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Question

729. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Justice the level of engagement there has been with the Private Security Authority regarding the reduction of fees for licensed contractors. [9990/21]

730. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Justice the number of proposals to reduce fees for licensed contractors presented by the Private Security Authority on behalf of businesses which have been severely impacted by Covid-19; and the dates of such proposals. [9991/21]

731. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Justice the reason proposals from the Private Security Authority to reduce licence fees for licensed contractors were rejected given the significant impact of Covid-19 on their business operations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9992/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I propose to take Questions Nos. 729 to 731, inclusive, together.
The Private Security Authority (PSA), established under the Private Security Services Act 2004, as amended, is responsible for the licensing and regulation of the private security industry in the State. The PSA is an independent statutory body under the aegis of my Department and I have no involvement in the day-to-day operations of the Authority.
However, I can inform the Deputy that in April 2020, the Board of the PSA submitted proposals to my Department for a change in the licence fee for contractors. This proposal took account of the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on the security industry at that time, and also the additional costs which will arise from implementing the new health and safety requirements in the workplace. Having considered this matter against the backdrop of evolving arrangements for reopening society and business, I requested the Board of the PSA to review their proposal in light of what might be the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the security industry.
An updated proposal was received by my Department from the PSA in October 2020 and as the Deputy can appreciate, due to the potential impact on exchequer receipts it was deemed prudent to first seek the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform approval in this regard. While following consideration the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform were of the view that the proposal would at the time be a disproportionate response, they also put forward an alternative proposal in the form of a four month transitional moratorium.
Having considered the proposal from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the PSA advised my Department that this option was similar to the instalment payment arrangements already available from the PSA to contractors.
My Department will remain available to continue engagement with all stakeholders in this regard.