Labour Market

Questions (447)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

447. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of introducing one extra bank holiday per year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53612/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Estimating the cost to the Exchequer of introducing an extra bank holiday is outside the remit of my Department.  

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (448)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

448. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of new staff recruited to her Department from January 2019 to date; the title of each employment position; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53642/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Recruitment to my Department is done on foot of competitions which are administered by the Public Appointments Service (PAS). Details of the number of staff recruited by way of various PAS competitions in the year to date are shown in the following table. The figures include existing staff who have been successful in PAS competitions.

In addition to the permanent staff detailed in the table, 862 Temporary Clerical Officers have been recruited to cover short-term projects, shorter working year leave scheme and other long-term staff absences such as maternity leave and carers leave.

Grade

No.

Administrative Officer

4

Assistant Principal

18

Clerical Officer

206

Executive Officer

79

EO Information Communications Technology 

11

Higher Executive Officer

21

HEO Information Communications Technology 

4

Principal   Officer

2

Grand Total

345

Social Welfare Appeals

Questions (449)

Paul Murphy

Question:

449. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the record will be corrected regarding the statement by the chief appeals officer of the social welfare appeals office to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection that the social welfare appeals office does not use test cases in view of the fact this contradicts a letter of 9 January 2019 (details supplied). [53652/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Chief Appeals Officer has advised me that the discussion in relation to the use of ‘test cases’ before the Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection on 5th December 2019 related to a particular set of circumstances dating back to the early 1990s where a number of cases involving a number of employers in a particular sector were selected as so called 'test cases' to identify criteria that could be used to improve the quality and consistency of decision making in relation to a particular type of employment.  The Chief Appeals Officer has advised me that the test cases were not used to determine a particular outcome on a 'group basis'  that would be applied to all cases from that employment sector, as seems to have been inferred by some observers,  but instead, it is her understanding,  that the cases informed the identification of criteria  that could be applied to each individual case in that sector. Decision makers (both Deciding Officer and Appeals Officers) would then apply these criteria to all cases that came before them and depending on the circumstances of each case, as assessed by reference to these criteria, an individual decision would be made in each case.  This approach was a precursor to the subsequent development on a tripartite basis of the Code of Practice for  Determining Employment or Self-Employment of Individuals Status under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, a code which was subsequently updated in 2007 under the  Towards 2016 Social Partnership Agreement.

The Chief Appeals Officer has also advised me that she does not as a rule take group decisions based on test cases. However, she has advised that occasionally, and usually where a number of workers engaged by the same employer are concerned and have individually submitted an appeal, she is asked to make decisions on a ‘sample’ number of cases. The Chief Appeals Officer has agreed to this approach in very limited circumstances and only with the agreement of both the employer and the workers concerned. This approach has not been adopted during the period of her tenure in any case of an appeal where the classification of a worker as an employee or self-employed is the issue under appeal.  

This approach can be an efficient way of dealing with issues that are common in appeal cases and where there are a number of workers attached to an appeal. However, the approach cannot compromise the integrity of the appeal process or deny any individual interested party due process. Each individual always has the opportunity of having any evidence in their own case presented to and considered by an Appeals Officer. An individual decision issues in each case,  and can be individually submitted for review to the Chief Appeals Officer or indeed, appealed to the Courts.

I am advised that in the circumstances the Chief Appeals Officer does not consider that a contradiction has occurred but she is happy to clarify the position as outlined.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements. 

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (450)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

450. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the level of accreditation a trainer must offer to participants in disability awareness training in order for the client to avail of the 90% grant available from her Department (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53653/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Through the Disability Awareness Support Scheme (DASS), my Department provides financial assistance to private sector organisations to undertake staff development in order to assist the integration of people with disabilities into the workforce and to eliminate mistaken perceptions about the capacity of people with disabilities to be productive and effective employees and colleagues.

This scheme is open to all organisations in the private sector and is available for raising the awareness of personnel at all levels and in all occupations. The DASS is suitable for the following:

- Organisations interested in employing or retaining people with disabilities;

- Organisations interested in promoting the employment of people with disabilities.

The trainer/facilitator proposed by the applicant organisation for this grant should:

- Have a training qualification and/or relevant experience; 

- Have a strong social model perspective.  This means that the trainer should focus on how the physical and social barriers in society can disable an individual;

- Have an extensive knowledge of disability policy issues. The trainer should be up to date with current developments in the disability sector in Ireland; 

- Have experience or awareness of disability and have developed their training programme in consultation with people with disabilities.

An application by a private sector organisation for a grant under the DASS should be submitted between three weeks and two months prior to commencement of the training.

The Disability Awareness course provider selected by applicant organisation must be approved by a Case Officer and Assistant Principal from the Department prior to the commencement of the training programme or course. Applications cannot be processed for training which has already commenced.

The DASS guidelines can be downloaded from the Department's website at: https://www.welfare.ie/en/downloads/DisabiltyAwarenessSupportSchemeGuidelines.pdf

Further advice and help can be sourced from the following publications produced by the National Disability Authority (NDA) - "Guidelines for Purchasers of Disability Equality Training".

http://nda.ie/Publications/Employment/Employment-Publications/Guidelines-for-Purchasers-of-Disability-Equality-Training.html

Farm Assist Scheme Data

Questions (451)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

451. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons on farm assist by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53689/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the tabular statement.

The number of recipients of Farm Assist at the end of November 2019 by county.

County

Recipients

Carlow

50

Cavan

208

Clare

248

Cork

436

Donegal

1,116

Dublin

18

Galway

576

Kerry

411

Kildare

19

Kilkenny

67

Laois

57

Leitrim

251

Limerick

105

Longford

112

Louth

54

Mayo

915

Meath

41

Monaghan

277

Offaly

51

Roscommon

290

Sligo

162

Tipperary

208

Waterford

53

Westmeath

79

Wexford

128

Wicklow

34

Total

5,966

Brexit Expenditure

Questions (452)

Robert Troy

Question:

452. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount spent on advertising in 2018 and to date in 2019 on Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53743/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department has not incurred any expenditure on advertising in respect of Brexit in 2018 or to date in 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

School Meals Programme

Questions (453)

Colm Brophy

Question:

453. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of progressively rolling out the hot school meals programme to a further 35,000 schoolchildren each year on the same basis as that agreed in budget 2020. [53760/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting 250,000 children at a total cost of €54 million in 2019.  The objective of the scheme is to provide regular, nutritious food to children who are unable, due to lack of good quality food, to take full advantage of the education provided to them.  The programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement.

As part of Budget 2019, it was announced that my department would commence a pilot scheme from September 2019, providing hot school meals in 36 primary schools for an estimated 7,200 children at a cost of €1m for 2019 and €2.5m in 2020. 

As part of Budget 2020, I am providing an additional €4 million in funding to extend the hot school meals scheme in 2020 for children currently receiving the cold lunch option.  If the full-year evaluation of the current pilot scheme confirms the positive impacts initially reported, this funding will allow my Department to extend the hot school meals scheme from September 2020 to an additional 35,000 children, especially to those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

The additional cost of providing a hot school meal to 35,000 children, who currently receive a cold lunch is €9.5 million for a full school year. The cost of providing a hot school meal to 35,000 children, who do not currently receive a cold lunch would be €18.3 million.

Any further extension of the pilot programme can only be considered in a budgetary context.

Departmental Legal Cases Data

Questions (454)

Robert Troy

Question:

454. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the personal injuries payouts will be published for properties under the ownership of her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [53791/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Costs incurred by the State in personal injury cases brought to court involving properties occupied by my Department are managed by the State Claims Agency.

In accordance with financial procedures in cases involving compensation against the State such costs are incurred by the State Claims Agency.  The figures for the years requested are set out as follows:

2016

2017

2018

2019 (30 Nov)

€434,256

€242,344

€359,243

€399,912

The Deputy should be aware that, with the exception of Áras Mhic Dhiarmada which is owned by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, all properties occupied by the Department are owned or rented by the Office of Public Works.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the deputy.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (455)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

455. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the capital expenditure by her Department in County Louth and east County Meath by location and facility provided or commenced in each of the past four years; the location and purpose of each such expenditure; the new and improved services provided as a result; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53843/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department has a Headquarters Building and Intreo Centre in Dundalk and an Intreo Centre in Drogheda. The buildings are fitted out to modern standards and are regularly maintained. There has been no capital expenditure by my Department associated with these buildings over the past four years.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals

Questions (456)

Paul Murphy

Question:

456. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the social welfare appeals office does not have legislative powers, cannot set precedent and is not free to act outside of legislation and precedents set by court. [53882/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office was established in 1990 and operates independently of  the Department. The role of the Office is to determine appeals against decisions of Deciding Officers/Designated Persons of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on social welfare entitlements and insurability of employment. 

The main legislative provisions governing the appeal process are contained in Part 10 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and the Social Welfare (Appeals) Regulations (Statutory Instrument No. 108 of 1998) and are in place in order to ensure that every appellant is given the opportunity to make their case and have all of their evidence fully considered by an Appeals Officer.

Social welfare legislation sets out the conditions to be satisfied in order to establish entitlement to a payment and Appeals Officers are bound to apply these provisions. Certain other conditions of entitlement require judgement to be applied and in such cases Appeals Officers must determine these cases having regard to the facts pertaining to the individual case.

The Chief Appeals Officer has advised me that the decisions of Appeals Officers do not create precedents but the Office strives to achieve consistency in its decision making such that cases based on the same or similar factual circumstances have the same outcome.

The Chief Appeals Officer has also advised me that while the Office is not a Court it must observe the principles of natural justice and fair procedures.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Questions (457)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

457. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he has approved the business case to fund local authorities to rent from cuckoo funds; the projections he has made for HAP spending; his views on whether this represents value for money as a permanent policy; if a cost-benefit analysis of this and other solutions has been undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53460/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

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

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.

HAP, a social housing support being provided by local authorities, is one such tool. HAP will replace Rent Supplement for those with a long-term housing need who qualify for social housing support. The introduction of HAP means that local authorities can now provide housing assistance for households with a long-term housing need, including many long-term Rent Supplement recipients. At the end of Q3 2019, nearly 67,000 HAP tenancies had been set-up since the scheme commenced, of which there were more than 50,000 households actively in receipt of HAP support and over 29,000 separate landlords and agents providing accommodation to households supported by the scheme. However, the introduction of HAP has not resulted in increased usage of the private rented sector by the State – at end 2018, there were almost 6,000 fewer tenancies supported through Rent Supplement, Rental Accommodation Scheme or HAP than at end 2014, when the HAP scheme commenced.

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. With 68,693 households on our waiting lists, the combination of 50,000 social housing homes and 88,000 HAP and RAS supports, which will be funded by the Government out to 2021, means that both long term and flexible options will be available to those on our social housing waiting lists.

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

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.

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

I am confident that the actions, targets and resources available under Rebuilding Ireland provide a strong platform for meeting the range of housing needs that exist nationally.

Maritime Spatial Planning

Questions (458)

Martin Heydon

Question:

458. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the progress being made towards increasing the percentage of maritime area designated as marine protected areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53727/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Ireland has undertaken to expand its network of Marine Protected Areas in accordance with commitments made under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the National Biodiversity Action Plan (2017-2021), the 1992 OSPAR Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).  On 23rd October this year I announced the formation of an expert Advisory Group to advise my Department and to make recommendations on the processes required and the challenges to be addressed in the extension of Ireland's Marine Protected Area network.

The Advisory Group is being chaired by Professor Tasman Crowe, Director of University College Dublin's Earth Institute, and it will be holding its inaugural meeting today (Wednesday 18 December). In this regard the group will also comprise senior experts, from relevant government institutions, academia and non-governmental bodies, under three subject areas:

- Life and ocean sciences,

- Economic, social and cultural perspectives 

- Legal, governance and political aspects

It is envisaged that there will be regular meetings and stakeholder engagement in preparing the Group's report with is due in May 2020.

In parallel with the work of the Advisory Group, I am also committed to the development of primary legislation to underpin the expansion of the network.

Planning Issues

Questions (459)

Barry Cowen

Question:

459. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when he will introduce new legislation to ensure harvesting can proceed in March 2020 to ensure job security for up to 4,000 employed in the sector further to a recent High Court decision in which statutory instruments for the harvesting of horticultural peat were challenged successfully and introduced earlier in 2019 for plots in excess of 30 hectares. [53452/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The recent High Court judgment set aside the European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Peat Extraction) Regulations 2019 made by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the supplementary Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) Regulations 2019 made by me. These Regulations, in combination, introduced a streamlined system for the regulation of large scale peat extraction relating to areas of 30 hectares or more, to be solely under the remit of the Environmental Protection Agency’s integrated pollution control (IPC) system.

The effect of the judgment is that the consenting process for large-scale peat extraction reverts to the dual regulatory regime under both the planning and IPC licensing systems which was in operation prior to 25 January 2019. In relation to the planning system, this includes the availability of the ‘substitute consent’ process set out at Part XA of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, under which regularisation of any unauthorised development requiring Environmental Impact Assessment or Appropriate Assessment may be sought.

The implications of the judgment to the existing development consent framework regulating peat extraction are being considered by my Department and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General.

Electoral Register

Questions (460)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

460. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of the proposals to modernise the electoral registration process following public consultation in early 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53456/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Following an initial consultation with local authorities on a set of policy proposals, I launched a public consultation on the electoral register modernisation project in December 2018. 187 submissions were received from a broad range of stakeholders and I intend to publish a report on the consultation very shortly.

Tenant Purchase Scheme Data

Questions (461, 472)

Noel Grealish

Question:

461. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of local authority houses sold under the tenant purchase scheme by each local authority since the scheme was introduced; the number of applications received by each local authority that were refused; the reason for refusal in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53572/19]

View answer

Brendan Smith

Question:

472. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when the review of the tenant purchase scheme will be finalised; his plans to improve the criteria of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53829/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 461 and 472 together.

My Department publishes information on the sale of local authority houses each year. This information can be accessed on my Department's website at the following link:

www.housing.gov.ie/housing/statistics/social-and-affordble/other-local-authority-housing-scheme-statistics

Data for 2019 sales will be published when they become available. This is expected to be towards the end of quarter 1 2020. 

The operation of the current Tenant (Incremental) Purchase Scheme is a matter for the relevant local authority concerned, in line with legislation, including the Housing (Sale of Local Authority Houses) Regulations 2015. As my Department does not routinely collate information on the number of tenant purchase applications made or refused, the data requested by the Deputy is not held by my Department.

In line with the commitment given in the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, a review of the operation of the first 12 months of the Tenant Purchase (Incremental) Scheme has been recently finalised and a full report has been prepared setting out findings and recommendations.

I intend to bring a comprehensive package of social housing reform measures to Government in the near future and the review of the Tenant Purchase Scheme will be published as part of that process.

Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

Questions (462)

Noel Grealish

Question:

462. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons on a waiting list for social housing; the number at the same period in 2017 and 2018 in Galway city and county, by length of time on the list and by single, couple, family and so on applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53573/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

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 recent summary, conducted in June 2019, shows that 68,693 households were assessed as qualified for 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%.

The 2019 summary includes breakdowns by each local authority across a range of categories, including for Galway City Council and Galway County Council. Tables 2.8 and A1.8 include details on length of time spent on the housing list. Tables 2.4 and A1.4 provide a breakdown of household size, both also by local authority. Numbers for those local authorities for 2017 and 2018 are provided in the corresponding tables of the respective reports for those years, the links for which are provided as follows.

It should be noted that the category “Household Composition” in the previous reports, is replaced in the 2019 report by the “Household Size” profile category which provides more granular level of detail regarding the number of persons in each household type,

The summary reports are available on my Department’s website at the following links:

Report 2019 

https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/sha_summary_2019_dec_2019_web_1.pdf

Report 2018

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

Report 2017

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

Homeless Persons Data

Questions (463)

Noel Grealish

Question:

463. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of persons in emergency homeless accommodation by local authority area and length of time in such accommodation; the number of children and adults in each case; the number at the same period in 2017 and 2018; the cost of providing such accommodation over each of the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53574/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department publishes a monthly report on homelessness. The monthly report is based on data provided by housing authorities and produced through the Pathway Accommodation & Support System (PASS).  The report captures details of individuals utilising State-funded emergency accommodation arrangements that are overseen by housing authorities.

The most recent homelessness figures show that 6,688 adults and 3,826 associated dependents, encompassing 1,733 families, accessed emergency accommodation nationwide during the final week of October.  Monthly reports for 2017, 2018 and 2019 are available on my Department’s website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/homelessness/other/homelessness-data .

The monthly reports submitted by local authorities to my Department do not currently provide detailed information on the length of time spent in emergency accommodation.  However, the latest information drawn from a separate local authority performance reporting mechanism show that 38% of adults in emergency accommodation had been there for less than six months, and 62% for more than 6 months. 

The regional breakdown at the end of Quarter 3 2019 is shown in the following table. 

Q3 2019 Duration in Emergency Accommodation - Regional Breakdown 

 

< 6 months

 

> 6 Months

 

Regional Total

 

Amount

%

Amount

%

 

Dublin

1,408

33%

2,893

67%

4,301

Mid-East

170

55%

137

45%

307

Midland

19

21%

73

79%

92

Mid West

166

55%

137

45%

303

North East

90

57%

69

43%

159

North West

37

71%

15

29%

52

South East

135

55%

110

45%

245

South West

270

48%

296

52%

566

West

159

37%

269

63%

428

Totals

2,454

38%

3,999

62%

6,453

In relation to the cost of providing accommodation, my Department does not fund any homeless service directly but provides funding to housing authorities towards these costs.  Under the funding arrangements, housing authorities must provide at least 10% of the cost of services from their own resources. Housing authorities may also incur additional expenditure on homeless related services outside of these funding arrangements with my Department.  Therefore, the exact amounts spent by housing authorities on homeless services, as well as the types of accommodation are a matter for individual housing authorities in consultation with the Management Group of the relevant regional joint Homelessness Consultative Forum.

Exchequer funding for homeless services is provided by my Department to housing authorities on a regional basis.  The following table sets out Exchequer funding provided on a regional basis for the years 2017 and 2018 and to date in 2019. 

Exchequer funding for homeless services under the Housing Act, 1988 

Region

2017

2018

2019 to date

Dublin 

€83,616,643  

€106,267,187  

€112,662,125  

Mid-East 

€3,092,923  

€3,738,000  

€3,725,000  

Midland 

€1,467,615  

€2,177,128  

€2,014,500  

Mid-West 

€3,906,686  

€5,044,000  

€6,559,100  

North-East 

€2,762,845  

€3,007,520  

€2,685,000  

North-West 

€450,000  

€541,522  

€622,700  

South-East

€3,444,510  

€3,815,000  

€3,950,200  

South-West 

€6,703,444  

€9,687,741  

€8,048,100  

West

€3,791,334  

€4,721,895  

€5,546,200  

Total

€109,236,000

€138,999,993

€145,812,925

Housing Assistance Payment Data

Questions (464)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

464. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 90 of 11 December 2019, the breakdown of HAP processing times by Dublin and Leinster local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53593/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

HAP application processing times within local authorities 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.

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. The average processing time for a Hap application is based on the average number of days arrears paid to landlords. Landlord arrears is calculated from the later of the following dates:

- Tenant occupancy date;

- Application validation date (minus 5 days); and

- Rent paid up to date.

Set out in the table is a breakdown of average HAP landlord arrears payments for the Dublin and Leinster local authorities, to the end of Q3 2019.

Local Authority

Number of Days Arrears

Carlow County Council

23

Dublin City Council

30

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

18

Fingal County Council

27

Kildare County Council

46

Kilkenny County Council

12

Laois County Council

29

Longford County Council

17

Louth County Council

31

Meath County Council

25

Offaly County Council

23

South Dublin County Council

29

Westmeath County Council

25

Wexford County Council

33

Wicklow County Council

25

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.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (465)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

465. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of new staff recruited to his Department from January 2019 to date; the title of each employment position; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53646/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

104 new staff were recruited into my Department since January 2019. While some of these were additional staff, others were replacements to fill vacancies that arose.  Information in relation to grades/titles is set out below in two separate tables for general service grades and professional and technical grades.  In addition to these staff one special adviser and one Ministerial driver were appointed during 2019.  Both of these appointments were replacements rather than additional posts.

General Service Grades 

Grade  

 Number

Clerical Officer

17

 Executive Officer

20 

 Higher Executive Officer

 Administrative Officer

13 

 Assistant Principal

18 

Principal Officer 

 6

 Service Officer

 1

 Totals

 82

Professional and Technical Grades  

 Grade

 Officer

 Architectural Adviser

1

 Assistant Auditor

 Planning Adviser

 Geographical Information Systems Officer

 Principal Adviser

 Scientific Policy Adviser

 Quantity Surveyor (Grade 1)

 Statistical Data Manager

 Hydrometeorologist

Meteorologist 

 Total

22 

Approved Housing Bodies

Questions (466)

Paul Murphy

Question:

466. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the over-reliance on approved housing bodies which do not have the properties to meet the needs of those on the council housing list, as in the case of a person (details supplied), will be addressed; and the steps he will take for persons who need to be transferred from their approved housing body property to another council property due to safety concerns in cases in which the council will not transfer a tenant of an approved housing body and the body has no properties available. [53656/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) play an important role in the delivery of social homes across the country. Over the period 2011 to 2018 more than 11,000 new social homes have been delivered by AHBs and last year 38% of all the social homes delivered by the Rebuilding Ireland were delivered in partnership with AHBs. 

Section 22 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 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.  The allocation scheme for South Dublin County Council includes provision for application for a transfer under a range of circumstances including on grounds of anti social behavior and other exceptional circumstances.  This provision applies to tenants of the council including tenants of dwellings provided by Approved Housing Bodies.

The oversight and management of housing waiting lists, including the allocation and transfer of tenancies, is a matter for the relevant local authority in accordance with the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, and associated regulations. 

Section 22(17) of the 2009 Act provides that the Minister’s power to direct a local authority regarding the operation of its allocation scheme shall not be construed or operate to enable the Minister to direct the allocation of a dwelling to a particular household. I am, therefore, precluded from intervening in relation to the procedures followed, or decisions made, by local authorities in the allocation of particular dwellings.