Rent Pressure Zones

Questions (71)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

71. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will consider amendments to the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 in order that the expiry date of each deemed and designated rent pressure zone, RPZ, can be reviewed prior to 31 December 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51800/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Government’s Strategy for the Rental Sector recognises that rapidly increasing rental inflation is the most significant challenge to security of tenure in the rental sector and that there was a need for a targeted, time-bound and transparent policy response to the issue of rising rents. To address this, the Government introduced the Rent Predictability Measure. This measure, which was provided for by the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, introduced the concept of Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) to moderate the rate of rent increases in those areas of the country where rents are highest and rising quickly.

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 was enacted on 24 May 2019 following extensive debate in the Houses of the Oireachtas. Given the ongoing housing and homelessness crisis, I have no immediate plans to amend the RPZ expiry date of 31 December 2021 provided for in that Act. The position will be reviewed nearer the expiry date in light of prevailing rent levels at that time.

The Housing Agency continues to monitor the rental market and may recommend further areas for designation as Rent Pressure Zones in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2019.

Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

Questions (72, 89)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

72. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the summary of the 2019 social housing needs assessment. [51755/19]

View answer

Paul Murphy

Question:

89. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the most recent figures on the housing waiting list for four Dublin councils (details supplied). [51371/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 and 89 together.

Details on the number of households qualified for social housing support in each local authority area are set out in the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA).

The most recently conducted SSHA details the number of households on all local authority waiting lists as at 24 June 2019 (the count date). Since the count date, the Housing Agency have been examining the figures submitted by Local Authorities. The Agency recently submitted their report to me which provides information on the characteristics of the households on the list. The full report, including breakdowns by each local authority across a range of categories, is available on my Department’s website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/sha_summary_2019_dec_2019_web_1.pdf.

The final numbers provided by the Housing Agency regarding the 2019 assessment show that 68,693 households were assessed as qualified and being in need of social housing support. This represents a decrease of 3,165 households or 4.4% on the last assessment in June 2018. Indeed, since the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan was launched in 2016, the numbers have decreased from 91,600 to 68,693, a reduction of 25%.

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. Local authorities have provided 90,000 social housing supports in the period of Rebuilding Ireland to date.

The undertaking of the SSHA assists in providing a more strategic picture of the dynamics of the numbers applying for social housing supports and emerging trends. The purpose of the SSHA is to capture the total number of households qualified for social housing support across the country whose social housing need is not being met, in order to better understand the level of need for such support. The data garnered through the Summary will allow my Department to target the delivery of social housing supports under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness to those most in need.

Seanad Reform

Questions (73)

Shane Cassells

Question:

73. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans for the implementation of the Seanad reform group proposals; and the timeline for same. [51857/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In April 2018, the Taoiseach established an Implementation Group on Seanad Reform (SRIG) to consider the Manning Report (formally known as the Report of the Working Group on Seanad Reform) and to develop specific proposals to legislate for Seanad reform. The SRIG's report, together with a draft Bill, was published in December 2018.

The SRIG Report contains recommendations in relation to electoral reform of the Seanad, as well as recommendations for non-statutory reforms in regard to the way the Seanad conducts its business. The Report was noted by Government at its meeting on 30 April 2019. Government also noted that the Report includes four statements from various groups outlining where their position was not in line with recommendations of the Report.

Statements on the SRIG Report were held in the Seanad on 24 September 2019 and in the Dáil on 7 November 2019. The Government will reflect on the views of the Oireachtas with a view to considering early in 2020 the next steps to be taken.

Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

Questions (74)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

74. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to ensure the figures of those on the RAS and HAP transfer lists are included on the list of those awaiting social housing by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51874/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Consistent with the provisions in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme is considered to be a social housing support and consequently households in receipt of a payment under the scheme are not eligible to remain on the main housing waiting list. However, acknowledging that some households on the waiting list, who avail of HAP, have expectations that they would receive a more traditional form of social housing support, Ministerial directions have issued to ensure that, should they so choose, HAP recipients can avail of a move to other forms of social housing support through a transfer list.

Furthermore, local authorities were also directed that HAP recipients who apply to go on the transfer list should get full credit for the time they spent on the waiting list and be placed on the transfer list with no less favourable terms than if they had remained on the waiting list.

In relation to the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 gives legislative recognition to rental accommodation availability agreements, which underpin RAS, as a form of social housing support. Consequently, since 1 April 2011, RAS tenants are now considered to be in receipt of social housing support and should not generally remain on main housing waiting lists for new applicants for social housing.

Recognising that tenants housed through RAS prior to this change might have had reasonable expectations in regard to retaining access to traditional local authority rented accommodation, guidance issued from the Housing Agency in 2011 recommended that there should be a special transfer pathway for pre-2011 RAS tenants to other forms of social housing support. The arrangement effectively allowed these households to be designated as a ‘transfer’ applicant and to maintain their position for allocation as they had on the main waiting list.

All tenants allocated RAS accommodation post 1st April 2011 (and thus under the provisions of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009) were informed at the time of offer and allocation that because RAS is now a social housing support, their housing need is met and that they will no longer remain on the main social housing waiting list.

However, it is recommended that allocation schemes also provide a ‘transfer pathway’ for new RAS tenants, whereby households in RAS have access to the transfer list in the same way as tenants in local authority accommodation.

The practical operation of transfer lists is a matter for each local authority to manage, on the basis of their own scheme of letting priorities. The making of such schemes is a reserved function of the local authority and as such is a matter for the elected members.

HAP and RAS continue to be key vehicles in meeting housing need and fulfilling the ambitious programme outlined under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.

Home Loan Scheme

Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 48.

Questions (75)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

75. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the most up-to-date figures on the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; the number of loans applied for; the number of loans approved; the number drawn down; and the average loan amount in the three categories. [51757/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Housing Agency provides a central support service which assesses applications for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan on behalf of local authorities and makes recommendations to the authorities to approve or refuse applications.

Each local authority must have in place a Credit Committee and it is a matter for the Committee to make the final decision on applications for loans, in accordance with the regulations, and having regard to the recommendations made by the Housing Agency.

I have asked the Agency to compile figures on the numbers of applications that it has assessed and recommended to approve since the scheme began. In 2018, the Housing Agency assessed 3,036 valid applications. Of these, it recommended 1,550 for approval. For 2019, as of end-November 2019, the Housing Agency have assessed 2,476 valid applications of which 1,225 have been recommended for approval.

My Department publishes information on the overall number and value of (i) local authority loan approvals and (ii) local authority loan drawdowns. Local authority approval means that an official letter of offer has been sent to a borrower (and therefore relates to a specific property and loan amount). Information on the RIHL up to Quarter 2 2019, including in relation to the number and value of mortgage approvals and drawdowns and also average loan amounts is available on my Department's website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/house-prices-loans-and-profile-borrowers/local-authority-loan-activity.

Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 48.

Housing Estates

Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 46.

Questions (77)

Denis Naughten

Question:

77. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the taking in charge of housing estates process will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51117/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The most recent amendments to the taking in charge provisions of the planning code were made in the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 with a view to further strengthening and streamlining the taking-in-charge process.

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 as amended 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.

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.

I have no current plans to conduct a review of the taking-in-charge provisions of the Act.

Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 46.

Urban Regeneration and Development Fund

Questions (79)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

79. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if funding will be considered for a second bridge into Newbridge, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46783/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) is a flagship element of Project Ireland 2040. Under the stewardship of my Department, the Fund was established in 2018 to support more compact and sustainable development, through the regeneration and rejuvenation of Ireland’s five cities and other large towns, in line with the objectives of the National Planning Framework and National Development Plan (NDP).

In July 2018, bids for URDF funding support were invited from public bodies. The application process was competitive and in the event, out of a total of 189 applications received by my Department, 88 proposals were approved for URDF support.

As part of this first call, Kildare County Council submitted 7 proposals and was awarded URDF support for 4 of these. One of the Council’s unsuccessful proposals related to a link road from Great Connell Road to Athgarvan Road in Newbridge.

A second call for proposals under the URDF will be announced shortly.

In the context of the second call it will be a matter for Kildare County Council to consider the projects it may wish to submit for consideration. In that regard, and taking account of the assessment of its previous proposal, the Council can, of course consider again submitting the Newbridge Link Road as part of a broader integrated urban development proposal.

Legislative Measures

Questions (80)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

80. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason for progressing the housing and planning and development (amendment) Bill; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Bill adds many requirements and restrictions that will make it much harder for persons and environmental NGOs to take cases against developments; the way in which he can address the various concerns outlined by NGOs and private citizens regarding the fundamental changes to the current system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51705/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The reforms set out in the General Scheme for a Housing and Planning and Development (Amendment ) Bill are part of a series of ongoing reforms to ensure that the planning system operates in a streamlined and efficient manner, delivering timely decisions with effective public engagement. The proposed reforms largely emanate from a steering group established by the Department of An Taoiseach on Data Centres and Judicial Review and an associated multi-Departmental and Agency working group mandated by that Group, which was chaired by my Department.

The proposals in the General Scheme are not intended to inhibit actions by any person directly impacted by a proposed development who has participated in the planning process. Prior participation can be waived subject to certain reasonable exclusions. With regard to NGOs, the proposals are to ensure that there is clarity on the standing of NGOs in the process and to ensure that NGO provisions do not result in judicial review challenges being brought forward by bodies or organisations engaged in competitive or economic activity. The proposed cost capping measures are designed to provide a reasonable and proportionate balance in relation to the costs exposure for all parties and also enable the Courts to determine if a case is prohibitively expensive.

I recently launched a public consultation on the General Scheme of the Bill. The consultation enables all interested parties to make submissions on the proposed legislation. This will inform the further development of the draft legislation which will be completed following the conclusion of the consultation process.

Local Authority Facilities

Questions (81)

Joan Collins

Question:

81. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact the CEO of Dublin City Council is proposing that depot sites be sold to facilitate the capital programme (details supplied); the reason it is not policy to use appropriate public land held by the council to build public housing in view of the housing crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51825/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The development of major local authority residential sites, including in the Dublin City Council area, where undersupply and the greatest affordability issues are being experienced, is a major priority for the Government. This includes making maximum use of public land for the purpose of delivering social and affordable homes for those who need them.

In the first instance, it is a matter for each local authority and its elected members to agree the optimal approach to development and financing of its land bank, including the viability of sites for development. Notwithstanding this, my Department has been working closely with all local authorities, including Dublin City Council, to ensure that new social and affordable homes can be delivered from the public land bank, with particular emphasis on prioritising those sites with the greatest potential to deliver housing at scale, in the short to medium term.

In addition, the Land Development Agency have also been working with local authorities, including Dublin City Council, to ensure increased delivery of social and affordable homes on public lands.

As set out in the details supplied by the Deputy, Dublin City Council's intention is to ensure that those sites whose zoning allows for residential development are to be developed for social and affordable housing through Approved Housing Bodies.

Local Authority Rates

Question No. 83 answered with Question No. 66.

Question No. 84 answered with Question No. 59.

Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 43.

Questions (82)

Imelda Munster

Question:

82. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he has had meetings with Louth County Council regarding an anomaly by which County Louth is the only local authority to have three different rateable values, given the detrimental effect this is having on businesses in some parts of the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50131/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Local authorities have a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists. The levying and collection of rates are matters for each individual local authority.

The elected members of local authorities have direct responsibility in law for all reserved functions of the authority, including adopting the annual budget. Setting the Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV) is a key part of the budgetary process.

The Local Government Reform Act 2014 provided for rates harmonisation to cater for differences between ARVs of former town councils and county councils. The new structures of local government, including the establishment of municipal districts, provided an opportunity to achieve a more coherent approach to rates and charges on a county-wide basis.

In 2015, local authorities began the process of harmonisation to cater for differences between ARVs of former town councils and of county councils. Changes in rates liability, due to harmonisation, are being phased in over a period of up to 10 years. An adjustment mechanism is provided to phase in increases and decreases to be known as the Base Year Adjustment (BYA). The adoption of the ARV and BYA in respect of each financial year are reserved functions of local authority members.

Three local authorities have yet to complete the rates harmonisation process, including Louth County Council. It is expected that the remaining authorities will make progressive steps over the next budgetary periods to complete the harmonisation process within the legislative requirements. In that context, the specific timeframe for the completion of the process is a matter for each local authority and the issue of a meeting with the Council on this matter does not arise.

My Department liaises with local authorities on financial matters and with the sector generally on an ongoing basis, while at all times respecting the mandate of elected representatives to carry out their reserved functions.

Question No. 83 answered with Question No. 66.
Question No. 84 answered with Question No. 59.
Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 43.

Home Loan Scheme

Questions (86)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

86. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to ensure that Meath County Council has sufficient funding to approve applications for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51856/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

When the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme was initially being developed, it was estimated that the drawdown of loans would be approximately €200 million over three years. However, this loan product has proved to be more successful than initially anticipated. In the context of the scheme’s success my Department engaged with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Finance with regard to the allocation for 2019.

I engaged early as I said I would. While discussions commenced in October 2018 on additional funding, the first tranche of €200m was only fully drawn down in August of this year. My Department wrote to all 31 local authorities on 15 August 2019 sanctioning an additional €363 million in funding for the Loan. This brings total funding for the Loan to €563 million for 2018 and 2019 combined, allowing the allocation for Meath to be increased to €35.8m for the same period.

Local Authority Housing Provision

Questions (87)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

87. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the new build targets set by Galway City Council and Galway County Councils in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number built by each local authority in each of the years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51820/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Social Housing Strategy (SHS), which was the precursor to Rebuilding Ireland, set social housing delivery targets, on a local authority basis, for the period 2015 to 2017. Over this period, local authorities were tasked with the delivery of some 23,000 social housing supports, with an investment commitment of over €1.5 billion.

The table below sets out the 2015-2017 targets for Galway, as issued in April 2015, under the SHS:

Capital

Current

Total

Galway City Council

136

382

518

Galway County Council

144

464

608

It should be noted that the targets set under the SHS were not disaggregated into build, acquisition, leasing, HAP and RAS. Therefore, they are not readily comparable with the targets and outputs set under Rebuilding Ireland. However, details of social housing delivery for each local authority in the years 2015 to 2017 have been published on my Department's website and are available at the following link:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

Under Rebuilding Ireland, a target was set to deliver 50,000 social housing homes nationally over the 6 years of the Action Plan, supported by funding which is now well over €6 billion.

In 2018, I published targets for the period 2018-2021, broken down by local authority, which are available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link:

https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-delivery-targets-for-local-authorities-2018-2021/.

Delivery outputs are also published, on a quarterly basis, and these are available on my Department's website at the following link:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.

Rental Sector Strategy

Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 72.

Questions (88)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

88. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the way in which he plans to fund the affordable cost-rental project in St Michael’s Estate, Inchicore, Dublin 8; and if the rents can be brought below €900 per month. [51756/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Dublin City Council-owned land at Emmet Road, Inchicore, which is largely comprised of the former St Michael’s Estate, is a cost rental ‘pathfinder’ pilot development. It is estimated that this site can accommodate 484 homes in a high quality mixed-tenure development. It is envisaged that 375 homes will be cost rental, with the remaining homes reserved for social housing. Taken together with an adjacent development of integrated social housing for older people, the overall tenure mix for the area will be 30% social and 70% cost rental.

The homes at Emmet Road will be complemented by commercial, retail, community and open space, including the existing Inchicore Community Sports Centre. To facilitate community engagement, Dublin City Council has established the Inchicore Regeneration Consultative Forum, bringing together local residents, business owners, and civil society organisations. It is envisaged that the development will form a central element in the longer term economic and social regeneration of the Inchicore and Kilmainham areas.

Based on the agreed tenure mix, it is anticipated that the funding for the 30% social housing units will be provided by my Department through existing funding programmes. The 70% of homes that will be available for cost rental will be funded through borrowing, and officials from Dublin City Council and my Department have recently met with the EIB who have reiterated their interest in being involved in supporting this cost rental pilot.

Cost rental is housing where the rents charged cover the cost of delivering, managing and maintaining the homes only. It is not designed to replace traditional social housing provision for low-income households, which remains a priority for the Government. Cost rental is a new tenure option for Ireland, and is one of several schemes which my Department is pursuing to deliver on the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan and ultimately provide more affordable housing.

While noting that the financial modelling for projects of this level is heavily influenced by the base case assumptions made, it is my understanding that initial projections by advisers engaged by Dublin City Council have estimated that rents of up to approximately 40% below market rates are achievable.

In order for this project to succeed as a cost rental development, it is important that project funds are recouped on an ongoing basis. As the rent paid by a household in a cost rental tenancy simply reflects the cost of delivering, managing and maintaining the property, a number of measures can be used at the outset of a development in order to make rents more affordable. In the case of St Michael's, this includes the provision of land; the design of housing with value engineering and long term maintenance in mind; a potential State contribution to development costs via the Serviced Sites Fund, and the availability of low-cost, stable finance that is paid back over a long period of time.

In relation to current progress on this project, a Development Framework Plan has been completed on behalf of Dublin City Council. Cost consultants have also completed a report on the construction costs of the plan and assessed the scheme in light of the objective to develop a pilot Cost Rental scheme. The Council is in the process of developing a Stage 1 Capital Works Management Framework application for the social housing element of the development and will submit this to my Department. The Council is also procuring an architect-led integrated design team, who will be responsible for designing the development and taking it as far as the planning stage. Tenders are due before year end and it is envisaged that the design team will be appointed in January 2020.

Question No. 89 answered with Question No. 72.

Housing Assistance Payment Applications

Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 45.

Questions (90)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

90. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the waiting times for processing of HAP applications by each local authority; the additional resources he will release to ensure that waiting times are reduced down to one to two weeks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51113/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Limerick City and County Council provide a highly effective HAP transactional-shared service on behalf of all local authorities. The HAP Shared Services Centre (HAP SSC) manages all HAP-related rental transactions for the tenant, local authority and landlord. Once a HAP application has been received and confirmed as valid by the relevant local authority, it is then processed by the HAP SSC. On average, HAP applications are processed by the HAP Shared Service Centre within 2 -3 working days of receipt. Any rental payment arising for a given month will then be made to a landlord on the last Wednesday of that month.

Under the HAP scheme, eligible households source their own accommodation in the private rented sector and the tenancy agreement is between the tenant and the landlord. The HAP application form comes in two parts; Section A to be completed by the applicant tenant and Section B to be completed by the landlord or agent. An application for HAP will only be accepted by the local authority when both Section A and Section B are completed, signed and returned, along with the required supporting documentation. Any delay in tenants and landlords supplying this information will impact on the processing time of the HAP application. The earliest date a HAP payment to the landlord will apply from is the date a complete and valid HAP application has been received by the local authority.

HAP application processing times within local authorities may vary. Once a HAP application has been received and confirmed as valid by the relevant local authority, it is entered on the system by the local authority and then submitted for processing and payment by the HAP Shared Service Centre. If there are delays at the processing stage within a local authority, payment to the landlord will be backdated to the date on which a complete and valid application form was received by the local authority. The landlord is therefore not penalised for any delay.

An analysis of data from the HAP SSC indicates that the average processing time at the end of Q3 2019 within the 31 local authorities is 34 days. My Department has recently written to all local authorities to remind them of the critical need to keep processing times under review at a local level to ensure times are minimised to the greatest extent possible.

To support local authorities in the implementation of the HAP scheme, my Department provides a once off administrative payment of €150 per HAP household to all local authorities. This administrative payment recognises the resources required to manage the HAP process. The payment is made directly to local authorities, to offset HAP staffing and administrative costs. Since 2015 over €9m has been provided to local authorities in this regard.

At the end of Q3 2019, there were over 50,000 households having their housing needs met via HAP and some 29,000 separate landlords and agents in receipt of monthly HAP payments. My Department continues to keep the operation of the HAP scheme under review.

Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 45.

Electoral Process

Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 47.

Question No. 94 answered with Question No. 62.

Question No. 95 answered with Question No. 51.

Questions (92)

Eamon Ryan

Question:

92. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans with regard to the regulation of political advertising on social media platforms further to the recent meeting of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News. [49415/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Following a detailed proposal from the Interdepartmental Group on the Security of Ireland’s Electoral Process and Disinformation, the Government agreed on 5 November 2019 that my Department would prepare the General Scheme of a Bill which would provide for the display of specified information in respect of the use of paid political advertising in online media during electoral periods. It is anticipated that a draft General Scheme will be available by the end of the second quarter in 2020.

The proposal from the Interdepartmental Group was developed having regard to submissions received during a public consultation held in the autumn of 2018 and the holding of an open policy forum on the regulation of transparency of online political advertising which was held on 6 December 2018. The two reports from the Interdepartmental Group, the submissions from the public consultation and a report on the forum's deliberations are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.ie/en/policy-information/7a3a7b-overview-regulation-of-transparency-of-online-political-advertising-/#open-policy-forum-6-december-2018

In summary, the proposal, as set out in the Interdepartmental Group’s most recent progress report (November 2019), provides that the legislation will apply to online platforms, as sellers or intermediaries of political advertising, and to the buyers of political adverts. It is envisaged that an obligation will be placed on sellers to determine that adverts fall under the scope of the legislation. Online paid-for political advertisements commissioned for use during electoral periods will be required to be labelled as such and clearly display specified information, or a link to that information, in a transparent and conspicuous manner.

Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 47.
Question No. 94 answered with Question No. 62.
Question No. 95 answered with Question No. 51.