The European Union Prospectus Amendment Regulations 2018 were signed by the Minister on 3rd August 2018. These Regulations fulfil Ireland’s obligation to transpose the provisions of the Prospectus Regulation (EU Regulation 2017/1129) that come into effect before 2019 into national law.


Note for Editors

A prospectus allows for the provision of information which enables investors to make an informed investment decision, along with rules on the conduct of business and the protection of investors. Europe has a harmonised framework for the preparation and issuance of prospectus as set out in the Prospectus Directive.


Since the Prospectus Directive came into effect in 2003, there has been a number of legislative and market developments which means that our prospectus framework will be updated via the Prospectus Regulation (EU Regulation 2017/1129). The new Regulation will repeal and replace our existing framework in July of next year, but certain provisions came into effect in July of this year which the European Union Prospectus Amendment Regulations 2018 address.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Mr Paschal Donohoe TD, wishes to extend his sympathy to the family and friends of the late Sean Cromien, former Secretary General of the Department of Finance who has died.


The Minister stated that “Sean Cromien was a distinguished public servant who served in the Department of Finance for many years before becoming Secretary General in 1987. He retired from the Department of Finance in 1994 but remained active in public life including being appointed Director of the National Library. A keen naturalist, he also served as President of Dublin Zoo. He was also elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 2006”.



  • An Exchequer deficit of €277 million was recorded to end-July 2018. This compares to a surplus of €3,366 million in the same period last year. The year-on-year dis-improvement in the Exchequer balance is primarily down to the flattering effect on last year’s deficit of the 2017 AIB share sale receipts (worth €3,434 million to the Exchequer).
  • Tax receipts for July met the monthly target, over by just €6 million (0.1%) and saw year on year growth of €279 million or 6.3%.
  • Cumulative tax receipts at end-July were also on profile, up by just 0.6 % (€174 million). In year-on-year terms this represents a 5.5% (€1,555 million) increase when compared to the same period in 2017.
  • Total net voted expenditure to end-July 2018, at €27,602 million, was (0.5%) or €150 million below profile however, up €2,094 million (8.2%) in year-on-year terms.


The Department of Finance is today publishing the Budget 2019 Tax Strategy Group Papers.

The Tax Strategy Group is in place since the early 1990’s and is chaired by the Department of Finance with membership comprising senior officials and political advisers from a number of Civil Service Departments and Offices.

Papers on various options for tax policy changes are prepared annually by Department of Finance officials and all previous papers going back to 2006 are available on the Department’s website. The Tax Strategy Group is not a decision making body and the papers produced by the Department are simply a list of options and issues to be considered in the Budgetary process. Papers relating to PRSI and social welfare issues are also prepared for the Group by the Department of Social Protection.

In line with the Government’s commitment to Budgetary reform including greater engagement with the Oireachtas, the Tax Strategy Group papers are now published in advance of the Budget to facilitate informed discussion.

Budget 2019 Tax Strategy Group Papers.

Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy TD, today (Wednesday) announced the new members of the IFS2020 Industry Advisory Committee (IAC).  IFS2020 is the Government’s Strategy to develop Ireland’s international financial services (IFS) sector which was launched in March 2015.  The new members will be in place for the remainder of the period of IFS2020.

Membership of the Committee is representative of the broad spectrum of financial services subsectors in Ireland including banking, funds, asset management, payments, aviation finance, insurance and FinTech, with additional representation from legal and accountancy firms. The Secretariat to the IAC will be provided by Kevin Thompson, CEO of Insurance Ireland.

The incoming IAC membership is as follows:

  • Olwyn Alexander (PwC)
  • Victoria Brown (Aberdeen Standard Investments)
  • Richard Bryce (Rockall Technology)
  • Gary Conroy (TransferMate)
  • Joe Duffy (BNY Mellon)
  • Aidan Holton (SCOR Re)
  • Derek Kehoe (BNP Paribas)
  • Declan Lynch (Elavon)
  • Ruth McCarthy (Fexco Corporate Payments)
  • Barrie O’Connell (KPMG)
  • Teresa O’Flynn (Blackrock)
  • Roy Parker (McCann Fitzgerald)
  • David Swan (SMBC Aviation Capital)
  • Niamh Sweeney (Facebook)
  • Zdenek Turek (Citigroup)
  • Tadhg Young (State Street)
  • Deirdre O’Connor (International Member)


Strategic Advisory Group

In addition, Minister D’Arcy has established a Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) to assist with the development of a new Strategy for international financial services to succeed IFS2020. This Group is working on proposals to assist in the development of the overall direction of the new Strategy which will be considered at the IFS2020 Q3 Joint Committee. It is envisaged that this will be followed by further consultations with stakeholders and a public consultation process with a view to launching the new Strategy for Ireland’s international financial services sector in 2019.

The members of the Group are as follows:  

  • Minister Michael D’Arcy (Chair)
  • Brian Daly (KPMG)
  • Kieran Donoghue (IDA Ireland)
  • Joe Duffy (BNY Mellon)
  • Rowena Dwyer (Enterprise Ireland)
  • Olivia Hayden (PwC)
  • David Hourihan (SDCL)
  • Michael Jackson (Matheson)
  • Paul Ryan (Department of Finance)
  • Mai Santamaria (Department of Finance)
  • Carl Tannenbaum (Northern Trust)





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


Note to Editors:

More information on the Irish Government’s International Financial Services Strategy 2020 is available here:

  • GDP rose by 7.2 per cent last year while GNP increased by 4.4 per cent.
  • GDP was 9.1 per cent higher year-on-year in the first quarter.
  • The CSO today also published updated estimates of GNI*, which increased by 3% in 2017 and is estimated at €181.2 billion.

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD has welcomed the publication today (Thursday) by the CSO of the definitive national accounts for last year together with estimates for the first quarter of 2018.

Commenting on the figures, Minister Donohoe said: “Today’s figures are very positive showing that the Irish economy grew by 7.2 per cent in GDP terms last year. This confirms that Ireland was the fastest growing economy in the European Union in 2017.”

“Today’s data also provide clear evidence of continued momentum in the economy this year with annual GDP growth of 9.1 per cent recorded in the first quarter. While this is primarily driven by the external sector, private consumption is also making a strong positive contribution up 2.7 per cent on an annual basis.

Notwithstanding the well-known limitations with GDP, it is clear that the economy continues to perform strongly. Full-time employment increased by over 4 per cent in the first quarter of this year, unemployment continues to fall and tax receipts to end-June are up 5.4 per cent over the same period last year.”

The CSO has today also made a number of further methodological changes to GNI* which result in a reduction in the level of this indicator in all years. GNI* increased by 3 per cent last year in nominal terms and is estimated at €181.2 billion. As a result, the debt to GNI* ratio was 111 per cent last year, this compares with an initial estimate of 100 per cent.

Minister Donohoe continued: “The still elevated levels of debt in the Irish economy and the increasingly challenging external environment highlights the importance of the Government’s strategy of implementing prudent budgetary policies designed to further improve the resilience of the economy. That is what the Summer Economic Statement sets out and what the Government will continue to do.”


Thursday 19th July 2018


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

Minister Donohoe welcomes progress in establishing the Irish Banking Culture Board 

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Tuesday) met CEOs and executives from the five retail banks in Ireland* to discuss their progress in establishing a new Banking Standards Board.

The banks informed the Minister that the review and design phase for the new entity, which will now be called “The Irish Banking Culture Board” (IBCB) has now been completed. The Board will be an independently led entity to ensure that the industry is focused on the best interests of the customer and leads to a sustainable banking industry that promotes the highest standards of behaviour and professionalism.

The establishment of the Board was an initiative from the banking industry in Ireland aimed at rebuilding trust and confidence in the industry following the tracker mortgage scandal. It was first announced in December 2017 and the establishment costs and annual running costs will be funded by the retail banks themselves.

Key principles of the new entity will include:

  • It will be about standards and principles rather than rules
  • A focus on behaviour, ethics and culture
  • It will partner and complement existing structures and bodies such as the Institute of Bankers
  • It will be an advocate for the interests of bank customers and a sustainable industry

The banks also updated the Minister on what will happen over the next 6-12 months. This includes the search for an independent Chairperson that will conclude in Q4, the appointment of the wider Board, an initial culture survey intended to provide a base line assessment and a stakeholder consultation process.

Commenting on the meeting the Minister said: ‘I welcome the progress that has been made in establishing the Board in recent months and I note the planned change in name for the organisation to the Irish Banking Culture Board. This recognises that the journey our banks are on is about more than standards and is about the culture that we all want in place across our banks in this country. I look forward to further engagement with the industry and the future Chairperson of the Board in due course’.


*Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, KBC, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank

17 July, 2018

Thursday, 12th July 2018


Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Mr. Michael D’Arcy T.D. today (Thursday) welcomed the passage of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill 2016 by Dáil Éireann. The Bill amends the investment mandate of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to both prevent it investing in, and requires it to divest from, fossil fuel undertakings.

Minister D’Arcy said “Passing this Bill is a real achievement and I commend Deputy Pringle for his initiative in sponsoring the Bill. I’d like to thank him for his considered and collaborative approach, and for his willingness to work with the Government to develop challenging yet workable proposals to ensure that the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund avoids investment exposure to fossil fuels, and divests from excessive exposure to them. The outcome of the extensive engagement between Deputy Pringle and my officials, in consultation with the ISIF, means that this Bill could be suitably amended and progressed through the Dail, where it was passed today.”

Commenting on the effects of the Bill, Minister D’Arcy said “Ireland is taking the opportunity to show real global leadership in a move away from fossil-fuel investment dependency. The real effects of the Bill will be felt if other countries follow Ireland’s lead in sufficient numbers – this will help drive demand for low-fossil-fuel investments at a global level and potentially stimulate investment in renewable and sustainable alternatives.”


Aidan Murphy, Press Officer, Department of Finance – +35385 886 6667

Notes to Editors:

In brief, the revised investment mandate will:

  • require the NTMA, as custodians of ISIF, to endeavour to ensure that it does not directly invest in a fossil fuel undertaking, and to divest from an investment which is or becomes a fossil fuel undertaking;
  • require the NTMA to endeavour to ensure that it does not hold assets of the Fund in an indirect investment unless it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the indirect investment is unlikely to have more than 15% of its assets invested in a fossil fuel undertaking. Provision is also made that the Minister may by order prescribe a lower percentage threshold;
  • provide an exemption from the rules set out in respect of both direct and indirect investments, where the NTMA has satisfied itself that the investment is intended to be consistent with the national transition objective, implementation of the State’s climate change obligations, and Government policy in relation to climate change. The NTMA will be obliged to allude to the fact that the exemption is being used when announcing the fact of the investment concerned.

12th July 2018


Minister D’Arcy welcomes publication of the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill 2018


The Minister for Financial Services and Insurance Michael D’Arcy T.D. has today (Thursday) welcomed the publication by Government of the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill.  The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe T.D. brought the Bill to Cabinet on 5th July 2018. 

The Bill arises from recommendation 11 of the first report of the Cost of Insurance Working Group, which is chaired by Minister D’Arcy. It recommended the establishment of a National Claims Information Database to facilitate a more in-depth analysis of annual claims’ trends 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 published Bill represents 18 months of complex work which has involved numerous meetings of the data subgroup, as well as consultations with industry and stakeholders.  In parallel with the development of the Bill, the Central Bank has been working on developing the technical specifications of the database, and is close to finalisation of this process.  The database will be established in 2019, subject to the Oireachtas agreeing the legislation.  It is expected also that the first report of the Central Bank under the legislation will issue in 2019.

Welcoming the publication of the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill, Minister D’Arcy said:

“I am pleased to announce the publication of the Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill 2018.  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 believe that in particular, the identification of settlement channel information should lead to a greater consistency in award levels and a greater use of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. This in turn should lead to a more stable claims environment, which should have positive impacts for the price of insurance paid by consumers.  I look forward to having the National Claims Information Database put in place next year.”  




Deborah Sweeney – Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – 086 858 6878
Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – 085 886 6667

Thursday 5th July 2018


Minister Donohoe to refocus the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to better meet the needs of a strong & growing economy


The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., today (Thursday) announced that the Government will refocus the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) on key Government priorities to ensure that the needs of the Irish economy, which is experiencing strong growth, are being met. This takes account of the risks that may be posed by economic overheating and the appropriateness of ISIF’s investment mandate given our current economic performance. Priorities include the delivery of Project Ireland 2040, supporting housing delivery, and enhancing the resilience of our economy and public finances.


In making this decision, the Government also took account of the wider challenges facing the State, including: Brexit, the nominal level of public debt, national competitiveness, global economic uncertainties and geopolitical risks.  The reallocation and refocussing of ISIF’s funds will better target Government interventions in addressing these challenges, ensuring we are better prepared for what lies ahead. 


Minister Donohoe has recommended that the ISIF should move from a broad investment strategy that is focused on all sectors, to a focus on the priorities that will support Project Ireland 2040 and have a more direct and positive impact on the economy’s long-term growth potential.  These priorities include key sustainable economic challenges, such as investments that support:

  • Indigenous industry;
  • Regional development;
  • Sectors adversely affected by Brexit;
  • Projects to address climate change; and
  • Housing supply.


On this basis, the Government has decided to refocus ISIF funds along the following lines:

  • The reallocations of the ISIF funds will be made through legislation going through the Oireachtas, including the legislation establishing Home Building Finance Ireland and the Rainy Day Fund. 
  • The Minister for Finance will be writing to the Chief Executive of the NTMA to inform him of the Government’s decision to request that ISIF develops a refocused investment plan, which ISIF will now develop. 
  • The Minister’s officials have already held discussions with ISIF so as to allow it to begin preparatory work on the refocused investment strategy.


Speaking about the decision to refocus ISIF funds, Minister Donohoe stated: “I welcome today’s Government’s decision to reallocate Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) resources to address the key challenges that our State faces.  ISIF’s refocused investment strategy will support the delivery of Project Ireland 2040 through investments in indigenous industry, the regions and sectors affected by Brexit.  As previously stated, €1.5 billion of ISIF funds are being allocated to the Rainy Day Fund with an additional €750 million going to the Home Building Ireland Finance initiative, which will better prepare us to meet future downturns that may lie ahead, and to help us to meet the needs of our citizens.” 


Background to Government decision

The Government decision on ISIF is based on the statutory review of ISIF’s investment strategy as required under section 40 of the National Treasury Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2014, and also detailed analysis of the State’s economic and fiscal position by the Department of Finance, and the key challenges now facing the State. 


The review of ISIF concluded that ISIF is meeting its statutory objectives of economic impact and a commercial return, and ISIF has leveraged higher levels of investment in the Irish economy than initially forecasted.  However, the review also flagged the need for further consideration of the appropriateness of ISIF’s investment mandate given the current performance of the Irish economy and the wider challenges to the State.  The Government and the Minister are particularly aware of the risks posed by economic overheating, for which the Government has adopted a broadly neutral Exchequer fiscal strategy. 


Deborah Sweeney – Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – 086 858 6878
Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – 085 886 6667

Wednesday 4th July 2018

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, T.D., and the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, T.D.,  today (Wednesday) announce the publication of a report on Local Public Banking in Ireland. This Report fulfils a commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government.

A proposal for a system of local public banking in Ireland was presented by Irish Rural Link and the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC), the international development wing of the Sparkassen group. A detailed analysis of this proposal was undertaken by Government.

A public consultation process was undertaken by the two Departments, from 2nd March to 29th March 2017, where interested parties were given the opportunity to make their views known.

The Report concludes that there is not a compelling case for the State to establish a new local public banking system. The cost to the Exchequer for the proposed new model is estimated at a minimum of €170m. The assumptions in the proposal based on costs, interest rates and loan attrition rates, appear challenging and the suggested locations in the proposed pilot in the Midlands would overlap with existing banks, credit unions and post offices. While the report concludes that there is not a compelling case for the State to establish a new local public banking system, alternative means of establishing local public banks may have the potential to bring additional competition to the financial services market and the Government is committed to examining this.

There is of course also no impediment to any interested parties separately pursuing the establishment of a system of local public banks in a manner that does not involve Exchequer funding. Indeed, the Government is fully supportive of increased competition in the banking sector and it encourages any potential new market entrants to engage with the Central Bank of Ireland and the Department of Finance on this matter.

The Government recognises the positives in the concept of local public banking in terms of increasing access to finance for SMEs and supporting local communities and has committed to commissioning an independent external evaluation of other possible ways in which the public banking concept could be promoted in Ireland. The Government is also committed to engaging with interested parties, such as Irish Rural Link, further on this by way of a stakeholder forum, the details of which will be announced in due course. The Government is fully committed to supporting SMEs and regional and rural development.

In relation to the findings of the Report Minister Donohoe stated, that: ‘Following considerable analysis and careful consideration of the proposal on local public banking, the decision has been taken not to pursue this option. However, given the positive aspects of the concept of public banking, I have decided to commission further work in this area by means of an external, independent evaluation looking at how this concept could be promoted in Ireland. The Government has already put in place a number of policy measures to support access to finance by Irish SMEs. These include the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, the Supporting SMEs Online Tool, the Microenterprise Loan Fund, Local Enterprise Offices, the Credit Review Office and the Credit and Counter Guarantee Schemes. Additionally, the report highlights the positive contribution of An Post and credit unions to the Irish banking environment, especially in rural and regional areas. Supporting rural and regional development and enabling Irish SMEs to create employment and to contribute to economic growth remains an important Government priority.”

Minister Ring said: ‘Local public banks are well-established in many countries and provide a real alternative to banks. The Government is committed to examining the concept of local public banks being promoted in a bid to provide additional competition in the financial services market. I welcome the commitment by Minister Donohoe to commission an independent evaluation of how this could happen, as there may be alternative routes for public banking to become established in Ireland. I would like to thank all who contributed to this Report and in particular to Irish Rural Link for their ongoing efforts in promoting local public banking’.

Responding to the announcement regarding publication of the Report on local public banking, Debbie Byrne, the Managing Director of An Post (Retail) said: ‘An Post proudly delivers quality financial services to local communities through Ireland’s largest retail network with more than 1,000 offices providing local banking services in the community. An Post is expanding its range of financial services and early in 2019 will have comprehensive and competitive personal loan and credit card offerings for consumers. The company is also currently exploring a go-to-market strategy for SME loans and has been in discussion with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and other providers to explore how to satisfy the unmet demands of this sector. A strategic link with the Local Enterprise Boards will further help facilitate a broad proposition for SMEs and An Post is working with other Government agencies and departments to see how post offices can become an advice hub for local SMEs’.

“Our commitment to rural Ireland is that all communities with over 500 people will have a post office; in rural areas, 95% of the population will be within 15km of at least one post office, while in urban areas, 95% of the population will be within 3km of at least one post office. We look forward to working with the Government to fulfil the obvious demand for further financial and banking services for retail customers and SMEs nationwide into the future.”

Ed Farrell, CEO of the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), stated that: ‘The Irish league of Credit Unions welcomes this report which rightly states that ‘credit unions are seeking to play an increasing role in the Irish retail financial landscape’. The future we envisage is providing home loans for families, credit for small business/agri-sector, current accounts and micro-credit to compliment the range of savings and loans services currently offered. Our agenda is set out in our summary paper Six Strategic Steps and developed in detailed documents on investing in social housing and lending to SMEs. We look forward to working with the Government to realise a shared vision for communities locally, where local credit unions across the country are already present, strong and trusted’.

The CEO of the Credit Union Development Association (CUDA), Kevin Johnson, in response to the announcement of the publication of the Report on Local Public Banking also said: ‘We believe credit unions can be at the financial heart of our indigenous economy and create a platform for rural revival, and indeed urban stimulation. With 263 credit unions and €9 billion currently available to lend, credit unions are very well positioned to deliver this service. We believe that credit unions have the lending capacity, and through the Solution Centre, are developing the expertise to take an enhanced role in relation to lending to SMEs. Credit unions are already engaged, to a degree, with small businesses, however, we see them doing much more while continuing to meet the needs of individuals, their families and their communities. CUDA has taken a leadership role in advocating the changes that are essential for credit unions to deliver to local consumers and businesses.  Through the Solution Centre, we have also implemented new products, processes and systems that will deliver the benefits that the advocates for public community banking are seeking’.



  • The Sparkassen model is where the State, or another public body, has ownership of a bank or other financial institution, as opposed to private ownership. In Germany, local public banks are called Sparkassen. Sparkassen are only permitted to operate in specific geographic regions and their lending activities are confined to this particular area. The aim and philosophy of Sparkassen is not just profit maximization but promoting and encouraging regional economic development and financial inclusion.  An important part of this business model is also working closely and building relationships with local small and medium sized enterprises.
  • There is no impediment to Irish Rural Link and SBFIC engaging with the Central Bank of Ireland, the credit union sector, An Post or any other private sector body or investor in relation to their proposal. It is open to them to progress their proposal on this basis in a manner that does not involve State funding.
  • The Department of Finance is continuing to work with other Government departments to develop tailored and innovative policy initiatives that support the ongoing and evolving needs of Irish SMEs and rural economic development, such as the Agricultural Cashflow Support Loan Scheme and the Brexit Loan Scheme, announced in Budgets 2017 and 2018 respectively.
  • The Department will also continue to consider whether existing or new policy measures and initiatives could better serve the needs of Irish SMEs, including rural and regional businesses, and retail customers generally. Additional developments and emerging trends, such as FinTech will be kept under review for their potential to develop initiatives that could deliver credit in a more effective and less costly manner.
  • It is important also that SMEs are aware of the range of financial and non-financial supports available from the Government and its agencies and in this context, work is being undertaken, and will continue to increase SMEs’ awareness of these supports, including for those in rural areas.

Deborah Sweeney – Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – 086 858 6878
Daniel Rowan – Press Adviser to Minister Ring – 087 617 7320

  • Exchequer deficit of €823 million. This compares to a surplus of €2,485 million in the same period last year. When adjusted for the impact of the AIB share sale in June 2017, the Exchequer balance shows an underlying annual decrease of €323 million.
  • This decline in the Exchequer balance was primarily due to increases in investment in infrastructure and public services and was somewhat offset by increased tax revenue.
  • Tax revenues of €24,941 million were broadly on profile (up 0.7%) and up 5.4% (€1,276 million) year-on-year.
  • Total Gross voted expenditure of €29,519 million to end-June was €107 million was marginally below profile (0.4%) and up €2,075 million (7.6%) on the same period in 2017.    

The following statement on the end-June (Q2) 2018 Exchequer Returns was issued today (Tuesday) by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe, T.D. who said: ‘I welcome today’s Exchequer returns for Q2, and cumulatively for the first half of 2018, which represents solid performance underpinned by an improving economy. This in turn translates into strong revenues which are funding the delivery of our public services and investment in key infrastructure. Today’s figures provide a basis for the achievement of Budget day tax forecasts by year-end’.

“Tax revenues have performed robustly and at €24.9 billion represent a 5.4 per cent year-on-year increase, which is slightly ahead of expectations. Reflecting our broadly-based recovery, most tax headings have recorded annual growth.

“On the spending side, gross voted expenditure at €29.5 billion is up 7.6 per cent reflecting the Government’s commitment to delivering services and infrastructure that meet critical social and economic challenges. This outturn provides a good platform for the remainder of the year. 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 the continuation of competitiveness-oriented policies”.

Fiscal_Monitor_June 2018

End-June 2018 Exchequer Returns Presentation

Press Release

Transposition of the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD)

29 June 2018 


The European Union (Insurance Distribution) Regulations 2018 were signed by the Minister on 27 June 2018. This fulfils Ireland’s requirement to transpose the Insurance Distribution Directive, or “IDD” into national law ahead of the transposition deadline of 1 July 2018. 

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Mr Paschal Donohoe T.D., welcomed the transposition of IDD into national law. The Minister said: “The Insurance Distribution Directive regulates the way insurance products are sold in the EU. This transposition of IDD into national law updates existing law and will enhance the protection for consumers and retail investors buying insurance products in Ireland”.


The Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Mr. Michael D’Arcy T.D., also welcomed the transposition of the Directive stating that “The Insurance Distribution Directive, will benefit consumers and retail investors buying insurance products through greater transparency in the price and costs of insurance products. It is anticipated that the revised rules will lead to expanded business opportunities for insurance distributors, including greater options for cross-border sales.”




Note for Editors

The Insurance Distribution Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/97), or “IDD”, establishes requirements in respect of insurance and reinsurance distribution in the EU.

IDD entered into force in February 2016 and must be transposed into Irish law by 1 July 2018. Insurance distributors must comply with the provisions of the Directive from 1 October 2018. IDD replaces the Insurance Mediation Directive which currently regulates point of sale insurance products and has been in place since 2005. IDD aims to further enhance consumer protection and ensure a level playing field by extending the scope of the directive to include all sales of insurance products. IDD seeks to identify and mitigate conflicts of interest in particular in the area of commissions, and strengthen administrative sanctions. 


Deborah Sweeney – Press Adviser to Minister Donohoe – 086 858 6878
Aidan Murphy – Press Officer, Department of Finance – 085 886 6667

Article IV report mirrors Summer Economic Statement to signal broadening of tax base, establishment of Rainy Day Fund and avoidance of over-reliance on corporation tax as good policy decisions

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., today (Thursday) welcomed the publication by the International Monetary Fund of its regular review of the Irish economy, the Article IV report.

  • The Article IV report is a strategic review of the Irish economy and Government policies. The report sets out the views of IMF staff on the current position of the economy and its medium-to-long term prospects, medium-term fiscal policy, as well as financial and banking policy. This year’s report recognises Ireland’s continued strong economic growth, leading to a rapid reduction in unemployment and strengthened public and private balance sheets.
  • IMF staff note that Ireland’s economy continues to grow at a pace well above the EU average and is approaching full employment. They also noted that banks have continued to improve their resilience to shocks. The report outlines that the outlook is expected to remain favourable, although significant external risks, in particular Brexit and an escalation in global protectionism, will pose challenges.

Commenting on the publication of the report by, Minister Donohoe said: ‘I welcome today’s publication by the IMF, which affirms the exceptional recovery of the Irish economy. Earlier this week, in my discussions with the IMF Managing Director, Mme Lagarde, I had the opportunity to thank her for the valuable external and expert contribution such reports provide to Government policymaking. These reports leverage the IMFs extensive expertise to provide an insightful and independent commentary on our readiness to meet future challenges’.

“I am pleased to see that this report concurs with our own assessment of the Irish economy in many areas. Indeed it echoes many of the messages that were articulated in the recently published Summer Economic Statement, in particular our policies to bolster Ireland’s resilience and to rebuild our fiscal buffers in the current climate. In this regard, the report supports the Government’s focus on measures such as maintaining moderate, incremental and sustainable expenditure growth, broadening the tax base, establishing a Rainy Day Fund and safe-guarding against reliance on historically high levels of corporation tax.

“As a nation we can be proud of the strength of the economic turnaround that the report acknowledges we have achieved. However, we must be vigilant to ensure we continue to benefit from the strong growth and low unemployment that our hard work is delivering. Crisis legacy issues will continue to be addressed, we will guard against the mistakes of the past and focus on policy choices that best prepare us for the risks to the economy that may present, while delivering enhanced resilience and fostering sustainable growth for all of our people.”


Notes for Editors

During an Article IV consultation, an IMF team of economists visits a country to discuss the country’s economic and financial policies with government and central bank officials, as well as with a range of public and private sector stakeholders. The team reports its findings to IMF management and then presents them for discussion to the Executive Board, which represents all of the IMF’s member countries. A summary of the Board’s views is subsequently transmitted to the country’s government. In this way, the IMF aims to ensure that the views of the global community and the lessons of international experience are brought to bear on national policies. Summaries of most discussions are released in press releases and are posted on the IMF’s web site, as are most of the country reports prepared by the staff.

The Article IV process is a requirement for all members of the Fund and takes place on a periodic, usually annual, basis. It is a long-standing element of Ireland’s regular engagement with the IMF. The Article IV process is strategic in its focus and considers medium to longer-term policy issues. This year’s review took place from 3-14 May.

The IMF Article IV consultation involved a small team of IMF staff visiting Ireland for a two-week period of consultation during which they met the Minister for Finance and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD. The IMF team also met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Philip Lane, and a broad range of public and private sector bodies.


28 June, 2018

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D., has today announced that the Government has approved the publication of the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2018.

The purpose of the Bill is to repeal and replace certain provisions of the Insurance Act 1964, as amended, to clarify the role of the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) and to implement the recommendations of the Review of the Framework for Motor Insurance Compensation in Ireland Report (2016);  The Bill also provides for the retrospective  compensation of 100% of third-party claims in respect of Setanta and Enterprise who are currently under liquidation, which was outside the scope of the 2016 review.

The Bill, when enacted, will increase the level of insurance compensation fund coverage for all future third party motor claims from its current 65% level to 100%[1] in order to bring it into line with the compensation levels paid out by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland (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. This fund will be held and managed by the MIBI.  The Bill also provides for the transfer of the administration of the ICF from the Accountant of the Courts of Justice to the Central Bank of Ireland, as well as a more formal role for the State Claims Agency in the event of a failure of an insurance company.

Welcoming the Government decision approving the publication of the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2018, Minister Donohoe said:

“I am pleased to announce the publication of the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2018.  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. In January this year, I announced my decision that the State will ensure that Setanta and Enterprise third party claimants are compensated in full.  Once enacted, the Bill will allow for the payment of 100% of the compensation due to these third party motor insurance claimants including the additional 35% to those who have settled their claims and have already received compensation of 65% of their claim subject to the limit outlined previously. I hope that my decision and the publication of this Bill will continue to facilitate and accelerate the settlement of those claims which are outstanding.

The Bill will therefore provide greater certainty for both consumers and industry, regarding the insurance compensation framework in Ireland”

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

“A key focus of the Government is on addressing the difference in compensation levels for third party motor insurance claimants between cases of insurer insolvency and the amounts paid by the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland to those involved in collisions with an uninsured driver.  I welcome this Bill which aims to maintain confidence in the motor insurance system in Ireland.”



Insurance Amendment Bill

Insurance Amendment Bill RIA



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


Notes to Editors:

Summary of the proposed Insurance (Amendment) Bill:

(a)  to increase the level of insurance compensation fund coverage for all future third party motor claims  from 65%  to 100% for personal injuries and to €1,220,000  per claim for property, regardless of the number of claimants, in order to bring it into line with the compensation levels paid out by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland (MIBI);

(b)  to require that the increased coverage of the ICF be funded by a contribution from the motor insurance industry to cover this extra 35%;

(c)   to provide a legal basis for motor insurers operating in the Irish market to contribute an amount equivalent to 2% of gross written motor premiums to an ex-ante fund to be held by MIBI in order to build up a fund to enable industry meet its 35% commitment should a motor insurer be liquidated in the future;

(d)  to provide that where there is a shortfall in the industry ex-ante fund that the ICF act as a backstop and covers the amount outstanding. In such a situation, it is proposed that industry increase their contribution to their fund to an amount equivalent to 3% of gross written motor insurance premiums in order that the Exchequer is repaid as quickly as possible;

(e)  to provide for the transfer of the administration of the ICF from the Accountant of the Courts of Justice to the Central Bank of Ireland;

(f)   to provide for a more formal role for the State Claims Agency in the event of a failure of an insurance company resulting in a draw on the ICF;

(g)  to amend the time limit for making applications to the High Court for payments from the ICF from once in any 6 month period to once in any 3 month period, to allow payments to be made more frequently.





The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, updated Cabinet this week in relation to the terms of reference for the Government’s planned review of bank remuneration policy.


Minister Donohoe said: ‘Government policy on banking remuneration has remained unchanged since the financial crisis and impacts c.23,000 staff across AIB, Bank of Ireland and PTSB. I indicated recently in light of changes in the economy and the potential impact of Brexit on the financial sector, my intention to carry out a review of banking remuneration policy to determine if it remains fit for purpose. I am therefore today outlining the terms of reference for the review which will be carried out by my Department with the assistance of an external consultancy firm which will be appointed shortly. I expect to complete the review towards the end of this year.’ 


The review is not limited to but will include an analysis of current bank senior executive compensation arrangements in AIB, Bank of Ireland & Ptsb with a comparison against both those in the Irish market and an appropriately selected European peer group and will, where appropriate, include relevant benchmarking analysis in terms of compensation quantum and composition.


There will also be a review of general compensation arrangements across junior and middle ranks in the retail and commercial banking sector in Ireland with a focus on the structure and composition of compensation there.




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

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


 Notes to editors


A consultant will be appointed following the completion of a mini competition run by the Shareholding and Financial Advisory Division (SFAD) of the Department of Finance. Prospective tenderers will be drawn from the Department’s Advisory Panel (Panel Two) which was constituted via open procurement in October 2014.


The restrictions on bankers pay are far-reaching and include all forms of variable pay and impact c. 23,000 staff across the three banks in which the State has a shareholding.



2,238,000 people now at work in Ireland


  • Employment in the first quarter of this year was 62,100 (2.9 per cent) higher than the same period last year
  • After adjusting for seasonal factors, the level of employment is now at its highest level ever
  • The increase in employment remains broad based – with annual gains across most sectors and regions
  • Unemployment continues to fall, with the unemployment rate declining to 5.3 per cent in May

The Government has today (Wednesday) welcomed the Labour Force Survey (LFS) data from the Central Statistics Office, which shows continued strong momentum in the labour market with robust jobs growth.

Welcoming the figures, the Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe said: ‘Today’s seasonally adjusted figures show that there are now more people at work than ever before, with 62,100 additional jobs created over the year to the first quarter of 2018. The total number of people at work in Ireland now stands at 2,238,000’.

“We have now seen 23 consecutive quarters of employment growth.  Crucially, this growth remains broad-based with annual gains recorded in most sectors and regions. In parallel, unemployment continues to fall, with the unemployment rate reaching 5.3 per cent in May.  Encouragingly, we are also seeing declines in long-term unemployment – now at 2.1 per cent – and the youth unemployment rate – to 12.5 per cent.

“The labour market is the best barometer of how the economy is performing and today’s figures are very encouraging.  We now have 2¼ million people in work in Ireland and the unemployment rate is at its lowest since the beginning of 2008.

“Our main objective is to maintain and, indeed, to build on this momentum and the Government is committed to ensuring the positive trends in the labour market are maintained.  We will continue to implement active labour policies and work to safeguard the gains in competitiveness made in recent years.

“With employment at its highest level ever and the economy approaching full-employment we must also be wary of possible capacity constraints in some sectors which could lead to overheating in the economy.  As such, the Government is mindful that budgetary policy is not pro-cyclical.  This is the main message that is set out in the Summer Economic Statement which the Government published yesterday.”

The Minister of State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, with Special Responsibility for Training and Skills, John Halligan TD said: ‘I’m particularly delighted to see such strong, sustained regional jobs growth. A key target of the Action Plan for Jobs is to support the creation of 200,000 new jobs by 2020, 135,000 of which are outside of Dublin and it is great to see that growth in our economy is benefiting every part of Ireland. Balanced regional development is a key driver of Ireland’s national growth and the creation of employment.”





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

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


Notes to Editors:

  • The figures for employment take account of seasonal factors – which is the appropriate way to measure the level of employment.
  • The largest employment increases in the first quarter (in annual terms) were in construction (+12,400), public administration and defence (+9,800), education (+9,200), administrative and social support services (+9,200) and accommodation and food (+8,400)
  • Peak youth unemployment rate was 33.4% in 2012
  • Peak long-term unemployment rate was 9.8% in 2012.

Photos released by Robbie Reynolds



Government plans to further reduce deficit to 0.1 per cent of GDP next year with Budget Day package of €3.4bn to accommodate target


The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., today (Tuesday) published the Government’s Summer Economic Statement (SES).  The SES forms a key element of the reformed budgetary process by providing a policy background for the discussions in the Dáil and, subsequently, at the National Economic Dialogue on 27th and 28th June. 


The SES 2018 sets out that:

  • The Government is targeting a deficit of 0.1 per cent of GDP next year, or better;
  • This would accommodate a budgetary package of €3.4 billion;
  • €2.6 billion has already been pre-committed to expenditure measures as outlined in the Stability Programme Update;
  • This leaves €0.8 billion for further allocation in Budget 2019;
  • Any unfunded taxation or expenditure measures that go beyond this would involve more borrowing and result in a subsequent deterioration in the deficit position;
  • Furthermore, using all the available ‘fiscal space’ – would allow the allocation of an additional €0.9 billion in Budget 2019.
  • However, this would increase the deficit by an additional 0.3 per cent of GDP and would represent the wrong choice for the economy at this stage of the cycle. It would also mean that we would miss our Medium Term Objective (MTO) target for 2019 and that Ireland would be in breach of the fiscal rules;
  • Budgetary policy will instead be framed to reduce borrowing, rebuild our fiscal buffers and support steady, sustainable increases in living standards to ensure we are protected into the future.


Speaking at the launch of the SES, Minister Donohoe said: ‘Our economy is in good shape at the moment and this is reflected in the labour market.  The level of employment is close to its highest level ever and we are approaching what could reasonably be called ‘full employment’.  This is a welcome development but as capacity constraints are increasingly becoming a feature of some sectors this, in turn, could lead to overheating of the economy.  In this context, it is vital that Government policy does not add fuel to the fire but that we make sensible and prudent decisions now to secure our hard-won gains and ensure the continuation of sustainable future growth.


“While the economic situation is relatively healthy at present, it is clear that the external environment is also becoming increasingly challenging. A crucial policy response is to build up our capacity to respond to these challenges.  This is why the Government is prioritising reducing public debt, further working down the deficit, establishing a Rainy Day Fund and avoiding pro-cyclical budgetary policies. While there are risks ahead there are also opportunities; our goal is to position our economy to minimise these risks and to maximise the opportunities that lie ahead.  The objective is to ensure the progressive and steady improvement of living standards and the further improvement in public services, along with continued incremental and sustainable investment in the future to ensure the delivery of lasting prosperity for all of our people.”





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

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

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Micheal Creed T.D., and the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure, Paschal Donohoe T.D., today announced progress made on agri-taxation policy issues. The ‘Agri-taxation Review’, a joint initiative between the two Departments, put in place a comprehensive taxation strategy for the sector with specific policy objectives to increase the mobility and the productive use of land; assist succession; and complement wider agriculture policies such as environmental sustainability.


Both Ministers today confirmed that following consultation with the EU Commission on State Aid clearance, a commencement order will be signed for the Stamp Duty relief for farm consolidation, which was contained in Finance Act 2017.


In addition, administrative arrangements have now been finalised to allow commencement of the Stamp Duty relief for long-term leases.


Minister Creed stated, “I am pleased that the commencement of the consolidation relief completes the package of measures I agreed with Minister Donohoe following the increase of the general stamp duty rate in the last Budget. Consolidation Relief is important environmentally and economically for farmers seeking to consolidate fragmented holdings”.


He added, “I am also pleased that we can introduce the Stamp Duty Relief for long-term leases, which is part of a package of measures promoting long-term leasing and increases the mobility and the productive use of farmland. This is especially important for young farmers and those seeking to increase the productivity of their farm”.


Minister Donohoe stated, “I am pleased to commence these two measures, involving a Stamp Duty relief for farm consolidation and a Stamp Duty relief for long-term leases. The agricultural sector and the wider rural economy are vital to the success and well-being of our country. Both of these measures should work to support sustainable rural development, vibrant and sustainable communities and promote the productive use of farmland”.


The Stamp Duty relief for long-term leases will commence on 1 July and the Stamp Duty relief for farm consolidation will commence on 1 August.



Stamp Duty Relief for farm consolidation allows for a 1% rate of stamp duty (as opposed to the general rate of 6%) where the land transactions qualify for a “Farm Restructuring Certificate” for the purposes of Capital Gains Tax Relief on Farm Restructuring. It will apply in relation to instruments conveying or transferring agricultural land that are executed on or after 1 January 2018 and on or before 31 December 2020.  Where there is a purchase and sale of land within 24 months of each other that satisfy the conditions of consolidation, then stamp duty will only be paid to the extent that the value of the land that is purchased exceeds the value of the land that is sold. In addition both the purchase and sale must occur between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2020.  In such a situation stamp duty will only apply at the rate of 1% on the excess. The main conditions for the relief are:


  1. There must be a valid consolidation certificate issued by Teagasc in relation to the purchase and sale of land, occurring within 24 months of each other. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the marine has made the necessary guidelines detailing how applications for consolidation certificates are to be made to Teagasc under capital gains tax and also setting out, amongst other things, the conditions of consolidation.
  2. The purchaser or purchasers must retain ownership of the land for a period of five years.
  3. The conveyance must contain a certificate stating that the purchaser is entitled to the relief
  4. A clawback of the relief will apply where the land or part of the land purchased is disposed of or partly disposed of before the end of the 5 year holding period. Such a clawback will not occur where the land purchased is compulsorily acquired.


More information is available at:


The Revenue Commissioners have advised that it is not possible to claim the relief prior to the commencement order being issued. However, once commenced, the relief will be available where the conditions above are met and the purchase and sale occurs on or after 1 January 2018 and on or before 31 December 2020.


Stamp Duty Relief for long-term leases is a full relief on Stamp Duty payable on long-term leases of farmland and was a recommendation of the Agri-Taxation Review. The delay in commencing this measure was due to finalising administrative arrangements for collecting EU State Aid data, which necessitated legislative change.




Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, received Cabinet approval on Tuesday for the publication, in the coming days, of the Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) Bill 2018. This will give effect to the measures announced in October as part of Budget 2018 for the establishment of a new body; the purpose of which is to increase the supply of financing for residential developments within the State. Minister Donohoe was joined today by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD, in making the announcement.

HBFI will receive funding of up to €750 million from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) from which it will lend, on commercial terms, to developers who may be experiencing difficulty obtaining adequate funding for commercially viable residential projects. With this funding it is estimated that HBFI could have capacity to fund in the region of 6,000 homes in the coming years, making a significant contribution to addressing the current shortfall in residential supply in the market.

Passage of the legislation is a priority for the Government and the Bill will now commence through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Minister Donohoe stated ‘I welcome the publication of the Home Building Finance Ireland Bill as a measure to increase financing for much needed residential developments. Not only will HBFI contribute to addressing the current shortfall in the supply of new housing, but it has the potential to benefit small to medium-sized developers with viable sites in locations that are currently not receiving adequate investment’.

“HBFI will be funded through €750 million, which is being made available by Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which is managed and controlled by the NTMA. It will be established as a temporary measure to address a shortage of funding in the market and its continued operation will be reviewed regularly. It is envisaged that HBFI will commence lending activity by the end of 2018, with the capacity to have a significant impact on residential market property development across the coming years.”

Minister Murphy, added: ‘HBFI will play an important part of the Government’s overall strategy to increase the supply of new housing within the State.  Together with the action plan laid out in Rebuilding Ireland, I am confident that HBFI will help provide a further impetus for the continued increase in home building across the country’.


Thursday 14 June, 2018


Notes to editors

  • HBFI is being established to increase the availability of debt funding on market terms to commercially viable residential development projects in the State. The lack of such finance has been identified as a key contributory factors to the shortfall in residential supply. Increased access to debt funding will broaden the availability of credit generally and particularly for viable projects which are not currently the focus for the main banks or alternative lenders operating in the market.
  • HBFI will be established as a private company formed under the Companies Act 2014 with shares held by the Minister. HBFI will be governed by its own board of directors and, similar to NAMA and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), HBFI will be provided with staff and support systems from the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) on the basis of a management agreement.
  • HBFI will be funded through €750 million, which is being made available by Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which is managed and controlled by the NTMA.
  • HBFI lending will be on commercial, market-equivalent terms and conditions. The exact terms of lending will depend on the risk profile of each project, the quality of collateral and the creditworthiness of the borrower.
  • This lending will be regularly benchmarked to the market to ensure that HBFI is lending on market equivalent terms. It is essential that HBFI’s undertakes lending on such terms in order to ensure that its operations are compatible with EU State Aid rules.
  • 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.
  • HBFI will be audited by the C&AG and accountable to the Oireactas in the normal manner.
  • HBFI will be established as a temporary measure to address a shortage of funding in the market and its continued operation will be reviewed regularly.
  • Subject to successful passage of the Bill, it is envisaged that HBFI will commence market engagement later this year and will commence lending activity by the end of 2018.

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