Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 77, 86, 104, 124, 153, 167, 228 & 247, 281, 289, 292 - State investments [Tobacco] [39038/16, 39035/16, 39029/16, 39030/16, 39037/16, 39032/16, 39033/16, 39024/16, 39034/16, 39026/16, 39028/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 77, 86, 104, 124, 153, 167, 228 & 247, 281, 289, 292 - State investments [Tobacco] [39038/16, 39035/16, 39029/16, 39030/16, 39037/16, 39032/16, 39033/16, 39024/16, 39034/16, 39026/16, 39028/16]. (07 Dec 2016)

URL: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...


 77. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department or any agency or entity in receipt of Departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines on such investment; and if his Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines. [39038/16]

 

The Taoiseach: My Department or the agency under my remit the National Economic and Social Development Office, does not have any investments either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, in tobacco companies.

 

86. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by her Department, any agency within the remit of her Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if her Department has any guidelines on such investment; if her Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39035/16]

 

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I have been informed that the Common Investment Fund (CIF) holds a small proportion of tobacco related stocks as part of a dividend reinvestment scheme which allows unit holders (charities) the choice of receiving dividend income in cash or to reinvest back into the fund. The CIF was established in April, 1985 by the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland under a Scheme pursuant to Section 46 of the Charities Act, 1961.

 

By virtue of S.82 of the Charities Act 2009, all functions of the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland were transferred to the Charities Regulatory Authority. This includes oversight of the CIF which is independently managed. I am informed by the Charities Regulator that they are currently reviewing all legacy matters, including those relating to the CIF and ethical indices will form part of that review process.

 

In addition, the Courts Service, in accordance with the Courts Service Act 1998, has a role in the management and investment of Court funds held in trust by the Courts on behalf of ward of courts, minors and other beneficiaries. These funds are invested in line with the provisions of the Trustee (Authorised Investments) Act, 1958 and subsequent orders. I am informed that, in accordance with the Trustee Act, and based on independent investment advice, the Courts Service invests a portion of these funds in equities/shares, including a small proportion in tobacco stocks on a passive basis. I understand that the funds are invested in line with the FTSE All World Developed Index across a very wide range of diversified funds, in the best interests of the beneficiaries. As of 30 November 2016, the % allocation within the FTSE All World Developed Index to tobacco stocks was 1.51%. This index is tracked by the Gross Roll Up World ex Eurozone Equity Fund within which the Courts Service invest a portion of the total investments. The total number of stocks within the index is 2,109 so it is a well-diversified index.

 

The Deputy will appreciate that both these funds are operated independently of my Department in the best interests of the beneficiaries, and my Department has no role in managing or directing investments. Neither am I aware of all the investments, either directly or through a pension or other investment funds, by organisations that are in recipient of grant funding by my Department. There are currently no guidelines regarding such investments but the matter is kept under review. 

 

153. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Social Protection if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines in relation to such investment; if his Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39037/16]

 

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Neither my Department nor the Agencies within its remit hold any investments in tobacco companies either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds. We do not have any guidelines in relation to such investments or have any proposals to introduce any. We would not be aware if any of the entities that receive funding from the Department have such investments. 

 

104. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines on such investment; if his Department intends to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39029/16]

 

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): My Department is the trustee of a number of legacy endowment and stockholdings and avails of the expertise of the Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA) (formerly The Commissioners for Charitable Donations and Bequests) to manage the day-to-day operation of these investments. My Department completed the transfer of funds in respect of these investments to the CRA in 2013. Following a review of files, there is no record of any investments held in tobacco companies. The Department also holds an investment account with the Central Bank in respect of the National Training Fund. Details relating investments in respect of bodies/institutions under my Department's remit are a matter for each body/institution.

 

124. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines on such investment; if his Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39030/16]

 

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney):  My Department’s Income and Expenditure is processed through Voted expenditure (Vote 34), which is managed by the Paymaster General’s Office. Guidelines on Exchequer investments are a matter for the Department of Finance. My Department has responsibility for the Local Government Fund (LGF). The LGF comprises of two bank accounts and an investment account. The investment account is interest bearing and is invested in the Exchequer through the NTMA Exchequer Note Programme. I can confirm that this is not invested I tobacco companies.   

 

Investments made by agencies under my Department’s remit are a matter for the agencies themselves. Pension investment funds are managed by the Trustees of the pension schemes operating in these agencies. There is no obligation on the agencies to report to my Department on the matter and investment funding policy generally is a matter for the Department of Finance.   Arrangements have been put in place by each Agency to facilitate the provision of information directly to members of the Oireachtas. The contact email address for each agency is as below:

Agency

Email address

An Bord Pleanála

Oireachtasqueries@pleanala.ie

Ervia, Gas Networks Ireland

oireachtas@ervia.ie

Housing Sustainable Communities Agency

publicreps@housingagency.ie

Housing Finance Agency

oireachtas.enquiries@hfa.ie

Irish Water

oireachtasmembers@water.ie

Irish Water Safety

oireachtas@iws.ie

Local Government Management Agency

corporate@lgma.ie

Residential Tenancies Board

OireachtasMembersQueries@rtb.ie

Pobal

oireachtasqueries@pobal.ie

 

167. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines on such investment; if his Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39032/16]

 

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Charles Flanagan): No investments, either directly, or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by my Department. As there are no agencies under the aegis of my Department the issue raised by the Deputy does not arise. My Department administers a number of funding programmes, including Ireland's official overseas development programme, Irish Aid. Information on development funding is available on the Irish Aid website www.irishaid.ie. Smaller funding programmes administered by my Department include the Reconciliation Fund, the Emigrant Support Fund and from time to time my Department also funds a small number of other projects. Through the Reconciliation Fund, my Department awards funding to organisations and projects aimed at advancing peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, on a cross-border basis and between Ireland and Britain. Information on Reconciliation Fund grants awarded is available at www.dfa.ie/reconciliation.

 

The Department’s Emigrant Support Programme supports Irish communities overseas by funding non-profit organisations and projects overseas which foster more strategic links with the global Irish and to support frontline welfare services that help the most vulnerable members of our overseas communities.

 

In relation to organisations in receipt of funding, through careful evaluation and auditing of such organisations, the Department ensures the money spent is accounted for, represents good value for the taxpayer’s money and minimises potential exposure to reputational risk. While my Department has no guidelines in relation to tobacco investments, given the nature of the organisations in receipt of funding, I am satisfied with my Department’s approach to date but will keep the matter under review.

 

228. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Health if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines on such investment; if his Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39033/16]

 

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy): The Department of Health does not undertake investments of any sort, either pension or other investment funds. In relation to other agencies, I have requested the HSE and the agencies under the auspices of my Department to reply directly to the Deputy with information sought by the Deputy.

 

In relation to guidelines on investing in the tobacco industry, Ireland has ratified and is a party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC is the first global public health treaty. It is an evidence -based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health and was developed by countries in response to the globalisation of the tobacco epidemic. It aims to tackle some of the causes of that epidemic and Ireland has made very good progress in implementing the FCTC to date.

 

Article 5.3 of that legally binding Convention states the following:

“In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law”.

Guidelines for the implementation of the above-mention Article 5.3 were developed to assist parties. Paragraphs 4.7 and 7.2 of the guidelines state the following:

“4.7 Government institutions and their bodies should not have any financial interest in the tobacco industry, unless they are responsible for managing a Party’s ownership in a State-owned tobacco industry.

7.2 Parties that do not have a State-owned tobacco industry should not invest in the tobacco industry and related ventures.”

 

The Deputy may be interested to know that Minister Harris and I have recently written to the Minister for Finance in relation to the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and its equity holdings in tobacco companies. In the context of a review of ISIF’s investment strategy, we have requested that the investment in tobacco companies be excluded from the investments undertaken by the ISIF. 

247. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines relating to such investment; if his Department intends to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39024/16]

 

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): My Department does not have any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, in tobacco companies.  As regards future policy I have no plans for any investments, directly or indirectly, in tobacco companies.   In relation to the twelve State Bodies under the aegis of my Department, as the information requested is an operational matter for the Bodies themselves they have been requested to forward the relevant  information directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

 

281. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by her Department, any agency within the remit of her Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of Departmental funding; if her Department has any guidelines in relation to such investment; if her Department intends to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39034/16]

 

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor): My Department, and the agencies under its remit, do not have any direct or indirect investments through pension or other investment funds in tobacco companies.

 

289. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs  if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by her Department, any agency within the remit of her Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if her Department has any guidelines in relation to such investment; if her Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39026/16]

 

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone):  Neither my Department, or any of the agencies under its remit, hold investments in tobacco companies either directly or indirectly. While there are no specific guidelines in relation to investments of this nature I would emphasise that my Department and its agencies would not, as a matter of course, make such investments.

 

292. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if any investments, either directly or indirectly through pension or other investment funds, are held in tobacco companies by his Department, any agency within the remit of his Department, or any agency or entity in receipt of departmental funding; if his Department has any guidelines in relation to such investment; if his Department intend to introduce any policies or guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39028/16]

 

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe):  I am advised that there are no such investments held by my Department, or by any agency or entity within the remit of the Department, or in receipt of funding from my Department. Pensions for former members of the Defence Forces are paid directly from the Army Pensions Vote. This is funded from voted current expenditure.     My Department does not operate pension or investment funds and therefore does not have any guidelines in relation to investment or have any proposals to introduce any.

Item Type:Dail Debates
Source:Oireachtas
Date:7 December 2016
EndNote:View
Related URLs:
Subjects:B Substances > Tobacco (cigarette smoking) > Tobacco smoke (cigarette law / policy)
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Substance industry or business
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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