Lenihan, Brian Joseph

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 678 No. 4

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Priority Questions - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: the borrowing targets for the emergency budget; if the decision that 9.5% borrowing must be met is still in place; and the information that he will publish in advance to allow Dáil Éireann make the ...More Button

The restoration of Ireland’s public finances to a stable and sustainable footing presents a significant challenge, but one the Government is determined to meet. Already steps have been taken to meet ...More Button

The Government sought to engage all parties in the effort to address the difficulties in the public finances. With this in mind, I have made my Department available to the Opposition on an unpreceden...More Button

I have arranged for the Deputy to meet with myself and an official today so that information, in so far as it can be provided, will be provided. I am prepared to engage with him on a political basis ...More Button

Was asked: if he will set out and explain the economic priorities he identified to a newspaper (details supplied) including his proposal to clamp down on crony capitalism as reported on 17 March 2009; and if h...More Button

As regards economic priorities, there has been extensive discussion in the House of all aspects of the economic position. In my interviews with the media over the St Patrick’s Day period I did not sa...More Button

I have a particular concern that large companies — particularly banks, for which I bear ministerial responsibility — are overly reliant on a small circle of persons for appointments to their boards. ...More Button

I refute the Deputy’s assertion that there has been little change in the management of the six institutions which were guaranteed as and from 30 September 2008. In the less than six-month period sinc...More Button

I am not willing to get into personalities on the floor of the House. I am making the point that there has been substantial change in the board management structure of five of the six institutions si...More Button

Priority Questions - Financial Institutions Remuneration.

Was asked: when his attention was first drawn to the bonus payments being made to bank executives after the taxpayer guarantee was put in place; the steps he is taking to recover these bonuses; and his views o...More Button

I received the report of the covered institutions remuneration oversight committee, CIROC, on 3 March. It was common knowledge that remuneration levels for senior bankers based on salary, bonus, pens...More Button

The Deputy asked a number of interesting questions. With regard to the position of the two directors appointed to the board of the society at my request, neither held the office of director at the ti...More Button

I do not have the date to hand in my brief today. On receipt of detailed information I will be in a position to advise the Deputy. He will appreciate I do not have the information at this stage. Th...More Button

I have made it clear in my reply that all options will be considered. In the first instance it is a matter for the society and its board to investigate these transactions and see what options are ava...More Button

Priority Questions - Unemployment Levels.

Was asked: his revised forecast for the numbers and rate of unemployment for end of year 2009; the way this forecast compares with the forecast unemployment rate for the EU as a whole; and if he is considering...More Button

The latest forecasts for EU labour market developments are those published by the European Commission in January. At the time, the European Union unemployment rate was forecast to average 8.7% this y...More Button

Yes.More Button

I agree with Deputy Bruton that the protection of existing jobs and the retraining of those who do not have jobs must form the cornerstone of our job strategy. We already have programmes in place to ...More Button

Again, I am examining various proposals but Deputy Bruton will appreciate that these matters are not easy to resolve because the reason for the drop in the numbers in employment is the international d...More Button

Priority Questions - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: the status of the recapitalisation plans for covered institutions; and if he has assessed the options to isolate impaired loans within banks in order that good banks can be put in a position to resum...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has agreed the recapitalisation terms to be offered to Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland, and these terms will be put before shareholders of the two ba...More Button

There is no proposal to establish what Deputy O’Donnell described as a toxic bank. No such proposal is among the options being considered by the Government. The position of the Government is that th...More Button

Deputy O’Donnell insists on using the expression “toxic debt”. Toxic debt in banking discussion generally relates to the kind of paper instruments which were generated in the United States and were c...More Button

It is interesting that the credit default swaps with regard to Ireland narrowed dramatically in the past week or two. The market judgment in that particularly speculative market — a market for which ...More Button

I indicated I will bring proposals to the Government in due course but, as Deputy O’Donnell would expect, the interests of the taxpayer have to be safeguarded in any analysis we are conducting of this...More Button

Other Questions - Financial Services Regulation.

Was asked: if he has requested a report from the regulator of credit unions on the ability of the sector and of individual unions to manage the problems thrown up by the crisis in financial institutions. More Button

As Deputies will recognise, the current serious difficulties in the financial sector and the accompanying economic downturn are affecting all financial institutions, including credit unions. On accou...More Button

On difficulties in individual credit unions, the registrar briefs my Department on a regular basis on the general position within the credit union movement. The credit union movement is in a relative...More Button

As regards any bond which the National Treasury Management Agency might enter into with the credit union movement, I am open to any proposals. I am also certain the NTMA would be open to any proposal...More Button

Under the legislative framework set out in the legislation, the primary function of credit unions is to offer savings and loans services to their members. Due to significant growth in the credit unio...More Button

Other Questions - Departmental Surveys.

Was asked: if he will publish the latest comparison of price before and after tax between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; and the tax difference on excisable products between the two jurisdictions...More Button

I assume the Deputy is referring to the periodic informal survey of cross-Border prices undertaken by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners. I wish to advise the Deputy that the Office of the Revenu...More Button

I am grateful to Deputy McHugh for tabling Question No. 7 and thereby allowing me to correct certain matters that were misrepresented in a recent newspaper article. A report on the implications of cr...More Button

Yes. That has been said on many occasions.More Button

The Deputy cannot have it both ways. If he is concerned about the impact of shopping in Northern Ireland on his constituents and on various sectors of our economy, he must realise that Northern Irela...More Button

I am not suggesting——More Button

The Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service did a great service to the State when it insisted that a more scientific study of this matter should be undertaken. That study was done. A quest...More Button

I will not divulge any budgetary proposals at this stage. There was no reporter present at this meeting. What I said was that in the light of the fact that the Chancellor in the United Kingdom intro...More Button

That was all I said on that occasion.More Button

That is all I am prepared to say at this stage as well about the budget.More Button

We must safeguard our revenue as well.More Button

The firm promise of amendment. I will give a firm promise of amendment all right but I can tell Deputy Bruton that the United Kingdom has had a very unhappy experience in the reduction of VAT rates.More Button

We have had an unhappy experience due to the increase.More Button

Other Questions - Financial Services Regulation.

Was asked: if he will request the consumer director of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority to examine the extent to which banks have backed their fixed rate mortgages by long dated securities, in ...More Button

The Deputy’s question refers to the redemption fee or breakage costs applied by mortgage providers in circumstances that a customer seeks to break a fixed rate mortgage to avail of lower variable inte...More Button

I will raise the issue, but the consumer director is independent in these matters and has sufficient powers to investigate the matter on her own initiative. I understand that as she is already aware ...More Button

I share the concerns of other Deputies about this matter. We are all aware of individuals who see the very low interest rates that now obtain and contrast the high interest rates which they are locke...More Button

Other Questions - Departmental Expenditure.

Was asked: the Departments which have been reviewed to date by the McCarthy spending review group; if a series of options for expenditure savings in these Departments has been drawn up; and the form of evaluati...More Button

The special group on public service numbers and expenditure programmes was established to examine the current expenditure programmes in each Department and to make recommendations for reducing public ...More Button

I will consider what Deputy Bruton said, but to date I have not had the benefit of a detailed report on any of the Departments concerned although an amount of work has been done. Deputies will apprec...More Button

In this context, “committed” does not mean politically committed but legally committed.More Button

Exactly, but it is not a budgetary option available to a Government to break a contract with a contractor engaged in a capital project. There could be a substantial exposure for the State in the sums...More Button

To take an example, the national roads programme in the context of the main inter-urban routes is contractually committed until the end of 2010.More Button

It is true that the bulk of the areas that are not contractually committed tend to be the smaller roads in the Department of Transport, schools, water projects and social housing projects in the Depar...More Button

I am not aware of whether Mr. McCarthy has consulted the Comptroller and Auditor General but I will draw Deputy Bruton’s suggestion to his attention. A Government decision has been made on the restri...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Regulation.

Was asked: if he is monitoring charges made to bank customers over inter bank rates set by the European Central Bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Deputy may wish to note that the decision whether an institution operating in Ireland passes on ECB interest rate reductions to customers is primarily a commercial decision for the institution con...More Button

Written Answers - Motor Industry.

Was asked: his views on the impact of the VAT clawback on the motor trade in times of recession. More Button

I am conscious of the decline in the motor industry in Ireland and internationally due to the contraction in economic activity. I and my officials have had meetings with representatives of the motor ...More Button

Written Answers - Insurance Industry.

Was asked: his views on recent reports that insurance costs are rising at a time when prices generally are falling; and his further views on whether policy changes could play a role in containing these trends. More Button

I am aware of the reports referred to by the Deputy. Insurance costs reflect a broad range of factors, including for example, the level of cover, the number of claims, legal and administration costs,...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Forecasts.

Was asked: if he plans to publish tax forecasts for 2009, 2010 and 2011 before the emergency budget. More Button

The Addendum to the Stability Programme Update, published on 9 January last, forecast total tax receipts in 2009 of approximately €37 billion. However, in light of the continuing weakness in the Exch...More Button

Written Answers - Public Sector Redundancies.

Was asked: if he has developed the terms of a scheme of voluntary redundancies for the public service; the details of the scheme; and the staff reductions planned. More Button

Proposals for Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) are being developed at present for the public service. However, I would point out that VER has to be seen in the wider context of the problems facing th...More Button

Written Answers - Customs Service.

Was asked: the resources available to the Revenue Commissioners and the customs service to combat cigarette smuggling; his views on whether such resources are adequate; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

Was asked: the estimated amount in value of cigarettes smuggled into Ireland in each of the past three years; and the loss to the Exchequer arising therefrom in each of the three years. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 15 and 18 together. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that they are not in a position to provide a reliable estimate of the number and value of cigarettes smu...More Button

Written Answers - Exchequer Borrowing.

Was asked: if the EU has expressed a view on the maximum borrowing levels before penalty clauses might apply to Ireland under the stability pact. More Button

Article 104 of the Treaty governs the operation of the excessive deficit procedure of the Stability and Growth Pact. On foot of the commission’s recent report on Ireland’s budgetary position the Commi...More Button

Written Answers - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: his views on reports (details supplied) with respect to the possibility of moving large amount of Ireland’s capital expenditure off balance sheet using a bonds for cash mechanism facilitated by the E...More Button

My Department is considering a number of innovative financing proposals for public infrastructure which various bodies have submitted. I am not at liberty at this juncture to talk about any of the de...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Forecasts.

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the procedures by which he predicts future economic trends are adequate in view of the fact that new and more serious economic issues seem to arise unexpectedly on a weekly ba...More Button

I am satisfied with the procedures in place to conduct economic forecasting in my Department. Even in a normal environment, it must be noted that short-term economic forecasting is not an exact scie...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Regulation.

Was asked: if, in view of the revelations regarding irregular lodgements between Anglo Irish Bank and another bank (details supplied) in the accounting year from September 2007 to September 2008, there were sim...More Button

Was asked: if, in view of the revelations regarding irregular lodgements between Anglo Irish Bank and a bank (details supplied) in the accounting year from September 2007 to September 2008, there were similar l...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20 and 30 together. The transactions to which the Deputy refers, between Anglo and IL&P, are currently under investigation and I can not comment on those. However, I ...More Button

Written Answers - National Pensions Reserve Fund.

Was asked: if he has instructed the National Treasury Management Agency to make a contingency plan for the liquidation at short notice of the National Pensions Reserve Fund; if his attention has been drawn to s...More Button

The National Pensions Reserve Fund was established on 2 April 2001 under the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000 with the objective of meeting as much as possible of the cost to the Exchequer of s...More Button

Written Answers - Exchequer Borrowing.

Was asked: the expected cost of funding the national debt in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Exchequer Borrowing Requirement published in the Addendum to the Irish Stability Programme Update in January was forecast at €18 billion. Based on that amount, the cost of funding the national de...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Regulation.

Was asked: if he has assessed options to isolate impaired loans within banks in order that a good bank could be put in a position to resume lending with a clear balance sheet and new capital. More Button

The Government has indicated that it is committed to ensuring the stability of the Irish financial system and protecting systemically relevant institutions. In this regard and as the Deputy will be a...More Button

Was asked: if he plans to make institutional changes in the arrangements for financial regulation; if he will publish an assessment of issues in advance of presenting proposals to Government; and if he will pre...More Button

Was asked: his plans for the establishment of a banking commission here; if he has submitted these plans to the Cabinet for consideration; if new legislation will be required in order to establish such a commis...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 24 and 65 together. I am bringing proposals before the Government to introduce new structures for banking regulation that will provide for the integration of Central B...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Services Regulation.

Was asked: his views on rising a loan and investment losses in the credit union sector and that some credit unions could be on the verge of insolvency or may not have sufficient liquid assets to meet their fina...More Button

As Minister for Finance, my role is to ensure that the legal framework for credit unions is appropriate for the effective operation and supervision of credit unions. The Registrar of Credit Unions is...More Button

Written Answers - Small Business Sector.

Was asked: the position regarding the funding difficulties facing Irish small and medium enterprises; the way these difficulties are evolving; the steps he is taking to ease them; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

As part of the recapitalisation package announced on 11 February, Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland reconfirmed their December commitment to increase lending capacity to small and medium enterpris...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: if he is proposing to tax the sending and receiving of text messages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, it is not customary for the Minister for Finance to comment on possible tax and expenditure changes in advance of the budget.More Button

Written Answers - Flood Relief.

Was asked: the steps which he is taking to address the summer flooding in the Shannon callows; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: if he will extend or replace the bank guarantee scheme upon expiry at end September 2010; his views on whether it is important to signal these intentions to the market as early as possible and that c...More Button

The Government acted decisively in September 2008 to guarantee, until 30 September 2010, the liabilities of relevant institutions in order to ensure banks could maintain normal liquidity position in i...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Forecasts.

Was asked: his views on recent economic forecasts (details supplied) to the effect that unemployment could reach 16% by end of 2010, that house prices could undergo a 40% peak-to-trough decline and that nationa...More Button

I understand the Deputy is referring to a recent economic forecast produced by Ulster Bank in which they anticipate a very large contraction in growth with unemployment rising to the levels mentioned ...More Button

Written Answers - Job Creation.

Was asked: if he has assessed the make up of uncommitted capital spending in 2009 and the impact on jobs in the construction sector if this spending was postponed. More Button

Information is not collated centrally on a routine basis on the number of direct and indirect jobs that would be created as a result of Exchequer capital investment. However, my Department has recentl...More Button

Written Answers - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: the quantum of Exchequer savings, through both increased tax revenue and reduced expenditure, he is seeking in the Budget of 7 April 2009; his views on whether it is realistic to target a general Gov...More Button

The Supplementary Budget is to be presented to the Dáil on 7 April. The Government has already taken significant action to restore stability to the public finances and the Supplementary Budget will c...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Investigations.

Was asked: the position regarding the investigation reported to be being carried out by the Financial Regulator into irregular trading activities at a company (details supplied); and if he will make a statement...More Button

I am informed by the Financial Regulator that Merrill Lynch International Bank Limited (an Irish licensed credit institution) advised it on 18 February 2009 of matters in relation to the mispricing of...More Button

Written Answers - Public Procurement Policy.

Was asked: if he plans to extend the cut in the levels of professional fees to other areas of public procurement. More Button

I would expect to see the Government’s initiative reflected in better public procurement prices especially given the more competitive market environment and that the savings desired will be achieved i...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: the proposals or options under consideration by his Department for the taxing of telephone and Internet betting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As I stated during the Finance Bill process, it has been my intention to widen if possible the tax base on which betting duty would be applied. One obvious option in this regard is to include bets pl...More Button

Written Answers - Foreign Direct Investment.

Was asked: his latest assessment of tax changes in the USA which might adversely affect Irish interests; and the initiatives he has taken to try to pre-empt such moves; and if he will make a statement on the ma...More Button

The new US Administration has not yet given any real indication of its main focus in terms of international taxation. That said there has been a lot of speculation about potential changes to the US s...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Services Regulation.

Was asked: if he has met the executives of building societies (details supplied) to hear their proposals for recapitalisation, for handling of liquidity and for impaired loans; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

Since the Government’s guarantee Scheme was announced I have met on numerous occasions with representatives of all the covered institutions. The questions of capital, liquidity and loan impairment ha...More Button

Was asked: the models of bad asset support scheme under consideration by his Department with respect to reinforcing the balance sheets of credit institutions supported by the bank guarantee; the parameters unde...More Button

The Government is conscious that in current market circumstances there is a need to bring greater certainty and transparency to the operations of systemically important financial institutions, in part...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Yield.

Was asked: his estimate of the value of tax receipts on newly built property not yet sold which would accrue to the Exchequer if this property was sold, distinguishing the number of unsold properties and the av...More Button

The Department of Finance does not have relevant statistics on which to base an assessment of the value of tax receipts on newly built property not yet sold which would accrue to the Exchequer if this...More Button

Written Answers - National Lottery Funding.

Was asked: the steps he is taking to secure funding from the national lottery in respect of sports projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The position in relation to National Lottery funding is that receipts from the sale of National Lottery tickets are deposited in the National Lottery Fund in the Central Bank. A portion of these fund...More Button

Was asked: the overall national lottery funding in 2008 which was allocated to sport; the percentage given towards the sports capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the percentage of the proceeds of the national lottery which will be awarded to fund sport here in 2009; the way this compares with 2007 and 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 42 and 70 together. Since 2005, the total allocation for subheads which had formerly been funded entirely from the proceeds of the National Lottery has exceeded the fu...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Remuneration.

Was asked: his views on whether the payment of significant bonuses, contractual or otherwise, to senior bank executives at institutions covered by the bank guarantee with respect to the financial year 2008 in w...More Button

The Deputy will be aware from the details in the recently published Covered Institution Remuneration Oversight Committee (CIROC) report that with the exception of the Irish Nationwide Building Society...More Button

Written Answers - Price Inflation.

Was asked: if he will estimate the average CPI and HICP measures for price volatility in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Based on the latest information available at the end of last year my Department set out its expectation that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) would fall this year by -1.0% but that Harmonised Index of C...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Services Regulation.

Was asked: if has begun the search for an individual or group of individuals to head his proposed Irish banking commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am bringing proposals before the Government to implement major reform of the structure and organisation of financial regulation in Ireland. The changes will focus on restoring confidence in the Iris...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Regulation.

Was asked: when it is expected that traditional banking practices will be re-established; if this is expected to encompass traditional lending criteria in respect of mortgages or other uses; if it is intended t...More Button

The primary objective of the Government is to secure and maintain the financial and economic position of the State. Significant steps have been taken to achieve that objective including the Bank Guara...More Button

Was asked: if he has data available to him on the trends in business credit since the bank guarantee in September 2008 and on the work of the clearing group on blocked credit; and if he will make a statement on...More Button

Government Departments and State agencies have engaged with banks and business representatives in a variety of settings on issues surrounding the flow of credit for business. A formal structure for th...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: the way he will manage the State role on the banks which are to be recapitalised. More Button

As a general rule, the State’s relationship with the banks following their proposed recapitalisation will be managed through two conduits. Firstly the NPRF Commission will hold the shares on the State...More Button

Written Answers - Price Inflation.

Was asked: if he will table proposals to mitigate the potentially significant negative effects of deflation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Based on the latest information available at the end of last year my Department set out its expectation that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) would fall this year by -1.0% but that Harmonised Index of C...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Forecasts.

Was asked: when he will publish profiles of expected tax revenues and voted expenditure for 2009; the reason for the delay in their publication in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

In the context of the normal December Budget day decisions for both expenditure and taxation, monthly profiles of projected receipts and expenditure are generally published by my Department by the end...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Agencies.

Was asked: the number of staff who will be released as a result of the rationalisation of 30 State agencies announced in budget 2009; and if new legislation is needed to allow staff to be assigned to work outsi...More Button

In Budget 2009, I announced 30 rationalisation decisions that will reduce the number of State agencies by 41. The specific details with regard to reductions in numbers and the requirement for new leg...More Button

Written Answers - Vehicle Registration System.

Was asked: his views on the introduction of personalised vehicle registration plates alongside the existing system of vehicle registration as a means of generating extra revenue for the State and providing addi...More Button

The current vehicle registration plate numbering system in the State does not lend itself to the creation of a market for the purchase and transfer of personalised number plates. In order to create a ...More Button

Written Answers - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: the net present value of the Exchequer’s commitment in respect of the retirement package, including payments already made as part of this package when relevant to the current governor of the Central ...More Button

The remuneration, including superannuation, of the Governor, the Chief Executive of the Financial Regulator and the staff of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland are not paid f...More Button

Written Answers - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: the aggregate knock-on effect on economic growth and contraction he would expect as a result of deflating the economy, through Government revenue raising or expenditure reductions in the 7 April 2009...More Button

There are considerable uncertainties regarding the economic impact of any fiscal measures, given that it is unknown how economic agents will react to the various policy changes. In addition, the comp...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: the steps he will be taking in order to stabilise the credit institutions covered by the bank guarantee scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Government’s approach to the unprecedented crisis in global financial markets has been structured and considered. The series of measures taken to ensure the stabilisation of the Irish financial s...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Services Regulation.

Was asked: if he proposes to bring forward legislative proposals relating to the management of consumer debt; his views on whether the legislative framework is satisfactory in this regard; if, in particular, hi...More Button

As far as safeguarding the interests of individual borrowers is concerned, the function of Government is to provide an appropriate legislative framework for effective and efficient regulation of the f...More Button

Written Answers - Exchequer Borrowing.

Was asked: the forecast Exchequer borrowing requirement for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; the position regarding discussions he or his Department officials have had with the EU institutions with regard t...More Button

The latest published forecast for the Exchequer borrowing requirement (EBR) and the General Government Balance (GGB -the relevant measure for the Stability and Growth Pact), were set out in the Addend...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Was asked: his views on recent statements by the President of the European Investment Bank to the effect that giving State guarantees to the banking sector can have a significant impact on the cost of sovereign...More Button

The National Treasury Management Agency has successfully issued two new bonds (totalling €10 billion) in 2009 and this week it launched the first of a series of auctions of long-term bonds. The auctio...More Button

Was asked: if and when he will table further proposals with respect to the capitalisation and stabilisation of the credit institutions covered by the bank guarantee scheme; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has announced detailed proposals for the recapitalisation of Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland. As I have noted previously, the Government’s approach to...More Button

Was asked: when the fees charged to institutions under the bank guarantee scheme in respect of that guarantee are next to be reviewed; the stakeholders in this review and the process involved; if he will publis...More Button

There is provision in Paragraph 22 of the Scheme that I may review the guarantee charging model every six months. I expect that the first of these reviews will be completed during April 2009. The re...More Button

Written Answers - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: his technical understanding of the term “economic depression”; his views on whether Ireland is on the verge of fulfilling or has already fulfilled these criteria; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

There is no universally accepted definition of the term depression, but my own view is that the experience of the 1930s in many countries is an accurate description of the term. In Ireland after a ver...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: the position regarding the implementation of the car parking levy announced in budget 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Consultations between my Department and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government with regard to the implementation of the levy are well advanced and details of its introduction...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Regulation.

Was asked: if, in view of the evolution in their respective share prices and the recent events impacting on the global financial sector, it may be necessary to review the decision to invest the €7 billion in pr...More Button

As I have noted previously, the Government’s approach to recapitalisation has been structured and considered and based on a detailed assessment of the institutions concerned. The Financial Regulator e...More Button

Was asked: the recent discussions, negotiations or other activities undertaken by him or his officials with respect to the recapitalisation of banks (details supplied); if he will provide an estimate of the cos...More Button

The Government is in discussions with the covered institutions referred to including with regards to their respective capital positions and in relation to the review of the guarantee scheme. The Gover...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Institutions Remuneration.

Was asked: if and when he will publish the report of the Covered Institution Remuneration Oversight Committee on bankers’ pay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Report of the Covered Institutions Remuneration Committee (CIROC) was published by my Department on 13 March 2009. The Government welcomed the recommendation by CIROC for reductions in the prevail...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Investigations.

Was asked: if he will publish the reports relating to banks (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The reports which the Deputy refers to were prepared on behalf of the Financial Regulator who has indicated that because of the commercially sensitive nature of the information contained in the report...More Button

Written Answers - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: the details of direct contacts, whether formally or informally, he or his officials have had with credit rating agencies over the past six months in respect of Irish sovereign debt; the details of br...More Button

In the normal course of events, officials in my Department regularly brief and meet with representatives of international credit rating agencies in order to provide information on the Irish economy. A...More Button

Was asked: if he plans to publish policy options for expenditure savings put forward by Departments ahead of the emergency budget. More Button

In line with normal budgetary practice, the Government will consider and decide upon expenditure policy options, and the decisions will be announced on Tuesday 7 April next.More Button

Written Answers - Exchequer Borrowing.

Was asked: his views on recent increases in the cost of raising sovereign debt; the extent to which he attributes this increased funding cost to the deteriorating Exchequer position; the extent to which he attr...More Button

The National Treasury Management Agency has advised me that the main reasons for the increase in the forecast cost of servicing the national debt for 2009 are the increase in the estimate for the 2009...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: if it is technically feasible to proceed with an idea (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his views on an idea (details supplied) from a legal perspective; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his views on an idea (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 80, 81 and 86 together. Betting duty is payable by the bookmaker. If a bookmaker were to establish an on-line betting operation within the State, the bookmaker would b...More Button

Was asked: his views on an idea (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Betting duty is payable by the bookmaker. If a bookmaker were to establish an on-line betting operation within the State, the bookmaker would be liable to pay betting duty. In general, however, the ch...More Button

Written Answers - Regional Development.

Was asked: the percentage of funds for regional development aid that is from national Exchequer funds and the percentage that is from European or other funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective, Ireland has been allocated €750 million of EU Structural Funds for the period 2007-13: of this €458 million has been allocated to the Borde...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Properties.

Was asked: the status of a property (details supplied) in Dublin 15; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this property has been idle for a number of years; if this property comes under the remit of...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: his plans to exempt community and voluntary groups from paying VAT in providing facilities for their communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Charities and non-profit groups engaged in non-commercial activity are exempt from VAT under the EU VAT Directive, with which Irish VAT law must comply. This means they do not charge VAT on the servic...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Services Remuneration.

Was asked: his views on placing a tax on bonuses paid to bank executives in banks which received the State guarantee, similar to the proposal from the United States in relation to senior executives in a company...More Button

The position is that all salaries and bonuses paid by financial institutions are taxable in the normal way. It would not be open to the Government to impose tax retrospectively on such payments alread...More Button

Written Answers - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: if the gratuity paid to the former Financial Regulator (details supplied) is tax free; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland complies fully with all tax requirements. Under statutory pension schemes and pension schemes approved by the Revenue Commissioners, there...More Button

Written Answers - Wealth Statistics.

Was asked: the research that has been carried out over the past ten years by his Department on the extent and breakdown of wealth, as opposed to income here; the findings of such research; if he will make these...More Button

I have been informed that no general research has been carried out over the past ten years by either the Department of Finance or the Revenue Commissioners regarding the extent and breakdown of wealth...More Button

Written Answers - Flood Relief.

Was asked: if he will visit the flooded land at Rossbeigh and Incheree, County Kerry. More Button

Written Answers - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: if he will respond to a query from a person (details supplied) in Dublin 20 on the pension levy as it affects research staff in universities here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The position is that public servants are in general liable to pay the pension-related deduction introduced in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009. University research staf...More Button

Written Answers - Insurance Industry.

Was asked: if he will explain the law as it relates to insurance claims that have been taken against companies that subsequently went out of business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I presume the Deputy is referring to claims being made against insolvent insurers who are unable to meet policy holders claims. A compensation fund exists for non life insurance companies. However no ...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Collection.

Was asked: when a P60 will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they contacted the taxpayer’s employer on 24th March 2009 and were advised that Form P60 was issued to the taxpayer in January 2009. As the taxpay...More Button

Written Answers - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: the steps he will take to stimulate the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

In broad terms, there are three strands to the Government’s approach to stimulating the economy. Firstly, we are putting the public finances on a more sustainable path, in order to restore domestic a...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Services Regulation.

Was asked: if he will issue guidelines or restrictions to mortgage companies involved in home repossession with particular reference to instances in which mortgages were issued when there was a knowledge of eit...More Button

It is a particular priority of the Government to ensure as much as possible that difficulties in relation to mortgage arrears do not result in legal proceedings for home repossession. Home repossessio...More Button

Was asked: if action has been taken or is expected to be taken against mortgage companies involved in sub-prime lending up to the extent of 200% of the entitlement of the applicant; and if he will make a statem...More Button

The Financial Regulator’s statutory Consumer Protection Code has applied to credit institutions since 1 July 2007 and was extended to other lenders on 1 June 2008, following the introduction of legisl...More Button

Written Answers - Banking Sector Regulation.

Was asked: when it is expected that traditional banking and lending practices are expected to become operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The primary objective of the Government is to secure and maintain the financial and economic position of the State. Significant steps have been taken to achieve that objective including the Bank Guara...More Button

Written Answers - Price Inflation.

Was asked: if he has in mind taxation measures or incentives to encourage multinational chainstores here to bring their mark-up into line with that in adjoining jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on...More Button

The option of using tax measures or some other incentives to influence a multinational retailer’s mark-up in this jurisdiction, to align it to that in another jurisdiction, does not arise. Market cond...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: if it is his intention to reduce VAT or other taxes with a view to competing with other immediate jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, taxes are considered in the context of a Budget process. In regard to the forthcoming Supplementary Budget, it is the usual practice for the Minister for Finance not to s...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Was asked: the steps he has taken or proposes to take to improve the competitiveness in the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The economy’s competitive position has deteriorated in recent times. This deterioration has been driven by wage increases in excess ofproductivity and a rate of inflation above our euro area peers. No...More Button

Written Answers - Economic Forecasts.

Was asked: if he proposes to take action to ensure that economic forecasting by his Department is more soundly based than in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am satisfied that economic forecasting in my Department is as soundly based as it can possibly be. The Deputy will note that even in normal circumstances short-term economic forecasting is not an e...More Button

Written Answers - Financial Services Regulation.

Was asked: his views on the submission of an association (details supplied) on the harsher rules that apply to its members, compared to solicitors, accountants or banks, in terms of regulatory obligations; if h...More Button

I met with representatives of the association referred to in the Deputy’s question on 17 February last. The specific issue they highlighted was in relation to the conclusions drawn in a recent Regula...More Button

Written Answers - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: his views on modifying Revenue pension rules to allow self-employed people who suffer accidents which prevent them from working to access moneys in their pension funds early; and if he will make a st...More Button

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a self-employed individual making provision for retirement will generally do so by way of contributing to Retirement Annuity Contracts (RACs) and/or Pers...More Button

Written Answers - Fiscal Policy.

Was asked: the measures he will bring forward in the 7 April 2009 budget on dealing with the toxic loans in the banking sector. More Button

As the Deputy is aware it is not the practice to respond to Parliamentary Questions on the possible inclusion or otherwise of specific matters directly in advance of a forthcoming budget. However, Th...More Button

Was asked: if he will publish the economic plan as part of the 7 April 2009 budget; if not, when this plan will be published; and the length of time this plan is for. More Button

The Government’s approach to reviving the economy consists of three broad strands — improving competitiveness, stimulating credit supply in our financial system and putting the public finances on a mo...More Button

Was asked: the measures to be proposed in the 7 April 2009 budget involving the taxation of tax free lump sums in respect of public and private sector pensions. More Button

The House will appreciate that I do not propose to comment on what may or may not be contained in the forthcoming supplementary Budget.More Button

Was asked: the parameters he will use for the general Government balance deficit amount and percentage of tax increases, income, PRSI, pension and other levy adjustments and expenditure cuts and savings include...More Button

The Supplementary Budget is to be presented to the Dáil on the 7th of April. The Government has already taken significant action to restore stability to the public finances and the supplementary Budge...More Button

Written Answers - Decentralisation Programme.

Was asked: when the construction of the Department of Education and Science offices in Mullingar, County Westmeath, as part of the decentralisation programme, will take place; when the necessary contracts will ...More Button

Written Answers - Tax Code.

Was asked: if, in respect of appendix D of the Green Paper on Pensions, he will provide the same information in respect of PRSAs and RACs for the last year for which figures are available. More Button

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the latest relevant information available is in respect of income tax relief allowed for contributions to Retirement Annuity Contracts (RACs) and Person...More Button


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