mortgage information and advice service.More Button

Regarding the Central Bank's MART process, quarterly performance targets have so far been set to the end of June 2014 to require the banks to propose and put in place durable long term solutions ...More Button

The Central Bank's Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) provides a strong consumer protection framework to ensure that borrowers struggling to keep up mortgage repayments are treated in a f...More Button

The monthly mortgage restructures and arrears data published by my Department also provides an impetus for those MART banks to increase the pace of provision of mortgage restructures.  The latest...More Button

Taken together, the framework is in place to enable banks to work with distressed homeowners to reach sustainable solutions for dealing with their personal indebted situations.  However, early an...More Button

Question No. 185 answered with Question No. 178.More Button


 

 

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