Questions Nos. 1 to 17, inclusive, answered orally.

Questions Nos. 18 to 73, inclusive, resubmitted.

Questions Nos. 74 to 83, inclusive, answered orally.

Local Government Reform

Questions (84)

Seamus Kirk

Question:

84. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the timeframe for the implementation of Putting People First; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12682/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Action Programme for Effective Local Government, Putting People First, which was published in October 2012, following Government approval, sets out Government decisions on a range of measures relating to the reform and development of local government structures, functions, funding, governance and operational matters. Implementation of the Action Programme is a high priority for Government as a key element of the overall reform agenda. This involves a substantial body of legal and other work to ensure that the necessary measures are in place ahead of the 2014 local elections.

In order to meet that timeframe, work has been advancing quickly in a number of areas including in relation to local authority mergers in Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford; an independent review of local electoral areas by a statutory committee; integration of local micro-enterprise support service with local government through Local Enterprise Offices; the introduction of the local property tax to replace the household charge; continuing implementation of Local Government Efficiency Review measures, a Workforce Planning process, and implementation of the Steering Group report on the alignment of local/community development with local government.

Comprehensive, wide-ranging and detailed legislation will be required to provide for the range of measures in the reform programme, and I am firmly committed to ensuring that it will be brought forward for enactment in good time before the 2014 local elections.

Local and Community Development Programme Expenditure

Questions (85)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

85. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will outline a county breakdown of the local development budget; the total administration costs per local authority and the total county spend on each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12679/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The objective of my Department’s Local and Community Development Programme, or LCDP, is to tackle poverty and social exclusion, through partnership and constructive engagement between Government, and its agencies, and people in disadvantaged communities. The Programme, worth €49m in 2013, is managed by Pobal on behalf of my Department and delivered at a local level by the nationwide network of Local Development Companies and a small number of alternative delivery structures. The services delivered by Local Development Companies cross Local Authority and County boundaries. It is not possible, therefore, to provide a county breakdown of the LCDP budget on the basis requested in the question. I will circulate the Programme budget allocations for each Local Development Company for 2013 and their respective Programme administration costs with the official report. In addition, a further €1.44 million has been allocated for the delivery of LCDP services in the Gaeltacht Areas and €700,000 for the Dublin Inner City area. Administrative costs charged against the Programme are currently capped at 33% with the objective of reducing that figure to 25% by 2014. In addition, Companies are expected to achieve further savings in overhead and operating costs including, where possible, sharing Local Authority facilities.

Appendix 1

2013 Allocation to Local Development Companies under the Local and Community Development Programme

Avondhu/Blackwater Partnership Limited

€419,374

Ballyfermot/Chapelizod Partnership Company Limited

€635,116

Ballyhoura Development Limited

€444,994

Ballymun/Whitehall Area Partnership

€739,693

Blanchardstown Area Partnership Limited

€907,555

Canal Communities

€875,475

Bray Area Partnership Limited

€839,483

Breffni Integrated Limited

€741,784

Carlow County Development Partnership Limited

€536,428

Cill Dara Ar Aghaidh Teoranta

€1,020,227

Clare Local Development Company Limited

€855,341

Comhar Chathair Chorcai Teoranta

€1,211,826

Comhar na nOilean Teoranta

€527,272

County Kilkenny Leader Partnership Company Limited

€607,813

County Sligo Leader Partnership Company Limited

€690,262

County Wicklow Community Partnership Limited

€584,686

Donegal Local Development Company Limited

€966,071

Fingal Leader Partnership Company Limited

€363,686

Forum Connemara Limited

€233,227

Galway City Partnership Limited

€765,644

Galway Rural Development Company Limited

€896,437

Inishowen Development Partnership

€644,728

IRD Duhallow Limited

€387,147

Laois Community and Enterprise Development Company Limited

€564,064

Leitrim Integrated Development Company Limited

€618,509

Longford Community Resources Limited

€603,076

Louth LEADER Partnership

€1,390,383

Mayo North East Leader Partnership Company Teoranta

€562,019

Meath Community Rural and Social Development Partnership Limited

€346,264

Monaghan Integrated Development Limited

€668,578

North & East Kerry Leader Partnership Teoranta

€1,161,327

North Tipperary Leader Partnership

€518,561

Northside Partnership Limited

€1,119,336

Offaly Integrated Local Development Company Limited

€738,314

PAUL (Limerick) Partnership

€1,460,828

Rathmines Pembroke Community Partnership Limited

€694,278

Roscommon Integrated Development Company Limited

€645,992

South and East Cork Area Development Partnership Limited

€463,152

South Dublin County Partnership Ltd

€2,044,785

South Kerry Development Partnership Limited

€585,585

South Tipperary Development Company Limited

€603,889

South West Mayo Development Company Limited

€418,276

Southside Partnership DLR Limited

€1,101,669

Tolka Area Partnership Limited

€1,064,149

Waterford Area Partnership Limited

€785,742

Waterford Leader Partnership Limited

€365,171

West Cork Development Partnership Limited

€453,322

West Limerick Resources Limited

€617,196

Westmeath Community Developments Limited

€806,542

Wexford Local Development

€1,837,245

Appendix 2

Local and Community Development Programme Administration Costs. Please note that these include: all overhead costs, salary costs of the CEOs and Finance Administrators and other Administrative Support salary costs relating to the management, implementation and co-ordination of the Programme.

Local Development Company

2012 Administration

Avondhu/Blackwater Partnership Limited

29%

Ballyfermot/Chapelizod Partnership Company Limited

33%

Ballyhoura Development Limited

30%

Ballymun/Whitehall Area Partnership

33%

Blanchardstown Area Partnership Limited

33%

Bray Area Partnership Limited

28%

Breffni Integrated Limited

33%

Canal Communities Partnership

32%

Carlow County Development Partnership Limited

33%

Cill Dara Ar Aghaidh Teoranta

33%

Clare Local Development Limited

29%

Clondalkin Partnership

33%

Comhar Chathair Chorcaí Teo

26%

County Kilkenny LEADER Partnership Company Limited

32%

County Sligo Leader Partnership Company Limited

32%

County Wicklow Community Partnership Company Limited

33%

Dodder Valley Partnership Limited

32%

Donegal Local Development Company Limited

29%

Fingal LEADER Partnership Company Limited

33%

Forum Connemara Limited

28%

Galway City Partnership Limited

29%

Galway Rural Development Company Limited

27%

Inishowen Development Partnership

29%

IRD Duhallow Limited

30%

Laois Community and Enterprise Development Company Limited

33%

Leitrim Integrated Development Company Limited

31%

Longford Community Resources Limited

19%

Louth Leader Partnership

24%

Mayo North East Leader Partnership Company

32%

Meath Partnership

33%

Monaghan Integrated Development Limited

35%

North & East Kerry Leader Partnership

33%

North Tipperary Leadership Partnership

33%

Northside Partnership Limited

30%

Offaly Integrated Local Development Company

28%

PAUL (Limerick) Partnership

27%

Rathmines Pembroke Community Partnership

29%

Roscommon Integrated Development Company Limited

29%

South & East Cork Area Development Limited

33%

South Kerry Development Partnership

30%

South Tipperary Development Company

32%

South West Mayo Development Company

33%

Southside Partnership

31%

Tolka Area Partnership

29%

Waterford Area Partnership

33%

Waterford Leader Partnership

24%

West Cork Development Partnership

27%

West Limerick Resources Limited

31%

Westmeath Community Development Limited

33%

Wexford Local Development

28%

Local Authority Staff Issues

Questions (86)

Robert Troy

Question:

86. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of RAPID co-ordinators employed full time by local authorities on the RAPID programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12710/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

RAPID (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development) covers urban areas designated as disadvantaged by reference to a range of socio-economic criteria including the levels of early school leaving; the proportion of one parent households; the unemployment rate; the proportion of social housing; and the age dependency rate. The RAPID programme aims to ensure that priority attention is given to tackling the spatial concentration of poverty and social exclus ion in RAPID areas nationally. The programme has made substantial progress in identifying the needs of disadvantaged communities and in bringing forward appropriate local projects in response to those needs.

My Department’s funding for 2013 includes an indicative allocation of more than €2 million for RAPID, which will be used to meet the Department’s existing contractual commitments on RAPID projects throughout the country, mainly Sports Capital top-ups a nd CCTV systems, jointly funded with the Departments of Transport, Tourism and Sport and Justice and Equality respectively.

My Department is not in a position separately to meet the salary costs, for 2013, of RAPID coordinators, who are local authority employees , and information on the current number of coordinators employed by local authorities is not available to me. In 2011 and 2012 Local Authorities received funding for 50% of the salaries of 46 RAPID co-ordinators, totalling €1.58m in 2011 and €1.62m in 2012. The Local Government Fund continues to provide significant general purpose funding to local authorities to assist in meeting day-to-day operational costs. The RAPID programme like other community development programmes will now be taken forward in the context of alignment of Local Government and Local Development in the context of the Local Government Reform Programme Putting People First .

Housing Adaptation Grants Funding

Questions (87)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

87. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the action he is taking to ensure that adequate funding is provided to local authorities to deal with the demand for the housing aid for older persons scheme, the mobility aids housing grant scheme and the housing adaptation grant for persons with a disability; and if he will outline any eligibility and or benefit changes that will be made to these schemes in 2013. [12777/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I have referred earlier to the challenges we face in delivering on housing need and the rationale used in apportioning the housing capital budget across the various measures under my Department’s housing programme for 2013. None of these important measures, whether it is the regeneration of seriously disadvantaged communities, the provision of special needs accommodation, retrofitting of older houses or the adaptation or improvement of private houses, can be stood down. My objective is to ensure that our scarce resources are used to best effect in areas where need is most acute.

This year I am allocating 12.4% of the housing budget, some €34.2 million in all, to the grant schemes compared to 13.2% in 2012. I n allocating the available funding across all 34 city and county councils I did so in as transparent and as fair a way as possible. This year’s allocations give first priority to those people who have already been approved for grants. This accounts for some €18 million of the €34.2 million available to me. After setting aside a contingency figure of around €2 million, I allocated the balance on the basis of each authority’s share of the applications on hand in January 2013. I believe this is a fair way of apportioning the funding. In the event that particular difficulties may arise in some local authorities in the course of 2013, I will use the reserve I have held to consider applications from local authorities for a supplementary allocation once the initial allocation has been exhausted.

I am currently reviewing the way the grant schemes are structured with a view to achieving more with the budget we have and ensuring that the maximum numbers of households are supported. My priority is to spread the benefits as widely as possible and to ensure fairness and value for money in the operation of the grant schemes. My intention is that the new grant structure will apply from 2014 onwards.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (88)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

88. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he expects to bring forward the foreshore and marine area development Bill, in order to ensure that ports and harbours are better positioned to plan their development into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12340/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department recently conducted a public consultation exercise on A New Planning and Consent Architecture for Development in the Marine Area. Over 200 responses were received and are currently under consideration. The results of this exercise will inform the drafting of the general scheme of a Bill to update the consent system for developments on the foreshore. I hope to bring the general scheme of this Bill to Government in the near future, with a view to publication later in the year. The Bill will seek to integrate the existing foreshore consent system within the planning system operated by the local authorities and An Bord Pleanála.

Ports strategy is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, who has recently undertaken a major review of ports policy. The new policy is designed to provide a coherent framework for all the State-owned ports and allow for their future development in a manner that suits their individual circumstances. My Department was consulted on a range of issues, including the foreshore consent process, during the drafting of the policy. I understand that the new policy will be published as soon as possible following consideration by Government.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Questions (89, 391)

John Browne

Question:

89. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a county breakdown of the number of properties identified by the National Asset Management Agency for social housing provision; the number accepted as suitable by local authorities; the number transferred from NAMA to local authorities or to housing associations to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12675/13]

View answer

Barry Cowen

Question:

391. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a breakdown by county of the number of properties identified by the National Asset Managment Agency for social housing provision; the number accepted as suitable by local authorities; the number transferred from NAMA to the local authority or housing association; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12865/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 89 and 391 together.

To date 3,949 properties have been identified by NAMA as being potentially suitable for social housing purposes. Demand has been confirmed by local authorities for 1,314 of these units, for 637 of which discussion/negotiation has begun. Housing authorities have been assessing the suitability of the units identified with regard to location, local demand, the nature and type of the accommodation and sustainable communities’ principles.

At the end of 2012, 179 properties had been delivered from the NAMA portfolio for social housing purposes. 57 properties were bought directly by local authorities with another 57 properties purchased directly by Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) through the Capital Assistance Scheme. A further 65 properties were secured by AHBs through a variety of leasing arrangements. These properties were sourced in the following housing authority areas -

Cork County Council - 53

Drogheda Borough Council - 27

Dublin City Council - 27

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council - 34

Galway City Council - 30

Kildare County Council - 4

Westmeath County Council – 4.

My Department, the Housing Agency and NAMA continue to work together with housing authorities and approved housing bodies towards bringing suitable NAMA units into social use. It will continue to be my Department's objective in 2013 to maximise the delivery of social housing using all of the resources available.

Household Charge Collection

Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 81.

Questions (90)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

90. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the compliance rate for household charge payments on a county basis; the total national figure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12699/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides the legislative basis for the Household Charge. Under the Act, an owner of a residential property on the liability date is liable to pay the Household Charge, unless otherwise exempted or entitled to claim a waiver. It is a matter for an owner of a residential property to determine liability and pay the Charge. The Local Government Management Agency is administering the Household Charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils. I understand, from data provided by the Agency, that as of 6 March 2013 the number of registrations, including waiver registrations, for the Household Charge is 1,167,332. I will make a table available, with the official record, detailing the total number of payments and waivers registered for the Household Charge nationally and by local authority area. The figures are also presented as a percentage of the estimated total number of liable properties nationally and per local authority area.

Overall, compliance continues to grow and now stands at over 72%. The compliance rate from local authority to local authority varies considerably, however, from 87% in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown to 61% in Donegal. It is a matter for each individual local authority to use the provisions of the legislation, combined with their local knowledge and judgement, to increase compliance. I expect that local authorities will use the available compliance avenues to the fullest to assist in funding the essential local services which are important for the well-being of every household and community.

I urge all liable persons who have not paid the Charge to visit www.householdcharge.ie or contact their local authority as a matter of urgency. Residential property owners who are unsure of their liability should also contact their local authority.

Under the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012, Household Charge arrears for 2012 , including penalties and interest, will be capped at €130 if paid by 30 April 2013. Outstanding Household Charge liabilities will, on 1 July 2013, be increased to €200 and will be come a Local Property Tax liability collectable by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

County/City Council

Estimated number of liable properties

Total registered (paid + waivers)

Registrations as a % of total estimated liable properties

Carlow

18,257

13,131

72%

Cavan

25,611

18,165

71%

Clare

45,786

34,982

76%

Cork City

41,649

29,043

70%

Cork County

143,887

99,452

69%

Donegal

65,331

39,719

61%

Dublin City

190,685

142,373

75%

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

74,390

64,739

87%

Fingal

90,286

64,821

72%

Galway City

27,086

21,481

79%

Galway County

62,851

44,776

71%

Kerry

58,792

45,061

77%

Kildare

68,215

48,075

71%

Kilkenny

32,067

22,889

71%

Laois

26,185

17,445

67%

Leitrim

13,069

9,639

74%

Limerick City

20,380

14,592

72%

Limerick County

46,473

33,288

72%

Longford

12,928

9,620

74%

Louth

41,176

26,771

65%

Mayo

51,363

41,631

81%

Meath

60,652

40,590

67%

Monaghan

20,176

14,583

72%

North Tipperary

24,839

18,865

76%

Offaly

25,224

16,455

65%

Roscommon

23,888

18,030

76%

Sligo

25,281

19,299

76%

South Dublin

81,822

54,494

67%

South Tipperary

30,368

21,735

72%

Waterford City

15,753

11,059

70%

Waterford County

24,777

17,271

70%

Westmeath

29,872

21,245

71%

Wexford

56,030

38,812

69%

Wicklow

45,665

33,201

73%

National

1,620,814

1,167,332

72%

Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 81.

Priory Hall Development

Questions (92)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

92. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he expects to receive a report from Mr. Justice Finnegan on all outstanding issues at Priory Hall, Dublin; his plans, if any, to meet Priory Hall residents as soon as the Finnegan resolution process has concluded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12508/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The resolution process in respect of this development, which I understand is on-going, arose in the context of legal proceedings which were adjourned to afford relevant parties the opportunity to work together, under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Finnegan (retired President of the High Court), to identify a way forward in relation to the complex problems at Priory Hall . Given that the matter is before the courts it would be inappropriate for me to comment further other than to continue to urge all concerned to afford Mr. Justice Finnegan the opportunity to complete the task which he is undertaking.

Dublin City Council is the designated authority with powers to enforce the statutory requirements arising under the Fire Safety Act, the Building Control Acts and the Planning and Development Acts, all of which are at issue in relation to Priory Hall. The Council is also the designated Housing Authority under the Housing Acts. Neither I nor my Department has a direct role or responsibility in relation to the exercise of these statutory responsibilities. I am aware of the significant efforts that have been made by the Council, with assistance from my Department, to provide for the needs of residents to date and I understand that the Council will continue to work proactively on behalf of the residents towards achieving the much needed resolution of the issues at Priory Hall.