Question No. 29 answered with Question No. 14.

Local Authority Housing Provision

Questions (30)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

30. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the extent to which an assessment has been done of the local authority housing need in the greater Dublin area with a view to urgent utilisation of the recently announced budgetary provisions in this regard, with particular reference to the need to ensure the immediate provision of directly built local authority houses is facilitated throughout County Kildare - and north Kildare specifically, where the housing crisis is worsening; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44786/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

In accordance with Section 21 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, I directed all housing authorities to prepare a summary of social housing assessments carried out in their areas on 7 May 2013. The data submitted by housing authorities are currently being analysed and, once verified, a report on the findings will be published by the Housing Agency. The report findings will detail the number of households on waiting lists in each local authority, broken down by basis of need, employment status, age of applicant, length of time on waiting list and other categories. This information will provide an important insight into the level and type of need for social housing support across the country.

I expect the recently announced €30 million additional investment in social housing to deliver up to 500 local authority homes for families on the housing waiting list. Approximately half of this investment will facilitate the construction of new infill housing developments in areas with a high demand for social housing. It is intended that €15 million will be invested in bringing vacant and boarded-up local authority houses back into productive use.

The detailed arrangements for the implementation of the measures are being developed by my Department at present. I intend to announce these arrangements as soon as possible with a view to having the investment programme up and running as early as possible in 2014.

Homelessness Strategy

Questions (31, 69)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

31. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will confirm that funding cuts to Dublin City Council have resulted in a €4.5 million cut to homelessness services in the city; and the rationale for this in the context of the Government's commitment to ending long-term homelessness. [44836/13]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

69. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the manner in which the local authorities in the Dublin area will be required to absorb cuts to their budgets at this year end in a manner that will not adversely impact on the provision of homeless services by the local authorities. [44776/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Question Nos. 31 and 69 together.

I refer to the reply to Question No. 366 of 22 October 2013, which sets out the position in regard to homelessness funding and services in the Dublin area.

Wind Energy Generation

Questions (32, 37)

Denis Naughten

Question:

32. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when revised regulations on the construction of wind farms will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44767/13]

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Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

37. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the regulations that will be implemented for wind turbines erected near residential properties and main roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35674/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 37 together.

My Department is currently undertaking a targeted review of the Wind Energy Guidelines 2006 focusing on noise, proximity and shadow flicker. The indicative timetable for the publication of the draft guidelines is Quarter 4 of 2013. The draft guidelines will – like all other new or revised guidelines – go out for extensive public consultation for a period of 6 weeks to 2 months, to allow for publication of the final guidelines in 2014. All interested parties are welcome to make written submissions during this consultation period. Once the consultation period is closed, the submissions received on the draft guidelines will be considered and taken into account in the final form of the guidelines.

Rural Development Policy

Questions (33)

Martin Ferris

Question:

33. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the services that will be impacted by the 49% reduction in funding to community and rural development. [44809/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I refer to the reply to Priority Question No. 1 on today's order paper which sets out the position in this matter.

Water Quality

Questions (34)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

34. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will allocate the €2.2 million funding required by Donegal County Council to rectify the long-standing issues with drinking water in Rathmullan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44833/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The West Donegal Regional Water Supply Scheme is included in my Department's Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2013 as a scheme to advance through planning during the lifetime of the Programme.

Donegal County Council has submitted proposals to my Department for a large number of "Advance Work Contracts" on the scheme, including works to improve the water supply in Rathmullen, in advance of submitting the full Preliminary Report for the scheme for approval. These proposals are under examination in my Department.

Community Development Initiatives

Questions (35)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

35. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on whether there should be a process of adequate consultation with representatives of the community sector and the communities they serve before there is any further progress on the establishment or work of local and community development committees and socioeconomic committees. [44810/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Local Community Development Committees, which are to be established as part of the reforms set out in Putting People First – Action Programme for Effective Local Government, will be based on a consultative and participative approach to the delivery of the new enhanced role for local government in community development. The Local Government Bill 2013 will provide that these committees will include representatives of local community interests, as well as members of the local authority, and representatives of other public authorities and of publicly funded or supported local development bodies. Representatives of local community interests will, in the main, be drawn from local Community and Voluntary Fora, which are a collective representative structure for the community and voluntary sector in each local area and play an important role in facilitating local communities in making an input into various consultative processes.

The participative approach underpinning Local Community Development Committees, with the involvement of Community and Voluntary Fora and other local stakeholders, will build on the consultation with stakeholders that has already taken place in relation to the reforms covering the enhanced alignment of local government and local development. The Alignment Steering Group, which I established to examine this area, undertook consultation with key stakeholders, including local development companies, local authorities (both city/county managers and elected representatives), the Community and Voluntary Fora, Volunteer Centres, representative bodies for community and voluntary organisations, and service users.

A partnership approach is also being followed in progressing the implementation of the Steering Group's recommendations, via a n Alignment Working Group which comprises representatives of the City/County Managers Association, the Irish Local Development Network and Pobal. The Working Group has engaged with the Community and Voluntary sector, as well as with other important stakeholders, in considering how best to progress the alignment recommendations. More recently, I established a working group on citizen engagement to make recommendations on more extensive and diverse input by citizens into the decision-making process and to allow for facilitation of input by citizens into decision making at the local government level.

The reforms in Putting People First are based on greater local empowerment. The work now underway on citizen engagement and the development of new participative arrangements, such as Local Community Development Committees, reflect the strong level of consultation already underway, which will continue as the reforms are implemented.