Martin, Micheál

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 609 No. 69

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Priority Questions - Social Partnership.

Was asked: the initiatives he intends to take to improve employment standards as requested by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in the context of the renewal of social partnership; the progress or otherwise tha...More Button

Was asked: in view of the decisions of ICTU and SIPTU to defer entry to talks on a new social partnership agreement, the steps he has taken and the proposals he has formulated to address concerns regarding the ...More Button

Priority Questions - Departmental Bodies.

Was asked: the reason for the delay in bringing forward legislation to establish the national consumer agency; the timescale for the appointment of a new chairman of the Competition Authority; the timescale for ...More Button

Given the importance of the national consumer agency, NCA, to the development of future consumer protection policy, it is vital that the legislation is framed to ensure the NCA has sufficient powers a...More Button

I reject the Deputy’s assertions. We said on the publication of the consumer strategy group’s report in May that it would take time to produce the legislative template for the new national consumer ag...More Button

It has.More Button

It has made submissions and so forth.More Button

No, the consumer agency advocated in a vigorous fashion on behalf of the consumer in the groceries order debate. It has also been in discussions with the Department with regard to its plans for the co...More Button

The Competition Authority has been an effective body. The chairperson has moved on to a new position——More Button

He was an exceptional performer.More Button

He retired from the post on 5 October. It is reasonable——More Button

One cannot do anything until the person actually leaves the position.More Button

The search is under way for a replacement. Any analysis would indicate that the authority has been an effective and powerful body in terms of advocacy for competition in the economy generally.More Button

Priority Questions - EU Funding.

Was asked: the grounds on which he has made an application to the European Commission for grant aid to Centocor; the amount of Government funding already committed to the project and the consequences for the ong...More Button

Member states are obliged to notify for approval all projects which exceed the threshold provided for in the multisectoral framework for large investment projects. The aid in this case exceeded the th...More Button

The issue is as follows. The European Commission and its officials must operate in the context of the regional aid guidelines and multisectoral framework that have been passed by the member states. Ir...More Button

There are two stages to the ongoing engagement with the Commission. As a first stage, the Commission must make a decision as to whether to open the issue to full, formal investigation, in which submis...More Button

There is little point going into the realm of speculation. “So far, so good” is how I would term the way we are operating within the multisectoral framework. We have strong relationships with many of ...More Button

Priority Questions - Departmental Appointments.

Was asked: the reason applications for the position of chief science adviser were not invited and the position was not advertised; the number of such positions filled by his Department in this way without advert...More Button

The decision to appoint the chief science adviser was made by the Government as part of a package of measures in the area of science co-ordination and oversight. These measures were agreed by Governme...More Button

As regards the filling of the position of chief science adviser, there were particular circumstances surrounding this matter. The Government was aware of the availability of a specific individual with...More Button

At the time the Government was satisfied there was a need to give momentum to science co-ordination policy and the general science agenda.More Button

A situation arose within the Commission where an individual was readily available to fill the position of chief science adviser. He occupied a significant post in the Commission, under which a signifi...More Button

It made sense at the time, with the other measures taken in science and technology policy, to create the position of chief science adviser. In a short time, many positive developments have taken place...More Button

No, I am not dependent on his views. The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, the body responsible for accreditation in Ireland, was asked to assess the bona fides of this institution.More Button

Its view was that it did not have accrediting powers within the US. In our discussions with the chief science adviser, his view was that the body he dealt with at that time is vastly different from th...More Button

There is an issue of due process in this case.More Button

I am anxious to bear this in mind when considering the individual’s position, particularly as he has a significant track record in public positions both in Ireland and the European Commission. I put t...More Button

Other Questions - Consumer Strategy Group.

Was asked: the progress made to date with regard to the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the consumer strategy group; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As I advised the House in my reply to Question No. 205 of 28 September, the consumer strategy group’s report, Make Consumers Count, was published on 18 May 2005. The Government has already approved th...More Button

No, this is a recommendation of the consumer strategy group. I will deal with whatever issues the Deputy wishes me to deal with. Those submissions have been examined and I met with various groups in t...More Button

The work of the committee is virtually complete. We are preparing a memorandum for Government.More Button

I do not know. That is not relevant because the report is complete. When it involves other agencies and Departments it is necessary to request consideration of and commitments on the various recommend...More Button

It will be submitted to Government shortly. The memorandum is in preparation.More Button

Other Questions - Business Regulation.

Was asked: the number of meetings of the better regulation group which have taken place; the action which has been taken arising from those meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have set up the business regulation forum, BRF, with effect from today. I was very pleased to secure the services of Dr. Donal De Buitléir, General Manager, Office of the Group Chief Executive, AIB ...More Button

In terms of the world of business, there was a requirement and a desire from business that there would be formalised dialogue on working relationships with Government on regulations in general. This i...More Button

This is an example of typical cheap Opposition tactics condemning any group established. The bottom line on the enterprise strategy group is that the fundamentals have been implemented in terms of eco...More Button

The Employment Permits Bill 2005 is awaiting this House to pass it on to Committee Stage. The transport initiative unveiled yesterday is central to recommendations arising from the enterprise strategy...More Button

I am dealing with the issue. The One Step Up initiative has been allocated an extra €40 million this year. It was used immediately to upskill the workforce. Whatever criteria are used, there is solid ...More Button

One of the great driving forces behind Ireland’s transformation economically over the past decade or so has been the strategic approach taken on macro issues. These are significant fundamental issues ...More Button

Other Questions - Groceries Order.

Was asked: the progress made to date with regard to the public consultation process on the groceries order; when he expects to make a decision on the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when he intends to take a decision on the groceries order; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 107 and 133 together. The public consultation process on the groceries order generated more than 550 submissions which were received from a wide range of parties, incl...More Button

The Deputy will see those very shortly and I look forward to his support.More Button

I have made no glib response. I have given detailed consideration to the issue, as is appropriate. The Government will make the decision before it is brought to the House along with legislative propos...More Button

The Deputy should allow me to respond. I was somewhat surprised that originally, there was a knee-jerk reaction on the part of the Joint Committee on Enterprise and Small Business to oppose any change...More Button

However, I am glad to see there has been some amendment of that position.More Button

I have. While it is extremely carefully worded on a number of fronts, I have made it clear that the retention of the groceries order is not a tenable proposition in the future. However, the Department...More Button

——from different sides. Consequently, as I have stated, I will go before the Government shortly and will not pre-empt its decision. I will come back before the House when that decision has been taken.More Button

As I have stated, the existing order is not a ban on below cost selling but is on below the net invoice price——More Button

In the first instance, I will bring my recommendations to the Government. It will make a decision on the issue and I will then revert back to the House. In time honoured fashion, I am going about this...More Button

The Deputy should define what he means.More Button

Does the Deputy understand what he has just asked?More Button

The groceries order is not a ban on below cost selling and is not a ban on predatory pricing.More Button

Existing legislation already covers that.More Button

The Competition Act deals with the issue. I sought advice and views on this matter and it deals with the issue of predatory pricing and abuse of dominance.More Button

The issue of jurisprudence is separate. However, I do not accept the proposition which the Deputy has just articulated. As I stated earlier, I will bring the full range of proposals and recommendation...More Button

I have read the joint committee’s report and have had discussions with its chairman.More Button

It is an interesting report.More Button

I know that.More Button

First, the Government makes decisions on these issues. This is the position.More Button

I have not finished and the Deputy does not appear inclined to give me an opportunity to do so.More Button

The Government makes decisions on whether to introduce legislation to the House. Such legislation is then published and it is then open for all Members to have an input into it.More Button

The Deputy should allow me to finish. This will require primary legislation and all Members will have the opportunity to contribute to any legislation. In addition, I have no difficulty in discussing ...More Button

Other Questions - Local Authority Funding.

Was asked: his concerns regarding the impact of levies being imposed by local authorities on the development of small to medium-sized enterprises; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The framework for development contribution schemes was agreed under the Planning and Development Act 2000 to update the long-standing development levy system. That system had applied since 1963 and is...More Button

I do not accept the Deputy’s points because a range of new revenue opportunities have emerged for local authorities in recent times, not least these development levies. The economic growth and buoyanc...More Button

——sectors involved in the productive side of the economy, particularly on the manufacturing side as well as the chambers of commerce and so on. The variation between local authorities emerged as a fac...More Button

Local authorities must take due note of this in future and I hope they will examine their schemes in that respect. I understand there is no differentiation between the commercial, manufacturing and re...More Button

First, I object to the Deputy’s comments. It is about time we accept responsibility at local level.More Button

With the greatest respect, Deputy Hogan’s party made a big song and dance about gaining control of local authorities the length and breadth of the country. We will now see how——More Button

——pro-enterprise and responsible it is in terms of managing these levies at local level.More Button

The legislation is no excuse for the wide differentiation between local authorities vis-à-vis these particular levies. Why is it that in one county it can be at a certain level and at a much higher le...More Button

When we give enabling powers and authority to local authorities, we in this House should accept that the responsibility then lies——More Button

——with that particular body. The amount of funding allocated to local authorities has been increased year by year by consecutive Ministers.More Button

I am not out of touch and am very insulted.More Button

I hope that, from Fine Gael’s latter day control of local authorities, we will witness some response to these types of issues.More Button

I look forward to engaging with that party. I hope the matter rates enough of Fine Gael’s attention in the forthcoming election at local authority level.More Button

Other Questions - Unemployment Levels.

Was asked: the details of the recently established Donegal interdepartmental group; its terms of reference and membership; if any meetings have been held; when it is due to report; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

Was asked: the action that is to be taken to deal with the high rate of unemployment in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the unemployment rate in County Donegal and the measures being adopted to redress the imbalance in respect of the national average unemployment rate.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109, 111 and 151 together. The House will be aware that there have been significant job announcements in County Donegal recently with over 210 new jobs announced by Ze...More Button

The figure was 11.4% in 1995 but it is now 4.9%.More Button

However, I recognise that there have been significant job losses in County Donegal in recent years, which is why I have visited the county a number of times since becoming Minister for Enterprise, Tra...More Button

Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes.

Was asked: if he will consider altering the current community employment scheme or social economy programme to provide opportunities for communities to employ youth officers to co-ordinate events in local areas ...More Button

The main purpose of the community employment programme operated by FÁS is to provide work experience and training for the long term unemployed and disadvantaged groups and thereby enable participants ...More Button

Written Answers - County Enterprise Boards.

Was asked: if additional funding will be provided 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, CEBs, in 2005, my Department adopted a systematic approach to ensure the maximum degree of objectivity and equity of tr...More Button

Written Answers - EU Funding.

Was asked: the measures he has taken to meet the €15 million reduction from the European Social Fund; and the steps he has taken to redress the departmental irregularities that led to the decrease.More Button

As a consequence of a Commission audit decision in the year 2000, €15.6 million of European Social Fund moneys were withheld from Ireland. The sum involved represents less than 1% of the amount alloca...More Button

Written Answers - Health and Safety Regulations.

Was asked: the measures he intends to take in response to the 27% increase in workplace fatalities in 2005, the disproportionate representation of non-nationals therein; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Was asked: the measures he intends to take to reduce the high and rising incidence of workplace fatalities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the action he intends to take on foot of the rise in workplace fatalities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of deaths and injuries reported arising from industrial accidents in each year from 2000 to 2004 and to date in 2005; the further steps he intends to take to reduce the level of such accide...More Button

Written Answers - National Consumer Strategy.

Was asked: if, arising from the report of the Consumer Strategy Group, it is intended to implement the recommendation that consumer considerations should be incorporated into all regulatory analysis procedures a...More Button

Was asked: if, arising from the report of the Consumer Strategy Group, it is intended to implement the recommendation to introduce standardised statutory codes of practice across all public sector bodies, which ...More Button

Was asked: if, arising from the report of the Consumer Strategy Group, it is intended to implement the recommendation to expand social partnership to include consumer representatives on both the Government and v...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 115, 146 and 174 together. The Consumer Strategy Group was established in March 2004 to advise and make recommendations on the development of a national consumer strat...More Button

Written Answers - Industrial Relations.

Was asked: if, in view of the ongoing Irish Ferries dispute, the practice of disemploying existing workers to replace them with lower paid, agency-employed workers qualifies the workers for statutory redundancy ...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Support Services.

Was asked: his views on the failure of the employment services policy unit to address the problem of long-term unemployment over the past number of years, which is at the same level now as it was in 2000, and re...More Button

Since 1997 over 450,000 new jobs have been created. There has also been a significant fall in unemployment from 10.4% to 4.2% at present. Long-term unemployment fell from 5.5% in 1997 to 1.6% in 2000 ...More Button

Written Answers - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: if he is satisfied with the level of compliance by employers in relation to payment of contributions to the CIF sick pay and pensions fund on behalf of construction workers; his views on whether indep...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Inquiries.

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 his Department; the element of these costs which h...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding each of the inquiries being carried out by or on behalf of his Department; the projected date for the conclusion of each such investigation; the inquiries in respect of which re...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 119 and 149 together. Sixteen investigations into company law matters were initiated by my predecessor in the period since 1997. In three cases, the High Court appoint...More Button

Written Answers - Regulatory Amalgamation.

Was asked: his views on the need for a new regulatory framework here with the creation of a single regulator under the auspices of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The enterprise strategy group recommended that the existing regulators for networked sectors, for example, electricity, gas, telecommunications and broadcasting, should be replaced by a new regulatory...More Button

Written Answers - Public Safety Regulation.

Was asked: the reason the Government has not acted on the main recommendation of the report, A Review of Public Safety in Ireland, which was commissioned by the Tánaiste and published in 2000, namely, the establ...More Button

Was asked: the reason the Government has not acted on the main recommendation of the report, A Review of Public Safety in Ireland, which was commissioned by the Tánaiste and published in 2000, namely the establi...More Button

Written Answers - Small Business Forum.

Was asked: the number of meetings held by the Small Business Forum; when it is likely to report; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Small Business Forum, which I have set up to consider the current environment for conducting small business in Ireland, has held two plenary sessions to date. In addition, the forum has held a num...More Button

Written Answers - Insurance Industry.

Was asked: the way in which insurance costs here compare with insurance costs in other European and European Union member states; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The National Competitiveness Council, NCC, in its annual competitiveness report 2005, found that of the 16 countries benchmarked, Irish expenditure on non-life insurance was the fourth highest. Howeve...More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: if, in view of recent revelations of rip-off Ireland, he will offer an explanation for the ongoing delay in the introduction of the consumer agency Bill; if he will provide a timeline for the new legi...More Button

I would point out to the Deputy that on the occasion of the publication of the final report of the Consumer Strategy Group in May of this year, I clearly stated that notwithstanding my desire to have ...More Button

Written Answers - Labour Inspectorate.

Was asked: the number of times vessels or other workplaces belonging to Irish Ferries have been inspected by the labour inspectorate.More Button

Was asked: the number of inspections carried out by the labour inspectorate of his Department to ensure payment of the national minimum wage in 2004 and to date in 2005; if his attention has been drawn to concer...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether the current complement of labour inspectors will be sufficient to ensure compliance with the legal duty on employers prescribed in the new Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that trade union officials representing workers in the construction industry are of the view that there is at present no effective deterrent to the exploita...More Button

Was asked: if, in regard to his announcement of the recruitment of an additional 11 labour inspectors, the number that have been appointed to date in 2005; when he expects the full number to be appointed; if the...More Button

Was asked: his views on whether the labour inspectorate has the number of inspectors necessary to carry out their duties in respect of the increased workforce and to inspect the treatment of the growing number o...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: the recommendations contained in the Enterprise Strategy Group’s Ahead of the Curve report; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Earlier this year the Government considered and endorsed the report of the high level committee that was asked to look at the most appropriate implementation arrangements for the enterprise strategy g...More Button

Was asked: the progress of implementation of the National Competitiveness Council’s various recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The recommendations and policy options highlighted by the NCC each year inform Government policy across a range of areas and have been implemented by a number of Departments. For example, in line with...More Button

Written Answers - Legislative Programme.

Was asked: the progress made regarding the Government’s proposals to provide legal protection on a sectoral basis for whistleblowers who may wish to expose illegalities or wrongdoing on the part of their employe...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Rights.

Was asked: if he will amend the Industrial Relations Act 1990, in relation to the definition of “employee” in order to rectify this situation.More Button

Was asked: his views on whether freelance workers including actors, musicians, film crews and freelance journalists should be entitled to be collectively represented.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that competition law is being mischievously used to attack the rights of certain workers, especially actors, musicians, film crews and freelance journalists...More Button

Was asked: the actions he will take to address the fact that competition law is being mischievously used to attack the rights of certain workers, especially actors, musicians, film crews and freelance journalist...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132, 148, 159 and 163 together. I take it that these questions relate to a view expressed by the Competition Authority in a recent investigation into alleged price fix...More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: the action he intends to take to bring employment to Youghal following job losses there; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am concerned about the recent job losses in the Youghal area, particularly the loss of 38 jobs in Seafield Technical Textiles Limited that has ceased operations due to adverse trading conditions. Ho...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Support Services.

Was asked: the measures he intends to take to create a more inclusive labour market with particular reference to areas of disadvantage where unemployment levels are up to three times the national average; if he ...More Button

In pursuit of the objectives of the national spatial strategy, the efforts of IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the city-county enterprise boards are directed towards the promotion of employment and...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Rights.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the recent findings of an EU survey published by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions which found that Irish workers had amon...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Appointments.

Was asked: the criteria by which a person (details supplied) was appointed to the board of the new National Consumer Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned was appointed to the interim board of the National Consumer Agency on the basis of considerable experience both in the public sector in terms of work experience and in the private...More Button

Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes.

Was asked: if women who are claiming deserted wife’s benefit are disqualified from participating in a community employment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The main purpose of the community employment programme administered by FÁS is to provide work experience and training for the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged groups and thereby enable participa...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Permits.

Was asked: his views on the possibility of a two-tier system of immigration, with wealthier employment visa holders awarded greater rights than poorer employment permit holders; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

Economic migration policy is formulated within a context where the focus on meeting our skills needs is: first, on upskilling our resident workforce; second, on maximising the potential of EEA nationa...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Rights.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that abuses in the construction industry have been referred to in a recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General and in remarks by the Pensions Ombu...More Button

Was asked: the proportion of the 230,000 strong construction industry workforce which is covered under the CIF pensions registered agreement; if he intends to take measures to ensure that employers fulfil their ...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to reports that some employers in the construction industry are withholding employees’ subscriptions to the CIF sick pay and pensions fund; if his attention has further...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: his plans to counteract job leakage to lower wage economies; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Ireland no longer operates as a low cost location for investment; our strengths and competitive advantages have inexorably changed. High output and productivity together with high returns to labour in...More Button

Written Answers - Labour Inspectorate.

Was asked: the progress made to date in 2005 with regard to consideration of the discussion document covering the operation of the labour inspectorate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Employment Rights.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to reports that some non-national workers were paid less than Irish workers on at least two projects being funded by the Government; that underpaid workers were afraid ...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the recently published annual competitiveness report; the steps he intends to take to address the issues raised in the report; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

The National Competitiveness Council’s, NCC, annual competitiveness report 2005 was published on 7 September. This report benchmarks Ireland’s competitiveness relative to our 15 main trading partners ...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Rights.

Was asked: the position regarding the investigation by the labour inspectorate into allegations of very serious irregularities in regard to the treatment of employees of a Turkish company, Gama, which has been o...More Button

Written Answers - Industrial Development.

Was asked: his plans to break up a company (details supplied) and the future role that the company will have in the mid-west region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have no plans to break up Shannon Development. On 28 July last, following detailed consultations with the board of the company, other stakeholders and regional interests, I announced a decision on a...More Button

Written Answers - Company Liquidation.

Was asked: the status of the liquidation of IFI; when its creditors will be paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The determination of any payments due to creditors of IFI is a matter solely for the liquidator. The position of unsecured creditors can only be determined by the liquidator when all the assets of the...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Rights.

Was asked: the progress made to date with regard to his consultations regarding the possible establishment of a joint labour committee to protect the interests of domestic workers, especially in view of evidence...More Button

Written Answers - Job Losses.

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 301 of 15 February 2005, if he will review this policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The reduction of 5,000 in staffing levels as announced by the Government in 2002 applies to all sectors of the public service. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and its agencies, incl...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Rights.

Was asked: the steps he has taken and the proposals he has formulated to address concerns in relation to the protection of workers’ jobs, pay and conditions of employment from displacement in favour of cheap lab...More Button

Was asked: the action he intends to take on employment standards arising from the decision by Irish Ferries to outsource its workforce; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Labour Court.

Was asked: the proportion of the Labour Court’s increased case load in 2004 which consisted of complaints concerning the construction industry pension and sick pay schemes; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: if it is his intention to introduce legislation to provide for the creation of a new offence of corporate manslaughter as suggested by the Law Reform Commission in October 2003 and recommended by the ...More Button

The issue of whether legislation to provide for the creation of a new offence of corporate manslaughter as suggested by the Law Reform Commission in its recent report is not a matter for me as Ministe...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: his views on whether the level of investment in research and development here is compatible with economic goals and the goals set out in the Lisbon Agenda; and if he will make a statement on the matte...More Button

The process of comprehensively addressing the research and development agenda was commenced by this Government under the current National Development Plan, NDP, 2000-2006. Within the current NDP, STI ...More Button

Written Answers - National Consumer Agency.

Was asked: the progress made to date with regard to the establishment of the new National Consumer Agency; if the membership of the board of the agency has been finalised; the number of meetings held by the boar...More Button

As I advised the House in my reply to a previous question, the core recommendation of the Consumer Strategy Group is that a new statutory body, the national consumer agency, be established to be an ad...More Button

Written Answers - Job Losses.

Was asked: the action he intends to take to reverse the continuing trend of job losses in the manufacturing sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Job losses in the manufacturing sector are of ongoing concern and the Government is doing all in its power to create structures through its enterprise development and training agencies, which will fac...More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: his views on the fact that the additional 93,000 jobs created this year have not led to a pro-rata increase in the expected tax take; if this is further indicative of increased casualisation of the Ir...More Button

Written Answers - Job Losses.

Was asked: if he will arrange a visit to County Kerry in the near future to discuss the job losses in IDA supported industries over the past five years with the local chambers of commerce, SIPTU and other organi...More Button

I visited Kerry on 21 July 2005 with officials from my Department and the State development agencies. During the course of this visit I met the Kenmare Chamber of Commerce, and representative organisa...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Appointments.

Was asked: the progress made regarding his examination of the issues that have arisen in relation to the academic qualifications of the person recently appointed as chief science adviser; and if he will make a s...More Button

I am continuing to examine the issues raised in the House and in the media in relation to the academic qualifications of the chief science adviser. I have raised the specific issues identified in the ...More Button

Written Answers - Labour Inspectorate.

Was asked: the number of inspections carried out by the labour inspectorate and the number of prosecutions initiated by the inspectorate in respect of the years 2002, 2003, 2004 and to date; and if he will make ...More Button

Written Answers - Company Closures.

Was asked: the reason a company (details supplied) closed, leaving staff and suppliers without their payments; and the action taken against this company.More Button

Written Answers - Unemployment Levels.

Was asked: the failure of the employment services policy unit to address the problem of long-term unemployment in recent years, which is at the same level now as it was in 2000, and represents more than one thir...More Button

Since 1997 more than 450,000 new jobs have been created. There has also been a significant fall in unemployment, from 10.4% to 4.2% at present. Long-term unemployment fell from 5.5% in 1997 to 1.6% in...More Button

Written Answers - EU Funding.

Was asked: the measures he has taken to meet the €15 million reduction from the European Social Fund; and the steps he has taken to redress the departmental irregularities that led to the decrease.More Button

As a consequence of a Commission audit decision in 2000, €15.6 million of European Social Fund moneys were withheld from Ireland. The sum involved represents less than 1% of the amount allocated to th...More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the immediate need for industry in the town of Ballina, County Mayo; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that this Mayo town desperately needs an emp...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that it is more than six years since the IDA created employment in Ballina; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that industrial employment i...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 354 and 355 together. Support for job creation and investment in individual counties is a day-to-day operational matter for the development agencies as part of their r...More Button

Written Answers - Health and Safety Regulations.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the person who made a written complaint to the Health and Safety Authority in July 2005 regarding a centre (details supplied) in County Kerry was sacke...More Button

Written Answers - Insurance Industry.

Was asked: if, in view of the recent huge profits revealed for the insurance sector, he has satisfied himself that the industry is passing on the benefits of reduced claims to consumers; and if he will make a st...More Button

The financial regulator, under the aegis of the Minister for Finance, is responsible for the financial supervision of insurance companies here. Before the establishment of the financial regulator, my ...More Button

Written Answers - Public Relations Contracts.

Was asked: the number and value of contracts awarded for public relations projects by his Department since December 2004.More Button

No contracts for public relations projects have been awarded by my Department since December 2004.More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Staff.

Was asked: the number of civil servants and other staff employed in his constituency office; and the grade and remuneration of each.More Button

Two civil servants and three other staff are employed in my Department’s constituency office. Details regarding grade and remuneration are outlined in the following table: In addition, two individuals...More Button

Written Answers - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: the number and value of contracts awarded to outside consultants by his Department in each of the past five years; the details of the contracts involved; and if these projects have reached fruition.More Button

I understand the Deputy has confirmed that he is seeking details of contracts which have a total value of €10,000 or more. That information cannot be provided within the timescale available. Officials...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Staff.

Was asked: the number of civil servants and other staff in his press office; and the grade and remuneration of each staff member.More Button

There are five civil servants and one press adviser in my Department’s press office. Details of grade and remuneration are outlined in the table below. The principal officer undertakes other duties in...More Button

Written Answers - Health and Safety Regulations.

Was asked: if the Personal Injuries Assessment Board has received a personal injury claim from a person (details supplied) in County Galway; if so, the reason it is taking so long to process the claim; and if he...More Button

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board, PIAB, 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 ...More Button

Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes.

Was asked: the number of workers involved through FÁS and community employment schemes on a county basis for each of the past five years; his views on whether there are quite a number of persons in long-term une...More Button

Following a review of FÁS employment schemes, I announced on 10 November 2004 that the three-year cap for participants on CE was to be raised to six years for those over the age of 55. The FÁS CE prog...More Button

Written Answers - EU Funding.

Was asked: the position regarding the negotiations with the EU Commission regarding changes to the Border, midlands and western region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the steps he is taking to ensure that north Tipperary will be included in the expanded Border, midlands and western region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 364 and 365 together. The current regional aid guidelines are due to expire at the end of 2006. Negotiations regarding the revised regional aid guidelines covering the...More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: the steps he is taking to enhance employment opportunities in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The issue of job creation is a day-to-day operational issue for the industrial development agencies under the remit of my Department and not one in which I, as Minister, have direct involvement. IDA I...More Button

Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes.

Was asked: the steps he is taking to amend the social economy programme and the community employment scheme; if the community employment scheme will be operated going forward by another agency; and if he will ma...More Button

The main purpose of the community employment programme operated by FÁS is to provide work experience and training for the long-term unemployed and disadvantaged groups and thereby enable participants ...More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: the efforts his Department is making in conjunction with a company (details supplied) to create the climate for improved job opportunities in the town of Tuam; the progress being made on the construct...More Button

IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment to Ireland. While I may give general policy directives to the agency, I am precluded under the I...More Button

Written Answers - World Trade Negotiations.

Was asked: the number and location of new countries with which trade or other import and export agreements have been established in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that adequate new export markets are available for Irish manufactured goods; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers - Work Permits.

Was asked: the number of work permits issued in each of the past 12 months; the way in which this compares with the prevailing situation in the previous 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The work permits section of my Department issued 29,532 work permits applications in the 12 months from 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2005 of which 7,634 were new permits. This compares with 36,400 ...More Button

Was asked: the number of applications for work permits refused in each of the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The work permits section of my Department refused 1,429 work permits applications in the 12 months from 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2005. Following is a detailed monthly breakdown. The Deputy may w...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: his plans to improve the competitiveness of the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2005-2006, Ireland has moved up four places from 30th to 26th out of 117 countries. This improvement in Ireland’s national competi...More Button

Written Answers - Job Losses.

Was asked: the countermeasures he proposes to take to address the issue of manufacturing or service job relocation to lower wage economies; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of jobs which have relocated from here to lower wage economies in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31965/05]IMore Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 374 and 375 together. It is not possible to determine the number of manufacturing or service jobs that have relocated to lower wage economies in the past five years. R...More Button

Written Answers - Insurance Industry

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that public liability insurance costs here are competitive with those applicable in other European countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that insurance costs here are favourably comparable with those applicable within trading partners here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 376 and 378 together. The National Competitiveness Council, NCC, in its Annual Competitiveness Report 2005 found that of the 16 countries benchmarked, Irish expenditur...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Support Services.

Was asked: if adequate funds are available to meet the requirements of the various social employment schemes throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The allocation to all FÁS employment schemes in 2005 is €395 million, an increase of 8% over the 2004 budget. This level of funding will be adequate to meet requirements.More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: the issues which have arisen following the risk analysis being conducted on his Department’s decentralisation programme; the way in which it is intended to address these issues; the projected cost of ...More Button

My Department has completed a comprehensive risk assessment of the decentralisation programme. This assessment, which is included in the Department’s most recent decentralisation plan submitted to the...More Button


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