Home Loan Scheme

Questions (621)

Catherine Martin

Question:

621. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 127 of 12 March 2019, when the internal review of the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme will be complete; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16231/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme was launched in February last year to replace the existing House Purchase and the Home Choice Loan schemes. Towards the end of the year I asked my Department to undertake a review of its operation.

In carrying out the review, the Department has consulted with a number of local authorities, the Housing Agency and the Housing Finance Agency. The review also has regard to the views raised by public representatives since the scheme's commencement.  However, in making any recommendations in relation to the operation of the scheme, it also takes account of the need to ensure that lending issued under it is provided on a prudential basis, so as to protect the financial interests of the borrowers and the local authorities.    

The review has been submitted to me and I am currently examining it with a view to publishing it shortly.

Home Loan Scheme

Questions (622)

Catherine Martin

Question:

622. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the councils which have used all funding available to them under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in tabular form; if further funding will be made available to those councils; if so, when funding will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16232/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan was launched on 1 February 2018 to replace the existing House Purchase and Home Choice Loan schemes, providing a new line of mortgage finance, including fixed rates over 25 to 30 years, to creditworthy first-time buyers who cannot access sufficient mortgage finance from commercial lenders.  

The HFA borrowed €200 million to fund the scheme, and it was estimated that the drawdown would be approximately €200 million over three years.  Some criticism at the time was that insufficient loans were being approved and drawn down. However, as Minister I had made a commitment to seek further funding at an early stage, if necessary, given my belief in the scheme's potential.

The scheme has been more successful than anticipated, and by the end of January, €106m had been drawn down, accounting for 53% of the available funding, at a point at which €66m would have been more consistent with the expectation of a three year draw down period.  By the end of March, draw downs have reached €127m.

As a result, to date, a number of local authorities have issued loans to a level, which has used up their approved allocations for the scheme. These are Cork County Council, Fingal County Council, Meath County Council, Wicklow County Council and Waterford City & County Council.

My officials kept me informed regarding progress on the loan on a regular basis, and have been engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform since October 2018 when higher lending and drawdown volumes were beginning to materialise.

I informed the Dáil on 29 January 2019 of the scheme’s success and of the need for additional funding, and further indicated that my Department was in discussions with the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform and Finance with regard to the allocation for 2019.  Local authorities could continue to accept applications as the total funding had not been drawn down.  A meeting with the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform took place on 5 March 2019.

Ongoing discussions between the three Departments have included consultation with the Central Bank as recently as last Friday, 5 April.  When these discussions have concluded, I will be in a position to confirm the level of allocation for 2019.  In the meantime, the scheme remains open and all local authorities have been advised to continue to receive and process applications.

Local Government Audit Service

Questions (623, 624)

Clare Daly

Question:

623. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to a discrepancy (details supplied); the reason for same; if the figures as contained in the value for money unit Local Government Audit Service report are accurate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16279/19]

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Clare Daly

Question:

624. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to a discrepancy (details supplied); the reason for same; if the figures as contained in the value for money unit Local Government Audit Service report are accurate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16327/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 623 and 624 together.

The Local Government Audit Service (LGAS) is statutorily responsible for providing a professional audit service to local authorities, including conducting external audits of local authorities and giving an audit opinion on the annual financial statements.  

The Local Government Audit Service (LGAS) value for money (VFM) unit carries out VFM studies on local authority operations, with a view to identifying best practice and recommending ways of improving existing procedures, practices and systems and thereby promoting efficiency and cost effectiveness. This work has focused on undertaking national studies of single issue topics and publishing reports thereon. 

 The LGAS VFM Unit published a Report entitled, An Overview of Commercial Rates in Local Authorities, in December 2018. In Appendix 2 of the Report - Analysis of Rates per Appendix 7 2016 - the figure included in the table in respect of Sligo County Council, in the column entitled "write offs and waivers" was €596,089. In Appendix 3 of the Report - Analysis of Rates per Appendix 7 2017 - the figure included in respect of Sligo County Council in the column entitled "write offs and waivers" was €554,075. 

I understand, that in respect of the 2016 and 2017 figures quoted in the VFM Unit Report, they correspond to the equivalent figures from the annual LGAS audits of Sligo County Council.

I am not in a position to comment on the figures referred to which it is suggested were provided by Sligo County Council officials to elected members of the Council, which may be followed up directly with the local authority itself.

Water Services Infrastructure

Questions (625)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

625. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding a new water treatment plant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16367/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to recent Parliamentary Question No 1389 of 26 March 2019 on this matter;

On 12 March 2019, I received a statement of case from Sligo County Council that Imperative Reasons for Overriding Public interest (IROPI) exist in respect of a planning application for the upgrade to the existing water treatment plant at Lough Talt, County Sligo. The statement of case submitted by Sligo County Council pursuant to Section 177AA of the Planning and Development Act 2000 relates to a planning application which was received by Sligo County Council on 28 May 2018 (Sligo County Council planning application details ref: 18210).  

In accordance with Section 177AB of the Planning and Development Act 2000, I requested the views of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on 14 March 2019 in respect of this matter. The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht subsequently responded to my request. Her views were received on 2 April and are currently under consideration.

There is no specified timeframe under the relevant legislation for either Minister as part of the IROPI process, other than to carry out their respective functions as soon as possible. While I cannot provide an indicative timeframe for the completion of this process at this time, the matter will be concluded without undue delay.

Referendum Campaigns

Questions (626)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

626. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans for implementing the outstanding recommendations from the Citizens' Assembly. [14251/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly in relation to 'the manner in which referenda are held' are currently under consideration in my Department. When that analysis is completed I will bring the matter to Government with a view to the Government responding to the Houses of the Oireachtas in relation the recommendations concerned.

If a recommendation is being accepted, the response to the Houses of the Oireachtas will indicate the timeframe envisaged for the holding of any related referendum.

Local Authority Funding

Questions (627)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

627. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the funding applied for by Wicklow County Council to facilitate the transfer of residents from one area to another (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15748/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

A proposal was received from Wicklow County Council, on behalf of an AHB, for the acquisition and adaptation of the property in question, in June 2017 and my Department responded in July 2017, requesting that the acquisition and adaptation of the property be pursued at a more reasonable level of costs.

I understand that, subsequently, the AHB proceeded with the acquisition of the property and made a further proposal at a cost level greater than that which they had originally submitted and considerably out of line with my Department's response of July 2017.  Following further contacts with the local authority and the AHB, additional information has been received on the proposal in recent days, which is now being considered by my Department.

Rents Data

Questions (628)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

628. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on reports from an organisation (details supplied) that 10% of households here in the private rented sector are paying more than 60% of their income on rent with 5% paying 75% of their income on rent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16430/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

There are continuous upward pressures on the private rental market due to our strong economic and demographic growth and the restricted supply available.  Affordability remains a significant issue in the rental market. 

The findings presented in the report referred to acknowledge that Ireland’s performance in terms of high housing costs for market renters compares favourably to the European average. The report does not disaggregate the position of low income market renters. However, my Department’s own research does and indicates that in 2016 households in the market rental sector in the lowest 25% of the income distribution typically paid 40% of their disposable income on housing costs.

Ultimately, the most effective way to reduce and stabilise rents in the medium to long term, with benefits for the entire sector, is to increase supply and accelerate delivery of housing for the private and social rental sectors.

The policy recommendations made by the EU Urban Agenda Housing Partnership, and echoed by Social Justice Ireland in its Spring 2019 publication, are largely in line with my Department’s policies, such as to increase the supply of social and affordable housing, tackle vacancy and voids, and invest in affordable housing across tenures, including cost rental. 

The ongoing efforts by my Department, relevant agencies, local authorities, Approved Housing Bodies and other stakeholders to deliver on the goals of Rebuilding Ireland is bearing fruit, but we will not become complacent and will continue to work together to tackle the issue of housing supply. 

The Government's Strategy for the Rental Sector outlines a range of measures for a viable and sustainable rental sector, structured around four key areas: security, supply, standards and services.

Arising from the publication of the Strategy, a number of targeted measures and initiatives were announced with the aim of providing better security of tenure, higher accommodation standards and greater rent certainty for tenants, as well as enhancing the supports and services available to landlords to facilitate the development of a more vibrant and sustainable rental sector. 

The initiatives which have since been implemented include the introduction of the Rent Predictability Measure to moderate rent increases in those parts of the country where rents are highest and rising resulting in great difficulty for households finding affordable accommodation.  In Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs), rents can only increase by a maximum of 4% annually. The measure applies to new and existing tenancies, when rents are set at the start of a tenancy and when rents are set in a rent review during an ongoing tenancy or new tenancy, unless otherwise exempted.

The RTB Rent Index Report includes a summary in Table 9 of the data used to establish whether each Local Electoral Area fulfils the criteria for designation as a Rent Pressure Zone. This ensures transparency in relation to the position of individual areas in terms of average rent levels and increases.

Further information on Rent Pressure Zones and designations is available on my Department's website at https://www.housing.gov.ie/PUBLICATIONS, by searching 'rent pressure zones - information'.

Traveller Accommodation

Questions (629)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

629. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the work of the National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee and the independent expert group established to examine and make recommendations on issues regarding Traveller accommodation policy, strategy and implementation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16505/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee (NTACC) was established under the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998 to advise the Minister in relation to Traveller accommodation issues generally.

In line with the commitment in Rebuilding Ireland, and reflecting the disappointing level of overall funding drawdown in recent years, the Housing Agency, in 2017, commissioned a review of funding for Traveller-specific accommodation.  Following its consideration of the review, the National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee recommended that an independent expert group be established to examine and make recommendations on issues regarding Traveller accommodation policy, strategy and implementation.  My Department established an Expert Group in September 2018, which  has been tasked with reviewing the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998 and all other legislation that affects the delivery of Traveller Accommodation.  I have asked the Expert Group to bring forward recommendations that will improve the delivery of Traveller accommodation nationally.  I understand that the Group will submit its report shortly.

My Department will consider any recommendations made by the Expert Group that improve the delivery of Traveller accommodation nationally and help to ensure that full use is made of the increasing level of funding available for investment in Traveller accommodation.

Local Authority Housing Data

Questions (630, 631)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

630. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average cost of one, two, three and four bedroom local authority new build apartments on the basis of costings submitted by local authorities over the past 12 months; the details of all costs and construction only costs; and the itemised costed list of the individual non-construction costs for each unit size. [16508/19]

View answer

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

631. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average cost of one, two, three and four bedroomed local authority new build units on the basis of costings submitted by local authorities over the past 12 months; the details of all in costs and construction only costs; and the itemised costed list of the individual non-construction costs for each unit size. [16509/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 630 and 631 together.

The information sought in relation to average construction costs for social housing is currently being updated within my Department and will be provided to the Deputy in accordance with Standing Orders.

Social and Affordable Housing Expenditure

Questions (632)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

632. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount spent on local authority second-hand house acquisitions and approved housing body acquisitions in 2018 by local authority; and the amount spent on upgrading and repairing these homes. [16535/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Details of the funding provided to each local authority in 2018 in respect of social housing acquisition programmes is set out in the following table.  The figures include the funding provided for social housing acquisitions by approved housing bodies, which is provided directly to the local authorities by my Department who, in turn, advance the funding to the approved housing bodies, as appropriate. The funding details are inclusive of any necessary repair and refurbishments works carried out.

 

 Local Authority

2018   Expenditure

€m

Carlow

7.41

Cavan

4.41

Clare

15.84

Cork City

17.01

Cork County

14.22

Donegal

6.73

Dun Laoghaire   Rathdown

7.27

Dublin City

101.54

Fingal

32.94

Galway City

3.79

Galway County

3.92

Kerry

11.39

Kildare

41.95

Kilkenny

14.52

Laois

3.54

Leitrim

2.24

Limerick

13.15

Longford

2.45

Louth

4.08

Mayo

1.2

Meath

12.36

Monaghan

3.77

Offaly

6.08

Roscommon

2.22

Sligo

2.41

South Dublin

20.03

Tipperary

20.22

Waterford

6.23

Westmeath

5.24

Wexford

19.97

Wicklow

8.4

Total

416.53

Social and Affordable Housing Expenditure

Questions (633)

Catherine Martin

Question:

633. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the spend on housing units under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 for 2017 and 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16538/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Social Housing Capital Investment Programme (SHCIP) is the funding mechanism used to deliver direct local authority Part V homes.  The Part V related expenditure under that programme in 2017 was €9.9m, with expenditure of €49.3m in 2018.  It should be noted that the delivery of homes does not always arise in the same year as expenditure being incurred and schemes delivered under phased programmes may cross a number of payment periods.  An analysis of Part V homes delivered under the SHCIP in 2017 indicates an average cost of approximately €194,500.

In addition to homes delivered directly to local authorities, Part V homes are also funded under Approved Housing Body (AHB) funding programmes, including the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) and the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS).  It is not be possible to disaggregate overall expenditure under these programmes in a particular calendar period into Part V and non-Part V elements as, for AHB-led programmes, Part V homes are frequently delivered as part of larger schemes on single contracts, and recoupments from local authorities do not disaggregate the Part V related elements.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Questions (634)

James Browne

Question:

634. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position regarding the maximum size of new social housing estates; if a previous maximum of 75 dwelling units remains in place; if this limit applies to local authority developments and voluntary housing bodies; his views regarding an application (details supplied) for a development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16572/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

As housing authorities, local authorities are responsible for the identification of the social housing need in their area, for the development of appropriate responses to the need identified, and to create and support sustainable communities.  My Department is supporting local authorities and approved housing bodies (AHBs) in the provision of social housing across build, lease and acquisition funding programmes.  

There is no prescribed maximum scale or size for new social housing development. In all cases, whether a new housing project is being developed by a local authority or an AHB, the scale and approach to the development is dependent on the precise circumstances and location of the project.  For example, proximity to a range of services is an important factor is assessing the suitable scale of a new development. In every case, it is the local authority that determines this suitability. Furthermore, as part of my Department's funding programmes' approval processes, local authorities are required to confirm in respect of every application, including relating to AHBs projects, that they are satisfied that the project is appropriate to the local area and supports sustainable communities objectives.

In relation to the specific development referred to by the Deputy, I can confirm that my Department has not received a funding proposal in respect of such a project from either the local authority or an AHB. 

Housing Assistance Payment Administration

Questions (635)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

635. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average waiting time for completion of HAP application processing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16601/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Limerick City and County Council provide a highly effective transactional shared service on behalf of all local authorities in the administration of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme. The HAP Shared Services Centre (SSC) manages all HAP related rental transactions for the tenant, local authority and landlord. Once a HAP application has been received and confirmed as valid by the relevant local authority, it is then processed by the HAP SSC. On average, HAP applications are processed by the SSC within 2 working days of receipt. Any rental payment arising for a given month will then be made to a landlord on the last Wednesday of that month.

At the end of Quarter 4 2018, there were over 43,400 households having their housing needs met via HAP and over 25,000 landlords and agents in receipt of monthly HAP payments.

Social and Affordable Housing Applications Data

Questions (636)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

636. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average waiting time for completion of social housing support application processing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16602/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department does not hold the information requested.

Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority who are solely responsible for the processing of such applications, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended.

Regulation 12 of the 2011 Regulations prescribes the timescales for the processing of applications by local authorities and provides that, subject to conditions, a local authority shall deal with an application within a period of 12 weeks. Local authorities will prioritise housing needs assessments for those in greatest need and ensure that such applications are dealt with within timeframes that are significantly shorter that the statutory maximum.

Rent Pressure Zones

Questions (637)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

637. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason the rent pressure zone in the eastern part of Limerick city has not been extended to other parts of Limerick; if the matter is being given consideration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16624/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Strategy for the Rental Sector, published in December 2016, introduced the Rent Predictability Measure to moderate rent increases in those parts of the country where rents are highest and rising, resulting in great difficulty for households finding affordable accommodation.  In Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs), rents can only increase by a maximum of 4% annually. The measure applies to new and existing tenancies, when rents are set at the start of a tenancy and when rents are set in a rent review during an ongoing tenancy or new tenancy, unless otherwise exempted.

 Section 24A of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, as amended, provides that the Housing Agency, in consultation with housing authorities, may make a proposal to the Minister that an area should be considered for designation as a Rent Pressure Zone.  Following receipt of such a proposal, the Minister requests the Director of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to conduct an assessment of the area to establish whether or not it meets the criteria for designation and to report to the Minister on whether the area should be designated as a Rent Pressure Zone. For the purpose of the Act, ‘area’ is defined as either the administrative area of a housing authority or a local electoral area within the meaning of section 2 of the Local Government Act 2001.

For an area to be designated a Rent Pressure Zone, it must satisfy the following criteria set out in section 24A(4) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (as inserted by section 36 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016):

(i) the annual rate of rent inflation in the area must have been 7% or more in four of the last six quarters; and

(ii) the average rent for tenancies registered in the area with the RTB in the last quarter must be above the average national rent (the National Standardised Rent in the RTB’s Rent Index Report) in the last quarter (€1,134 per month in Q4 2018).

The RTB Rent Index Report includes a summary in Table 9 of the data used to establish whether each Local Electoral Area fulfils the criteria for designation as a Rent Pressure Zone. This ensures transparency in relation to the position of individual areas in terms of average rent levels and increases.

Further information on Rent Pressure Zones and designations is available on my Department's website at https://www.housing.gov.ie/PUBLICATIONS, by searching 'rent pressure zones - information'.

The most recent average national rent available for this purpose is taken from the Q4 2018 RTB Rent Index Report which records an average national rent of €1,134. 

Five of the six Local Electoral Areas (LEA’s) in Limerick do not currently fulfil the RPZ designation criteria under the legislation as the average rent in each is below the National Standardised Rent of €1,134. Limerick City East does satisfy the criteria and, accordingly, on 27 March 2019, I announced the designation of that area as a Rent Pressure Zone with effect from 28 March 2019.

The data from the Q4 2018 Rent Index Report relating to the six LEA’s located in Limerick is set out in the following table.

 

Local   Electoral   Area  

Quarters > 7%

Average 2018 Q4 (€)

Newcastle West

4

546.25

Adare – Rathkeale

*

*

Cappamore – Killmallock

3

723.50

Limerick City West

4

1054.14

Limerick City North

4

961.11

Limerick City East

6

1134.45

Notes: * indicates that rents in areas with less than 30 observations are not published for statistical reasons.

The Housing Agency continues to monitor the market with a view to making recommendations for further areas to be considered for designation as rent pressure zones, as required. Following the recent designation of Limerick City East and Navan, over 55% of tenancies nationally are now located in rent pressure zones.

Local Authority Funding

Questions (638)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

638. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when a decision will be made on an application for funding towards an extension to a council property submitted by Galway City Council (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16662/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Local authorities, including Galway City Council, have submitted to my Department details of their work proposals and related funding requirements for the Disabled Persons Grants scheme for 2019. I understand that the property referred to is part of Galway City Council's overall proposal.

The headline funding requirements of all local authorities, including Galway City Council, are now being assessed in the context of the available national funding and allocations will be confirmed shortly. Once allocations issue, it will be for the Council to determine the projects that they prioritise and fund.  My Department would only be involved again with a limited number of high cost projects, where a brief technical and value-for-money review is carried out.  Otherwise, it is for the local authorities themselves to implement the projects in conjunction with their tenants.

Ahead of full year 2019 allocations, local authorities had already been notified to proceed with works of a value of up to 65% of their 2018 allocation. This allows them to plan and progress works under the scheme and to avoid delays for priority and urgent cases.

Energy Efficiency

Questions (639, 640, 641, 642, 643)

John Curran

Question:

639. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the funding allocation under the energy efficiency retrofitting programme launched in 2013 in each of the years 2013 to 2018 to improve the insulation standards and overall energy performance of local authority social housing stock; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16687/19]

View answer

John Curran

Question:

640. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the level of funding allocated for 2019 under the energy efficiency retrofitting programme to improve the insulation standards and overall energy performance of local authority social housing stock; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16688/19]

View answer

John Curran

Question:

641. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to enhance the energy efficiency retrofitting programme in order to ensure more social houses improve their insulation standards and overall energy performance in each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16689/19]

View answer

John Curran

Question:

642. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the maximum funding per dwelling provided under the energy efficiency retrofitting programme since its launch in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16690/19]

View answer

John Curran

Question:

643. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the energy efficiency retrofitting programme is open to local authorities for 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16691/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 639 to 643, inclusive, together.

Local authorities have been undertaking an ambitious programme of insulation retrofitting on the least energy efficient social housing homes since 2013, with funding support from my Department. Over €128 million of exchequer support has been provided for this work to end-2018, which has improved the energy efficiency and comfort levels in over 68,000 local authority homes, benefitting those at risk of fuel poverty and making a significant contribution to Ireland’s carbon emissions reduction and energy reduction targets. An annual breakdown of the funding provided is set out in the Table.

The retrofitting programme is being implemented in a number of phases; Phase 1 commenced in 2013 and focused on providing attic/roof insulation and the less intrusive cavity wall insulation in all relevant properties, while Phase 2 will focus on the external fabric upgrade of those social housing units with solid/hollow block wall construction and will also include the provision of heating upgrades. The maximum grant available under Phase 1 was €3,500 per property, while the maximum grant available under Phase 2 will be €22,800 per property.

For 2019, the programme has an allocated exchequer budget of €25 million. My Department has requested all local authorities to submit proposed programmes of activity for the year and those received so far are now being assessed in terms of an equitable allocation to all local authorities within the exchequer funding available.

Year

Funding drawn down

2013

€26,951,705

2014

€30,723,748

2015

€26,903,781

2016

€22,532,835

2017

€8,665,268

2018

€12,942,633