Lenihan, Brian Joseph

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 670 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 243 Next Page Last Page

Order of Business.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 2 be agreed to.”
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Estimates for Public Services 2008.

Votes put.
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Health Bill 2008: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the main question.”
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Health Bill 2008: Committee Stage.

Question put.
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Amendment put.
No IndicatorVoted No More Button

Question put.
Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Priority Questions - Availability of Credit.

Was asked: his assessment of whether there is a flow of credit to Irish business; and his strategy to deal with this problem. More Button

Nobody wants viable businesses to fail because banks will not lend them money. At my meetings with representatives of the various financial institutions over recent weeks, I asked the institutions co...More Button

I am far from complacent on this subject. I referred in my response to the numerous meetings I have had with the financial institutions. At my request and insistence, the various financial instituti...More Button

Deputy Bruton is not in a position to say there is no solution. The plans were submitted in the last ten days. We do not yet have a detailed assessment of whether they have been implemented. It is ...More Button

At my insistence the banks submitted plans to protect small and medium sized businesses in the weeks ahead. On recapitalisation, I was simply drawing the Deputy’s attention to the fact that the recap...More Button

Two and a half months ago we secured the position of the Irish banks and a great deal of liquidity went into the Irish banks throughout October. The liquidity of Irish banks was repaired in that mont...More Button

Priority Questions - Tax Yield.

Was asked: the expected tax revenue outturn and Exchequer borrowing requirement for 2008; his views on the November 2008 Exchequer returns and live register figures and their implications for the modification o...More Button

Was asked: if he has assessed the extent of the expected shortfall in tax revenue in 2009 and the additional cuts in current spending which he is targeting. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 and 4 together. In the period since the budget was presented to this House, the economic environment has become considerably more difficult. Many of our trading par...More Button

The Deputy has raised a great range of questions. First, the officials in my Department work very hard. I would not consider them either mandarins or number crunchers. They work on the statistics a...More Button

I do not have the exact information to hand on the increase in the cost of borrowing. The Deputy appreciates that there are considerable difficulties for all countries accessing funds in internationa...More Button

Regarding Deputy Burton’s dismay, the roots of our problems are far beyond the necessary correction in the domestic housing market. I am concerned if she entertains the view that that is the sole roo...More Button

It is not the most significant cause.More Button

The contraction began in late 2006. Our difficulties in the last six months stem from an international phenomenon which everybody in the country can see on their television screen every evening. It ...More Button

Priority Questions - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: if he has assessed the impact on retail sales and VAT receipts of the differential of 6.5 points in VAT with Northern Ireland and the UK. More Button

The budget increase of 0.5% in the standard VAT rate is estimated to yield the Exchequer €208 million in 2009 and €227 million in a full year. As part of a fiscal stimulus package, the UK Government ...More Button

I do not have information at my disposal about the extent or value of shopping that is being undertaken by residents of the State in Northern Ireland. However——More Button

If I could finish my reply, I intend to obtain an accurate account of this. For this reason I have asked the Revenue Commissioners, in conjunction with the Central Statistics Office, to examine the l...More Button

I am not in a position to advise the Deputy of that today. He will appreciate that I gave the commitment yesterday evening. I will be in a position to communicate with the Deputy about that matter i...More Button

Priority Questions - Public Sector Remuneration.

Was asked: if the departmental schemes of performance-related rewards have in all cases taken up the entire pool of 10% of the pay bill of the groups concerned since they were first instituted; and if he will ...More Button

The current scheme for departmental performance-related awards was introduced following a decision by the Government on the implementation of recommendations in report No. 38 of the Review Body on Hig...More Button

With regard to the detailed information sought by the Deputy, the range of individual awards varies. In 2007, for example, a total of 194 civil servants received awards ranging from €3,200 to €26,000...More Button

I have answered the Deputy’s question to the best——More Button

I have answered the different questions posed by the Deputy. I do not have at my disposal detailed information on the number of applications and the proportion of such applications which were success...More Button

Perhaps if the Deputy tabled that question I could furnish him with an answer. Not all eligible persons choose to participate in the scheme. Of those who do participate, key objectives must be agreed...More Button

Other Questions - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: his views on whether persons appointed to the boards of banks covered by the bank guarantee to guard the public interest could contravene the legal requirement of company directors to act in the int...More Button

Was asked: the mandate he has given to the public interest directors who he proposes the banks participating in the guarantee scheme appoint to their boards. More Button

Was asked: if he has clarified the way in which the public interest directors being appointed to the boards of institutions covered by the bank guarantee scheme can exercise their public interest mandates in t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 6, 21 and 36 together. These questions are concerned with the issue of possible conflicts of interest for non-executive directors appointed from the panel approved by ...More Button

The guarantee scheme provides that the institutions pay for the directors just like any other directors. I select a balanced panel——More Button

When this matter was progressed through these Houses, there was considerable reservation expressed about the fact that the panel envisaged left to the financial institution an element of choice or dis...More Button

We know from our debate on the legislation that the guaranteed institutions are not nationalised institutions and the State does not have shareholdings in them. In the course of the enactment of the ...More Button

Once these directors are appointed, they have a fiduciary obligation to the banking institution. I was somewhat in the position of a Taoiseach when he appoints his Ministers in that the most importan...More Button

We do not have shareholdings in these institutions so once these directors are appointed, their primary obligation is to the institution itself in fiduciary terms. On the other question of whether the...More Button

In the case of Aer Lingus, it is not an analogous position because the State retains a shareholding in Aer Lingus. The State does not have a shareholding in the financial institutions and for that re...More Button

I thank Deputy Burton for acknowledging the quality of the appointees. I am not in a position to give directions on the mandate to these individuals as to what they should or should not do in particu...More Button

We will have to differ on that.More Button

I am not copping out. That is the strict statutory position. However, I have every confidence in their ability to discharge their duties and to ensure the changes we all want to see in the banking s...More Button

I am not going to seek reports from the ladies and gentlemen in question. They are well aware, however, of the difficulties faced by small businesses. Regarding another point raised by Deputy O’Donne...More Button

Other Questions - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: his views on the adequacy of provision for pension liabilities in the public sector; and the policy options open to him. More Button

Total expenditure on public service pensions in 2007 was €2.3 billion and the most recent projections carried out by the Department of Finance are for expenditure on public service pensions to increas...More Button

The growth in the public service provision will increase from 1.3% of GDP in 2007 to 2.1% in 2025. I do not believe it will encompass the whole of GDP.More Button

The Deputy is referring to the liability as a proportion of GNP while I am referring to the expenditure in proportion to GDP. To address the issue, the State established the National Pensions Reserve ...More Button

Legislation may be required for taking over the assets of semi-State and public bodies as announced over the summer. With regard to the liabilities, the position is that the State already undertakes ...More Button

I agree that a pension strategy must be devised and the Government’s intention is to build on the work already done by producing more definitive signposts on how we go forward in the coming months.More Button

In the coming months. We have enough difficulties with pension funds, as Deputy Bruton is well aware.More Button

Other Questions - Banking Sector Regulation.

Was asked: the way he has used, continues to use and intends to use Government leverage, arising from the granting of the bank guarantee; if as lead or supporting investor in a programme of bank recapitalisati...More Button

The objective of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme is to maintain financial stability in the best interests of the public and the economy of the State. To that end, the scheme provid...More Button

Regarding the query of Deputies Burton and Morgan on timeframes and the urgency of loans to small and medium sized businesses, in all discussions with the institutions I have stressed that the core co...More Button

It is open to any private investor to approach a financial institution. If such private investors approach the State for co-investment, my policy is to refer them to the NTMA for assessment. Any suc...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Agencies.

Was asked: the implications in terms of a reduction in staff numbers and savings in annual costs of the programme of rationalisation of State agencies outlined in budget 2009. More Button

In my Budget Statement on 14 October last, I announced that the Government had decided to implement 30 rationalisation decisions spread across 11 Government Departments. The details of the rationalis...More Button

Written Answers - House Repossessions.

Was asked: his views on the establishment of a fund or other mechanism to prevent a huge increase in house repossessions over the 2009 to 2010 period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I have no plans to introduce such a scheme. As the Taoiseach said in the House earlier this week, the Government has been pro-active in seeking to safeguard the interests of households that experienc...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Direct Investment.

Was asked: if he or officials in his Department have made contact with the transition team of President-elect Obama; if discussions have taken place, or if correspondence has been exchanged, with respect to pos...More Button

Was asked: the meetings that he has had to ensure that the needs of US companies based here are not adversely affected by moves to change the tax rules in the United States. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 41 together. I understand that President-elect Obama is at present concentrating on the appointment of his Cabinet and that it will be some time before we have ...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Yield.

Was asked: if he has assessed the impact on retail sales here and on VAT receipts of the differential of 6.5 points on VAT in the North and in the UK. More Button

The Budget increase of 0.5% in the standard VAT rate is estimated to yield the Exchequer €208 million in 2009 and €227 million in a full year. As part of a fiscal stimulus package, the UK Government r...More Button

Written Answers - Public Service Review.

Was asked: the terms of reference and the proposed order of programme review by the advisory group chaired by Colm McCarthy; if the analysis will be published; and the decisions taken on a programme by programm...More Button

I refer the Deputy to the Government Statement on Transforming Public Services of 26 November 2008 which stated that the objectives of the Special Group are to:— a. Review the scope for reducing or di...More Button

Written Answers - Capital Projects.

Was asked: the 20 projects on which spot checks were undertaken by the central evaluation unit; and the projects which had issues of potential non-compliance with value for money requirements flagged. More Button

The Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit (CEEU) in my Department has undertaken a substantial programme of direct spot checks of individual capital projects encompassing over 20 projects across six dif...More Button

Written Answers - House Repossessions.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that other jurisdictions facing rising home repossessions are considering a foreclosure holiday whereby those at risk of losing their homes due to mortgage...More Button

I refer the Deputy to my answer to Dail Question No. 10 (Ref: 45358/08) of 11th December 2008. I would add that for 2007 as a whole, the total number of houses repossessed by mainstream lenders in Ire...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Forecasts.

Was asked: if he has revised his forecast for the economy in 2009; and the impact this will have on spending and tax receipts forecast. More Button

Was asked: the forecast for Irish economic growth for 2009 in view of further deterioration in the economy since he forecast a 1% contraction in GNP on budget day 2009; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 16 and 34 together. As I indicated in my response to an earlier question, the Budget forecasts were that the economy would contract by 1 per cent in 2009. Forecasts p...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: if he is satisfied that businesses are getting satisfactory lines of credit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Nobody wants a situation where viable businesses fail because banks will not lend them money. At my meetings with certain financial institutions over the last two weeks, I asked those institutions co...More Button

Written Answers - EU Recovery Plan.

Was asked: if Ireland will take part in the EU Commission’s €200 billion recovery plan, which aims to protect workers, households and entrepreneurs who risk being adversely affected as the financial crisis spre...More Button

I welcome the Commission’s Plan as an important signal to EU consumers and business that Member States and the Commission are working together to help boost demand and to support business in these dif...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Programmes.

Was asked: if he is satisfied that he has addressed the issues with e-Government projects that were highlighted by the Comptroller and Auditor General earlier in 2008; the steps he has taken to ensure that less...More Button

Since the publication of the report referred to, the following measures have been taken by my Department: Firstly, as recommended by the Reach Review, the functions of Reach and the Public Service Bro...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Regulation.

Was asked: his views on stronger legislation against predatory lending, particularly so called sub-prime lending; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

At the outset, I would point out to the Deputy that the Government has taken steps last October under Section 19 of the Markets in Financial Instruments and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2007, which a...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: if he has set specific requirements in the bank plans submitted under the guarantee scheme for the handling of mortgage arrears and repossessions. More Button

The terms and conditions of the Scheme include paragraph 26 of the Scheme, which states “Each covered institution shall, at such frequency as the Minister shall determine, confirm in writing to the Mi...More Button

Written Answers - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: the amount the Exchequer will borrow in 2009; the amount he intends to raise through the National Treasury Management Agency on capital markets in 2009; if a schedule has been established for this de...More Button

The NTMA have advised me that their annual net funding requirement is determined by the level of the Exchequer Balance and the amount of maturities of existing loans. Based on Budget 2009 projections...More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: the timetable for the completion of the decentralisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As I announced in the Budget, the Government has reviewed the Decentralisation Programme in light of the changed economic circumstances and identified priority elements on which implementation should ...More Button

Written Answers - Public Sector Staff.

Was asked: when it is proposed that staff mobility across the various segments of the public service will commence; and the statutory provisions that will be required to implement it. More Button

On 26 November 2008 the Government published the Report of the Task Force on the Public Service, Transforming Public Services, along with a major policy statement which sets out how the recommendation...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: if measures in respect of promotion of research and development are planned which have not been included in the Finance (No. 2) Bill 2008; and the proposals regarding same. More Button

Apart from the increase in the rate of the tax credit from 20% to 25 %, which I announced in my Budget Statement, the Finance Bill includes a number of other very significant changes to the R&D tax cr...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Yield.

Was asked: his latest forecasts for the tax receipts in 2009 in view of the shortfall in tax receipts in October and November 2008 and the downward revision in forecasting for the economy; the way he plans to a...More Button

Was asked: if, in view of the November 2008 Exchequer returns, there is a need to revise his forecast general Government deficit of 6.5% of GDP, or just over €12 billion for 2009; if there will a need for a min...More Button

Was asked: when he proposes to introduce a supplementary budget for 2009 in view of the decline in Exchequer tax receipts to date in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 27, 54 and 69 together. In the period since the Budget was presented to this House, the economic environment has become considerably more difficult. Many of our tradi...More Button

Written Answers - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: his views on a fiscal stimulus package to jump-start the Irish economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he proposes measures to boost consumer spending to avoid the risk of a deflationary spiral; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and 71 together. In common with virtually all the world’s advanced economies, Ireland is facing substantial economic and fiscal challenges in the immediate future. ...More Button

Written Answers - Public Service Contracts.

Was asked: the details of the new public procurement unit to be established in the Office of Public Works; the annual savings this unit is expected to make for the Exchequer; if this unit will be responsible fo...More Button

It is proposed that the new public procurement unit to be based in the Office of Public Works will (i) oversee procurement on the part of central Government Departments and Offices, agencies and non-c...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: if he will revisit the €10 and €2 exit tax to ensure that no airport has a comparative advantage over another due to Government policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he has held discussions with the Department of Finance on the operation of the new €10 air travel tax which will operate for airports here; the person who will collect the tax from departing passe...More Button

Was asked: his views on the impact of the €10 departure tax on the outcome of tourism policy here in view of the fact that it will increase the costs on tourists visiting; the discussions that he has had with t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30, 40 and 45 together. I announced in Budget 2009 that an air travel tax will come into force in respect of passengers departing from Irish airports on and from 30 Ma...More Button

Written Answers - National Museum.

Was asked: if the funding for the new exhibition space at the National Museum at Collins Barracks is provided for in the 2009 capital budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Tax Collection.

Was asked: the number of Irish people, and the amount of money, he believes have moved assets overseas through offshore trusts in each of the past five years to date in 2008; the number and the proportion of th...More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that investigations carried out under the various legacy enquiries revealed the use of offshore trusts in the settlement of funds by Irish residents on non-re...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure.

Was asked: the provision for pay increases and increments that has been made in respect of public sector pay in Budget 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

No specific provision has been made for the cost of the first phase (3.5%) of the new agreement: Towards 2016 — Review and Transitional Agreement 2008-09, scheduled for 1st September 2009. The cost a...More Button

Written Answers - National Pensions Reserve Fund.

Was asked: the work of a person (details supplied) on the review of the National Pension Reserve Fund; the terms of reference for this review; if consideration is being given to the adoption by the fund of comp...More Button

I announced in my Budget speech that I was conducting a review of the National Pensions Reserve Fund in the context of recent economic and fiscal developments. I asked Mr Maurice O’Connell, former Gov...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: the strategy his Department has to implement the proposed parking levy; the areas which he considers are urban areas; if he plans to end renting car park spaces for public servants in his Department;...More Button

The levy will apply where employers provide parking facilities for employees in the urban centres of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. The specific areas to which the levy will apply and t...More Button

Written Answers - State Borrowing.

Was asked: his views on the recent spike in the cost of credit default swaps on Irish sovereign debt; his further views on whether Ireland could lose its AAA sovereign rating at some point over the coming two y...More Button

The National Treasury Management Agency have advised me that the current aversion to risk in global markets has led to an increase in the cost of insuring exposure to all counterparties, and the assoc...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: the meetings or correspondence he has had with a group (detail supplied) since the announcement of the Government's credit institution guarantee scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter....More Button

Was asked: the meetings or correspondence he has had with a group (details supplied) since the announcement of the Government's credit institution guarantee scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter...More Button

Was asked: the meetings or correspondence he has had with a group (details supplied) since the announcement of the credit institutions (financial support) scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 39, 59 and 78 together. The Government’s Guarantee Scheme has been successful in safeguarding the stability of the Irish banking sector and in restoring its liquidity ...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the charge made for the guarantee of bank deposits represents a commercial charge. More Button

The Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme provides that each covered institution shall pay a charge to the Exchequer for the guarantee provided under the Scheme. The charge for the provision...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: the extent to which Irish enterprises and lending institutions have utilised EU funding for small and medium enterprises through the competitiveness and innovation framework programme and joint Europ...More Button

In relation to the general question of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) being able to access finance, I am very conscious of the difficulties that are being faced by Irish businesses in this regard...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: the extent to which small businesses and personal borrowers are having difficulties in accessing the credit they need; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

An important aim of the Bank Guarantee Scheme is to ensure that we have a banking system that as a whole works effectively, efficiently and competitively in facilitating all the day-to-day ordinary ec...More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: the savings he anticipates making in expenditure on property, rents and leases arising from the suspension of parts of the decentralisation programme; the leases or purchases of properties that are n...More Button

Written Answers - Public Private Partnerships.

Was asked: the implications for public private partnership projects of the current economic difficulties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The general tightening of credit markets has implications for all privately funded projects, including PPPs. These include an increase in the cost of private finance, changes to the terms and conditi...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: if he will report on discussions held with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on the proposed new annual €200 tax for urban-based employees; if he will define an urban a...More Button

I am presuming the Deputy is referring to the parking levy. The specific areas to which the levy will apply will be designated by me by way of Order. This will be done after appropriate consultation...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Agencies.

Was asked: the non-commercial State bodies for which performance-related bonuses have been approved by his Department; if a pool of 10% pay applies in these schemes; and if the full pool has been taken up since...More Button

In terms of the operation of performance related award (PRA) schemes in non commercial State Bodies, the role of the Minister and Department of Finance is to approve the introduction of such schemes w...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: his views on allowing tax relief at the marginal rate, or other appropriate financial supports, on charges for IVF treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The position is that health expenses relief will be granted at the standard rate only in respect of expenses incurred from 1 January 2009 with the exception of nursing home expenses which will continu...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: the number and percentage of disabled persons employed by the Office of Public Works, as compared with the requirement of 3% disabled staff to be employed by State bodies; the reason for this situati...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: if he has assessed the expected impact of the 0.5% VAT increase on consumer spending and VAT revenue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Budget introduced a general package of revenue-raising measures to fund key public services, one measure of which was increasing the standard VAT rate by 0.5% to 21.5% from 1 December 2008. The V...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: his views on the establishment of a fund to lend directly to small and medium enterprises, ensuring that they can access credit and working capital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Lending by banks is, in the first instance, a commercial decision for individual financial institutions who will evaluate loan applications submitted by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Through t...More Button

Written Answers - Public Service Review.

Was asked: the precise terms of reference and membership of the special group on public service numbers and expenditure programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I refer the Deputy to the Government Statement on Transforming Public Services of 26 November 2008 which stated that the objectives of the Special Group are to: review the scope for reducing or discon...More Button

Written Answers - Sports Facilities.

Was asked: the action that will be taken to provide sporting facilities such as football pitches for residents of an area (details supplied) in view of the fact that they are being prevented from using the gard...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: his plans to heed the recent ruling in the EU Court of Justice which stated that services to sports clubs can be VAT exempt under certain conditions; his further plans to transpose this information i...More Button

It is assumed that the Deputy is referring to the Judgment of the European Court of Justice in Case C-253/07 — Canterbury Hockey Club and Canterbury Ladies Hockey Club v The Commissioners for H.M. Rev...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Forecasts.

Was asked: if, based on the most recent data available to him, he is satisfied that he can accurately predict the likely trend in the economy in view of the current or projected position in respect of the econo...More Button

At the current juncture, there is greater uncertainty than normal attached to any set of forecasts, given the scale of the shocks to which the global and domestic economies have been subjected to. In...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: if, in view of the EU Commission’s veto of tax incentives for docklands regeneration as announced in Budget 2009, he will bring forward revised proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matte...More Button

In my Budget speech on 14 October, I announced the introduction of a new tax incentive scheme to facilitate the removal and relocation of Seveso-listed industrial facilities which hinder the residenti...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: the outcome of his recent discussions in Farmleigh with Irish banking executives, public servants, Irish and international investors; the individuals involved in these discussions; and if he will mak...More Button

The Government’s Guarantee Scheme has been successful in safeguarding the stability of the Irish banking sector and in restoring its liquidity position. To ensure the effective implementation of the ...More Button

Written Answers - National Pensions Reserve Fund.

Was asked: the holding of the National Pension Reserve Fund; if they are held directly or through funds, in banks quoted on the Irish Stock Exchange and banks quoted on international stock exchanges; if he will...More Button

The National Pensions Reserve Fund, as a large diversified global investor, has invested in over 2,500 stocks globally. As required by the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000, the National Pension...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: the number of people availing of the rent-a-room tax relief; the cost to the State of this relief in 2006, 2007 and 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the most recent year for which the necessary detailed statistical information is available in relation to the Rent-a-Room Scheme is the income tax year ...More Button

Written Answers - Flood Relief.

Was asked: the plans of the Office of Public Works in relation to carrying out works on the weir in Fermoy, County Cork; the progress made in resolving certain issues in relation to the rowing club in the town;...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure.

Was asked: when the contracts for the building of the new Department of Defence headquarters were signed; the cost commitments entered into with the contract; if the signing of the contract was reconsidered in ...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Regulation.

Was asked: his views on the high level of credit card debt held by consumers here; if consideration has been given to increasing the minimum payment on credit card balances; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

I have no role in relation to payment terms for commercial debt (including credit card debt) which, for the generality is a matter, for the parties concerned. While the overall level of debt on credi...More Button

Written Answers - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: the meetings or correspondence he has had with the Irish Pension Board since 1 January 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Under the Pensions Act 1990 the Pensions Board reports to the Minister for Social and Family Affairs — rather than the Minister for Finance — on all matters relating to the functions assigned to the B...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: the measures he proposes to ensure that the recapitalisation of the banks will ensure that credit is provided to businesses and consumers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As outlined in my statement of 28 November, I have asked the covered banks to examine their options to attract or raise private capital to underpin their long term sustainability and support their len...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

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

As the Deputy may be aware, I have made a number of changes to the capital gains tax code in my recent Budget and Finance Bill (as initiated). These include changes to the payment dates in respect of...More Button

Written Answers - Live Register.

Was asked: his views on recent trends in live register figures and the latest quarterly household employment survey; if he will revise his forecast of average unemployment for 2009, from the 7.3% forecast on Bu...More Button

The latest Live Register figures relate to November 2008, when the number of people on the Register reached 277,200 on a seasonally-adjusted basis. This represents an annual increase of 106,800. Thi...More Button

Written Answers - Public Service Review.

Was asked: the terms of reference of the special group on public service numbers and expenditure programmes, chaired by Mr. Colm McCarthy; if these terms of reference include a review of all proposed current an...More Button

I refer the Deputy to the Government Statement on Transforming Public Services of 26 November 2008 which stated that the objectives of the Special Group are to:— a. Review the scope for reducing or di...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: the way he is monitoring and the actions he is taking to ensure that section 44 of the credit institutions (financial support) scheme which states that a covered institution shall not pass on the cos...More Button

The Scheme is a major benefit not only to the banks but also to their customers and, of course, the economy as a whole. Of course, the Scheme includes the application of strict terms and conditions o...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the return to traditional banking practices and principles in respect of lending and borrowing is achievable in the current or predicted climate; if there has been an identifi...More Button

The Guarantee Scheme for financial institutions put in place by the Government has been successful in safeguarding the stability of the Irish banking sector and in restoring its liquidity position in ...More Button

Was asked: the current additional cost of public borrowing in the aftermath of the bank guarantee of covered institutions; the way this compares to the costing of the guarantee in the scheme presented by him to...More Button

The thinking behind the Charging Model is set out in some detail in the Annexe to the Scheme. However, the main principle is that the Minister for Finance estimates an aggregate cost that the State wi...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: his views on whether Irish retailers are at a serious competitive disadvantage to those in the UK in view of the 6.5% differential in the respective top rates of VAT in both jurisdictions; his views ...More Button

As part of a fiscal stimulus package, the UK Government reduced their standard VAT rate from 17.5% to 15% on a temporary basis with effect from 1 December 2008 to 31 December 2009. I have no plans to...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Property.

Was asked: the type of heating systems that will be employed at the new public service buildings in Buncrana; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: the position in relation to the reform, reorganisation and recapitalisation of the Irish banking sector, particularly those institutions covered by the bank guarantee; and if he will make a statement...More Button

In my discussions with the covered institutions I have asked all the banks to examine their options to attract or raise private capital to underpin their long term sustainability and support their len...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Properties.

Was asked: if he will ascertain from the Office of Public Works the person who made the decision in relation to recent purchases (details supplied). More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: the new level of permitted purchases which a person can bring into Ireland without being subjected to border taxation; the level of revenue collected by the authorities here on goods being brought in...More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the value and the amounts of goods that a person travelling to Ireland from outside the EU may bring into the country free of VAT and excise duties are ...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: the number of staff in terms of whole time equivalents he has allocated within his Department to support the better regulation group’s work; the financial resources that have been spent in support of...More Button

My Department is represented on the High Level Group on Business Regulation, the Regulatory Impact Analysis Network and on an interdepartmental working group on reducing administrative burdens. Within...More Button

Written Answers - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: the position regarding all contracts for the years 2007 and 2008 with consultants in relation to the preparation of reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; and if ...More Button

The following table sets out details of all consultancy contracts entered into in the years 2007 and 2008 which resulted in or are intended to result in the production of a report. Information on the ...More Button


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