Place Names Changes

Questions (187)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

187. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the procedure laid down in law in relation to the changing of the name of a street; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45408/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The law currently in force in relation to the changing of placenames is set out in the Local Government Act 1946, as amended. Section 78 of the 1946 Act provides that a local authority may, with the consent of the majority of qualified electors, change the name of a street. The procedure s for holding a plebiscite of qualified electors on a proposal to change a street name are set out in the Local Government (Changing of Place Names) Regulations 1956.

Housing Adaptation Grants Funding

Questions (188)

Brian Stanley

Question:

188. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the grants and initiatives available to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 10 to carry out necessary repairs. [45428/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Under the terms of the suite of Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability, grants are available to assist households to have necessary repairs or improvement works carried out in order to facilitate the continued independent occupancy of their homes. Three separate schemes are available; the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability, the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme and the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme.

The Housing Aid for Older People Scheme provides grants of up to €10,500 to assist older people living in poor housing conditions to have necessary repairs or improvements carried out. Grant-eligible works include structural repairs or improvements, re-wiring, repairs to or replacement of windows and doors, provision of water supply and sanitary facilities, provision of heating, cleaning, painting etc.

The detailed administration of these schemes, including the assessment, approval and payment of grants to applicants under the various grant measures, is the responsibility of the relevant local authority, in this case, Dublin City Council.

Pyrite Remediation Programme Implementation

Questions (189)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

189. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the way funding will be allocated from the €10 million proposed to deal with pyrite; the number of houses this fund will repair; the way he plans to deal with repair works which will not be covered by this fund; and his views on whether the construction and quarry industry should pay something towards these works. [45441/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Initially, €10 million is being made available to my Department. Additional funding will be provided over the next two years, in the context of the further capital stimulus programme to be announced in early 2014, to deal with all dwellings deemed by the Pyrite Resolution Board to be in need of remediation.

The Pyrite Resolution Board (PRB), which I established earlier this year on an administrative basis and which will be put on a statutory footing when the necessary legislation is enacted, will oversee the implementation of the pyrite remediation scheme. The Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency will provide support to the Board in the delivery of the scheme. In so far as it is possible the Board will attempt to group affected dwellings together for the purposes of remediation programmes in order to achieve cost efficiencies through economies of scale. The Board's website (www.pyriteboard.ie ) provides details of the proposed scheme, including eligibility criteria.

The initial phase of the remediation programme will deal with approximately 1,000 dwellings which, it is estimated, are in need of repair over a two year period. The post-2015 funding position will be dealt with having regard to the position at that time. While it is not possible, at this time, to estimate the number of dwellings that may require remediation post-2015, the considered view is that the numbers will not be as large as previously thought. There are a number of positive indicators that support this view including the number of persons who have registered an interest with the PRB to receive an application form for the proposed scheme which now stands at 700 approximately.

I have always made it clear that I believed that the parties identified in the pyrite report as having a responsibility to provide solutions for affected homeowners should contribute to the resolution of the pyrite problem. Over the past eighteen months or so, I have tried to bring about a resolution of the problem involving those parties; unfortunately, this did not prove possible. However, the PRB will continue to engage with those parties to see what positive contribution they can make to the implementation of the remediation process.

Local Authority Housing Standards

Questions (190)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

190. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Leitrim County Council is failing in its duty of care towards a disabled person (details supplied) in County Leitrim by failing to provide adequate heating facilities which will heat this person’s county council house in a manner which all medical advice prescribes as vital for the person's survival; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45445/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Under my Department's Social Housing Investment Programme, local authorities are allocated funding each year in respect of a range of measures to improve the standard and overall quality of their social housing stock, including the regeneration of large social housing estates and flat complexes, estate-wide remedial works schemes, and funding for extensions and adaptations to meet the needs of tenants with a disability. Funding is also provided by my Department for a programme of works aimed at improving the overall standard and energy efficiency of the housing stock. This year I allocated just over €1.024 million to Leitrim County Council for spending on remedial and retrofitting works to the housing stock.

It is a matter for Leitrim County Council to decide on the appropriate form of heating for the property in question, having regard to the particular needs of the household involved.

Unfinished Housing Developments

Questions (191)

Martin Heydon

Question:

191. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide details of the €10 million fund introduced in budget 2014 for the resolution of issues in unfinished estates where no development bond exists; when he expects it to be functional; the way estates will be chosen to be part of the fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45461/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I intend to develop a fund for the resolution of certain unfinished housing developments that have not been possible to resolve up to this point. The precise criteria under which the fund will be disbursed are currently being developed and will be finalised shortly. However, I envisage that the fund will operate in a carefully targeted and evidence led fashion to aid the resolution of occupied developments and in a way that will stimulate more significant investment by the owners of these developments, including generating additional employment through the resolution works.

Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

Questions (192)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

192. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if persons who voluntarily give up their family home as a consequence of mortgage arrears will be allowed onto their local authority housing list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45462/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

For a household to qualify for social housing support, a housing authority must carry out an assessment to establish whether the household is in need of housing and meet s certain eligibility criteria, including income limits. As part of a concerted effort to deal with the issue of mortgage arrears, the Social Housing Assessment Regulations were amended in 2011 to provide that a household may be determined to be in need of housing if it has a mortgage that is deemed to be unsustainable under the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process.

Research and Development Funding

Questions (193)

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

193. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on the multiple independent procurements of research grant management software by agencies under the control of his Department and the total cost to the taxpayer of these systems; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the same supplier has supplied all but one of these systems and that all are complaint with EU Commission standards on the exchange of research information and are all capable of being integrated into one grant management system as has been done in the United States and the United Kingdom with the consequent savings that produces; the reason despite the existence of a national research platform report, no progress has been made on the implementation of an integrated national research platform; and if his attention has been drawn to the consequent diversion of resources in research bodies HEs and others to the management of these multiple systems and away from the proper good governance of public resources spent on research. [45570/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

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

Registration of Title

Questions (194, 195)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

194. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the average waiting time in the Land Registry from when an application for long possession is received to it being examined and dealt with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45340/13]

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Michelle Mulherin

Question:

195. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of dealings pending in the Land Registry in the various sections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45341/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 194 and 195 together.

Applications under Section 49 of the Registration of Title Act 1964 for registration of title acquired by possession are governed by a detailed and complex area of land law. The title to be shown to allow the registration to proceed must be based on "adverse possession" under the Statute of Limitations Act 1957. The circumstances of each case dictate the nature and the processing time of each individual application. Such applications require careful examination and the exercise of judgement of a high level.

The process involves the issue of notices to any party who may have an interest in the property in respect of which a Section 49 application has been lodged. There will routinely be ongoing and detailed correspondence between the Property Registration Authority and other parties. I am advised by the Authority that by their nature such applications, of necessity, may take a long time to process and it is not therefore possible to give an average turnaround time for these types of cases. However, every effort is made to ensure that unnecessary delay is avoided. I understand that there is currently an arrear of 2,278 of these cases pending. Of these, 1,256 cases have been queried and cannot be proceeded with until a satisfactory response has been received. This leaves a net arrear of 1,022 cases. Where requests are made to expedite cases for particularly urgent reasons, the Authority will always endeavour to deal with such cases promptly.

The Property Registration Authority has a total number of 52,310 dealings on hand on 30 September 2013. This represents a very significant reduction of 76% compared with the highest level of dealings on hand which was recorded at 220,192 in March 2008. The Authority has since this time been engaged in an active arrear clearance programme which, it is envisaged, will be substantially completed in 2014. It is worthy of note that this reduction over a five year period has been brought about whilst the Authority has reduced its cost base by in excess of 33% and its staff levels by 25%.

Of the 52,310 dealings on hand at end September 2013, 12,587 are the subject of queries and cannot be proceeded with until a satisfactory reply has been received. The net arrear at 30 September 2013 was therefore 39,723 cases. A large element of this arrear is comprised of recently received cases and therefore represents the normal expected level of cases pending. During 2012, 75% of all applications for registration lodged that did not involve a change to the map, and were in order for registration, were completed with 10 working days. I am pleased to able to inform the Deputy that the overall level of cases pending, at 52,310 is the lowest level of arrear of cases in the Land Registry since 1997.

Legislative Process

Questions (196)

Robert Troy

Question:

196. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality asked if the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences Against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 require the making of a ministerial order in order to commence; and if such an order has commenced. [45349/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences Against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 was commenced on 1 August 2012 (S.I. 281 of 2012).

Human Trafficking

Questions (197)

Denis Naughten

Question:

197. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda investigations into alleged human trafficking in each year from 2008 and to date in 2013; the number of alleged victims and the number who are children; the number of these investigations that have been completed; the number of alleged victims that have been granted a recovery and reflection period; the number of persons who have been granted a recovery and reflection period since its introduction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45467/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 came into effect on 7 June 2008 and an Anti-Human Trafficking Unit was also established in my Department in that year. Between 7 June and 31 December 2008 36 alleged victims of human trafficking were encountered by An Garda Síochána. No further breakdown of the 2008 figures is available.

On 1 January 2009, the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of my Department initiated a data collection strategy for the purpose of gaining a more in-depth understanding of the nature and extent of human trafficking in Ireland. To date, annual reports for 2009, 2010 and 2011 have been published and are available from Ireland's dedicated anti-human trafficking website, www.blueblindfold.gov.ie, in addition to my Department's website.

For the purposes of clarity the information sought, as outlined in these annual reports, is below. It should be noted that the status of investigations at the end of each year relates to investigations initiated in that year and not to previous years investigations.

Year

Number of Garda Investigations

Number of Alleged Victims

Number of Alleged Victims who are Children

Number of Investigations Completed

2009

68

66

17

13

2010

69

78

19

34

2011

53

57

19

21

2012*

37

48

23

20

2013**

31

31

4

4

* The Annual Report for Trafficking in Human Beings in Ireland for 2012 is currently being finalised and will be published shortly on www.blueblindfold.gov.ie hence the figures for 2012 are preliminary.

** The figures for 2013 relate to the period from 1 January to 30 September 2013 and are also preliminary.

With regard to the recovery and reflection period, this has been granted to a total of 16 persons.

In An Garda Síochána Policing Plan for 2013, one of the eight stated priorities is to prevent and detect Human Trafficking. The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit in my Department and An Garda Síochána are continually vigilant for any emerging trends relating to human trafficking and they maintain regular dialogue on this matter with the relevant State agencies and non-governmental organisations working in this area.