81. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if it is possible to exempt or reduce the VAT rate applicable to the provision of locum general practitioner services by organisations such as Shannondoc; the estimated cost of exempting or reducing the VAT rate to 13.5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8850/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - VAT Rate Application)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by The Revenue Commissioners that a change in VAT rates applying to a supply of goods or services must be in compliance with the EU VAT Directive (Council Directive 2006/112/EC). The Directive generally provides that supplies of goods and services, other than in limited circumstances, be chargeable to VAT at the standard rate. In this regard the Directive provides:
- that a reduced rate of VAT may apply to supplies of goods and services...

86. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons disqualified, removed from a position within a bank or prevented from taking up a position under the Central Bank’s fitness and probity regime in each category in each of the years from 2008 to 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8975/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Fitness and Probity Regime)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am informed by the Central Bank that under its Administrative Sanctions Procedure, in place since 2006, 12 individuals have been disqualified from performing senior management roles in regulated firms. 
Under the Fitness & Probity regime, in place since 2011, 4 individuals have been prohibited from working in regulated firms. Two of these were employed by credit institutions, albeit credit unions rather than banks.  
As part of the Central Bank’s ...

123. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the companies that received aid under the Enterprise Ireland stabilisation fund; the amount each company received; the ex-post analysis of the scheme that has been carried out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8909/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Enterprise Ireland Funding)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 123 and 124 together.
The Enterprise Stabilisation Fund (ESF) was established by Government to support viable but vulnerable exporting companies that were experiencing difficulties due to the economic crisis, which started in 2008. Client companies of Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Údarás Na Gaeltachta, and Shannon Development across all sectors within manufacturing and internationally traded...

124. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of companies that received aid under the stabilisation fund that are still in business; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8910/18 asked on 21 Feb 2018 - Enterprise Ireland Funding)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 123 and 124 together.
The Enterprise Stabilisation Fund (ESF) was established by Government to support viable but vulnerable exporting companies that were experiencing difficulties due to the economic crisis, which started in 2008. Client companies of Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Údarás Na Gaeltachta, and Shannon Development across all sectors within manufacturing and internationally traded...

210. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the resources including staffing, equipment and so on, required to commission the maternity theatre at Letterkenny University Hospital; the estimated costs associated with providing each such resource; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7893/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Hospitals Data)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In response to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

221. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when he will facilitate a meeting requested by a patient advocacy group (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7999/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Ministerial Meetings)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): My office is in direct contact with the organisation in question to arrange a meeting and a date will be confirmed as soon as my diary allows.
 ...

224. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the reason for service disruptions to speech and language services provided at a facility (details supplied) in County Donegal; when services will resume as normal; the alternative arrangements which have been put in place to ensure that service users may continue to access services in a timely manner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8021/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Speech and Language Therapy Provision)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.
 ...

121. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017 allows the Financial Services Ombudsman to investigate a complaint regarding conduct that took place post-2002 even if the product itself was sold before 2002 assuming all other conditions are met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6692/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Financial Services Ombudsman Remit)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017 which commenced on 01 January 2018 established the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO).
Firstly, I must point out that the Ombudsman is independent in the performance of his statutory functions. I have no role in the day to day workings of the office. I would consider that the Ombudsman could investigate a complaint in the general circumstances describe...

141. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if VAT is applicable to the provision of locum general practitioner services by organisations such as Shannondoc; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7118/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - VAT Payments)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that under the EU VAT Directive the supply of the service of a locum doctor to a medical practice by an organisation or company constitutes a supply of the service of the provision of staff, which is subject to VAT at the standard rate, currently 23%.  In such circumstances, the organisation or company supplying staff is obliged to register and account for VAT where their taxable turnover exceeds the thresho...

156. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress that has been made at resolving the disagreement concerning the pension claim by community employment scheme supervisors and assistant supervisors; the status of the work being carried out by the high level forum in respect of this pension claim; the recent engagement he has had with the various stakeholders involved from the community sector with a view to resolving this disagreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6862/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Community Employment Schemes Supervisors)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 262 on 16 January 2018.
 ...

214. D’fhiafraigh Deputy Pearse Doherty den an Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna an bhfuair sé comhfhreagras a sheol tuismitheoirí agus caomhnóirí chuige, ina gcuirtear in iúl an díomá agus an mhíshástacht atá orthu faoin easpa dul chun cinn atá á dhéanamh chun dul i ngleic le fadhbanna taise agus múscáin atá le sonrú i scoil i gContae Dhún na nGall (sonraí curtha ar fáil) (Question 7190/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Cóiríocht Scoile)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Tá áthas orm a chur in iúl don Teachta Dála go bhfuil faomhadh tugtha i bprionsabal don scoil dá ndéanann sé tagairt, maoiniú a fháil chun tabhairt faoin taise agus faoin gcaonach liath ina foirgneamh. I bhfianaise aois agus nádúr an fhoirgnimh, agus chun a chinntiú go ndéileálfar go héifeachtach leis na fadhbanna seo trí obair ar bith a dhéanfar, d’iarr mo Roinn ar údarás na scoile moltaí a thabhairt trína Chomhairleoir maidir leis an ...

219. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will facilitate and partake in a meeting with Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas from County Donegal with a view to discussing a school building project (details supplied); if so, when such a meeting will take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7292/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Schools Building Projects)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): As the Deputy will be aware a project for the school to which he refers is included in my Department’s six year capital programme.
My Department is currently finalising the brief for this school project and once this process is complete, my Department will be in further contact with the school. The project will be progressed into the architectural planning process when the brief has been finalised.
In that regard, I wish to inform the D...

330. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the projects to which funding has been allocated under the HSE capital plan for 2018 by CHO area, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6714/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - HSE Planning)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Health capital funding was outlined in the Public Service Estimates for 2018. The Health Service Executive’s Capital Plan for 2018-2021 is currently the subject of discussion with my Department. 
Appendix 4 of the HSE’s National Service Plan 2018 outlines capital projects that were completed in 2016 / 2017 and will be operational in 2018; are due to be completed and operational in 2018; are due to be completed in 2018 and will be operational in 2019.
T...

455. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the growing problem facing sheep farmers at slaughter facilities whereby following an examination of lambs prior to entry processors are turning livestock away and refusing entry for slaughter due to a more stringent implementation of clean livestock policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6731/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Livestock Issues)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Food legislation requires that primary producers rearing animals or producing primary products of animal origin are to take adequate measures to ensure the cleanliness of animals going to slaughter. My Department has, accordingly, developed a clean livestock policy which has been agreed with farmer, haulier and Food Business Operator stakeholders. The policy document was finalised in February 2017. This policy is a public h...

464. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when an outstanding 2017 GLAS payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6791/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - GLAS Payments)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2016 and has received all payments in respect of scheme year 2016 and the 2017 advance payment. There are no payments outstanding in this case.
 ...

667. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the mandatory retirement age for members of the fire service; if this retirement age may be extended for certain persons; if this dispensation is made at the discretion of the local authority concerned; if such an exemption exists, the maximum age at which fire personnel may remain in their role; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6866/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Fire Service Staff)

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): International research indicates that the retirement age of 55 is the optimum age to ensure that fire-fighters are capable of satisfactorily performing the tasks expected of them.  The retirement age of 55 years of age was introduced because of health and safety considerations related to the job. Since the enactment of the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act 1989, underpinned by subsequent legislation, each fire autho...

237. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if the necessary resources will be provided to allow for the commissioning of the purpose built maternity theatre at Letterkenny University Hospital; when the facility will open for procedures to be carried out; the reason the facility has been lying idle since its construction in 2000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6641/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Hospitals Capital Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In response to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

266. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has received correspondence (details supplied) sent to her from this Deputy in which representations were made on behalf of a child care provider; if so, when a reply will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6647/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Ministerial Correspondence)

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): I can confirm that the correspondence referred to by the Deputy has been received in my Department and a reply has been issued.
I am acutely aware of the sustainability challenges facing certain childcare providers; including those that are struggling to maintain consistent levels child registrations. As the Deputy may be aware, my Department made €1m of ‘Sustainability Funding’ available in 2017 to support services, which was ...

114. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the receipt of correspondence by a person (details supplied) will be confirmed; the reason no reply has yet been issued to this correspondence; when a response will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6123/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Departmental Correspondence)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The issues raised in the correspondence referred to by the Deputy have been considered by my Department.  The correspondence was resubmitted to my Department recently and a response has issued.
The issues raised relate to teacher mobility and the redeployment arrangements at primary level.
The redeployment arrangements is the first method used to fill vacancies in the primary school system.  Permanent teaching vacancies at primary level ...

133. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his views on the reliance since 2012 of commercial mortgage backed securities, CMBS, by some property investment funds operating here; and if his Department conducted risk analysis as to the exposure of the property market here to CMBS. (Question 5344/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Commercial Property)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): In respect of commercial property funds, the Central Bank is responsible for the authorisation and supervision of all investment funds established in Ireland. In conjunction with the Central Bank, my Department continually monitors developments in the commercial property sector. This includes tracking investment, transactions and the profile of market participants.  In addition, last year’s International Monetary Fund Article IV report assessed the...

138. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if lenders subject to the tracker review have indicated to the Central Bank that they will reduce the number they are of the view are impacted by the tracker scandal compared to their statement of December 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5631/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Tracker Mortgage Examination)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Central Bank has advised that, based on its most recent progress update report on the Tracker Mortgage Examination which was published on 20 December 2017 and on certain updated data that the Bank provided to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and Taoiseach on January 18 last, lenders have included c.33,700 customers as affected by tracker mortgage failings with €316 million paid in redress and compensation ...

139. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the banks here or the Central Bank have engaged with the ECB requesting supervisory guidance on the appropriate use of non-performing mortgage splitting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5633/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - European Central Bank)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): All lenders in Ireland engage on an ongoing basis with their Joint Supervisory Team (JST) on their lending and recovery activity, this would include supervision of the use of loan restructuring solutions such as split mortgages. JSTs are an effective means of cooperation between the ECB and the national supervisors in overseeing banking practices in supervised institutions. This co-operation on all supervisory issues is a core principle of the Sin...

140. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the action he is taking or has taken to ensure returning emigrants are not disadvantaged in areas such as, but not limited to, the provision of motor insurance and unreasonable demands for paperwork that emigrants typically do not possess on the opening of a bank account or applying for a mortgage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5705/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Financial Services Regulation)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The issues raised by Deputy are quite distinct therefore I will respond to the insurance part of the question first and then address the bank account and mortgage part of the question.
In relation to the issue of motor insurance for returning emigrants, Recommendation 6 of the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance aims to address the problems faced by those returning to Ireland.  Pursuant to this recommendation, a protocol has been agreed between th...

141. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the Central Bank has received a copy of the Financial Conduct Authority’s report into the actions of an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5719/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - Central Bank of Ireland)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am informed by the Central Bank of Ireland that it has an ongoing engagement with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on a range of issues. However, the Central Bank is not in a position to comment on individual cases or the specifics of its engagement with the FCA.
 ...

145. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the European Union proposal to ensure certain products always attract a VAT rate of 15% will require changes in an Irish context such as on gambling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5808/18 asked on 06 Feb 2018 - VAT Rate Application)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): On 18 January 2018 the European Commission published a proposal on the Simplification of VAT rates, which allows greater freedom for Member States in setting VAT rates in line with the move to the definitive destination based system of VAT.  The proposal provides that Member States would continue to apply a standard VAT rate of at least 15% as well as the option to operate two reduced VAT rates of 5% or more. The new proposal also makes provision f...