Fisheries Protection

Questions (396)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

396. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources further to Parliamentary Question No. 396 of 14 May 2013 if he will provide the reasons that a draft salmon fishing licence did not issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry who did not avail of the salmon hardship scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30523/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The annual allocation of public licences for commercial draft nets is governed by the provisions of the relevant Control of Fishing for Salmon Order. The issuing of licences is administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and the decision on licence allocations were made in advance of the season which commenced on the 12th May. Any person over the age of 18 is entitled to apply for a public draft net licence unless they have previously availed of the Salmon Hardship Scheme. The process identifies a number of categories of applicant depending on, inter alia, the applicant’s previous fishing history.

In the area in question there were a total of 20 applications for 14 available licences. In the interests of fairness, fishermen who most recently held a licence are prioritised. All the previous licence holders from 2012 applied again in 2013 and consequently all available licences were allocated and there were none available for the 6 other applicants, one of whom is the person the subject of the question, who has not held a draft net licence in the past 6 years.

Fisheries Protection

Questions (397)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

397. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if a person who availed of the salmon hardship scheme can be named as an authorised person to operate the commercial licence during the absence of the licensee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30529/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I can advise the Deputy that the Control of Fishing for Salmon order provides for a nominee on a commercial salmon fishing licence. In the event that the licence holder is unable to fish, the nominee may fish the licence on their behalf provided the licence holder is medically unfit to fish the licence and can provide medical evidence to that effect.

The Licence holder can seek to have a person authorised as the nominee by doing so in writing to the relevant River Basin District Director of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), who administer the licensing process. IFI will, as in other years, review all aspects of the licencing regime and will make recommendations to the Department, in advance of the 2014 season.

While it is not a situation IFI encounter, except on very rare occasions, in consideration of award of licences, it is possible that the nominee may be a person who previously availed of the ‘Salmon Hardship Scheme’ but it is a condition of that scheme that the nominee may not apply for a commercial licence in his/her name again.

Ministerial Transport

Questions (398)

Niall Collins

Question:

398. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the total cost of ministerial transport in his Department in 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date 2013; the number of drivers employed in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30549/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The information requested by the Deputy on the total cost to my Department of Ministerial transport in the years 2010 to date and the number of civilian drivers employed in each year, is outlined in the following table:

-

2010

2011

2012

2013

Minister’s transport costs

0

€63,550

€103,136

€56,053

No. of Minister’s civilian drivers

0

2

2

2

Minister of State’s transport costs

0

€63,370

€96,685

€54,536

No. of Minister of State’s civilian drivers

0

2

2

2

In 2010, all Government Ministers were provided with a State car that was driven by a member of An Garda Síochána from a pool of Gardaí, two of whom were assigned to the Minister at that time. The cost of this service was funded from the Vote of An Garda Síochána.

During this period, the Minister of State who was also assigned to the then Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, did not claim mileage in my Department.

The Government decided on 15th March 2011, inter alia, that with the exception of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, who retained their State car and Garda Drivers, the travel arrangements that were in place for Ministers of State would apply to all Ministers with regard to their official travel. Under these new arrangements, Ministers could appoint two civilian drivers to drive the Minister’s car and claim mileage in accordance with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform guidelines. The decision to discontinue the provision of State cars for Cabinet Ministers (with the exception of An Taoiseach, An Tánaiste and the Minister for Justice) has reduced the cost to the Exchequer on average by 65%.

Ministerial Expenditure

Questions (399)

Niall Collins

Question:

399. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the total costs of photography incurred by his Department in 2011, 2012 and to date 2013 in tabular form per event. [30565/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table. The booking of photographers is managed by my Press Office in each case.

Photography Costs - Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources

Jan 2011 – May 2013 Inclusive

Pay Date

Company

Event Date

Event

Cost

8/11/2011

Maxwell Photograph

24/10/2011

Minister Rabbitte welcomes EU Commission Telecoms specialists to Dublin

552.67

28/01/2011

Maxwell Photography

9/12/2010

Launch of National Broadband Scheme

599.25

15/07/2011

Maxwell Photography

13/06/2011

Government convenes Next Generational Broadband Taskforce

340.92

29/08/2011

Maxwell Photography

27/07/2011

Age Action Silver Surfer Launch (pre shoot)

274.97

12/10/2011

Maxwell Photography

23/09/2011

Minister Rabbitte stock photos available for widespread media use

409.58

(1) 27/11/11

Publication of the Government’s Affordable Energy Strategy

16/01/2012

Maxwell Photography

(2) 16/11/11

Launch of Irish Anti Botnet Website (anti cyber crime initiative)

1,052.70

29/12/2011

Fennell Photography

09/12/2011

Cunningham Awards, Geological Survey of Ireland, University Geology Project Competition Awards

510.75

25/01/2012

Jason Clarke Photography

10/01/2012

Launch of Community Outreach Campaign - Digital TV Switchover

492.00

28/02/2012

Jason Clarke Photography

13/01/2012

Launch of the SMS 112 emergency service

492.00

17/02/2012

Jason Clarke Photography

06/02/2012

Nationwide rollout of high speed broadband to second level schools

492.00

14/03/2012

Jason Clarke Photography

01/03/2012

Minister Rabbitte welcomes 23 Digital Outreach Champions

492.00

13/06/2012

Maxwell Photography

02/05/2012

Next Generation Broadband Taskforce launch

485.85

13/06/2012

Jason Clarke Photography

28/05/2012

Launch of the Renewable Energy Strategy Report

492.00

06/09/2012

Jason Clarke Photography

22/08/2012

Third Central & North Atlantic Conjugate Margins Conference

492.00

19/09/2012

Jason Clarke Photography

30/08/2012

Launch of the National Broadband Plan

492.00

20/11/2012

Jason Clarke Photography

15/10/2012

Minister Rabbitte visits Kippure TV mast for Digital Switchover with media

492.00

20/11/2012

Phocus

08/11/2012

Minister Rabbitte inspects high speed broadband in St. Colman’s School

359.78

08/02/2013

Jason Clarke Photography

17/12/2012

Announcement of Ireland’s Digital Champion

492.00

08/02/2013

Jason Clarke Photography

24/01/2013

Signing of Energy MoU with Britain

492.00

08/03/2013

Maxwell Photography

28/02/2013

Launch of National Energy Efficiency Action Plan

499.38

02/05/2013

Maxwell Photography

05/03/2013

Announcement of phase II of Schools Broadband in Warrenmount School

361.62

TOTAL

10,367.47

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (400)

Niall Collins

Question:

400. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the details and costs of any newspaper supplements his Department has been involved with in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013. [30581/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I can advise the Deputy that my Department has not incurred any expenditure in relation to any newspaper supplements it has been involved with in the last three years.

Broadband Services Provision

Questions (401)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

401. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the current broadband service in Kinlough, County Leitrim is extremely poor; his plans to improve same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30710/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Ireland’s telecommunications market has been fully liberalised since 1999 in accordance with the requirements of binding EU Directives. The market has since developed into a well-regulated market, supporting a multiplicity of commercial operators, providing services over a diverse range of technology platforms. Details of broadband services available in each County can be found on ComReg’s website at www.callcosts.ie.

The State can only intervene to ensure access to broadband services in areas where the competitive market has failed to deliver such services, as in the case of the National Broadband Scheme (NBS) and the Rural Broadband Scheme. The combination of private investment and State interventions means that Ireland has met the EU Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe target of having a basic broadband service available to all areas by 2013.

With basic broadband services widely available across Ireland, the focus is now on accelerating the roll out of high speed services. The Government’s National Broadband Plan, which I published in August last, aims to radically change the broadband landscape in Ireland by ensuring that high speed services of 30Mbps are available to all of our citizens and businesses, well in advance of the EU’s target date of 2020, and that significantly higher speeds are available to as many homes and businesses as possible.

During the preparation of Ireland’s National Broadband Plan, the commercial market operators indicated that they expect to provide 70Mbps to 100Mbps services to 50% of the population by 2015. Since the publication of the Plan, investments by the commercial sector are underway in both fixed line and mobile high speed broadband services, particularly in urban and semi-urban areas.

In tandem with these commercial developments, intensive work is underway in my Department to progress a State-led investment to secure the countrywide introduction of next generation broadband access.

In order to progress the State-led investment, a full procurement process must be designed and EU State Aids approval must be obtained. A comprehensive mapping exercise of the current and anticipated investment by the commercial sector is being undertaken to identify where the market is expected to succeed and fail in the delivery of high speed broadband services over the coming years.

The results of this mapping exercise will inform the level of Government interaction that may be required and the areas that need to be targeted in the State-led investment so as to deliver on the targets for high speed broadband contained in the National Broadband Plan.

Intensive technical, financial and legal preparations including stakeholder engagement will be ongoing throughout 2013 with a view to the launch of a procurement process in 2014.

Through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, we are committed to increasing the availability of next generation speeds significantly, with a view to ensuring that all citizens and businesses can participate fully in a digitally enabled society.

Environmental Policy

Questions (402)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

402. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the person that owns a site (details supplied) in County Cavan; the person responsible for maintaining this site; if the Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring this site and any emissions that may come from the drilling there; if he will outline the history of ownership and operations at this site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30739/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The matters raised by the Deputy regarding ownership of a site and monitoring of environmental emissions are matters which fall outside the scope of my statutory remit.

My role, pursuant to the Minerals Development Act 1960, extends to the licensing of petroleum exploration activities, including granting consent to the drilling of petroleum exploration and production wells.

The Dowra 2 onshore gas exploration well was drilled in 2001 by Evergreen Resources pursuant to Licence ON2/01.

In drilling Dowra 2, Evergreen employed standard oil industry drilling and testing processes and the well was drilled in accordance with my Department’s Rules and Procedures.

The Dowra 2 well was permanently plugged and abandoned in 2003, in accordance with accepted procedures and as approved by my Department and this work was signed off by the Independent Well Examiner in June 2003. The condition of all below-surface aspects of the well has, therefore, been dealt with satisfactorily. Cavan County confirmed to my Department in August 2003 that the well site was left in a satisfactory condition.

In relation to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this is an independent Agency and the Deputy should contact it directly in relation to any role that it may have.

Nitrates Action Programme Review

Questions (403)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

403. Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the issue of calendar farming will be reviewed, in view of the fact that the severe weather conditions experienced by farmers in recent years has highlighted that restricting farming activity by specific dates is no longer viable; if prevailing weather and ground conditions will instead be considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30165/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

In accordance with the Nitrates Directive, Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme is due for review this year and this is currently under way. As part of the review a public consultation process was initiated and closed on 12 June 2013. All submissions received on foot of this consultation are being considered by myself and my colleague the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It is intended that the review process, including legislative amendments if any, will be completed before the end of this year. It would be inappropriate to anticipate any outcomes of the review process in advance of its conclusion.

However, it should be noted that set closed periods for the spreading of fertilisers, including slurry, are a mandatory requirement of the Nitrates Directive. The purpose of closed periods is to protect ground and surface water bodies, including drinking water sources, by prohibiting the application of fertilisers when such application poses an unacceptable risk to water courses. Good agricultural practice involves the application of fertilisers as early as practicable in the growing season in order to maximise the uptake of nutrients by crops and to minimise pollution to water.

Local Authority Charges Collection

Questions (404)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

404. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will confirm that the non-principal private residence tax will no longer be charged after 2013; the way outstanding NPPR charges will be collected after 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30201/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 broadened the revenue base of local authorities by introducing a charge on non-principal private residences. The self-assessed charge is set at €200 and liability for it falls, in the main, on owners of rental, holiday and vacant properties.

Under the Act, it is a function of a local authority to collect the Non-Principal Private Residence Charge and late payment fees due to it, and all charges and late payment fees imposed and payable to a local authority are under the care and management of the local authority concerned.

This year will be the final year of the operation of the Non Principal Private Residence Charge.

I expect local authorities to continue to work to maximise Non Principal Private Residence Charge compliance, in 2013 and in subsequent years by collecting unpaid liabilities and associated late payment fees.

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

Questions (405)

Clare Daly

Question:

405. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if Fingal County Council has applied for an exemption to the public sector recruitment embargo in order to overcome the critical shortage of librarians due to retirement which is leading to facilities having to close; and if he will consider this request as a matter of urgency. [30210/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I understand that Fingal County Council intends to seek sanction for a number of Library Assistant posts in the coming days. My Department will consider the matter in due course once such a request has been received.

Motor Tax Collection

Questions (406)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

406. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if a person (details supplied) in County Dublin will receive a refund on their car tax due to their vehicle being stolen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30293/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 1992 made under section 1(11A) of the Finance (Excise Duties) (Vehicles) Act 1952 provide that, where a vehicle has been stolen and not recovered, a refund may only be given in respect of the vehicle licence if it is surrendered to a licensing authority not less than three months before the expiry of the licence.

Local Authority Charges Yield

Questions (407)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

407. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the revenue that could be raised for the State if the second home tax was retained and increased to €300 per house. [30651/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 broadened the revenue base of local authorities by introducing a charge on non-principal private residences. The self-assessed charge is set at €200 and liability for it falls, in the main, on owners of rental, holiday and vacant properties.

I understand that the Non Principal Private Residence Charge has raised €73.2m in respect of 2012 liabilities to date, a portion of which has been collected in 2013. As such, were the Charge to continue to operate in 2014 and if it were to be set at €300, I would anticipate revenue in excess of €100m. However, 2013 will be the final year of the operation of the Charge.

The Local Property Tax is being introduced on a half year basis this year and accordingly 50% of the Tax is payable in 2013. From 2014, the Tax will operate on a full year basis.

Rural Development Programme Funding

Questions (408)

Heather Humphreys

Question:

408. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when the new round of funding will be available at local level to support projects for rural businesses and communities, and during the intervening period; if there are any measures planned to ensure continuity of supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30012/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

Negotiations are on-going at European level, under the current Irish presidency of the EU, to determine the final regulatory framework for the delivery of Rural Development Programmes for the next EU programming period 2014-2020. The finalisation of the regulation that deals both with Rural Development and the LEADER elements of Rural Development (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, EAFRD) is dependent on both the finalisation of the Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF)/overall EU budgetary framework and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) framework and in this context until these frameworks are finalised it is difficult to determine when the new Rural Development Programme (RDP ) will commence.

Under the current proposal, Ireland must undertake an ex-ante evaluation, a public consultation, and complete a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and a needs assessment. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), the managing authority for EU Rural Development has contracted an independent evaluator, following a public procurement process, to prepare the ex-ante evaluation report and to advise on the SWOT and drafting of the RDP for the next round. My Department is currently working with DAFM in the context of the LEADER elements of RDP 2014-2020. In addition, the initial consultation process has been completed with a further consultation to take place in mid-July on the SWOT and needs assessment.

At present it is intended to have a draft RDP submitted to the European Commission as early as possible in 2014. This process will be interlinked with the submission by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform of the overall Partnership Agreement which will form the framework document for EAFRD funding and the other structural funds. It is expected that a period of negotiation with the Commission will follow the submission of the RDP.

Until the frameworks are finalised and the budgetary detail for the next programming round is clarified I am unable to say when the next round of Rural Development funding will become available at a local level. I am acutely aware of the importance of this funding for rural Ireland and my Department is already working, and will continue to work, to ensure that the funding becomes available at the earliest possible opportunity.

Rural Development Policy

Questions (409)

Heather Humphreys

Question:

409. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide an update on the work of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas to date and of any preliminary findings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30013/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Coveney and I established the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) in September 2012 and tasked it to investigate the opportunities and challenges facing rural populations in the current economic climate. Since then the Commission has been working towards the publication of a report that will inform policies and strategies to support the economic development of rural Ireland into the future.

The Commission led by its Chair, Mr Pat Spillane, has been engaging in an extensive schedule of meetings with stakeholder groups and the public over the last number of months looking at the multitude of issues that affect life in rural Ireland at present.

The initial findings were presented at the CEDRA EU Conference on 10 June 2013 in NUI Maynooth and the presentation is available at the following link:

http://www.ruralireland.ie/docs/CEDRA_Maynooth_Conference2_Cathal.pdf ,

I look forward to receiving the final report, when it is complete in October, at which point both I and my colleagues in Government will give due consideration to its findings and make decisions regarding the appropriate actions to be taken.

Community Development Initiatives

Questions (410)

Michael Creed

Question:

410. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide in detail a breakdown of the annual salaries paid to the CEOs of the respective local development partnership organisations; if he will detail the annual expenditure on administration in each group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30071/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Local Development Companies (LDCs) are independent companies with their own board of management and memoranda and articles of association. My Department has no role in the internal operations of LDCs and, therefore, does not have a role in relation to staff or employment matters, which are for the Board of the company, as the employer, to manage.

The LDCs deliver both the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP) and the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP) on behalf of my Department. It should be noted that the administrative arrangements for each of these programmes are different reflecting the fact that one is grant based (RDP) and the other (LCDP) is service based.

The contract for LCDP service delivery between Pobal and the LDCs requires them to strive to improve service delivery and at a significantly reduced cost to the public purse. One step to achieving this is the reduction in the administrative costs charged against the LCDP. There is currently a cap of 33% in LDCs on the level of funding allocated towards the LCDP administration costs.  It is intended to cap the level of administration costs at 25% of the overall LCDP allocation over the period 2012–2014. 

The LCDP budget of LDCs is defined in a manner which clearly differentiates overhead from programme costs and all returns are scrutinised by Pobal to ensure that all savings reported are accurate. The average budgeted CEO salary in 2012 was €84,335 per annum.

There are 35 LDCs also contracted by my Department to deliver the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP).  The running costs for the delivery of the LEADER elements of the RDP are capped at 20% of the total LDC’s programme expenditure over the lifetime of the programme.

Rural Development Programme Projects

Questions (411)

Pat Deering

Question:

411. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 455 of 26 February 2013, if he will provide an update and timescale on funding for a miscanthus plant in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow. [30099/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

There are 35 Local Action Groups (LAGs) contracted, on my Department’s behalf, to deliver the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013 throughout the country and these groups are the principal decision-makers in relation to the allocation of project funding. Such decisions are made in the context of the local development strategy of the individual groups and in line with Departmental operating rules and EU regulations.

The project referred to in the question involved the processing of miscanthus, a species of grass used as a renewable energy source. The production of such grass can be considered for support under a scheme already available in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and it could therefore be considered an agricultural product. My Department, however, is now satisfied that this project relates to the post-harvest processing of the plant and that it can be considered under Axis 3 (non-agricultural elements) of the RDP.

In addition, as this project required funding of over €150,000 it was also required to seek final approval from my Department. The final assessment of the project was completed in the past few days and I have issued approval to Carlow County Development Partnership that it may proceed to approve this project.

Elected Mayor for Dublin Metropolitan Area

Questions (412)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

412. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide an update on a directly-elected Mayor for Dublin; if this proposal will abolish the Cathaoirleach roles in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, South Dublin County Council and Fingal County Council; the discussions his officials have held both within his Department and with other stakeholders recently regarding developments in the past number of months; if there are any indications at this stage if it will be considered to extend a directly-elected Mayor to other local authorities here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30105/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

The specific question of introducing an office of directly elected mayor for the Dublin Metropolitan Area is considered in the Government’s Action Programme for Effective Local Government in the context of other governance issues. A key conclusion in that regard is that such an office should not be simply inserted as a further layer of governance and administration in addition to the current local government structures. The establishment of an office with more far-reaching powers, functions and budgetary capacity would be likely to require significant changes in existing local government arrangements. The implications in this regard and the changes required at local government level would need to be considered carefully and include issues in regard to the powers, structures and functions of such an office and consequential changes in the powers, structures and functions of local authorities and other relevant bodies, budgetary matters, strategic co-ordination, an elected assembly with oversight and accountability functions, avoidance of duplication, maximisation of efficiency in local government arrangements, avoidance of cost increases and achievement of savings.

The Action Programme indicated that a special forum or colloquium of the elected members of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin County Councils and Dublin City Council would be convened by the Lord Mayor of Dublin to consider the options for local governance in Dublin, including the potential for a directly elected Mayor for a Dublin Metropolitan Area. It is intended that proposals arising from the colloquium will be put for decision through a plebiscite in 2014, which I envisage will be held alongside the local elections. This will provide for suitable democratic debate and consultation on all dimensions of the issue.

I have recently written to the Lord Mayor of Dublin, setting out matters which I consider would need to be addressed by the elected members of the four local authorities, when developing proposals to be put before the electorate in the plebiscite. It will be open to the forum or colloquium to assess the various options for local governance in the Dublin metropolitan area as part of its deliberations. I have asked for a response by the end of the year, in order to allow Government make appropriate decisions on the next steps in the preparation of the plebiscite.

Registration of Architects

Questions (413)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

413. Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if a grandfather clause will be inserted into new legislation to enable architects who have many years of experience to be permitted to refrain from sitting exams in order to be registered with the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland; if an alternative method of registering experienced architects could be devised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30152/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007 sets out the statutory arrangements for the registration of architects. A variety of routes to registration are provided for in the Act, including specific provision (under section 22) for the registration of practically trained persons who may have no academic qualifications or formal education in the discipline of architecture but who had been performing duties commensurate with those of an architect for a period of ten years prior to the commencement of the Act. This route to registration which is specifically designed for experienced, practically-trained, persons does not involve sitting examinations.

I share the concerns of those who feel that the number of applications to date from practically-trained architects is less than might reasonably be expected notwithstanding the provision in that regard in the Act. I have recently asked Mr. Garret Fennell, Solicitor, who is currently serving as the Chairperson of the Admissions Board relevant to the register of Architects, to carry out an independent review of the experience to date in relation to the operation of the register with a view to identifying any further improvements that can be made at this point. I have particularly asked for his recommendations or views on how the registration of practically trained architects can be further encouraged.

Housing Statistics

Questions (414)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

414. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of social housing units that were constructed here between January 1993 and May 1997; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30155/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department collates and publishes a wide range of housing statistics that inform the preparation and evaluation of policy and those data are available on my Department’s website www.environ.ie

. Data on the number of social housing units that were constructed, dating back to 1994, are included in this range. In 1993 1,200 social housing units were constructed.