Water Services Registrations

Questions (456)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

456. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to bring forward amending legislation and issue guidelines to regulate those bodies or persons deemed to have the appropriate level of qualification to tender expert technical advice as stated in Chapter 6 - Inspections, page 25 of the Environmental Protection Agency document, National Inspection Plan 2013 prepared on behalf of his Department, in relation to the exact remedial works to be undertaken by the owner of a DWWTS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10129/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 assigns responsibility to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make a National Inspection Plan for domestic wastewater treatment systems. The National Inspection Plan 2013: Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems was adopted by the EPA earlier this month and was published on 19 February. It is a function of the 34 county and city councils under the 2012 Act to implement the Plan in their functional areas. I have no direct role in these matters.

Local Government Reform

Questions (457, 458, 461)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

457. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to ensure that businesses in the town of Bundoran, County Donegal, will not be subject to higher rates as a direct result of his plans to abolish Bundoran Town Council in favour of bringing it under the remit of Donegal County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10155/13]

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Charlie McConalogue

Question:

458. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to ensure that the businesses in the town of Letterkenny, County Donegal, will not be subject to higher rates as a direct result of his plans to abolish Letterkenny Town Council in favour of bringing it under the remit of Donegal County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10157/13]

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Charlie McConalogue

Question:

461. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to ensure that businesses in the town of Buncrana, County Donegal, will not be subject to higher rates as a result of his plans to abolish Buncrana Town Council in favour of bringing it under the remit of Donegal County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10198/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 457, 458 and 461 together.

The Government’s Action Programme for Effective Local Government, Putting People First, indicates that in the context of reorganisation of local governance structures, the proposed new municipal districts will provide an opportunity to achieve a more coherent approach to rates and charges on a county-wide basis, having regard to funding requirements and the need to support employment and business competitiveness.

The Action Programme proposes rates harmonisation to cater for differences between Annual Rates on Valuation (ARVs) of towns and counties. My approach to rates harmonisation will seek to ensure, on the one hand, that harmonisation does not lead to significant net loss of revenue in individual counties with consequential implications for services, and on the other hand, that increases in rates do not impact negatively on businesses and employment.

Definitive details, arrangements and procedures in relation to the funding of district level functions, and financial relations between district and county levels, will be developed in the context of the new local government funding arrangements generally, implementation of the new sub-county system and preparation of the legislation in relation to the reform programme.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Questions (459)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

459. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide details of the payment of bonuses or other performance related payments and or allowances made to the staff of agencies under the aegis of his Department with a yearly breakdown from 2008 outlining the overall amount paid in each year period and the number of staff that received such payments and or allowances. [10164/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The information requested is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Agencies Staff Remuneration

Question No. 461 answered with Question No. 457.

Questions (460)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

460. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide details of payments made to the CEO or equivalent of all agencies under the aegis of his Department including details of any bonuses, pension entitlements or any other remuneration paid to him or her in 2012. [10181/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The following table details the remuneration for CEOs and equivalents in agencies under the aegis of my Department. No performance related awards were paid in 2012.

Individuals are entitled to pensions in accordance with the rules of their organisation’s pension scheme.  In general, pension entitlements are based on final salary and length of service, including added years where appropriate, capped at 40 years.

Agency / Body

Post

Remuneration

2012

An Bord Pleanála

CEO

189,474

Dublin Docklands Development Authority

CEO

113,960

Environmental Protection Agency

Director

164,464

Housing Finance Agency

CEO

122,703

Irish Water Safety

CEO

88,598

Local Government Management Agency

CEO

153,885

Housing & Sustainable Communities Agency

CEO

125,655

Private Residential Tenancies Board

Director

92,352

Radiological Protection Institute

CEO

145,952

Western Development Commission

CEO

85,172

Question No. 461 answered with Question No. 457.

Departmental Legal Costs

Questions (462)

Finian McGrath

Question:

462. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a breakdown of the entire legal costs of defending ECJ Judgement C-188-08 in which the Court found that Ireland had failed to transpose into domestic legislation the requirements of the Waste Directive regarding the disposal of domestic waste water from septic tanks and other individual treatment systems, excluding any possible fines imposed on Ireland in Case C-374/11; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10226/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The information requested is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

RAPID Programme

Questions (463)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

463. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a list of those streets in Dublin that are in RAPID areas. [10241/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department does not hold a list of streets in RAPID areas. I will arrange for a set of maps of Dublin RAPID areas to be provided to the Deputy.

Homeless Persons Supports

Questions (464, 465)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

464. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the amount that was paid for a property (details supplied) in Dublin 2 when it was purchased; the intended use of same; if it was funded by his Department as part of the homelessness strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10251/13]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

465. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the cost of maintaining security and other services at a premises (details supplied) in Dublin 2 since it was purchased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10252/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 464 and 465 together.

The property in question was acquired by Dublin City Council in 2007 with a purchase price of €6.7 million. The cost of the acquisition was subsequently recouped to Dublin City Council under my Department’s Social Housing Investment Programme.

When the property was purchased the City Council’s intention was to provide a wet shelter for homeless persons with complex addiction issues. Subsequently the City Council reviewed this approach as it had commenced a process of reconfiguration of homeless services which saw a move away from hostel and shelter type accommodation towards housing-led approaches to tackling homelessness. The property is still in the City Council’s ownership and my Department understands that it is considering approaches that would see the property brought into use during 2013.

No application for “Section 10” homelessness funding was ever submitted to my Department and no costs incurred by Dublin City Council in respect of the property, other than the acquisition price, were ever recouped by my Department.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (466, 472)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

466. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to introduce climate legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10260/13]

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Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

472. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if future climate legislation is to be brought before Dáil Éireann, if he will give an assurance that it will be poverty proofed in advance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10322/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 466 and 472 together.

I refer to the reply to Question No. 132 of 5 February 2013.

The final General Scheme of a Bill will, in due course, be subject to a full regulatory impact assessment.

Housing Regeneration

Questions (467)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

467. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the amount that has been spent over the past five years on retrofitting housing stock; if there is a plan for a new stimulus package this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10292/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department supports a broad range of measures aimed at improving the standard and quality of the social housing stock, including the regeneration of large estates and flat complexes in urban areas, estate-wide remedial works and the retrofitting of older houses and apartments. Over the period 2008 – 2012, some €953 million was recouped to local authorities in respect of projects completed under these measures.

Since the energy retrofitting measure was introduced in 2009, funding of almost €100 million has been provided to local authorities for the retrofitting of older and substandard housing stock. Over that period, some 7,760 dwellings have been improved.

I am currently reviewing the terms of the energy retrofitting measure for 2013 with a view to targeting grants at those older houses and apartments which lack adequate insulation and draught proofing. Local authorities will be asked to pay particular attention to dwellings which accommodate older people and people with disabilities. My Department will issue revised guidelines to local authorities in the context of the capital allocations under the housing programme for 2013. Work is currently underway in this regard and I intend to advise individual authorities of their capital allocations as soon as possible.

Local Authority Housing Provision

Question No. 469 answered with Question No. 428.

Questions (468)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

468. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the total number of vacant local authority housing units at present and the proposed turnaround for upgrading these homes is versus the actual turnaround for vacant homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10293/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Seventh Annual Report on Service Indicators, published by the Local Government Management Services Board in August 2012, which details service indicators in local authorities in 2010, provides a range of information in relation to the social housing stock in each local authority. Specific information is provided with regard to vacant housing units and on the average number of weeks taken by each local authority, from the date of vacation of a unit to the date when all necessary repairs are carried out, to re-let a unit. Copies of the report are available from the Local Government Management Agency and may be downloaded from their website (www.lgmsb.ie ).

Question No. 469 answered with Question No. 428.

Tenant Purchase Scheme Eligibility

Questions (470)

Seamus Healy

Question:

470. Deputy Seamus Healy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will confirm the details of the recently announced local authority tenant purchase scheme; the date of publication; the date of commencement of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10315/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The 1995 tenant purchase scheme for existing local authority houses close d for new applications on 31 December 2012. I intend to replace that scheme with a new scheme based on the incremental purchase model, involving discounts for tenants linked to household income and a discount-related charge on the property that will dwindle away over a period unless the house is resold or the purchaser fails to comply with conditions of the sale. I intend to bring forward the necessary legislative provisions as soon as possible.

Local Authority Finances

Question No. 472 answered with Question No. 466.

Questions (471)

John McGuinness

Question:

471. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the amount of money held on deposit by Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny Borough Council; if the money is on call or of it is attracting a preferential rate on interest; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10316/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

It is a matter for each local authority to manage its own day-to-day finances in a prudent and sustainable manner, including investment arrangements for the management of moneys received. Information on individual local authorities’ investment arrangements is not available in my Department.

The latest audited information for the two Kilkenny local authorities is set out in the following table.

2010 Audited Annual Financial Statements

Local Authority

Current Assets - Bank Investments

Current Assets - Cash at Bank

Current Assets - Cash on Hand

Total

Kilkenny County Council

31,651,683

2,440,203

23,684

34,115,570

Kilkenny Borough Council

13,155

1,349,565

559

1,363,278

Question No. 472 answered with Question No. 466.

Planning Issues

Question No. 474 answered with Question No. 432.

Questions (473)

Derek Nolan

Question:

473. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if there is a clause in the Galway County Development Plan that only allows local persons, particularly in Barna, County Galway, to apply for planning permission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10354/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The making, amending and varying of a development plan or local area plan is a reserved function of the elected members of the planning authority for its functional area, in this case Galway County Council who made both the Galway County Development Plan 2009-2015 and the Barna Local Area Plan 2007-2017.

In addition Ministerial Guidelines (which are available on my Department’s website at www.environ.ie ) published under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, as amended, require both planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála to have regard to such guidelines in the performance of their functions both in development planning and in determining applications for planning permission in respect of housing.

Question No. 474 answered with Question No. 432.

Criminal Prosecutions Data

Questions (475)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

475. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if any prosecutions were initiated as a result of information gathered by RTE in the course of its Prime Time programme, Profiting from Prostitution, broadcast on 7 February 2012; the offences charged; and the current status of the prosecutions. [9536/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that a number of the individuals who were identified as organising prostitution by the Prime Time programme were under investigation by An Garda Síochána at the time of airing.

An Garda Síochána is currently deploying a multi-agency approach to tackle this type of criminal activity including liaising with the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Department of Social Protection. All available legislation is utilised by members of An Garda Síochána to target and dismantle groups involved in this form of criminality.

As investigations into this matter are ongoing it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage.

Departmental Reports

Questions (476)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

476. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there are any plans for an inter Departmental report to investigate the activities of mother and baby homes that operated here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9538/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The operation of maternity services including historical mother and baby homes does not fall within the remit of my Department.

Organised Crime

Questions (477)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

477. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider establishing an all-Ireland joint-taskforce between An Gardaí Siochána and PSNI in order to combat organised crime. [9566/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am happy to inform the Deputy that there is close and ongoing co-operation between the Garda Síochána and the PSNI on all aspects of policing, including combating organised crime. The Garda Commissioner and the Chief Constable of the PSNI, who are responsible for operational policing co-operation, have repeatedly emphasised that the close and high quality co-operation between their forces has been instrumental in preventing attacks, combating criminality and saving lives.

The two police forces operate a joint Cross-Border Policing Strategy which has as its aims to improve public safety throughout Ireland, to disrupt criminal activity and to enhance the policing capability of both police services on the island. All of these are important elements in enabling the two forces to work more effectively together in tackling crime and promoting community safety for all communities on this island.

Interagency co-operation is a key factor in combating the activities of organised criminal gangs operating on this island and the paramilitary groups who are inextricably linked to them.

I would point the Deputy, for example, to the successful actions that have been taken against a number of groups involved in the laundering and distribution of illegal fuels. These groups, operating in both jurisdictions, have been identified and disrupted, and are now being specifically targeted for investigation by all the enforcement agencies concerned.

These actions have been underpinned by the Cross-Border Task Force on Fuel Laundering and Smuggling which comprises representatives from the two police forces, the two customs services, the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. This group is in place to enhance joint efforts in tackling fuel laundering and smuggling.

The Deputy will be interested to know that a similar group is in place to support the fight against the criminal activities of groups engaged in tobacco fraud. The same interagency approach is deployed by the Cross Border Tobacco Enforcement Group in order to enhance the effectiveness of actions taken to disrupt this criminality.

I would point out to the House that each year my Department and the Garda authorities, in conjunction with their counterparts in Northern Ireland, organise a Cross-Border Organised Crime Seminar. This provides an opportunity to assess and address the ever changing trends in crime. The fact that the Seminar is now in its eleventh year is testimony to the excellent co-operation that exists between the law enforcement agencies on the island in terms of exchanging knowledge and experience and seeking to further enhance and deepen co-operation and joint-working in the fight against crime.