At today’s meeting of Eurogroup Finance Ministers in Brussels (Monday), the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, confirmed his decision to facilitate the election of a new Vice-President of the ECB by consensus.


Speaking from Brussels, Minister Donohoe said: ‘I was very pleased to nominate the Governor of our Central Bank, Professor Philip Lane, earlier this month for the position of ECB Vice-President.   I believe Professor Lane is an exceptionally well-qualified candidate who would make an ideal person to serve on the Executive Board of the European Central Bank’. 


“In contacts with my Finance Minister colleagues in advance of today’s meeting, I received very positive feedback and expressions of support in relation to the candidacy from many Member States who acknowledged how well-qualified Philip would be for the position.


“However, I believe that it is crucial that the election of a new Vice-President for the ECB is based on consensus, and should not be a source for any disagreement.  In that context, I have decided that, on balance, it would be in the interests of the Euro-area as a whole to withdraw Philip’s candidacy in advance of any vote.


“I wish to congratulate my Spanish colleague, Luis de Guindos, who has an excellent track record as Spanish Finance Minister, which I know will serve him well in the new position. I want to wish him every success in his future new role. I also wish to reiterate my appreciation to Professor Philip Lane for putting himself forward as a candidate, whose ability and expertise was widely praised throughout the process”.



Monday 19th February 2018


Note for Editors:

The Eurogroup meeting of 19th February considered nominations for the post of ECB Vice-President.  On 20 February, the Ecofin Council of EU Finance Ministers is due to formally adopt a recommendation to the European Council, proposing Luis de Guindos, Spanish Minister for Economy and Competitiveness, as the next ECB Vice-President.  On 22nd March, after consulting with the ECB and European Parliament, the European Council of EU Heads of State and Government is scheduled to take the final decision.




Deborah Sweeney – Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – +353 86 858 6878

Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – +353 85 886 6667

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, invites expressions of interest from suitably qualified candidates for two vacant positions on the Commission of the Central Bank of Ireland, which manages and controls the affairs and activities of the Central Bank.

The selection process will be managed by the Public Appointments Service and undertaken in accordance with the Guidelines for Appointments to State Boards, which was published by the Government in November 2014.

To aid the search process, the Public Appointments Service is working with specialists from PWC’s Executive Search function, who were appointed by tender.

Minister Donohoe commented:

“Back in December, I committed to appointing Consumer Champions to the Central Bank Commission, in line with the Central Bank’s request to maximise fully the range and depth of experience on the Central Bank Commission.  This is an independent and transparent process, being run by the Public Appointments Service, seeking high-calibre individuals with the skills to shape how banks interact fairly with their customers.

Candidates who can demonstrate a track record as a senior leader with experience in the areas identified in the public call for expressions of interest are invited to apply.

I hope to finalise these appointments as soon as possible once the selection process has been completed.”

Details on the roles in question, the criteria for applicants, and how to apply can be found at



6 February, 2018


Following a commitment made by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD in Budget 2018, an inter-Departmental working group has been established to examine and report on options for the amalgamation of USC and PRSI.

The working group is chaired by the Department of Finance and includes representatives from the Departments of the Taoiseach, Public Expenditure & Reform and Employment Affairs & Social Protection, and from the Revenue Commissioners.

Terms of reference for the working group were discussed and agreed at Cabinet this morning (Tuesday).

The objectives of USC: PRSI amalgamation include simplification of the personal tax system, preservation of the current tax base and providing a stable footing for social insurance provision into the future.  It will be a complex undertaking and is expected to take place over a number of years.

Minister Donohoe stated: “My long term view of the USC has always been to see its integration into the existing PRSI system. The work of this group will contribute to the Government’s objective of making incremental, sustainable but ambitious progress for our citizens – progress on fairer taxation and ultimately on better services”

USC/PRSI Amalgamation Working Group – Terms of Reference

To examine and present options for the amalgamation of PRSI and USC in a manner which seeks to address, inter alia:

(i)   the need to preserve the tax base having regard to the need for certainty, equity, and ease of compliance and administration,
(ii)  current and future funding challenges facing the Social Insurance Fund,
(iii)  issues likely to arise from a phased implementation over a number of years of the new instrument,
(iv)  simplification of the personal tax and social insurance systems, and
(v)   any other relevant matters arising.

The exercise will be chaired by the Department of Finance.  It should have regard to the structure and rates of personal tax and social insurance in other countries and the macroeconomic and demographic contexts in Ireland, and should be completed no later than 30 June 2018.


Tuesday 6th February 2018



Deborah Sweeney – Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – +353 (0) 86 858 6878

Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – +353 (0) 85 886 6667

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today informed the Government of his decision to nominate Professor Philip Lane, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, to the position of Vice-President of the European Central Bank.

Professor Lane’s outstanding economic, financial and policy making record ideally position him to take a seat at the Executive Board of the European Central Bank. 

His appointment as Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) High-Level Task Force on Safe Assets last year, his previous position as chair of the ESRB Advisory Scientific Committee and his current position as chair of the ESRB Advisory Technical Committee, demonstrate the standing he is held in at European level. 

Minister Donohoe stated:

“I said that when and if Ireland puts forward a candidate to the ECB’s Executive Board, they will be an exceptionally well qualified person. There can be no doubt that Governor Lane is such a person of calibre and recognised standing.”



Tuesday, 30th January 2018



Deborah Sweeney – Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – +353 (0) 86 858 6878

Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – +353 (0) 85 886 6667


Notes for Editors

1. At the Eurogroup meeting of Eurozone Finance Ministers on 22 January, the Eurogroup President initiated the procedure for the appointment of a new Vice-President of the European Central Bank with a call for candidacies. The term of the incumbent, Vítor Constâncio, ends on 31 May 2018. Other board member appointment do not arise until 2019. With regard to the position of Vice President, the Eurogroup will agree on a candidate on 19 February and ECOFIN will adopt a formal recommendation to the European Council on 20 February. The European Parliament and European Central Bank will then deliver opinions on the recommendation with the appointment scheduled to be agreed at the European Council on 22 March. The new Vice President will take up their post on 1 June 2018.


2. Biography of Philip Lane

Philip R. Lane is Whately Professor of Political Economy at Trinity College Dublin. He is Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland and sits on the ECB Governing Council. He is Chair of the High-Level Task Force on Safe Assets of the European Systemic Risk Board; he is an ex-officio member of the General Board and steering committee of the ESRB.  He is also Director of the International Macroeconomics and Finance Programme at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).

He received his PhD in Economics from Harvard in 1995 and was Assistant Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Columbia University during 1995-1997 before returning to Dublin.

His research interests include financial globalisation, macroeconomics of exchange rates and capital flows, macroeconomic policy design and European monetary integration.  His work has been published in the American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of International Economics, NBER Macroeconomics Annual and many other journals.

In 2001, he was the inaugural recipient of the German Bernacer Award in Monetary Economics for outstanding contributions to European monetary economics; in 2010, he was co-recipient of the Bhagwati Prize from the Journal of International Economics. He previously held the position of Chair of the ESRB Advisory Scientific Committee. He has also acted as an academic consultant for the European Central Bank, European Commission, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, OECD, Asian Development Bank and a number of national central banks. He is also a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

A more detailed biography of Professor Lane’s publications and achievements is available at 

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD, today (Tuesday) welcomed the approval by the Government to proceed with the legal drafting of the Home Building Finance Ireland Bill 2018.

Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) was announced in October as part of Budget 2018 and will be designed to increase the availability of debt funding to commercially viable residential development projects in the State.

Funding of up to €750 million from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund will be made available to HBFI for the establishment of the fund. Through the utilisation of existing skills and expertise already available to the State in NAMA, projects are expected to commence with minimum delay, maximising the greatest potential for early delivery of homes.

Minister Donohoe said: ‘I am pleased with the decision to progress with the drafting of this important piece of legislation. Home Building Finance Ireland will provide a welcome boost to developers with viable sites who are experiencing difficulty in obtaining funding’.

“This is a priority piece of legislation and officials in my Department will now progress the drafting with relevant stakeholders and the European Commission with a view to publication in the coming months and the commencement of operations later this year.”

Minister Murphy added: “This is an important initiative with the potential to provide the necessary financial support, in particular for small and medium-sized developers and builders, to maximise the capacity in the building sector to deliver new homes, especially in our urban areas where the demand and affordability challenges are greatest.”



Tuesday, 30th January 2018



Deborah Sweeney – Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – +353 (0) 86 858 6878

Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – +353 (0) 85 886 6667


Notes to Editors:

HBFI will be established as a company with limited liability under the Companies Act with the Minister of Finance as sole shareholder at incorporation.

Staff will be provided on a seconded or service-level agreement basis with NAMA. This will ensure that the considerable expertise and skills amassed through NAMA’s existing residential funding programme can be harnessed by HBFI and that staffing levels can be allocated commensurate to the level of demand for lending from developers.

HBFI lending will be on commercial, market-equivalent terms and conditions and would depend on the risk profile of each project, the quality of collateral and the creditworthiness of the borrower.

Sites eligible for lending must have full planning permission, be under the control of the borrowers, have a minimum delivery capacity of 10 units and be commercially viable to develop.

Subject to successful passage of the Bill and competition considerations, it is envisaged that HBFI will be established with a view to the commencement of lending activity in H2 2018.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, along with Minister of State Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy TD, have today (Tuesday) announced agreement in principle that the State will ensure that Setanta third party claimants are compensated in full. The detailed arrangements for such compensation will be elaborated in due course and are subject to further discussions to ensure no competition or legal issues arise.

This decision will also apply to another similar case – Enterprise Insurance. That case, while much smaller in scale and impact, has also meant that claimants, through no fault of their own, are left out of pocket by not being compensated fully through the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) mechanism.

Setanta Insurance was placed into liquidation by the Malta Financial Services Authority on 30th April 2014 and is being liquidated under Maltese law.

The liquidation of Setanta was the subject of a protracted court case as to whether the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) or the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) was liable in respect of third party motor insurance claims. The final judgment on this matter was delivered by the Supreme Court on 25th May 2017 and it overturned the previous decisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal that MIBI was liable for such claims.

The consequence of the Supreme Court judgment is that the ICF has been deemed responsible for the payment of such third party claims up to 65% of the claim or €825,000 whichever is the lessor leaving a shortfall of 35%. Whilst some of this shortfall may be addressed in time from the assets of the liquidation – up to 22% – the Liquidator has indicated that this could take several years as all claims must first be settled before such assets could be distributed.

It is the Government’s view that the Setanta insolvency and the subsequent Supreme Court ruling has highlighted an inequity between awards for third party claimants from MIBI in respect of uninsured or unidentified drivers, where personal injuries are compensated in full, compared with compensation from the ICF in the event of an insolvency where limits of 65% of the claim or €825,000 whichever is the lessor apply.

Consequently, the Government decided in July 2017 to bring forward legislation to address the uncertainty this case has highlighted in relation to compensation arrangements for third party motor claimants in any future motor insurer insolvency. 

The Bill, which is currently being drafted by the Department of Finance and the Office of Parliamentary Council, proposes to increase the level of Insurance Compensation Fund coverage for all future third party motor claims from its current 65% level to 100% in order to bring it into line with the compensation levels paid out by the MIBI. This additional coverage will be financed by the motor insurance industry through the establishment of an ex-ante fund into which industry will make regular contributions.

The above provides the backdrop to the Minister’s decision in principle on this matter.

Speaking on the decision Minister Donohoe stated: ‘I have carefully considered the matter including recent legal advice I have received plus an update from the Liquidator, and on the basis of this I have come to the conclusion that if the State steps in to pay the 35% shortfall, it should be able to recover the bulk of what the third party claimants themselves would have received from the Liquidator. By taking this step now and compensating in full, it is hoped that this will encourage the settlement of outstanding claims as quickly as possible’. 

Minister of State D’Arcy stated: ‘Officials at the Department of Finance are currently discussing with the Attorney General’s Office whether there are any competition or legal issues such as State aid associated with such an intervention and what if anything are the consequences of this. Once clarity is obtained on this matter, we will announce further details on how we intend to facilitate such payments to Setanta third party claimants’.


Tuesday, 30th January 2018



Deborah Sweeney – Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – +353 (0) 86 858 6878

Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – +353 (0) 85 886 6667

Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance Michael D’Arcy TD, today (Tuesday) launches the Government’s IFS2020 Action Plan for 2018.

Launched in 2015, the IFS2020 Strategy is a five-year Strategy for the development of Ireland’s international financial services (IFS) sector.

The Strategy has a clear vision for Ireland to be the recognised global location of choice for specialist international financial services.  The Strategy has an ambitious target – to increase direct employment in the sector by 10,000 net new jobs.

Since 2015, almost 7,000 jobs have been created in the sector with an estimated 2,300 of those created in 2017.  Now three years into a five year strategy, 70% of the employment target has been achieved across the combined IFS portfolios of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

Commenting on the 2018 Action Plan, Minister D’Arcy stated:

“This year’s Action Plan identifies six priority areas for 2018 which will ensure that Ireland remains a highly-desirable location for international financial services.

I am pleased that among the six priority areas in 2018, there will be a particular focus on developing the financial services sector across the regions, and to looking to our future in sustainable finance.

The dynamic and evolving nature of IFS2020 allows us to respond to emerging and future opportunities and challenges over the next twelve months and beyond.”

Minister D’Arcy officially launches the Government’s IFS2020 Action Plan 2018 at a reception in Iveagh House this evening. This is one of a number of engagements taking place in and around Wednesday’s third annual European Financial Forum in Dublin Castle.


30th January 2018



Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – +353 (0) 85 886 6667


Note to Editors:

Action Plan 2018

The IFS2020 Strategy is an iterative planning and implementation process. While the long-term strategic vision and the medium-term jobs target remain constant, the action-focused strategy is designed to be dynamic and evolving. The Strategy provides for an annual review and implementation of new actions at the end of each year, similar to the approach taken in the Action Plan for Jobs. The 2018 Action Plan has been prepared in close consultation with key public sector and industry stakeholders. 

The 2018 Action Plan places significant emphasis on six key areas;

  • Investment Limited Partnership Legislation
  • Green and Sustainable Finance
  • Regional Measures
  • Skills and Development
  • Aviation Finance
  • Financial Market Infrastructure

The 2018 Action Plan also contains a suite of 43 measures to be actioned in 2018 with lead agencies and organisations assigned to each measure.   

All measures fall under one of IFS2020’s strategic priorities which are as follows:

  1. Promote Ireland as a Location for International Financial Services & world class innovative products & services;
  2. Drive continuous improvement in the operating environment & competitiveness of Ireland’s IFS sector;
  3. Drive Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the IFS sector, with a particular focus on financial technology & governance, risk & compliance;
  4. Develop job-creation opportunities from emerging IFS sub-sectors & new markets;
  5. Implementation framework.


European Financial Forum

The hosting of a European Financial Forum each year is a key IFS2020 deliverable. The 2017 Forum was attended by over 650 delegates from around the world and similar attendance is expected for the 2018 Forum on Wednesday, 31st January in Dublin Castle.

The event brings together both public and private sector leaders from around the world to lead debate and discussion around the challenges and issues facing the global economy.

The European Financial Forum showcases Ireland’s international financial services (IFS) environment to an international audience, and highlights the Irish Government’s commitment to the development of IFS.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., has signed the Commencement Order to enact Section 10 of the Finance Act 2017, the Key Employee Engagement Programme.

The Commencement Order has been published today, 29th January 2018, on the Irish Statue Book website.

The KEEP scheme was approved by the European Commission on 19th of December 2017 under EU State Aid rules.

The Key Employee Engagement Programme is designed to assist SMEs in Ireland in competing with larger enterprises to attract and retain key employees.  It provides for a more advantageous tax treatment of gains arising on the exercise of qualifying share options acquired in SME companies. Where the KEEP applies, any gains realised on the exercise of qualifying share options granted during the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2023 will not be subject to income tax, PRSI or USC at the date of exercise.  The gain will instead be subject to Capital Gains Tax on a future disposal of the shares.


January 29th 2018



Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – +353 (0)85 886 6667

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, has today (Thursday) welcomed the European Commission’s decision to reject the complaint submitted to the Competition Directorate (DG Comp) in relation to alleged aid related to NAMA’s activity in funding commercially viable residential projects under the control of its debtors and receivers.

Speaking on the decision Minister Donohoe stated; “NAMA’s residential funding programme was expanded in 2015 to facilitate the delivery of 20,000 units on sites secured by its loans by 2020. This ambitious target was welcomed as it enabled NAMA to both enhance its returns from these assets over and above any other viable strategy while at the same time delivering much needed residential units into the market at a time of weakened supply.

I welcome the decision by DG Comp in relation to this complaint which now allows NAMA to continue to work on maximising the number of housing units that are delivered from sites owned by its debtors and receivers. This strategy has already delivered the construction of an estimated 7,200 homes since 2014 and will enable NAMA to deliver its forecast surplus of €3bn which will accrue to the State over the coming years.”


25th January 2018



Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – +353 (0)85 886 6667

Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy TD has today (Thursday) published the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s (CIWG’s) Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance. Minister D’Arcy presented the report to Government on 23rd January 2018, and the Government has approved the report. 

Following the publication of the CIWG’s Motor Insurance Report in early 2017, the Working Group considered the issue of employer and public liability in the context of the cost of business insurance. The report, prepared by the Cost of Insurance Working Group under the Chairmanship of Minister of State D’Arcy, was provided to Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform Paschal Donohoe TD, who endorsed it earlier this month.

The CIWG’s Report makes 15 recommendations with 29 associated actions to be carried out. The recommendations and actions are detailed in an action plan contained in the report with agreed timelines for implementation.  The recommendations, covering three main themes, include actions to:

  1. Increase Transparency: enhance levels of transparency and improve data sharing and collection processes
  2. Review the level of damages in personal injury cases: request that the Law Reform Commission undertake a detailed analysis of the possibility of developing constitutionally sound legislation to delimit or cap the amounts of damages which a court may award in respect of some or all categories of personal injuries and
  3. Improve the personal injuries litigation framework: through a number of measures, namely:
    • ensuring potential defendants are notified in sufficient time that an incident has occurred in relation to which a claim is going to be made against their policy;
    • tackling fraudulent or exaggerated claims; and
    • ensuring suitable training and information supports are available to the judiciary to assist in the fair and consistent assessment and awarding of damages in personal injury cases.

Minister of State D’Arcy highlighted that:

“The recommendations in this Report are credible and therefore achievable.  However, it will require a level of open-mindedness and co-operation from all sides involved in the personal injury claims area.  I am hopeful that the recommendations will be taken in the spirit that they are made.  There is no intention to undermine the current awards system and, in particular, the rights of the plaintiff.  Nonetheless, I believe that there is a need for serious reflection on how the personal injuries litigation system as a whole is operating and the impact it is having on the cost of insurance, and what this means for society in general. 

 The implementation of the recommendations in this Report, along with those in the Motor Report, will lead to greater stability in the pricing of employer liability and public liability insurance and will help prevent the volatility which we are currently seeing in the market.

The Working Group, chaired by Minister of State D’Arcy, will continue to meet in 2018 and will focus on the ongoing implementation of the 2017 Motor Report and this new Report focusing on Employer and Public Liability insurance.


25th January 2018



Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – +353(0)85 886 6667 –


Background Note to Editors:

The Cost of Insurance Working Group, chaired by Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy TD, is comprised of representatives from the Department of Finance, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Justice and Equality, the Central Bank of Ireland, the State Claims Agency, and the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.

Following the publication of the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance (Motor Report) in January 2017 the Working Group commenced its examination of the cost of business insurance, in particular employer liability and public liability insurance.  Although the CSO does not produce specific data on the price variance of employer and public liability insurance, its CPI statistics on the cost of insurance overall showed an increase of 57% from January 2011 to July 2016. 

While it is acknowledged that there are significant differences between these forms of insurance and motor insurance, the Working Group is strongly of the view that many of the recommendations in the Motor Report around areas such as improving the personal injuries environment and reducing insurance fraud are as relevant to employer liability and public liability insurance.  Therefore, the aim of the Working Group was to try to develop an understanding of the difficulties faced by businesses, as well as why these problems are arising and from there to come up with a set of recommendations tailored to the need of the business sector, but which build upon the relevant recommendations in the Motor Report.

In doing this, the Group has remained conscious of two key points: (i) the need to ensure that an economically vibrant and financially stable insurance sector is maintained, and (ii) that there is no diminution of the rights of plaintiffs.   In line with the earlier work, the aim of the Group’s report is for all relevant bodies and stakeholders to work together in order to help deliver fairer premiums for businesses without unnecessary delay. 

The Working Group met fifteen times during 2017 and undertook an extensive consultation process involving a range of stakeholders.  The Working Group operated by way of two sub-groups, broadly looking at market related issues and legal issues.  Chairs were appointed to these sub-groups and work commenced at sub-group level in July 2017.  The sub-groups met on a weekly basis thereafter.  The output of the sub-groups fed into the meetings of the Working Group, with the Working Group acting as a Steering Group to the sub-groups.

The Working Group has now finalised and agreed the Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance.  The Report makes 15 recommendations across three areas, with 29 associated actions to be carried out in agreed timeframes set out in an action plan in the report.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D. has today announced the launch of phase two of the Switch Your Bank campaign. The campaign directs people to, and encourages consumers to shop around for financial products and services.

The website provides a single source where consumers can access useful facts about switching, including a straightforward step by step guide, links to Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) comparison tools and helpful information to support their decision-making.

The campaign will feature TV, radio and online advertising and is supported by a dedicated website,  Using a combination of media channels will ensure that the campaign reaches consumers throughout the day, from morning drive time, lunchtime googling to TV/video-on-demand viewing in the evening.

The Department of Finance is running this campaign as part of a range of competition measures agreed with the European Commission to raise awareness and promote customer switching in the retail financial product area. This was agreed in the context of the restructuring plans for AIB and PTSB. The campaign is being funded entirely by the two banks.

Speaking on the Switch Your Bank campaign Minister Donohoe said:

“There is a more focused advertising message for phase two, concentrating on the theme “Switch Your Credit Card”.  I appreciate that consumers may have used their credit card more over the Christmas season and these focused advertisements should reintroduce the concept of switching credit cards to consumers after the high spending season has ended and consumers are in a positive frame of mind in relation to New Year’s resolutions and positive actions.  

I am very pleased with the success of the Switch Your Bank Campaign, at the end of phase one there has been over 80,000 views of the website. The CCPC’s financial product comparison tools are a key resource in helping consumers to assess the products available on the market and use has increased multiple times since the start of the campaign.  They recorded 100% increase in visitors to the current account comparison tool and 77% increase in visitors to the mortgage comparison tool.”

“I encourage consumers’ to shop around for financial products and services.  Competition in the Irish banking market is of benefit to consumers.”


22nd January 2018 


Further information from: 

Aidan Murphy, Press Officer, +353 85 886 6667, 


Notes to Editors:

The text of the State aid decisions are available at

In accordance with public procurement rules, a tender was published on and in the Official Journal of the EU in last year. Language Communications were the successful tenderer and have been working on the campaign as Prime Contractor.

Following the agreement of the Government in June, the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan T.D., announced today the establishment of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council.  The Council is being put in place as part of a wider agenda of reform of Ireland’s budgetary architecture which is envisaged in the Programme for Government.

The Council will be an independent body and its existence and independence will be underpinned by legislation to be brought forward by Government later in the year in the proposed Fiscal Responsibility Bill.    Its role will be to provide an assessment of, and comment publicly on, whether the Government is meeting its own stated budgetary targets and objectives. It will also be charged with assessing the appropriateness and soundness of the Government’s fiscal stance and macroeconomic projections as well as an assessment of the extent of compliance with the Government’s fiscal rules. The latter are also to be brought forward in the proposed Fiscal Responsibility Bill.

The members of the five-person Council are:

  • Mr. Sebastian Barnes, OECD,
  • Professor Alan Barrett, TCD (on secondment from the ESRI),
  • Dr. Donal Donovan, University of Limerick (formerly IMF staff),
  • Professor John McHale, Head of Economics, NUI Galway and Chair of the Council, and
  • Dr. Róisín O’Sullivan, Associate Professor, Smith College, Massachusetts.

Commenting on the establishment of the Council, the Minister said:

“The establishment of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council is another important step in the process of reforming Ireland’s budgetary framework. The Council will provide an independent assessment of the Government’s budgetary plans and projections and, in doing so, will help to inform the public discussion surrounding economic and fiscal matters.

A number of other countries have taken the step of establishing such a council and have found it to be beneficial not only in helping to ensure that an appropriate budgetary policy is pursued, but also in sending a positive signal to markets regarding the conduct of future fiscal discipline.”

The Minister wished the members well in their work and expressed the view that the Council will make a significant contribution to the task of ensuring that Ireland avoids the type of imbalances in the public finances that have been a feature in recent years.   The Minister said that he was confident that the move would be viewed positively by the markets as further clear evidence that Ireland remained on track in meeting its obligations under the EU/IMF Programme and that it was committed to overcoming its financial difficulties.

The Minister thanked the new members of the Council for lending their time and expertise to help establish this important addition to Ireland’s budgetary framework.

“I am delighted that we have been able to assemble such a high-quality team to form Ireland’s first Fiscal Advisory Council. I have no doubt that, over the coming period, the Council’s standing will only increase through its work. I am particularly pleased that Professor John McHale has agreed to act as Chair.   He will have a key role in setting up the Council and in helping to define its remit and its independent character.  I would like to thank all of the members for making available their time and expertise to help reform our budgetary architecture.”


7th July 2011

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD briefed his government colleagues today (Tuesday) on the review of the Local Property Tax (LPT) his Department will be advancing during 2018. The review will include a consultation process to enable all interested parties and individuals to submit their views on the future of the LPT.

The review will start in February and will look in particular at the impact on LPT liabilities of property price developments. It will include an examination of the outstanding recommendations of the 2015 Thornhill review of the Local Property Tax. The review will be conducted by a cross-departmental group, chaired by the Department of Finance and will comprise the Revenue Commissioners and the Departments of Public Expenditure & Reform and Housing, Planning & Local Government. It is expected that the review will be completed at the end of August and that the group will provide a number of policy choices for consideration. 

The purpose of the review will be to inform the Minister in relation to any actions he may recommend to Government concerning the overall yield from LPT and its contribution to total tax revenue. The review will be informed by the desirability of achieving relative stability, both over the short and longer terms, in LPT payments of liable persons.

Commenting on the current review Minister Donohoe said: “Even though it would be 2020 before LPT liabilities would be affected by any property revaluations, it is important that the Government is able to make its position clear in relation to LPT in a timely way so that households will be aware of its plans for the tax in advance of the November 2019 revaluation date and the associated 2020 and beyond LPT liabilities. The current review of the LPT will be informed by the principle of achieving relative stability in the LPT payments of those liable for the tax and provide clear direction on the likely payments faced by households in 2020.”



16th January 2018



Deborah Sweeney, Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – 086 858 6878

Aidan Murphy, Press Officer, Department of Finance – 085 886 6667


Notes to Editors:

Following a review of the LPT in 2015 by Dr Don Thornhill the previous Minister for Finance proposed to Government that the revaluation date for the LPT be postponed from 1st November 2016 to 1st November 2019. This postponement meant that home owners continued to have their homes valued for LPT purposes on the basis of their 1st May 2013 declared valuation and so were not faced with significant increases in their LPT in 2017 and 2018 and 2019 as a result of increased property values. Absent any change in the LPT legislation, the valuations of properties on 1st November 2019 will be the basis for calculating LPT liabilities in 2020 and beyond.

The valuation date is the date on which property owners are required to establish the market value of their properties. These market values form the basis for calculation of property owners’ LPT liabilities. Section 7 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Act 2015 amended section 13 of the Principal LPT Act to retain the valuation date of 1 May 2013 for an additional three years up to and including the year 2019.  The 2015 Act provides for the next valuation date to be 1st November 2019 instead of 1st November 2016. This postponement resulted in property owners not having to face significant increases in relation to their local property tax liabilities in 2017, 2018 and 2019 as a result of increased property values since May 2013.

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Paschal Donohoe T.D. has today (Friday) signed regulations – the European Union (Payment Services) Regulations 2018 – to give effect to the revised Payment Services Directive or “PSD2” (Directive (EU) 2015/2366[1]).

Minister Donohoe stated: “Consumers want to know that their payments are safe when they shop or make a payment, be that in store or online. PSD2 will ensure that consumers have stronger rights and greater choice when using payment services”.

The overall objective of PSD2 is to further harmonise the rules for an EU single market for payments, aiming to create a more integrated and efficient European payments market. The main changes introduced by PSD2 are the addition of two new categories of payment services providers to be regulated, greater protection for consumers, and the introduction of new rules on strong customer authentication and secure communication which are intended to make payments safer.

The vast majority of the provisions of PSD2 come into operation on 13th January 2018. A small number of provisions will come into operation 18 months from the date the regulatory technical standards on strong customer authentication and common and secure open standards of communication enter into force.

S.I. No. 6 of 2018 – European Union (Payment Services) Regulations 2018


12 January 2018



Aidan Murphy, Press Officer, Department of Finance – 085 886 6667,


Notes for Editors:

PSD2 builds on the framework first established by the original Payment Services Directive[2] in 2007, introducing changes to address the rapid growth in the number of electronic and mobile payments and the emergence of new types of payment services in the market place.

The main changes introduced by the new rules include the:

  • Introduction of strict security requirements for the initiation and processing of electronic payments and the protection of consumers’ financial data;
  • Opening the EU payment market for companies offering consumer or business-oriented payment services based on access, with consent of the account holder, to payment accounts – the so called “payment initiation services providers” and “account information services providers”;
  • Enhancement of consumers’ rights, including a reduction in the liability for non-authorised payments to €50 (previously €75) and insertion into legislation of an unconditional refund right for direct debits in euro for consumers;
  • Prohibition of merchant surcharging on consumer-held credit or debit cards covered by the Interchange Fee Regulation (the vast majority of consumer credit and debit cards), whether the payment instrument is used in shops or online; and
  • Expansion of the scope now that PSD2 extends to payment transactions in non-European Economic Area currencies and to ‘one-leg’ transactions (payment transactions where only one of the payment service providers is located within the European Economic Area), and a narrowing of the payment transactions and services which are excluded. 




Minister of State for Financial Services, Michael D’Arcy TD, today (Monday) departs for an intensive seven-day programme in Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong to advance Irish trade links across Asia and to promote Ireland’s international financial services sector.

The overall focus of the visit will be the promotion of the international financial services sector in Ireland, with a particular focus on IDA and Enterprise Ireland clients in all three destinations.  The visit will also provide an opportunity to engage with Asian media outlets.

Coinciding with the final lead-in to the forthcoming European Financial Forum in Dublin Castle, the visit will provide an opportunity for the Minister to promote Ireland as a location for financial services-related foreign direct investment and to build contacts with key influencers in the three cities visited.  While in Hong Kong, Minister D’Arcy will attend key sessions at the Asian Financial Forum.

Speaking ahead of his departure Minister D’Arcy said:

“My aim is to highlight Ireland’s capability, global offering and growing reputation as a hub for specialist international financial services. I look forward to building on the excellent work of our Embassies and trade agencies to enhance existing links and open up new opportunities in these markets.”

“The Government’s IFS 2020 Strategy, now in its fourth year, is driving the growth of international financial services in Ireland and we are on track to achieve the target of adding 10,000 jobs to the sector by end-2019. Key to this is capturing new opportunities in a changing marketplace and embracing the highest standards of governance.”

“I look forward to promoting Ireland in these target markets. It provides a great opportunity to showcase our unique financial services’ offerings – our market access, our educated workforce, the increasing depth and sophistication of our indigenous financial services’ sector and the readiness and capability of the sector to meet the challenges of the years ahead.”


8th January 2018



Aidan Murphy, Press Officer, Department of Finance – 085 886 6667 –

Notes for Editors:

Detail of the European Financial Forum on 31st January 2018 is available at and

At its recent plenary meeting in Paris, the Financial Action Task Force issued a public statement on high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions:

In relation to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea the FATF continues to call on both its members and other jurisdictions to apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the on-going and substantial money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/FT) risks emanating from the DPRK

The FATF has welcomed Iran’s adoption of, and high-level political commitment to, an Action Plan to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, and its decision to seek technical assistance in the implementation of the Action Plan; pending implementation of the Action Plan the FATF remains concerned with the terrorist financing risk emanating from Iran and the threat this poses to the international financial system. The FATF, therefore, calls on its members and urges all jurisdictions to continue to advise their financial institutions to apply enhanced due diligence to business relationships and transactions with natural and legal persons from Iran, consistent with FATF Recommendation 19. The FATF continues to urge Iran to fully address its AML/CFT deficiencies, in particular those related to terrorist financing

The FATF also issued a list of nine other monitored jurisdictions which are working with the FATF to address deficiencies in their national AML/CFT systems.

FATF public statements of this type relate to country risk; they influence third-country policy acts adopted EU Commission pursuant article 9(2) of the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive

  • Exchequer surplus of €1.909 billion. Year-on-year improvement of €2.927 billion.
  • Underlying deficit of €1.525 billion giving an underlying year-on-year improvement of €1.093 billion.
  • Tax revenues of €50.7 billion on profile, up 6.0%(€2.872 billion) year-on-year
  • Gross voted expenditure on public services and infrastructure up 0.8% vs profile and up 4.6% year-on-year.

Commenting on the end-December 2017 Exchequer Returns today (Wednesday) the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Mr. Paschal Donohoe, T.D. said: ‘I welcome today’s Exchequer returns for 2017 which represent a very solid performance and clearly underscores the improving economy. This in turn translates into strong revenues which is funding our delivery of public services and investment in key infrastructure’. 

“Tax revenues have performed robustly and at €50.7 billion represents a 6 per cent year-on-year increase which is slightly ahead of expectations. Reflecting our broadly-based recovery, all tax headings have recorded annual growth, with overall receipts now 60 per cent above our 2010 low point.  

“On the spending side, gross voted expenditure at €58.6 billion is up 4.6 per cent reflecting the Government’s commitment to deliver services that meet critical social and economic needs. Demonstrating this Government’s priority to meeting our housing pressures, gross voted expenditure by the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government is up 52 per cent year-on-year.         

“This fiscal outturn provides a good platform to start 2018. However, we remain vigilant to the potential challenges we face, including Brexit. We will continue careful management of the public finances, including the focus on reducing our debt burden and continuation with competitiveness-oriented policies”.


Fiscal Monitor – December 2017


3rd January 2018



Aidan Murphy, Press Officer, Department of Finance

085 886 6667,

Ben Sweeney, Press Officer, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

085 806 9313,

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D., today (Sunday) welcomed a proposed initiative from the banking industry in Ireland that aims to start the process of rebuilding trust and confidence in the industry following the tracker mortgage scandal.

The five chief executives of the main retail banks: Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, KBC, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank, have informed the Department of Finance of their intention to establish an Irish Banking Standards Board. This initiative, which is welcomed by Minister Donohoe, will be broadly modelled on the Banking Standards Board which operates in the UK. A strong customer focused culture is a key ingredient in a reputable, sustainable banking sector which supports Ireland’s economic development. It is also a critical driver of franchise value over time.

It is proposed that the Board will be made up of expert people from across civil society all of whom are committed to and focussed on enhancing competence, culture, reputation and trust across the Irish banking industry. The Board will be chaired by an independent non-banking individual who has the personal respect, credibility and trust of citizens. The initial step will be the establishment of a selection panel to hire the Chairman, CEO and Board. The cost and time involved in establishing this new entity should not be underestimated and it is envisaged that it will be operational in late 2018. 

The Board will promote the highest ethical business standards by leading and overseeing the collective effort by the industry to raise banking standards. It will also seek to drive an improvement in culture across the industry and develop a banking industry code of practice. The initiative does not seek to replace or diminish existing regulation and will be run out of a separate entity to Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) and the banks. The establishment costs and annual running costs will be funded by the retail banks themselves.

Minister Donohoe stated: ‘In October I made it clear that the banks’ behaviour in relation to tracker mortgages was disgraceful. Following on from the recent publication of the Central Bank’s update on the Tracker Mortgage Examination I welcome this initiative by the current leaders of the banking industry and look forward to receiving more detail when the Chairperson and Board Selection process is formally launched by the 5 CEOs of our main retail banks in early February’.


31st December 2017


Note to editors:

It is envisaged that the core functions of the Board will include:

  • Promoting the highest ethical business standards by leading and overseeing the collective effort to raise banking industry standards;
  • Driving a continuous improvement culture across the Irish banking industry for incumbents and new entrants by requiring participating banks to commit to a programme of improvement under the headings of competence, culture and customer outcomes;
  • Setting standards of best practice by identifying activities where voluntary standards serve the customer and public interest and work with practitioners, regulators, government and other stakeholders to develop any required procedures;
  • Developing a single banking industry code;
  • Provide a best practice advisory role to assist banks in implementing and embedding new codes of conduct;
  • Identify and champion excellence and good banking practice.

The Board will not act as a lobbying or representative organisation. It will not act as a regulatory body nor duplicate the work of individual banks or the regulator.



Deborah Sweeney – Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – 086 858 6878

Aidan Murphy, Press Officer, Department of Finance – 085 886 6667

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., has announced that the Government approved the drafting of the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill at its meeting on 19th December 2017.  

The General Scheme of the Bill arises from recommendation 11 of the report of the Cost of Insurance Working Group, which is chaired by Minister of State Michael D’Arcy and which recommended the establishment of a National Claims Information Database to facilitate a more in-depth annual claims’ trends analysis of motor insurance claims.  This was seen as key to developing an understanding of how claims costs are impacting premiums, in particular understanding the relationship between the price paid by a customer for motor insurance and the cost to insurance undertakings.  A data subgroup, chaired by the Department of Finance, was set up to oversee the development of the Database and the underpinning legislation.  Its membership includes representatives from the Central Bank, the State Claims Agency, Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB), the Central Statistics Office and the Society of Actuaries. 

The General Scheme of the Bill represents a number of months of complex work which has involved numerous meetings of the data sub-group, as well as consultations with industry.  At the same time, the Central Bank has commenced work on developing the technical specification of the database and is consulting with industry on this.  The database is due to be established in 2018, however this will be subject to the Oireachtas agreeing the relevant legislation, once ready.

Welcoming the Government decision approving the drafting of the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill, Minister Donohoe said:

“I am pleased to announce the publication of the General Scheme of the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill.  This represents an important milestone in the implementation of one of the key recommendations of the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance.  It is essential that there is an improvement in transparency around what has caused motor insurance premiums to be so volatile both up and down over relatively short periods of time.  I look forward to having the National Claims Information Database put in place.”   

The Minister of State for Insurance and Financial Services, Michael D’Arcy TD, said:

“I welcome today’s decision by the Government to publish the General Scheme of this Bill, which seeks to provide the necessary legislative basis for the establishment of the National Claims Information Database.  The General Scheme provides a very good basis for the development of this database, which once in place, should provide all interested stakeholders with a clearer view on the factors that shape the cost of motor insurance premiums.  I am confident that the insurance industry will continue to constructively engage with the Department of Finance and the Central Bank during the development phase of the database, in particular with regard to its technical specification, and I look forward to seeing the Database in place.  In the mean-time, the Department of Finance will continue to publish its Key Information Reports, with the next one to be published in the first quarter of 2018.”

A public consultation on the draft Bill will follow in January.


Summary of the proposed Central Bank (National Claims Insurance Database) Bill:

The General Scheme of the Bill provides for the following:

  • The scope of the Database is drafted in such a way as to allow particular non-life classes to be covered as circumstances require. It is proposed to focus in the first instance on private motor insurance;
  • The Central Bank Act 1942 is to be amended to make the establishment and maintenance of the National Claims Information Database a function of the Central Bank of Ireland. This Head also sets out the types of information which may be collected and the areas which the annual report is to address;  
  • The Central Bank of Ireland’s information gathering powers shall be extended to allow it to collect the information required to carry out its analysis and produce its Report. The Central Bank will also have enforcement powers to penalise insurance undertakings who do not provide the mandated information;
  • The costs of the Central Bank in relation to the Bill will be met by levies imposed by the Bank under Section 32D of the Central Bank Act 1942 and/or the Exchequer, in particular where a shortfall may arise; and
  • The Central Bank of Ireland may, on foot of a request, share information received at an aggregate industry level only.



22nd December 2017



Aidan Murphy, Press Officer, Department of Finance – 085 886 6667

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., has signed into law the Credit Union Fund (Stabilisation) Levy regulations on 5 December 2017.

Under the Regulations credit unions will be required to pay a stabilisation levy contribution in 2018. This stabilisation levy is the fourth in a series of annual levies that will be used to build up a Stabilisation Fund for credit unions.  

The introduction of the Stabilisation scheme was one of the recommendations of the Commission on Credit Unions which also recommended that the scheme be funded by mandatory contributions from credit unions         

The target size for the Stabilisation Fund is €30 million to be built up over ten years. The size of the Fund and the length of time it will take to build it up will be reviewed every three years. On the basis of the results of these reviews any necessary adjustments can be made to the target size of the Fund and the number of years in which it should be built up.

The first of these reviews took place in October 2017 prior to the introduction of these Regulations. The outcome of the review was to reduce the rate of the levy (from 0.022% to 0.017%) while still meeting the original target of €30 million over a ten year period due to growth in assets for the sector. The Minister for Finance has committed to a review of the levy again in three years before the introduction of the 2021 levy. Officials from the Department will discuss the terms and conditions with the European Commission. 

Stabilisation support is available to all credit unions with a reserve ratio equal to or greater than 7.5% of the credit union’s total assets and less than 10% and where the Central Bank assesses the credit union as viable. Stabilisation support will be provided to address short-term problems at credit unions that are viable but undercapitalised.

The Stabilisation Scheme will operate in two ways. Where a credit union has total assets less than €100 million, viability is assessed by the Central Bank before the Minister can consider granting stabilisation support. Where a credit union has total assets greater than €100 million, viability is assessed by the Central Bank and European Commission approval has also to be obtained, before the Minister can consider granting stabilisation support.

This support may include the provision of technical and financial advice and the provision of financial support to a credit union.

The Minister has made the regulations under Section 59(3) of the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012. 

The Credit Union Fund (Stabilisation) Levy Regulations, along with a Q&A and the first three year review of the levy carried out in October 2017 are published on the Department of Finance website.


21st December, 2017


Aidan Murphy, Press Officer, Department of Finance – 085 886 6667

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