I propose to take Questions Nos. 40, 47, 74 and 93 together.
When the Rebuilding Ireland home loan was initially being developed, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans under the scheme would be approximately €200 million over three years. From the data collated on the scheme to date, the home loan has proven to be more successful than initially anticipated, as a result of which the scheme requires a further tranche of funds to be borrowed by the Housing Finance Agency in order to enable its continuation.
My Department is currently in discussions with the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform and Finance about this amount, which I anticipate will be finalised very soon. As I said in response to an earlier question, I hope to finalise that amount this week.
I will be in a position to make an announcement on the matter when the discussions are concluded. Ahead of such announcement, the operation of the scheme is not affected. The scheme remains open and all local authorities have been advised to continue to receive and process applications up to and including the issuing of loans.
The Housing Agency, which provides a central support service to assess loan applications, has confirmed that 4,193 applications were assessed up to the end of May 2019, of which 2,153 or 51% were recommended for approval. The latest information indicates that 823 loans totalling some €139.9 million had been drawn down at end March 2019. Funding is still available in the first tranche that was originally borrowed by the Housing Finance Agency more than two years ago.
My Department continues to publish information on the overall number and value of each local authority loan approval and local authority loan drawdown on a quarterly basis. Information for the first quarter of this year will be published on my Department's website today and will show that in that period 280 loans, amounting to €47.7 million, were drawn down and a further 270 loans, amounting to €46 million, were approved. This information will continue to be updated and published on a quarterly basis as additional data are compiled.