Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (650)

Denis Naughten

Question:

650. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a person (details supplied) will receive a decision on an application; the reason for the delay in same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51818/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

The application in question was referred to a local social welfare inspector (SWI) on 6 September 2019 and follow up contact was made with the SWI on 5 December 2019 to confirm that all the conditions for receipt of carer’s allowance are satisfied.

Once the SWI has reported, a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Local Authority Housing Funding

Questions (651)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

651. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the business case that has been made to fund local authorities to rent from cuckoo funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51169/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

A range of housing options are necessary to ensure a supply of accommodation to meet different types of social housing need. Harnessing the off-balance sheet potential of private investment in social housing is an important contributor to meeting this objective and the social housing targets set out in Rebuilding Ireland over the period to 2021 reflect the ambition in that regard. Of the 50,000 social housing homes to be delivered under Rebuilding Ireland, 10,000 will be leased by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) under leasing arrangements from a range of different sources and funded under the Department’s Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP). The leasing programme secures properties from a wide range of lessors and through the various leasing schemes.

High quality secure properties, which represent value for money and are available on a long-term basis, are being targeted by local authorities around the country to accommodate people on local authority waiting lists. The Government has increased significantly the delivery expected from local authorities through their social housing build programme, but it remains the case that more homes can be provided through leasing than could reasonably be expected to be delivered under construction and acquisition programmes alone. In addition, the cost of delivering social housing units under the traditional construction and acquisition model is not adequately captured by the up-front capital expenditure as each unit will carry a stream of ongoing costs over the long-term including management, maintenance and remediation. Furthermore, during the term of the lease, the responsibility for structural matters remains with the property owner and not the local authority. At the end of the lease term, the dwelling can require major renovation or upgrading resulting in a substantial capital cost, which under leasing is borne by the owner rather than the local authority.

The Government is committed to increasing the supply of social housing and a primary focus continues to be the construction of new social housing homes. However, it is important that local authorities have the capacity to respond to local residential property markets and that they have the tools to provide a range of accommodation types in all of the areas where social housing need arises.

Housing Assistance Payment Expenditure

Questions (652)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

652. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount spent in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 by local authorities on HAP; the estimated amount for 2020 and 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51171/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme plays a vital role in housing eligible families and individuals. At the end of Q2 2019, over 62,700 HAP tenancies had been set-up since the scheme commenced, of which there were more than 48,000 households actively in receipt of HAP support and over 28,000 separate landlords and agents providing accommodation to households supported by the scheme.

Limerick City and County Council provide a highly effective transactional shared service on behalf of all HAP local authorities. This HAP Shared Services Centre (SSC) manages all HAP related rental transactions for the tenant, local authority and landlord. Accordingly, my Department does not recoup individual local authorities in respect of HAP rental payments in their administrative areas but rather recoups all landlord costs via the HAP SSC.

HAP is funded through a combination of Exchequer monies and tenant differential rents collected in respect of HAP tenancies. Budget 2019 increased the Exchequer funding for the HAP scheme to €422 million. This is allowing for the continued support of existing HAP households and also enable the additional 16,760 households targeted under Rebuilding Ireland to be supported by HAP in 2019, as well as supporting the roll-out of the Homeless HAP Place Finder Support Service across the country.

Details on the Exchequer funding for HAP are set out in the table below:

Year

2017

2018

2019

Outturn

€152.69m

€276.6m

€422m (allocated)

Budget 2020 increased the Exchequer funding for the HAP scheme to €502.7 million. This will enable a further 15,750 households to be supported, as well as continuing support for the over 52,000 existing HAP tenancies which will be in place at end 2019.

The 2021 budgetary provision for housing programmes will be determined in the context of the relevant estimates process.

My Department continues to keep the operation of the HAP scheme under review, which I consider to be a key vehicle for meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme outlined under Rebuilding Ireland.

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Questions (653)

Martin Heydon

Question:

653. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons in receipt of HAP in County Kildare in each year since its inception in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51717/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme plays a vital role in providing housing support to eligible families and individuals. At the end of Q2 2019, over 62,700 HAP tenancies had been set-up since the scheme commenced, of which there were more than 48,000 households actively in receipt of HAP support. There were over 28,000 separate landlords and agents nationwide providing accommodation to households supported by the scheme.

The scheme was rolled out across the county in waves, and Kildare County Council was part of wave 2 to participate in the HAP scheme, joining in November 2015. Over the period 2015 to end Quarter 2 2019 more than 3,400 households have been supported in Co. Kildare under the HAP scheme of which 2,109 were active as at end June 2019.

Details of the number of HAP setups in Kildare by year, are set out in the table below:

Year

HAP Tenancy Set-ups

2015

32

2016

773

2017

748

2018

706

2019

366 (Q2)

My Department continues to keep the operation of the HAP scheme under review, which I consider to be a key vehicle for meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme outlined under Rebuilding Ireland.

Quarrying Sector

Questions (654)

John McGuinness

Question:

654. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the action he has taken arising from a television programme (details supplied) that outlined serious planning and other issues in the quarry industry; his views on whether further legislation is required in this area; if he has received written complaints regarding the breach of planning laws or conditions of planning permission granted; if he is in receipt of complaints regarding the matter relevant to quarries in County Laois; if he is satisfied that local authorities have responded in a positive and constructive way to the ministerial policy directive issued in May 2013 under section 29 of the Planning and Development Act 2000; and the number of reviews of the performance by planning authorities undertaken by the planning regulator under section 31P of the Act. [51795/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

In May 2013, a Ministerial Policy Directive was issued to all planning authorities under section 29 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended (the Act), reminding them of their statutory obligations under Part VIII of the Act relating to planning enforcement. In light of the recent TV programme, as referred to by the Deputy, regarding unauthorised quarrying activity, my Department will shortly further engage with planning authorities regarding the need for more decisive action against illegal quarries, advising them to make fuller use of the enforcement powers that are available to them, so that the problem can be more effectively addressed.

Under planning legislation, planning enforcement is a matter for the relevant planning authority. In this regard, planning authorities have extensive enforcement powers under Part VIII of the Act to take action where the terms of a permission have not been met or where unauthorised development is taking place. In addition, any person or a planning authority may seek a court order under section 160 of the Act in relation to unauthorised development with a view to ensuring that the development works in question are not carried out or continued.

My Department occasionally receives correspondence regarding allegations of unauthorised development. However, under section 30 of the Act, I am specifically precluded from exercising power or control in relation to any particular case with which a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála is or may be concerned, including planning enforcement cases.

With regard to reviews under Section 31P of the Act, as referred to by the Deputy, I signed the Order to commence the operation of the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) in April 2019. The OPR has a specific mandate to conduct reviews of the performance by planning authorities of their planning functions, including enforcement functions, as required. I understand that, further to the recruitment of necessary staffing resources to fulfil its mandate, the OPR proposes to commence its initial programme of performance reviews of planning authorities during 2020.

Furthermore, in connection with claims in the TV programme referred to regarding the procuring by local authorities of materials from unauthorised quarries, my Department will shortly write to local authorities reminding them of the need to adhere to the Public Procurement Guidelines for Goods and Services as published by the Office of Government Procurement, which require that any materials, products or services being procured are sourced from authorised sources which are operating in compliance with relevant statutory requirements.

Local Authority Staff Recruitment

Questions (655)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

655. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the formal appointment of two local government officials at senior executive officer level will be made to manage planning and development issues in Drogheda and Dundalk, County Louth in view of the status of both towns as development centres; if his Department will fund salaries for the positions; the timeframe for the creation of a draft local area plan for the area of Drogheda, County Louth bordering County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51092/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The NPF and Project Ireland 2040 together set out the Government’s high level plan for shaping the future growth and development of the country in the period to 2040. The NPF specifically identifies the need for a focused approach to compact, sequential and sustainable development in Dundalk and Drogheda given their unique location on the Dublin-Belfast economic corridor and their status as designated regional growth centres.

Following interaction with my Department, Louth County Council has submitted a proposal for the creation of two new senior positions, one each in Drogheda and Dundalk, to enhance planning and development within the towns, The new roles will also support the delivery of critical objectives under the National Planning Framework (NPF) including important coordination with Meath County Council in the context of Drogheda.

The Council has sought financial assistance from my Department in this regard and I am considering that request at the moment.

I understand that Louth County Council has recently issued notice of their intention to commence the review of the existing Louth County Development Plan 2015-2021 and to prepare a new Louth County Development Plan for the period 2021-2027. Following on from the Development Plan review to facilitate an integrated approach and ensure alignment of plan hierarchy, it would be prudent for the local area plan to be prepared on foot of the preparation of the Development Plan. However, the precise timeframe for the preparation of local area plans is a matter for the relevant local authorities.

Social and Affordable Housing

Questions (656)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

656. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the public sector benchmark exercise for bundle 1 of the PPP social housing scheme will be published. [51137/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Social Housing Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme involves an investment with a capital value of €300 million. It is to deliver approximately 1,500 social housing units in total, via three bundles. The first bundle, which comprises six PPP sites, will provide 534 units in the Greater Dublin Area. Two of the sites are located in the Dublin City Council area with one each in the County Council areas of South Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Louth.

The Public Sector Benchmark (PSB) is an essential part of any PPP project. It contains commercially sensitive information in relation to the methodology used for costing public sector projects and for the pricing of risks by public sector bodies. Current policy is that the final PSB, or any elements thereof, is not made public during the process. This is on the basis that revealing the amount that the State may pay for a service may give tenderers an opportunity to increase their asking price above what they might otherwise seek. This rationale is maintained where it is intended to procure further similar projects in the near future as is the case with the Social Housing PPP Programme.

Construction on all sites in Bundle 1 of the programme is continuing at present. I can also confirm that financial close on Bundle 2 was reached on 27 November 2019. Details in relation to Bundle 2 can be found on the Rebuilding Ireland website here:

https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/contract-awarded-for-465-social-housing-units-under-bundle-2-of-ppp-programme/

In addition, the finalisation of the site selection process for Bundle 3 is nearing completion and it is anticipated an announcement will be made shortly. Bundle 3 will follow the same structure as Bundles 1 and 2. As such, and a result of the ongoing construction on Bundle 1 and the potential impact on value for money for the State for the future contract for Bundle 3, it would not be appropriate to release the PSB for Bundle 1 of the programme at this time.

However, I can confirm that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has indicated that following the completion of the construction phase of a PPP, once an appropriate period of time has elapsed, and the commercial sensitivity of the information on the project is no longer an issue (having regard also to any other similar PPP projects, which may be in pre-procurement), the PSB should be made public.

Social and Affordable Housing Expenditure

Questions (657)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

657. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the average unit price paid for social housing new builds, turnkeys and acquisitions for each scheme funded by his Department in 2018, in tabular form. [51168/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department worked closely earlier this year with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) on an Analysis of Social Housing Acquisitions which was published in August 2019 and can be accessed at the following link:

https://assets.gov.ie/25634/13fe4c4ec237489b9d3b6ebeea68332b.pdf

Providing an average unit cost for social housing is not necessarily straightforward. Unit costs vary substantially for many factors including for example the location, size, dwelling type and any special adaptation required.

The IGEES Spending Review also signalled, that "accurately estimating the extent to which a local authority or an AHB is achieving value when acquiring units is a methodologically difficult task. The determinants which impact upon the price of any one housing unit are many. Factors such as the size and quality of the unit, the number of bedrooms and the precise location of the unit play an important role, in addition to a variety of other factors, in determining market price. Furthermore, wider dynamics in the market such as the supply of available housing, the level of demand within an area and general price dynamics within the economy and housing market play critical roles. As such, to assess the absolute value achieved within each acquisition made would require econometric modelling to take account of these factors."

While the Spending Review looked primarily at acquisition, further analysis across all delivery programmes, are outlined in the table below.

Programme

SHIPLA Build (inc. RAPID)

SHIP Turnkey

CALF Build

CALF Turnkey

Part V-LA

Part V- CAS

Part V CALF

LA Acquisition

CALF Acquisition

Housing Agency Acquisition

Average Cost 2018

€200,900

€239,200

€46,827

€45,136

€216,293

€185,000

€35,973

€189,294

€49,274

€57,069

It should be noted that for units funded under the Capital Assistance Leasing Facility (CALF), only the CALF loan amount approved, max 30% of total capital costs, are identified in the table as this reflects the exchequer capital costs. For comparison purposes the IGEES report outlined above noted that under the CALF programme, the average purchase price of a dwelling in 2018 was €193,470.

Pyrite Remediation Programme

Questions (658)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

658. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if Limerick City and County Council will be included in the pyrite remediation scheme; the eligibility criteria for same.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51182/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Pyrite Resolution Act 2013 provides the statutory framework for the establishment of the Pyrite Resolution Board and for the making of a pyrite remediation scheme to be implemented by the Board with support from the Housing Agency.

The provisions of the Act apply only to dwellings affected by significant damage attributable to pyritic heave consequent on the presence of reactive pyrite in the subfloor hardcore material and not to damage arising in any other circumstance, e.g. such as pyrite in concrete blocks.

The pyrite remediation scheme is a scheme of “last resort” for affected homeowners who have no other practical option to obtain redress and is limited in its application and scope. The full conditions for eligibility under the scheme are set out in the scheme which is available on the Board’s website, www.pyriteboard.ie.

The scheme is applicable to dwellings, which are subject to significant damage attributable to pyritic heave established, in accordance with I.S. 398-1:2017 - Reactive pyrite in sub-floor hardcore material – Part 1: Testing and categorisation protocol. In this regard, it is a condition of eligibility under the scheme that an application to the Board must be accompanied by a Building Condition Assessment with a Damage Condition Rating of 2. Dwellings which do not have a Damage Condition Rating of 2 are not eligible to apply under the scheme. This ensures that, having regard to the available resources, the focus of the scheme is on dwellings which are most severely damaged by pyritic heave. I have no proposals to amend this eligibility criterion.

The latest figures available indicate that 2,575 applications have been received under the pyrite remediation scheme. Of the 2,575 applications received so far, 2,100 dwellings have been included in the pyrite remediation scheme and the applicants notified accordingly.

A further 104 applications have been validated and referred to the Housing Agency for the Assessment and Verification Process, while another 192 applications are at the initial Application and Validation Process. 179 applications under the scheme were not successful.

Of the 2,100 dwellings that have been included in the pyrite remediation scheme:

125 are at remedial works planning stage,

13 are at tender / tender analysis,

145 are under remediation, and

1,817 are complete.

In regard to Limerick, my Department understands that the Pyrite Resolution Board is aware of pyrite in the hardcore in a number of dwellings in Limerick and is in the process of making a proposal to include Limerick City and County Council area in the Pyrite Remediation Scheme.

Any amendments, which the Board consider are required to the scheme will be given full consideration should they be submitted to me in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

Light Rail Projects

Questions (659)

John Lahart

Question:

659. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the action he has taken to include a feasibility study on the recent Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly recommendation to complete the construction of MetroLink from Swords to Sandyford and to UCD and Knocklyon from Charlemont; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51187/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The making, implementation and review of a Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) is a function of the relevant Regional Assembly, in this case the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA), under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

In accordance with section 23 of the 2000 Act, the objective of a RSES is to provide a long-term strategic planning and economic framework for the development of the region that is consistent with the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the economic policies or objectives of the Government.

That particular section also requires a Regional Assembly to ensure that the Strategy is consistent with the relevant plans and strategies of specified public bodies, including the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. Further, when making a RSES, the Regional Assemblies in respect of the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) must ensure that the Strategy is consistent with the Transport Strategy of the National Transport Authority (NTA).

My role as Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government in relation to the RSES process is to ensure that the Strategy reflects Project Ireland 2040 and all relevant statutory requirements, including that the RSES is consistent with the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), which provides the statutory framework for the planning and delivery of transport infrastructure for the region, with associated funding included in the NDP.

In this regard, I gave notice on 7 August 2019 to EMRA that I intended to issue a Direction under Section 31A of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (as amended) in relation to objectives within the RSES that identified additional rail, metro and LUAS infrastructure, which went beyond the scope of the NTA Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035, the National Planning Framework 2040 and the National Development Plan 2018-2027. This statutory process remains ongoing and accordingly I am not in a position to comment further at this stage.

I can say, however, that I understand that a review of the GDA Transport Strategy will commence next year and will enable re-examination of travel demand across the GDA based on the most recent forecasts of population and employment distribution. It will be more appropriate at that point, and through that process, for further public transport project proposals to be identified and considered.

Septic Tank Grants

Questions (660)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

660. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the provision of a new grant scheme to upgrade domestic septic tanks; his views on the fact that work on the new scheme has been at an advanced stage for some time with no information forthcoming; when it is expected the new scheme will be launched; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51229/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I approved a new funding scheme for on-site wastewater treatment systems (more commonly known as septic tanks) under the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme to replace the current grant which was brought into operation by the Domestic Waste Water Treatment System (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2013.

In developing the necessary regulatory and administrative changes to underpin the revised and improved grants scheme, my Department has over recent months met and consulted with key stakeholders, including the County and City Management Association, the Local Authority Waters Programme and the Environmental Protection Agency.

My Department also required legal advice in relation to the drafting of the regulations which are required for the new grant scheme. I am advised that this process is almost complete and I hope to make an announcement on the commencement of the new scheme very shortly.

Local Authority Housing Funding

Questions (661)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

661. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications made each year to date under the buy and renew scheme in County Donegal; the number of successful applications to date; the number of properties in County Donegal secured under the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51231/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Capital funding is provided to local authorities to acquire a range of properties for social housing use. The properties involved can range from those in good condition to those that need remediation and may have been vacant. To ensure a local-led response to such work, responsibility for property acquisitions is delegated to local authorities.

To further assist local authorities pursuing vacant properties, the Buy & Renew Scheme makes funding available to facilitate local authorities in acquiring and remediating vacant properties that may be suitable for social housing. To date, while Donegal County Council has not sought funding from my Department under the scheme, they have acquired vacant properties and carried out the necessary upgrading works, under the standard social housing acquisition programme. These houses have then been let to individuals and families on the local authority's waiting list.

I understand that Donegal County Council intends to continue to pursue opportunities to deliver new social housing through acquiring and remediating vacant properties and will utilise the Buy & Renew Scheme for this purpose. The Council also uses other opportunities to tackle vacancy and deliver new social housing such as the completion of unfinished estates.

Local Authority Housing Funding

Questions (662, 665)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

662. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount Mayo County Council requested from his Department for housing initiatives in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by year and housing initiative. [51241/19]

View answer

Lisa Chambers

Question:

665. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the amount provided to Mayo County Council in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019 for all housing initiatives. [51277/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 662 and 665 together.

The funding provided by my Department to Mayo County Council, in respect of the delivery of housing programmes, in each year from 2014 to 2018, and to end November 2019 is set out in the table below.

Year

Total Expenditure€ million

2014

11.25

2015

11.45

2016

14.70

2017

15.10

2018

17.97

2019 (to end November)

26.89

Total

97.36

My Department provides relevant funding to local authorities under a wide range of housing schemes as individual projects are progressed and once claims are submitted, validated, and deemed to be in order for payment.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Questions (663)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

663. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if concerns and-or issues were raised regarding the ground works and-or rising walls construction phase of a project (details supplied) in respect of quarterly meetings held between Wicklow County Council and his Department in 2019; the timeline in respect of the completion date and delivery of project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51243/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department engages with all local authorities on a regular basis, including Wicklow County Council, regarding the delivery of social housing. This includes structured quarterly meetings to review progress on projects.

In the case of the project for which details are provided, my Department gave funding approval in 2018 and it is a matter for Wicklow County Council to manage the construction contract with their design team. The project was discussed at the most recent quarterly technical meeting between the Council and my Department, in terms of the overall progress of the project. I understand from Wicklow County Council that the construction commenced in October 2019 and is expected to take around 12 months for completion.

Home Loan Scheme

Question No. 665 answered with Question No. 662.

Questions (664)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

664. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason the definition of a first-time buyer under the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999 does not apply to a Rebuilding Ireland loan applicant (details supplied); if the application will be re-examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51248/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan Scheme enables credit-worthy first-time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties in a suitable price range, where they cannot obtain sufficient mortgage finance from a commercial lender.

As with the previous local authority loan offerings, the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is available to first-time buyers only. There is no change in this regard. This is set out in the regulations governing the Scheme to ensure the effective targeting of limited resources.

Applicants who are separated or divorced may be treated as first-time buyers, in accordance with the regulations, if they meet certain conditions, including:

- they are separated or divorced under a court order or by a separation agreement;

- the property being purchased is the first property since leaving the family home;

- they have left the family home and retain no interest in it; or

- the other party has remained in the family home.

In meeting the conditions as set out above, in particular that the other party has remained in the family home and that the potential applicant has relinquished any rights they had over that property, no financial gain should have been made by the potential applicant in exchange for relinquishing their rights to the property in this manner. Were the individual to have made a financial gain in releasing their rights to the property (as is the case here), such as being bought out by the other party who remains resident in it, they would be deemed to have been compensated for their interest in the property, and therefore not be eligible as a first-time buyer as defined in section 92B of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act, 1999.

The loans are provided by the Local Authorities and the applications are assessed by the Housing Agency on their behalf. Each local authority must have in place a credit committee, which makes the final decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations and having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.

Question No. 665 answered with Question No. 662.

Fire Service

Questions (666)

Gerry Adams

Question:

666. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the funding allocated to Louth County Council for fire services in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [51301/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports fire authorities through setting general policy and progressing legislation, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding support for equipment and priority infrastructural projects. The current funding requirements of the service are met on an annual basis by the relevant local authority concerned.

The Fire Services Capital Programme forms an important part of my Department’s strategy to support fire authorities in the development and maintenance of a quality fire-fighting and rescue service. My Department provides capital funding for the construction/upgrading of priority fire station projects and the procurement of fire appliances and specialised equipment.

The prioritisation and effective management of proposals is, in the first instance, a matter for each of the fire authorities based on their assessment of local needs and requirements. My Department works closely with fire services around the country to progress priority projects. The funding provided to Louth County Council in the period requested is outlined in the table below.

Funding provided to Louth County Council Fire Service

2016

2017

2018

2019 (to date)

Louth

€0

€406,393

€228,378

€84,475

For completeness, Louth County Council also received a new Class B Fire Appliance as part of the 2015 Fire Appliance Procurement Programme which is valued at approximately €340,000.

My Department is also funding the Fire Services' CTrí (previously known as CAMP) project dealing with the Fire Services' 999/112 emergency call-taking service for the public. It is a nation-wide system, based in three regional communication centres in Dublin, Limerick and Castlebar. The CTrí Project will see the introduction of a new mobilisation system better linking the three centres. This will provide the opportunity to achieve an improved, more resilient service to the public. Funding of €1.62 million, €1.87 million and €2.7 million was provided for this project by my Department in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively. This funding is ongoing and a further €3.2 million has been provided in the current year to date. Due to the nature of this project, which will benefit every county in the country, the funding has not been apportioned on a county-by-county basis.