McCreevy, Charlie

Tuesday, 23 May 2000

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 519 No. 5

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Priority Questions. - Inflation Rate.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the statement by the European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Mr. Pedro Solbes, that there is overheating in the Irish economy and that the Government sh...More Button

Was asked: if he has had considerations made into the warnings by the trade union movement that unless inflation is brought under control the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness could collapse; the plans if an...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the current level of inflation is putting economic prosperity at risk; and the steps he will take to combat rising prices.More Button

Was asked: his policy on wage claims which seek to gain ground lost by inflation and which go beyond that agreed in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 27, 28, 30 and 31 together. The most recently published inflation figures for Ireland which relate to April show a year-on-year increase of 4.9% in the consumer price ...More Button

It is not just I who gives this analysis and explanation of the consumer price index. Independent assessment of the CPI, which is available to people, will prove the points I made. I have not just mad...More Button

I have just explained it. People have analysed these figures and they have been subject to a great deal of analysis. It should also be remembered that, in a small, open economy such as Ireland's, it w...More Button

The PPF is an agreement over the best part of three years. Previous agreements which we concluded were for three to four years and were predicated on certain inflation figures. As I said in my reply a...More Button

If we were to make economic decisions based on short-term considerations and make an effort to temporarily reduce headline inflation, that would be the worst possible medicine and most people would ag...More Button

The Deputy made a good case, although I doubt if he intended to do so, that the price of tobacco products should not be included in the consumer price index.More Button

We can have a consumer price index which does not include the price of tobacco products or mortgage interest but trade unionists and everyone else want to measure it on the CPI. I am sure the Deputy w...More Button

The Deputy is right that increasing cigarettes by 20p, 50p or £1 has nothing to do with economic fundamentals. The question relates to the consumer price index as measured and that includes the price ...More Button

That is correct. The trade union movement signed up to PPF on that basis. As I said on previous occasions when discussing former agreements, this is not a one way process. It is not only the Governmen...More Button

I assure the Deputy it is not the Government's intention to go outside the terms of the PPF for any group. Difficulties have been caused in public sector pay in the past 12 years as a result of dealin...More Button

Ad hoc economic policy is the worst policy of all. If I made immediate responses to every economic change, I would have made crazy decisions over the past three years. The figure we announced at budge...More Button

I did not see the article but I did not say that.More Button

I have used colourful language throughout my political life but I do not remember, even as a student, referring to people as a bunch of communists. I do not recall using the phrase at any time during ...More Button

I have not asked Commissioner Solbes what he has in mind but I have a fair idea of what economic commentators, including Commissioner Solbes, have in mind when they talk about taking steps to bring do...More Button

He is a nice man and we are good friends.More Button

I know what Mr. Solbes meant. I will provide the Deputy with copious notes on how the European Commission referred to the Irish situation. The Commission indicated that we should not stimulate demand ...More Button

I agree with Deputy Noonan's assertion that the escalating cost of houses is a matter of grave concern. The Government shares his concern about the increase in house prices. When the first Bacon repor...More Button

I assure the Deputy I will examine the recommendations of the next Bacon report in conjunction with the Minister for the Environment and Local Government.More Button

Another report is due shortly.More Button

Priority Questions. - Indirect Taxation.

Was asked: the reduction in the CPI which would result from a reduction of 2% in the standard rate of VAT; the consideration, if any, he has made to a reduction in this regard; and if he will make a statement on...More Button

It is estimated that a 2% reduction in the standard rate of VAT, if fully passed on in retail prices, would reduce the consumer price index by 0.8%. Such a reduction would cost in the order of £370 mi...More Button

In the run-up to any budget I would consider changes to all forms of taxation, including indirect taxation. It was suggested that consideration should have been given to reducing the rate of VAT by 1%...More Button

I would be extremely concerned if a civil servant in my Department had spoken to a media correspondent about such matters. I have no evidence that any person did so. I am aware of the article to which...More Button

Deputy McDowell has more friends in the Department than Deputy Noonan.More Button

That is a good point.More Button

Other Questions. - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: if he has made firm decisions regarding the decentralisation of Government offices to Waterford city, Dungarvan, Tramore and other towns in Waterford.More Button

Was asked: the consultation process which has taken place between his Department and the relevant trade unions which are involved in his decentralisation plans; if he has taken on board the criticisms voiced by ...More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has for the relocation of part of any Department or semi-State agency to Gort, County Galway, under the decentralisation programme; and if an existing building could be used in t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 32, 34 and 75 together. I am currently engaged in a series of meetings with my ministerial colleagues with a view to bringing proposals on a new programme of decentral...More Button

The towns and cities included in the current programme were selected by the Government having regard to the desire to promote regional development, economic growth and a more even spread of public ser...More Button

I am currently engaged in consultations with my ministerial colleagues. I do not expect sections of Departments or Ministers to issue notes stating that their Departments wish to be decentralised to a...More Button

I accept Deputy Deasy's comments and will certainly take them into account. I stated in my supplementary reply that decentralisation is correctly viewed as a vehicle of job creation which will give ar...More Button

To date, I have received representations from more than 90 cities, towns and villages which are interested in hosting decentralised Government offices. The Deputy is undoubtedly aware that west Wicklo...More Button

A later parliamentary question on transfers to County Louth and County Meath reveals that the number of people seeking transfers from two Departments is very high. That reply may provide Deputies with...More Button

Some people within the public service have suggested establishing a formal structure such as the management boards to which the Deputy referred. I am not inclined to set up such boards at this stage b...More Button

I am glad the Deputy raised this point. It was also raised in recent discussions in the Department and is now under consideration – not the situation in County Limerick but the general principle outli...More Button

Other Questions. - Tax Code.

Was asked: if, arising from the commitment given in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, he will outline the way in which it is intended to review the treatment of work related expenses and benefits for wo...More Button

This working group has not yet been set up but it will be established before July 2000. The precise mechanism for carrying out the review of the tax treatment of work related expenses has not, as yet,...More Button

That area will probably be examined by the group. The concerns of the ICTU appear to relate to matters such as the treatment of expenses for travelling to work, including, in one case, the payment of ...More Button

Over the years in the PAYE tax code a number of understandings and agreements were arrived at between categories of workers and the Revenue Commissioners to allow a flat rate expense deduction. That h...More Button

Other Questions. - Disabled Drivers' Scheme.

Was asked: if he will publish the report of the interdepartmental review group on disabled drivers' and disabled passengers' tax concession regulations, which has been completed, before the summer recess; and if...More Button

As I have informed the House on a number of occasions, the interdepartmental review group which is examining the disabled drivers' and disabled passengers' tax concessions scheme is chaired by an offi...More Button

The group is chaired by an official from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. It is intended that when the report is completed it will be published as soon as possible after the Governm...More Button

The issue of the primary medical certificate is a matter for the area medical officer and is something over which the Minister for Finance does not have control. An examination of the parliamentary qu...More Button

The review group is set up under the auspices of the Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Mary Wallace, and the official chairing it is from her Department. ...More Button

Other Questions. - Tax Yield.

Was asked: the reason his estimate of the year on year increase in tax receipts was 8.6% on budget day while the actual return for the first quarter shows an increase of 16.7%; and if he will make a statement on...More Button

The year on year increase in taxes for 2000 over 1999 projected on budget day, 1 December 1999, was 9.6%. This was based on a projected outturn for tax receipts of £18,384 million in 1999. The actual ...More Button

Any surplus over and above what I anticipated on budget day will be used to further reduce the national debt. Perhaps some extra moneys could be put aside for the pension fund proposal. Any surplus wi...More Button

Private Members' Business. - Ministerial Appointment: Motion.

I wish to share time with Deputy Briscoe.More Button

I move amendment No. 1: To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following: “notes the nomination of Mr. Hugh O'Flaherty by the Minister for Finance for appointment by the board of ...More Button

The specific functions of the bank which come under the remit of the various members of the management committee are manifold, but would typically include credit risk and loan portfolio monitoring, le...More Button

As a person who enjoyed a highly successful legal career that spanned 40 years and ranged from the position of barrister to serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court, he is without doubt well-equipped...More Button

I am satisfied that Mr. O'Flaherty is an outstanding candidate and I am convinced that he will be an excellent vice-president, serving the European Investment Bank and this country well throughout his...More Button

The Chief Justice, Mr. Liam Hamilton, in his report on the Sheedy affair, acknowledged that Mr. Justice O'Flaherty only became involved in this case “in a spirit of humanitarian interest”, yet what he...More Button

He paid a very high price for that mistake.More Button

When he realised that his seeking to remain in office as a judge was threatening to compromise the integrity of the Judiciary, he did the honourable thing and resigned.More Button

For a man of Mr. O'Flaherty's integrity, the public humiliation suffered at the suggestion of demeaning or damaging our justice system should not be underestimated. However, are we entitled to condemn...More Button

That is now in the past, or rather it should be.More Button

Nobody has ever denied that Mr. O' Flaherty was a very able judge. He is enormously well versed in domestic, European and international law and jurisprudence. Furthermore, he has great depth of experi...More Button

Written Answers. - Inflation Rate.

Was asked: the issues driving the rising inflation rate; the impact of the doubling of crude oil prices on the rate of inflation here; the Irish input to such oil price increases; his views on the suggestion to ...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the recent indications of further inflationary tendencies; if he has identified the cause or causes; the potential consequences of increases in inflation; the action...More Button

Was asked: the projected level of inflation for the current year; the way in which this compares with the EU average; the implications of the latest figures for economic policy; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 37, 59 and 76 together. The most recently published inflation figures for Ireland which relate to April show a year on year increase of 4.9% in the consumer price inde...More Button

Written Answers. - Flood Relief.

Was asked: the current position and up to date state of planning on the south Galway flood alleviation project; the expenditure to date; the extent of design completed; the starting date of work on any part of a...More Button

Written Answers. - Trade Surplus.

Was asked: the concerns, if any, he has at the reduction in the current account trade surplus evidenced by recent CSO figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The balance of payments data recently released by the CSO show that the merchandise trade surplus for 1999 was £17,777 million, an increase of £3,637 million over 1998. The deficit on services in 1999...More Button

Written Answers. - Banking Industry.

Was asked: the progress made by the working party examining the banking industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the work being done by the working group advising him on restructuring of the banking sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 and 88 together.More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: the number of tax inspectors who have been diverted to examine DIRT evasion by banking institutions; the number of tax inspectors who are currently on the ground to carry out tax audits; if he has con...More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that there are 36 Dublin based officers currently deployed on DIRT audits under section 904A of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. In addition to this group, ...More Button

Written Answers. - Banking Sector Regulation.

Was asked: if he is yet in a position to give an outline of the extent of moneys in dormant accounts; and if he will take into account the position of building societies and life assurance companies.More Button

Was asked: when the Bill on dormant bank accounts will be published; if the heads of one bill have been agreed by the Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the organisations or interest groups with whom his Department has consulted on the proposed legislation to deal with dormant bank accounts; when he expects to bring proposals to Government; and if he ...More Button

Was asked: the progress made on the proposal to transfer funds from dormant accounts held by financial institutions; if he will outline the complexities involved; the total monetary value involved in these accou...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 42, 51, 65 and 150 together. The Government, at its meeting on 11 April 2000, approved my proposals to engage in consultations with the financial services industry on ...More Button

Written Answers. - Flood Relief.

Was asked: when the River Feale flood alleviation project will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Strategic Management Initiative.

Was asked: the progress being made with regard to the draft code of conduct for civil servants now being considered by the implementation group of the SMI; if the draft has been discussed with unions representin...More Button

Considerable progress has been achieved to date on the preparation of a draft code of conduct for civil servants. The SMI implementation group of Secretaries General has just completed consideration o...More Button

Written Answers. - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: when the two Pension Fund Bills will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Legislation is currently being prepared by my Department which will provide for the establishment, financing, investment and management of a national pensions fund. It is envisaged that the fund will ...More Button

Written Answers. - House Prices.

Was asked: if he has any fiscal changes to propose in order to reduce the price of houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Minister for the Environment and Local Government and the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government with responsibility for housing ...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Code.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his speech to the Institute of Taxation on 25 February 2000; if it is intended to proceed with the original individualisation proposals outlined in the budget.More Button

In my address to the Institute of Taxation, I outlined the main elements of the substantial programme for tax reductions and reform announced in Budget 2000, which are the personal taxation measures, ...More Button

Written Answers. - Outstanding DIRT Liabilities.

Was asked: the progress being made in regard to the recovery of outstanding DIRT liabilities identified in the report of the DIRT sub-committee of the Committee of Public Accounts; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that they are at present well advanced in a programme of DIRT look-back audits, going right back to 1986, in the case of financial institutions who are relev...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: if any new staff will be dedicated to the role of developing the performance management and development system; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The introduction of the performance management and development system represents a major programme of work for Departments and offices. Support for the implementation of the new system is available th...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Offices.

Was asked: the timetable for the refurbishment of Leinster House; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - State Banking Sector.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to proposals before the ACC bank which centre on cost reductions through closure of branches and the scaling down of current account business and mortgage services; the...More Button

Was asked: his current position on the restructuring of the ACC, the ICC and the Trustee Savings Bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the Government's plans for the future of the ACC and TSB banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 52, 53 and 69 together. After the withdrawal of ICC from the sale process and the failure of the merger and flotation of ACC and TSB, I made it clear to all concerned ...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Evasion and Fraud.

Was asked: if, arising from the commitment given in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, he will outline the way it is intended to strengthen the role of the existing monitoring group on tax evasion and fr...More Button

Paragraph 6 of Framework 1 of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness confirms the social partners' commitment to strengthening the role of the existing monitoring group, which was set up under prev...More Button

Written Answers. - Financial Incentives.

Was asked: if, arising from the commitment given in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, he will outline when the promised consultative committee will be established to consider the role that can be played...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that section 1.1.8 of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness states that: “The Government and the social partners acknowledge the role of ESOTs, gain sharing, profit sharin...More Button

Written Answers. - Environmental Taxes.

Was asked: if the tax strategy group still has regular meetings; if it has revised its views on green taxes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The tax strategy group meets every week during the months prior to budget day and at less regular intervals between that day and the passing of the Finance Act. It will commence its work on the prepar...More Button

Written Answers. - Currency Value.

Was asked: if he will outline his views on the decline in the value of the euro, which he put forward in discussions with colleagues attending the most recent meeting of EU Finance Ministers.More Button

Was asked: his views on the fall of the euro and its impact on the Irish economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the measures he will introduce to address the decline in the euro which has resulted in an 11% fall in the external fundraising power of the Irish punt since the launch of the euro currency; the measu...More Button

Was asked: his views on the current position of the euro; if he favours a strengthening of the currency; and the proposals he has put forward in this regard.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 57, 62, 79 and 90 together. As Minister for Finance I have not commented in the past on either the Irish punt exchange rate or the euro exchange rate and I do not now ...More Button

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to change the pension rules to acknowledge the discriminatory nature of the marriage ban and to ensure income adequacy for women in older age in view of the fact that thousan...More Button

The Civil Service is the area for which I have direct responsibility. The position there is that, prior to 31 July 1973, the law required that female employees had to resign on marriage. In such cases...More Button

Written Answers. - Civil Service Staff.

Was asked: if he is concerned at the findings contained in the Government commissioned report on gender and equality in the Civil Service which shows that women occupy only one in ten of senior civil servant job...More Button

The report Gender Equality in the Civil Service is the outcome of research commissioned as part of the ongoing development of human resources management policies under the Strategic Management Initiat...More Button

Written Answers. - Overseas Development Aid.

Was asked: his views on the provision of EU funding to assist with the rebuilding of Kosovo and the western Balkans; if he related these views in full to the EU Budget Commissioner, Michaele Schreyer during a me...More Button

The Lisbon European Council in March 2000 reaffirmed that the peace, prosperity and stability of south-east Europe is a strategic priority for the European Union. Ireland, like all member states, is c...More Button

Written Answers. - Savings Schemes.

Was asked: the initiatives he will take to encourage save-as-you-earn schemes; if he has carried out an assessment of these schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, save-as you-earn schemes were introduced in the Finance Act, 1999. There are two elements to an SAYE scheme, an approved savings-related share option scheme and a certifie...More Button

Written Answers. - Financial Services Regulation.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in publishing the Bill to establish a single regulatory authority for the financial services industry; if the memorandum to be prepared jointly by his Department and the Depar...More Button

Was asked: the proposed relationship between the new single authority for the banking sector and the credit unions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when he expects to bring proposals to Government for the establishment of a single regulatory authority for the financial institutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 64, 85 and 92 together. In October 1998, the Government agreed, in principle, to the establishment of a single regulatory authority for the financial services area. Th...More Button

Written Answers. - National Treasury Management Agency.

Was asked: the plans he has to assign additional functions to the National Treasury Management Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am currently preparing legislation which will confer a number of additional functions on the NTMA. The Bill is being drafted in the Office of the Attorney General and will provide for the establishm...More Button

Written Answers. - Local Government Funding.

Was asked: if he will make a certain percentage of either direct or indirect taxes available to local and regional authorities to allow them deal with specific issues such as housing, open spaces and the environ...More Button

A major review of local government financing was carried out in recent years. In the course of that review a range of options for funding local authorities was considered. This culminated in the estab...More Button

Written Answers. - Non-resident Companies.

Was asked: the progress being made in regard to the application of the terms of the Finance Act, 1999 to Irish registered non-resident companies; the steps being taken in regard to the 24,095 of these which fail...More Button

The Deputy is seeking an update to the information which I gave on 30 March in reply to a question put down by Deputy O'Sullivan. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the position at 19 May ...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Code.

Was asked: the progress made to agree a common rate or band of withholding tax on deposit interest with our EU partners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The discussion of this issue has continued under the Portuguese Presidency by means of a specially convened high level group. Some progress has been made on the basis of a UK initiative to solve a num...More Button

Written Answers. - Horseracing Industry.

Was asked: his contacts with the Irish Horseracing Authority in relation to a proposed merger between the IHA, the Turf Club Association and the Association of Irish Racecourses; his views on the current split w...More Button

The primary objective of my proposal to amalgamate the IHA, the Turf Club and the other racing industry bodies was to establish an agreed governing structure which would achieve desirable rationalisat...More Button

Written Answers. - National Development Plan.

Was asked: the area in which responsibility will rest for co-ordination of the regional operational programmes required under the national development plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Responsibility for the co-ordination of the two regional operational programmes lies with the respective managing authorities, namely, the regional assemblies for the Border, Midland and Western, and ...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Service Pay.

Was asked: if, arising from the commitment given in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, he will outline when it is intended to establish the proposed public service benchmarking body to examine public sec...More Button

The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness provides for the establishment of a public service benchmarking body to undertake a fundamental examination of the pay of public service employees vis-à-vis t...More Button

Written Answers. - National Stadium.

Was asked: if he will give a breakdown of the estimated cost of £90 million arising from the relocation of the various offices and agencies from the Abbotstown site, following the decision to locate the proposed...More Button

The breakdown of the estimated cost of relocating the offices based in Abbotstown is as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - Manufacturing Industry.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that unit wage costs in manufacturing industry may record this year their first overall rate of increase since 1993; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

Latest available CSO statistics on manufacturing unit labour costs are for Q1 of 1999. These indicate that manufacturing unit labour costs decreased by 3.0% year on year. This follows a trend of decli...More Button

Written Answers. - Regional Operational Programmes.

Was asked: when the operational programmes for social inclusion, promised in the national development plan, will be published and put into operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Each of the two regional operational programmes of the national development plan contains a social inclusion sub-programme. In April, both programmes were approved by the respective managing authoriti...More Button

Written Answers. - Credit Unions.

Was asked: if he has received a request from the Irish League of Credit Unions for a meeting with the Government; if he has responded to this request; and if he has made a decision with regard to the implementat...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste met the Irish League of Credit Unions on 24 February to discuss the league's proposals on the taxation of credit unions. Officials from my Depart...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Code.

Was asked: if he intends to set new income tax reduction targets; if he has considered warnings from the EU that low income tax levels could lead to an inflation problem; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

In relation to tax reductions, the review of the Government's An Action Plan for the Millennium in November 1999, states: Tax reductions are an integral part of our strategy to maintain and improve co...More Button

Written Answers. - ECOFIN Council.

Was asked: if he will report on the recent informal ECOFIN meeting in Portugal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The informal meeting of the ECOFIN Council took place on 8 April 2000 in Lisbon. As the Deputy is aware, informal meetings of the council provide Ministers with an opportunity to engage in a general d...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Code.

Was asked: when, arising from the commitment given in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, the special working group will be established to examine the role that refundable tax credits can play in the tax ...More Button

Was asked: if the working group charged with examining the issue of refundable tax credits has been established; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 83 and 91 together. The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, section 1.1.5, states:More Button

Written Answers. - Civil Service Recruitment.

Was asked: the measures he will take to encourage people to pursue careers in the Civil Service; the further measures he will take to prevent the haemorrhage of qualified people from the Civil Service; and if he...More Button

There is no doubt that the current tight labour market, with an increased number and variety of opportunities available for those seeking employment, has impacted on the number of applicants for posit...More Button

Written Answers. - Credit Growth.

Was asked: if he is concerned that Irish private sector credit growth is likely to remain significantly above the euro-zone average for the foreseeable future; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The monitoring of growth of private sector credit in Ireland and prudential supervision of credit institutions in general is a matter for the Central Bank and I, as Minister for Finance, have no funct...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Investigations.

Was asked: the progress being made by the Revenue Commissioners to investigate the tax affairs of 120 individuals linked to the Ansbacher deposits; when it is expected that the investigation will be completed; a...More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the investigation into the tax compliance position of the individuals named in the report of the authorised officer on the examination of the books and d...More Button

Written Answers. - Civil Service Modernisation Programme.

Was asked: if he has reached agreement with Civil Service trade unions on performance management and performance related pay; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

General Council Report No. 1368 which was signed on 4 May 2000 records agreement with the Civil Service unions on the introduction of the performance management and development system in the Civil Ser...More Button

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: the incentives available for private pension provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

It has been a long standing objective of Government to encourage people to provide for their retirement by giving them an incentive to participate in a pension scheme. In general employees in pensiona...More Button

Written Answers. - Vehicle Registration Tax.

Was asked: if disabled passengers are entitled to a refund of vehicle registration tax on the purchase of a new car.More Button

The scheme to which the Deputy refers is the disabled drivers' and disabled passengers' (tax concessions) scheme. The requirements, conditions and benefits pertaining to that scheme are set out in Sta...More Button

Written Answers. - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: if he will supply evidence that all the Irish Pensions Trust Ltd., reports referred to in the report of the Budget Strategy for Ageing Group were commissioned by open competition; and if he will suppl...More Button

I advise the Deputy that three reports-studies made by Irish Pensions Trust Limited (IPT) were referred to in the report of the Budget Strategy for Ageing Group: actuarial review of social welfare pen...More Button

Written Answers. - Disabled Drivers' Appeals.

Was asked: his views on whether the waiting times for a board of appeal hearing for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 are unacceptable; and the plans, if any, he has to improve the situation.More Button

It is a fundamental requirement for relief under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (tax Concessions) Regulations, 1994, that the person meets the medical criteria specified in the regulatio...More Button

Written Answers. - Probate Tax.

Was asked: if he will arrange for the Revenue Commissioners to waive collection of tax on the estate of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 10 in view of the circumstances that there were no liquid assets and ...More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that probate tax is payable by law and that they have no power to waive or reduce the amount due. However, there is provision in the legislation for deferral...More Button

Written Answers. - Capital Gains Tax.

Was asked: if, in the event of a compulsory purchase order being served by the National Roads Authority for the provision of new motorways or by passes throughout the country, he will ensure that people will onl...More Button

In budget 2000, I extended the 20% capital gains tax, CGT, rate to apply to disposals of non-residential development land. This rate applies to disposals of all development land made on or after 1 Dec...More Button

Written Answers. - Stamp Duty.

Was asked: if he will exempt senior citizens from payment of stamp duty on automatic teller machine cards in light of savings to the Exchequer arising from the payment of old age pensions by direct credit to ban...More Button

The stamp duty rate per automatic teller machine, ATM, card is currently £5 per card. However, ATM cards are exempt from stamp duty where (i) a card has not been used during the accounting period, and...More Button

Written Answers. - Flood Relief.

Was asked: if he will ascertain from the Office of Public Works the observations and comments that were made by Mayo County Council on the report by consulting engineers on a flooding problem (details supplied) ...More Button

Written Answers. - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: the moneys paid by the State to a person (details supplied), whether as an employee of the State or for consultancy and or public relations work undertaken by him on behalf of any Minister and or Gove...More Button

In so far as the scope of my reply is concerned, I can only answer for payments made by my Department or bodies under the aegis of my Department. The person named was employed in the Department of the...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Stations.

Was asked: if the back garden of the Garda station in Ballyragget, County Kilkenny is being offered for sale; if so, the procedure by which interested parties can tender; if he will consider the sale of the gard...More Button

Written Answers. - Economic Forecasts.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself with his Department's economic forecasts; the measures that can be taken to ensure the continued competitiveness of the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that Ireland's economic performance is sustainable in the long-term; if any steps are necessary to ensure this; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 151 and 161 together. My Department's economic forecasts were prepared in November 1999 for budget day. At that time growth in GNP of 7.4% was forecast for 2000. The...More Button

Written Answers. - Value Added Tax.

Was asked: if he will extend, to VAT on ESB, phone or other limited bills, the facility whereby old age pensioners, under the tax allowance exemption limits, are not liable to tax and can currently claim a refun...More Button

The position in this regard is governed by EU VAT law with which Irish law must comply. In general, unregistered persons are unable to claim a refund of VAT. Moreover, EU VAT law requires that VAT app...More Button

Written Answers. - Seaside Resorts Scheme.

Was asked: the cost to the Exchequer of the seaside tax relief scheme at each of the 13 designated areas; the number of qualifying units; and the number of those units which were subject to an environmental impa...More Button

There are no comprehensive cost figures available in respect of individual resorts. However the tax cost of the scheme is provisionally estimated at £250 million to £300 million and it is expected tha...More Button

Written Answers. - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: the current position in relation to the decentralisation programme; his views on the suitability of regions such as Inishowen, County Donegal for decentralisation; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

I am engaged in a series of meetings with my ministerial colleagues after which I intend to bring proposals before the Government for a new and extensive programme of decentralisation with a view to t...More Button

Written Answers. - Land Valuation.

Was asked: if he will clarify the situation in relation to valuation for rateable purposes of land zoned for development purposes; if agricultural land becomes rateable when it is zoned or if valuation is increa...More Button

All fixed property, including land, buildings and other structures, is valued for rating purposes. However the Local Government (Financial Provisions) Act, 1978, derated domestic property and an exemp...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: the number of applicants on the public service-departmental transfer list who have expressed a preference to transfer to County Louth and County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The formal transfer lists currently set up in the Civil Service relate mainly to the clerical officer grade. The numbers on the transfer lists for the main Departments with offices in County Louth and...More Button

Written Answers. - Land Ownership.

Was asked: if, with particular reference to the Office of Public Works, he will make a statement of clarification on the matter of the legal ownership with reference to any appurtenant or associated rights to St...More Button

Written Answers. - National Debt.

Was asked: the extent of the national debt at 31 December in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The following figures give details of the level of the national debt and the general Government debt-GDP ratio, the figure normally used for purposes of international comparison – at each year-end ove...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Stations.

Was asked: the current position in relation to the acquisition of a site for a Garda station in Leixlip, County Kildare; the progress in this matter in the past three years; when it is likely that such a station...More Button

Written Answers. - Excise Duties.

Was asked: the current position in relation to harmonisation of excise duties within the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

All member states must impose the relevant agreed minimum excise duty rates for tobacco, mineral oils and alcohol which are set out in the EU directives. The Commission has not brought forward proposa...More Button

Written Answers. - Euro Exchange Rate.

Was asked: if he and his EU colleagues have considered any measures to stabilise and enhance the euro; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As Minister for Finance, I have not commented in the past on either the Irish pound exchange rate or the euro exchange rate and I do not now propose to make any specific comment on the euro exchange r...More Button

Written Answers. - Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.

Was asked: whether adequate provision was made in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness to meet all eventualities, including inflation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The pay terms of the new agreement strike a balance between gains in real disposable income and maintaining Ireland's competitiveness. Employees will receive pay increases totalling 15% over the 33 m...More Button

Written Answers. - Urban Renewal Schemes.

Was asked: if it is his intention to extend the special tax designation status to further towns and villages in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Designation for urban renewal and town renewal tax incentive purposes is a matter for the Minister for the Environment and Local Government in the first instance. Designation under the proposed new to...More Button

Was asked: the number and location of towns or villages in County Kildare which have so far benefited from special tax designation status; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A total of three towns have been designated for urban renewal in County Kildare. Newbridge was designated under the 1994 urban renewal scheme, while Kildare town and Athy are designated under the 1999...More Button

Was asked: the number of locations throughout the country which have been the recipient of special tax designation status; the number and location of any planned; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Parts of the following urban areas were designated under the 1986 urban renewal scheme: Athlone, Castlebar, Dublin, Dundalk, Kilkenny, Letterkenny, Limerick, Sligo, Tralee, Tullamore, Wexford, Tallagh...More Button

Written Answers. - Disabled Drivers' Scheme.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the extremely rigid interpretation of the rules appertaining to qualification under the 1994 regulations in respect of disabled drivers and disabled passengers (tax ...More Button

I assume the Deputy is referring to the interpretation of the medical criteria governing the scheme and which are laid down in the 1994 regulations. As I have stated previously, the Minister for Finan...More Button


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