201. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to review the Consumer Protection Act 2007 to strengthen misleading information provisions in relation to the growth of online bloggers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17295/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Legislative Reviews)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The provisions on misleading commercial practices in the Consumer Protection Act 2007 give effect to the provisions of Directive 2005/29/EC on Unfair Business-to-Consumer Commercial Practices. With the exception of commercial practices in the area of financial services, the Directive is a maximum harmonization measure whose provisions cannot be exceeded or supplemented in the national laws of Member States. It is not o...

202. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of IDA site visits in each county in quarter 1 of 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17302/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - IDA Ireland Site Visits)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): IDA Ireland continues to highlight the benefits of expanding or locating in all counties of Ireland to its client base. It is important to remember, however, that the final decision as to where to invest always rests with the company concerned. It is also the case that site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential, as at least 70% of all new FDI comes from existing IDA Ireland client companies.
S...

203. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation further to Parliamentary Question No. 112 of 25 January 2018, the available IDA lands at the end of quarter 1 of 2018; the occupied IDA lands at the end of quarter 1 of 2018, by county and town in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17303/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - IDA Ireland Portfolio)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The availability of an adequate supply of marketable serviced land and buildings in advance of demand is a key element in the IDA’s ability to compete for mobile foreign direct investment. The availability of property solutions allows projects to commence at an earlier date by diminishing much of the difficulties associated with land acquisition, planning and construction. It is, therefore, an important means by which...

204. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the strategic communications unit in the Department the Taoiseach will co-ordinate a national Brexit preparedness public information and awareness campaign in 2018 (details supplied); if meetings have taken place between her Departmental officials and advisers and State agencies under her remit with the strategic communications unit since this announcement; the body that will carry out this campaign if the unit is no longer in a position to complete this action; and the budget for this campaign. (Question 17304/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Government’s extensive response to Brexit is already underway and includes measures such as: 
- Enterprise Ireland’s €5,000 ‘Be Prepared’ grant for firms;
- Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit Scorecard;
- Bord Bia’s Brexit Barometer; 
- InterTrade Ireland’s Brexit Advisory Service; 
- the €300m Brexit Loan Scheme for Business;
- the €25m Brexit Response Loan Scheme for the agri-food sector;
- and the opening of six new dip...

205. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the measures she is taking to enhance enterprise policy to upskill workers in employment; and the actions set out in the action plan for jobs 2018 and in Enterprise 2025 Renewed towards this objective. (Question 17305/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Skills Development)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): My Department’s enterprise policy has a strong focus on upskilling workers in employment. This can be seen in numerous ways including through policy documents such as the Action Plan for Jobs 2018 and Enterprise 2025 Renewed, and through my Department’s continued engagement with the Department of Education and Skills. 
The Action Plan for Jobs 2018 has four immediate key aims. One of which is ensuring that workforce ...

206. Deputy Billy Kelleher 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; and the value of approvals for the same period of each drawdown and approval by county in tabular form. (Question 17306/18 asked on 19 Apr 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...

207. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the actions she has taken to protect jobs at a company (details supplied); the supports in place for employees that will be made redundant; if she has spoken with the management of the company regarding these job losses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17307/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Job Losses)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I am very conscious of the anxiety that the announcement of possible job losses by the company concerned creates for the workers there.  My first thoughts are with these workers and their families as well as their local communities as they receive this difficult news. 
I understand that the company in question are planning to achieve cost savings by driving simplification of its products and processes to deliver greate...

208. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the most recent data for Ireland’s ranking in each international table for research and development; and the target originally set by the Government for each such ranking in tabular form. (Question 17309/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Research and Development Data)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Innovation 2020, Ireland’s strategy for research and development, science and technology, sets out Ireland’s ambition to be a Global Innovation Leader.  Benchmarking Ireland’s performance against other comparable economies is a key tool to enable the delivery of that ambition and to enable us to develop steps to improve our comparative performance.
The European Commission annually produces the European Innovation Scoreb...

209. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the ranking of Ireland in the EU on total public expenditure on research and development based on the most recent data; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17310/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Research and Development Data)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The tables attached show that Ireland ranks 15th out of 28 EU countries in terms of Government Budget Allocations for R&D; (GBARD) in 2016 and 18th out of 28 EU countries in terms of its GBARD as a percentage of total Government expenditure in 2016. 2016 is the latest data available. Source of data: Eurostat. 

 - GEO/TIME 2016 European Union (current composition) 94,942.90 Euro area (19 countries) 73,1...

210. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the level of public research and development intensity as measured as a percentage of GDP in each of the years 2005 to 2017; and the figure budgeted for in 2018, in tabular form. (Question 17311/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Research and Development Data)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Government Budget Allocations for R&D; (GBARD) as a percentage of GDP, GNP and the GBARD trend 2005-2017 are available at the link below. Estimates for 2018 are not available yet as the R and D Budget Survey 2018 is currently in the field. 
[GBARD].
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211. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the capital expenditure in public research and development in each of the years 2005 to 2017; the figure budgeted for in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17312/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Research and Development Data)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The attached table shows capital expenditure for publicly funded R and D in Ireland for 2005-2017. In addition to Irish Government funding, capital R and D expenditure is funded by the European Commission. These figures are also shown in the table. The figure for 2018 is not yet available as the R and D Budget Survey is in the field. 

 € thousands 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Ireland Tota...

212. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if further Exchequer funding was allocated to the Brexit loan scheme and her views on whether it would reduce the interest rate further. (Question 17318/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Brexit Supports)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Brexit Loan Scheme launched on 28 March provides affordable financing to eligible Irish businesses either currently impacted by Brexit or which will be in the future. The €300 million scheme is being delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through participating finance providers (currently Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank, with AIB to follow in June) to get much needed working capital into I...

213. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the National Competitiveness Council’s recommendation to undertake a benchmarking exercise comparing Ireland’s performance across a range of key competitiveness metrics with the UK; if this has been completed; and if not, the reason therefor. (Question 17319/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Economic Competitiveness)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) reports to Government on key competitiveness and productivity issues facing the economy and offers recommendations on policy actions required to enhance Ireland’s competitiveness. The NCC is independent of Government and under its Terms of Reference is responsible for the management and direction of its own work programme. 
Since the UK referendum, the NCC has addressed the i...

214. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the review of the seven joint labour committees by the Labour Court. (Question 17320/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Joint Labour Committees)

Minister of State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Pat Breen): Section 41A of the Industrial Relations Act 1946 as amended by Section 11 of the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2012 provides that reviews of each Joint Labour Committee (JLC) will be carried out by the Labour Court, as soon as practicable after the commencement of the Act, and at least once every 5 years thereafter. The first such review was completed in April 2013.
The second review of the JLC...

215. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she will report on Enterprise Ireland’s capital investment initiative. (Question 17322/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Enterprise Ireland Investments)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): In early 2015, Enterprise Ireland launched the Capital Investment Initiative to assist client companies improve productivity and competitiveness through the acquisition of new capital equipment and technology. This initiative, which is targeted at manufacturing and/or an internationally traded services SMEs, provides grant aid of up to a maximum of €250,000. Approved funding under this initiative can be used to purchas...

20. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the robustness of the Companies Act 2014 with respect to corporate governance; and the penalties in operation for breaches under the Act. (Question 16974/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Corporate Governance)

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Will the Minister give her views on the robustness of the Companies Act 2014 with respect to corporate governance and the penalties in operation for breaches under the Act? We are all aware of alleged breaches and investigations and everything that flows from that in a prominent media outlet at this time. Is the Minister confident and happy with the robustness of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the penalties in the Act to address issues of breache...

21. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if she is satisfied with the funding her Department has allocated to the IDA, EI and ITI to enable each body to mitigate the potential effects that Brexit may have on the economy. (Question 16827/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Brexit Expenditure)

Deputy Maurice Quinlivan: We are ten months from Brexit and my concern is whether the Minister believes the funding provided by her Department to IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland will be enough to help those agencies to mitigate the effects of Brexit. I know it is a difficult question to answer because we do not know what type of Brexit we are facing. Does the Minister believe the funding allocated to those agencies will be enough to help to mitigate the effects Brexit may...

22. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the actions being taken to reverse Irish competitiveness deficiencies to make Ireland an attractive location for enterprises to locate in and scale up; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16975/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Economic Competitiveness)

Deputy Billy Kelleher: I ask the Minister the actions being taken to reverse Irish competitiveness deficiencies to make Ireland an attractive location for enterprises to locate and scale up. I ask her to make a statement on the matter. I raise this because our competitiveness is under continual threat for a number of reasons, including the increased activity in the economy, with rising employment putting pressure on services across the State. Equally, deficiencies in the State’s capacity to r...

23. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if reports that €7 million of debt was written off in the recent sale of the State’s stake in a studio, details supplied, are correct; the price secured for this sale; the process engaged in for the sale; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17123/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Sale of State Assets)

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: I want to revisit the sale of Ardmore Studios. I will be blunt in stating that the sale stinks to high heaven. How much did the State get for the sale of its one third share in the company? I have heard the sale price was €6 million and the sale involved the State writing off €7 million in debt owed to it by Ardmore Studios. This would mean we gave the company away and then gave the purchaser €1 million. I hope that is not true. The House, members of the public...

24. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to address issues facing small businesses in County Donegal including concerns regarding the retreat of rural services and the lack of Government supports for small businesses outside the remit of Enterprise Ireland and the IDA and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16256/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Small and Medium Enterprises Supports)

Deputy Thomas Pringle: What Government supports are available for small businesses in rural Ireland that are outside the remit of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland?
 ...

25. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the conditions that surrounded the sale of the State’s stake in a studio (details supplied) to secure it as a location for film production into the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16802/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Film Industry)

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: The Comptroller and Auditor General should investigate the circumstances of the sale. That is how serious I think this is. This is a piece of real estate that, if it were developed residentially, would probably be worth about €100 million. The Government cannot tell us how much it was sold for or confirm the reports that €7 million of debt was written off. That is not acceptable.
I told the Government a few weeks ago, and it was confirmed last week, that there we...

26. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation when she plans to publish an account of the investigative failures identified by a person, details supplied, in regard to a trial; the steps being taken to address them emanating from the trial; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16812/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement Legal Cases)

Deputy Billy Kelleher: When does the Minister plan to publish the account of the investigative failures identified in the Anglo Irish Bank trial, the longest criminal trial in the history of the State, when Judge Aylmer directed the jury to acquit Mr. Seán FitzPatrick? When will the Minister publish the investigation into the role of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, ODCE, in the collapse of the trial and the acquittal of Mr FitzPatrick?
 ...

27. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the way in which the regional enterprise development fund can help drive job creation in midlands; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16179/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Enterprise Support Schemes)

Deputy Peter Burke: I want to ask the Minister about the regional enterprise development fund to help drive job creation. Phase one of the fund was the Minister’s first official engagement in her current role. She came to the Irish Manufacturing Research, IMR, facility in Mullingar to launch the first phase at the National Science Park. We were delighted to receive an allocation of €2.1 million for all the work going on in the facility.
 ...

28. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the steps being taken by IDA Ireland to support job creation in the regions, particularly in County Carlow and the south-east region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16185/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Action Plan for Jobs)

Deputy Pat Deering: What steps are the Minister and IDA Ireland taking to support job creation, particularly in the south-east region and, more specifically still, County Carlow? There is potential for a technological university for the south east and a long-standing promise to provide an advanced facility. When will the facility go ahead? I have asked a number of questions about it in the last period, but the date has been pushed out time and again. If we could get a definite answer and fin...

29. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the introduction of legislation to enhance the powers of the PIAB in relation to a recommendation made in the report on the cost of motor insurance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16813/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Personal Injury Claims)

Deputy Billy Kelleher: What is the status of legislation to enhance the powers of PIAB on foot of recommendations in the report of on the cost of motor insurance? The Minister might make a brief statement on that and we can then discuss it further.
 ...