80. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of SMEs that have applied for and been successful, respectively, in their applications under the knowledge development box; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20613/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Knowledge Development Box)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): There are a number of features in the Knowledge Development Box (“KDB”) which are specifically included to encourage claims by SMEs. For example, larger companies are required to apply transfer pricing standards to the documentation which is required to support a claim for relief under the KDB. While SMEs will need to have records to support any apportionments made, the administrative burden placed on them is lower in recognition of their status. 
I...

92. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the action the Central Bank will take against a bank (details supplied) following its computer problems; the rights of the affected customers in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18798/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Banking Sector Regulation)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): While the Central Bank cannot comment on individual interactions with regulated entities, Ulster Bank Ireland DAC (Ulster Bank) has been engaging with the Central Bank in relation to this matter. 
Customers have a legitimate expectation of high quality, uninterrupted services, whether provided through traditional or online channels. The Central Bank expects all firms to have adequate systems and controls in place and where issues that impact custome...

93. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the exact nature of the 4,000 new cases in the Central Bank’s April 2018 update on the tracker scandal; the new groups that have been included; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18885/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Tracker Mortgage Examination Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Central Bank has advised that, as set out in its recently published April 2018 Tracker Mortgage Examination Progress Report, the total number of impacted customers identified through the Examination to end-March 2018 is c. 30,000 (of which 1,500 remain to be verified by lenders) and that this represents an increase of 3,400 identified customer accounts since the December report. (When added to the c. 7,100 cases resolved outside of the Examinati...

62. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if a waiving of local property tax liabilities in respect of properties in which defective block work that is not pyrite has been identified is being considered; if so, when such a scheme will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18420/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Property Tax Application)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The legislation governing the administration of Local Property Tax (LPT) provides for a limited number of exemptions from LPT. There is no specific exemption for properties affected in the way described in the Deputy’s question and there are no plans to introduce such an exemption. 
LPT operates on a self-assessment basis and it is a matter for the property owner in the first instance to calculate the tax due based on his or her assessment of the ma...

64. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of active investigations the Central Bank is running into matters related to insider information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18473/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Central Bank of Ireland Investigations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 65 together.
“Insider information” as referenced by the Deputy is a form of market abuse. The Central Bank of Ireland has been designated as the single administrative competent authority for the purpose of Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014 on market abuse. 
Securities markets activity encompasses a high number of participants engaged in significant levels of trading activity in a range of securities across global m...

65. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons or companies that have been reprimanded by the Central Bank as a result of investigations into insider information by year and nature in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18474/18 asked on 26 Apr 2018 - Central Bank of Ireland Investigations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 65 together.
“Insider information” as referenced by the Deputy is a form of market abuse. The Central Bank of Ireland has been designated as the single administrative competent authority for the purpose of Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014 on market abuse. 
Securities markets activity encompasses a high number of participants engaged in significant levels of trading activity in a range of securities across global m...

84. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the rights an applicant for a mortgage has if the required life insurance to obtain a mortgage is refused on the grounds of a historical medical condition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18128/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Mortgage Insurance)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Central Bank has advised that when an individual(s) applies for a mortgage loan to buy a home, the individual(s) will generally be required to take out mortgage protection insurance. This is a particular type of life assurance taken out for the term of the mortgage and designed to pay it off on the death of the borrower or joint borrower.
It is an underwriting consideration for an insurance firm to decide whether to take on the risk or not. Sho...

118. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number and nature of investigations the Central Bank has carried out with regard to overpricing or overcharging on commercial loans in the past ten years; the financial institutions involved; the result of such investigations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17503/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Central Bank of Ireland Investigations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am informed by the Central Bank that this can be considered both from the broader enforcement perspective and in terms of consumer protection. Both of these perspectives are outlined as follows. 
On the Enforcement side, the Central Bank operates an assertive risk based approach to supervision which is supported by a credible threat of enforcement. The Central Bank’s enforcement strategy is aimed at promoting principled and ethical behaviour in re...

128. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated impact on fiscal space in 2019 and beyond of a failure to reach the medium term objective in 2018, in legal and accounting terms in tabular form with the fiscal space in 2019 and beyond in such a situation. (Question 17755/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Fiscal Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 122 and 128 together.
Assessment of compliance with the fiscal rules and, in particular, whether the MTO is achieved is undertaken by the European Commission on the basis of its Spring Economic forecasts.  These will be published in early-May.  
So I will return to this issue in the Summer Economic Statement.  
Finally, as I have stated on numerous occasions, the Government will formulate budget policy based on what ...

214. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the policy in place at each of the State-backed banks regarding Part 9 of the European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016, particularly with regard to the discount they apply to foreign earnings as a rule in mortgage applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14963/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - EU Regulations)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Officials in the Department of Finance have referred the Deputy’s question to the banks and have received the following responses:
AIB: The Mortgage Credit Directive on FX loans states that where a customer is dependent on non-euro income or assets to repay their mortgage, if the rate of exchange deviates by more than 20% from the exchange rate at the time the customer applied for their mortgage, the bank is required to write to that customer advis...

215. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost if a member state’s contribution to the EU budget was to increase by 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively, of gross national income, GNI, for the period of the next multi-annual financial framework, by each case in each year; the estimated impact on fiscal space of these increases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14999/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - EU Budget Contribution)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy may be aware, the European Commission is yet to publish its proposal on the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which is due to be released in early May. Once the proposal has been published, officials from across all Departments will study it in-detail to assess its implications for Ireland. The MFF will then be subject to intense negotiations over the subsequent 12-24 months; once a final agreement is reached we will hav...

230. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the way in which the Central Bank surpluses are factored into the fiscal space for the coming period; if an expected decline in the surplus is factored into such calculations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15295/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Fiscal Policy)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy is aware, the calculation of fiscal space decouples expenditure growth from revenue developments. Fiscal space represents the additional capacity arising from the permitted expenditure growth rate that is available for expenditure increases and/or tax reductions.  Fiscal space may be increased through the introduction of discretionary revenue measures that increase revenue and conversely it is reduced by discretionary revenue measures ...

231. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the reason the Central Bank is disposing of the Government floating rate note bonds at a quicker rate than necessary to avoid failure to comply with Article 123 of the EU Treaty; the level a decision to sell the notes is taken at; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15296/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Central Bank of Ireland)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am informed by the Central Bank that the position remains that it is committed to disposing of the floating rate notes acquired as part of the IBRC liquidation as soon as possible, provided financial stability conditions permit. As the Deputy is aware the Bank is statutorily independent therefore decisions around sales are a matter for the Bank itself.
 ...

232. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the projected Central Bank surplus for each of the next five years on the basis of the minimum required rate of sale of Government floating rate note bonds to avoid failure to comply with Article 123 of the EU Treaty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15297/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Central Bank of Ireland Data)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The ECB conducts an annual monitoring exercise to assess the compliance of national central banks (NCBs) with the prohibitions of monetary financing and privileged access referred to in Article 123 (and Article 124) of the Functioning of the European Union. Monetary financing prohibition includes the principle that NCBs must ensure that they do not finance obligations of the State vis-à-vis third parties. The ECB report classifies problematic cases ...

234. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of pieces of legislation both enacted and published by his Department which originated in work carried out by the Law Reform Commission in each of the past ten years in tabular form; the details of each piece of legislation in the corresponding year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15348/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Law Reform Commission)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Many Law Reform Commission papers are concerned with matters which fall under the responsibility of the Minister for Justice and Equality. It is difficult to be definitive in respect of which legislation over the past decade was inspired or influenced by a Law Reform Commission report and no statistics are collated or maintained in this regard. 
However reports published by the Law Reform Commission in relation to areas which fall within the remit o...

239. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the Central Bank has considered plans to review the operation of the mint in Sandyford. (Question 15449/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Central Bank of Ireland)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 217, 229, 239 and 254 together.
Firstly, I wish to make clear that decisions on the Central Bank’s print works and the fulfilment of its Eurosystem obligations for provision of its quota of banknotes are a matter for the Central Bank, which is statutorily independent under national legislation and EU treaties.
I am advised by the Central Bank that the Commission has accepted a management recommendation that, in the a...

240. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated budgetary implications of the delay in introducing the sugar tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15459/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Tax Code)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 240 and 251 together.
Ireland has engaged in extensive and constructive discussions with the European Commission to ensure that once commenced, the Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax does not infringe EU State aid law. Following these constructive discussions with, and a formal notification to, the European Commission, a positive decision is expected very soon to allow for the commencement of the tax on 1 May 2018. 
While a...

261. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his views on the fact that the anticipated revenue from commercial stamp duty is not materialising with regard to the latest Exchequer figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16116/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Stamp Duty)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Pre-Budget 2018 estimates of potential Stamp Duty yield were based on a projection forward of receipts in the preceding years. This projection included factoring out a series of significant transactions in prior years that were deemed to be once off and not likely to reoccur. Estimates are therefore provided on a prudent basis but on the assumption of a continuation in the level of core (non-once off) activity of previous years. However, the prop...

262. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the expenditure on public relations firms or media consultants for each of the State backed banks in each of the past five years, by firms, advisers and consultants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16117/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Banking Sector)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): This information is not held by my Department but officials in the Department of Finance have received the following responses from the banks in relation to the Deputy’s question:
AIB:  
“In line with normal practice and for commercially sensitive reasons, AIB does not publicly disclose the details of contracts with individual external service providers. The bank manages its public relations consultancy fees within its commercial business require...

263. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the number of meetings held by the Central Bank and by each State backed bank with the ECB or a branch of the ECB such as the Single Supervisory Mechanism in the past 24 months at which the issue of non-performing loans was discussed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16118/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Banking Sector)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy is aware non-performing loans (NPLs) remain at an elevated level across the European banking system and addressing this issue is one of the key priorities for the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). The reduction of NPLs is also being given high priority at EU level with the Commission announcing their “Action Plan to Tackle Non-Performing Loans in Europe” in July 2017. The action plan calls upon various institutions including the Co...

264. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if a bank (details supplied) received legal advice or technical assistance in the development of its split mortgage product; if so, the details of the advisers and fees paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16119/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Banking Sector)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Officials in the Department of Finance referred the Deputy’s question to PTSB and received the following response in this regard: 
“Permanent TSB has a requirement for legal/technical support and advice on an on-going basis across different parts of its business. It manages some of this requirement through its in-house capabilities, as well as engaging external legal and technical advice where necessary. Except where required by law or regulation,...

265. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if a bank (details supplied) received legal advice or technical assistance in the development of its split mortgage product; if so, the details of the advisers and fees paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16120/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Banking Sector)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I have received the following response from AIB.
“The Split Mortgage solution was built in response to the Keane report by all banks across the industry in 2012. It was delivered by the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Strategy (MARS) Programme with regular engagement between AIB and the CBI on the split mortgage design and delivery.
The MARS programme engaged the direct support of both PwC and Accenture in the delivery of AIB’s advanced forbearance sol...

267. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he or his Department has analysed the costs and benefits of the move of a bank (details supplied) to new premises in Dublin city centre and Leopardstown; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16204/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Banking Sector)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy is aware, the relationship between the Minister for Finance and AIB is governed by a relationship framework agreement, which can be found on my Department’s website. In accordance with the relationship framework, the Minister for Finance has no direct function in commercial decisions made by the bank and these decisions are the responsibility of the board and management of the institution.
AIB have provided the following information:
...

278. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the financial strain being placed on community, voluntary and charitable organisations and groups in meeting the costs of insurance; if his attention has been further drawn to the concerns raised by a number of Men’s Sheds which are facing potential closure due to increases in insurance premiums for policy renewals; the work his Department is undertaking to examine this issue more closely; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16720/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Insurance Costs)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am aware of the concerns raised by the Deputy in relation to the financial strain which the cost of insurance may place on community, voluntary and charitable organisations such as men’s sheds.  As Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation.  Neither I nor the Central Bank of Ireland can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a comme...

59. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if a 25% cap on bank losses that can be carried forward for the purposes of reducing corporation tax liability along the lines of the rules recently introduced in Britain will be supported; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14034/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Corporation Tax Regime)

Deputy Pearse Doherty: In the past month we have had the spectacle of AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB announcing combined Irish profits of €2.7 billion, not one cent of which is paid in corporation tax by any of them as a result of a change to the law brought in by the Fine Gael Government. Looking across the globe, this is quite a unique situation. If we look at the OECD report, we will find we are an outlier compared with many of our European and indeed international counterparts. Wi...