Martin, Micheál

Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 592 No. 3

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Priority Questions - Community Employment Schemes.

Was asked: the changes he will make to the community employment scheme and training schemes generally; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Priority Questions - Employment Legislation.

Was asked: the steps he intends to take to introduce measures to provide legal protection for whistleblowers who wish to expose illegalities or wrongdoing on the part of their employers; and if he will make a st...More Button

Priority Questions - Job Creation.

Was asked: if he will undertake a root and branch review of the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and other job creation agencies in view of their abysmal job creation record in Mayo; his views on whether IDA Ireland has...More Button

Priority Questions - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: the action he will take arising from the recent publication of the report from the National Competitiveness Council in relation to the cost base of doing business here; and if he will make a statement...More Button

Priority Questions - Tax Code.

Was asked: if he has carried out an analysis of the implications for capital investment here of the US corporate tax amnesty proposed in the American Jobs Creation Act which was signed into law by President Bush...More Button

Other Questions - Lisbon Agenda.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the finding of the report on the Lisbon Agenda, drawn up for the EU summit in Brussels, which shows that spending on research and development here is well below the ...More Button

Was asked: the remedial action he will take to tackle Ireland’s substandard performance in areas like public investment in research and development as identified in the National Competitive Council’s competitive...More Button

Was asked: the progress made with regard to the implementation of those areas of the Lisbon Agenda for which he has responsibility; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the progress to date on the Lisbon Agenda; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Lisbon Agenda.

Was asked: the policies he intends pursuing to ensure the achievement of the employment participation targets set out in Lisbon Agenda as signed by the Lisbon European Council.More Button

The Lisbon Agenda set the EU an overall employment rate target of 70% by 2010, with specific targets of 60% and 50%, respectively, for female and older workers. The targets set at Lisbon in 2000 were ...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Investigations.

Was asked: the position in regard to each of the inquiries being carried out by or on behalf of him; if he will give a projected date for the conclusion of each such investigation; the inquiries in respect of wh...More Button

Was asked: the costs incurred by the State at the latest date for which figures are available, arising from the various inquiries instigated by or on behalf of him; the element of these costs that have been reco...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 78 and 126 together. Some 16 investigations into company law matters were initiated by my predecessor since this Government first came into office. In three cases, the...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: if he has plans to ensure that new legislation is business proofed in order to maintain Ireland’s international competitiveness and their growth and employment are protected in an increasingly competi...More Button

In January this year the Government launched a White Paper entitled Regulating Better which will contribute to improving national competitiveness and better Government by ensuring that new regulations...More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: when he intends to make the promised order under the Consumer Affairs Act to require doctors, dentists and allied health professionals to publicly display their prices, which was first promised almost...More Button

I have received the preliminary views of the Office of the Attorney General on this matter. However, I await the final legal advice of that office before I decide how to proceed.More Button

Written Answers - Employment Statistics.

Was asked: if he will give the figures for the level of industrial employment at the latest date for which figures are available; the way in which this compares with the equivalent date in each of the previous f...More Button

The number of persons engaged in industrial employment as recorded by the Central Statistics Office at June 2004 and for each of the previous five years is as follows: Industrial Employment — 1999-200...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the annual report of the National Competitiveness Council which he launched on 14 October 2004.More Button

I welcome last month’s publication of the National Competitiveness Council, NCC, annual competitiveness report 2004 and its competitiveness challenge 2004. These reports offer us a valuable insight in...More Button

Written Answers - Work Permits.

Was asked: the number of work permits issued to date under the new arrangements to give access to employment to the spouses of non-EEA nationals working here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Some 566 work permit applications in respect of the spouses of non-EEA nationals working here were issued up to 8 November 2004.More Button

Written Answers - Future Employment Needs.

Was asked: the number of non-Irish workers which will be needed to sustain the economy here over the next three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the information available to him on the expected level of labour force requirements over the coming years; the extent to which this can be met from within this country and the extent to which labour f...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 and 121 together. Arising from our membership of the European Union, Ireland is part of the integrated labour market of the European Economic Area, EEA, comprising ...More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: if he is considering introducing employment rights legislation in respect of sick pay and sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: the number of IDA supported jobs that were created in County Kerry in 2001, 2002, 2003 and to date in 2004, respectively; the locations at which they were created; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment, FDI, to Ireland, including its regions and areas. The table below outlines the number of IDA su...More Button

Written Answers - Flexible Work Practices.

Was asked: the amount of direct financial assistance provided in 2003 by the national framework committee on work-life balance policies to assist organisations in implementing work life balance initiatives; and ...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Statistics.

Was asked: the statistics for the length of the average working week for persons in full-time employment in the economy here; the similar statistics for the same category of workers ten and 20 years ago; and if ...More Button

Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes.

Was asked: the number of persons on community employment places at 1 January 2003 and 1 January 2004; the anticipated numbers at 1 January 2005; if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties faced by many ...More Button

Was asked: if he will relax community employment scheme restrictions which bar persons from serving on them for more than three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: whether he has agreed to changes in the community employment scheme; the nature of the changes proposed; if consultations were held with any interests in regard to the proposed changes; and if he will...More Button

Was asked: when it is intended to publish the review of the community employment scheme conducted by FÁS, which was submitted to him some time ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the response he has had to the consultation paper on the community employment scheme published by his Department in July 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 89, 100, 116, 123 and 148 together. Community employment, CE, together with JI and SEP comprise FÁS employment schemes. CE provides work experience and training opport...More Button

Written Answers - Grocery Industry.

Was asked: the status of his review of the groceries order; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if it is now not intended to implement any changes to the 1987 groceries order which forbids below cost selling; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90 and 106 together. As I advised the House on 7 October 2004, the advice of the Attorney General’s office was sought during the most recent review of the groceries or...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: if he has received the report he sought from the National Competitiveness Council on the implications for exporters of the decision by Aer Lingus to end most of its cargo services; the main findings o...More Button

As indicated in a previous reply, I understand that there is no immediate shortfall in air freight capacity out of Ireland. Other carriers have sufficient capacity to deal with the demand created as a...More Button

Written Answers - Export Licensing.

Was asked: when he expects to establish a web-based approach for military exports licences applications and an annual report listing the aggregate value of such exports; if primary legislation is required for in...More Button

Was asked: the progress made to date with regard to his consideration of the report of the independent review of Ireland’s export licensing system, in regard to military and dual use goods; and if he will make a...More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: the progress in regard to his consideration of proposals to introduce legislation to provide for a new offence of corporate killing as recommended by the Law Reform Commission; and if he will make a s...More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: the proposals he has to attract alternative employment to Westport, County Mayo, in regard to his statement of 1 November 2004 regarding the announcement of 325 job losses at a company (details suppli...More Button

Was asked: the steps he intends to take to secure alternative employment in the jobs in Westport, County Mayo following the closure of a plant (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 145 together. The announcement by Allergan of the proposed job losses in Westport is a major blow to the workers affected and their families. My thoughts are wi...More Button

Written Answers - Currency Fluctuations.

Was asked: the impact which the continued strength of the euro against the US dollar and the pound sterling has had on Irish exports; if he has adopted a strategy to assist the export sector as a result of this;...More Button

Was asked: his plans to counteract difficulties that may arise for Irish businesses from the continuing rise of the euro against the US dollar.More Button

Written Answers - Insurance Industry.

Was asked: the position with regard to the operation of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board; the number of staff recruited to date; the number of claims received to date by the board; and if he will make a st...More Button

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board was established by ministerial order on 13 April 2004. From 1 June 2004 all personal injury claims arising from workplace accidents, where an employee is seeking...More Button

Written Answers - Job Losses.

Was asked: if he will make financial provision for the shortfall in severance packages particularly with respect to reduced pension entitlements of former workers at a subsidiary of the Irish Fertiliser Industri...More Button

Was asked: if he will establish a fund to address the plight of former workers at a subsidiary of Irish Fertiliser Industries (details supplied) in Belfast who received inferior severance packages, particularly ...More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that all possible steps have been taken to protect the interests of former employees of Irish Fertiliser Industries, who lost their jobs as a result of the liquidation of ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 99, 118 and 139 together. The State has already made a significant financial contribution to assist the former employees of Irish Fertiliser Industries. Following the ...More Button

Was asked: his views on developments at a company (details supplied) in County Wexford; the likelihood of the outsourcing of the service and the lack of alternative employment for existing workers; and if he wil...More Button

I understand from the company in question that it intends to cease its Rosslare-France service no later than 30 November 2004. The company informed its staff on the MV Normandy on 20 October 2004. I u...More Button

Written Answers - Budget Submissions.

Was asked: the representations he has made to the Department of Finance prior to the budget for 2005 to alleviate the burden on small business; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Senior officials from my Department are members of the tax strategy group, TSG, which is an interdepartmental committee chaired by the Department of Finance. The terms of reference of the TSG include ...More Button

Written Answers - Accounting Standards.

Was asked: his views on the proposed treatment by the European Commission of a new accounting standard issued by the International Accounting Standard Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Legislative Provisions.

Was asked: if he will remove the provisions in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Bill 2004 related to random drug and alcohol testing of employees in view of the deep concerns regarding the implications of ...More Button

Written Answers - Consumer Issues.

Was asked: the work to date of the consumer consultative panel; if he has received the final report of the panel; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The work of the consumer strategy group is ongoing and has involved a number of initiatives. The website www.irishconsumer.ie has been established. A public consultation on consumer issues was held an...More Button

Written Answers - Enterprise Policy.

Was asked: the steps he has taken to help in the implementation of the enterprise strategy group’s recommendation to establish a five-year programme to place on a cost-sharing basis 1,000 graduates and internati...More Button

Was asked: the steps he has taken to help in the implementation of the enterprise strategy group’s recommendation to establish with Enterprise Ireland a dedicated structure, Technology Ireland, with its own budg...More Button

Was asked: if he has yet received the report of the high level group considering the implications of the report of the enterprise strategy group and the best manner of implementing its recommendations; and if he...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether the setting up of the enterprise strategy group was a worthwhile endeavour in view of the shortcomings in its report as perceived by many; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

Was asked: the steps he has taken to help in the implementation of the enterprise strategy group recommendation to establish within Enterprise Ireland a dedicated structure, Export Ireland, with its own budget a...More Button

Was asked: if he will allocate a budget of €20 million per annum for five years from existing enterprise development agency resources to support the creation of enterprise-led networks to foster collaboration in...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 107, 113, 114, 129, 142 and 147 together. As I previously advised the House, the Government considered the report of the enterprise strategy group in advance of its pu...More Button

Was asked: the review that has been carried out by or on his behalf in regard to the operation of the EU small business operational programme that ran from 1995 to 2001; the findings of any such review; and if h...More Button

The small business operational programme, or SBOP, which ran from 1995 to 1999 was Ireland’s response to the EU’s SME initiative. The initiative was aimed to stimulate small and medium-sized industria...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: the representations he has received regarding the rate of corporation tax; if he envisages the rate being amended in the near future; the effect that the lowering of the rate to 12.5% in 1997 has had ...More Button

As Deputies are aware, the Minister for Finance is responsible for tax policy and has made clear that the Government is fully committed to maintaining the 12.5% corporation tax rate which became effec...More Button

Written Answers - Insurance Industry.

Was asked: the specific areas in regard to the policy and legislation on the availability and cost of motor insurance that it is proposed to transfer to the Department of Transport; when it is expected that this...More Button

As the Minister responsible for the requirement for motor insurance and in the light of his broader responsibility for road safety, my colleague, the Minister for Transport, will take over from my Dep...More Button

Written Answers - National Minimum Wage.

Was asked: if he has yet received the result of the review of the national minimum wage that the Labour Court was asked to undertake by the social partners under the terms of the Sustaining Progress agreement; a...More Button

Written Answers - Semi-State Bodies.

Was asked: the progress made to date with regard to his consideration of the deliberations of the working group established to examine the specific issue regarding Shannon Development; if he has yet met the boar...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the proposal to transfer lands and property owned by the Shannon free zone to the new Shannon Airport Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the role he sees for Shannon Development in view of the decision to decentralise Enterprise Ireland to the region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 115, 131 and 134 together. As the House will be aware from similar questions asked previously, there have been a number of developments which will impact on the mid-we...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Support Services.

Was asked: if a report produced for his Department found that State bodies charged with protecting employment rights were so ineffectual that the entire system is entirely dysfunctional; the steps he intends to ...More Button

Was asked: if he has plans for the restructuring or reorganisation of FÁS; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Currently, I have no plans to restructure or reorganise FÁS. The structure, organisation and direction of FÁS was set out in its statement of strategy 2002-05. In broad terms, the statement provides f...More Button

Written Answers - EU Directives.

Was asked: the number of EU directives for which he has responsibility which have yet to be implemented; the number in respect of which the deadline for implementation has passed; if he has satisfied himself wit...More Button

A total of 31 directives remain to be implemented, including ten for which the deadline for implementation in full or in part has passed. Details of the directives including, in so far as it has been ...More Button

Written Answers - Job Losses.

Was asked: the number of jobs that have been relocated out of Ireland in the past three years; the reason for the relocation; the action taken to address the issue; the net number of new jobs created here in the...More Button

The Forfás employment survey tracks employment levels in agency assisted companies on an annual basis. The life cycle of companies influences the ebb and flow of employment and relocation is just one ...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Action Plan.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the implementation to date of the Irish national employment pact.More Button

I assume the Deputy is referring to the national employment action plan which is produced annually by my Department. The plan is Ireland’s response to the European employment strategy, or EES. The str...More Button

Written Answers - Insurance Industry.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself at the reported reduction in the level of insurance premiums in view of figures showing that Irish insurance companies are now making substantial profits; and if he will ma...More Button

My Department no longer regulates insurance companies as this responsibility has passed to the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority, IFSRA, under the aegis of my colleague, the Minister for F...More Button

Written Answers - Redundancy Payments.

Was asked: if he will introduce legislation to increase redundancy payments to three weeks of pay per year of service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Industrial Development.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that the geographical spread of IDA Ireland investment is acceptable; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the proposals he has to ensure a more balanced regional approach to the promotion of employment and industrial development throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 128 and 140 together. Support for job creation and investment on a regional or local basis is a day-to-day operational matter for the industrial development agencies. ...More Button

Written Answers - Construction Sector.

Was asked: the likely impact on employment of a slowdown in the housing market; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Employment in the construction sector, which includes the house-building sector, increased by 7.6%, or 14,600, in the 12-month period to end May 2004. In the period 1997-2003, employment in the sector...More Button

Written Answers - Work Permits.

Was asked: when the promised legislation to put the employment permit regime on a comprehensive and sound statutory footing; the reason for the delay in bringing forward the legislation, which was originally pro...More Button

Was asked: his plans to alter the work permit scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 146 together. The preparatory stages of the employment permits Bill have taken longer than expected due to the change in labour market circumstances and the ne...More Button

Written Answers - Workplace Absenteeism.

Was asked: if he concurs with IBEC’s assessment that absenteeism in the workplace costs business here €1.5 billion per year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

While I share concern about the cost to business of absenteeism, I have no direct function in the matter.More Button

Written Answers - County Enterprise Boards.

Was asked: if he will provide additional funding to efficient county enterprise boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In determining the allocations for individual city and county enterprise boards in 2004, my Department adopted a systematic approach to ensure the maximum degree of objectivity and equity of treatment...More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: the number of new jobs announced during 2003 from new investments or expansion of IDA Ireland backed plants; the expected final level of announcements during 2004; the steps that are being taken to pr...More Button

IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment to Ireland, including its regions and areas. In 2003, a total of 32 green field and expansion jo...More Button

Written Answers - Job Losses.

Was asked: the number of redundancies notified to his Department during 2000, 2001, 2002 2003 and to date in 2004; the projected numbers for this year; the steps that are being taken to deal with the sharp incre...More Button

The number of redundancies notified to my Department in the years specified were 13,316 in 2000, 19,977 in 2001, 25,358 in 2002, 27,702 in 2003 and 20,127 to the end of October, 2004. The correspondin...More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: the initiatives he proposes to put in place to attract industry to Tralee, County Kerry, due, to the increase in the unemployment situation in the town; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Support for job creation and retention in individual counties is a day-to-day operational matter for the industrial development agencies. IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for th...More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: if he will consider introducing amendments to the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2001 to reduce the period which a person must be in continuous service with the same employer in order to qualify under th...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: the extent to which he has addressed or proposes to address industrial costs; the main factors in this regard; the action or action he proposes to take to improve the situation with a view to sharpeni...More Button

The National Competitiveness Council in both its annual competitiveness reports published last month and in its statement on prices and costs published in September have identified the need to recover...More Button

Was asked: if an assessment of the impact of child care costs and house prices on competitiveness in this State will be carried out.More Button

Child care and housing are the primary responsibility of my colleagues, the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform and the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. I am not a...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Action Plan.

Was asked: the number of interventions by his Department that resulted in pre-employment training and development for each of the years 2002, 2003 and 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Adult Education.

Was asked: the agencies he has worked with to implement the recommendations of the task force on lifelong learning; the progress to date on the implementation of the recommendations; his further plans for the pr...More Button

The initiatives and recommendations set out in the LLL report focus on promoting and enhancing access to learning-training, the development of new skills, the acquisition of recognised qualifications ...More Button

Written Answers - Work Permits.

Was asked: the status of the appeal for a work permit from a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; when a decision will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An appeal was received from the employer concerned on 1 November 2004 and is still under consideration. A decision will be made in this case shortly and the employer will be notified.More Button

Written Answers - International Trade.

Was asked: Ireland’s newest and most lucrative trading partners in respect of both imports and exports; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Insurance Industry.

Was asked: if insurance costs here remain a deterrent to investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

According to the National Competitiveness Council’s statement on prices and costs, Ireland’s expenditure on life insurance ranked fifth highest out of 16 countries, behind Switzerland, the US, the Net...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which public liability or other insurance costs here compare with other European countries, trading partners or competitors; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A comparison of insurance figures in European countries is available in European Insurance in Figures — June 2003, published by the Comité Européen Des Assurances, CEA. This report contains details on...More Button

Written Answers - FÁS Training Programmes.

Was asked: the extent to which he has given consideration to the number of persons on employment or training schemes through FÁS or other agencies; the degree to which he has examined the prospect of the allocat...More Button

Details of funding in support of employment and training schemes delivered through agencies under the remit of my Department will be contained in the Abridged Estimates Volume which is to be published...More Button

Was asked: the degree to which he expects to provide adequate funds to enable FÁS continue its current programme and restore programmes dropped due to lack of funding; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

Details of funding in support of employment and training schemes delivered through agencies under the remit of my Department will be contained in the Abridged Estimates Volume which is to be published...More Button

Written Answers - Work Permits.

Was asked: the number of work permits granted to first time applicants in the past 12 months; the way in which this figure corresponds with previous years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The number of new work permit applications granted from 1 January 2004 to date and the number granted in previous years is as follows:More Button

Was asked: the number of work permits granted in each of the past five years; the number refused in the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The number of work permit applications granted and refused in the past five years is as follows:—More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: the reasons given by overseas investors who have failed to follow through on job creation proposals here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment to Ireland, including its regions and areas, apart from the Shannon free zone which is the respo...More Button

Was asked: the number of foreign investors who have indicated an intention to invest here within the past two years; the number of such actual investments that have taken place; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment to Ireland, including its regions and areas. The following table provides details of the number ...More Button

Was asked: the main factors presenting as deterrents to foreign investors here; if insurance or other costs, construction costs, administrative costs or other factors feature mainly; the way in which he proposes...More Button

IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment to Ireland, including its regions and areas. According to IDA Ireland, Ireland has many attribut...More Button

Was asked: his proposals to address the issue of job relocation to lower wage or more competitive economies; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Clearly, a more attractive cost environment abroad will inevitably attract some firms that are unable to produce in the high-wage environment of modern industrial economies. The continuing structural ...More Button

Written Answers - Public Transport.

The matter raised is an operational issue for Dublin Bus. However, I am pleased to inform the Deputy that each of the three CIE operating companies has a customer charter in operation for a number of ...More Button


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