Questions Nos. 749 to 751, inclusive, answered with Question No. 734.

Local Authority Housing Data

Questions (752)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

752. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of local authority-owned houses that are vacant for periods (details supplied) in each of the years 1 June 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [26444/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Local authorities are responsible, in the first instance, for the management and maintenance of their own housing stock under the Housing Acts, including the carrying out of responsive and planned maintenance and the identification of housing in need of upgrade, regeneration or adaptation.

The National Oversight & Audit Commission (NOAC) reviews and reports on social housing related issues in local authorities every year, including the number of vacant local authority houses at a particular point in time. NOAC’s activities in this regard are summarised in its Annual Performance Indicator Reports for the years 2014-2017; the most recent data on a local authority basis are set out in their 2017 report, which is available on the NOAC website at the following link: http://noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/NOAC-Performance-Indicators-Report-2017.pdf. The previous annual reports are also available on the NOAC website.

It should be noted that the number of void properties, both nationally and in each individual local authority area, changes on an ongoing daily basis, as would be expected in the management of over 130,000 homes, where tenants move in and out regularly. My Department is continuing to engage with local authorities, to support them in returning both short and longer-term vacant properties to use as swiftly as possible. Elected Councils also have a role to play in supporting this work by making adequate budgetary provision for housing repairs and maintenance, utilising the housing rental income available to them.

Housing Adaptation Grant Eligibility

Questions (753)

Gino Kenny

Question:

753. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the threshold of an annual household income of €60,000 is being reconsidered or under review in regard to the housing adaptation grant for persons with a disability; and if not, if he will consider a review with the intention of updating the means testing process in order to reflect average industrial wages. [26468/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department provides funding to local authorities for the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme for Older People and People with a Disability in private houses.

The Scheme is focused towards lower income households with the greatest needs and a means test applies to the Scheme in order to achieve fairness and value for money in its operation. The current income limits for the Scheme were reviewed and amended in 2014, arising from the recommendations of a review group, which included consultations with the Irish Wheelchair Association, the National Disability Authority, Ataxia Ireland and the Irish Society for Autism. I have no plans at this stage to change the annual household income threshold referred to.

For the purposes of the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability, household income is calculated as the annual gross income of the registered property owner together with all household members over 18, or over 23 if in full-time education, in the previous tax year. Certain income is disregarded in calculating household income, including €5,000 for each member of the household up to 18 years, Family Income Supplement, Domiciliary Care Allowance and Carer's Benefit or Carer's Allowance, if paid in respect of the person to whom the grant application relates.

Construction Industry Register Ireland

Question No. 755 answered with Question No. 732.

Questions (754)

Micheál Martin

Question:

754. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the requirements that builders from Northern Ireland must go through to register as builders here; if his attention has been drawn to delays or difficulties regarding same; if his attention has further been drawn to the number of builders already registered to build here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26482/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Currently, there is no statutory register of builders in Ireland. The Government has committed to placing the Construction Industry Register Ireland, or CIRI, on a statutory footing. CIRI was established on a voluntary basis in 2014 by the Construction Industry Federation and over 850 building and contracting entities are currently included on the register.

The Government approved the draft heads of a Bill to place the CIRI on a statutory footing and the Bill was referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government for pre-legislative scrutiny. The Committee’s report has since been received and my Department is currently working through the Committee’s recommendations.

The main objective of the legislation is to develop and promote a culture of competence, good practice and compliance with Building Regulations within the builder community of the construction sector. The establishment of a robust, mandatory, statutory register of builders and specialist contractors is an essential consumer protection measure giving those who engage a registered builder the assurance that they are dealing with a competent and compliant operator. In addition, it will complement the reforms made through the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and contribute to the development of an enhanced culture of competence and compliance in the construction sector. My Department is working with the Attorney General's Office with a view to achieving publication of the Bill later this year.

Question No. 755 answered with Question No. 732.

Traveller Accommodation

Questions (756)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

756. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of reviews of health and safety standards conducted at Traveller accommodation units in each local authority; the system in place to conduct such reviews; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26504/19]

View answer

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.

In general, local authorities are responsible for the management and maintenance of Traveller accommodation in their areas and my Department does not have a role in the operational running of individual sites. However, following the tragic loss of life in Carrickmines, County Dublin on 10 October 2015, my Department’s National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) was tasked with developing and overseeing a programme to review and enhance Fire Safety in local authority provided Traveller accommodation. The programme was undertaken in association with Traveller representative groups. As part of the review process, a working draft of a “Guide to Fire Safety in Existing Traveller Accommodation” was developed. The process of formal approval of the draft document for publication as national guidance was recently completed and the document is being prepared for publication. My Department will be writing to bring the updated document to the attention of all local authorities and advising on the use of this document, as the basis for fire safety requirements in all Traveller accommodation.

Traveller Accommodation

Questions (757)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

757. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of Traveller-specific units of accommodation delivered in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in each local authority in tabular form; the average cost of such units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26505/19]

View answer

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.

Traveller-specific projects and developments are focused on group housing schemes and halting sites. This includes meeting Traveller-specific housing needs through a range of mechanisms, including the provision of mobiles and caravans; the provision and refurbishment of halting sites and bays with sites; the refurbishment and extension of existing group housing; the return to use of void group housing; and the provision of new group housing.

The amount recouped to local authorities from 2014 to date is as follows:

Status

No.

2014

€3.1m

2015

€4.1m

2016

€4.3m

2017

€4.8m

2018

€6.3m

2019 to date

€2.2m

The table below sets out the number of units delivered over the same period.

Traveller Accommodation Units

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 to date

CARLOW

0

0

0

3

0

0

CAVAN

0

0

1

20

0

0

CLARE

5

0

0

1

1

0

CORK City Council

0

6

3

0

26

0

CORK County

0

0

0

35

0

0

DONEGAL

1

1

1

2

8

0

DUBLIN City Council

3

7

9

43

11

0

DÚN LAOGHAIRE-R.DOWN

0

13

1

4

12

0

FINGAL

2

12

0

28

1

1

SOUTH DUBLIN

3

0

3

0

0

0

GALWAY City Council

1

2

1

0

0

0

GALWAY County

0

0

4

0

0

0

KERRY

1

1

3

26

6

0

KILDARE

0

0

0

0

0

0

KILKENNY

5

6

8

1

0

3

LAOIS

0

3

0

0

0

0

LEITRIM

0

1

2

14

0

0

LIMERICK City & County Council*

1

4

2

16

17

16

LONGFORD

0

3

0

0

0

0

LOUTH

0

2

10

0

1

0

MAYO

0

0

0

0

0

0

MEATH

0

0

0

1

0

0

MONAGHAN

0

0

0

0

0

0

OFFALY

7

1

1

1

0

0

ROSCOMMON

0

0

1

3

1

0

SLIGO

0

0

0

0

4

0

TIPPERARY*

6

2

4

0

5

0

WATERFORD City Council*

0

0

1

0

13

0

WESTMEATH

0

0

1

0

0

0

WEXFORD

8

1

3

0

0

0

WICKLOW

1

1

0

2

1

0

TOTALS

44

66

59

200

107

20

*merged 2014

Homeless Accommodation Provision

Questions (758)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

758. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of bed and breakfasts, hotels and hostels used to provide accommodation for homeless persons in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by county in tabular form; the names of the providers in each county; the amount paid to each provider; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26506/19]

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 emergency accommodation for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities.

My Department does not fund any homeless service directly but provides funding to housing authorities towards the operational costs of homeless accommodation and related services under Section 10 of the Housing Act 1988. Under Exchequer funding arrangements, housing authorities must provide at least 10% of the cost of services from their own resources. Furthermore, housing authorities may also incur additional expenditure on homeless-related services outside of the Exchequer funding arrangements provided by my Department. Therefore, the exact amounts spent by housing authorities on homeless services, as well as the types of accommodation, are a matter for individual housing authorities in consultation with the Management Group of the relevant regional joint Homelessness Consultative Forum. My Department does not collate information regarding the number of hotels, bed and breakfasts and hostels that are used as emergency accommodation.

Financial reports from each of the regions, setting out total expenditure on homeless services are published on my Department’s website at the following link; https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/homelessness/other/homelessness-data.

Capital Assistance Scheme Funding

Questions (759, 760)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

759. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 671 of 18 June 2019, if there has been a reduction in the initial allocation or diversion of a portion of the allocation to other projects in either his Department or other Departments (details supplied); if so, the amount being diverted; the Departments the funding is being diverted to; and the projects involved in this regard. [26539/19]

View answer

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

760. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the €93 million allocation to the capital assistance scheme, CAS, in budget 2019 is divided regionally; and if not, if it is allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. [26551/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 759 and 760 together.

There has been no reduction in, or diversion of funds away from, the 2019 funding provision of €94.875 million for the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS).

Funding is not divided or allocated on a regional basis. It is the local authorities who approve new CAS projects in the first instance, based on proposals they receive from approved housing bodies (AHBs) and these funding approvals issue on an ongoing basis. My Department provides the Exchequer funding to the local authorities, in line with the projects approved by the authorities and according as projects progress.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Grants

Questions (761)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

761. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the expanded grant scheme for septic tanks as announced under measure 8, domestic wastewater treatment systems grant scheme, septic tanks, in February 2019 will come into effect; when local authorities such as in counties Sligo and Mayo will be provided with the details for applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26682/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I refer to the reply to Question No. 266 of 19 June 2019 which sets out the position in this matter.

Housing Assistance Payment

Questions (762, 763)

Denis Naughten

Question:

762. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if rent increases for existing HAP tenants are allowed to exceed the HAP limits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26688/19]

View answer

Denis Naughten

Question:

763. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons at the maximum rate of the HAP limits in each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26689/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 762 and 763 together.

Under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, tenants source their own accommodation. The accommodation sourced by tenants should be within the prescribed maximum HAP rent limits, which are based on household size and the rental market within the area concerned.

Each local authority has statutory discretion to agree to a HAP payment up to 20% above the prescribed maximum rent limit in circumstances where it is necessary, because of local rental market conditions, to secure appropriate accommodation for a household that requires it. It is a matter for the local authority to determine if the application of the flexibility is warranted on a case by case basis.

Information in relation to number of HAP recipients benefitting from discretionary increases and the average level of discretion, as well as average landlord payment by local authority, at the end of Quarter 1 2019, is set out in the following table:

Local Authority

Total No

No of tenancies not requiring Discretion

No. of Tenancies availing of discretion

Average level of discretion %

Average landlord Payment By LA

Carlow County Council

691

524

167

16.6%

554

Cavan County Council

297

252

45

20.0

455

Clare County Council

1,320

847

473

19.0

465

Cork City Council

2,123

1,149

974

15.4

774

Cork County Council

3,379

2,901

478

17.3

737

Donegal County Council

1,712

1,665

47

19.4

394

Dublin City Council

2,642

1,685

957

13.7

1,292

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council

444

92

352

17.4

1,359

Fingal County Council

1,434

635

799

14.3

1,340

Galway City Council

1,448

571

877

15.5

807

Galway County Council

1,041

817

224

15.9

711

Kerry County Council

984

570

414

18.1

516

Kildare County Council

1,996

1,110

886

14.4

921

Kilkenny County Council

861

762

99

18.8

578

Laois County Council

701

450

251

18.6

581

Leitrim County Council

219

213

6

20

414

Limerick City and Co Co

2,201

2,008

193

17.8

584

Longford County Council

295

224

71

17.4

408

Louth County Council

2,769

2,286

483

17.2

846

Mayo County Council

1,147

224

923

17.7

506

Meath County Council

1,792

735

1,057

15.3

937

Monaghan County Council

545

279

266

18.6

490

Offaly County Council

854

677

177

17.3

515

Roscommon County Council

367

300

67

17.8

457

Sligo County Council

671

642

29

16.8

506

South Dublin Co Council

2,690

2,526

164

14.9

1,230

Tipperary County Council

1,764

1,371

393

18.4

492

Waterford City and County Council

1,818

1,486

332

18.2

513

Westmeath County Council

701

541

160

16.6

559

Wexford County Council

1,069

802

267

16.3

527

Wicklow County Council

1,011

777

234

16.3

1,005

Total

40,986

29,121

11,865

16.3

817 Average

Additional discretion of up to 50% above rent limits is available to assist in housing homeless households in the Dublin Region. The additional discretion available to homeless households recognises the difficulty this cohort of households face in sourcing and securing properties in a highly competitive rental market.

The table below provides details on the use of discretion in the Dublin local authority areas, including the Dublin Region Homeless Executive:

Overall No. of Tenancies

No. of DRHE Tenancies

Number in receipt of discretion

Average rate of discretion %

Dublin City Council

5,536

2,894

3,851

32.3

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

645

201

533

25.7

Fingal County Council

1,962

528

1,327

23.7

South Dublin Co Council

3,358

668

832

34.5

At the end of Q1 2019, 35.7% of the total number of households being supported by HAP were benefitting from the additional flexibility. When the additional discretion available to homeless households in the Dublin region is removed, 28.9% of households nationally were benefitting from the additional flexibility. In those cases, the average rate of discretionary payment being used was 16.3% above rent limits provided. This increases to 22.2% when the Dublin region homeless area data is included.

I continue to keep the operation of HAP under review but I am currently satisfied with how the scheme is operating and I consider it to be a key vehicle for meeting current housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme set out in Rebuilding Ireland.

Electoral Reform

Questions (764)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

764. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to amend the law to prevent candidates from contesting local authority elections in more than one electoral area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26694/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

A person can be nominated to stand for election in more than one local electoral area. Article 14(3) of the Local Elections Regulations 1995 provides that a separate nomination paper is required for each local electoral area for which a candidate is nominated at a local election.

Article 124 of the 1995 Regulations, as amended, provides that where a person is elected as a member of the same local authority for two or more local electoral areas, the person shall , within the three day period after the return is made of persons elected to be members of the local authority, declare in writing which one of those areas the person chooses to represent. If the declaration is not delivered within this period, the person shall be deemed to have chosen to represent the local electoral area in respect of which they received the greatest number of first preference votes.

While electoral law is kept under review, I have no plans at present to amend these provisions.

Local Authority Housing Data

Questions (765)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

765. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number and location of properties acquired by each local authority under the buy and renew scheme since its inception in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26737/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Since the Buy & Renew Scheme was introduced in 2017, local authorities have delivered over 400 properties, with funding of €76.8m approved by my Department.

Details of the numbers of properties per local authority are set out in the table below. Local authorities may also acquire properties in need of remediation under their normal acquisitions programmes, the responsibility for which is largely delegated to local authorities.

Local Authority

No of Properties

Carlow

17

Cavan

1

Clare

25

Cork City

32

Cork County

3

Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown

13

Dublin City

32

Fingal

30

Kerry

34

Kildare

4

Laois

3

Leitrim

5

Limerick

46

Louth

51

Meath

29

Monaghan

18

Offaly

4

Sligo

1

Tipperary

10

Waterford

35

Westmeath

2

Wexford

7

Homeless Persons Supports

Questions (766)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

766. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his role in the funding and issuing of free Leap cards for homeless families; the estimated cost of providing free cards to families in emergency accommodation outside of school term time; and if free cards for homeless families will be extended to include non-term time. [26765/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Under Rebuilding Ireland, my Department is funding an initiative to provide homeless families residing in temporary emergency accommodation in the Dublin Region with access to free public transport for essential school journeys. The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) oversees the implementation of this initiative and, working in partnership with the National Transport Authority, has put arrangements in place for the provision of Leap cards to the families concerned. These Leap cards provide for free public transport for school-going children and accompanying adults, where necessary. The cards are distributed through the Family Homeless Action Teams, which are also funded by the DRHE.

As the Leap cards were introduced to support essential school journeys, there are no plans to extend the provision of the cards outside of the school term. However, Transport for Ireland will be running a ‘Kids go Free’ programme during July 2019, where child Leap card holders can travel for free on Leap card enabled services from 1-28 July. In addition, the Community Welfare Service of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may consider, on a case-by-case basis, the needs of an individual household in respect of exceptional transport costs.

Local Authority Housing Rents

Questions (767)

Robert Troy

Question:

767. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the percentage at which differential rent is assessed differs from local authority to local authority; and the percentage at which local authorities (details supplied) assessed their rent for 2013, 2017 and 2019. [26789/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The right of local authorities to set and collect rents on their dwellings is laid down in section 58 of the Housing Act 1966. The making or amending of such schemes is an executive function and is subject to broad principles laid down by my Department including that –

- the rent payable should be related to income and a smaller proportion of income should be required from low income households;

- provision should be included for the acceptance of a lower rent than that required under the terms of the scheme in exceptional cases where payment of the normal rent would give rise to hardship, and

- appropriate local factors should be taken into account including the costs of the maintenance and management of the stock of rented dwellings and the adequacy of the rental income to meet such costs.

Each local authority has its own separate differential rent scheme or schemes in operation. All these schemes, including those referenced by the Deputy, ensure that the rent payable is related to household income albeit at different headline percentage rates. As rent is calculated using each local authority’s own formula, the schemes do vary in a number of ways from each other. This is particularly the case when it comes to what may or may not be considered as reckonable/assessable income for rent purposes. Typically all local authorities make available their up to date rent scheme online.

Section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 provides for the Minister to introduce a national rents framework for social housing tenants. Considerable work has been carried out by my Department in developing a draft of such a framework, which has as its main aim the harmonisation of local authority rents, to ensure that rent schemes are fair and sustainable, prioritise those on lowest incomes and avoid creating social welfare traps that may prevent people from either returning to work or to the private housing market. The general over-arching principle that rents should be related to incomes will be maintained.

This work is now being examined further in the light of the broader commitment given in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, to review the disparate systems of differential rent for social housing in place across local authorities. I expect that the review will be completed in the near future, at which point I will consider what proposals might be brought to Government as part of a wider social housing reform package of measures, that would continue to ensure that housing support goes to those who need it most within a system that is responsive to people’s changing needs and circumstances. I hope to finalise this matter by the end of Q3 2019.

Water Quality

Questions (768)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

768. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to recent reports that lead concentration levels well above the legal limit have been found in drinking water in areas (details supplied); his plans to address the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26790/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

With effect from 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels including the delivery of water services capital infrastructure, while the local authorities remain responsible for supervising the group water sector.

Based on current available data, Irish Water estimates that lead pipework exists in approximately 180,000 residential properties in Ireland. While there are no lead water mains in Ireland, service connections within properties can contain traces of lead. The vast majority of lead pipes are contained within properties built up to and including the 1970s.

The Government published a National Strategy to Reduce Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water in June 2015. In response to the recommendations of this strategy, Irish Water prepared a detailed Lead in Drinking Water Mitigation Plan to identify measures to mitigate the risks to human health posed by the presence of lead in drinking water. Irish Water has indicated that it will remove all lead in public supply pipes over the next ten years. They have also put in place an interim water treatment programme to protect consumers from lead exposure while this replacement programme is implemented.

Irish Water is responsible for the service pipe up to the property boundary; however, most lead pipes are within the property boundary and are the responsibility of the property owner. My Department has introduced a grant scheme to assist owners of premises connected to a domestic water supply with the costs of replacing lead piping or related fittings located within the internal distribution system of the premises, as defined in the Water Services Act 2007. The grant is administered by local authorities and information on how to apply for this grant is available on my Department’s website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/leaflet_-_grant_to_replace_lead_pipes_and_fittings.pdf

Home Loan Scheme

Questions (769)

Michael McGrath

Question:

769. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the way in which income from an invalidity pension is regarded in the context of the underwriting decisions in the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26811/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is not, as a general rule, available to those in receipt of unemployment or other social welfare benefits. However, where there is a primary income of a waged or salaried nature, long-term State benefit payments may be considered. State benefit payments allowable are:

- State Pension (Contributory);

- State pension (Non-Contributory);

- Widow’s / Widower’s Pension;

- Blind Pension;

- Invalidity Pension; and

- Disability Allowance.

The long-term nature of the payment must be confirmed by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. All applications are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and are referred to the relevant local authority's Credit Committee for a final decision.

EU Directives

Questions (770)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

770. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on a ban on ivory trading domestically and in the European Union as a measure to counter the illegal market in non-antique ivory; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26209/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

My Department is responsible for the implementation of the Wildlife Act and the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, which together provide the legislative framework for the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Ireland.

This UN Convention regulates trade in certain listed species, including elephants, between Parties. Ireland has been a Party to the Convention since 8th January 2002.

Ireland does not have significant trade in ivory specimens and the domestic market allows only for trade in pre-Convention ivory. This trade consists primarily of carved artifacts, antique items and some musical instrument components and is governed by CITES.

Applications for CITES certificates or permits are examined carefully by the Irish CITES Management Authority in my Department to determine that the ivory has an attested legal origin. If the Management Authority is satisfied that the ivory has been legally acquired, it will then issue a certificate or permit to verify that fact in line with current CITES regulations.

The EU and its Member States have been at the forefront in the regulation of ivory trade and stringent rules are already in place. While these have functioned effectively to date, the current EU ivory guidance document is in the process of revision and will incorporate stricter rules on trade in raw and worked ivory.

As a Member State, Ireland participates in regular EU CITES Management Committee and Scientific Group meetings and supports a common EU approach to CITES matters, including the ivory trade. The Irish authorities will continue to participate fully in discussions around this issue.

Departmental Functions

Questions (771)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

771. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the bodies in the State that have statutory authority to function as the competent authority to make determinations under appropriate assessment legislation for terrestrial and marine environments. [26425/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

When a public authority receives an application for consent for a plan or project, or proposes to undertake or adopt a plan or project, it has a duty under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, to undertake a screening for appropriate assessment and, if necessary, an appropriate assessment. The 2011 Regulations define public authority as follows:

' “public authority” means—

(a) a Minister of Government,

(b) a local authority,

(c) An Bord Pleanála,

(d) Environmental Protection Agency,

(e) the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland,

(f) a harbour authority or a harbour company within the meaning of the Harbours Acts 1946 to 2009,

(g) Fáilte Ireland,

(h) Health Service Executive,

(i) a regional authority,

(j) Inland Fisheries Ireland,

(k) Geological Survey of Ireland,

(l) Teagasc,

(m) National Roads Authority,

(n) Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland,

(o) Electricity Supply Board,

(p) Commission for Energy Regulation,

(q) Port and Harbour Authorities including Port companies established under the Harbours Act 1996,

(r) Dublin Docklands Development Authority,

(s) Waterways Ireland,

(t) Bord Na Móna,

(u) Coillte,

(v) Health and Safety Authority,

(w) Bord Gáis,

(x) Marine Institute,

(y) Bord Iascaigh Mhara,

(z) Eirgrid,

(aa) a Board or other Body (but not including a company under the Companies Acts) established by or under statute,

(bb) a company under the Companies Acts, in which all the shares are held—

(i) by or on behalf of or jointly with a Minister of Government,

(ii) by directors appointed by a Minister of Government, or

(iii) by a board, company or other body referred to in paragraph (f) or subparagraph (bb)(i) or (bb)(ii),

(cc) a planning authority.'

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Applications

Questions (772)

Denis Naughten

Question:

772. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when a decision will be made on an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26074/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

An application for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme has been received by my Department from the individual referred to in the Deputy’s Question. With respect to 53 raised bog special areas of conservation sites, the qualifying criteria for the scheme are that:

- The applicant must have had a legal interest (ownership or a turbary right (right to cut turf)) in one of these sites on 25 May 2010 and must have had the right to cut and remove turf from the property on that date;

- The applicant must have been cutting turf on the land in question during the relevant five year period (up to 25 May 2010 in respect of the 29 raised bog special areas of conservation nominated for designation between 1997 and 1999 and up to 31 December 2011 in respect of the 24 raised bog special areas of conservation nominated for designation in 2002);

- The turf resource on the site has not been exhausted; and

- No turf cutting or associated activity is ongoing on the property.

I am advised that a letter had issued from my Department in respect of this application and contact has been made again with the applicant with a view to further processing the application.

EU Directives

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (773)

Clare Daly

Question:

773. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will provide a copy of the briefing notes provided to her in respect of the wild birds derogation declaration for the period May 2019 to April 2020 under regulation 3(1)(a) of the European Communities (Wildlife Act 1976) (Amendment) Regulations 1986. [26153/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

I am arranging for the Deputy to be provided with the relevant documents referred to in the Question.

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Wildlife Control

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (774)

Clare Daly

Question:

774. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will provide copies of all licence applications under the birds directive, under section 42 of the Wildlife Act 1976 or under other legal means allowable, received to date in 2019 in which the applicants were seeking to exercise controls on seagull species and-or their nests and or eggs; the outcome for all such applications with regard to licences granted and licences denied; and the reason in each case. [26154/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

I am arranging for the Deputy to be provided with the relevant documents referred to in the Question.

A deferred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A