Buy and Renew Scheme

Question No. 2993 answered with Question No. 2883.

Question No. 2994 answered with Question No. 2979.

Questions (2992)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

2992. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of homes delivered via the buy and renew scheme in the first half of 2019 in south central areas of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34588/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Under my Department’s Social Housing Investment Programme, funding is available to all local authorities to deliver additional social housing stock through the acquisition of new and previously owned houses/apartments for social housing use, including delivery through the Buy and Renew Scheme.

Since the Buy & Renew Scheme was introduced, both Dublin City and Fingal authorities have delivered over 60 new social homes under the scheme. Activity in this regard is largely delegated to local authorities so they can respond flexibly to all opportunities to provide new social housing and my Department does not track precise locations; however, this detail may be available from the authorities themselves and they will also be in a position to advise on their future intentions in this regard.

Question No. 2993 answered with Question No. 2883.
Question No. 2994 answered with Question No. 2979.

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Questions (2995)

Shane Cassells

Question:

2995. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the expenditure by his Department on social media advertising and promotional material within the past year in tabular form. [34616/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The information requested was provided in response to Question Number 843 of 9 July 2019. There has been no expenditure in the interim.

Local Authority Funding

Question No. 2997 answered with Question No. 2956.

Questions (2996)

Alan Kelly

Question:

2996. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the breakdown of funding provided to Tipperary County Council in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019 by category in tabular form. [34623/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Local authorities derive their income from a variety of sources including commercial rates, charges for goods and services and funding from Central Government. Central Government funding of local authorities includes transfers, both current and capital, from a range of Departments and Offices for a variety of purposes. Some streams of funding are delivered directly from funding departments to local authorities, while others are routed through departmental agencies.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) publishes a report on the central government funding of local government. The most recent report refers to 2017 and is available at the following link:

https://www.audit.gov.ie/en/Find-Report/Publications/2018/2017-Annual-Report-Chapter-04-Central-government-funding-of-local-authorities1.pdf

The report outlines that in 2017 local authorities received a total of €2.66bn in transfers from central government.

I understand that the report for 2018 is in preparation by the C&AG and will be published on its website in due course.

In terms of funding from my Department, the table below details the funding provided to County Tipperary from this Department in the years 2016-2018 and to 30 June 2019, through both the Departmental Vote, the Local Government Fund and the Environment Fund. Please note that following a departmental reconfiguration in 2016 the responsibility for the Environment Fund transferred to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment.

Departmental Vote

2016 €

2017 €

2018 €

30-Jun-19 €

Housing

24,207,317.84

30,266,332.92

43,647,596.08

10,754,082.79

Water

1,577,206.37

2,265,871.92

5,238,109.63

1,024,433.14

Fire and Emergency

1,421,925.57

1,109,022.65

986,920.08

66,234.26

Other Departmental Vote Expenses

1,340,944.89

300.00

21,859.00

0.00

Departmental Vote Total

28,547,394.67

33,641,527.49

49,894,484.79

11,844,750.19

Local Government Fund

Local Property Tax Allocations

23,320,110.00

25,951,602.36

27,134,513.00

12,975,801.00

Other Local Government fund

2,075,332.36

1,495,049.74

641,636.51

12,447.53

Local Government Fund Total

25,395,442.36

27,446,652.10

27,776,149.51

12,988,248.53

Environment Fund Total

151,772.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

Total Vote and LGF

54,094,609.03

61,088,179.59

77,670,634.30

24,832,998.72

Question No. 2997 answered with Question No. 2956.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Questions (2998)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

2998. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will consider the replacement of the current policy of HAP and rent supports in the greater Dublin area of up to €2,000 with one-off capital expenditure on the building of affordable and local authority housing directly by local authorities (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34649/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Over the course of the 6-year Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan, the Government is committed to meeting the housing needs of over 138,000 households. This will be achieved through blended delivery, involving increasing the social housing stock by over 50,000 homes, through build, acquisition and leasing programmes, and supporting some 88,000 further households through the Housing Assistance Payment and the Rental Accommodation Scheme.

Over the period 2016-2018, the housing needs of some 91,000 households were supported under current programmes, including the HAP and RAS schemes. This figure includes continuing to provide support to those already in homes supported under the programmes concerned, and also the additional tenancies established during that period. If the funding provided for these 91,000 households had been transferred to capital expenditure, to support building or buying homes, it would have secured some 5,500 homes, leaving no resources available to support the other 85,500 households. Almost €20 billion would be required to provide a new build local authority home for those 90,000 households.

Rebuilding Ireland is working, with annual social housing delivery targets exceeded in 2017 and again in 2018. By end Q1 2019, over 78,000 additional social housing supports had already been provided under the Plan.

In addition, affordable housing for purchase in the State is now being brought forward under Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, which I commenced last June.

One of the mechanisms available to local authorities to help them deliver affordable housing options is the Serviced Site Fund (SSF). Under the SSF, €310 million is being made available over a three year period, from 2019 to 2021, to support the delivery of infrastructure on local authority sites, which will deliver over 6,000 affordable homes to buy or rent.

Under the first SSF call, I issued approval in principle in December 2018 for funding for 10 infrastructure projects in Dublin and Cork with €43 million funding, which will support the delivery of 1,400 affordable homes.

The overall cost and timing of delivery for these projects is contingent upon the completion of planning and procurement in the first instance, and local authorities are working to achieve delivery as quickly as possible, with the first tranche of affordable homes expected to be delivered next year.

Following the first call under the SSF, and in order to target affordable interventions, local authorities were asked to complete financial/economic assessments of each of their sites to assess whether the provision of affordable homes is economically viable. Local authorities were also asked to assess the broader housing affordability within their area.

A second call for proposals under the SSF issued to 19 local authorities based on the aforementioned economic assessments. The closing date for submissions was 17 May 2019 and 31 submissions were received back from 15 local authorities. These are currently being assessed by my Department and I intend to issue approvals under this second call in the coming weeks.

I am confident that the actions, targets and resources available under Rebuilding Ireland provide a strong platform for delivering homes for those who need them.

Departmental Staff Remuneration

Questions (2999)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

2999. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons working in his Department on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour; the number disaggregated by professional role; and the estimated cost of increasing salaries of those on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour to a wage of €12.30 per hour. [34680/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Payment of salaries to staff of my Department is made in line with pay scales approved by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Currently, there are twenty members of staff on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour, comprising nineteen Clerical Officers and one Services Officer. The estimated (annual) cost of increasing salaries of those on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour to a wage of €12.30 per hour would be approximately €3,600, based on the civil service 37 hour standard net working week.

It should be noted that the pay increase due on 1 September 2019 under the Public Service Stability Agreement will increase the minimum point of the Clerical Officer salary scale to a value above the €12.30 reference point.

Architectural Heritage

Questions (3000)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

3000. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the OPW will conduct investigations into the recent decline of a church (details supplied); the action she will take to stop its demise; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31789/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

My functions, as Minister, with regard to the protection and management of our built heritage are set out in the provisions of relevant legislation, including the National Monuments and Planning Acts, as is the role of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners.

The monument in question is recorded under section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994. As a result, any works at or in its vicinity may only be carried out following the submission of formal notice and detailed particulars of the works to my Department’s National Monuments Service. However, the monument is not in my ownership or care, as Minister, and responsibility for its maintenance and upkeep is therefore a matter for the owner.

In the context of a historic structure of this nature, the best course generally is to direct enquiries in the first instance to the local authority Heritage Officer or Architectural Conservation Officer who is well placed to advise on the supports available to assist with conservation or other safeguarding initiatives.

My Department provides financial assistance towards the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS), which are administered by local authorities. This year I have allocated €1.824m and €2.5m respectively to these schemes. Details of the projects and funding approved and the criteria by which they are assessed, are available on my Department's and on local authority websites.

I can confirm that no application for this monument was received under either of the grant schemes referred to. However, while the closing dates for applications has now passed, my Department will remain in close contact with local authorities throughout the year to ensure the best possible use is made of all funds, including by reallocating funds where certain projects do not proceed within agreed timeframes.

National Biodiversity Plan

Questions (3001)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

3001. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of the national business and biodiversity platform as committed to under Future Jobs Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32444/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

At the National Biodiversity Conference in February 2019, I announced our Conference Charter, ‘Seeds for Nature’. This Charter comprises a cross-sectoral suite of commitments for nature and biodiversity that go beyond current work programmes to support, scale up and fast track the implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan.

One of my commitments under "Seeds for Nature" is to establish an Irish Business and Biodiversity Platform with my colleague Minister Humphreys. The Platform will promote best practice and seek commitments for biodiversity action and reporting from the private sector.

Preliminary discussions have taken place within and between officials of both Departments with a view to scoping the work of the platform, identifying opportunities and positioning the platform in the context of the Government's overall strategies for business and biodiversity.

A number of Irish businesses have already agreed to participate in the initiative and it is intended that consultation with stakeholders will get underway later this year.

Legislative Measures

Questions (3002)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

3002. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the primary legislation enacted since May 2016; and if in each case, the legislation placed additional regulatory burdens on small and medium enterprises. [31478/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Those items of primary legislation enacted since May 2016, for which my Department is responsible are listed below:

- National Archives (Amendment) Act 2018, Number 12 of 2018

- Heritage Act 2018, Number 15 of 2018

- Irish Film Board (Amendment) Act 2018, Number 34 of 2018

I am advised that none of these items of legislation place an additional regulatory burden on small and medium enterprises.

Legislative Measures

Questions (3003)

Tom Neville

Question:

3003. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the secondary legislation enacted since 1 January 2018; and if the legislation in each case placed additional regulatory burdens on small and medium enterprises. [31502/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to secondary legislation enacted in the time specified by the Deputy, for which my Department is responsible, is set out in the tables below. I am advised that these legislative items do not place additional regulatory burdens on small and medium enterprises.

As the Deputy will be aware notice of the making of the Statutory Instruments are published in Iris Oifigiúil. Details of individual Statutory Instruments are available on the Irish Statute Book website.

National Cultural Institutions Act 2018

National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 (Amendment of First Schedule) Order 2018

S.I. No. 335 of 2018

Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1977

Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Delegation of Ministerial Functions) Order 2018. [Official Translation]

S.I. No. 449 of 2018

Public Service Management Act 1997

Appointment of Special Adviser (Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) Order 2018

S.I. No. 14 of 2018

Appointment of Special Adviser (Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht) (No. 2) Order 2018

S.I. No. 53 of 2018

Acht na Gaeltachta, 2012

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú (Na Déise), 2018

S.I. No. 97 of 2018

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú, 2018

S.I. No. 253 of 2018

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú (Uimh. 2), 2018

S.I. No. 258 of 2018

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú (Uimh. 3), 2018

S.I. No. 332 of 2018

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú (Uimh. 4), 2018

S.I. No. 347 of 2018

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú (Uimh. 5), 2018

S.I. No. 392 of 2018

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú (Uimh. 6), 2018

S.I. No. 458 of 2018

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú (Uimh. 7), 2018

S.I. No. 569 of 2018

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú (Uimh. 8), 2018

S.I. No. 600 of 2018

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú (Uimh. 9), 2018

601 of 2018

An tOrdú um Acht na Gaeltachta, 2012

2019

S.I No

Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta a Ainmniú, 2019

334 of 2019

The following tables include details of Statutory Instruments made under section 3 of the European Communities Act 1972 (No. 27 of 1972):

EUROPEAN UNION CONSERVATION OF WILD BIRDS REGULATIONS 2019

Site Code

Site Name

Statutory Instrument

800004188

TRALEE BAY COMPLEX SPECIAL PROTECTION AREA

S.I. No. 175 of 2019

800004235

DOOGORT MACHAIR SPECIAL PROTECTION AREA

S.I. No. 176 of 2019

800004231

INISHBOFIN, OMEY ISLAND AND TURBOT ISLAND SPECIAL PROTECTION AREA

S.I. No. 177 of 2019

800004152

INISHMORE SPECIAL PROTECTION AREA

S.I. No. 178 of 2019

800004077

RIVER SHANNON AND RIVER FERGUS ESTUARIES SPECIAL PROTECTION AREA

S.I. No. 329 of 2019

800004032

DUNGARVAN HARBOUR SPECIAL PROTECTION AREA

S.I. No. 330 of 2019

800004058

LOUGH DERG (SHANNON) SPECIAL PROTECTION AREA

S.I. No. 331 of 2019

EUROPEAN UNION REGULATIONS 2018 & 2019

Site Name

Statutory Instrument

Invasive Alien Species (Freshwater Crayfish)

S.I. No. 354 of 2018

Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing

S.I. No. 253 of 2019

EUROPEAN UNION ENVIRONMENTAL OBJECTIVES 2018

Site Name

Statutory Instrument

Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Amendment) Regulations

S.I. No. 355 of 2018

EUROPEAN UNION HABITATS REGULATIONS 2018

Site Code

Site Name

Statutory Instrument

IE0000014

Ballyallia Lake Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

S.I. No. 71 of 2018

IE0000051

Lough Gash Turlough SAC

S.I. No. 72 of 2018

IE0000242

Castletaylor Complex SAC

S.I. No. 73 of 2018

IE0002241

Lough Derg, North-east Shore SAC

S.I. No. 74 of 2018

IE0002005

Bellacragher Saltmarsh SAC

S.I. No. 75 of 2018

IE0000397

Red Bog, Kildare SAC

S.I. No. 76 of 2018

IE0002268

Achill Head SAC

S.I. No. 77 of 2018

IE0001656

Bricklieve Mountains and Keishcorran SAC

S.I. No. 78 of 2018

IE0001680

Streedagh Point Dunes SAC

S.I. No. 79 of 2018

IE0000688

Lough Owel SAC

S.I. No. 81 of 2018

IE0000006

Killyconny Bog (Cloghbally) SAC

S.I. No. 284 of 2018

IE0002264

Kilkee Reefs SAC

S.I. No. 285 of 2018

IE0000208

Rogerstown Estuary SAC

S.I. No. 286 of 2018

IE0000335

Ballinskelligs Bay and Inny Estuary SAC

S.I. No. 287 of 2018

IE0002346

Brown Bog SAC

S.I. No. 288 of 2018

IE0002306

Carlingford Shore SAC

S.I. No. 289 of 2018

IE0000516

Lackan Saltmarsh and Kilcummin Head SAC

S.I. No. 290 of 2018

IE0000692

Scragh Bog SAC

S.I. No. 291 of 2018

IE0000704

Lady's Island Lake SAC

S.I. No. 292 of 2018

IE0000716

Carriggower Bog SAC

S.I. No. 293 of 2018

IE0000138

Durnesh Lough SAC

S.I. No. 415 of 2018

IE0001090

Ballyness Bay SAC

S.I. No. 416 of 2018

IE0001195

Termon Strand SAC

S.I. No. 417 of 2018

IE0002287

Lough Swilly SAC

S.I. No. 418 of 2018

IE0001432

Glenstal Wood SAC

S.I. No. 419 of 2018

IE0000697

Bannow Bay SAC

S.I. No. 420 of 2018

IE0000700

Cahore Polders and Dunes SAC

S.I. No. 421 of 2018

IE0000709

Tacumshin Lake SAC

S.I. No. 422 of 2018

IE0000710

Raven Point Nature Reserve SAC

S.I. No. 423 of 2018

IE0001742

Kilpatrick Sandhills SAC

S.I. No. 424 of 2018

IE0000091

Clonakilty Bay SAC

S.I. No. 488 of 2018

IE0001040

Barley Cove to Ballyrisode Point SAC

S.I. No. 489 of 2018

IE0001061

Kilkeran Lake and Castlefreke Dunes SAC

S.I. No. 490 of 2018

IE0000212

Inishmaan Island SAC

S.I. No. 491 of 2018

IE0001271

Gortnandarragh Limestone Pavement SAC

S.I. No. 492 of 2018

IE0001387

Ballynafagh Lake SAC

S.I. No. 493 of 2018

IE0001398

Rye Water Valley/Carton SAC

S.I. No. 494 of 2018

IE0000525

Shrule Turlough SAC

S.I. No. 495 of 2018

IE0000463

Balla Turlough SAC

S.I. No. 496 of 2018

IE0001536

Mocorha Lough SAC

S.I. No. 497 of 2018

IE0000036

Inagh River Estuary SAC

S.I. No. 539 of 2018

IE0000109

Three Castle Head to Mizen Head SAC

S.I. No. 540 of 2018

IE0000163

Lough Eske and Ardnamona Wood SAC

S.I. No. 541 of 2018

IE0000396

Pollardstown Fen SAC

S.I. No. 542 of 2018

IE0000497

Flughany Bog SAC

S.I. No. 543 of 2018

IE0001625

Castlesampson Esker SAC

S.I. No. 544 of 2018

IE0001673

Lough Arrow SAC

S.I. No. 545 of 2018

IE0000671

Tramore Dunes and Backstrand SAC

S.I. No. 546 of 2018

IE0001741

Kilmuckridge-Tinnaberna Sandhills SAC

S.I. No. 547 of 2018

EUROPEAN UNION HABITATS REGULATIONS 2019

Site Code

Site Name

Statutory Instrument

IE0000770

Blackstairs Mountains Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

S.I. No. 90 of 2019

IE0000205

Malahide Estuary SAC

S.I. No. 91 of 2019

IE0000713

Ballyman Glen SAC

S.I. No. 92 of 2019

IE0000725

Knocksink Wood SAC

S.I. No. 93 of 2019

IE0003000

Rockabill to Dalkey Island SAC

S.I. No. 94 of 2019

IE0002998

West Connacht Coast SAC

S.I. No. 95 of 2019

IE0000466

Bellacorick Iron Flush SAC

S.I. No. 96 of 2019

IE0001501

Erris Head SAC

S.I. No. 97 of 2019

IE0000566

All Saints Bog and Esker SAC

S.I. No. 98 of 2019

IE0001898

Unshin River SAC

S.I. No. 99 of 2019

IE0000996

Ballyvaughan Turlough SAC

S.I. No. 205 of 2019

IE0001058

Great Island Channel SAC

S.I. No. 206 of 2019

IE0000213

Inishmore Island SAC

S.I. No. 207 of 2019

IE0001275

Inisheer Island SAC

S.I. No. 208 of 2019

IE0000174

Curraghchase Woods SAC

S.I. No. 209 of 2019

IE0001513

Keel Machair/Menaun Cliffs SAC

S.I. No. 210 of 2019

IE0000611

Lough Funshinagh SAC

S.I. No. 211 of 2019

IE0000733

Vale of Clara (Rathdrum Wood) SAC

S.I. No. 212 of 2019

IE0000133

Donegal Bay (Murvagh) SAC

S.I. No. 293 of 2019

IE0000204

Lambay Island SAC

S.I. No. 294 of 2019

IE0000328

Slyne Head Islands SAC

S.I. No. 295 of 2019

IE0002172

Blasket Islands SAC

S.I. No. 296 of 2019

IE0000495

Duvillaun Islands SAC

S.I. No. 297 of 2019

IE0000507

Inishkea Islands SAC

S.I. No. 298 of 2019

IE0000582

Raheenmore Bog SAC

S.I. No. 299 of 2019

IE0000707

Saltee Islands SAC

S.I. No. 300 of 2019

IE0000708

Screen Hills SAC

S.I. No. 301 of 2019

Grant Payments

Questions (3004)

Dara Calleary

Question:

3004. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the grant supports available for authors who wish to publish local publications as Gaeilge; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31541/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Under my Department's Clár Tacaíochtaí Pobail agus Teanga (Community and Language Supports Programme), community-based committees and organisations operating through Irish in the Gaeltacht are eligible to apply for funding to assist with the cost of producing local Irish language publications such as annual community magazines. The funding sanctioned towards this sector in 2018 was less than €5,000 in total.

I should add that my Department provides significant funding to Foras na Gaeilge in order to fulfil its statutory mandate to promote the Irish language on an all-island basis. In that context, Foras na Gaeilge provides ongoing support for publishing and literature through An Gúm, Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge, Áis and other initiatives. An Gúm produces publications to support the language in the education system and Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge supports publishing in Irish through various funding schemes, while ÁIS distributes Irish language books throughout the country and further afield.

Other Foras na Gaeilge initiatives in this sector include support for online publications (the newspaper Tuairisc.ie, the lifestyle magazine NÓS.ie and the current affairs magazine Comhar.ie) and literary festivals such as Listowel Writers Week and IMRAM. Further information is available at the following link https://www.forasnagaeilge.ie/.

Greenways Development

Questions (3005)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

3005. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status on a phased basis of the greenway project between Castleknock, Dublin 15 and Maynooth, County Kildare; the progress made to date on each phase; the estimated completion dates for each phase; the funding made available for each phase of the project in 2019; if further funding will issue in 2020 and 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31549/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Waterways Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is working closely with Local Authorities and The National Transport Authority along the route of the Royal and Grand canals to advance development of the canal towpaths into long distance Greenways for walking and cycling.

With regard to the development of a towpath from Castleknock to the Fingal County border at Confey a distance of 8 km, Fingal County Council, funded by the National Transport Authority appointed consultants to investigate the options for the towpath development with a view to bringing a scheme through the planning process.

The design brief, route selection matrix and rationale were issued by Fingal County Council and a public consultation was carried out in February and March 2019. Work on this section will be dependent on the outcome of the planning application and then subject to funding.

From Confey to Maynooth, a distance of 9 km in Co Kildare, planning permission for towpath upgrade was granted in 2017. Kildare County Council has progressed the project to design and tender stage. This work is being funded by the National Transport Authority.

As both projects are still at a very early stage, I am not in a position to provide a timescale as to the completion of the development.

The Greenway initiative provides a stimulus for local economies in attracting tourists to local areas, especially rural areas, which historically may not have had a history of tourism activity. The Greenway and Blueway brands have been successful in attracting both overseas and Irish visitors to these areas and has resulted in extending the tourism season by many weeks.

Greenways and Blueways are not only very positive in creating economic wealth for an area but they also have measurable benefits for local populations in terms of health and well-being and social cohesion, as residents take extra pride in their locality as it becomes a place to visit by others.

Legislative Reviews

Questions (3006)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

3006. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of reviews carried out by her Department pursuant to Standing Order 164A of Dáil Éireann; the pieces of legislation to which each review refers; the number and title of each piece of legislation in respect of which a review pursuant to Standing Order 164A has not been undertaken; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31626/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Post-enactment reports as referenced in Standing Orders of both Houses of the Oireachtas serve as a review of the functioning of an Act twelve months following the enactment of a Bill. The Government’s support for this process is reflected in the Programme for Partnership Government 2016.

My Department has been responsible for six Acts passed by the Oireachtas since 2011:

The Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2012, extended arrangements set out in the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2010 regarding provisions that deemed all holders of valid firearm certificates issued for shotguns between August 1st 2009 and July 31st 2012 to be the holders of a hunting licence under the Wildlife Acts for the purposes of hunting game bird and hare species. Given that the practical effect of this change was considered minimal it has not been considered necessary to undertake a post enactment report.

An tAcht na Gaeltachta 2012, provided for the introduction of a language planning process, primarily in Gaeltacht areas, as set out in the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 and for changes in the size of, and method of appointment of members to, the board of Údarás na Gaeltachta. As the full impact of both of these provisions would only become fully evident over the course of an extended period the appropriate timing for the undertaking of a Post Enactment Report of this Act remains under consideration.

The purpose of the National Cultural Institutions (National Concert Hall) Act 2015 was to place the National Concert Hall on a statutory footing and provide for appropriate reporting and accounting to the Minister and onwards to the Oireachtas, while not impinging on curatorial independence. I am advised that a post enactment report in respect of this legislation was lodged in the Oireachtas library on Monday 15 July 2019.

My Department is also responsible for the National Archives (Amendment) Act 2018, the Heritage Act 2018, and the Irish Film Board (Amendment) Act 2018 all of which were enacted in 2018. The conduct of post enactment reports in respect of these Acts will be considered in due course.

Grant Payments

Questions (3007)

Robert Troy

Question:

3007. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if there are grants available for persons to renovate old castles. [31848/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

My role, as Minister, with regard to the protection and management of our built heritage is set out in the provisions of relevant legislation, including the Planning Acts and the National Monuments Acts, as are the role of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners.

In the context of a particular building or historic structure, the best advice is generally to contact the Heritage Officer or Architectural Conservation Officer in the local authority who is well placed to advise on the various types of funding available to assist with renovation.

My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS), which are administered by local authorities. This year I have allocated €1.824m and €2.5m respectively to these schemes. Details of the projects and funding approved and the criteria by which they are assessed, are available on my Department's website and local authority websites. While the closing dates for applications have now passed, my Department will remain in close contact with local authorities throughout the year to ensure the best possible use is made of all funds, including by reallocating funds where certain projects do not proceed within agreed timeframes.

My Department’s National Monuments Service also works in close collaboration with the OPW on survey, excavation and research work to optimise the protection, management, interpretation and presentation of national monuments in State care.

The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, also provides grants for the protection and preservation of the built heritage. It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across the range of research, education and conservation programmes it supports annually, having regard to competing priorities for limited resources. Grant schemes for 2019 are advertised by the Heritage Council on its website www.heritagecouncil.ie.

Commemorative Events

Questions (3008, 3029)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

3008. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when the international twinning Famine Memorial Day will be held in 2019; and the location of same. [31863/19]

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Paul Murphy

Question:

3029. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the location and the date of the international Famine Memorial Day in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33247/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 3008 and 3029 together.

The 2019 National Famine Commemoration took place on 19th May in Sligo in the presence of An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD.

As I announced on 21st July 2019, the International Famine Commemoration will take place in Phoenix, Arizona on 3rd November next. This will be the fifth occasion that the international commemoration has been held in the U.S. There have been ten international commemorations of the Great Irish Famine to date. Since the first international commemoration in Toronto and Quebec in 2009, events have also been held in Australia, Canada and the UK.

Famine Artefacts

Questions (3009, 3010, 3019, 3020, 3022, 3024, 3030)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

3009. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has responded to a request from a group (details supplied) to investigate the Woodenbridge Famine site in County Wicklow using a professional company that specialises in such works. [31864/19]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

3010. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the works she will undertake to protect the 1847 national monument on the Woodenbridge Famine site in County Wicklow that a group (details supplied) has indicated needs protection; and if she has requested an official from her Department or the National Museum of Ireland to visit the site to ascertain the importance of the site, which is not indicated as a national monument on maps. [31865/19]

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Colm Brophy

Question:

3019. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her Department will investigate the Woodenbridge famine site; if not, if advocate groups will be allowed to do so; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32449/19]

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Colm Brophy

Question:

3020. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will protect the national monument located at the Woodenbridge Famine site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32450/19]

View answer

John Lahart

Question:

3022. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has plans to examine geophysically a site on Coillte lands in Woodenbridge, County Wicklow (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32643/19]

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

3024. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on an investigation of the Woodenbridge famine site and the protection of the site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32684/19]

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Paul Murphy

Question:

3030. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has considered giving permission to a group (details supplied) to have a specialised company investigate the Woodenbridge Famine site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33249/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 3009, 3010, 3019, 3020, 3022, 3024 and 3030 together.

I am advised that a granite pillar was brought to the attention of my Department’s National Monuments Service as possible evidence of the existence of a famine graveyard at the location in question. However, I understand that the Department’s view is that the origins and associations of the pillar are unlikely to relate to burials.

While there is insufficient evidence at this point for the marker to be recorded as an archaeological monument, I understand that the Department has given guidance to assist local investigations to find out more about it and will also be happy to provide advice on any such further information that may come to light.

If the group to which the deputy refers wishes to arrange an archaeological assessment of the site, the best course of action would be for them to contact the landowners, and if the latter are agreeable, to then submit any necessary license applications to the Department for approval in accordance with the National Monuments Acts.

Commemorative Plaques

Questions (3011, 3021, 3031)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

3011. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to mark the first annual national Famine commemoration with a plaque at the Customs House at which the first of the now 12 annual national Famine commemorations was held; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31866/19]

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Colm Brophy

Question:

3021. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if a memorial stone will be placed at the Custom House following the 2008 Famine commemoration event, as per the practice at other similar events in other years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32451/19]

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Paul Murphy

Question:

3031. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to install a memorial stone for the famine at the Custom House in view of the fact the inaugural national Famine Memorial Day was held there in 2008; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33250/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 3011, 3021 and 3031 together.

The practice of commissioning a commemorative plaque to mark the holding of the National Famine Commemoration was introduced in 2009 when the first Commemoration in the current format was held in Skibbereen Co. Cork.

I am advised that my officials are continuing to engage with the Office of Public Works and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in relation to the placing of a suitable plaque or stone at the Customs House in respect of the 2008 event.

Hare Coursing Regulation

Questions (3012)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

3012. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if a coursing meeting at a location (details supplied) was unlicensed by the National Parks and Wildlfe Service and unregulated; and if so, the actions that will be taken in relation to same. [31881/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

My Department is aware of the alleged incident referred to by the Deputy and is investigating the matter.

Road Improvement Schemes

Questions (3013)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

3013. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to make a specific funding allocation for the improvement of roads on offshore Islands; the budget she has in place for funding roads infrastructure on the islands for the current financial year; the funding allocated for the County Donegal islands in 2019; the level of applications made for further funding for all County Donegal island roads that are lodged with her Department and awaiting sanction of funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32172/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

My Department is currently examining applications from local authorities, including Donegal County Council, with islands under their remit for co-funding of minor works programmes, including roads, on those islands in 2019.

The total budget available to my Department in 2019 for capital works on the offshore islands is €1.644m and all capital works, including any major infrastructural developments and minor works programmes, must be funded from this budget.

A decision in relation to the applications received from local authorities will be made in due course, having regard to the various other demands on this funding.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Questions (3014)

Shane Cassells

Question:

3014. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of external consultant reports commissioned by her Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of same; the company involved; and the title and publication date by report in tabular form. [32244/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

With regard to the period 2011 to 2017 I would refer the Deputy to the reply given in response to Parliamentary Question Number 767 of 14th December 2017.

I am advised that no expenditure was incurred on external consultancy from my Department's Administrative Budget in 2018, nor has any such expenditure been incurred to date in 2019.

As previously advised to the Deputy in the reply referred to above, my Department commissions engineering, environmental and other experts from time to time to provide technical reports or advice on specific issues. While the providers of these services are consultant engineers, environmental consultants etc., or may describe themselves in other such terms, their work is not classified as consultancy services and is not funded from my Department's Administrative Budget.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (3015)

Shane Cassells

Question:

3015. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the photography costs for her Department in each year since March 2011 including costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used in tabular form; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32261/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

With regard to the period 2011 to 2017, I would refer the Deputy to the reply given to Parliamentary Question Number 765 of 14th December 2017.

The information requested by the Deputy for the years 2018 and 2019 to date is set out in the tables below.

2018 €13,912

Event

Photographer

Cost €

Photographs for the Department's site "Whodoeswhat.ie"

Táin Bó Media Teo

74

Launch of new App by Minister of State at Oireachtas na Samhna 2017

Táin Bó Media

98

Official meeting with the Scottish Cabinet Secretary, Fiona Hyslop.

Pat Byrne Photographer

180

Launch of Cruinniú na nÓg and local authority Culture and Creative Strategies

bigO Media

1,050

National Creativity Fund Announcement

Clare Keogh

57

National Creativity Fund Announcement

Conor McCabe Photography Ltd

308

Cruinniú na nÓg 2018 Launch, Creative Children Launch and Creative Ireland Forum

Maxwell Photography

1,531

Cruinniú na nÓg 2018 launch

Stedman Photography

215

Lough Corrib Logboat Project

Cathal Twomey

1,890

Photography of Sherkin and Moore Abbey Artefacts

Con Broghan Photography

550

Appointment of Michael Parsons as Chair of Heritage Council

Maxwell Photography

172

Launch of Public Consultation Process for Heritage Ireland 2030

Maxwell Photography

363

BHIS/HSF 2019 Launch Photocall

SON Photographic Ltd

406

Launch of Experiencing the Wild Heart of Ireland

Don Moloney

235

Investing in Our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 – 2027 Launch

Fennell Photography

584

Mná 1916 Book Launch.

Lensmen & Associates

431

RMS Leinster Official Commemoration.

SON Photographic Ltd

554

Armistice Day State Centenary Commemoration.

Maxwell Photography

424

Armistice Commemoration Glasnevin

SON Photographic

615

Launch of the Markievicz Award.

Maxwell Photography

474

Launch of the book ‘Centenary Commemorations and Celebrations – Speeches by President Michael D. Higgins’.

Frank Fennell Photography Ltd

289

Exhibition Opening of '100 Years of Women in Politics and Public Life 1918-2018.

Frank Fennell Photography Ltd

578

EPSO Irish language Translators Competition

Maxwell Photography

584

Royal Visit Killarney House

Valerie O’Sullivan

500

Images for Opening of Killarney House Interpretive Centre

Valerie O’Sullivan

950

Audio Visual Filming Killarney House Interpretive Centre

Niall Foley

800

Promotion of conservation at raised bog Special Area of Conservation site

SkyFab Aerial Imaging

600

2019 €5,355

Event

Photographer

Cost €

Cruinniú na nÓg 2019 Digital Photography

bigO Media

1,845

CCMA Meeting 2019

Fennell Photography

277

Cruinniú na nÓg 2019 launch

Stedman Photography

246

Launch of Historic Towns Initiative

Maxwell Photography

135

Launch of Heritage Fund Ireland

Fennell Photography

369

Publication of Heritage Ireland 2030

PI Communications

1,353

National Biodiversity Conference

Fennell Photography

461

Oiliúint ar-líne do mhúinteoirí Gaeilge (Ollscoil Mhá Nuad)

Táin Bó Media

369

Official Opening of Killarney House Exhibition

Niall Foley

300

No costs were incurred from use of the Ministerial allowance.

The hiring of photographers for Ministerial or Departmental events is dependent on a number of factors, including the nature of the engagement, the expected level of media interest and the national/regional scope of the subject. Certain costs included relate to the photographic documentation of important heritage sites, a key function of my Department, rather than to specific occasions. At all times, value for money is a critical consideration in the context of the booking of photographers.

Legal Costs

Questions (3016)

Shane Cassells

Question:

3016. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the expenditure incurred in respect of external legal fees in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32278/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

In relation to the period June 2011 to July 2018 the period I refer the Deputy to the reply given to Question number 2868 of 24 July 2018 in which I advised the House that while a single payment was made in respect of external legal services in 2012, no such expenditure on external legal services was incurred from my Department's Administrative Budget in respect of the period 2013 to 2017. Details of this payment are set out below for the Deputy's convenience.

Company

Amount

Year

Philip Lee, Solicitors

€ 6,195

2012

One further payment has since been from my Department's Administrative Budget, the details of which are set out in the table below.

Company

Amount

Year

Byrne Wallace, Solicitors

€2,083

2019

For completeness, I would again advise that, from time to time, my Department makes payments to the Chief State Solicitor's Office in respect of legal services provided to my Department by that Office.