McCreevy, Charlie

Tuesday, 27 June 2000

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 522 No. 2

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Priority Questions. - Inflation Rate.

Was asked: if he will revise his estimate of annual inflation as a result of the most recent CPI; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will give the projected level of inflation for 2000, having regard to the most recent figures showing a year on year increase of 5.2%; how this compares with the EU average; the steps he propose...More Button

Was asked: the plans he has to introduce measures to reduce inflation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 10, 11 and 12 together. The most recently published inflation figures for Ireland which relate to May show a year on year increase of 5.2% in the consumer price inde...More Button

Since it was indicated in the newspapers that the Government was about to consider these matters this morning, I do not feel constrained by normal Cabinet confidentiality rules. This matter was consid...More Button

The Deputy is aware that the Government would have been considering a package of measures. He will also know that the Government met the ICTU last Wednesday and the IBEC later in the week. Various pro...More Button

I never said I am not responsible for inflation. Every member of the Cabinet has individual responsibility and through collective authority responds to all other areas of Government policy. I have sai...More Button

The Government, this week and previously, discussed all aspects relating to inflation. Last week it met the social partners. An announcement of measures will be made in the near future. It is not poss...More Button

There will be adequate time to discuss the matter later in the week if the Deputy so wishes. I am pointing out that no decisions relating to taxation are part of the package at this time. The package ...More Button

During our last Question Time, I revised upwards the annual figure for inflation. I said in my reply then that when we publish our normal mid-year review, the Department economic review and outlook, i...More Button

As I have pointed out on many occasions to the Deputy, when we are making predictions about inflation we take account of the parameters which apply at a particular point. I stated that inflation will ...More Button

On budget day, Ministers for Finance give their estimate of inflation for the following year in light of the parameters which apply at that point. It has been normal practice for many years that in mi...More Button

The Deputy is correct, that is what I said.More Button

I stated that there would be further uptick in inflation due to a number of factors, the most recent of which was the recent increase in interest rates by the European Central Bank. If that increase i...More Button

I stated earlier that full details of the Government's decision would be announced shortly. Information on the package of measures the Government intends to introduce will be made available to the Dep...More Button

The text of Question No. 10 in Deputy Noonan's name is “To ask the Minister for Finance if he will revise his estimate of annual inflation as a result of the most recent CPI”, while that of Question N...More Button

Priority Questions. - Government Appointments.

Was asked: if he has received any reply from the European Investment Bank with regard to his communication to nominate Mr. Hugh O'Flaherty to a position as vice-president of the Bank; if the European Investment ...More Button

I set out, on 21 June last, the position regarding the nomination and its place in the European Investment Bank procedure. I also dealt extensively with this matter in the course of the earlier debat...More Button

Yes.More Button

This matter is subject to various procedures which must be followed by the European Investment Bank. An agreement on how those procedures should be dealt with was reached in 1992. This is a matter for...More Button

Mr. O'Flaherty's name was put forward prior to the meeting in June because the opportunity arose to make the nomination, under the constituency in which Ireland operates. This coincided with the annua...More Button

I certainly do.More Button

Priority Questions. - Financial Services Industry.

Was asked: the current position in relation to proposals to regulate the financial services industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the report of the McDowell implementation advisory group on the establishment of a single regulatory authority – SRA – for the financial services sector was published in J...More Button

I explained on a number of occasions that it has not been easy to reach a consensus on this matter. The Government decided to set up a single regulator and Mr. McDowell was asked to chair an implement...More Button

I meet the Governor of the Central Bank quite regularly and although I have not read the newspaper report, I am aware from those meetings of Mr. O'Connell's views on this matter. Mr. O'Connell has con...More Button

The fact that we have not done anything is not damaging our reputation, but our reputation could be damaged by setting up an authority which could be perceived negatively internationally and which, in...More Button

Other Questions. - Revenue Audit Programme.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the claims made by the information officer of the Association of Inspector of Taxes that the Revenue Commissioners were concentrating on small and medium-sized busin...More Button

I am aware of the comments in question. I have consulted the Revenue Commissioners who have assured me that the opinion expressed is quite incorrect and that large cases are receiving appropriate audi...More Button

I am not aware of the reasons the details of individual cases are not publishable. The Deputy will be aware from our debates on the Finance Bill that a range of criteria must be met before details of ...More Button

I am aware there has been a difference of opinion between the management of Revenue and the staff as to the numbers that should be involved. I deal with the Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners and I...More Button

I understand from reports last week that there is a dispute between the unions representing the staff and the management as to how this will be done but that it was to be ironed out in the past week. ...More Button

As I have said, any reasonable requests made to me by the Revenue Commissioners since I became Minister for Finance have been acceded to and I have sanctioned additional staff. It is up to the Revenue...More Button

Other Questions. - North-South Ministerial Council.

Was asked: if he will report on his meeting with the Northern Ireland Minister of Finance and Personnel; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I assume the Deputy is referring to the first meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council in its special EU programmes sectoral format held in Dublin on 16 June. This meeting was also the first Nor...More Button

At present staff are seconded from the Department of Finance and the equivalent Department in Northern Ireland. It is envisaged that in time it will have its own chief executive, recruited by way of o...More Button

Yes.More Button

I do not expect it will telephone either Department. The programmes that will be agreed will be worked out in time. I do not envisage it will be in touch with the Department asking if it can go ahead ...More Button

Other Questions. - Inflation Rate.

Was asked: if he will comment on the recent statement by Mr. Wim Duisenberg, President of the European Central Bank, that Irish inflation is worrisome; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the views recently expressed by the President of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg, that if inflation continued to accelerate, Irish industry would price its...More Button

Was asked: if he has received any indications from European institutions expressing concern at Irish inflation rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 17, 62 and 197 together. The statement to which the Deputies refer was made by the President of the European Central Bank to the European Parliament's Economic and M...More Button

If the Deputy reads the comments of the President he will see he was very complimentary regarding the Irish economic performance in recent years. He said: There is nothing the ECB can do about it exc...More Button

The Deputy will see that as a result of the meeting with the social partners these matters were considered and he will also be aware of comments I have made in this regard. These matters will be consi...More Button

Not now.More Button

The Deputy can take it that as of now there are no proposals for change in that regard. As I have said on previous occasions and in interviews, all taxation matters are considered coming up to each bu...More Button

I have made these comments on changes in taxation on many occasions. They will be considered before this year's budget.More Button

I have no intention of introducing a separate Finance Bill in the autumn, but having said that, I did not intend to bring in a second Finance Bill, 2000, in June either. Circumstances arose which make...More Button

One would not want to be too previous in this regard.More Button

I have said on many occasions that these matters are considered before each budget.More Button

Other Questions. - Disabled Drivers' Scheme.

Was asked: if he has issued instructions to, and-or received communications from, the Revenue Commissioners in connection with the 1994 regulations in respect of disabled drivers' and disabled passengers' (tax c...More Button

The terms and conditions governing the disabled drivers and disabled passengers (tax concessions) scheme are set out in Statutory Instrument No 353 of 1994, a copy of which is available in the Oireach...More Button

I must contact the secretariat in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform because it is responsible for acknowledging submissions. My reply states that the submissions have been acknowledge...More Button

We had lengthy discussions on this matter when dealing with parliamentary questions and on a number of occasions during debates on the Finance Bill. It is a very generous scheme, but if we extended it...More Button

I have been asked that question before and I cannot because any small change would bring demands for more changes. That is one of the reasons we have set up this review group – to examine this in a co...More Button

Other Questions. - DIRT Liability.

Was asked: the progress made to date by the Revenue Commissioners in regard to the recovery of outstanding DIRT liabilities identified in the report of the DIRT sub-committee of the Committee of Public Accounts;...More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that DIRT returns for the 13 tax years from 1986-87 to 1998-99, inclusive, are being audited using the powers made available by the 1999 Finance Act.More Button

The Committee of Public Accounts made a variety of recommendations as to what should be done. I have given replies in the Dáil on the progress made in my Department. The sub-committee met the Revenue ...More Button

It is the intention of the Revenue Commissioners to provide an interim report and a final report as to the amount of the assessments that will be raised. I understand they hope to complete their work ...More Button

The Revenue Commissioner have not yet completed their work on the financial institutions. As I said in reply to Deputy Bell, when they do that, they will compute the liabilities due. If they are all a...More Button

Deputy Noonan would want to be very careful. The evasion of tax by any person is an offence and it is the job of the Revenue Commissioners to pursue taxpayers if they have not paid their taxes. At pre...More Button

The Government is certainly not neutral on the issue. The laws on taxation are passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas and it is the job of the Revenue Commissioners to collect those taxes without fear...More Button

A number of people in my Department have been doing little else since the report of the Committee of Public Accounts and have been dealing with all the recommendations which relate to matters within t...More Button

Estimates for Public Services, 2000.

I move the following Estimates: Vote 1 – President's Establishment (Revised).That a sum not exceeding £1,244,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year en...More Button

Finance (No. 2) Bill, 2000: Financial Resolutions.

I move: “THAT provision be made in the Act giving effect to this Resolution so as to secure, in the manner and to the extent specified in that Act– (a) that there shall be charged on 6 April in each o...More Button

Finance (No. 2) Bill, 2000: Allocation of Time Motion.

I move: That notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders or the Order of the Dáil of this day, the proceedings on Second Stage of No. 7, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion a...More Button

Finance (No. 2) Bill, 2000: Second Stage.

I am pleased to bring this Finance Bill before the House. It provides for the stamp duty measures which were contained in the Financial Resolution passed by this House on Thursday, 15 June, as well as...More Button

Finance (No. 2) Bill, 2000: Second Stage (Resumed).

Deputies Noonan and McDowell referred to the increases in house prices and the persistence of house price inflation in recent years. The Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Loca...More Button

All right.More Button

That is the suggestion Bacon makes in regard to the strategic development zones, SDZs. When that rapid planning permission process has been gone through and people get permission to build houses, ther...More Button

Finance (No. 2) Bill, 2000: Committee and Remaining Stages.

I move amendment No. 1: In page 3, subsection (1), line 16, after “Subject to subsection (2)” to insert “and except where otherwise expressly provided”. I propose to take amendments Nos. 1 and 4 toget...More Button

The purpose of amendment No. 1 is to facilitate the later commencement date being introduced for the changes being made by amendment No. 4 to the wording of the definition of “first time purchaser” in...More Button

These amendments are grouped by the Bills Office in a manner which is somewhat difficult to follow. I appreciate what the Deputy is trying to do. For example, amendments Nos. 3 and 22 are grouped.More Button

The purpose of amendment No. 3 would appear to be to exclude investors from the 9% stamp duty in a case where the purchaser had already paid a deposit and signed a contract prior to the financial reso...More Button

Deputy Noonan cannot buy my car. He would be get it free from the State. If I made a private arrangement with Deputy Noonan to buy his car at a certain price, we would have agreed a contract which wou...More Button

Perhaps Deputy McDowell would like to contribute.More Button

That is how I understand existing law.More Button

This is the way we have done it before and it has been accepted. If it is not done this way between now and next year's Finance Bill, I will look at the matter again. This did not cause difficulty in ...More Button

It might cost a great deal of money. Much as I would like to accede to the requests of the Deputy and his colleagues who have received representations and the Department of Finance who have also recei...More Button

Deputy McDowell is right.More Button

This section, together with the Schedule to the Bill, imposes the new stamp duty rates on conveyances, transfers and leases of residential property. These are as follows: aggregate consideration, othe...More Button

And Kildare.More Button

The 9% is not a revenue raising measure, not that the Department of Finance is averse to revenue raising measures. I listened to the debate and there are merits on both sides of the argument. I know t...More Button

No, they were not, but—More Button

The Deputy is correct and there is no point gainsaying it.More Button

Those in this market were not all solicitors, barristers or such people, but people I would consider to be of moderate income, the same as those going to Spain and Portugal to buy properties. They are...More Button

At least I made an attempt. Question put and declared carried. SECTION 4.More Button

I move amendment No. 4: In page 7, to delete lines 1 to 18 and substitute the following: 92B.–(1) In this section 'first time purchaser' means– (a) a person, or (b) as respects instruments executed on...More Button

The purpose of the amendments is to increase the first time buyer exemption limit from £150,000 to £200,000. Deputy Noonan has also proposed a revised scale of rates for first time buyers. In increasi...More Button

Yes. In the debate on the financial resolutions passed two weeks ago Fine Gael's able spokesperson on housing, Deputy Hayes, made an interesting contribution on stamp duty which was later repeated. Fi...More Button

The increase in the exemption limit should be of benefit to first time buyers but there is a view, with which I do not necessarily disagree, that the market reacts quickly. I have a feeling that in pu...More Button

I move amendment No. 11: In page 10, line 3, to delete “property.”.” and substitute “property.”. The first amendment is a technical drafting change to facilitate the second amendment. The purpose of t...More Button

I believe that I have, except on the question of nullity. As I said, the question of nullity is quite complex in that a decree of nullity is a de facto decision by the court that a marriage never exis...More Button

I do not have a problem with it except that, as I have explained, a decree of nullity effectively states that a marriage did not exist in the first place.More Button

Another problem exists with people who are co-habitees. How would I deal with such people when they break up? They were not married in the first place, which is the same as the decree of nullity. That...More Button

I will have the matter considered further in the finance Bill but, in the limited time available to us, I have decided it would be unwise for me to open up a vista at this stage regarding the question...More Button

I promised to keep the situation under review. If I can find suitable amendments between now and the next finance Bill and if matters come to my attention where this causes difficulties, I will furthe...More Button

I move amendment No. 12: In page 10, between lines 3 and 4, to insert the following: “(7) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a trustee of a trust to which section 189A of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 199...More Button

They are not, for the purposes of the first time buyer's grant.More Button

No.More Button

I understand what the Deputy says, but the basic principle of the Bacon initiative is to try to get the first time buyer on to the first rung of the ladder. We are trying to help the Deputy's constitu...More Button

I explained the slab and step system on the previous occasion. From the time stamp duty was first introduced, it has always been applied in this way in that the new rate applied above a certain thresh...More Button

Perhaps I should have a chat with myself about these matters in future, but it is probably too late in my life to change the way I behave and I have no intention of doing so.More Button

I have often found that, because I have never had any disagreements in those discussions. Stamp duty is a method of raising revenue for the State, and it takes a certain amount of money to provide hea...More Button

It is too costly.More Button

The stamp duty yield from residential property, both new and second hand, in each of the years from 1995 to 1999 is as follows: £94 million in 1995; £117 million in 1996; £153 million in 1997; £168 mi...More Button

The pluses and minuses are between £5 million and £10 million.More Button

That includes the 9% surcharge and the other changes.More Button

It is a minus. There is a caveat in that. When I was changing capital gains tax some years ago, I included a minus of £19 million for prudence sake. I thought the figures might be in the opposite dire...More Button

The anti-speculative tax will have succeeded—More Button

—if the yield is nil. It is the first tax in the history of the State where its success depends on its yield being nil. It is the first time a Minister for Finance has introduced a measure where the p...More Button

Deputy Enright is very reasonable and makes the case for a stepped approach to the stamp duty system. That, however, is not on my agenda, nor will it be on the agenda of the next two budgets I hope to...More Button

I am opposed to this amendment.More Button

Written Answers. - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: his views on the proposals submitted to him by Donegal County Council in relation to the decentralisation of offices; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the current position in relation to his decentralisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the progress to date on his discussions with other Government Departments regarding proposals for decentralisation; if he has yet met the public service unions to discus...More Button

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has to decentralise part of his Department, and parts of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development to t...More Button

Was asked: the plans he has for further decentralisation of any areas of the Department of Defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20, 26, 45, 46 and 59 together. I am currently engaged in a series of discussions with my Government colleagues with a view to bringing proposals before the Government...More Button

Written Answers. - Freedom of Information.

Was asked: if, in view of the recent warning issued by the Information Commissioner, he has any plans to issue guidelines or instructions to staff about the importance of keeping adequate written records; and if...More Button

Was asked: if he proposes to make any staffing or organisational changes in his Department following publication of the second annual report of the Information Commissioner; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 and 35 together. I presume that these questions arose from recent remarks, which were partially reported in the media, made by the Information Commissioner at the p...More Button

Written Answers. - Inflation Rate.

Was asked: the steps necessary to ensure the recent rise in inflation is only temporary; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the recent indications of higher than average EU inflation levels; if he will take any corrective action to ensure that the budgetary provisions of the current and p...More Button

Was asked: when he expects a slow down in inflation to take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 22, 42 and 202 together. The most recently published inflation figures for Ireland which relate to May show a year-on-year increase of 5.2 % in the Consumer Price Inde...More Button

Written Answers. - National Spatial Strategy.

Was asked: the role he envisages his Department will play in developing the National Spatial Strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government has mandated the Department of the Environment and Local Government to prepare a national spatial strategy which will translate the broad approach to regional development in the nationa...More Button

Written Answers. - Public Service Benchmarking.

Was asked: when it is intended to establish the proposed public service benchmarking body to examine public sector pay and conditions, arising from the commitment given in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairne...More Button

I would refer the Deputy to my reply of 27 May 2000 about the benchmarking body. Under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, the benchmarking body has to be established by 31 December 2000 and pr...More Button

Written Answers. - Work-Related Expenses.

Was asked: if the committee to review the treatment of work-related expenses and benefits for workers, promised in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness has yet been established; and if he will make a statem...More Button

Arrangements are currently in train to establish this group. My officials have been in contact with the social partners to seek nominations for membership of the group and to advise that the first mee...More Button

Written Answers. - Exchequer Surplus.

Was asked: the Exchequer surplus now expected at the end of 2000; and his plans for the disposal of same.More Button

When the end-march Exchequer figures were published, I indicated that, based on trends to that point, tax revenue for the year as a whole could exceed the budget target by as much as £500 million. The...More Button

Written Answers. - Credit Growth.

Was asked: his views on the exceptionally high growth in credit; and if he will take any steps to curb it; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Written Answers. - Excise Duty.

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to reduce excise duty on diesel and petrol; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I would like to inform the Deputy that there has been no increase in the rate of excise duty on unleaded petrol and on diesel since the January 1997 budget. I am, of course, aware that the price of th...More Button

Written Answers. - Financial Regulator.

Was asked: if he will give a date for the establishment of a single regulator for the financial sector; 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

Was asked: the current position in relation to proposals to regulate the financial services industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30, 48 and 52 together. As the Deputy will be aware, the report of the McDowell implementation advisory group on the establishment of a single regulatory authority, SR...More Button

Written Answers. - National Development Plan.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the recent call made by the Heritage Council for a full strategic environmental assessment of the national development plan; if he will undertake such an assessment;...More Button

I welcome the Heritage Council's submission and its expression of support for the Government in successfully achieving the objectives of the national development plan. A basic objective of the strateg...More Button

Written Answers. - EU Summit.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the outcome of the discussions at the EU summit in Feira, Portugal regarding the proposed savings directive.More Button

Was asked: if he will state Ireland's position with regard to the EU tax evasion directive; if he has committed the Government to agreement on the co-existence compromise; and if he will make a statement on the ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 65 together. Following a number of meetings of both the ECOFIN Council and the European Council in Feira on 18 to 20 June 2000, an agreement was reached on how ...More Button

Written Answers. - Ansbacher Deposits.

Was asked: the progress that has been 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 comp...More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that, while progress is being made in the investigations, they are very detailed and time consuming and are likely to continue for some time. It is not possib...More Button

Written Answers. - Gender Balance.

Was asked: if he will give the percentage of women in his Department in 1987 and 1997 at assistant principal level; principal officer level; the specific strategic objectives that have been set for his Departmen...More Button

The statistics for my Department in relation to the percentage of women serving at assistant principal and principal levels are as follows: More Button

Written Answers. - Sustained Development.

Was asked: if he will outline his understanding of the key principles to ensure continued competitiveness and sustained economic developments; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he has examined this country's economic performance with a view to any corrective measures that might ensure our continued competitiveness; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 36 and 203 together. The National Competitiveness Council, established under the Partnership 2000 agreement to report on key competitiveness issues for the Irish econo...More Button

Written Answers. - Inflation Rate.

Was asked: if he accepts that a major element contributing to our present inflationary problems is the loss of control over key aspects of our economic management following our membership of the euro currency.More Button

As the Deputy is aware, there are several factors behind the increase in inflation. These include the weakness of the euro, the upward trend in oil prices, the increase in excise duties on tobacco, hi...More Button

Written Answers. - Working Group Report.

Was asked: when he expects to receive the report of the working group on strategic issues facing the banking sector which was established in December 1999; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I understand that the working group is currently finalising its report and I would expect to receive it within the next two weeks. When I have considered the report, I will submit it to Government and...More Button

Written Answers. - Judicial Pension.

Was asked: the correspondence or communications he has received from Mr. Hugh O'Flaherty indicating that he wishes to make a gift to the State of his judicial pension; the procedures that are followed in such a ...More Button

Mr O'Flaherty has informed me in writing that it is his intention, on his appointment, to forego his judicial pension for the duration of the appointment in question. In these circumstances it would b...More Button

Written Answers. - Government Appointments.

Was asked: the current position regarding the nomination of Mr. Hugh O'Flaherty to the post of vice-president of the European Investment Bank; if the nomination has been approved by the Board of Governors of the...More Button

I have already set out, on 21 June last, the position regarding the nomination and where it is in the European Investment Bank procedure. I also dealt extensively with this matter in the course of th...More Button

Written Answers. - Oireachtas Financial Autonomy.

Was asked: the plans if any, he has to bring forward specific proposals to provide statutory financial autonomy for each House of the Oireachtas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A number of recommendations have been made in relation to Oireachtas reform in the First Report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into DIRT. These, inter alia, include proposals for the establishment of an...More Button

Written Answers. - Government Appointments.

Was asked: the views, if any, the other EU member states have expressed concerning the Irish nominee to the board of the European Investment Bank.More Button

I am not aware of a view expressed by any member states concerning the nomination, which I made, in common accord with my Danish and Greek colleagues, to the management committee of the European Inves...More Button

Written Answers. - Operational Programmes.

Was asked: when he expects to receive EU approval for the two operational programmes for social inclusion, submitted under the national development plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The social inclusion sub-programme forms part of the two regional operational programmes of the national development plan namely, the southern and eastern regional operational programme and the Border...More Button

Written Answers. - DIRT Inquiry.

Was asked: the progress that has been made in implementing the recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee resulting from the DIRT inquiry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that on 20 June last the sub-committee of the Committee of Public Accounts carried out a full review of the progress made to date in relation to the recommendations contained ...More Button

Written Answers. - Trustee Savings Bank.

Was asked: if he has received any formal request from the trustees of the Trustee Savings Bank to approve new arrangements for the bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Following the abandonment of the ACC-TSB merger-flotation, I indicated to the TSB that existing ownership arrangements would not be sustainable in the long run and that a change in the ownership struc...More Button

Written Answers. - Public-Private Partnerships.

Was asked: if any progress has been made in the development of infrastructural projects through public-private partnerships; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am happy to make a statement on the substantial progress that has been made in implementing the pilot PPP process since I announced, on 1 June 1999, the list of pathfinder projects selected to pilot...More Button

Written Answers. - Strategic Management Initiative.

Was asked: the progress that has been 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 rep...More Button

The draft code of standards and behaviour for civil servants was recently finalised by the implementation group of Secretaries General of the SMI and I am currently considering it. A draft memorandum ...More Button

Written Answers. - Millennium Centenarians.

Was asked: the number of centenarians living here in 2000; and if he will give consideration to the inclusion, in the millennium centenarians bounty of £2,000 each, of that section of people who had attained the...More Button

It is estimated that the number of centenarians, including those reaching 100 years of age in 2000, will be 295. I do not propose to extend the special millennium centenarians bounty to surviving cent...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Allowances.

Was asked: if he will consider the restoration of the tax free allowance on burglar alarms fitted to the homes of elderly people, especially having regard to the increased spate of attacks on elderly people; and...More Button

Was asked: if he will reinstate tax relief in respect of the purchase an installation of house alarm systems for persons aged over 65 years and living alone.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 189 together. As the Deputies will be aware, section 478 of the 1997 Taxes Consolidation Act, formerly section 5 of the 1996 Finance Act, introduced a tax relie...More Button

Written Answers. - ACC Bank.

Was asked: the plans he has in relation to the future of the ACC bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Following the abandonment of the ACC-TSB merger-flotation, I made it clear to all concerned in ACC Bank that the status quo could not continue and that it was more important than ever that the bank ad...More Button

Written Answers. - Asylum Seekers.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that there is adequate funding in the finance estimates to provide the necessary accommodation for asylum seekers for the remainder of this financial year; and if he will m...More Button

The cost of accommodating asylum seekers is met through the Votes of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Office of Public Works. The costs are determined by the numbers of asylu...More Button

Written Answers. - Insurance Compensation Fund.

Was asked: if, in regard to a company (details supplied) which is under administration under the terms of the Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1985 and the £100 million advance which is repayable to the...More Button

My Department is in continuing contact with the administrator of Icarom plc, formerly the Insurance Corporation of Ireland, with regard to the repayment of the loan of £100 million, which was made to ...More Button

Written Answers. - Inflation Figures.

Was asked: the reason service inflation is so high; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if, further to Parliamentary Question No. 37 of 23 May 2000, he will list the issues associated with the increase in inflation referred to in the reply as an increase in underlying domestic inflation;...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 58 and 176 together. In my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 37 of 23 May 2000, I said that one of the factors behind the recent increase in inflation is an increase...More Button

Written Answers. - Agriculture Schemes.

Was asked: if his Department is withholding the necessary finance for the updating and implementation of the new schemes relating to the farm installation aid, farm retirement and the new farm environmental and ...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the schemes to which he refers are constituent elements of the national development plan under which the agriculture, food and rural development areas have been allocate...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Changes.

Was asked: if he will give the projected percentage pay increases for public sector workers and private sector workers for 2000, exclusive of any tax changes; the way in which these compare with the current rate...More Button

For 2000 the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, provides for an increase of 5.5% in basic pay in the private sector. Taking account of pay drift, my Department estimates that overall per capita pr...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Allowances.

Was asked: his views on whether only a small number of disabled drivers are able to take advantage of the disabled drivers tax concession scheme; when the interdepartmental group reviewing the scheme was establi...More Button

The number of beneficiaries under the disabled drivers and disabled passengers tax concessions scheme is in the region of 5,400. The cost of relief in 1999 was £17 million, as compared to £4 million i...More Button

Written Answers. - Dormant Bank Accounts.

Was asked: the current position regarding his consultation with organisations or interest groups regarding the proposed legislation to deal with dormant bank accounts; when he expects to bring proposals to Gover...More Button

As I indicated in response to a somewhat similar question on 23 May last, the Government at its meeting on 11 April 2000 approved my proposals to engage in consultations with the financial services in...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Credits.

Was asked: the cost of increasing the tax credit in a single year to take all those earning the national minimum wage out of the tax net; the cost of a 1% reduction in the upper and lower tax rates; the cost of ...More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year costs to the Exchequer, by reference to the income tax year 2000-01, of the changes mentioned by the Deputy, are estimated as follows. Fro...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Audits.

Was asked: the reason the number of tax audits have fallen from 1 in 80 in 1995 to 1 in 153 in 2000; the plans he has to provide additional staff or resources for the audit section of the Revenue Commissioners; ...More Button

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the ratios quoted seem to be based on the most intensive type of audit, referred to as comprehensive audit. Revenue consider that it is more appro...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Allowances.

Was asked: the reason blind people are excluded from the disabled drivers tax concessions scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The medical criteria determining eligibility for the disabled drivers and disabled passengers tax concessions scheme are set out in Statutory Instrument No. 353 of 1994, copies of which are available ...More Button

Written Answers. - Flood Relief.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that persons (details supplied) in County Clare have suffered two severe floods from the Termon district in south Galway, whose turlough is active beside th...More Button

Written Answers. - Performance Related Pay.

Was asked: if he will outline the progress on the introduction of pay systems to better reflect performance in the work place including profit sharing and employee share ownership; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

The question of innovative financial reward systems is essentially a matter to be developed at enterprise level through the partnership structures. The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, in paragr...More Button

Written Answers. - Dormant Bank Accounts.

Was asked: the progress with regard to the consultation process in order to achieve broad agreement on a scheme to deal with dormant bank accounts; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As I indicated in response to a previous question put down by the Deputy on 23 May last, the Government at its meeting on 11 April 2000 approved my proposals to engage in consultations with the financ...More Button

Written Answers. - Inflation Rate.

Was asked: the percentage increase in crude oil prices over the past 12 months; the impact such increases have had on inflation here; the likely inflation rate for the year 2000; and if he will make a statement ...More Button

Oil prices have risen from about $16 per barrel in June 1999 to the current level of around $30 per barrel, an increase that was magnified by the intervening decline in the euro/dollar parity. The res...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Appointments.

Was asked: the number of appointments made to boards, semi-State and private, under the aegis of his Department in each of the years 1997 to 2000; if he will give the number and percentage of males and females a...More Button

The details sought are set out in the following table. The details are given in respect of each calendar year, i.e. from June to December 1997, 1998, 1999 and for 2000 to date. ICC Bank plcMore Button

Written Answers. - Tax Code.

Was asked: if he will confirm the VAT to be levied upon a self-employed person (details supplied) in County Dublin earning less than £20,000 per annum.More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a self employed person supplying services does not have to register or account for VAT if the turnover from the supply of those services does not exceed...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a large number of service companies in the construction sector have difficulties in their understanding of their obligations in respect of taxation for...More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the taxation regime for individuals, whether or not they are hired on a contract basis, depends on whether the individuals are employed or self-employed...More Button

Written Answers. - EU Directives.

Was asked: the EU directives under the aegis of his Department that are outstanding and remain to be implemented in Irish law to date.More Button

The following EU Directives are currently outstanding and have yet to be implemented by my Department: Directive 98/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998, amends Directiv...More Button

Written Answers. - Inheritance Tax.

Was asked: if, further to Parliamentary Question No. 81 of 18 May 2000 where a commitment was given that he would waive the interest accrued on the inheritance tax liability for a person (details supplied) in Co...More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that there is an outstanding inheritance tax liability of £546.22. However, because of the exceptional circumstances of this case it is proposed to apply the...More Button

Written Answers. - Petroleum Prices.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the large discrepancies in relation to the price of petroleum throughout the country; and if there are any variations by region in relation to excise duties which wo...More Button

The price of oil products has risen in recent times. This has been due to the increase in the cost of crude oil on the world market and to fluctuations in currency values. Variations in price at the p...More Button

Written Answers. - Valuation Office Reports.

Was asked: when a report will issue from the Valuation Office for a person (details supplied) in County Mayo as the delay is causing severe financial hardship.More Button

The Valuation Office received the request from the Revenue Commissioners on 25 May last. The papers were returned to the Revenue Commissioners on 22 June last.More Button

Written Answers. - Drainage Schemes.

Was asked: if he will ascertain from the Office of Public Works if it will pipe a drain-way it opened in the 1950s as it effectively splits in two a holding in County Mayo.More Button

Was asked: if he will ascertain from the Office of Public Works when works will be carried out to a bridge (details supplied) in County Mayo.More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: if he will confirm receipt of a letter together with a note, from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development in November 1999 concerning the establishment of a legal unit within that De...More Button

I can confirm receipt of the letter and the accompanying note referred to by the Deputy. I am in favour of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development having a legal unit which would en...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Clearance Certificates.

Was asked: if he will arrange to issue a tax clearance certificate to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.More Button

A valid application for tax clearance was received by the Collector-General on 31 May 2000. A tax clearance certificate was issued to the individual in question on 21 June 2000.More Button

Written Answers. - Trustee Savings Bank.

Was asked: the current situation regarding the proposed sale of the Trustee Savings Bank; the number and identity of other financial institutions that have expressed an interest in the proposed sale; and if, in ...More Button

Following the abandonment of the ACC/TSB merger/flotation, I indicated to the TSB that existing ownership arrangements would not be sustainable in the long run and that a change in the ownership struc...More Button

Written Answers. - Office of Public Works' Programme.

Was asked: the programme of work which the Office of Public Works have in County Louth for the next one to two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: the proposals, if any, he has for decentralisation of a Government Department or agency to Dungarvan, County Waterford.More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has for decentralisation of a Government Department or agency to Tramore, County Waterford.More Button

Was asked: if he will have County Cavan considered as a location for decentralisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will give favourable consideration to County Cavan as a centre for decentralisation in view of the importance of decentralisation to the promotion of regional development and the urgent need to ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 192 to 195, inclusive, together. Given that I am still engaged in a process of consultation with my Government colleagues before presenting proposals to Government wit...More Button

Written Answers. - Legislative Programme.

Was asked: the instructions or terms of reference or submissions made by him or his Department to the review group currently studying the Disabled Persons/Disabled Drivers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994; and...More Button

As I have informed the House on a number of occasions, the review group is chaired by an official from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. I did not issue instructions to the group as ...More Button

Written Answers. - Waste Management.

Was asked: the consideration he has given to the measures for a landfill tax to make more viable the enterprises which can re-use, recycle and thus reduce the wastage created as a result of the increased economi...More Button

The possibility of introducing some form of landfill tax or levy has been examined by the environmental taxation group, which is chaired by my Department, who considered that there were good reasons t...More Button

Written Answers. - Environmental Policy.

Was asked: the communication his Department has had with the office of EU Commissioner, Margot Wallstrom, or any other EU commissioner, regarding the objections to aspects of the national development plan on the...More Button

On 2 December 1999 the European Commission formally confirmed the national development plan complied with all the relevant provisions of the Structural Funds regulations. They indicated that they woul...More Button

Written Answers. - Tax Designation.

Was asked: if he has sought or made reports appertaining to possible special tax designation status in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I or my Department have not made any reports or commissioned any bodies to make reports regarding possible tax designation in County Kildare.More Button

Was asked: if he has sought or made reports appertaining to possible special tax designation status at various locations throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I or my Department have not made any reports or commissioned any bodies to make reports regarding possible tax designation throughout the country.More Button

Written Answers. - Inflation Rate.

Was asked: if his Department has concluded that house prices are having an effect on inflationary tendencies in the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Mortgage interest costs are included in the CPI. Accordingly, for a given interest rate, higher house prices – if based on higher borrowings – will add to inflation as measured by the CPI. My Departme...More Button

Written Answers. - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: the names and number of consultants employed by him or his Department in each of the past three years; the total cost involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Information on the area of interest to the Deputy is set out as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - Freedom of Information Act.

Was asked: the number of requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act, 1997 made to his Department in each of the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The information requested by the Deputy on the numbers of FOI requests made to the Department of Finance is as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - Public Relations Contracts.

Was asked: the names and numbers of public relations firms employed by him and or his Department in each of the past three years; the total cost in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Information on the area of interest to the Deputy is set out as follows: More Button


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