Header Item Written Answers Nos. 133-154
 Header Item Seanad Reform
 Header Item Youth Unemployment Measures
 Header Item Departmental Banking
 Header Item Departmental Staff Training
 Header Item Human Rights Issues
 Header Item Human Rights Issues
 Header Item Emigrant Support Services
 Header Item Diplomatic Representation
 Header Item Departmental Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Overseas Development Aid Oversight
 Header Item Excise Duties Issues
 Header Item Northern Ireland Issues
 Header Item EU-IMF Programme of Support
 Header Item Property Taxation Collection
 Header Item Departmental Banking
 Header Item IBRC Mortgage Loan Book
 Header Item IBRC Mortgage Loan Book
 Header Item Tax Collection

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Unrevised

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Written Answers Nos. 133-154

Seanad Reform

 133. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the actions being taken to reform Seanad Éireann as a forum for real debate on European issues and legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50273/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny On 23 October 2013, I listened in the Seanad Chamber to the views of Senators on how to move forward in relation to the Seanad. I now intend to meet with the leaders of the parties in the Dáil and Seanad to discuss the matter further with them. I will take all of the views into account so that the future of Seanad Éireann can be shaped in a way that will enable it to become a more meaningful and effective institution in our society. As a small first step I have already announced that legislation is to be prepared to implement the 1979 referendum decision which allowed the State to extend the provisions for the election of members of the Seanad by certain universities to other institutions of higher education in the State.

Youth Unemployment Measures

 134. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will report on his attendance at the high-level conference on youth unemployment hosted by French President François Hollande in Paris on 12 November last; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50413/13]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I travelled to Paris, on Tuesday 12 November, for the Second Conference on Youth Employment in Europe at the invitation of President Hollande. I was accompanied by the Minister for Social Protection, Ms Joan Burton TD. The event was organised by President Hollande to maintain political momentum behind addressing the youth employment challenge, particularly in terms of identifying concrete actions to implement the Youth Guarantee. It followed a similar event organised by Chancellor Merkel that took place in Berlin in July.

This is one of the most pressing issues we face in Europe today. That is why the June European Council agreed that all efforts must be mobilised around the shared objective of getting young people into education, training or employment. Over 20 Heads of State or Government gathered in Paris to take this agenda forward with the support of relevant Ministers. We know that young people who become long term unemployed are at greatest risk of becoming permanently disengaged from the workforce. Unless we address this problem, Europe will suffer the economic and social consequences long after this downturn ends. My own contribution focused on digital skills and the potential of the digital economy generally, including in light of the recent Dublin Web Summit.

The October European Council highlighted that Europe could have as many as 900,000 unfilled ICT vacancies by 2015. Improving the pipeline of digital skills therefore makes sense for both youth and the EU economy. It will kick start young careers, it will spawn new fast growing tech companies, and it will improve the competitiveness of our existing SMEs.

Our discussions in Paris isolated three clear priorities which were highlighted by President Hollande in his concluding remarks. First is education and training. We must step up our efforts to prepare our young people for the jobs of the future and to equip them with the right qualifications. Second is labour market integration. This means a particular focus on those of our youth who are at greatest risk of marginalisation and long term unemployment.  Third is supporting the creation of new firms and youth entrepreneurships. We do this by making it as easy as possible to set up a business and to finance the most promising new ideas. We must also mobilise all available instruments to implement these priorities, including through the €6 billion Youth Employment Initiative agreed as part of the new Multiannual Financial Framework, frontloaded in 2014-15.

I confirmed in Paris that the first phase of our own Youth Guarantee implementation plan will be ready before the end of this year, as provided for in Pathways to Work 2013. This work is being led by the Minister for Social Protection and supported by the OECD.

Departmental Banking

 135. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the value of services provided to the public by his Department and entities reporting to his Department where a payment is accepted by debit or credit card; the percentage of additional charge that is applied to such transactions under the merchant agreement; the total value of the additional charge in respect of debit and credit cards in 2012; if any portion of the additional charge accrued to his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50135/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The value of services provided to the public by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that was accepted by means of credit and debit card in the course of 2012 was €6.14 m. The additional charge that applied to credit card charges under the merchant agreement in operation in 2012 was 1.29%. There was no charge on debit cards. The total value of the additional charge was €67,811.

Departmental Staff Training

 136. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will provide, in tabular form, the language courses available to the staff of his Department; the number of staff members enrolled in these courses since March 2011 and in what language; if he will further provide in tabular form the language qualifications currently held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff by grade from third secretary upwards by language; if he will also provide the budget allocated from his Department for linguistic improvement courses for his staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50288/13]

 137. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if his Department has a strategy to improve the linguistic ability of the staff of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50289/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I propose to take Questions Nos. 136 and 137 together.

My Department attaches a high priority to language proficiency and it is regarded as an important skill in an officer’s career development and the conduct of their duties. The objectives of my Department’s approach to language training are: to equip diplomatic officers with the language skills necessary to carry out their duties and responsibilities effectively, to encourage general service staff who do not have a requirement to serve abroad to develop their language skills as part of their overall career development, and to develop the Irish language skills of staff so as to enable the Department to provide high quality services through Irish to the public and comply with the provisions of the Official Languages Act.

Due to the range of issues involved, it is not possible in the time available to provide the information which the Deputy has requested in tabular form from March 2011. Staff of my Department engage in language tuition using a variety of methods which are funded by my Department, including: in-house lunchtime classes, evening classes at the various language institutes undertaken in their own time, on-line courses, self-learning materials (e.g. CDs), degree courses in receipt of Refund of Fees, intensive tuition and immersion courses. Many would also have attended classes at the Civil Service Language Centre, which, as the Deputy will be aware, has now ceased to operate. The method of delivery selected in each case depends on a variety of factors including initial skill level, level required for the conduct of their duties, professional development needs and whether they are going on posting abroad, where a particular priority is accorded.

With regard to individual qualifications, in some cases, staff will be acquiring a language from beginner level and in other cases they will be improving or maintaining existing language skills. While a language qualification is not a requirement for entry, ability to work in a major foreign language such as French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Arabic or Russian is a distinct advantage. After recruitment, all diplomatic staff are expected to develop their language skills and are supported in this by the Training & Development Unit. I can advise the Deputy that tuition across the spectrum of languages is undertaken by the diplomatic staff in my Department in the course of their careers and that in-house lunchtime classes in Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, French, German and Irish are currently provided on a weekly basis and are open to all members of staff.

The annual Training & Development Budget for my Department is normally in the region of €500,000 and, within that budget, approximately €180,000 is usually allocated to the provision of language training for my staff, across the range of deliveries referred to earlier. The level of this investment reflects the high priority which my Department attaches to the development and maintenance of language skills.

I can also assure the Deputy that language training is a key element of the Pre-Post Training process and that new entrants at graduate/Third Secretary level joining my Department early next year who do not have a good working knowledge of a foreign language will be expected to acquire such knowledge. Progress in this area will be assessed during and towards the end of their one year probationary period and satisfactory progress will be a condition of confirmation of their appointment.

Human Rights Issues

 138. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will outline Ireland's position in relation to the EU's Eastern Partnership summit; his views on whether there will be substantial progress in the area of human rights between the attending countries and the European Union; if he will raise the case of the jailed Ukrainian opposition leader, Yulia Tymoshenko at this summit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50291/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The aims of the EU’s Eastern Partnership are to provide a coherent framework for cooperation with the six countries in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Ireland supports the aims of the Eastern Partnership and looks forward to the Summit as a significant step forward in the EU’s relationship with these countries. I am convinced that Association Agreements have the potential to build an area of prosperity and stability in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood, within the framework of the rule of law and supported by democratic values. They can contribute to the security and prosperity, not only of the Eastern Partners, but also of the EU and its Member States, including Ireland.

All six Eastern Partner countries will be present at the Summit. This will include Belarus where, regrettably, the situation with regard to human rights and democratic standards leaves it unable to conclude an Association Agreement with the EU. The presence of Belarus at the Summit will allow the EU to send clear messages to the Belarus authorities regarding our concerns on the human rights situation there. With regard to Ukraine, President Yanukovych has announced that they will suspend the preparations to sign their Association Agreement with the EU at the Vilnius Summit. While disappointed, Ireland would nevertheless hope that Ukraine will continue on the path of reform and believes that Ukraine’s future lies in a strong relationship with the EU.

The conditionality for Ukraine to sign its Association Agreement with the EU, set down by the Foreign Affairs Council in December 2012, includes addressing the issue of selective justice. The most prominent example of this is the conviction and ongoing detention of the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko. In that connection, I would refer the Deputy to my statement to this House on 19 November in which I set out Ireland’s position and the actions which I have taken in relation to this important matter.

As I stated last week, I support the appeal of the former President of Poland Aleksander Kwaœniewski, and the former President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, to the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, to release Ms Tymoshenko for medical treatment on health and humanitarian grounds by way of pardon. This continues to be my position.

Human Rights Issues

 139. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will support the International Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban Miami five to be held in London in March 2014.  [50399/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore As this is a bilateral consular issue between the US and the Cuban authorities, the Government has no standing in the matter.

Emigrant Support Services

 140. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore the funding received by each organisation supported under the emigrant support programme in the years 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50438/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) provides funding to not-for-profit organisations and projects to support Irish communities overseas and to facilitate the development of more strategic links between Ireland and the global Irish. The focus of the Emigrant Support Programme is on initiatives that: address the needs of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable Irish emigrants; enhance access for Irish emigrants and Irish community organisations to local statutory and voluntary services; foster a more vibrant sense of community and Irish identity amongst the Irish abroad; and encourage closer links between Irish communities abroad and Ireland, to the benefit of both. In addition, since 2009, the Programme also supports projects aimed at creating practical results orientated links between Ireland and the global Irish, and projects that emerged as a consequence of the Global Irish Economic Forum and its follow up.   A list of payments made, to date, in 2013 is below. Payments in respect of a number of approved grants is currently being processed and I would be happy to provide the Deputy with a complete list of 2013 grants following the end of the financial year. Funding details for 2012 and 2011 are also set out below.

  2013 Emigrant Services Grants Summaries(to date)

Britain  
Acton Homeless Concern (London) 53,663
Aisling Project (London) 107,613.05
Bell Farm Christian Centre (Middlesex) 8,586.15
Benefits Advice Shop (London) 4,666.36
Birmingham St Patrick's Festival 9,158.56
Blackfriars Advice Centre (London) 11,448.20
Bolton Irish Community Association 5,855.14
Brent Centre for Young People 20,998.60
Brent Irish Advisory Service (London) 158,557.53
Brian Boru Club (Wigan) 24,498.37
Bristol Playbus 2,927.57
Celtic & Irish Cultural Society 21,179.16
Conradh na Gaeilge, Glaschú 42,580.49
Coventry Irish Society 138,007.47
Cricklewood Homeless Concern 182,026.33
Doncaster Irish Association 4,199.72
Edinburgh Cyrenians 9,368.23
Emerald Circle Club, Harrow 3,434.46
Emerald Senior Citizens Group 5,366.31
Feith an Cheoil School of Irish Traditional Music 4,666.36
Forest Bus 5,724.10
Friends, Families and Travellers 17,172.30
Halifax Irish Centre 1,166.59
Haringay Cultural and Community Centre 170,578.13
Haslingden & Davitt IDL Club 4,666.36
Huddersfield Irish Centre 4,006.87
Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy (ICAP) 184,315.97
Innisfree Housing Association 35,130.86
Irish Arts Foundation 81,854.61
Irish Chaplaincy in Britain 258,982.73
Irish Community Care Merseyside 279,398.04
Irish Community Services Greenwich, Bexley  (formerly Irish in Greenwich) 246,708.64
Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith 160,274.76
Irish Diaspora Foundation 51,516.89
Irish Elderly Advice Network 105,323.41
Irish Heritage 8,013.74
Irish Heritage Foundation Scotland (formerly Harps Community Project, Glasgow) 46,663.56
Irish in Birmingham (formerly Irish Welfare and Information Centre) 230,108.76
Irish Network Stevenage 2,289.64
Irish Pensioners Choir 2,289.64
Irish Pensioners Forum of East London 3,434.46
Irish Repertory Theatre and Film Co UK 6,999.53
Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB) 128,324.78
Irish Tuesday Club, Liverpool 8,166.12
Irish World Heritage Centre 32,054.95
Lancashire Federation of Irish Democratic League Clubs 1,144.82
Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange 53,130.12
Leeds Irish Health and Homes 160,847.17
Leeds St Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebrations 10,303.38
Leicester and Leicestershire Irish Forum 41,213.51
Lewisham Irish Community Centre 60,662.62
Lewisham Irish Pensioners Group 7,582.83
Liverpool Irish Festival 8,586.15
London Gypsy and Traveller Unit 104,751.00
London Irish Centre 637,664.57
Luton Irish Forum 108,757.87
Manchester Irish Festival 3,513.09
Manchester Irish Language Group 878.27
Maya Centre 22,896.39
Milton Keynes Irish Centre 13,394.39
Mind Yourself (formerly London Irish Women’s Centre) 64,162.39
Monica's Place 67,662.16
New Horizon Youth Centre 44,330.38
NOAH Enterprise 82,999.43
North London Action for the Homeless 6,440.66
North Wales Irish Society 6,999.53
Northampton Irish  Support Group 53,043.63
Nottingham St Patrick's Day Parade 7,026.17
Over 60s Pensioners Club 583.29
Oxford Irish Society 3,434.46
Safe Start Foundation 109,902.69
Sandwell Irish Society 36,061.82
SanKTus 28,104.69
SIFA Fireside 17,172.30
Solace Women’s Aid 46,841.15
Southwark Irish Pensioners Project 144,778.18
Southwark Irish Youth 6,999.53
Southwark Travellers Action Group/Peckham Voluntary Sector Forum 65,060.10
St Michael's Irish Centre 64,682.31
Streetwork UK 34,344.59
The Connection at St Martins 20,606.75
The Emerald Centre, Leicester 67,544.36
The Felling Irish Association 583.29
The Golden Shamrock Club 10,303.38
The Greenwich Irish Pensioners Association 4,666.36
The Hibernian Society 27,998.13
The Passage  2000 42,358.33
Tyneside Irish Centre 36,747.55
Tyneside Irish Cultural Centre 16,332.24
 Warrington Irish Centre 7,232.85
West Hampstead Women's Centre 6,868.92
Young At Heart Luncheon Group 9,158.56
Britain 5,383,636.64



 
Australia  
Australia Irish Welfare Bureau, Melbourne 106,045
The Claddagh Association, Perth 10,181
Friends of St Brigid's Association, Koroit, Victoria 14,530
Ireland Western Australia Forum, Perth 2,004
Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Inc. , Melbourne 26,214
Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland, Brisbane 65,737
Irish Australian Welfare Bureau & Resource Centre NSW, Sydney 134,415
Irish Brekkie Club, Sydney 4,810
Irish Language School/ Scoil na Gaeilge, Sydney 1,603
John Hume Institute of Global Irish Studies, UNSW 20,042
Australia 385,581
Singapore  
Farmleigh Fellowship 200,000
Singapore 200,000
  Canada
Emerald Isle Seniors Society, Toronto 19,374
Irish Canadian Club of Hamilton 4,494
Irish Canadian Immigration Centre 61,996
Irish Women's Network of British Columbia 1,854
Lar na nGael - Irish Centre of Brampton 20,653
St Patrick's Society, Montreal 3,487
The Irish Benevolent Society of British Columbia 5,767
The Irish Cultural Society, Calgary 34,873
Canada 152,498
  New Zealand
Irish Community of New Zealand Trust 32,947
Auckland Irish Society 23,101
New Zealand 56,048
  Argentina
Asociación Argentino Irlandesa de Bahia Blanca 954
Hurling Club, Buenos Aires 27,441
Sociedad Irlandesa de Arrecifes 1,591
Hogar San Patricio (St Patrick's Home) 477
Asociación Argentino Irlandesa Guillermo Brown (Asociación Irlandesa de Capital Federal) 849
Argentina 31,312
  Zimbabwe
Irish Association of Mashonaland 20,572
Matabeleland Irish Association Bulawayo 6,799
Zimbabwe 27,371
  France
Network Irlande 17,500
France 17,500
  Korea
Irish Society of Korea 10,666
Korea 10,666
  South Africa
Irish South African Association 10,635
South Africa 10,635
  Spain
Spanish Irish Business Network 3,993
Spain 3,993
  Norway
Norwegian Irish Society 2,169
Norway 2,169
  Russia
Irish Business Club Moscow 1,476
Russia 1,476
   


2011 Emigrant Services Grants Summary
Britain
Acton Homeless Concern (London) 52,529
Age UK Hillingdon (Middlesex) 10,697
Aisling Project (London) 108,365
Bell Farm Christian Centre (Middlesex) 14,126
Benefits Advice Shop (Denbighshire) 5,685
Birmingham St. Patrick's Festival Ltd. 11,539
Blackfriars Advice Centre (London) 22,740
Brent Adolescent Centre (London) 31,552
Brent Irish Advisory Service (BIAS) (London) 210,347
Brian Boru Club (Wigan) 25,572
Causeway Irish Housing Association (London) 26,379
Celtic & Irish Cultural Society (Crawley) 20,466
Central Eltham Youth Project (London) 27,100
Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Eireann (Liverpool) 154,125
Conradh na Gaeilge, Glaschú (Glasgow) 36,665
Corby's Young At Heart Luncheon Group 10,060
Coventry Irish Society 128,370
Cricklewood Homeless Concern (London) 204,732
Derby Irish Association 11,080
Doncaster Irish Association 5,318
Edinburgh Cyrenians 7,073
Emerald Circle Club, Harrow 3,324
Emerald Senior Citizens Group (Wolverhampton) 6,822
Equinox (London) 30,449
Federation of Irish Societies 602,161
Feith an Cheoil School of Irish Traditional Music (London) 6,254
Friends, Families and Travellers (Brighton) 11,775
Full Irish Festival and Funday (Cheshire) 7,106
Garngad Irish Heritage Group 7,904
GEAR Projects (Gloucester) 22,740
Greenwich Irish Pensioners Association (London) 6,315
Halifax and District Irish Society 20,512
Halifax Irish Centre 8,230
Haringey Irish Cultural and Community Centre (London) 225,830
Harps Community Project, Glasgow 37,521
Haslingden & Davitt IDL Club 4,287
Huddersfield Irish Centre 5,435
Huddersfield St. Patrick's Day Parade Association 4,832
Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy (ICAP) (London) 189,202
Irish Arts Foundation (Leeds) 90,136
Irish Chaplaincy in Britain (London) 212,554
Irish Charitable Trust (London) 187,777
Irish Community Care Manchester 201,479
Irish Community Care Merseyside 281,604
Irish Community Services (formally Irish in Greenwich) (London) 246,098
Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith (London) 876,500
Irish Diaspora Foundation (Manchester) 58,520
Irish Elderly Advice Network (London) 95,282
Irish Heritage (Surrey) 10,233
Irish Pensioners Choir (London) 4,127
Irish Repertory Theatre and Film Company (London) 8,186
Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB) (London) 136,287
Irish Tuesday Club, Liverpool 7,844
Irish in Birmingham (formerly Irish Welfare and Information Centre) 271,999
Irish World Heritage Centre (Manchester) 37,280
Kilburn Irish Pensioners (London) 1,807
Lancashire Federation of Irish Democratic League Clubs 1,186
Leeds Gypsy & Traveller Exchange 52,559
Leeds Irish Health & Homes 165,281
Leeds St. Patrick's Day Parade & Celebrations 12,507
Leicester & Leicestershire Irish Forum 45,909
Lewisham Irish Community Centre (London) 60,318
Lewisham Irish Pensioners Group (London) 9,650
Liverpool Irish Festival 8,469
London Gypsy and Traveller Unit 106,645
London Irish Amateur Rugby Club 13,076
London Irish Centre 571,180
London Irish Music School 4,517
London Irish Women's Centre 76,447
Lucht Focail (Leeds) 1,706
Luton Irish Forum 118,165
Manchester Irish Education Group 1,194
Manchester Irish language Group 859
Mansfield & Dukeries Irish Association 5,540
Marian Senior Citizens Club (London) 2,933
Maya Centre (London) 22,584
Milton Keynes Irish Centre 14,656
Momentum Care Irish Elders Centre (Rehab) - (Glasgow) 147,951
Monica's Place (Birmingham) 57,304
New Horizon Youth Centre (London) 43,386
NOAH Enterprise (Luton) 118,749
North London Action for the Homeless 5,745
North Wales Irish Society 7,138
Northampton Irish Support Group 64,556
Nottingham St. Patrick's Day Parade 9,231
Over 60's Pensioners Club (Thursday Club) (Camden, London) 395
Oxford Irish Society 1,884
Peterborough Streets (formerly St. Theresa's House) 29,138
Portsmouth Irish Society 12,908
Queen's Park Senior Citizen Group ( London) 4,576
Safe Start Foundation (Middlesex) 135,003
Sandwell Irish Community Association 15,691
Sandwell Irish Society 39,136
SanKTus ( formerly Our Lady Help of Christian's Welfare) (London) 47,671
Sheffield Irish Association 5,081
SIFA Fireside (Birmingham) 45,480
Slough Irish Society 28,425
Solace Women's Aid (Camden Women's Aid) (London) 48,323
Southwark Irish Pensioners 177,401
Southwark Irish Youth (London) 6,210
Southwark Travellers Action Group (London) 80,913
St. Michael's Irish Centre (Liverpool) 65,355
St. Patrick's Day Festival - Coatbridge 7,500
St. Patrick's Senior Tuesday Club (Leamington Spa) 6,538
St. Patrick's Stained Glass Window Project 5,685
Tara Irish Pensioners Club (London) 569
The Emerald Centre (Leicester) 51,811
The Golden Shamrock Club (Nottingham) 10,865
The Hibernian Society (Reading) 38,779
The Irish Club Warrington 7,146
The Passage (London) 42,069
Tuesday Club Leeds Irish Centre 6,822
Tyneside Irish Centre 69,715
Tyneside Irish Cultural Society 24,446
West Hampstead Women's Centre 7,322
Britain 7,825,234
  USA
Aisling Irish Centre, New York 89,448
American Irish Historical Society, New York 81,979
Catholic Charities Community Services - Project IrishOutreach, New York 71,389
Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform 7,453
Chicago Irish Immigrant Support 129,352
Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres 29,136
Emerald Isle Immigration Centre, New York 148,905
Glucksman Ireland House/ New York University 35,305
Hudson Valley Irish Festival, New York 3,459
Irish American Heritage Museum, New York 6,937
Irish Apostolate USA, Washington 13,528
Irish Cultural Centre of New England, Canton 53,417
Irish Immigration & Pastoral Centre, San Francisco 107,766
Irish Immigration and Pastoral Centre, Philadelphia 83,316
Irish International Immigration Centre, Boston 145,682
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform 29,811
Irish Outreach San Diego 26,084
Irish Pastoral Centre, Boston 130,610
Irish Technology Leadership Group , California 157,132
Mission of our Lady of the Rosary Heritage Project at Watson House, New York 14,515
New York Irish Centre 89,947
Seattle Irish Immigration Support Group (SIISG) 8,571
The Society of Commodore John Barry, Philadelphia 13,181
The University of Montana The Gathering: Collected Oral Histories of the Irish in Montana 53,659
Worcester Hibernian Cultural Foundation 10,921
USA 1,541,501
  Ireland
Crosscare Migrant Project 172,000
Football Association of Ireland 42,000
Glór na nGael 44,000
Ireland Canada University Foundation 40,000
Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas 96,448
Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants (Irish Chaplaincy in Britain) 52,224
Safe Home Programme 265,000
South East Galway Diaspora Project (Ireland Reaching Out) 67,775
GAA - Britain 286,336
GAA- USA 75,000
Ireland 1,140,783

Table

- Australian Irish Welfare Bureau, Melbourne, Victoria
- Australia
- 96,385
- Australia
Canberra Irish Club 3,834
Friends of St Brigid 's Association, Victoria 11,502
Irish Australian Association Inc , Adelaide 11,962
Irish Australian Support Association of Queensland, Brisbane 61,676
Melbourne Irish Festival Committee (St Patricks Festival) 1,534
Queensland GAA, Brisbane 38,673
St Patrick's Day Parade Association, Brisbane 7,867
Great Irish Famine Commemoration, Sydney 8,435
Irish Australian Welfare Bureau and Resource Centre, Sydney 115,039
Irish Brekkie Club, Sydney 1,478
Irish Language School/Scoil Gheimhridh, Sydney 1,442
The Lansdowne Club, Sydney 3,798
Australia 363,625
  Canada
Charitable Irish Society of Halifax 6,577
Emerald Isle Seniors, Toronto 17,947
Holy Cross Cemetery Trust, Halifax 3,230
Irish Sports and Social Society, Edmonton 21,215
Irish Women's Network of British Columbia 2,188
Lar na nGael - Irish Centre of Brampton 21,986
National Irish Canadian Cultural Centre/St. Brigid's, Ottawa 7,311
Oral History Project/Centre for Oral History Concordia University, Montreal 3,733
Ottawa Irish Society Seniors 8,751
St. Patrick's Society of Montreal 3,282
The Irish Benevolent Society of British Columbia 5,469
Toronto Irish Immigration Centre 36,555
Canada 138,244
  Singapore
Farmleigh Fellowship 110,000
Singapore 110,000
  Argentina
Asociación Argentino Irlandesa de Capital Federal 852
Hurling Club Buenos Aires 40,365
Sociedad Irlandesa de Arrecifes 3,527
Argentina 44,744
  Zimbabwe
Irish Association of Mashonaland 20,777
Matabeleland Irish Association 7,119
Zimbabwe 27,896
  France
Conradh na Gaeilge Paris 900
Network Irlande Paris 20,000
Paris Gaels GAA 2,600
France 23,500
- New Zealand
Irish Community, Christchurch 20,000
New Zealand 20,000
  Germany
Irish Business Network 15,200
Germany 15,200
  South Africa
Irish South African Association: Gauteng Chapter 2,658
Irish South African Association: Western Cape Chapter 8,525
South Africa 11,184
  United Arab Emirates
Irish Business Network Dubai 8,500
United Arab Emirates 8,500
  P.R. of China
Le Chéile, Shanghai 7,187
P.R. of China 7,187
  Japan
Irish Network Japan 6,164
Japan 6,164
  Netherlands
Irish Club Netherlands 4,503
Netherlands 4,503
  Norway
Bergen Irish Society 1,014
Norwegian Irish Society 3,043
Norway 4,057
  Kuwait
Kuwait Irish Society 2,709
Kuwait 2,709
  Switzerland
Basel Irish Club 1,834
Switzerland 1,834
  Belgium
Belgium GAA 500
Belgium 500

Diplomatic Representation

 141. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore following on from the Government's decision to close the Irish embassy to the Holy See, his plans to close other embassies in small countries that have little or no interest in the Irish people and which could save us revenue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50538/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The decision taken by the Government in 2011 to close three missions, Ireland’s Embassies to the Holy See and Iran and its representative office in Timor Leste, followed a comprehensive review of our overseas diplomatic network in which particular attention was paid to the promotion of our economic interests and the return from our network of diplomatic and consular missions abroad. Our missions abroad work very closely with the state agencies in the promotion of exports, tourism and inward investment. They provide frontline consular and passport services to citizens overseas, engaging with and supporting Irish communities overseas. They perform also a wide range of functions in support of Ireland’s wider foreign policy interests. These include representing and advancing government policies, in particular in the context of the European Union and at the United Nations, economic and cultural promotion, and programme management, particularly in Irish Aid priority countries.

Ireland’s overseas diplomatic network includes 56 Embassies, 7 multilateral missions and 10 Consulates General and other offices. In addition to their country of residence, many Ambassadors are accredited concurrently to additional countries which enhances the cost-effectiveness of our external representation. The scale and deployment of our diplomatic network is considered by the Government on an ongoing basis to ensure that it most effectively meets Ireland’s current needs, consistent with the resources available.

Departmental Staff Recruitment

 142. Deputy Colm Keaveney Information on Colm Keaveney Zoom on Colm Keaveney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore regarding the recruitment of junior diplomats to his Department, the criteria that were applied in the selection of the type of psychometric tests used at stage one of the recruitment process; if the decision to depart from traditional testing methods, that is, verbal, numeral reasoning and job simulation, in favour of verbal and abstract reasoning was made by his Department or by the Public Appointments Service; in view of the nature of the role, his views on whether personality and-or job simulation would be a key selection method at stage one; if administrating stage one of the process online has resulted in any potential candidates being disadvantaged, in particular those with special requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50544/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The Public Appointments Service (PAS) is the independent body designated under the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 to provide shared service recruitment to the public service and is responsible for the running of the Third Secretary Campaign. PAS is equipped with the specialist expertise for this task and is independent in the running of such processes. Following a comprehensive job analysis, the key competencies required for Third Secretary were identified and appropriate tests selected to evaluate those skills. The assessment tools and techniques being used this year are similar to those employed at previous Third Secretary competitions i.e. reasoning tests and a job simulation exercise. The initial stage of the current selection process was by way of online reasoning tests. Those who achieved the highest scores have been invited to an assessment centre where they will undergo further assessments including reasoning tests and a job simulation exercise. Those successful at that stage may subsequently be invited to attend for interview. As regards candidates with special requirements, PAS has an exemplary record in such matters. Candidates are invited to outline their requirements and each is specially dealt with in response to their own specified needs.

Overseas Development Aid Oversight

 143. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will provide a breakdown of the €9.023 million given by Irish Aid in 2012 to Mozambique under the heading general budget support; if he will provide a breakdown of exactly where the money was spent; the level of parliamentary oversight the Mozambique Government has in relation to this funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50644/13]

 144. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will provide a breakdown of the €15.223 million given for health, HIV and AIDS purposes in Mozambique; if he will provide a breakdown of the €5.593 million given towards education in Mozambique and the €1.782 million to agriculture; the amount that was given directly to the Mozambique Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50645/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello I propose to take Questions Nos. 143 and 144 together.

  Mozambique is one of the nine key partner countries for the Government’s development cooperation programme, where we have a commitment to long term strategic assistance. Ireland’s bilateral aid programme to Mozambique is governed by a five year country strategy (2012–16). The goal of the programme is to support sustainable, inclusive, development, and to contribute to the reduction of poverty and vulnerability in Mozambique. Under this strategy, Ireland has committed to working with a range of partners to deliver our assistance, including the Government of Mozambique, international institutions, non-governmental organisations, civil society and research bodies. The attached table provides the breakdown of Ireland’s support to Mozambique.

  Ireland cooperates with other donors in providing support to the Government of Mozambique through a number of different funding channels: general budget support, the education common fund, the land fund for agriculture, and – in a partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative – the health common fund. In 2012, approximately 80% of Irish bilateral assistance to Mozambique was delivered through Government systems. An important objective is to support the development of key public services and to strengthen the capacity of the administration to deliver these services to Mozambican citizens.

  Funds delivered through Mozambican Government systems are subject to a series of checks. The Mozambican Government makes available to donors the full details of its budget, including its quarterly and annual financial execution reports, six-monthly progress reports and all audit reports. This includes State accounts audited by Mozambique’s supreme audit institution, the Tribunal Administrativo. In addition, donors, including Ireland, supplement the work of the Tribunal Administrativo through the use of commercial audit companies and through Public Financial Management reviews.

  The Mozambican Parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee – which is chaired by the Honourable Eneas Comiche, who visited the Oireachtas last June – has oversight of the State budget, which is a mix of Mozambique’s own revenues and pooled international development funds. It also reviews audit reports from the Tribunal Administrativo on Government spending.

  While Mozambique’s economy is growing fast, it still remains poor. Mozambique currently ranks 185 out of 187 countries in the UN Human Development Index. Over recent years, after a terrible civil war, with support from Ireland and other donors, Mozambique has made excellent progress to improve health outcomes, particularly for pregnant women and babies, and to increase the number of children attending primary school. However, considerable challenges remain, including high rates of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. While the numbers of children in school have increased, the Government recognises that more must be done to improve the quality of education.

Area
Description
Amount - €
General Budget Support This support is provided to the Government of Mozambique to implement the national Poverty Reduction Strategy, enhance service delivery across all public services and implement public financial management reforms.
9,000,000
  Programme Support Costs
23,000
Health & HIV/AIDS    
     
Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) Health Sector Basket Fund – Ministry of Health and Clinton Foundation
13,500,000
CHAI Clinton Foundation - Support for the provision of technical support to the Ministry of Health, including on drug procurement and the roll-out of health technology
200,000
Helen Keller International To support nutrition response and efforts to ensure the passing of mandatory legislation on food fortification
200,000
International Potato Centre (CIP) Orange Flesh Sweet Potato Programme in Niassa Province
250,000
Provincial Directorate Of Health Focus on Community Health in Niassa and Inhambane
450,000
International Relief and Development Community Health and focus on HIV/AIDS
535,000
  Programme Support Costs
88,000
  Total
15,223,000
Education    
Education Common Fund Education Sector Common Fund
5,000,000
Niassa Provincial Education Education Sector Support
550,000
  Programme Support Costs
43,000
  Total
5,593,000
Agriculture    
Technoserve Agri-business - building a regional horticulture cluster in Inhambane Province
692,000
Land Fund Improving Certification of Land for Communities
200,000
UNICEF Support for Social Protection
250,000
Swedish Cooperative Centre Strengthening Civil Society Organisations Capacity to Advocate for Natural Resource Issues
200,000
Provincial Directorate of Planning and Finance Enhancing Public Financial Management Systems in Inhambane and Niassa Provinces
400,000
- Programme Support Costs
39,788
- Total
1,781,788

Excise Duties Issues

 145. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore further to Parliamentary Question No.118 of 22 October 2013 if he will provide an up to date progress report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50652/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore As the Deputy will be aware from my previous reply, the Irish Embassy in Brussels has been in contact with the Belgian customs authorities to express my deep concern at the delay in processing the claims submitted by the company and to highlight the serious impact that this is having on their operations. Following further representations in recent days, the Embassy has been advised that the customs authorities will be in contact with the company’s representatives next week in relation to its claims.

Northern Ireland Issues

 146. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will provide an update on the collusion issue north of the border where one third of the 120 killings occurred in the Republic; and if this aspect was ever raised with the British Government.  [50779/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore The atrocities perpetrated in Dublin, Monaghan, Dundalk and elsewhere in the 1970s, and incidents such as the massacre of the Miami Showband stand out in the memory as particularly bloody episodes in this island’s history. In recent weeks there have been further well-publicised allegations of collusion. The late Judge Henry Barron and Patrick McEntee SC carried out detailed and painstaking inquiries into bombings in Dublin and Monaghan in May 1974 and, indeed, other atrocities that took place between 1972 and 1976 in which so many people lost their lives. The Garda authorities co-operated fully with the Barron and McEntee inquiries. This House and Seanad Éireann have unanimously urged the British Government to allow access to documents relevant to these events. I know that many Deputies in this House have raised this issue directly with our counterparts at Westminster and that they will continue to do so. For its part, since this Government took office, the Taoiseach has raised the issue with the British Prime Minister and I have also raised the matter with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland   and during my recent visit to London.

EU-IMF Programme of Support

 147. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan further to the statement by the Taoiseach to Dáil Éireann in relation to the upcoming exit of Ireland from the EU-IMF assistance programme on 14 November 2013, if he will elaborate on the discussions that took place between Chancellor Angela Merkel to arrive at the scenario whereby the German government has asked KfW, the German development bank, to work with the German and Irish authorities to deliver on improving funding mechanisms to support a productive Irish economy at the earliest possible date.  [50367/13]

 171. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan further to the Taoiseach's statement to Dáil Éireann in relation to the upcoming exit of Ireland from the EU-IMF assistance programme on Thursday, 14 November 2013, if he will provide details on any funding mechanisms that might be availed of in the Irish economy, for example, by small and medium sized business, in the form of development loans that may be made available by the German development bank, KfW.  [50368/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I propose to take Questions Nos. 147 and 171 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Taoiseach mentioned in this House that he had held discussions with Chancellor Merkel. Germany is keen to help and specifically to find ways to reinforce Ireland’s economic recovery by improving funding mechanisms for the real economy, including access to finance for Irish SMEs. The German Government has asked KfW, the German development bank, to work with the German and Irish authorities swiftly, in order to deliver on this initiative at the earliest possible date.

Officials of my Department have already exchanged working papers on this subject with KfW and the German Ministry of Finance. Discussions with the German Ministry were held in Berlin last week and there was a meeting between Department of Finance officials and KfW personnel in Frankfurt yesterday. We will be moving forward with this work with KfW and other key stakeholders over the coming weeks both here and abroad.

The Government’s intention is to ensure with the support of Chancellor Merkel that an effective and successful initiative emerges from the process. We will therefore be discussing any and all approaches that meet the strategic objectives of both States and ultimately facilitate lending to the real economy, in particular to SMEs in Ireland. Although the precise form and delivery mechanism for any assistance has yet to be agreed, discussion with German colleagues will consider appropriate options for funding the recovery of the Irish Economy in the course of our work with KfW and the German Government over the coming weeks.

Property Taxation Collection

 148. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 18 must pay the property tax on a property they sold in April 2013 in order to get a tax clearance certificate for the property; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50465/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by Revenue that Section 128 of the Finance Local Property Tax (LPT) Act 2012 (as amended) provides that outstanding LPT Returns and liabilities will be taken into account for tax clearance purposes. I am also advised by Revenue that if a person is the owner of a relevant residential property on the ‘liability date’, which is 1 May for 2013, then he/she is liable to pay the LPT for 2013 regardless of whether the property has subsequently been sold. On the specific case raised by the Deputy, if the sale of a property was completed in April as suggested by the Deputy, then the person is not liable for the 2013 tax in respect of that property. However, if the completion of the sale occurred on or after 1 May 2013 then the person is liable for the 2013 LPT on the property.

  Revenue’s records indicate that the LPT obligations for 2013 have been fully met in regard to the property at the address supplied by the Deputy. Revenue has no record of a second property being associated with the person in question nor has it received any correspondence in regard to the sale of the property at the address supplied. Finally, Revenue has advised that if the person requires further clarification in regard to his LPT for 2013 he should contact the LPT Helpline at 1890 200 255. Alternatively he can write to LPT Branch, PO Box 100, Ennis, Co. Clare, or email lpt@revenue.ie.

Departmental Banking

 149. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the value of services provided to the public by his Department and entities reporting to his Department where a payment is accepted by debit or credit card; the percentage of additional charge that is applied to such transactions under the merchant agreement; the total value of the additional charge in respect of debit and credit cards in 2012; if any portion of the additional charge accrued to his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50134/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan In response to the Deputy’s question neither my Department or bodies under the aegis of my Department provide services to the public.

IBRC Mortgage Loan Book

 150. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if mortgages previously held with Irish Nationwide, now with Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. will be refinanced by the borrowers; if the liquidator is in a position to negotiate settlements prior to the anticipated sale of the mortgage book; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50156/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have been advised by the Special Liquidators that all Borrowers can re-finance their borrowings with other lending institutions however there will be no write down of the debt outstanding. The Special Liquidators have corresponded with all IBRC borrowers providing them with an opportunity to make written representations on the method of disposal of their loans and the criteria for determining who may bid for loan assets. The decisions in relation to the disposal of all loans, following receipt of expert advice and consideration of the representations from IBRC borrowers have been made by the Special Liquidators.

IBRC Mortgage Loan Book

 151. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation mortgage loan book is sold on to an international investor, if the borrowers will have the protection of the Central Bank of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50157/13]

 153. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if the continued applicability of the Central Bank's CCMA now depends on the regulatory status of the ultimate acquirer of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation loan book; if this position differs from the position stated by him on 6 February 2013 that it is critically important that mortgage account holders understand that their situation following the liquidation should generally remain unchanged; if such a change in guarantee has occurred, the date on which this happened; the reason it happened; if in his view such mortgage holders are more exposed as a consequence; the discussions he has had on the matter with the special liquidator; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50206/13]

 154. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if the code of conduct on mortgage arrears will be available to those whose mortgages are part of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation loan book which is currently for sale as a condition of sale; the way that might be done in practice; if that condition will limit the selection of bidders for the loan books and if so how; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50208/13]

 168. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will ensure that Irish Bank Resolution Corporation and the purchasers of its mortgages offer the exact same consumer protections offered by mainstream banks, namely, the code of conduct on mortgage arrears, the Central Bank's targets for offering long-term solutions to those in arrears, that is, split mortgages, and the Financial Services Ombudsman Service.  [50355/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I propose to take Questions Nos. 151, 153, 154 and 168 together.

I am advised that the contractual terms and conditions of customer mortgages and other borrowings of IBRC will not change as a result of the appointment of the Special Liquidators or the ultimate sale of the obligations to a third party. The Special Liquidators have confirmed that all Borrowers are permitted to buy-out their mortgage at par value and that there are no legislative barriers for such Borrowers to do so. The Special Liquidators have also confirmed that the residential mortgage customers of IBRC Limited (in Special Liquidation) continue to enjoy the protection of the Central Bank Code of Conduct on mortgage arrears and other protections in Irish consumer law.

The continued applicability of the Central Bank Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears and Mortgage Arrears Targets Programme will depend on the regulatory status of the ultimate acquirer of the portfolio which we will not know until the sales process has concluded. In the event that NAMA ultimately acquires this portfolio, the NAMA Board will determine its strategy at that stage. In doing so, NAMA will be mindful of its legal obligations and general market norms. I am further advised that should they acquire the portfolio NAMA is likely to apply best practice in this regard and no borrower will in any worse position

The Special Liquidators have corresponded with all IBRC borrowers providing them with an opportunity to make written representations on the method of disposal of their loans and the criteria for determining who may bid for loan assets. The decisions in relation to the disposal of all loans, following receipt of expert advice and consideration of the representations from borrowers, have been made by the Special Liquidators.

Tax Collection

 152. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the rate of fees and expenses the Revenue sheriff is entitled to charge in the execution of his duties; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50188/13]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by Revenue that the execution of warrants by Sheriffs in respect of tax debts is specifically provided for in Section 962 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, as amended. I am further advised that Sheriffs are Officers of the Court, holding office under Section 12 of the Court Officers Act, 1945. Their debt collection activities, including seizure procedures, are generally covered by the Enforcement of Court Orders Act, 1926, as amended. The Sheriffs are independent of both the Minister for Finance and Revenue in the application of these functions.

  Once a certificate relating to an unpaid tax debt has been issued to a Sheriff, the taxpayer becomes liable for payment of the associated costs and fees. The current fees structure is set out in the Sheriffs Fees and Expenses Order, 2005 (S.I. No. 655/2005) which was made by the Minister for Justice and Equality with the consent of the Minister for Finance and came into effect on 1 November 2005. The fees are as follows:

-   Lodgment fee of €19

-   Poundage 5% for the first €5,500 and 2.5% of balance

-   Travelling expenses of €32 for the execution of a warrant

-   €40 payable on execution of a warrant

-   Any necessary expenses incurred in relation to seizure and sale of goods.

  Finally, Revenue has confirmed to me that the Sheriffs have a Code of Practice in place, which is available from any of their offices or via the Revenue website, that sets out how they should engage with taxpayers. For example, it includes commitments that when goods are seized a written inventory is supplied to the taxpayer followed by an account of proceeds once the goods are sold. The Code also sets out the process through which a taxpayer can make a complaint against a Sheriff.

  A copy of the Code follows for the Deputy’s information.

  Sheriff’s Code of Practice

  The following is the Code of Practice operated by the Sheriff’s Office in relation to dealings with taxpayers:

1.   The Sheriff will

  - Treat every taxpayer with courtesy;

  - Where practicable, notify the taxpayer in writing of the lodgment of a certificate in the Sheriff’s Office;

  - Where requested, explain to the taxpayer the purpose of the visit of the Sheriff, Bailiff or other staff;

  - When goods are seized, issue as soon as possible, a written inventory to the taxpayer;

  - Furnish the taxpayer with a receipt for monies paid;

  - Furnish the taxpayer with an account of the proceeds of the sale of any goods seized.

2.   In return the Sheriff expects that the Taxpayer will

  - Pay liabilities to the Sheriff on demand;

  - Be prompt in his/her dealings with the Sheriff’s office;

  - Treat the Sheriff and his staff with courtesy.

3.   Complaints

  - If the taxpayer feels aggrieved at the way in which his/her case is handled, complain in writing to the Sheriff’s office;

  - The Sheriff shall investigate any such complaint and respond as promptly as is practicable in the circumstances;

  - Should the taxpayer remain aggrieved at the Sheriff’s response, he/she may refer the complaint to the Revenue Commissioners in writing. The Revenue Commissioners will examine any such complaint and may request that the Sheriff undertake a review.

  - Should the taxpayer remain aggrieved at the outcome of the Sheriff’s review, the complaint may at his/her request be referred to the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Revenue Commissioners and the Sheriffs’ Association. The JSC will review the issue(s)by means of an examination of all the relevant correspondence and documentation. [The JSC is made up of an equal number of representatives from the Revenue Commissioners and the Sheriffs Association, with a neutral Chairman.]

  - Where a complaint involves an allegation of criminal behaviour against a sheriff, his agents, or staff, then the Joint Standing Committee shall decline to deal with it.

  - The referral of any matter to the Joint Standing Committee is not in any way to be taken as a diminution or a substitution for a taxpayer’s common law rights, which are not interfered with by availing of the said process.

  Questions Nos. 153 and 154 answered with Question No. 151.


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