73. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his plans to repay bilateral and other sovereign loans at an earlier date than scheduled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49651/17 asked on 23 Nov 2017 - Sovereign Debt)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Deputy will be aware that we have already repaid early some 81 per cent of our IMF loan. This early repayment, which was completed in 2015, generates significant interest savings. It also reduces the refinancing requirement in the coming years as debt that was originally to mature over the period July 2015 – January 2021 has been replaced with longer-term debt.
The Deputy will also be aware that on 7 September this year, I announced Ireland’s ...

147. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive a decision on their medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49510/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Medical Card Applications)

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.
 ...

173. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will receive an appointment from the HSE speech and language service and the psychology service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49617/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Health Services 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.
 ...

239. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the parents of foster children whose attention was not drawn to the fact that they could declare foster children as child dependants on the jobseeker’s allowance payment can have this payment backdated to when they first started caring for the foster children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49582/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Jobseeker’s Allowance Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The jobseeker’s benefit and jobseeker’s allowance schemes provide income support for people who have lost work and who are available for and genuinely seeking full-time employment. Jobseeker’s allowance is a means tested social assistance payment whereas jobseeker’s benefit is a contribution based insurance scheme. The 2017 Estimates for the Department provide for expenditure this year on the jobseekers’ schemes of ...

132. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his plans to commission a report on the way in which the State’s tax policies and treaties affect developing countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48708/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Tax Treaties)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Ireland, in accordance with our International Tax Strategy, is committed to engaging constructively and respectfully with developing countries in relation to tax matters, and to supporting such countries in raising domestic tax revenues in ways that are more efficient, that promote good governance and equitable development, and that can allow them to eventually exit from a dependence on official development assistance. 
As part of this commitment th...

133. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his views and those of the Central Bank on whether the policy of a bank (details supplied) of charging an extra 1 percentage point interest rate on all restructured tracker mortgages is within the spirit and letter of the code of conduct on mortgage arrears; if this issue has been raised with him or the Central Bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48709/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I can confirm for the Deputy that the matter referred to has not been raised with me. 
I would remind the Deputy, however, that although the State has a 14% minority shareholding in BOI, I in my role as the Minister for Finance, have no direct function in the relationship between the bank and its customers. Decisions taken by the bank in this regard are matters for the board and management of the institution. The Minister for Finance must ensure t...

141. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his views on the fact that the section 110 tax status availed of by qualifying companies operating as non-bank loan originators in the State could be breaking state aid rules in view of the fact that new banks or lenders which could set up non-retail lending operations here and do not meet the current qualifying criteria for section 110 status would not be afforded the same tax neutral treatment. (Question 48849/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Banking Sector Regulation)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Loan originations involve a company fronting for a foreign bank and either lending directly to larger more sophisticated borrowers, or immediately issuing newly made loans to smaller borrowers from the foreign bank. Provided the foreign bank is established in one of the countries with which we have signed a double tax agreement, then no Irish tax would have arisen on its interest income had it lent directly to the Irish borrowers.  
Section 110 of ...

142. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the implications of the European Commission’s recent ruling that a company (details supplied) has to pay €250 million to Luxembourg having received illegal tax benefits from Luxembourg, in terms of state aid from Ireland to a company in view of its taxation arrangements with the State and the parallels between Luxembourg and Ireland regarding companies. (Question 48850/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - State Aid Investigations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The European Commission recently concluded that a tax ruling given by Luxembourg to Amazon constituted an illegal State aid amounting to approximately €250 million. This announcement is part of a wider investigation by the European Commission encompassing tax rulings in all 28 Member States which has been ongoing since 2014.   
As the final Commission Decision has not yet been published, it is not possible to provide any further comment in this reg...

143. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the EU Commission has informally or formally requested information on Irish tax schemes for the purposes of state aid rules or specific tax relationships with companies; the details of such requests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48851/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - State Aid Investigations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The European Commission has been gathering information from all 28 EU Member States on tax rulings since 2014 and it has examined over 1,000 rulings across EU Member States.
I understand that the European Commission issues information requests to Member States on an ongoing basis. 
Ireland has always cooperated with such requests and will continue to do so. It is not appropriate for me to comment on the nature of any such requests, as such enquirie...

144. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of letters issued in each of the years 2014 to 2016 and to date in 2017 by banks (details supplied) to political representatives, their families or associates requesting additional information concerning identification, evidence of sources of funds, evidence of residential address and certified statement of assets as per section 37 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48855/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Money Laundering)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Deputy will understand that the information requested is not held within my Department. I have therefore requested a response to the Deputy’s question from each of the banks identified by the Deputy.
AIB Response:
“AIB has comprehensive policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act, 2010 (CJA 2010). This includes with regard to its obligations to determine whether it has relationships wit...

166. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the details of his planned anti-avoidance measures to deal with the avoidance of stamp duty on the purchase of commercial property through buying shares in a company or investment fund which holds the commercial property and other measures which may be used to avoid or reduce the 6% stamp duty charge on commercial property; if these anti-avoidance measures will be back dated to budget day; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49378/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Tax Avoidance)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Deputy will appreciate that this is a complex area which I will be seeking to address during the forthcoming stages of Finance Bill 2017.
 ...

167. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if costs (details supplied) are deductible for REITs when computing their annual property income in view of the fact that one of the qualifying criteria of a REIT is that it must make a distribution of not less than 85% of its annual property income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49379/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Real Estate Investment Trusts)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Finance Act of 2013 introduced the regime for the operation of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in Ireland, found in Part 25A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.  The regime provides for a collective investment vehicle for persons wishing to invest in property.  REITs must be widely held, as it is a requirement that the REIT not be a “close company”, that is, a REIT cannot be under the control of 5 or fewer participators.  
The function of...

268. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the grounds on which established bank customers in the State can be deemed subject to section 37 of the Criminal Justice Act 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48856/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Money Laundering)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Banks as designated persons under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 (“the Act”) are obliged to conduct ongoing monitoring of their customers and to keep their information/documentation up to date. This is in line with the risk-based approach allowing a designated person to apply appropriate measures. It also recognises that customer profiles change over time, as does the nature of business relat...

269. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the grounds on which a bank is obliged to implement the issuing of a request pursuant to section 37 of the Criminal Justice Act 2010; if he is satisfied that these provisions are implemented consistently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48857/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Money Laundering)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Section 37(1) of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 obliges a bank to take steps to determine whether a customer resident outside the State is a politically exposed person or a close associate or immediate family member of a politically exposed person (“PEP”); the definition of such a person is set out in Section 37(10). Section 37(3) requires that such steps should be those reasonably warranted b...

308. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will receive an appointment for the pain clinic at Letterkenny University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48701/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.
The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing...

309. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the waiting times for the respiratory outpatient clinic (details supplied) in Letterkenny University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48702/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists)

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.
 ...

310. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will receive a decision regarding a review of their medical card application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48703/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Medical Card Reviews)

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.
 ...

311. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will be called for an orthopaedic procedure in Letterkenny University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48704/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Hospital Waiting Lists)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.
The National Waiting List Management Policy, A standardised approach to managing...

342. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of persons awaiting an initial assessment as part of child and adolescent mental health services for three months, six months, nine months, 12 months, 15 months and more than 15 months, respectively, by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48896/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Mental Health Services Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible. 
 ...

343. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of consultant psychiatrist positions which have yet to be filled within child and adolescent mental health services, by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48897/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Mental Health Services Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible. 
 ...

344. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of beds which are available within child and adolescent mental health services in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48898/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Mental Health Services Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible. 
 ...

345. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of vacant suicide crisis assessment nurse positions within child and adolescent mental health services, by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48899/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Mental Health Services Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible. 
 ...

346. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health the number of full-time positions which exist within adult mental health services; the number of said positions which exist within children’s mental health services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48900/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Mental Health Services Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Jim Daly): As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.
 ...

499. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if an earlier date for a driving test for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will be arranged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48707/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Driver Test)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): This is a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.
 ...

201. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to the introduction of mutual recognition of driver disqualification between the State and Britain as and from 1 August 2017, in circumstances whereby a person has been convicted and found guilty of driving offences leading to that person being disqualified from driving and forced to surrender their licence here, if such a disqualification is recognised by authorities in Britain should the conviction have occurred prior to the aforementioned date; if authorities here recognise a disqualification for driving offences committed in Britain should the conviction have occurred before said date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48575/17 asked on 16 Nov 2017 - Driver Licences)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The Mutual Recognition of Driving Disqualifications between Ireland and the United Kingdom came into effect from 1 August 2017. The Agreement underpinning that mutual recognition provides in Artice 14.3 that the Agreement shall only apply to offences committed after entry into force of the Agreement. Therefore any convictions for offences committed before 1 August 2017, in respect of covered by the Agreement, fall outside of the sco...