Illegal Dumping

Question No. 1132 answered with Question No. 1128.

Questions (1131)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

1131. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when legal advice was first sought in respect of the dumping at the old dock, Galway; when a decision will be made regarding the action he plans to take regarding the complaint in view of the length of time this matter has been with his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44460/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department has been engaged with the State's legal services since 2014 in relation to the case in question.

Following a circuit court judgement, a case that my Department was not party to, it was necessary to devote resources to identify whether the area in question was State Owned Foreshore. Subsequently, my Department sought advice on issues such as whether that circuit court judgement needed to be revisited, and if so how. Furthermore, advice was required on whether it was possible to identify who may have placed material on the Foreshore and if so the next appropriate steps to be taken as many years may have elapsed since the material was placed in the Mud Dock.

In addition to the complex legal issues arising in the case, the matter of how the public interest is best served in the context of the future management of the area in question also needs to be carefully considered. In the light of these complexities, I cannot provide a definitive date regarding the finalisation of this work at this time.

Question No. 1132 answered with Question No. 1128.

Appointments to State Boards Data

Questions (1133)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

1133. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of vacancies that arose on the board of the National Oversight and Audit Commission since January 2018 to date in 2019; the number that have been filled; the process engaged to fill vacancies; the number remaining vacant as at 24 October 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44589/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) was established on 1 July 2014 under the Local Government Reform Act 2014 to provide independent oversight of the local government sector at a local, regional and national level. Its functions are wide ranging, involving the scrutiny of performance generally and financial performance specifically, supporting best practice, overseeing implementation of national local government policy, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of corporate plans, adherence to service level agreements and public sector reform by local government bodies, as well as any additional functions assigned, or reports requested, by the Minister. Since January 2018, eight vacancies have arisen on NOAC, of which: four were filled by re-appointment; one by replacement of the Officer of the Minister; the position of Chairperson was filled following a process managed by the Public Appointments Service (www.stateboards.ie) and two vacancies are currently in the process of being filled, through another process managed by the Public Appointments Service (www.stateboards.ie), which is nearing completion.

Local Authority Staff Data

Questions (1134)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

1134. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of full-time equivalent cycling officers employed by each local authority; and the seniority level of each officer in tabular form. [44597/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each Chief Executive is responsible for the staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authority for which he or she is responsible.

My Department oversees workforce planning for the local government sector, including the monitoring of local government sector employment levels. To this end, my Department gathers aggregate quarterly data on staff numbers in each local authority. However, granular data, in terms of the specific role and function of each individual staff member, is not collected and consequently is not available in my Department.

This information should be available directly from local authorities themselves.

Irish Water Data

Questions (1135)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1135. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a full schedule of assets transferred from the State to Irish Water since Irish Water was established by assets type will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44626/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 12 of the Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 provides for the transfer, by Ministerial Order, of the property of a water services authority (a city council, county council or city and county council) to Irish Water. The process requires that any land transferred to Irish Water must be clearly and unambiguously identified. Accordingly, land (including water services assets) is being transferred by reference to its Property Registration Authority folio number.

Considerable complex work is required to identify all of the folios containing water services assets with many of the folios being of mixed use thus requiring sub-division before transfer to Irish Water.

Prior to the vesting of assets by Ministerial Order, local authorities working in conjunction with Irish Water and the Property Registration Authority (PRA), with the support of my Department, ensure that each asset has been correctly identified and included on a Manager's Order for subsequent inclusion in the Ministerial Order.

To date, a total of 14 Ministerial Orders have been made to transfer water services assets from the local authorities to Irish Water as set out in the following table:

Statutory Instrument

Title

S.I. No. 13 of 2015

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) Order 2015.

S.I. No. 111 of 2015

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) (No. 2) Order 2015.

S.I. No. 112 of 2015

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) (No. 3) Order 2015.

S.I. No. 146 of 2015

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) (No. 4) Order 2015.

S.I. No. 181 of 2015

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) (No. 5) Order 2015.

S.I. No. 319 of 2015

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) (No. 6) Order 2015.

S.I. No. 461 of 2015

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) (No. 7) Order 2015.

S.I. No. 509 of 2015

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) (No. 8) Order 2015.

S.I. No. 632 of 2015

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) (No. 9) Order 2015.

S.I. No. 335 of 2016

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) Order 2016.

S.I. No. 329 of 2017

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) Order 2016.

S.I. No. 607 of 2017

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) (No. 2) Order 2017.

S.I. No. 297 of 2018

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) Order 2018.

S.I. No. 573 of 2018

Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 (Property Vesting Day) (No. 2) Order 2018.

Further Ministerial Orders are being completed in line with the receipt of the Manager's Orders from local authorities.

Tenant Purchase Scheme Eligibility

Questions (1136)

Robert Troy

Question:

1136. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a person who has partaken in a shared ownership scheme through a local authority 20 years ago is eligible to apply for a tenant purchase scheme in a different local authority at present. [44672/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015, provide the basis for the current Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme, which came into operation on 1 January 2016.

The Scheme is open to eligible tenants, including joint tenants, of local authority houses that are available for sale under the Scheme. To be eligible, tenants must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum reckonable income of €15,000 per annum and having been in receipt of social housing support for at least one year. All tenants of houses included in the scheme who meet the eligibility criteria can apply to purchase their house, provided they are not disqualified from doing so under the provisions of the legislation. Reasons for disqualification include rent arrears, participation in a previous tenant purchase scheme or engagement in anti-social behaviour.

The 2015 Regulations governing the Scheme provide for a number of specified classes of houses to be excluded from sale, including houses provided to local authorities under Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, houses specifically designed for older persons, group Traveller housing and houses provided to facilitate people with disabilities transferring from institutional care to community-based living.

Local authorities may also, within the provisions of the Regulations, exclude certain houses which, in the opinion of the authority, should not be sold for reasons such as proper stock or estate management. It is a matter for each individual local authority to administer the Scheme in its operational area in line with the over-arching provisions of the governing legislation for the Scheme, and in a manner appropriate to its housing requirements.

Local authorities are by law (Section 63 of the Local Government Act 2001) independent in the performance of their functions. The operation of the current Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme is therefore a matter for the relevant local authority concerned, in line with legislation, including the Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015. Thus, the situation referred to by the Deputy in his question would best be resolved by direct contact with the relevant local authority concerned.

In the absence of precise details in relation to the prior house purchase referred to by the Deputy it is simply not possible to give a definitive reply to the query raised. However, it should be noted that it was possible to purchase a house from a local authority through a shared ownership option under the then 1995 Tenant Purchase Scheme (operated under the terms of the Housing (Sale of Houses) Regulations, 1995). Any person who purchased a home in this way would not now be eligible to avail of the terms of the current Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme.

Finally, as the Deputy will be aware, section 6 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 specifically provides that the Minister’s power to issue policy directions and guidelines to housing authorities in relation to their housing functions shall not be construed as enabling the Minister to exercise any power or control in relation to any individual case with which a housing authority is or may be concerned.

Home Loan Scheme

Questions (1137)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

1137. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if consideration will be given to examining an issue regarding the way in which the maximum amount allowed to be borrowed under the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme is set at €250,000 in view of the fact that this funding cannot be allocated to an applicant if the house the applicant plans to build will be worth more than €250,000 upon completion; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this approach does not take into consideration varying land values, location and other localised factors (details supplied); his views on whether the scheme focuses on a minority as opposed to the majority of the population that is seeking assistance with building a new home under the scheme; his further views on whether the scheme is not fit for purpose in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44682/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a Government-backed mortgage for first-time buyers and has been made available nationwide from local authorities from 1 February 2018. The loan can be used both for new and second-hand properties, or to build your own home.

With a Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan you can borrow up to 90% of the market value of a residential property. Maximum market values of the property that can be purchased or self-built are:

- €320,000 in the counties Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow, and

- €250,000 in the rest of the country.

This limits the amount that can be borrowed to no more than €288,000 in the counties Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow and no more than €225,000 in the rest of the country. These maximum limits apply equally to self-builds.

Within the maximum loan limits, there are some rules that set out the limit of funding for self builds. Funding should not exceed 90% of total build costs (which can include site cost where the site is purchased).

For self-builds, applicant(s) are required to submit with their loan application a valuation report that details the site value, cost of works and post construction market value of the completed property. The valuation report is required to be completed by an Independent Valuer and will be considered by the local authority in assessing the associated loan application.

It is important that all applicants are treated equally. In this regard, it is reasonable that the rules for setting the maximum market value of completed homes eligible for this scheme are the same for individuals either buying or building their own homes. I have no plans to change this requirement.

It should also be noted that individuals self-building may be able to avail of the Help-to-Buy scheme, which is available for purchasers of new residential construction, such as self-builds.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (1138)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

1138. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the general scheme of the building control (construction industry register Ireland) Bill; and when he plans to publish the Bill. [44684/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

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 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 General Scheme is available on my Department's website at the following link:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/legislations/general_scheme_of_the_building_control_construction_industry_register_ireland_bill_2017.pdf .

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.

It is proposed that the operation of CIRI will be vested in the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) in the same way that statutory registration of Architects was vested in the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), pursuant to the Building Control Act 2007. My Department is working with the Attorney General's Office with a view to achieving publication of the Bill in early 2020.

Local Authority Housing Funding

Questions (1139)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

1139. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if financial support for a housing facility (details supplied) in County Wicklow as ring-fenced by Wicklow County Council constitutes housing funding support as opposed to Department of Health funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44686/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Financial support for the facility referred to is being provided by Wicklow County Council, with housing funding support from my Department.

Information and Communications Technology

Questions (1140, 1141, 1142)

Alan Kelly

Question:

1140. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of computers in his Department that still use an operating system (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44714/19]

View answer

Alan Kelly

Question:

1141. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department will not be forced to pay additional premium payments to a company (details supplied) once support for an operating system expires in January 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44729/19]

View answer

Alan Kelly

Question:

1142. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to protect his Department in the event of a malware attack or security risks as a result of the failure to upgrade computers from an operating system (details supplied) in his Department and the agencies under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44745/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1140 to 1142, inclusive, together.

A major project underway in my Department to upgrade Windows 7 computers to the Windows 10 operating system is substantially completed, with 89% of the estate upgraded and work ongoing in respect of the remaining 11%. Details of the locations of computers is not provided for security reasons. My Department will ensure that security and support is available for any computers continuing to use Windows 7 after the January 2020 deadline, if required. Details of any additional costs that may be involved are not currently available.

Information in relation to agencies under the aegis of my Department is an operational matter for each agency. Arrangements have been put in place by each agency to facilitate the provision of information by State Bodies directly to members of the Oireachtas. The contact email address for each agency is in the table attached.

Body under the aegis of the DHPLG

Agency Email

An Bord Pleanála

Oireachtasqueries@pleanala.ie

Ervia, Gas Networks Ireland

oireachtas@ervia.ie

Housing Finance Agency

oireachtas.enquiries@hfa.ie

Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency (Housing Agency)

publicreps@housingagency.ie

Irish Water

oireachtasmembers@water.ie

Land Development Agency

info@lda.ie

Local Government Management Agency

corporate@lgma.ie

Office of the Planning Regulator

info@opr.ie

Ordnance Survey Ireland

Oireachtas@osi.ie

Property Registration Authority

reps@prai.ie

Pyrite Resolution Board

oireachtasinfo@pyriteboard.ie

Residential Tenancies Board

OireachtasMembersQueries@rtb.ie

Valuation Office

oireachtas.enquiries@VALOFF.ie

Planning Issues

Questions (1143, 1175)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1143. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the changing requirements under section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 following the various legislative amendments that have been made (details supplied); his plans to make further changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44787/19]

View answer

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1175. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to make changes to the legislation with regard to the process of taking in charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45299/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1143 and 1175 together.

Section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (the Act), provides for the taking in charge of housing developments by local authorities. The most recent amendments to the provisions were incorporated in the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 with a view to further strengthening and streamlining the taking-in-charge process.

Under section 180(1) of the Act as now constituted, where a planning authority considers that a development has been satisfactorily completed in accordance with the planning permission granted, it shall, where requested by the developer or a majority of the owners of the houses involved, initiate the taking-in-charge procedures under section 11 of the Roads Act 1993 (the Roads Act) not later than 6 months after being so requested.

With regard to developments that have not been completed to the satisfaction of the planning authority and enforcement proceedings have not been commenced by the planning authority within 4 years of the expiry of the planning permission relating to a development, section 180 (2)(a) of the Act now provides that the planning authority shall, where requested by the majority of owners of the houses involved, initiate the taking-in-charge procedures under section 11 of the Roads Act.

The most recent amendments further provide under section 180(2A) of the Act that where enforcement proceedings have not been commenced by a planning authority within 4 years of the expiration of the planning permission concerned or the planning authority considers that enforcement proceedings will not result in the satisfactory completion of the development by the developer, the planning authority may in its absolute discretion, at any time after the expiration of the planning permission concerned and where requested by a majority of the owners of the houses in question, initiate the taking-in-charge procedures under section 11 of the Roads Act. Where this approach is adopted, the authority may apply the security or bond given as part of the planning application for the satisfactory completion of the development.

Furthermore, section 180(2A) now provides that the initiation of the taking-in-charge procedures under section 11 of the Roads Act shall not preclude the planning authority concerned from pursuing a developer for any costs incurred by that authority in respect of works undertaken on a development to enable it to be taken in charge by that authority.

In addition, the most recent amendments of the section 180 provisions were supplemented by amendments to sections 34 and 35 of the Act. In this connection, section 34 - which relates to applications for planning permission - has been strengthened to provide that planning authorities shall, in the assessment and determination of planning applications, have specific regard to previous developments by a developer which have not been satisfactorily completed as well as any previous convictions against the developer for non-compliance with the Planning Act, the Building Control Act 2007 and the Fire Services Act 1981.

Section 35 of the Act - which relates to refusal of planning permissions for past failures - has been strengthened to empower the refusal of planning permission in situations where a developer has previously left an estate unfinished under one company name and then re-applies for permission for a new development under a different company name.

All of these changes were specifically aimed at strengthening the taking-in-charge processes and better ensuring the satisfactory completion of housing developments, and were somewhat informed by a Private Members Bill entitled the Planning and Development (Transparency and Consumer Confidence) Bill 2013 tabled by the Deputy.

I have no plans to make further amendments to the section 180 taking-in-charge provisions of the Act at this time.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Funding

Questions (1144)

Robert Troy

Question:

1144. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of new grants forthcoming towards water wells and rural water supplies; and when a new grant for such supplies will be available to applicants. [44788/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

On 8 February this year, I announced details of the measures being funded through my Department under the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021.

Local authorities were subsequently invited to submit their bids for the funding of schemes or projects in their functional areas. An Expert Panel was put in place to support the evaluation process and its membership includes Departmental, stakeholder and independent representation. The Expert Panel has made recommendations to my Department on the suitability of schemes and projects for funding based on objective criteria which are set out in the framework document issued to local authorities when requesting proposals.

On 14 October, and based on the recommendations of the Expert Panel, I announced approval of projects and schemes under the multi-annual programme. Local authorities were informed of the details on the same date.

Work is also at an advanced stage of development for 2 new schemes to replace existing schemes which assist householders, in certain circumstances, in the provision of on-site domestic water supplies (individual wells) and waste water treatment systems (septic tanks).

The changes that I have approved to the individual wells grant scheme are as follows:

- A maximum grant for rehabilitation works of €3,000, which represents an increase of 47% on the current maximum grant amount;

- Where the local authority agrees that the most appropriate solution is to provide a new well, the maximum grant payable would be €5,000;

- Recognising the role of the grant in improving quality, the water quality treatment element (typically filtration and UV filtration) will qualify for 100% funding up to a maximum of €1,000;

- Up to 85% of other costs would be met, subject to the total combined maximum costs of €3,000 for well rehabilitation or €5,000 for a new well;

- For clarity, applicants would not be able to avail of both grant amounts, so they would not be able to avail of €3,000 for well rehabilitation as well as the €5,000 for a new well.

The waste water treatment system grant allows under certain conditions, households to receive a grant to assist them in carrying out remediation, repair or upgrading works to, or replacement of their individual septic tanks.

In order to ensure greater uniformity with other measures in the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme, the means test that previously applied to this grant scheme is being removed and the level of grant support is being increased to 85% of the eligible costs of installation/upgrade or €5,000 (up from €2,500/€4,000) whichever is the lesser. This represents an increase of 100% and 25% respectively, relative to the current maximum grant levels.

I expect that the process for these new schemes will be completed shortly when the necessary regulations dealing with the financial assistance arrangements and related administrative matters are put in place. This will enable circular letters, terms and conditions, guidance and the application forms to issue to local authorities shortly thereafter.

In the meantime, the existing schemes continue to operate. Details are available on my Department's website at the following links or from the local authority concerned:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/water/water-services/rural-water-programme/private-wells .

https://www.housing.gov.ie/water/water-quality/domestic-waste-water-systemsseptic-tanks/domestic-waste-water-treatment-1.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (1145)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1145. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the legislation mentioned in the legislative report for the summer session 2019, specifically the housing and residential tenancies Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44800/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing and Residential Tenancies Bill, referenced in the Summer Legislative Programme, has been restructured into the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill and the Housing and Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill as part of the Autumn Legislative Programme.

It is anticipated that the General Scheme of a Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill, which will propose further amendments regarding private rented sector tenancies during receivership, will be submitted to Government for approval in December 2019. The General Scheme of a Housing and Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill which was recently approved by Government, will facilitate the bringing forward of amendments to both planning and housing legislation.

Local Authority Housing Data

Questions (1146)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

1146. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applicants on the local authority housing list in an area (details supplied) in each of the past five years by area; the number of applicants housed in the same period; the number of new projected housing builds in the planning stage for the local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44807/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area is provided in the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA). The SSHA has been conducted on an annual basis since 2016, prior to which it was carried out once every three years, with the last Summary under this approach having taken place in 2013.

My Department is currently finalising the 2019 summary with the Housing Agency and I expect to be in a position to publish the full detailed report shortly.

Below are links to the summary reports for 2016, 2017 and 2018 which contain data broken down for the 31 local authority areas. SSHA data is collected and collated at Local Authority level and therefore a breakdown of the numbers by electoral area cannot be provided.

Report 2016

https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/summary_of_social_housing_assessments_2016.pdf.

Report 2017

https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/sha_summary_2017.pdf.

Report 2018

https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/summary_of_social_housing_assessments_2018_-_key_findings.pdf.

As there was no SSHA carried out in either 2014 or 2015 my Department does not have data for those years.

It should be noted that the SSHA is a point in time snapshot of the demand for social housing support in each local authority area and does not necessarily reflect the dynamic nature of entry to and exit from the housing waiting lists.

The allocation of social housing support is a matter for each individual local authority in accordance with the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, and associated regulations. Section 22 of the 2009 Act requires all local authorities, as a reserved function, to make an allocation scheme determining the order of priority to be accorded in the allocation of dwellings to households qualified for social housing support and to households approved for a transfer, the allocation of which would, in the opinion of the authority, meet the accommodation needs and requirements of the households.

My Department does not hold information on the number of applicants housed in the specific area referred to in the Question.

In relation to new projected housing builds in the planning stage, overall planning statistics are collated and available on my Department’s website at this link:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/planning/statistics/planning-statistics-1.

In most cases local authorities use the Part 8 process for local authority own development, which is not a planning application, and data on Part 8 cases is not collated in the planning statistics as these applications are a matter for each relevant local authority.

Construction projects listed in the Social Housing Construction Status Report include projects which are both within and outside the Part 8 process. Non-part 8 projects include those being advanced by Approved Housing Bodies and projects by private developers that are being secured on a turn-key basis by local authorities.

The latest Construction status report, which relates to the position at end Q2 2019, is available at the following link:

https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-construction-status-report-for-q2-2019-2/.

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Questions (1147)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

1147. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons in receipt of the housing assistance payment in an area (details supplied) in the past five years; the amount being paid by his Department and the local authority to fund these HAP payments over the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44808/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a flexible and immediate housing support that is available to all eligible households throughout the State. HAP was rolled out on a phased basis, beginning in September 2014. It has been available to all households in South Dublin County Council (SDCC) since 1 October 2014. In Dublin City Council (DCC), HAP has been available to homeless households since February 2015 and all other households since March 2017.

While the information requested is not available in my Department in the format sought, at the end of Q2 2019 over 62,000 tenancies had been set up under the HAP scheme. Of these 3,158 were set up by Dublin City Council, 3,111 by South Dublin County Council and 6,255 set up by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.

The average rent paid to landlords in DCC and SDCC in each of the five years is set out in the table below:

Local Authority

Avg. Payment 2014

Avg. Payment 2015

Avg. Payment 2016

Avg. Payment 2017

Avg. Payment 2018

Avg. Payment Q2 2019

Dublin City Council

-

€979

€1,244

€1,258

€1,290

€1,292

South Dublin County Council

€1,058

€1,006

€1,104

€1,147

€1,213

€1,245

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (1148)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

1148. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of full and part-time staff employed in his Department; the number of such staff being paid at the minimum wage rate of pay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44849/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department had a serving headcount of 818 staff at the end of September 2019, of which just one person was recruited on a part-time basis. The headcount of 818 equates to a Full-Time Equivalent of 785.44. Staff recruited on a full-time basis can subsequently apply for alternative, non full-time working patterns under the Civil Services' family friendly working practices. At the end of September 2019 there were 101 full-time staff on reduced working patterns in my Department.

Payment of salaries to staff in my Department is made in line with pay scales approved by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. There is no one in my Department on a salary at or below the minimum wage of €9.80 per hour.

Housing Estates

Questions (1149, 1150)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1149. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn by local authorities to impediments under section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 since Irish Water was established; if so, the local authorities; the issues that have been highlighted; his plans to revise the law as a consequence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44915/19]

View answer

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1150. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reporting from local authorities that followed the issuing of circular PD1/06 with respect to taking housing estates in charge; if he will seek information on impediments experienced in the process since the establishment of Irish Water; if local authorities have been petitioned to take an estate in charge in cases in which housing estates meet the time criteria and they have not done so; if the report will include the number of housing estates involved, the number of houses in each estate, the year it received planning permission and enforcement actions in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44916/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1149 and 1150 together.

Residential developments consisting of two or more dwellings that have been granted planning permission under section 34 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) may be eligible (depending on the grant of planning condition) for taking in charge. The taking in charge of residential estates by local authorities is provided for under section 180 of the 2000 Act and is a reserved function of the elected members.

Under Section 180 (1) of the Act, the planning authority is obliged to initiate taking in charge procedures where requested by either the developer or by the majority of owners of the dwellings. However, this is subject to the development being completed to the satisfaction of the authority and in accordance with the permission and any conditions.

Circular PD 1/08 updates the earlier policy guidance issued by the Department and replaced circular letters PD 1/06 and 5/06 which directed planning authorities to develop a policy on taking in charge. All planning authorities were required to develop or update, as appropriate, their policy on taking in charge by the end of June 2008 on the basis of the framework set out in Circular PD 1/08.

My Department launched the National Taking-in-Charge Initiative (NTICI) in April 2016 to trial new approaches and working methods in supporting and accelerating overall national and local action on the taking-in-charge process of housing estates, including estates with developer-provided water services infrastructure which can include stand-alone treatment plants. Under the terms of the NTICI, which was underpinned by €10 million in funding, developments subject to valid taking-in-charge applications were eligible for inclusion in the associated call for funding proposals. Ultimately, €7.5 million of the allocated funding was paid to local authorities in respect of 330 developments, containing some 14,930 homes.

A Steering Group was established consisting of representatives from this Department, Irish Water and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess submissions and focus on finding solutions through collaboration between government, local authorities, Irish Water, and the EPA.

Findings and recommendations from the NTICI process were included in a report on the initiative that was published by my Department in December 2018. The report is available at the following link: www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/national_taking_in_charge_initiative_report_dec2018.pdf.

The publication of the NTICI report is of value to local authorities and other stakeholders in streamlining approaches to taking-in-charge, including through coordination with capital works by Irish Water. In this regard, my Department is liaising with Irish Water in relation to the report.

Ultimately, however, progression of individual developments through the taking-in-charge process is a matter for the relevant housing developer, the residents in such developments and the relevant local authorities, following the procedures laid out in section 180.

The National Development Plan, published last year, includes provision of €31 million for the period 2018-2021 for developer-provided infrastructure, commencing with an estimated provision of €6 million in 2019. The multi-annual programme was initiated through the invitation of project bids from local authorities in July of this year, followed by their evaluation by an Expert Panel, set up by my Department, to independently evaluate the bid projects and make recommendations to my Department on suitable projects to be approved for funding. It is expected that approval and allocations will be made on funding applications in the coming months.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Questions (1151, 1152)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1151. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the net change in State-owned social housing units; if he will provide a breakdown based on new completed units, units purchased, sale of units and demolitions and voids in each of the years 1995 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44936/19]

View answer

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1152. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of housing units owned by the State at the end of each of the years 1995 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44937/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1151 and 1152 together.

The information sought is not collated in the precise format requested but there is a large volume of relevant data available in respect of many of the categories included.

Data on social housing stock occupied as distinct from owned at the end of each year has been collected and reported by the Department from 1994 until 2016. This data is available on my Departments website at https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/house-prices-loans-and-profile-borrowers/local-authority-rented-sector-activity.

The National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) has been collecting and producing a detailed overview of data in respect of the social housing stock since 2014. Data for the numbers of dwellings owned, constructed, purchased and provided under the RAS, HAP and Leasing programmes were provided in their Annual Indicators Reports for 2014 and 2015. These reports can be found at http://noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/NOAC-Performance-Indicators-Report-2014.pdf and http://noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2015-PI-Report.pdf.

Following a review of this data further improvements were made and data on the numbers of dwellings owned, added, sold and demolished were added to the report for the years 2017 and 2018. This data can be found at http://noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/NOAC-Performance-Indicators-Report-2017.pdf and http://noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/NOAC-Performance-Indicator-Report-2018-1.pdf

Data is also available on my Department's website in respect of new dwellings constructed, acquired and sold over a number of years. Data in respect of units constructed and acquired can be found at https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision while data on sale of local authority housing can be found at https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/social-and-affordble/other-local-authority-housing-scheme-statistics