55. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of applications made and amount of tax relief generated under section 848A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, as amended by the Finance Act 2013 in each of the years 2013 to 2017. (Question 10694/18 asked on 06 Mar 2018 - Tax Reliefs Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 56 together.
I am advised by Revenue that the number of donors and the Exchequer cost of donations to Approved Bodies for the years 2010 to 2015 (the latest year for which data is available), are published in the ‘Cost of Tax Expenditures’ table which is available on Revenue’s website at:
 https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/tax-expenditures/costs-expenditures.aspx.
A summ...

56. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of applications made and amount of tax relief generated under section 848A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, in each of the years 2010 to 2013. (Question 10695/18 asked on 06 Mar 2018 - Tax Reliefs Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 56 together.
I am advised by Revenue that the number of donors and the Exchequer cost of donations to Approved Bodies for the years 2010 to 2015 (the latest year for which data is available), are published in the ‘Cost of Tax Expenditures’ table which is available on Revenue’s website at:
 https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/statistics/tax-expenditures/costs-expenditures.aspx.
A summ...

82. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the way in which former customers of a company (details supplied) who are owed compensation can claim reimbursement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10213/18 asked on 28 Feb 2018 - Insurance Compensation Fund)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Setanta was placed into liquidation by the Malta Financial Services Authority on 30 April 2014. As it was a Maltese incorporated company, the liquidation is being carried out under Maltese law.
The Deputy will be aware that under the Insurance Act 1964, as amended, monies may be paid out of the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF), with the approval of the High Court, in relation to an insolvent insurer, to meet claims up to a limit of 65% or €825,000...

92. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the role and function of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF); the way in which the ISIF met its stated function of achieving positive economic impact in addition to its investment returns, in 2016 and to date in 2017; the positive economic activity that is a direct result of the ISIF and would not have occurred otherwise; the co-investment partners the ISIF secured in 2016 and to date in 2017; his plans to change ISIF’s mandate to allow it to invest in deadweight or displacement investments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53495/17 asked on 13 Dec 2017 - Ireland Strategic Investment Fund Investments)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (“ISIF”) has a statutory mandate to invest on a commercial basis in a manner designed to support economic activity and employment in Ireland.  
All ISIF investments are considered in terms of their potential risk - adjusted commercial return prospects and the potential economic impact.  The Fund targets those areas for investment which have higher potential economic and employment impact, these will form the maj...

14. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the status of the implementation of the recommendations made in the report by his Department’s working group on reducing the cost of motor insurance; the number of recommendations that have not been implemented to date; the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50834/17 asked on 30 Nov 2017 - Motor Insurance Regulation)

Deputy John Curran: It is almost a year since the working group on motor insurance published its report containing 33 recommendations and 71 specific actions. Will the Minister update the House on the implementation of the report and, more importantly, the effect it has had on motor insurance premiums?
 ...

191. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance his plans to introduce a 23% VAT rate on certain music and art schools; the reason for this change in VAT rules; the reason certain institutions are affected and others are not; his views on whether these changes are in line with the findings of the report Culture 2025 - Éire Ildánach, a Framework Policy to 2025 published by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in July 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 45818/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - VAT Rate Application)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law, with which Irish VAT law must comply. I am advised by Revenue that there has been no change in the position in relation to the VAT treatment of music and art schools.
In accordance with the EU VAT Directive, the VAT exemption applies to the providers of children’s or young people’s education and school or university education. The exemption also applies to the provi...

93. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance if all agencies under his aegis have an up to date tax clearance certificate; the agencies which do not have an up to date tax clearance certificate; the reason they do not have a tax clearance certificate in each case, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30286/17 asked on 28 Jun 2017 - Departmental Agencies Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): In response to the Deputy’s question, I am advised that of the eighteen bodies under the aegis of my Department, ten have an up to date tax clearance certificate.  These bodies are the Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General, Central Bank, Financial Services Ombudsman Bureau, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, National Asset Management Agency, National Treasury Management Agency, Office of the Revenue Commissioners...

214. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the steps he will take to ensure no additional levies will be charged to cover the cost of the recent court ruling regarding an insurance company (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26813/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Insurance Levy)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The failure of Setanta Insurance and the uncertainty that followed over the compensation arrangements for claimants created doubts around the current insurance compensation framework which has now been clarified by the Supreme Court.  
However, there has been a general view that consideration should be given to ensuring 100% third party payments in any future motor insurance insolvencies, whatever the outcome of the Setanta appeals process.
This led...

69. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the details of any payments made by his Department, its agencies or any bodies under his aegis to any broadcasters here in the years 2014, 2015 and 2016; the broadcaster to which the funds were provided; the reason for the payments; and if there are any reasons for payments to broadcasters in 2017. (Question 14723/17 asked on 23 Mar 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I understand that the Deputy is referring to payments specifically in respect of audio and visual broadcasting. Details of payments made by my Department are listed in the table provided.  Of the 18 bodies under the aegis of my Department, 15 have confirmed a nil response to the information sought, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and the Credit Reviewer have provided details of payments to broadcasters and are listed in the table. It was no...

227. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance his plans to provide relief for holders of private pensions that were subjected to the Government levy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13634/17 asked on 21 Mar 2017 - Pension Levy)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I take it the Deputy is referring to the stamp duty levies applying to the assets of funded pension arrangements introduced in 2011 to pay for the Jobs Initiative, the chargeable persons for which are the trustees of pension schemes and others responsible for the management of pension fund assets. 
The original 0.6% stamp duty levy on pension fund assets ended in 2014. The additional levy of 0.15% which I introduced for 2014 and 2015, mainly to help...

233. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether Government policy is constraining the future potential of the credit union movement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14020/17 asked on 21 Mar 2017 - Credit Unions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I wish to make it very clear that this Government’s policy is not constraining the future potential of the credit union movement. In fact I would argue the opposite. As I have stated many times, credit unions have a key role to play in providing access to credit and other important services in local communities throughout the country. The Government recognises this and has put in place a number of measures to ensure that credit unions can continue...

234. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of new credit union branches that have been approved for opening in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14021/17 asked on 21 Mar 2017 - Credit Unions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): In accordance with Section 6 of the Credit Union Act 1997 (1997 Act), the Central Bank of Ireland is the sole authority with the power and responsibility for registering credit unions in Ireland. The last registration of a credit union took place in 1999. 
The Central Bank informs me that it has not received an application to register a credit union since the Central Bank assumed responsibility for registering, regulating and supervising credit unio...

235. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the process for new credit union branches to be approved and licensed by the Central Bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14022/17 asked on 21 Mar 2017 - Credit Unions)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The Central Bank of Ireland (Central Bank) is the sole authority with the power and responsibility for registering credit unions in Ireland in accordance with the provisions of the Credit Union Act 1997 (1997 Act). Under the 1997 Act, credit unions are registered rather than licensed. The Central Bank has an application process, along with supporting documentation, for any potential applicant wishing to register a credit union. The ‘Checklist for c...

144. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the changes to be made to capital acquisitions tax in respect of children in single child families (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2882/17 asked on 24 Jan 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I note the amendment to the question asked, but the answer I provided to Parliamentary Question 41804/16 on the 17th of this month remains valid. There is no special Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) provision for single child families and the same general rules apply for single or multiple child families. Every child can avail of the Group A threshold, so, currently where there is only one child or many children, each child can be gifted and/or inher...

77. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to an issue that is affecting some first-time buyers who have already placed deposits in full on new build homes which are not yet completed but still qualify for the help-to-buy scheme retrospectively, whereby the developer delays passing on the relevant information to the Revenue Commissioners to have part of the deposit released back to the first-time buyer; if his attention has been further drawn to the distress such delays are causing such first-time buyers who require the portion of the deposit to be returned to cover the cost of other aspects of the house buying process; the measures he proposes to introduce to ensure developers undertake the necessary actions to ensure first-time buyers receive their refund in a timely and prompt manner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2404/17 asked on 19 Jan 2017 - Help-To-Buy Scheme Administration)

Minister for Finance Deputy Michael Noonan: Retrospective claimants for the Help to Buy incentive are taxpayers who have either contracted to purchase, or have drawn down the first tranche of their qualifying loan to self-build their home, in the period between 19 July 2016 and 31 December 2016, inclusive.
I am advised by Revenue that the online claim process for retrospective claimants differs from that for current claimants. It does not require the developer or contractor to pass on informati...

258. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the changes, if any, to be made to capital acquisitions tax in respect of children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41804/16 asked on 17 Jan 2017 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance Deputy Michael Noonan: Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) is the overall title for both Gift and Inheritance Tax. The tax is charged on the amount gifted to, or inherited by, the beneficiary of the gift or inheritance. 
For the purposes of CAT, the relationship between the person who provides the gift or inheritance (i.e. the disponer) and the person who receives the gift or inheritance (i.e. the beneficiary), determines the life-time tax-free threshold known as the “Group thres...

91. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines on such investment; if his Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39031/16 asked on 07 Dec 2016 - State Investments)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am advised by the majority of the bodies under the aegis of my Department that they do not hold investments in tobacco companies. 
I have been advised by the Central Bank of Ireland that the Bank does not invest directly in any debt(bonds) or equity(shares) issued by tobacco companies, either in the management of the investment reserves or the pension fund.  The Bank has informed me that all external investment managers that manage investment funds...

81. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the process required for an international bank to acquire a licence to operate here; the length of time the process takes; if consideration has been given to speeding up this process and creating a shorter waiting time than is in place in other jurisdictions to attract more foreign direct investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33920/16 asked on 09 Nov 2016 - Banking Licence Applications)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The Central Bank operates as part of a European system of regulation and standards. The authorisation process is broadly consistent across the European Union and entirely consistent within the eurozone. Post ‘Banking Union’, the European Central Bank (‘ECB’) is the competent authority in Ireland for the granting of banking licences in accordance with Section 9 of the Central Bank Act, 1971 (as amended). The Central Bank has published Guidelines on ...

111. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance to outline his views on the fact that taxpayer funds are currently invested in three separate tobacco companies as part of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, managed through the National Treasury Management Agency; his views on the appropriateness of this investment; if he has expressed any views regarding this matter directly to the NTMA; his views on calls to add tobacco companies to the list of prohibited investment categories; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33377/16 asked on 08 Nov 2016 - Ireland Strategic Investment Fund Investments)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am informed by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) that as at 31st October 2016 ISIF had equity holdings in three tobacco companies with a value of €1.5 m or 0.02 per cent of its total assets.
Such investments should be considered in the context of ISIF’s broader portfolio and the Fund’s commitment to responsible investment. ISIF has recently published its Sustainability and Responsible Investment Policy which is available on its website. ...

163. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance if the new first time buyers scheme announced in budget 2017 is to be made applicable to persons who signed contracts on new homes before 19 July 2016 but only close the sale after 19 July 2016; the position on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31620/16 asked on 25 Oct 2016 - Help-To-Buy Scheme)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 163, 176 and 177 together.
To be eligible for the Help to Buy scheme, a first-time buyer must sign a contract to purchase a new residence on or after 19 July 2016 and on or before 31 December 2019.  In the case of a person constructing a new residence on their own behalf (self-build), the first-time buyer must draw down the first tranche of the relevant mortgage loan on or after 19 July 2016 and on or before 31 Decemb...

159. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance his plans to allow for a system of tax incentives for elite athletes who avail of sponsorship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26567/16 asked on 27 Sep 2016 - Tax Reliefs Application)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I have no plans to introduce a system of tax incentives to assist elite athletes to attract sponsorship. The Deputy may be aware that the State already provides support to athletes both directly and indirectly, and my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport has responsibility for such support.
I would draw the Deputy’s attention to the sportsperson’s relief, which takes the form of a deduction from earnings and can be claimed for an...

92. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the figures for his Department on the percentage of working days lost to sickness absence through certified leave and uncertified leave in each year from 2011 to 2015, inclusive. (Question 23412/16 asked on 21 Jul 2016 - Departmental Staff Sick Leave)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I wish to advise the Deputy that the following table contains the figures for the Lost Time Rate for my Department for the years 2011 to 2015 inclusive, as well as the Self Certified Lost Time Rate.
 Year Overall Lost Time Rate Self Certified Lost Time Rate 2011 3.43% 0.31% 2012 2.43% 0.26% 2013 1.86% 0.18% 2014 2.6% 0.25% 2015 3% 0.22% 

The lost time rate represents the percentage of working days lost. It is calculated by div...

180. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the number of miles claimed for and the travel expenses paid to him and each Minister of State in his Department in respect of their functions as a Minister in his Department between 1 January 2016 and 10 March 2016; between 11 March 2016 and 6 May 2016; and since 7 May 2016. (Question 24297/16 asked on 21 Jul 2016 - Ministerial Expenditure)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The information the Deputy has requested in respect of the Minister and Ministers of State at my Department for the relevant periods is set out in the following tables:
Minister Michael Noonan
 Period Miles Claimed Value of Payment Other Travel Expenses Total 01 January 2016 to 10 March 2016 (January to February) 9,410 €4,648.46 €0.00 €4,648.46 11 March 2016 to 6 May 2016 (March to April) 9,659 €2,748.95 €0.00 €2,748.95 7 May to...

181. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance to provide the name, position and annual salary awarded to their special advisers; to provide details for requests, if any, for an increase above the special advisers’ pay cap as set by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24314/16 asked on 21 Jul 2016 - Ministerial Advisers Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I wish to advise the Deputy that I have 2 Special Advisors, one who is a Principal Officer in my Department and who has been assigned as Special Advisor, and the other Special Advisor is a political appointment. Below you will find their annual salaries.
 Name: Role: Salary: Sean Kinsella (Principal Officer) Special Advisor €85,127 Mary Kenny Special Advisor €87,258 
 ...

72. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance the status of the drug detector dog service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16383/16 asked on 16 Jun 2016 - Revenue Commissioners Resources)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am advised by Revenue that the total number of dog units in operation in Revenue is currently 17. The dogs are trained to locate a variety of contraband including narcotics, tobacco and cash.  The total number of dog units is sufficient for current day-to-day operations but is kept under constant review.
 ...