111. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the actions he is taking to increase the rate of credit lending to small and medium enterprises, SMEs, via the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland; the level of take up from the fund by SMEs at 31 December 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7986/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware, the goal of Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) is to facilitate and encourage the availability of appropriately priced funding to SMEs on more flexible terms than has been available in recent times on the Irish market. The strategic mission of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) is to deliver effective financial supports to Irish SMEs that address failures in the Irish credit market, while d...

112. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the potential investment projects his Department put forward with regard to the task force report for the European Fund for Strategic Investments. (Question 7990/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - European Fund for Strategic Investments)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 112 and 113 together. 
I take it that the Deputy is referring to the European Commission - European Investment Bank (EIB) - Member State Special Task Force to develop an Investment project pipeline for the EU in the Autumn of 2014. 
The purpose of that exercise was to compile a list of potential investment projects across Member States, in order to quantify the investment need across the EU following the economic a...

113. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the progress being made in securing funding for potential investment projects under the European Fund for Strategic Investments; the projects that have been approved for funding in each Department; the projects put forward to his Department for inclusion in its task force report to the EFSI, in tabular form; and his views on whether they are still in contention for funding. (Question 7991/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - European Fund for Strategic Investments)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 112 and 113 together. 
I take it that the Deputy is referring to the European Commission - European Investment Bank (EIB) - Member State Special Task Force to develop an Investment project pipeline for the EU in the Autumn of 2014. 
The purpose of that exercise was to compile a list of potential investment projects across Member States, in order to quantify the investment need across the EU following the economic a...

123. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a person (details supplied) will be assisted with ongoing flooding issues in view of the fact that Limerick City and County Council and the Ombudsman have failed to resolve same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7930/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Flood Relief Schemes Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Kevin Boxer Moran): Local flooding issues are, in the first instance, a matter for each local authority to investigate and address. They may carry out flood alleviation works from their own resources or apply to the Office of Public Works, OPW, for funding under the minor flood mitigation works and coastal protection scheme. The purpose of this scheme is to provide funding to local authorities to undertake minor flood...

141. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on whether it is proportionate on small scale micro-sized businesses and employers compared to large companies regarding remuneration obligations for the off-the-job element of craft based apprenticeships as set out in correspondence (details supplied); and the number of weeks for the off-the-job element regarding remuneration obligations in each year of a four year craft and consortia led apprenticeship. (Question 7983/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Apprenticeship Programmes)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): As the Deputy is aware, apprentices undertaking one of our craft apprenticeships are paid a training allowance, equivalent to their net take home pay on the job, by their local Education and Training Board (ETB) while attending their off-the-job training phases. During their on-the-job training they are paid a salary by a SOLAS approved employer. Craft apprenticeships are generally four years in duration and co...

177. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the name, costs, date of commission and date of publication of all external reports commissioned by her Department since June 2016 regarding Brexit, in tabular form; the date or expected date of the publication; the name of the external consultant for each such report; and if all such reports have been published. (Question 7980/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Brexit Documents)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy will be aware, my department is conducting a number of research projects to build an understanding of the possible implications of Brexit on Ireland for enterprise and our trading relations. 
These studies will provide an evidence base to inform Ireland’s policy positions as part of the wider negotiation on the UK’s future relationship with the EU and further inform our domestic policy response to Brexit. ...

178. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of inspections carried out by the workplace relations bodies in each of the years 2014 to 2017 and to date in 2018 and county, in tabular form; the number of prosecutions undertaken in each county during that period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7981/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Workplace Relations Commission)

Minister of State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Pat Breen): Inspectors of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) carry out inspections of employer records with a view to determining compliance with employment rights legislation. These inspections arise: 
- in response to complaints received of alleged non-compliance with relevant employment rights legislation; 
- as part of compliance campaigns which focus on compliance in specific sectors or specific pieces...

179. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the grant funding supports available for a person (details supplied). (Question 7982/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Small and Medium Enterprises Supports)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): From the information provided by the Deputy, I am not aware of any grant that is available in the circumstances outlined.
In this regard, it is important to note that the banks are, and will continue to be, the first port of call for finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). However some Government initiatives have been introduced in order to ensure that SMEs obtain appropriate finance in order to sustain ...

180. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if her Department has commissioned a report on potential growth and jobs opportunities that may arise from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. (Question 7984/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As part of the Government’s response to Brexit, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation commissioned Copenhagen Economics to undertake a major study into the implications of Brexit for the Irish economy and trade. I have just published the output from this independent research in a report entitled “Ireland and the Impact of Brexit: Strategic Implications for Ireland Arising from Changing EU-UK Trading Rel...

181. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the drawdown levels issued under the credit guarantee scheme; the value of approvals; the drawdown and approval, by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7987/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Credit Guarantee Scheme Data)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) has been in operation since 2012, and as of 31 December 2017, 530 loans to the value of €84,396,594 have been sanctioned by participating lenders under the scheme. The CGS is currently operated on behalf of the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). 
While the benefit of a guarantee is offered to a borrower under the sc...

182. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the value of drawdowns issued under the microfinance scheme on 31 December 2016 and 31 December 2017 respectively; the value of approvals on the same dates; the breakdown of each drawdown and approval, by county, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7988/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Microfinance Loan Fund Scheme Data)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Board of Microfinance Ireland (MFI) provides me with Quarterly Reports of progress, and these are published on the websites of both MFI and my Department. 
The county spread of approvals is contained in each Quarterly Report provided by Microfinance Ireland to my Department.
In relation to the drawdown figures requested by the Deputy, I have attached the available information relating to the figures as at 31 Decembe...

183. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the value of drawdowns issued under the credit guarantee scheme on 31 December 2016 and 31 December 2017, respectively; the value of approvals on the same dates; and the breakdown of each drawdown and approval, by county, in tabular form. (Question 7989/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Credit Guarantee Scheme Data)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) has been in operation since 2012, and as of 31 December 2017, 530 loans to the value of €84,396,594 have been sanctioned by participating lenders under the scheme. The CGS is currently operated on behalf of the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). 
While the benefit of a guarantee is offered to a borrower under the sc...

184. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the research presented at a WRC seminar, The World of Work: A Shifting Landscape (details supplied); and when all research data will be published and accessible (Question 7992/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Workplace Relations Commission)

Minister of State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Pat Breen): The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) commissioned the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) to undertake research into the development of new working trends and patterns, including the phenomenon of what is referred to as “gig” work, and into contingent work more generally in the Irish economy. 
I understand that the objective of the research was to ascertain the extra of this phenomenon in...

185. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of trade discussions between the European Union and Mexico and potential growth and jobs opportunities for Ireland; and if she will report on the likely inclusion of a multilateral investment court system as part of the final agreement. (Question 7993/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Trade Relations)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): In 1997, Mexico was the first Latin American country to conclude an Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement with the EU.  Mexico has been a strategic partner of the EU since 2008.  
The EU and Mexico met in Brussels on the 13th and 14th June 2016 to start the negotiation process for the modernisation of the EU-Mexico Global Agreement.  The negotiations aim to broaden the scope of the Globa...

186. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the discussions she has had with the Health and Safety Authority and the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government regarding progress made on the review under way on aspects of legislation relating to regulation of fairground equipment and funfairs and specific legislative provisions relating to fairground equipment. (Question 7995/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Health and Safety Regulations)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Health and Safety Authority is the national statutory Body with responsibility for ensuring that the provisions on workplace health and safety in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act are implemented so that those affected by work activity are protected from work-related injury and ill health. The 2005 Act places a range of duties on undertakings and individuals to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable the...

187. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of full and part-time staff hired under the €3 million allocation in budget 2018 to the evolving Brexit scenario to each State agency to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7996/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Brexit Staff)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The State Agencies listed below have received an additional pay allocation in Budget 2018 to manage the impact of Brexit. It is important to note however that the work of very many Business Units both within my Department and its Agencies are impacted by Brexit and are responding to it outside of the specific numbers mentioned below.
Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland were allocated an additional €1.3 million in fund...

202. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if a reply will issue to correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7853/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - HSE Correspondence)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.
 ...

298. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on restoring redundancy rebates to businesses which previously facilitated small and micro sized businesses to hire staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7985/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Redundancy Rebates)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The purpose of the redundancy payments scheme is to compensate employees for the loss of their jobs, where the employer is unable to pay statutory redundancy due to financial difficulties or insolvency. The scheme is funded from the social insurance fund.
Up to 2011, the scheme provided a rebate of 60 per cent to employers who provided statutory redundancy payments to their employees. In Budgets 2012 and 2013, the G...

305. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the actions taken and progress made since he indicated that his Department is reviewing its role in respect of the aspects of legislation relating to regulation of fairground equipment and funfairs and specific legislative provisions relating to fairground equipment. (Question 7994/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Recreational Facilities)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Section 239 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 places a statutory duty on organisers of funfairs and owners of fairground equipment to take such care as is reasonable for ensuring that persons at a funfair do not suffer injury or damage by reason of dangers arising from the funfair or associated activities.  This legislation also requires that the owner of fairground equipment shall not make it available to the pub...

232. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of new apprenticeship registrations in each employment sector and subsector on an annual basis in each of the years 2014 to 2017 for craft based apprenticeships, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7497/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Apprenticeship Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.
 Apprentice Registrations 2014 2015 2016 2017 CONSTRUCTION Brick & Stonelaying 20 26 52 60 Carpentry & Joinery 185 291 399 443 Painting & Decorating 11 19 27 44 Plastering 9 7 18 34 Plumbing 318 289 345 532 Stonecutting & Stonemasonry 16 13 2 8 Wood Macnufacturing & Finishing 23 48 71 59 Total 58...

314. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the national and regional job targets under the programme for Government and Enterprise 2025 in each of the years 2016 to 2020; the latest quarterly national household survey data; the most recent figures for these targets in each region; the job targets up to 2020 on an annual basis, by region, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7495/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Job Creation Targets)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The national jobs target in Enterprise 2025 was for 2.18 million people to be in employment by the end of 2020. This is aligned with the goal under the 2016 Programme for a Partnership Government to deliver an extra 200,000 jobs by 2020, of which 135,000 will be outside of Dublin. These targets are on course to be met and exceeded with employment in the State having increased by 91,000 since the end of Quarter 1 2016....

315. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the review of the work permits regime; and the criteria that apply. (Question 7496/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Work Permits Applications)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Deputy will be aware that the focus of the employment permits regime in recent years has been to ensure that the skills requirements of enterprise in the State can be met through economic migration where necessary. However, as the State approaches full employment, labour as well as skills needs are beginning to manifest and my Department is being pressed to open up the employment permit regime to lower skilled work...

349. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if he will discuss with HSE management the need to ensure regular attendance by a HSE representative at the meetings of a board (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6832/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Drug and Alcohol Task Forces)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Catherine Byrne): As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.
 ...

403. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health when the FEMPI cuts imposed on medical general practitioners will be reversed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7128/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - General Practitioner Contracts)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As with other health professionals, General Practitioners were subject to fee reductions under FEMPI. I acknowledge the contribution made by GPs and other health professionals who provide services under contract on behalf of the HSE, through reductions in the fees in respect of these services, to addressing the unprecedented economic crisis which the State faced over recent years.
In the context of the publication of the Public Service Pay and Pension ...

405. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if the criteria for the availability of the Versatis patch can be reviewed in view of the number of persons who require same as in the case of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7161/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Medicinal Products Availability)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 356, 364, 396 and 405 together.
Medicines play a vital role in improving the health of Irish patients. Securing access to existing and new and innovative medicines is a key objective of the health service. However, the challenge is to do this in an affordable and sustainable manner. The medicines bill for the community drugs schemes – primarily the GMS, Long Term Illness and Drugs Payment schemes and the High Tech Arran...