Homeless Persons Data

Questions (776)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

776. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons sleeping rough voluntarily and involuntarily, respectively, in County Kildare in 2016, 2017 and January 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10172/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation and associated services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities. The matter raised by the Deputy is an operational issue in the day-to-day delivery of services and is a matter for Kildare County Council in the first instance.

I understand that the incidence of rough sleeping in Co. Kildare is limited to a small number of individuals with no one sleeping rough due to a lack of available services and when it does occur, housing authority-funded outreach workers will engage with the rough sleeper to encourage them to avail of services including accommodation. The local Homeless Action Team also meets on a regular basis to consider the accommodation needs and support requirements of those homeless in Kildare. The Housing Action Team includes participants from the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection, the Probation Services, the Health Service Executive’s mental health service and addiction service, service providers and housing authority staff.

Traveller Accommodation

Questions (777)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

777. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount of funding allocated and drawn down by all local authorities for Traveller accommodation in 2017, in tabular form. [10173/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes, TAPs, in their areas. My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding.

The allocations and recoupment profiles for capital Traveller accommodation projects can vary across local authorities given the local priorities, circumstances and project timelines as set out in the TAPs. Local authorities adopted the fourth and current round of TAPs in April 2014, with the five-year rolling programmes running from 2014 to 2018. These programmes provide a road map for local authority investment priorities over the period. They also form the basis for the allocation of funding from my Department for Traveller accommodation.

The table below sets out the allocation versus drawdown by county in 2017.

LOCAL AUTHORITY

ALLOCATION

DRAWDOWN

Carlow County Council

€207,905

€71,450

Cavan County Council

€13,729

€13,729

Clare County Council

€169,194

€42,444

Cork City Council

€1,108,344

€97,000

Cork County Council

€110,000

€93,156

Donegal County Council

€147,612

€15,100

Dublin City Council

€414,829

€734,209

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council

€1,500,000

€1,857,313

Fingal County Council

€26,847

€17,420

South Dublin County Council

€1,024,289

€0

Galway City Council

€209,000

€95,102

Galway County Council

€625,000

€0

Kerry County Council

€28,566

€28,566

Kildare County Council

€80,000

€0

Kilkenny County Council

€582,162

€563,040

Laois County Council

€0

€0

Leitrim County Council

€98,875

€59,933

Limerick City & County Council

€69,576

€219,918

Longford County Council

€2,922

€0

Louth County Council

€237,087

€220,048

Mayo County Council

€0

€0

Meath County Council

€129,000

€5,750

Monaghan County Council

€0

€0

Offaly County Council

€847,917

€101,616

Roscommon County Council

€52,617

€123,191

Sligo County Council

€161,249

€9,931

Tipperary County Council

€327,492

€399,337

Waterford City & County Council

€545,000

€22,610

Westmeath County Council

€0

€0

Wexford County Council

€6,880

€0

Wicklow County Council

€52,648

€43,773

SUB TOTAL

€8,778,742

€4,834,636

RESERVE

€221,258

TOTAL ALLOCATION

€9,000,000

€4,834,636

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Questions (778)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

778. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of housing assistance payment, HAP inspections undertaken to date; the number outstanding beyond the eight month deadline, by local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10174/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017, made under section 18 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. All landlords, including those in receipt of Housing Assistance Payment, HAP, have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with these regulations and responsibility for the enforcement of the regulations rests with the relevant local authority.

HAP is underpinned by the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014. Under section 41 of the 2014 Act, local authorities are required to commence the inspection process within 8 months of the commencement of HAP support being provided in relation to a particular dwelling if not already inspected within the previous 12 months. HAP may be provided on a property which is the subject of a subsisting improvement notice under section 18A of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. HAP shall not be, or shall cease to be, provided on a property which is the subject of proceedings or a prohibition notice under section 18B of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. Where a prohibition notice has come into effect, HAP may continue to be paid for 13 weeks from the date of HAP commencing or the notice coming into force, as appropriate.

Following the completion of the statutory phased roll-out of the HAP scheme in March 2017, the HAP Shared Services Centre, SSC, which provides a central transactional service for all local authorities and is operated by Limerick City and County Council, updated the ICT system used for HAP supported tenancies in order to assist local authorities in recording their compliance with their legislative obligations in 2017. Local authorities are currently recording inspection activity across a range of data systems, and the SSC is working closely with local authorities to ensure that data in relation to HAP related inspections is recorded on the new HAP module. This involves the migration of some historic data and the refinement of existing data management practices to ensure that overall, the data is being managed efficiently. I have asked local authorities and the SSC to prioritise this piece of work, and I expect the use of the HAP specific reporting module, and the work to align it with the other reporting systems, will be completed speedily.

Data in relation to all private rental inspections carried out by local authorities is available on my Department's website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/house-building-and-private-rented/private-housing-market-statistics .

Rental Sector Strategy

Questions (779)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

779. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of meetings a working group (details supplied) held; the dates of these meetings; the composition of the delegation from his Department; the progress of the report that was promised in quarter one, 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10178/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The appointment of a receiver to a dwelling can cause confusion and distress to tenants and, in circumstances where a receiver is appointed to a rented dwelling, it is essential that the rights of tenants are protected.

Under Action 5 of the Strategy for the Rental Sector , my Department has established a working group with the participation of the Departments of Justice & Equality; Finance; and Business, Enterprise and Innovation, to examine the scope for amending legislation to provide for greater protection of tenants’ rights during the receivership process.

The objective is to protect the rights of tenants during the receivership process by ensuring that persons appointed as receivers will be required to fulfil the obligations of a landlord. To inform its work, the working group has sought legal opinion on the feasibility of amending legislation to provide greater protection of tenants’ rights during the receivership process. The working group expects to finalise its report shortly.

The working group has met on three occasions to date: 23 February, 23 March and 11 October 2017. An assistant secretary from my Department's housing division chaired the first meeting of the working group and my Department has subsequently been represented at principal officer level.

Housing Policy

Questions (780)

Joan Collins

Question:

780. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to support families who may potentially lose their family home (details supplied). [10181/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

My focus, and that of the Government, is to ensure that as many households as possible remain in their homes and in this regard, a range of measures are currently being implemented across Government Departments and agencies. These actions are focused on encouraging those in mortgage distress who have not been able to engage, to reach a long term debt resolution and avoid repossession if possible.

One of the measures that has been introduced is a national mortgage arrears resolution service, known as Abhaile, which is provided free of charge to the borrower and its aim is to help mortgage holders in arrears to find the best solutions and keep them, wherever possible, in their own homes. The unique element of Abhaile is that it brings together, for the first time, the full range of supports and services required by borrowers in home mortgage arrears. The Money Advice & Budgetary Service, MABS, acts as the gateway for the service and can be contacted by telephoning 0761072000 or by accessing their website at the following link www.mabs.ie/abhaile

The mortgage to rent, MTR, scheme introduced in 2012 and administered by the Housing Agency on behalf of my Department is targeted at those households in arrears who are eligible for social housing support, whose mortgage is unsustainable. Under the scheme an eligible household with an unsustainable mortgage goes from being a homeowner to becoming a social housing tenant of an approved housing body, AHB. The borrower voluntarily surrenders their property to their lender who in turn sells the property to an AHB. The AHB becomes the landlord and the household gets to remain in the family home as social housing tenants. The tenants pay a differential rent to the AHB, based on their income, which is designed to be affordable. The MTR scheme is an established part of the overall suite of social housing options and an important part of the mortgage arrears resolution process.

A review of the mortgage to rent, MTR, scheme, published on 8 February 2017, introduced a range of amendments to the eligibility criteria and administration of the MTR scheme in order for it to work better for borrowers. The review, available at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/changes-in-mortgage-to-rent-scheme/ , explored the avenues and impediments to participation in the scheme and recommended a number of actions to make the scheme work better for borrowers. My Department and the Housing Agency are working with all stakeholders to ensure that the actions set out in the review are being effectively implemented to benefit a greater number of households. I am providing an additional €5 million for the MTR scheme in 2018, which will support at least 250 additional MTR cases to be completed by AHBs working together with lenders using the MTR scheme.

The MTR Review also concluded that the current financial model of the scheme may not, in its current configuration, be capable of delivering the scale of successful cases that could benefit from the scheme over time. In order to test the operability of alternative funding models for the scheme, the Housing Agency has been working with a number of financial entities who have expressed an interest in working with the MTR scheme to progress a number of alternative long-term lease arrangements. A call for expressions of interest from bodies interested in pursuing pilot operating models was initiated by the Housing Agency on 26 October 2017. The Housing Agency is currently reviewing the submissions received and will make recommendations to my Department as to the make-up of the pilots, which can then be initiated.

For those borrowers in danger of losing their home who are ineligible for the MTR scheme but qualify for social housing support, it is recommended that they engage as early as possible with their local authority regarding their housing needs. A household may be determined by their housing authority to be in need of housing if it has a mortgage that is deemed to be unsustainable under the mortgage arrears resolution process, MARP, even though the household may, at that time, remain the legal owners of the dwelling concerned. Any household assessed as eligible for social housing support is immediately eligible for support through the housing assistance payment, HAP, scheme. Once a household has been deemed eligible for social housing support, it is a matter for the local authority to examine the suite of social housing supports available, including the HAP scheme, to determine the most appropriate form of social housing support for that household in the administrative area of that local authority.

National Monuments

Questions (781)

James Browne

Question:

781. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the details of all national monuments in County Wexford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9586/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Details of national monuments in County Wexford that are in my ownership or guardianship, as Minister, under the National Monuments Acts are set out in the following table. The care and maintenance of these monuments is the responsibility of the Office of Public Works.

Information on monuments in the care of the local authorities is not held by my Department.

NATIONAL MONUMENT

DESCRIPTION

Ballyhack

Castle

Ballymoty

Motte

Clone

Church

Coolhull

Fortified House

Dunbrody

Abbey (Cistercian)

Duncannon

Artillery Fort

Ferns

Church

Ferns

Priory (Augustinian)

Ferns

Cathedral and Crosses

Ferns

Castle

New Ross

Church

Rathmackee

Castle

Rathumney

Castle

Slade

Castle

Tacumshane

Windmill

Tintern

Abbey (Cistercian), Church & bridge

Vinegar Hill

Windmill

Wexford town

Priory Church (Augustinian)

Architectural Heritage

Questions (782)

Catherine Martin

Question:

782. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the policy on architecture expired over two years ago; her plans to replace it; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10065/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The Government policy on architecture 2009 to 2015 placed an emphasis on sustainable development of the environment and urban design, incorporating architectural heritage in a holistic integrated manner, and supporting high quality modern architecture.

The 45 actions set out in the Government policy on architecture covered a broad spectrum and involved many participants in addition to Government Departments and State agencies. My Department produced three biennial reports which sets out the actions successfully concluded and projects funded.

In 2016, my Department initiated a stock-taking exercise on actions completed to date to inform a review on the renewal of the policy.

This review was advanced more in mid-2017 via the Government policy on architecture advisory committee, GPAAC, which is representative of all key stakeholders in the policy and a colloquium was hosted by the Department in July 2017 which reviewed actions concluded to date by specific stakeholders. An orientation paper for public consultation will issue in mid-2018 and the target date to complete an updated policy is early 2019, subject to Government approval.

Arts in Education Charter

Questions (783)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

783. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of the appointment of a chair of the implementation group of arts in education charter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9276/18]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Creative youth was published and launched in December 2017. This plan is building on and broadening the great work which was already well underway regarding the arts in education charter. The charter, launched in 2013, is a joint initiative of the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht working in association with the Arts Council to promote arts in education.

The first stage of implementation of creative youth, which is a five-year programme, involves a series of key actions for 2018 to 2019. We are working with Department of Education and Skills, Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Arts Council to progress these actions over the next two years.

One of the key actions within creative youth is to support the actions within the arts in education charter and drive their implementation and all partners will work together to achieve this.

Consideration is currently being given to the place of the charter implementation group, and the appointment of a new chair, in the wider context of the creative youth programme and the appropriate oversight mechanism for delivery of that programme. This will be addressed in the coming weeks.

Freedom of Information Data

Questions (784)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

784. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of freedom of information requests her Department has received in the past eight years; the number of which were accepted without further escalation and not accepted respectively; the number requested which were not accepted that were escalated to the Information Commissioner; the number of which the Information Commissioner ruled in favour of the person requesting the freedom of information; the number of which the Information Commissioner ruled against her Department; the number her Department appealed to the High Court; the number the High Court ruled against her Department in favour of the applicant; the number which were then brought to the Court of Appeal by her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9300/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of the period since the establishment of my Department on 2 June 2011 is set out in the following table.

Year

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Total number of requests received

27

69

56

84

163

169

158

Number of Requests Responded to in accordance with FOI Act

25

51

47

63

142

132

131

Requests withdrawn by Requester or handled outside FOI by agreement with Requester

2

18

9

21

21

37

27

Requests appealed to the OIC 

0

0

1

1

2

4

5

The Office of the Information Commissioner has, following review, annulled one departmental decision and varied two other decisions in the period 2011 to 2017. I am advised that my Department has not appealed any decisions of the Office of the Information Commissioner to the High Court during the period in question.

National Monuments

Questions (785)

James Browne

Question:

785. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to address the need for repairs at a medieval castle and graveyard (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9420/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

I understand that the monument in question is included in the record of monuments and places under Section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1984. It is vested in the local authority which, accordingly, has responsibility for its repair and maintenance.

My Department has been in contact with representatives of the local authority and local community in relation to proposed works at the site. Both have been informed that, under section 12, a formal notification and detailed particulars of the works must be submitted to the Department in advance. I am advised that no such submission has yet been received. 

Financial assistance is provided by my Department for conservation works to heritage buildings under structures at risk fund and the built heritage investment scheme, which are operated through the local authorities. Both schemes have now closed for 2018 but it is open to the local authority to discuss the possibility of funding in the future with officials from my Department.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (786)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

786. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her Department's capital allocation in each of the years 2018 to 2022; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each of those years. [9515/18]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Project Ireland 2040 - the National Planning Framework and associated ten year National Development Plan - explicitly recognises that our culture, language and heritage are an essential part of the sustainable development of the country and makes provision for a €1 billion investment in these sectors over the 10 years of the plan.  This is in addition to an investment of €178 million in the Irish language and in our Gaeltacht and Island communities. 

For the first five years of the NDP, the annual allocation to support my Department’s investment programme will be, as follows:

- €54 million in 2018;

- €75 million in 2019;

- €76 million in 2020;

- €80 million in 2021; and

- €110 million in 2022.

The uses to which the 2018 allocations are being applied is published in the Revised Estimates Volume for this year at www.per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/REV-2018-compressed.pdf. This detail of our annual allocations set out in the NDP provides the necessary clarity to allow for the scheduling of delivery of projects and programmes in accordance with the outcome of an appraisal and planning phase which will inform the further breakdown of these allocations in subsequent years.

National Parks and Wildlife Service Data

Questions (787)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

787. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of staff in the National Parks and Wildlife Service; the numbers involved in monitoring coursing meetings; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9585/18]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I am advised that, of my Department's total staff, 325 work in the National Parks and Wildlife Service, NPWS. In addition, my Department takes on approximately 70 seasonal staff at the National Parks during the busy tourist season.

Officials of my Department monitor compliance with the Wildlife Acts across the country on an ongoing basis and carry out patrols and site visits to enforce the various provisions of the Acts, as required. As well as more senior regionally based officers, there are 72 conservation rangers stationed around the country who deal with enforcement matters under the Wildlife Acts. Where resources allow, local NPWS conservation rangers attend coursing meetings on a spot check basis, to monitor compliance with licences issued to the Irish Coursing Club and its affiliated clubs. It is my understanding that some twenty six coursing events have been monitored by officials of my Department to date during the current 2017/18 season. In the 2016/2017 season there were a total of 17 coursing events monitored by my Department.