Answered on July 9, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection her views as to the reason Ireland has an unemployment rate of 30.3% in the 15 to 24 age group, almost double the OECD average of 16.2%.
Reply from Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton: In Q4, 2012, OECD data show that Ireland had a youth unemployment rate of 29.2% and an unemployment rate of 14.3% for all persons in the labour force. This compares to an overall OECD youth unemployment rate of 16.4%, with 8% unemployment in the OECD labour force. In both instances, the rate of youth unemployment is slightly double the rate of unemployment in the overall economy.
Young people, typically, suffer disproportionately from job losses in recessions as they tend to have entered employment more recently, are more likely to hold temporary contracts and to be employed in cyclically sensitive industries than older workers. The youth unemployment rate in Ireland is higher than the OECD average as the overall level of unemployment is higher in Ireland than in the OECD.
Answered on June 18, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will outline in further detail the number and type of jobs to be created by the new Irish Water utility company; and the latest timeframe for recruitment to these positions.
Reply from Minister Phil Hogan: To date the establishment of Irish Water has been supported by the Programme Office within Bord Gáis, and a number of local authority and Departmental staff have been seconded to the Office to assist in this work.
The permanent Irish Water organisation is due to be incorporated shortly and currently has six staff. On-going work on a detailed Target Operating Model for the permanent organisation will be finalised in the near future and opportunities will be available for staff in local authorities to apply for jobs in the permanent organisation. It is intended that the legislation to transfer statutory responsibility for water services to Irish Water will provide for local authorities to act as agents for Irish Water with this relationship being expressed through Service Level Agreements. The majority of the existing staff will remain employees of local authorities working under such arrangements.
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.
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.
Answered on May 28, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the additional measures he
proposes in order to increase the number of under-25-year-olds participating in vocational and technical education courses.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of under-25-year-olds
enrolled in vocational and technical education courses for each of the past five years.
Replies from Minister of State, Ciarán Cannon: (I propose to take questions 296 and 297 together.) There is a strong focus on under 25 year olds in education and training programmes in my Department and support for these progammes is being maintained despite the current economic difficulties.
My Department funds the provision of over 430,000 part-time and full-time places across the further and higher education and training sectors, all of which are open to young people under 25 years of age.
This provision includes the recently developed and flexible re-skilling opportunities specifically for unemployed people in areas of emerging skills needs under Momentum initiatives. The introduction of the MOMENTUM programme will have a specific impact on young unemployed people. It is to provide a
range of quality, relevant education and training interventions for up to 6,500 individuals who are long-term unemployed. Training will be provided within the context of four themes all of which are open to under 25 year olds. One of these themes will focus on the specific needs of people under 25 and 800 places are being made available specifically for this.
For early school leavers, my Department funds 6,000 places under the Youthreach programme. The programme provides participants with two years integrated education, training and work experience. which facilitates early school leavers with opportunities to acquire certification and progress to further education, training or employment.
A weekly training allowance is paid to learners on some further education and training programmes. Learners who are under 25 will be paid an allowance of €160 per week, which is higher than the Jobseekers Allowance rates of €100 for those aged 18 to 21 and €144 for those aged 22 to 24.
The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) scheme funded by the Department of Social Protection provides income maintenance for unemployed people returning to further and higher education. Latest figures show over 6,700 young people under 25 years of age are in receipt of the BTEA, 56% of whom are second level and 44% third level.
Statistics on the number of under 25s enrolled in further education and training programmes for each of the past five years is being collated at present and will be forwarded separately to the Deputy.
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.
Answered on May 28, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation when he expects the EU Commission Directorate-General for Competition to publish the new Regional Aid Guidelines 2014-2020; and the extent to which he has participated in the recent public consultation process.
Reply from Minister Richard Bruton: As part of a State Aid Modernisation initiative currently being undertaken by the EU Commission a number of instruments are being reviewed in parallel, including, in particular, Guidelines on Regional Aid, Environmental Aid, Risk Capital, Research Development and Innovation, Broadband Guidelines and Aviation Guidelines.
Of major importance from an Irish perspective is the revision of the Regional Aid Guidelines. The purpose of Regional Aid is to support investment and job creation and encourage firms to set up new establishments in Europe's most disadvantaged regions.
The process of Member States agreeing the 2014-2021 Regional Aid Guidelines is underway and multilateral discussions between Member States and the Commission, which has responsibility for the Regional Aid Guidelines, have taken place.
This initiative is Commission led, and my Department is actively engaged in the process and has consulted relevant stakeholders including various Government Departments, the enterprise development agencies, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Forfás, the Central Statistics Office, the Border Midland and Western Regional Assembly, the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly, and the eight Regional Authorities to ensure the preparation and submission of a comprehensive evidence based Irish position on the key issues.
The Commission issued a non-paper of its initial orientations in December 2011, which was followed by a multilateral meeting in March 2012. The Commission subsequently forwarded further proposals to Member States on 14 January 2013, documenting the structure and provisions that will form the basis of the revised Guidelines. These proposals were again discussed at a multilateral meeting on 11 and 12 of February 2013.
I met directly with Commissioner Almunia to discuss the issue of State Aids in December 2012. Minister Sherlock has also raised this issue with Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn. Concerns relating to the range of coverage and support for large enterprises were raised at these meetings as being items of major concern to Ireland.
In addition, my Departments officials are in regular discussions on these issues with Commission officials across a range of dossiers, to ensure that Irish concerns are well known within the Commission. My officials are also liaising with a number of like-minded Member States on the issue. All relevant Government Departments are being kept briefed on this issue through the State Aid Interdepartmental Committee and briefs have issued to all relevant Minsters. All Irish MEPs and the Irish representatives on the Council of the Regions are also being briefed on this issue.
A revised proposal on Regional Aid will shortly be circulated through the Commission as part of the normal inter-service consultation. My Department, in conjunction with the enterprise agencies, is in the process of preparing a detailed submission to the Commission on this revised proposal.
The next meeting of the College of Commissioners is scheduled for Wednesday, 19 June 2013. Once the Regional Proposal has been agreed by the College it will be formally adopted and published by DG Competition.
Tuesday, 23rd April, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of Green Card applications that have been approved to date under the Special Assignee Relief Programme in each of the categories legislated for, that is jobs with annual remuneration of €60,000 or more, and jobs with annual salaries of €30,000 – €59,999.
Reply from Minister Richard Bruton: The ‘Green Card’ Employment Permit is designed to attract highly skilled people into the labour market with the aim of encouraging them to take up permanent residence in the State. Eligible occupations under this type of permit are deemed to be critically important to growing Ireland’s economy, are highly demanded and highly skilled, and in significant shortage of supply in our labour market...
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the percentage and number of people living in Waterford City and County who are in receipt of a social welfare payment; and if he will list each category of payment with the number of recipients.
Reply from Deputy Joan Burton: The information requested by the Deputy is collated, at county level only, by my Department annually for inclusion in the Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services report. Work has commenced on the compilation of data for the production of the 2012 report. However, the most recent data available, at present, in respect of the number of people living in Waterford County and who were in receipt of a social welfare payment is for the year 2011.
This information is listed by each category of payment in these tabular statements.
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.