Local Government Management Agency Issues

Questions (144)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

144. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will lay before the Houses of the Oireachtas the latest report and accounts of the Local Government Management Agency; if he will confirm his Department’s funding of the LGMA in each of 2011 and 2012; and if he will confirm the fees paid to the board members and chief executive officer in each of 2011 and 2012. [21648/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

As part of my Department’s agency rationalisation programme the Local Government Management Services Board (LGMSB) and the Local Government Computer Services Board (LGCSB) were merged into the Local Government Management Agency which was formally established in August 2012. In addition, An Chomhairle Leabharlanna was dissolved and key residual functions were also subsumed into the Agency.

The final audited financial accounts of the LGCSB, for the period 1 January 2011 to 31 August 2012 and the LGMSB for the periods 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011 and 1 January 2012 to 31 August 2012 will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas shortly.

The LGMA is funded by way of a levy on county and city councils , as were the LGMSB and the LGCSB. My Department provide some funding to the LGMA to support specific initiatives in the local government sector. In this regard, my Department provided €660,000 in 2011 towards educational initiatives in the area of Business Administration for local authority staff. In 2012, my Department provided €157,982 to support partnership in the sector, €12,877 towards the Public Lending Remuneration Scheme for authors in Public Libraries and €72,768.28 as a contribution to the establishment of the Libraries Development Unit.

All Board members of the former Boards of the LGMSB and the LGCSB and the current Board of the LGMA are public servants and no fees are payable. An annual salary of €153,885 was paid to the Chief Executive for 2011 and 2012.

Waste Management Issues

Questions (145, 146)

Robert Dowds

Question:

145. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the plans, if any, he has to tackle the problem of dioxins from waste which are seeping into our atmosphere, if on land, in the air or in the water. [21700/13]

View answer

Robert Dowds

Question:

146. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the plans there are, at European Union level, to tackle the problem of dioxins from waste which are escaping into the atmosphere, if on land, in the air or in the water. [21701/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 145 and 146 together.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s study ‘ Dioxin Levels in the Irish Environment: Ninth Assessment (Summer 2011) ’ is a follow-up survey to eight earlier studies carried out between 1995 and 2009. These studies, based on levels of dioxins found in cows’ milk, have shown that concentrations of dioxins and other pollutants remain at a consistently low level in the Irish environment. The report is available to download from the EPA’s website www.epa.ie .

The levels of dioxins found in the 2011 surveys are well below the EU limit for dioxins in milk and milk products and the results are also in line with earlier similar EPA surveys. In addition, all dioxin levels recorded in the 2011 survey compare favourably with those taken from a random selection of similar studies in EU and other countries. Furthermore , the dioxin levels were in line with a 2010 Food Safety Authority of Ireland breast milk study which confirmed low levels of exposure to the Irish population. The 2011 report indicated that the dominant sources of dioxin emissions in Ireland are from non-industrial activities , which in relation to waste would comprise the open burning of waste , also known as backyard burning. Considerable efforts have been made in recent times to address the issue .

In general terms, any burning of waste that gives rise to pollution is in breach of both Waste Management and Air Pollution legislation. Section 32 of the Waste Management Act 1996 sets out the general duty of a holder of waste not to hold, transport, recover or dispose of waste “in a manner that causes or is likely to cause environmental pollution.”

The Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009 make it an offence to dispose of waste by uncontrolled burning and various actions are prohibited by the regulations, including burning within the curtilage of a dwelling. Local authorities are empowered to take legal action against offenders and fines of up to €3,000 are applicable for summary convictions of offences.

Departmental Funding

Questions (147)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

147. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if and when funding will be released for the Big House Festival, Castletown House, Celbridge, County Kildare, which is due to take place on 20 May 2013; if he will prioritise the release of funding with particular reference to the fact that the festival is due to take place in three weeks time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21712/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department is currently working with all Local Development Companies (LDC) contracted to deliver the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) in order to facilitate the speedy consideration of festival projects in the context of their contribution to The Gathering this year.

My Department has spoken to the LDC in question, Cill Dara ar Aghaidh Teo , and was informed that this project has yet to be considered by the Board. The LDC is the principle decision maker in respect of project submissions and in this context it is the responsibility of the Board to consider the eligibility and suitability of this project for RDP funding. My Department will work with this LDC , and all other LDCs , to facilitate the consideration of festival projects that have tight deadlines, recognising that the responsibility for decision making rests solely with the LDC.