Answered on July 9, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will outline Ireland's financial contribution to the European Space Agency each year since 2002 inclusive.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of Irish companies or persons who have won contracts awarded by the European Space Agency each year since 2002 inclusive.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the proportion of Enterprise Ireland's annual budget, in percentage and actual terms, which is devoted to space-related enterprise supports and activities.
Reply from Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Sean Sherlock: (I propose to answer PQs, 262, 263 and 264 together.) The table attached at Appendix 1 sets out Ireland’s contribution to the European Space Agency (ESA) each year from 2002 to 2012 together with the number of contracts awarded by ESA to Irish companies and other entities. The number of contracts is based on data provided by ESA.
Ireland’s investment in ESA is channelled directly through my Department’s Vote and, as such, Enterprise Ireland has no specific funding ring-fenced for space related enterprise supports and activities. However, all Enterprise Ireland R&D support programmes are available to space companies and 3 rd level institutions where any such applications meet the relevant programme criteria. Enterprise Ireland has 2.5 staff members devoted to space related enterprise supports and activities such as helping companies to secure international funding from Framework Programme 7 and European Space Agency contracts.
Answered on June 27, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his attention has been drawn to the massive increases in commercial rates due to be levied on businesses in County Waterford on foot of a statutory revaluation of commercial rates in Waterford city and county; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Reply from Minister Brendan Howlin: As the Deputy will be aware, the national revaluation programme aims to provide up-to-date valuations for individual properties across all economic sectors that are subject to local authority rates. The revaluation process is the mechanism whereby economic changes that take place in the property market are reflected in the valuation lists for rates purposes and in individual ratepayers’ rates liabilities. The national revaluation programme is a priority for Government and is a feature of the Action Plan for Jobs 2012. The programme is particularly important given the significant changes that have occurred in rental values following the economic downturn of recent years. The purpose of a revaluation is to distribute commercial rates liabilities more equitably among ratepayers based on up-to-date values. Following revaluation, there will be a much closer relationship between rental value and commercial rates liability. Even though property values have fallen generally, given that the purpose is to redistribute the overall rates liability, some ratepayers will obtain a reduction while others will experience an increase from the process of redistribution but, overall, revaluation results in a fairer distribution of the rates burden.
Answered on June 18, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to improve the practical skills of third level graduates in the information communications technology sector before they enter the workplace.
Reply from Minister Ruairí Quinn: Work placements have a key role to play in helping students to develop the practical work place skills required by employers. In recent years higher education institutions have expanded the work placement opportunities available to students in ICT and other disciplines and the National Strategy for Higher Education recommends further expanding work placement and service learning opportunities across higher education programmes.
The joint Government-Industry Action Plan, which I launched in January 2012, contains a comprehensive, system wide response aimed at building the supply of high quality ICT graduates. As part of the Plan almost 1,500 places have been provided for graduate jobseekers on intensive honours degree level ICT conversion courses. The courses, which are designed and delivered in partnership with industry, all contain a structured work placement.
The Action Plan also provided for the establishment of a high level Academic Industry Foresight Group chaired by the Chair of HEA and with strong high level industry membership. The Group, which was established in January 2012, has a work programme to review existing provision and ensure that third level ICT programme development is aligned to enterprise skills needs.
Answered on June 11, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Taoiseach the percentage of the overall workforce that is employed in small and medium enterprises.
Reply from Minister of State, Paul Kehoe: The breakdown requested by the Deputy is included in Table 1 (right). The year 2010 is the latest reference year for which final data is available. Data from 2006 – 2010 is included for comparison purposes.
The source of the estimates is the Business Demography series as published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are defined as follows:
1. Small Enterprises: less than 50 persons engaged.
2. Medium Enterprises: between 50 and 249 persons engaged.
3. Large Enterprises: greater than 250 persons engaged.
The enterprise figures quoted relate to the private business economy, which includes Industry, Construction and Services in NACE Rev 2 sectors B – N (excluding 64.20 “Activities of holding companies”). Enterprises in the Public Sector, Health, Education and Agriculture are not covered.
The following should be noted when analysing the figures provided above. The figures provided are on a “person engaged in employment” basis and not on an employee basis. The definitions used are:
1. Persons engaged, includes employees, proprietors and family members.
2. Employees are persons who are paid a fixed wage or salary. Persons at work or temporarily absent because of illness, holidays, strike etc, are included. Persons working on a labour-only subcontract basis are excluded.
3. Proprietors and family members; included here are those proprietors (partners etc) and members of their families who work regularly in the firm and are not paid a definite wage or salary.
The Business Demography Press Release of 22 June 2012 is available HERE.
Answered on June 11, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide trade figures between Ireland and China for each of the past five years.
Reply from Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: The Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Ireland compiles external trade figures for Ireland, which are available at www.cso.ie. The trade figures outlined below for China include total merchandise trade and total trade in services between Ireland and China, including Hong Kong and Macau, for the period January 2008 to December 2012.
In 2008, total bilateral trade between Ireland and China was €8,907 million (m). Total bilateral merchandise trade was valued at €6,600m; with exports worth €2,325m and imports worth €4,275m. Total bilateral trade in services was valued at €2,307m; exports were worth €1,625m and imports worth €682m.
Total bilateral trade in 2009 was valued at €7,144m; with total bilateral merchandise trade valued at €5,209m. Of this figure, €2,330m were exports and €2,879m were imports. Bilateral trade in services totalled €1,935 m; exports at €1,648m and imports at €317m.
Total bilateral trade with China totalled €7,603m in 2010. Total bilateral merchandise trade valued €5,249m; with exports at €2,494m and imports at €2,755m. Total bilateral trade in services were valued at €2,354m with exports worth €1,943m and imports worth €411m.
In 2011, total bilateral trade with China was valued at €7,824m. Total bilateral merchandise trade was worth €5,155m with exports worth €2,453m and imports worth €2,702m. Total bilateral trade in services was worth €2,669m; exports and imports were valued at €2,471m and €325m respectively.
In 2012, total bilateral merchandise trade between Ireland and China was valued at €5,027m; exports €2,167 and imports €2,860. Figures for trade in services for this period will become available from the CSO in September of this year.
From a broader perspective, in 2012, total bilateral trade (imports to and exports from Ireland) increased by 4.7% to €318.5 billion. Total exports increased by over 5% in 2011 in nominal terms and by over 5.5% in 2012. Exports are almost evenly divided between goods and services, with almost all of our export growth in 2012 accounted for by services exports, which grew by 11%. This overall trend is evident in trade with China where our merchandise exports decreased in 2012; in large part due to the ‘patent cliff’ in respect of pharmaceuticals while our exports of services increased by 52% over the period 2008-2011.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the level of lending to small and medium enterprises by State controlled banks over the past three years.
Reply from Minister Michael Noonan: As the Deputy is aware, the Government has imposed SME lending targets on the two domestic pillar banks for the three calendar years, 2011 to 2013. Each bank was required to sanction lending of at least €3 billion in 2011, €3.5 billion in 2012 and €4 billion in 2013 for new or increased credit facilities to SMEs. Both banks have reported that they achieved their 2011 and 2012 targets.
The pillar banks are required to submit their lending plans to the Department and the Credit Review Office (CRO) at the beginning of each year, outlining how they intend to achieve their lending targets. The banks have submitted their lending plans for 2013 to my Department. My Department, in conjunction with the CRO, has analysed the plans and has met with the banks to discuss them. At the end of the first quarter 2013, both banks are on schedule to meet their targets. The Credit Reviewer has stated in his last report that over €8bn was sanctioned by the banks in 2012, of which approximately €2.5bn (27%) is new lending drawn down.
Separately, the Central Bank of Ireland publishes data on lending to Small and Medium Enterprises by all credit institutions resident in the Republic of Ireland, and commenced compiling these data in March 2010. These figures show that total gross new lending drawdowns by non-financial SMEs between March 2010 and December 2012 amounted to €8.7 billion. (Gross new lending drawdowns refer to funds accessed by SME customers during the period which were not included in the previous period’s stock of credit advanced. This excludes the value of renegotiations/restructures that takes place during the period. It is also not equivalent to sanctioning activity, nor does it cover contingent liabilities, such as letters of credit or similar guarantees. Non-financial SME credit excludes lending to certain financial vehicle corporations in the financial intermediation sector, as their balance sheet size brings them into the SME category.) This is available HERE.
The Central Bank of Ireland does not publish these data separately for state controlled banks. Data for March 2013 are due to be published before the end of June.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection her strategy to tackle long-term youth employment.
Reply from Minister Joan Burton: The official labour market figures published by the CSO indicated that the number of young unemployed at the end of 2012 was 59,000, of whom 27,300 were long-term (over one year) unemployed. The number of young long term unemployed represented a fall of 8,300 on the figure of 35,600 at the end of 2011.
In the first instance, the Government’s primary strategy to tackle all forms of unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth. Past experience suggests that youth unemployment, which tends to rise relatively rapidly in a downturn, can be expected to fall relatively rapidly during the recovery.
The Government is also implementing a number of programmes to assist young unemployed persons and keep young jobseekers close to the labour market. There are five main approaches being taken to tackle youth unemployment: education, training, job search assistance/guidance, work experience, and encouraging job creation. These actions range across a number of Departments and Agencies and include:
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide details of the number of persons who have entered the JobBridge national internship scheme in each of the past three years.
Reply from Minister Joan Burton: JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, came into operation on 1st July, 2011. The Scheme has made very significant progress in a relatively short period of time. I wish to advise the Deputy that 3,748 internships had commenced as at year end 2011. An additional 9,725 internships commenced in 2012. An additional 4,136 internships have commenced so far in 2013. In total 17,609 internships have commenced to-date.
May 29, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills, further to Parliamentary Question No. 231 of 5 March 2013, the progress that has been made by the new Quality and Qualifications Ireland to finally enable aspirant providers to apply for FETAC level accreditation; and when new applications will be accepted.
Reply from Minister Ruairí Quinn: I can inform the Deputy that, since his previous question on this issue, QQI have published a number of Green Papers on various policy areas which are available on the QQI website, dealing with subjects such as Awards and Standards, Certification, Access to Programme Accreditation, Recognition of Prior Learning and Quality Assurance. The purpose of these Green Papers is to inform the Comprehensive Policy Development Programme which QQI is undertaking with all of its stakeholders. Consultation events held by QQI in Dublin on 20 May and Cork on 28 May were attended by approximately 500 stakeholders and will inform the development of policy.
Following the receipt of submissions from interested parties over the summer months, new policies will be introduced in September to enable those providers who do not currently have a relationship with QQI to have access to external quality assurance and awards.
It should be noted that while QQI has not been accepting new applications for recognition while these policies are being developed, it has been liaising with the providers concerned. In March 2013, QQI issued a questionnaire to 105 such providers and it continues to issue the questionnaire to potential applicants. The purpose of the questionnaire is to gather information on the providers and will assist when the provider application process reopens.
Answered on May 28, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in relation to his Department’s monitoring of the South-East Employment Action Plan, the number of ideas have been funded in Waterford since its launch in January 2012; the amount of funding for Waterford ideas that have been awarded to-date.
Reply from Minister Richard Bruton: The South East Employment Action Plan has a number of recommendations which the relevant agencies and stakeholders are charged with implementing. The following are examples of agency funding provided to individuals or companies in Waterford and in the South East since January 2012 to develop new business ideas.
Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme is a rapid incubation programme designed to provide hands-on support and management development for entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business.
Twenty promoters were accepted on to the 2012 programmes run in Waterford IT and Carlow IT. All were approved a €15,000 scholarship from Enterprise Ireland to develop business ideas which can be spun out as knowledge based companies to provide jobs and export sales. Graduates are expected to go on to set up new businesses in the South East following the programme.
Enterprise Ireland launched a pilot Competitive Feasibility Fund for new start-ups in the South East in January 2012. Over 40 applications were received with 14 high quality projects being approved for funding. The total fund was approximately €200,000. To date, one of the projects has been approved High Potential Start Up funding. Enterprise Ireland continues to work with innovative start-up companies at all stages of development and growth within the region.
Since 2007, Enterprise Ireland has approved a total of 707 Innovation Vouchers to companies in the South East with 287 approved to Waterford based companies (as of March 2013). Waterford has the fourth highest number of approved vouchers since 2007.
In addition to the above, the Waterford County and the Waterford City Enterprise Boards have both continued to use the funding available under the European Globalisation Fund and from my Department to provide supports for micro-enterprises within the County. From the 1st January 2012 to date, the two CEBs have funded 51 projects in the amount of €865,270 from the funding allocated by my Department, supporting the creation of 98 jobs, and funded a further 6 other projects in the amount of €110,462 with the financial support provided by the European Globalisation Fund.
Work is on-going on the implementation of the South-East Employment Action Plan recommendations, with agencies and stakeholders working together to maximise benefits for the region. The South East Forum, established to oversee the implementation of the Action Plan, and which I met most recently in March this year, will continue to examine ways that would lead to job creation and investment opportunities in the South East.
Dáil Éireann allocates a certain amount of time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during which Deputies may ask questions of Members of the Government relating to Public Affairs connected with their Departments, or on matters of administration for whch they are officially responsible. The Taoiseach answers questions on his own Department on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.